Friday, July 16, 2010
1000th post and Anti Cancer Mushroom and Onion Soup
I had originally intended to do something completely different for my 1000th post. But I thought that sharing with you what I learned watching Dr. Fuhrman’s cancer lecture yesterday seemed much more appropriate. As many of you know by now I started this blog to share good tasting but healthy recipes that were also appropriate for everyone even those currently battling or in remission from cancer. I also wanted to pass along anything new I was finding on cancer and nutrition since much of the information on the web is either hard to find or garbage. When anyone is faced with cancer the last thing the need is to wade through the nonsense to find useful information and recipes. With that in mind a cancer post seemed per very appropriate for my 1000th post.
My general food philosophy is to make dishes that taste great but that don’t compromise anyone’s health. It is very easy to make food taste good using sugar, fat and salt without restriction. That would be a good description for how I used to cook, before I was focused on health first. It has been a long and somewhat difficult journey to clean up our food. I will say that healthy food is now second nature to me and when we go out to eat the first thing I notice is the fat followed by the sugar and finally the salt content in food not made by me. I wanted to add that note for anyone that is struggling to clean up their diet. Your taste buds will adjust to your new way of cooking if you stick with it, it just takes a little time.
Dinner last night is something I developed after watching Dr. Fuhrman’s lecture. It contains a number of the foods he discussed. I will summarize some of the points from the lecture below. However since this is the food blog, we should start with the recipe. Here is the soup we had last night:
Anti Cancer Soup – aka Mushroom and Onion
Makes 4 servings
0.88 oz (25grams) package dried maitake mushrooms (I used Eden Brand)
2 cups water
1 large yellow onion (approximately 2 cups)
6 cloves garlic
6 cups water
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/3 cup oats, ground into flour
1/3 cup walnuts
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons sherry or wine vinegar
sea salt and pepper, to taste
cashew crème fraiche for garnish - optional
Combine the mushrooms and 2 cups of water and heat until boiling then turn off the heat and allow the mushrooms to steep in the water for 10 minutes. While the mushrooms are steeping peel and slice the onions and garlic and allow them to stand 10 minutes before cooking. The standing time of the garlic and onions allows the anticancer compounds to develop.
Heat ½ cup water in a large sauté pan or soup pot and sauté the aromatics (onions and garlic) until they are just beginning to soften. Add the remaining water, paprika, thyme, tomato paste, and nutritional yeast and simmer to cook the onions through completely.
Process the oats into flour in your blender. Add the walnuts and strained mushroom soaking liquid to your blender and process until smooth. Add the processed oats and walnuts to your pan.
Give the rehydrated mushrooms a rough chop so they will all fit easily on a soup spoon and add them to your simmering soup pot. Add the Dijon mustard to the pot and simmer until the soup thickens. The wine vinegar should be added just before you are ready to serve the soup. Vinegar brightens the taste so that you need less or no salt. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to your tastes.
Serve hot topped with cashew crème fraiche if desired.
Nutritional Information (does not include the optional cashew crème fraiche):
Amount Per Serving
Calories - 168.82
Calories From Fat (38%) - 64.5
Total Fat - 6.92g
Saturated Fat - 0.71g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 83.6mg
Potassium - 366.55mg
Total Carbohydrates - 21.35g
Fiber - 4.19g
Sugar - 4.43g
Protein - 4.41g
This soup has a fairly complex flavor from the variety of seasonings. I wanted to give it depth of flavor without using much fat or any sodium.
Salt has definitely been my nutritional Achilles heel. I have to admit I am a bit of salt addict. But I have decided to eliminate salt from our diet. I have been working on this for a while now. I will continue to say add salt to taste, but know that at our house there is no sodium being added to food. With this in mind I am relying on other seasonings to flavor our food. That is the reason you see so many seasonings listed. I didn’t want any of them to stand out, but each added a little something to the mix.
Both Dan and I were happy with both the depth and overall flavor of the soup. This will show up at our house often from now on.
Notes from the Cancer lecture:
I am going to out cover a few highlights from the lecture that I found to be useful. Overall I was pleased to find out that I was doing almost everything right in terms of nutrition based on the most recent nutritional science. However I think all of us can make a few tweaks and I picked up a tip or two.
Foods we should concentrate on eating for cancer prevention and/or survival are:
• mushrooms (not white button, cremini or portobello rather concentrate on shitake, maitake, oyster, trumpet, etc.)
• onions (slice and allow to stand before cooking which was news to me)
• garlic (slice and allow to stand before cooking) no time was given I am sticking with 10 minutes
• cinnamon (this was a new idea for me, glad I use it liberally)
• berries (contain ellagic acid which fights cancer as I frequently mention)
• whole soy reduces all forms of cancer by 25-30%. It is a myth that whole soy causes cancer!
• green leafy vegetables - a variety
• flaxseeds/hempseeds/chia seeds – a combination regularly
• fresh vegetable juice and blended salads are good
For those of you that don’t know the “seeds of cancer are sown” early in life by what we ate as children. However since cancer takes decades to manifest itself that also gives you time to make changes. One point the doctor made which I have seen other places is that excellent nutrition can stop of reverse prior damage. Since so many Americans will be diagnosed in our lifetime why not do anything within your power to reduce your risk?
Some studies have shown a positive association between the consumption of grapefruit and the occurrence of breast and prostate cancer. They think this occurs through the interference with cytochrome P450 gene allowing estrogen to build up. Until there is more data it may be wise to limit grapefruit consumption.
Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to an increase in cancer. Get your vitamin D checked and supplement appropriately to bring your level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D to between 35 and 55.
Other Dr. Fuhrman information:
Additionally when I was searching the Doctor Fuhrman website I came across some information on TVP (textured vegetable protein). This caught my attention because Dr. Block mentioned in “Life Over Cancer” that TVP should be rarely used. Dr. Block didn’t give a reason but I stopped using TVP after reading that to be safe. According to Dr. Fuhrman TVP is isolated soy protein. As soon as I heard that I knew exactly why it was on Dr. Block’s rarely use list. The TVP at our house immediately went into the trash. Isolate soy protein is found in many processed vegan foods and should be avoided or at least severely reduced due to its link to hormonally induced cancers.
I spent hours online today watching the webcast and listening to previously recorded teleconferences. It is clear that I will need to spend some time doing this everyday if I am going to read or listen to everything that is available over the next six weeks. While so far the majority of the information has been things I knew. However, I don’t want to miss anything so I am trying to read/watch or listen to it all.
If you sent me an email and I haven’t responded as quickly as usual now you know why. The backlog in my email is growing fairly rapidly at the moment. I apologize and will try to respond to all of your email as soon as possible, hopefully this afternoon.
Before I forget we tried a test last night with Dan’s beloved Strawberry Banana soft serve. The experiment did not go well. I made a batch without the walnuts to lower the calories and get Dan’s opinion. His first comment, was “what did you do?” Followed closely by “We are going back to the original formula tomorrow right?” I supposed I don’t have to tell you what Dan thought. The walnuts are critical ingredient from his perspective. ;-)
Since today is Friday it means I have to run my usual errands today. However I will be back later today with an update and a recipe. I got up this morning craving zucchini spaghetti and want to make a healthy version of watercress pesto with walnuts.