Tag Archives: cancer prevention

Recipe: Shrimp in Green Tea Curry Sauce

2015 Jan 027This recipe comes to us from Prevention.com. It caught my eye because it combines our final two cancer prevention foods: green tea and curcumin (curry). Like I said last week, the curcumin in curry isn’t plentiful enough to kill cancer tumors in one meal, but it sure is delicious.

One final note: when my husband and I first tried this recipe, we thought it was okay. Then my hubby squeezed some lemon juice over our plates and BAM! So delicious.



1 cup boiling water

1 tablespoon green tea leaves (I cut open a tea bag)

8 ounces dried linguine (or whatever pasta you have in the pantry if, like me, you’re too lazy to make a special trip to the store; see photo)

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and rinsed (would also be good with chicken, I think)

1/4 cup finely chopped scallions, white and light green parts

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 1/2 teaspoons hot or mild curry powder

2 tablespoons sake or dry white wine

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

chopped cilantro and sliced scallions (dark green parts)

fresh lemon juice



  1. Cook the linguine according to the package direction, subtracting 2 minutes of the cooking time. Drain and return to the cooking pot to keep warm.
  2. In a heatproof container, combine the boiling water and tea. Cover and steep for 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the canola oil in a large nonstick skillet or wok over high heat. Add the shrimp, scallions, garlic, and curry powder. Cook, tossing, for 1 minute. Add the sake or wine. Cook for 30 seconds. Add the tea and half of the tea leaves. Cook for 1 minute, or until the shrimp are opaque. With a slotted spoon, remove the shrimp and set aside.
  4. Transfer the linguine to the skillet or wok. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, tossing, for about 3 minutes, or until the linguine is al dente and the sauce has thickened. Return the shrimp to the pan. Drizzle with the sesame oil. Toss to combine. Garnish with the cilantro and scallions.
  5. Drizzle with fresh lemon juice and salt to taste.

Eating For Cancer Prevention: Curcumin

star trek securityKirk, coom in, it’s Scotty in Engineering!”

“Kirk here. What’s the matter, Scotty?”

“Captain, it’s Security! They’ve been brainwashed!”


“Aye, Captain. Security deployed to arrest an invading alien, but now they won’t stop! They’re arresting the crew.”

“Just fix it, Scotty. And curry!”

“Curry, Captain?”

Simon-pegg-star-trek-3“I said hurry, Scotty, hurry!”

Inflammation, like the Starship Enterprise’s Security force, is essential for keeping your body safe from invading microorganisms; inflammation helps to kill the invaders and start the healing process. But chronic inflammation, when the body ends up attacking itself, can lead to a galaxy of problems. Inflammation has been linked to cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome (which can lead to stroke and diabetes).

So what’s a Scotsman in outer space to do? Hit the intercom and say “Curcumin!”

(Not laughing? Re-read the first line of this post. Still not laughing? I blame your Scottish accent.)

curcuminCurcumin is a compound found in turmeric, a root that gives curry and mustard it’s yellow color. Curcumin is both a very strong anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant. (A green tea toast to that!) The bad news is that turmeric (and therefore curry) doesn’t contain a whole lot of curcumin; most medical benefits are seen from taking curcumin extracts, not from eating Indian food 24/7. That’s a bummer, because I was hoping that hitting our local Indian buffet could be considered “fighting cancer”. Sigh.

A bottle of curcumin extract will run your anywhere from $15-30. I’m not usually one to take extracts; I barely remember to take my daily multivitamin. But I also like the idea of giving my body a Star Trek spring cleaning.

kirk fightFirst there’s Kirk. He seeks out new life and new civilizations and, if they’re evil, he squashes them. He prevents evil empires from spreading to other planets, fights the enemy in hand to hand combat, and roots out injustice all over the galaxy. Curcumin stops cancer tumors from spreading, stops tumors from growing, and even reduces pre-cancerous lesions. Best to let Kirk coom in.

