Winning The Cancer Battle With Food

by Rebecca Huber

Featured on ABC's news show 20/20 last Friday was Michael Milken's story about his battle with an advanced case of prostate cancer. Name sound familiar? Michael Milken is the same junk bond king from the eighties. Gone was the toupée, but the smile and the heart of the man was left shining through with new vision.

As the story unfolded at first, it was the typical story of young middle-aged man stricken with cancer. He went through the usual treatments of radiation but felt compelled to look further. What he found was book after book, expert after expert, talking about a vegetarian or plant-based diet proving to increase survival time and quality of life. At first he ate mostly baked potatoes with mustard and a few other things­­ always just choking it down thinking that food that was good for you had to be bland and tasteless.

He has since teamed up with a woman chef from California and found out good vegetarian food can be not only good for you but exciting in taste and variety. They use a wide variety of vegetables with beans, grains and tofu. Tofu is a soy product high in cancer fighting agents and is the single most complete plant based protein.

Featured on the show were soy hot dogs, pizza with soy base cheese and caesar salad with a tofu dressing. All were low in fat, looked very appealing and were said to be very tasty.

Studies from Japan, where soy products are a staple in the diet, reveal that the incidence of hormone driven cancers, prostate, breast and ovarian cancer are considerably less than here in America. Of course there are other reasons surrounding diet that would explain for the differences but the use of soy seems to be one major difference.

When asked if he felt he was in remission from his disease, he hesitated, then said that he certainly hoped so and that he felt well.

Most Americans are unfamiliar with tofu. Let me help you out. It comes in those colorful little boxes, usually red & white or blue & white and can be found in the produce department of the supermarket.

When people open their first box of tofu and pour it out onto a plate, their reactions are varied. I have to admit it is strange looking­­ an off color of white, solid to semi-solid and has little or no smell or flavor.

Next question, what can I do with this stuff and how do I get it to taste good? Here's the interesting part, tofu takes on the flavor of just about anything it is put with. Literally, if you put it with fruit, it will taste like fruit, if you marinate it with garlic and onion that's what it will taste like. Now you've got it, very versatile, high in nutrition and very inexpensive.

Tofu cook books are cropping up everywhere. It can even be used in place of cream cheese for your holiday cheese cake. Here's my favorite tofu recipe:

Quick & Easy Fruity Shake

1 box tofu

1 cup apple juice

1 medium size banana

A few pieces of your favorite fruit, preferably fresh berries

Mix in a blender until smooth. Add 1 tsp honey if you want a sweeter taste. You can also add wheat germ or flax to give your shake a real nutritional punch. You may use it for breakfast or lunch, delicious!

Eating soy bean products will not protect us entirely from these kinds of diseases. Certainly a balanced approach with lots of variety, less meat, using only cold pressed oils and some soy products is a good start.

Till next time happy eating and enjoy, Rebecca.

Posted to Zephyr Online September 26, 1998
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