Bad food vs GOOD food alternatives

Yesterday was a good day……….

Today is a great day and…………

Tomorrow    WILL BE BETTER!

After the shock of my husband being told he had cancer again had worn off a little, I think one of the hardest issue’s for us to digest was the complete and total change in his diet………..and I mean CHANGE.  We were amazed (actually stunned) at all the foods his Oncologist and Nutritionist told him he could no longer eat.       He can no longer eat soy, wheat, gluten, sugar, peanuts, corn, white potatoes, white rice, white bread (which is actually wheat), noodles, caffeine, dairy products, pork or beef.  I have never met anyone that is on such a restricted diet and stays on it every day without fail (but, I guess, that’s because I do all the cooking so he really doesn’t have much choice).  Below are the foods Tom can no longer eat and what we found to be healthy substitutes for them.  We eat Non-GMO (genetically modified) foods and as much organic food as possible like all fruits, vegetables and eggs.  We eat NOTHING canned. Canned foods are cooked for a long time to make sure there is no bacteria growing. This long cooking time removes nutrients.
Canned foods may contain BPA (Bisphenol-A). BPA may be in the plastic lining of a metal can. It can migrate from the can to the food inside.  Instead of cans, try glass jars.

Besides learning everything we could from the Oncologist and nutritionist, much of the information below  I ‘googled’ using “cancer diet”.   That led me to hundreds of other sites discussing hundreds of other cancer related issues.  Some information we learned from friends going through cancer and a very knowledgeable lady that works at our Vitamin Discount Center (VDC) in Tampa, where we live and where Tom gets all his all-natural and organic medicines.  She was in the beginning, and still is, a wealth of information.  

You may or may not agree with what is written here, but it is what I have researched on line during the past ten years and what Tom learned from his Oncologist and Nutritionist.  By following this diet, Tom’s cancer has barely gotten worse.  Tom’s Oncologist told him to continue doing what he’s doing because it’s helping.  (I, personally, believe that Tom’s cancer  would be a lot worse ten years into our battle if he had continued eating UNhealthy foods).

flax bread

Tom no longer eats ANYTHING made with wheat flour (which contains gluten).  For many people wheat/gluten is toxic to their body.  Do you realize how much food is made from wheat flour?    EVERYTHING!!   All breads (rye, potato, italian, white, whole grains) are made with wheat flour.  If you look at the first ingredient on ANY loaf of bread it will say wheat (bleached or unbleached) or semolina.  Plus, all cakes, cookies, crackers etc.  I started googling “wheat bread substitutes” and was lucky enough to find Sami’s Bakery (much more information about Sami’s Bakery is under this heading).  They sell several items made with flax seed and/or millet flours.  They also sell several gluten-free items and a few vegan items.  NO wheat flour.  Very healthy and very tasty.  The carbohydrates in millet and flax seed are complex carbs, the carbs your body needs to function properly and they both are low glycemic, have antioxidants and are alkaline.
Update 4/14/18:  Sami’s bakery has started making millet and flax hoagie rolls.  They are delicious.
There are a few other brands of breads that are NOT made with wheat flour but some have soy (read the ingredients) and most are very heavy on the stomach.  Many are found in the refrigerated or freezer section of your health food store. We like Sami’s bread because it’s like eating “normal” bread.  It’s not heavy or hard and tastes really good.
There are several brands of breads that are made with white rice flour and corn flour. Tom can’t eat either of those ingredients, so we stick with Sami’s bread.

                                                                                                                                              BROWN RICE PASTA: 
Tom no longer eats any pasta made with wheat flour.  He tried the quinoa pasta but he didn’t enjoy it. The texture was odd.
While shopping at Aldi, I discovered they had their own brand of gluten free brown rice pasta called “liveGfree”. It is really delicious.  Aldi has many other gluten-free products but many are made with corn and white rice flours  (and sugar).   Unfortunately, the down side to  a “non-wheat flour” pasta is it doesn’t last as long in the refrigerator and tends to dry out.  I would recommend finishing it within the first two days.                                       

