Thursday, December 24, 2009

Nutrition and Cancer

Nutrition and Cancer-Article written in 2002

As a continuing sequel to my newsletter on soy and nutrition, like promised, this newsletter is on Nutrition and Cancer. Although this issue deals with diets of those victimized by Cancer, it is also what could be called preventative nutrition. I am going to go into some foods that can be easily implemented into our diets that are not only healthy for us but that are good at fighting the free radical agents that aid in cancer growth.

Please remember that I am not a physician, dietician, nutritionist or a food scientist. Cheffy is just your happy little buddy that loves food, loves people and loves to share what he loves with who he loves, so welcome to my world! If you have any questions please consult your physician.  As always I encourage emailed questions but like I said, I am not a medical professional.

Cheffy’s Testimony on Cancer

Unfortunately, this is a subject that has grown to mean something personal to all of us myself very much included. After struggling several years with this hateful disease, I had lost my beloved mother in 1999. Also, my best friend, Jamie, is a surviving victim of this dreaded disease. She has metastasized breast cancer in her liver. I am Jamie’s caregiver and both of us face this disease daily, much like my father whom dealt with loss of his wife of almost 50 years. When my mother was still alive, I did not learn that much about cancer, I was primarily there for support for my father, to offer him some respite, I was not directly involved with her care. Since my return to South Carolina I have been actively involved with Jamie and her cancer, attempting to learn as much as possible not only about her disease but the disease in general. They say that one-third of all cancer deaths can all be linked to nutrition. I was appalled that this was such a grand statistic; thus this newsletter and hopefully some cooking classes through our local chapter of the Cancer Society and the hospital.

From the mailbag

Protease Inhibitors

“Cheffy, can you explain about the enzyme prohibitors you were talking about in your section about soybeans in the newsletter? What do you think about the use of soy with cancer?” Cindy, Missouri

Great questions Cindy and something that fits right into the newsletter.

Today many of the cancer pulverizing properties that are found in some foods are said to release protease inhibitors. A protease is an enzyme, a fancy name for a specialized protein that accelerates specific chemical reactions. A protease specifically works on proteins by breaking them down. Tumor cells need proteases in order to migrate and metastasize (invade distant sites) increasing blood vessel production and cell division

Protease inhibitors (compounds that block the action of proteases) are packed in soybeans, rice, corn and virtually all seeds. Continuing experiments show that protease inhibitors also hinder tumor development and can reduce the size of tumors as well.

Some foods that include protease inhibitors
Bananas, seeds and seed oil, legumes such as soy and chickpeas, barley, rye and oats, squash, zucchini, corn, potatoes and rice.

The second question is kinda tricky…I am not a physician or even someone that claims they know a lot about cancer, but I do have an opinion on this.

Although soy is a great way to influence protease inhibitors, it also contains isoflavone, more specifically genistein, a natural estrogen. Like in Jamie’s case, she doesn’t eat soy, the isoflavones in soy products effect her cancer because hers is a hormonal cancer and it is directly effected by the addition of estrogen. This is just one case though. They say that in some cases, mainly non-hormonal cancers such as lung cancer, that soy is a phenomenal food because of the inhibitors. But like I said, please consult a physician, they can inform you if soy is something that you want to add to your diet. Thanks Cindy…great question!!

On with the food Cheffy!!!

I cannot stress enough that if you have any questions about anything, please do not take my advice. Although I am teaching happy, healthy things, please discuss them with your doctors. If I can offer just one of you some insight with either preventative nutrition or with your diet if you are affected, Cheffy is a happy boy…(not that he would be an unhappy boy otherwise…he would just be more of a happy boy)

Happy Herbs
By cooking with herbs we add our own special zing to dishes, and we also add benefits to our health because many herbs possess anti-oxidants among other happy anti-cancer properties. I am a favorite of herbs; I always use them when I prepare a meal, soup, sauce or whatever. For those that have followed my teachings know, I favor basil, thyme, oregano and rosemary. Rosemary and fenugreek are two herbs that possess the greatest values as anti-oxidants, some of the other Happy Herbs include:

Allspice, bay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, fennel, ginger, mace, marjoram, nutmeg, sage, thyme and turmeric to name some of the most popular ones.
The Super Food Groups

“Men dig their graves with their own teeth and die more by those fated instruments than the weapons of their enemies.” Thomas Moffett, 1553-1604

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Pyramid provides a practical visual guide to healthful eating, indicating the recommended daily portions of the basic food groups.  In addition to these major food groups I want to add what is referred to as the super groups; vegetables that contain certain enzymes, anti-oxidants or other properties that are beneficial in the fight and prevention of cancer, heart disease, lung disease etc.