SpockThen there’s Spock. Logical to a fault and owner of the coolest ears this side of Vulcan, Spock increases the knowledge of everyone around him. Curcumin raises the level of BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor) in our brains. BDNF is what allows your brain to keep learning and growing throughout your life, and decreased levels of BDNF have been linked to depression and Alzheimer’s. So, curcumin makes you Spockier.

mccoyLast of our Star Trek spring cleaners is Doctor Bones McCoy. McCoy has a big heart and curcumin improves the function of the lining of the blood vessels, which affects blood pressure, clotting, and other important stuff that you need McCoy’s medical tricorder to observe properly. In short, curcumin helps prevent heart disease because “Darn it, Jim, McCoy’s a doctor, not a chef”.

If you do try curcumin, please talk to your doctor or at least google the side effects first. They don’t sound bad unless you’re taking certain kinds of chemotherapy or trying to get pregnant.

“Scotty, is Security under control? The Ambassador from the Planet of Beautiful Bipedal Females is due to arrive any minute.”

“Aye, Captain, we’re all set. I’ve got the curry.”

“I said hurry, Scotty.”

“I did, Captain. The Ambassador has just beamed aboard.”

“I’ll come greet her in person. Kirk coomin’ down.”


Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. Matthew 23:26


Images courtesy of: www.comicvine.com (security officers), www.worldtechtoday.com (Scotty), dejareviewer.com (Kirk), bigbangtheory.wikia.com (Spock), www.thezone.fm (McCoy), www.precisionnutrition.com (curcumin)

Eating For Cancer Prevention: Green Tea

teaI propose we answer two questions today: What is Green Tea? and Why do we care? The answers are: Tea and Molecular weeding.

All tea (Black, Green, Oolong, Ooshort) comes from the same plant; the way you harvest the leaves gives you different kinds of tea. Green Tea leaves get a steam bath instead of a sunburn, so they’re thought to have more cancer-fighting antioxidants, although a few researchers believe that all teas are created equal.

Green Tea is loaded with antioxidants which have been shown to help fight cancer. Antioxidants are just what they sound like if we all spoke Greek: “anti” means against and “oxidant” means oxygen, so antioxidants are against oxygen. That sounds kind of evil, doesn’t it? But oxygen can be evil if you’re a wrench in the rain.

antioxidants_benefitsWhen oxygen reacts with chemicals in the body, it creates useful chain reactions. Your body needs some of these oxygen chain reactions in order to, you know, live, but too many chain reactions lead to free radicals and cell damage.

Oxygen chain reactions are like mint plants in a garden. One mint plant is great; delicious leaves, lovely flowers. But mint plants spread aggressively by the root and can take over your garden in weeks. Antioxidants are the hands that pull extra mint plants out of the soil so you can make Mojitos, but still grow beans.

I’m not a tea drinker. I’ve tried. I have about twenty pounds of tea in my cabinet to prove how determined I was to become a tea addict. But I can’t help loving coffee, and maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

Green-TeaGreen Tea has up to 10 times the antioxidants compared to fruits and vegetables, but coffee has 3 times more antioxidants per cup than Green Tea. If I’m not thirsty enough to drink 9 cups of Green Tea per day, then 2 cups of coffee gives me more microscopic meds for my mug.

Of course, tea, coffee, fruits, and veggies all provide us with different antioxidants, so perhaps eating the full spectrum of antioxidants is wise. The best advice I found was actually in a comment on a medical website; the woman said that she consumes coffee with breakfast, tea in the afternoon, and red wine and dark chocolate after dinner. Does she have all of her oxidants covered or what?

antioxidantsGreen Tea is worth including in your diet, but if you’re not a fan of drinking it, try hiding some in foods you do enjoy. Mix Green Tea with Black Tea, add a cup to your smoothie or soup, or sprinkle the leaves into pasta sauce like you might with dried parsley flakes.

With the variety of things that can go wrong in our bodies, it makes sense to dose ourselves with a variety of antioxidants to clean up microscopically. Raise your glass of a plant-based beverage, be it bean, leaf, or grape, and let’s toast to our health!