Roasted ChickenCHICKEN:
I read so many pro and con articles regarding eating chicken if you have cancer that I decided to talk to the knowledgeable lady (mentioned above).  She recommended a book by Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo called “4 blood types, 4 diets.   EAT RIGHT 4 YOUR TYPE”.  The book talks about foods you should and should not eat according to your blood type.  Chicken is not good for Tom’s blood type which is ‘B’.  That’s all we had to know.  He doesn’t eat chicken.  This book is extremely informative.   You have nothing to lose by reading it.   We learned a lot from it.  (If your Oncologist has given you a strict diet like Toms did, ALWAYS talk to your doctor first).   This book helped us understand what foods are most beneficial or detrimental to his blood type so we could make well informed decisions.
For those of you who do eat chicken, it was discovered that a chicken  naturally produces a substance called NK-Lysine.  This substance is supposed to be able to fight cancer cells.   But……..on the flip side of that coin, chicken is supposed to have a cancer causing substance in it.   This may be due to the fact that chickens are given so many growth hormones, antibiotics and/or steroids to fatten them up.  If you eat chicken I would recommend you ONLY buy USDA certified organic. If you do’t buy organic, make sure you buy chicken that states on the package “NO antibiotics, hormones or steroids”
UPDATE 1/1/17:  That was written several years ago and since Tom is feeling much better, he has started eating chicken again, but ONLY ORGANIC.

Tom’s Oncologist said “NO RED MEAT” so we don’t eat beef.
(I say “we” because if it isn’t good for him to eat than it isn’t good for me to eat).  There is so much information on line about all the different types of cancers and other illnesses that could be caused by eating red meat that we just don’t chance it.  If you enjoy red meat, ONLY buy USDA certified organic   Organic grass fed cows have not been given antibiotics, steroids or growth hormones to fatten them up.  If you don’t buy organic, make sure the beef states on the package “no nitrites or nitrates”.  They are toxic.  We used to love steak, lean hamburgers, meatloaf, roasts, pork etc.  Now Tom’s diet is limited to lamb, organic ground turkey, fresh turkey and an oily fish at least twice a week (especially fresh caught wild Salmon).

When you have cancer, the healthiest fish to eat is an oily fish. (If you fry fish, make sure you use a healthy oil”.
A “short” list of oily fish include trout, wild caught salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines and fresh caught tuna.  You CAN eat these fish canned but, during processing, they will loose much of their vitamins, minerals and Omega-3.  Most canned and packaged tuna contain vegetable oil/broth (which is actually soy); even the canned tuna with water.  Starkist now makes a vacuum sealed packaged tuna made with olive oil.
It is recommended that you eat a wild, fresh caught oily fish at least twice a week.  Caught in the United States.  NOTHING farm raised from out of the country.  I’ve read horror stories about how “farm raised” fish brought in from other countries and sold in the U.S. are fed.  (You don’t want to KNOW)!!

Like I stated before, Tom does eat fresh and ground organic turkey. Turkey is rich in iron, protein, riboflavin, thiamine, zinc, niacin and vitamins B6 and B12.  It contains the trace mineral selenium which is a powerful antioxidant.  It is also low in fat & cholesterol.


Lamb is classified as a red meat, as is beef, due to the high content of myoglobin (a protein in muscle that turns red when combined with oxygen).  Lamb is more nutritional than beef because (most) lambs can roam freely and eat grasses    Most beef are mass produced and are fed grain (corn, soy).  Grain is difficult for both cow and human to digest.  Cows eating a lot of corn are more susceptible to E. Coli, which can infect the people who eat it.  (YOU eat what THEY eat)!
I buy ground lamb at BJ’s (when they have it).  It must be eaten in moderation though because lamb, like beef, contains saturated fat and calories.  We eat lamb two to three times a month.  A recommended serving size for lamb or beef is up to 4 oz.  Lamb is high in iron, selenium, phosphorous, copper, potassium, magnesium, zinc, protein, vitamins B-12, D and K, niacin, riboflavin, copper, Omega-3 and trace minerals manganese and calcium.  Lamb is a richer source of high-quality protein than beef.  It is called a “protein powerhouse”.  Since ground lamb is so expensive I mix half lamb and half ground turkey for burgers.