The concept of the “super food groups”, in portion, is due to the studies of Dr. J. Robert Hatherill (Eat to Beat Cancer, Renaissance Books, 1998) with Cheffy taking it to another level. I added to Dr. Hatherhill’s original categories with the mouth running “Cheffy-style” in the zany manner (as grammatically incorrect as that is) that some have come to know and love. So here they are:

Chungachungabam!! The Happy Super Food Baby!!

The onion family- Nature has provided us with over 600 varieties of the allium plants such as onions, garlic, asparagus, leeks, scallions and shallots. Now all of y’all know that Cheffy loves his garlic and onions!! The possibilities are endless and the rewards are numerous. I could not imagine living my life without any of the foods classified in this group.

Since the beginning of civilization allium plants such as onion and garlic have been valued for their distinct flavors and medicinal properties. To avoid going into detail about things, let me just say that there are countless studies into all the positive effects of the members of the allium family especially garlic for its anti-cancer properties. Ancient Egypt, China and India have all held onion and garlic in high regard, in Egypt, pharaohs’ burial chambers often contained dried relics of garlic cloves and wooden models of onions. Inhabitants of the Middle and Far East have cultivated allium plants for at least 5000 years. So the way I look at it, 5000 years worth of man cultivating Mother Earth for a little clove of garlic can’t be all that wrong now can they?

Cruciferous Group- The crucifer flowers are cross-shaped (crucis is Latin for cross). Cruciferous veggies include broccoli, cauliflour, cabbage, brussel sprouts, watercress, garden cress, radishes…blah,blah blah….you get the picture. This group has a ton of cancer fighting properties. To avoid going into another one of Cheffy’s science classes, let me say that most veggies that belong to this group have what are called glucosinates. Glucosinates possess over a hundred sulfur compounds and most of these compounds are anti-cancer. These compounds are released from the vegetables when they are chopped or chewed, preferably chewed….hint,hint,hint!!! You may never look at a piece of broccoli the same again will you?

Nuts and Seeds- I can go on and on about the differences between a seed, a nut, a bean etc. so to eliminate all the Cheffy gibberish these two are categorized together. Seeds and nuts are good! Granted some of them are high in fat but they carry a ton of anti-oxidants. As strange as it may sound, science has yet to characterize most of these anti-oxidants, but they are happy to inform us that they are there nonetheless…gee, thanks guys. Some of the members of this group are pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, walnuts, coconuts, sunflower seeds, almonds and pecans.

Grass Group- Ah, the grass group. One of the oldest food products known to man. This group includes corn, oats, rice, and wheat among many others.  Because of the fiber and some compounds associated with fiber it has been proven that the members of the “grass group” have an inhibitory effect on carcinogens in our bloodstream. Blood plus less carcinogens equals good stuff Maynard!!

Legume Group- Foods in this group include soybeans, green and wax beans, peas, lentils and much, much more. I have already gone into the soya bean quite extensively in the last newsletter, so let me see if I can be brief on a subject that I could write a book about. Soy and legumes in general are good for you. They prove to be anti-viral, anti-cancer, anti-fungal and anti-oxidant protease inhibitors, and it appears to reduce cholesterol levels as well. Legumes; soy especially, contain what are called saponins. Saponins are cancer fighters; they inhibit DNA synthesis because of their toxicity to cancer cells therefore decreasing the amount of cancer cell growth in most cancers (except in instances like I mentioned earlier in my reply to Cindy’s question).

