Living at my mother-in-law’s home (okay, and father-in-law’s home) in Hungary for the past several weeks has totally shanghaied my way of eating. The food is amazing – AMAZING! But I would not call it a cancer-fighting diet, and I definitely wouldn’t say it’s gluten free, and no way could it be called a sugarless experience. Therefore, Sunday morning when I woke up around 5 am after having flown the day before while returning from Europe, I decided it was time for a tabula rasa.
The empty fridge became my blank slate.
So, wrapped in my husband’s bathrobe (a very masculine black robe with dark stripes of red and blue running vertically, and totally fuzzy – he was fast asleep in bed, so I took the liberty of warming it up for him), I sat in the early-morning light of the kitchen window and flipped through the pages of Annette and Kendall’s beautiful cookbook: Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen, getting ideas for groceries and meals.
Having finished chemo and treatments about two years ago now, some parts of the books that would be extremely useful for the newly diagnosed (like how some friends stick and others don’t after diagnosis, losing hair, being kind to yourself, navigating nausea and side-effects) don’t apply to me. But then my fingers flipped to page p.103 entitled “What’s Your Food Groove”?
And I was like, “YES, my food groove! That’s exactly what I need.”
(While in Hungary I had been in ‘visiting-family-mode’ and eating way too many pastries and loads of gelato. Why didn’t I insist on more turmeric and cruciferous veggies? Though those bacon pizzas were amazing.)
Thinking this over, and remembering all that ice cream and pizza and cottage cheese pastries, guilt threatened to set-in. But Annette and Kendall’s cookbook had more to say.
The text went on to read: “Don’t think you have ever “slipped up” too badly or too long nutritionally, and that you might as well just give up. Life’s not about how many times you fall out of the saddle, it’s about how persistent you are at getting back up in it again. And sometimes again. And again.”
Yeah, that’s for sure. After chemo those years back I had to reclaim my kitchen again, and again, and again. Then today (not the same situation thank God, but I was still totally knackered), I was challenged to do the same: Cook something healthy that made me happy, and for the love of all that is good – keep it simple!!!
So I flipped through the pages of Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen. Page 226 had a simple recipe for kale with garlic, and page 234 had a simple explanation for roasted beets. I thought ‘throw in some trout, and this will be lovely.’ Interestingly, there’s no fish recipe in this book, nor are there chicken, beef, pork, game or anything other kind of meat. It’s all vegetarian, (or so it appears, please correct me if I am wrong) and I love that. Truth be told, I know how to cook many different types of meat – what I really need, and would much enjoy, are more meat-free options, so this is an idea-bank for reducing my meat and upping my yummy veg.
There’s also a recipe on page 312 for a watermelon smoothie. With the current summer heat I’m thinking of trying it later this week.
Fast forward a few hours into Sunday after we grocery shop and I work magic in the kitchen, and we’re eating a lovely meal of kale, beets and trout. There’s something about eating good, garlicky, salty, roasted, tender, juicy, YUMMY food that really makes me smile.
And there’s something about it being easily done that I really like too. Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen is full of different ideas for you to eat, and really nicely broken down into how it might help with nausea, fatigue, immune boosting, dehydration defending and mouth sore soothing. It is great to see healthy made simple. Kicking Cancer is definitely a book to give to those newly diagnosed, or to order from Amazon if you are looking for some food inspiration. It’s like having tea with your girlfriends and receiving some really good advice, as well as some really yummy recipes. What surprised me the most about this book was that three years after diagnosis, I still find it relevant. Eating well doesn’t go outta style, even if I need to reboot my food groove after a vacation of indulgence. It’s good to have these reminders of ways to creatively get my cancer-fighting-nutrients, and as I said before, it’s really good to have a veggie and protein (but not meat) focused cookbook. It’s a first in my kitchen, and about time too!
Pros: Simple to follow, Veggie-focused, Breakdown of benefits, Conversational Style, Yummy and simple food
Cons: The dishes waiting to be cleaned! Mind you, that’s my husband’s problem.
And now I’m really hungry, so I’m going to go and eat something!