We both love hot dogs but, in the beginning, the only turkey dogs I was able to find had unhealthy fillers and preservatives in them.  Then I found the Applegate brand.  They have a nice “crunch” like the Chicago hot dog.  They are all natural and contain NO preservatives, antibiotics, fillers, nitrates or nitrites.  Fed a vegetarian grain-fed diet.  Are gluten and casein free.     For those that still eat beef, Applegate makes an organic beef hot dog.
Applegate also makes a delicious roasted NOT smoked, turkey breast for sandwiches (best price for a twin pack is at BJ’s).   (Anything smoked contains harmful free radicals which cause cancer).  It tastes like it was freshly cut off the turkey breast.  It does not contain preservatives, antibiotics, fillers, nitrates or nitrites either.
Update– Last year I found another brand of turkey hot dogs, Oscar Mayer.  They are also all natural.  Uncured.  No nitrites, nitrates, artificial ingredients or preservatives and no hormones.  They don’t have the “crunch” of the other brand but they are cheaper.
Since Tom’s meat choices are so limited, I have learned 50 different ways to cook these items so meals don’t get boring.

White rice is considered an empty carb.  It contains no nutrients and is high on the glycemic index (GI) 89.  It can cause a sudden spike in blood sugar because it turns into sugar as soon as it is eaten.  Very bad.        As for white potatoes, NEVER bake them GI-94 (very high range).  Boil them.  The GI goes down to 51 (mid glycemic).  Sweet potatoes should never be baked for a cancer patient.  They turn into sugar. GI 94 (very high range).  If boiled, the GI is 42  (low glycemic).
Instead  of white rice, eat organic brown rice, black rice or organic quinoa. 

Brown rice is in the mid range on the glycemic index (55).  It contains the bran hull.  Brown rice has not been processed though.  It contains iron, magnesium, vitamins and fiber.  It helps lower triglyceride and bad cholesterol levels.

Black rice is lowest on the glycemic index (42.3).  It also contains the bran hull. It has the highest level of anthocyanins (powerful antioxidants that help fight cancer) found in any food.  It is also anti-inflammatory.

Quinoa is one of the healthiest foods to eat.  It is mid glycemic (53).  It digests slowly and keeps you feeling fuller longer.  If you are a vegetarian or vegan it is the perfect replacement food for red meats because it is so high in iron and protein.
Quinoa is sodium-free, gluten-free, wheat-free, sugar-free and saturated fat-free.  It is high in fiber, high in antioxidants, has no cholesterol and even helps lower cholesterol levels.  If you are allergic to grains like wheat, corn, rye, barley or oats, quinoa is a very non-allergenic grain.  Quinoa is the perfect replacement food for white rice or wheat noodles.
There is more information about quinoa, including a basic recipe, under the heading Cancer Fighting Foods.    

CAFFEINE:                                                                               Tom’s Oncologist told him not to have caffeine so he doesn’t.   He drinks caffeine-free organic green tea.  (Organic green tea with a squeeze of an organic lemon or lime helps fight cancer).  The lemon or lime work synergistically with the organic green tea making it work better.
If you google ‘caffeine vs cancer’ you will not believe how many different view-points there are about caffeine.

                                       SUGAR:                                                                         Kal-Pure-Stevia
Tom & I are both diabetics so not having sugar in our diet was not a problem.   Cancer thrives on sugar, more accurately, it thrives on high fructose corn syrup.   Cancer needs sugar to survive whether it is sucrose (table sugar), fructose (high fructose corn syrup) or glucose (the natural sugar in the foods you eat).  A healthy diet will always include some simple sugar because it naturally occurs in fruit and milk. Just don’t add any more sugar to your diet and stay away from high fructose corn syrup.  Eating too much sugar causes your body to produce too much insulin which will encourage cancer cells to grow.  For a  sugar substitute we use pure Stevia plus Iuo han (from VDC or Amazon).   It’s all natural and doesn’t contain unhealthy fillers, aspartame or saccharine.  Pure Stevia is also the safest and most alkaline of all sugar substitutes.
This pure Stevia can only be bought in a health food or vitamin store and on Amazon. Tom’s oncologist recommended he use this sugar substitute.   {Since there are so many conflicting websites about sugars and cancer, I have tried to post most of the information I learned under the category “sugar vs cancer”).         