“Those who trust in their riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.” Proverbs 11:28

Images courtesy of fitnessandhealthadvisor.com (tea), greenteaforweightlosstips.com (tea plant), www.lookgreatnaked.com (antioxidant chart), bloomfieldbathblog.com (awesome antioxidants)

Ginger Bread With Broccoli (Shhh, don’t tell my kids)

What says “Merry Christmas” and “Eat your vegetables” all at the same time? Broccoli Ginger Bread! This recipe comes from Jessica Seinfeld’s Deceptively Delicious cookbook. The beauty of molasses and ginger is that you neither see nor taste the broccoli and carrot purees this recipe calls for. Even my picky eater eats it. And, as we discussed last week, broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable, so it’s a dessert that helps fight cancer. Doesn’t get much better than that! (I’ve paraphrased the recipe instructions a bit because I’m too lazy to type every word.)

Merry Christmas, enjoy your bread, and I’ll see you in January! Keep your body moving; every little bit of exercise is beneficial.


2014 Dec 021Gingerbread Spice Cake


1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp EACH baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon

1/4 tsp EACH ground cloves, allspice, salt

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil

1 egg

1 cup broccoli puree (I thawed frozen broccoli and stuck it in the food processor with the oil)

1 cup carrot puree (Steam or boil carrots, puree in food processor or blender. Or use applesauce if you’re pressed for time)

1/2 cup plain yogurt

1/4 cup molasses

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 Tb grated orange zest


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 9×5 loaf pan.

2. Mix the flours and spices in a bowl, set aside.

3. Mix the sugar, oil, egg until smooth. Add the veggies, yogurt, molasses, vanilla and zest and mix again. Add flour mixture and mix until smooth.

4. Bake 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes, turn out onto a rack and cool completely. Or slice it steaming hot and blow on it to cool it between bites like I do. 🙂

Eating For Cancer Prevention (Part 3 of 5): Cruciferous Vegetables

broccoli gunHow do cruciferous vegetables fight cancer? That’s just it: they fight. They’re warriors. Cruciferous vegetables are the military of Food-dom. They kill cancer cells and defend against terrorist-toxins.

The key is getting the ammo into the guns. The ammo is sulfur containing chemicals called glucosinolates. Think about the taste of broccoli, kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts; there’s something in the taste of cruciferous vegetables that packs a punch. Some websites called it sulfur, others called it mustard oil; it’s the same thing that makes horseradish potent, skunks stink, and rotten eggs smell. Mmm, the thought makes one hungry, does it not?

So in one part of the plant cell is the ammo: glucosinolates. In another part of the plant cell is an enzyme called myrosinase. Sounds like a sandwich spread made of rosin and it’s mine, but we’re going to call it Gun. When you chew, juice, or chop the plant cells, the ammo and Gun are free to join. Loaded guns, as we know, are more effective weapons than empty ones. These glucosinolate and myrosinase loaded guns are cancer fighting sulfur compounds.

120403153531-largeDo sulfur compounds sound familiar? That’s the secret to garlic’s cancer effectiveness too. If you want to know more about how sulfur compounds fight cancer and kill tumor cells, read my post on Garlic for cancer prevention. I don’t want to repeat myself, but all of that applies here.

I know what you’re thinking: Tumors are like enemy countries; the body knows where they are and can focus an attack. But what about toxin terrorists that roam the body; the ones that can start a new battlefront anywhere, any time? I’m glad you asked.

The Cruciferous Military doesn’t just ride in with guns blazing; it also organizes the Let’s Incapacitate Venom Enzyme Rangers (or L.I.V.E.R.), an Anti-Toxin-Terrorism Task Force that removes carcinogens from the body. Detoxification has two phases: Phase One is a transport visa and Phase Two is handcuffs.

In Phase One, the toxin is burned with oxygen and enzymes to make it water (rather than fat) soluble. This makes it easier for the body to remove the toxin (pee is water, not fat); it’s essentially giving the toxin a travel visa.

unclesam-worldwarii-poster-6201139-oPhase Two’s handcuffs are made of enzymes and sulfur. Once a toxin is handcuffed, it can’t do any damage and can safely be shipped to the small intestine (which leads to the colon and eventually to the light of day). However, L.I.V.E.R. doesn’t have detention cells. If there aren’t enough handcuffs, the toxins remain free to circulate the body on their travel visa and are now called “free-radicals”. Free-radicals can do more damage that the original toxins. Cruciferous vegetables provide the sulfur that L.I.V.E.R. needs to make enough handcuffs to safely transport toxins out of the body.

