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, noodles, caffeine, dairy products or red meat.      I have never met anyone that is on such a restricted diet and stays on it every day without fail (but, 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.

Besides learning everything we could from the Oncologist and nutritionist, much of the information below  I ‘googled’ using “cancer diet” in the search engine.   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 7 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 7 years into our battle if he had continued eating UNhealthy foods).

flax bread

Tom no longer eats ANYTHING made with wheat flour.  Wheat flour contains gluten.  From everything I’ve read, everyone seems to agree that “wheat” is toxic to the 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.  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 types of gluten-free and vegan items made with flaxseed and/or millet flours.  NOT wheat flour.  Very healthy and very tasty.  The carbohydrates in millet and flaxseed are complex carbs, the carbs your body needs to function properly and they both are low glycemic, have antioxidants and are alkaline.
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.

                                                                                                                                              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. Then we discovered 2 brands of brown rice pasta in the gluten-free section of Walmart:  Hodgson Mill and Tinkyada ‘Pasta Joy’.  Hodgson Mill is made with whole-grain brown rice and flax seed.   Pasta Joy is made with brown rice & rice bran.  (The ingredients don’t say if that is white or brown rice bran so he eats Hodgson Mill brand).  These pasta’s do not have the consistancy of noodles made with wheat flour, but they are not bad……and much healthier.
I have discovered that cooking with brown rice pasta is not the same as cooking with pasta made of wheat flour.  You should cook the angel hair pasta on medium heat between 7- 8 minutes, the spaghetti pasta 10-12 minutes and the noodles 11-12 minutes, (not 1 minute longer or they mush, especially the angel hair pasta), then strain them immediately & rinse with cold water and they should turn out perfect and taste good.   You may want to add a tablespoon of olive oil to the angle hair pasta water during cooking.  They tend to stick together if you don’t keep mixing them.  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.
Update: While shopping at Aldi recently, I discovered they had their own brand of gluten free brown rice spaghetti called “liveGfree”. It is really delicious. It actually cooks better and tastes better than the 2 other ones.  PLUS, it’s half the price.
Update: I just became aware of “purple” rice and I am in the process of googling it. 

                                           CHICKEN:                                                                                      Roasted ChickenI 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 can 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.
UPDATE 1/1/17:  This was written several years ago and since that time, Tom has started eating chicken again, but only organic and only twice a month.

   RED MEAT:                                                                                                                   steak picTom’s Oncologist said “NO RED MEAT” so we don’t eat red meat.  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 beef (or pork) has not been given antibiotics, steroids or growth hormones to fatten them up.  We used to love steak, lean hamburgers, meatloaf, roasts, pork, chicken etc.  Now Tom’s diet is limited to leg of lamb, turkey-ham, fresh turkey and an oily fish at least twice a week (especially fresh caught wild Salmon).  We used to buy tuna in the vacuum sealed package (not can) until I discovered it contained vegetable oil (which is actually soy).
UPDATE- Starkist now makes a vacuum sealed packaged tuna made with olive oil.
All the websites recommend eating any wild, fresh caught fish (caught in the United States).   NOTHING farm raised.   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)!!
Unfortunately, the turkey-ham we eat is a processed food (and he should not eat any processed food), so we limit the turkey-ham to one or two times a month.
Like I stated before, Tom does eat fresh and ground 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 and cholesterol.


leg of lambEven though lamb is a red meat, from what I have learned, it is much healthier for you than beef.  I buy the boneless lamb leg (at BJ’s. It is delicious and the least expensive of all stores).  The leg is leanest part of the lamb.  It must be eaten in moderation though because lamb is high in saturated fat and calories.  We eat it two to three times a month.  A recommended serving size is up to 4 oz.  Lamb is high in zinc, protein, vitamin B12, niacin, riboflavin, copper and iron.

C- applegate turkey dog pkgC- applegate organic turkey dogC- applegate organic beef hot dogWe both love hot dogs but the only turkey dogs I was able to find were processed and 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 make 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 fresh cut off the turkey breast.  It does not contain preservatives, antibiotics, fillers, nitrates or nitrites either.
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 and white potatoes are considered empty carbs.  They contain no nutrients.  They can also cause a sudden spike in blood sugar because they both turn into sugar as soon as they are eaten.  Very bad.        Instead of white potatoes, eat sweet potatoes.  Sweet potatoes are much healthier for you.   Instead  of white rice, eat organic brown rice or organic quinoa. 

Tom eats organic brown rice.  Brown rice has not been processed and contains iron, magnesium, vitamins and fiber.  It helps lower triglyceride and bad cholesterol levels.    


                                    CAFFEINE:                                                                              cup of tea
Tom’s Oncologist told him not to have caffeine – so he doesn’t.   He drinks caffeine-free organic green tea.  He makes a thermus full every day and drinks 3 cups a day.  (Organic green tea with real lemon helps fight cancer).  You will have to talk to your Oncologist and follow his/her advice.     If you google ‘caffeine vs cancer’ you will not believe how many different view-points there are about this.

                                       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).   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.  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 (found at Sprouts).  It is made with coconut blossom nectar, water and Balinese sea salt.  It is soy free, gluten free, wheat free and non-GMO and is delicious.

                                                                                                   earth balance margMARGARINE:                                                                        Tom uses Earth Balance vegan margarine.  It is dairy-free,  soy-free, gluten-free, Non-GMO & 0g of trans fat.                          



C- olive oil spray croppedCOOKING SPRAY:
For cooking spray, I use Bertolli 100% extra light olive oil spray.  Bertolli also makes a robust flavor.  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 “First Cold Press Extra Virgin Olive Oil“.  Olive oil is better for a ‘non-high-heat related use’, due to it getting to 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 croppedAnother good oil is Coconut Oil.  This oil is good for frying and deep frying as it has a high smoke point.    Most other oils are peanut, vegetable (which is soy) or corn based and Tom can’t eat those.


DAIRY:                                                                           C- silk almond milk
Since Tom can’t have cows’ milk or soy milk, we use the Silk unsweetened Almond milk because there are less added ingredients.  There are a few  different choice’s of sweetened and unsweetened.  Since he doesn’t really enjoy the flavor of either,
I use the unsweetened vanilla almond milk to make home-made oatmeal or creamy Farina brown rice hot cereal.  I just add organic fruit, organic cinnamon and pure Stevia to it.  It’s perfect.      If you are allowed to drink milk, ONLY buy CERTIFIED ORGANIC.  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 consistancy of soft ice cream but after its been in the freezer it gets really hard.  Just buy your favorite fresh organic fruit.  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’ consistancy, 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.
UPDATE: We found an ice cream made with coconut milk called “SO Delicious”.  He loves the chocolate ice cream and chocolate dipped vanilla bars.  The downside is, they aren’t sugar free (but the sugar content is very low).  I’m sure the chocolate does contain a little caffeine, but after giving up so many of his favorite foods, you have to give in a little and fight the battles you can win.

NEW–  I just discovered a whipped topping that is organic.  It is called “SO delicious” dairy free coco whip and…. it lives up to its name.  It is REALLY delicious.  It contains no hydrogenated oils or high-fructose corn syrup.  It is dairy free, soy free, gluten free, vegan and non-GMO.  I found it at Sprouts.

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.  5 years ago, even 2 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, muffins etc made with coconut flour, buckwheat flour or tapioca flour.


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 VDC).




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