We don’t use soy sauce. We use organic coco aminos.  It is made with coconut blossom nectar, water and Balinese sea salt.  It is soy free, gluten free, wheat free and non-GMO.  Contains essential amino acids, is low glycemic and has half the sodium of soy sauce.  It doesn’t taste EXACTLY like soy sauce (its a little sweeter), but it is delicious.
Tom uses Earth Balance vegan margarine.  It is dairy-free,  soy-free, gluten-free, Non-GMO & 0-grams of trans fat. I have read on line about how all butters and margarine’s are not healthy.  My opinion is, you have to choose the battles you can win.  Out of all the margarine’s and butter’s on the market for sale, this one is the healthiest one for Tom to eat.

For cooking spray, I use Bertolli 100% extra light olive oil spray.  Bertolli also makes a robust flavor.  I also use avocado oil spray.  ALL the other brands of cooking spray I read the ingredient labels on contained soy and/or soy lecithin.


C- olive oilCOOKING OIL:
Every website I’ve been on says that the safest and healthiest  oil to use is organic “First Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil“.  Olive oil is better for a ‘non-high-heat related use’, due to it getting too hot and smoking.  (Although, I do a lot of frying with olive oil and have never had any problem with smoke).  But since it has a low smoke point it isn’t really good for deep frying.  I use Pompeian because I enjoy the flavor.  It makes a great base for a salad dressing.

C- pic coconut & oil croppedOther good oils are Grape seed Oil and Avocado oil.  Eleven years ago, when I first starting writing this blog, I thought coconut oil was a good oil; it really is not. Coconut oil is 90% saturated fat which is very unhealthy. It raises your bad cholesterol level. Avocado oil and grape seed oil are good for deep frying as they have a high smoke point.    Most other oils are peanut, vegetable (which is soy) or corn based and Tom can’t eat those

Since Tom can’t have cows milk or soy milk, I use
Oat milk. Since no milk substitute tastes like “real” milk, I bake with it and use it to make homemade oatmeal.  I just add organic raisins, organic cinnamon and pure Stevia to it.  It’s perfect.  If you drink milk, ONLY buy CERTIFIED ORGANIC from grass fed cows.  After what I have read on line about cow’s milk, organic is the only way to go.

 YOnana machineICE CREAM:
Ice cream was the hardest “snack” food for him to give up and what he misses the most.  We both loved the “no sugar added” ice cream.
I did buy a YOnana that makes frozen dessert out of frozen fruit.  It works great and tastes awesome.  When first made, it has the consistency of soft ice cream but after its been in the freezer it gets really hard.  Makes a great popsicle.  Just buy your favorite fresh organic bananas and fresh organic fruits.  Peel and cut them and put in the freezer in individual freezer bags.  All fruits must be frozen.   If you want a gelato, just add the frozen fruits to the machine.   To have that  ‘ice cream’ consistency, you must use a frozen banana with the frozen fruit.  Read the directions in the box.  All natural and organic.  No added preservatives, sugars………NOTHING.  Completely healthy and it tastes great.  It is one of the best investments I’ve made.


Since I started writing this blog in 2010 the choices and availability of gluten-free products has sky rocketed.  Now we have these amazing choices of cookies, cakes, flours, crackers etc.  Five years ago, even three years ago, finding something that said ‘gluten-free’ was next to impossible.
The down-side to gluten-free is that many of the gluten-free items are made with ingredients Tom can’t eat….potato flour, corn flour, white rice flour etc.  I have found some awesome recipes on line by goggling cakes, cookies, muffins, cupcakes etc made with King Arthur 1:1 gluten free flour. I get mine at BJ’s or Costco. It’s more expensive if ordered on Amazon.


Tom no longer uses ‘store bought’ soap, shampoo, mouthwash or toothpaste.  He uses all-natural body soap, shampoo, mouthwash and fluoride-free toothpaste (bought at Whole Foods).


I heard a proverb by Confucius that I had to share.   “Don’t be afraid of going slow………..Just be afraid of stopping“.  It loosely translates to……..NEVER GIVE UP.     No matter how long or hard the fight is…………… NEVER LOSE HOPE!!  NEVER GIVE UP!!


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