Fruit- Eat an orange, man! Without taking you to another science class I will attempt make this short and sweet (every pun intended). There is an enzyme processed in your bloodstream from your liver that is aggressive as a detoxifying agent. This “detoxifying agent” is found in citrus fruits, apples, plums, berries, broccoli, garlic, cauliflour, and cabbage to name a few. Cooking these reduces the effect they have as a detoxifier, but it still acts as an agent nonetheless, just not as strong as if eaten fresh. The NCI (National Cancer Institute) strongly recommends at least 5 servings of fruits a day, and so does Cheffy. Vitamin C and Vitamin E are two of the most potent vitamins for anti-oxidants, and a lot of fruits are packed with either and/or both. So like I said, “Eat an orange, man!”

Solanace group- Ah! the almighty solanaces…where would the mother cuisine’s be without them? They include tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes and beets to name a couple. Happy vitamin filled veggies. I already discussed the advantage of Vitamin C as an anti-oxidant, and the tomato is filled with Vitamin C and other cancer fighting inhibitors. Here is an interesting fact I learned a couple days ago. In making some of my sauces and baked goods using fresh tomatoes I sometimes squeeze out and clean the seeds out of the tomato. The gelled substance that surrounds and binds to the seeds of the tomatoes is where most of the vitamin C is in the tomato. Hmmm, I thought that was pretty interesting. Needless to say Cheffy isn’t squeezing his tomatoes anymore and if he does he incorporates the gel into his product somehow.

Umbelliferous Group- Um!! bell!! iferous!!!! (Cheffy likes that word) The other day at work I had to chop up a lot of celery and Cheffy was hollering UM-BELL-IFEROUS!!!! while he was chopping away. They thought I was nuts, I think it is a cool word…hee-hee. Celery, carrots, parsnips, celeriac, parsley, cumin, and a bunch of other herbs and veggies fall into this category. A numerous amount of studies have proven that this group of herbs and veggies are great for fighting tumorous cells. All of these in this group have a lot of phytochemicals (plant chemicals) that are beneficial for our fight against cancer; beta carotene, vitamins A, D, E, B12, blah, blah, blah…you get the picture now go grab some celery and hand me the peanut butter please…

The Pepper Group (Sweet and Hot)
Chungachungabam Baby!!! That’s hot!!! Yeah, it may be hot, but what it’s not is bad for you. There is more vitamin C in a hot pepper than there are in any other food. They also are loaded with phytochemicals that act as an antioxidant and produce numerous enzymes that are considered very anti-cancerous. Sweet peppers also contain a large amount of vitamin C and loving phytochemicals, but not near as many as hot peppers do, so go ahead and spice up your life, Cheffy style….

Other news
I have received a lot of emails concerning my personal chef work. Yes, Your Craving Is My Command still exists, we have been quite slow as of late, but I am still available for hire and long distance appearances can be arranged. I am in the process of developing a web site for the Personal Chef and Concierge services. If you are interested you can drop me a line, I can send you some information and tell you more about Your Craving Is My Command and the services we offer; which include our personal chef services, private instruction, consulting, and cooking classes for your friends or business associates.

After the next newsletter the newsletters will be published in a different format, we are going to go to an ezine. The insanity of the Wild and Wacky World of Cheffy is up to almost 2000 people in 15 different countries now.  I decided on the e-zine to help with the organizational aspect of this monster I created.  A big hug and thank you to each and every one of you.


First off, I want to thank everyone that is reading this newsletter for the first time. I hope you enjoyed it and that you join us at the web site, club or group. Please feel free to email me any thoughts, questions or suggestions. I am distributing this newsletter at the Cancer Center where Jamie goes to chemo and her doctor’s appointments hoping that I can touch some other lives.

Well, thanks for tolerating the ramblings of Cheffy yet one more time, I know this was a long one but this conversation is far from over. We have one more newsletter coming out within the next week or so with a little bit more rambling and a lot of recipes, hints, and ideas to help us all relate to some happy food. As always, thanks for the emails, kind words, thoughts and prayers, not only do I love it, but Jamie and I really do appreciate it. There will be a bunch more information posted at the club and group in the following weeks, so please feel free to join us, we would love to have you. I personally want to send a special big hug to all the survivors, surviving victims and caregivers of this dreadful disease. Godspeed.

Well here’s to hoping that Peace and Serenity find its way into your day today and everyday,

Peace, Hugs and Cookies,


Links pertaining to cancer

Search Engines for Cancer Information

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