Cruciferous vegetables also help promote healthy estrogen metabolism in the body, so there’s a link to hormonal cancers. I didn’t get that far in my research, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

Keep your Military strong by recruiting cruciferous soldiers several times per week. Brussels sprout bullets for everyone!


“Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country.” Exodus 1:10


Images courtesy of me (broccoli), www.everystockphoto.com (Uncle Sam), drliesa.com (veggies).

A Cruciferous Call For Help

2014 Aug 2 006We’ll talk about why cruciferous vegetables are linked to cancer prevention next week; this week I need your help. I was looking over my cruciferous vegetable recipes and noticed that all but one involve bacon. As much as I love the combination of greens and grease, if I increase my bacon consumption along with my cruciferous vegetable consumption, I’m doing more harm than good. That’s where you come in.

Do you have a good non-bacon recipe for cruciferous vegetables that you’d be willing to share? Comment below with the recipe or a link to the recipe.

Common cruciferous vegetables are: arugula, bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, horseradish, kale, radishes, rutabaga, turnip, watercress.

Thank you in advance!

Eating For Cancer Prevention Part 2: Beans

NCI_Digestive_torso_largeSeeing as how beans are known as the “musical fruit”, it should come as no surprise that beans have a strong link to the colon, and specifically to colorectal cancer. For those of you in the decades between middle school biology and the all-too-real anatomy lesson of a required colonoscopy, your colon is another name for your large intestine.

Your small intestine absorbs nutrients from the food you eat. The large intestine sucks the water out of what’s left, leaving behind stool or poop. It’s a good system, but when things go wrong, they go very wrong: colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. There is hope, however: research suggests that roughly 30% of colon cancers could be prevented by a change in diet and lifestyle.

beansBack to the beans.

I’m not talking about fresh green beans, although they are delicious and I encourage you to eat them whenever possible. I’m talking about the Legume Family: lentils, kidney beans, black beans, navy beans, split peas, and so on.

The Legume Family are police officers; it’s a proud tradition dating back to Creation. These Bean Cops enforce the law, direct traffic, and even manufacture Kevlar bulletproof vests.

bean cop dnaLaw enforcement: The first Bean Cop tool of the trade is folate. Cells need folate (ie folic acid) to make and repair DNA when they divide. Folate helps the cells to follow DNA laws and divide perfectly. When folate is lacking, mistakes are made. This is why pregnant women are asked to take extra folic acid; their baby begins life as a dividing cell and the fewer mistakes, the better.

bean cop trafficTraffic: Bean Cops have access to large amounts of fiber and that fiber keeps traffic flowing in the gut. Researchers aren’t sure why increased fiber lowers the risk of colon cancer, but they suspect is has something to do with fiber’s ability to move waste and carcinogens out of the body quickly. Think back to the last time you left a concert, a festival, or a sporting event: traffic crawls and bottlenecks until that blessed whistle blowing, hand waving man in uniform arrives. How could moving waste along not be a good thing, right?

bean cop kevlarKevlar: Resistant starch is starch that resists being digested and Bean Cops are full of it. Resistant starch makes it all the way through the digestive track to the colon untouched. Once in the colon, resistant starch becomes food for the friendly bacteria that turn it into food for colon cells. This resistant-starch-fueled-bacteria-byproduct makes the colon cells stronger; it acts like a Kevlar vest to protect the colon and prevent leakage. Imagine what’s in your colon. Now imagine that leaking out of your colon and into your body cavity, even on a microscopic level. That’s why resistant starch Kevlar is so important.

In countries where the Legume Family is consumed several times each week, the morbidity rate for colon cancer is lower than in, say, the U.S. of A., where legume consumption is low. That means that if you do get colon cancer, Bean Cops can help you not die from it. (Protect and Serve is their motto, after all.) In one study, lab rats with chemical-induced colon cancer were fed beans. These rats developed 50% fewer tumors than the rats who didn’t eat beans!

I’m not suggesting that you trade in your Thanksgiving turkey for a bunch of beans, but if you’re supposed to bring a side dish to a gathering this week and you’re not sure what to prepare, try Three Bean Cop Salad.

 “Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in a storage jar and use them to make bread for yourself.” Ezekiel 4:9a






Colon image: www.nlm.nih.gov