Healthy Cancer Food Options & Recipes
When you have cancer it can be challenging to create a diet with variety that doesn’t contain sugar, preservatives and too much animal protein. You may feel like you eat the same things all the time and yearn for some new flavors.
I have compiled a list of the top foods we eat to help fuel healing and boost immunity. This isn’t everything we eat, but they are our top choices, and this will most likely be the first of many lists to come.
Disclaimer: We are not offering health or medical advice, all information provided is based on our experience. You should always check with your physician or health care provider before implementing any changes to your diet. Be sure to read labels and check for any allergens or ingredients that you are sensitive to.
Let’s begin with the things to are best to avoid when you have cancer:
Sugar (especially refined white sugar and corn syrup)
Red meat (if you choose to eat some red meat make sure it’s grass fed and eaten in moderation)
Simple carbohydrates (white bread, white rice, pasta that isn’t whole grain, white flour). You want to try to stick to whole grains (short grain brown rice, quinoa, sprouted seed bread) that are organic and eat them in moderation.
Dairy – if you choose to have some dairy in your diet make sure it’s organic. Non-organic dairy may contain antibiotics, puss (yes you read that right), and pesticides from the animal feed.
Processed foods like bagged snack food
Corn – it contains a lot of sugar and non-organic corn contains GMOs (genetically modified organisms)
Things to look for when shopping for healthy foods:
Always buy organic produce. Non-organic produce is sprayed with chemical pesticides that are often carcinogenic. Organic produce can be more expensive, but if you look at stores like Walmart and Trader Joe’s, you’ll find the price difference is nominal and well worth it. If you have removed unhealthy food from your diet like packaged snacks and processed foods, your grocery bill should actually go down, even when buying all organic.
I also recommend that you use a fruit and vegetable wash to clean your produce before consuming it to remove any dirt, and also to clean off any germs from people handling your food.
Healthy Tip: Bright colored fruits and vegetables have the most nutrients so try to choose the brightest colors when shopping.
Organic Berries – berries are rich in antioxidants
Goji berries (dried Goji are great in tea)
Organic Purple Cabbage – Sauteed cabbage is super tasty and great for you. Chop of the cabbage into bite-sized chunks and add to a frying pan with warm avocado oil. Sautee for about 5 min, you can add sesame seeds for a nutty flavor and minced garlic cloves for some heart healthy flavor. It’s also great with chopped up onions.
Organic Kale – we love kale because it’s so versatile and is packed with healthy nutrients and fiber. Here are a few ways we enjoy it. Chop it into thin strips and eat it as a salad with your favorite organic veggies. We like shredded organic carrots and organic purple cabbage. We also add our homemade dressing (you can find the recipe here).
Sautéed kale is great with eggs in the morning or as a side for lunch or dinner. You can buy it pre-chopped or chop it up yourself. We add about a half a cup of water to a sauté pan and then add a few big handfuls of kale to steam over medium heat for about 5 minutes. The pre-steaming helps to soften the kale so it’s easier to eat. Drain off any excess water and add a drizzle of organic extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). Saute for a few more minutes and serve. You can add a small amount of salt and pepper for flavor. Just don’t overdo it on the salt.
Roasted kale is a delicious crunchy snack. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Put the cut up kale on a baking sheet and drizzle with a tablespoon or two of Avocado Oil. I like to massage the kale a bit with my hands to mix in the oil. Bake for 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally until it just starts to get crispy. You can season with garlic or onion powder or just eat it plain, it’s delicious! You can use this method to roast all different kinds of veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts…).
Healthy Tip: It’s important to not use EVOO for high heat cooking since it has a low smoke point and will burn at high temperatures. It also creates cancer-causing compounds when cooked on high heat.
Herbs & Spices
Adding herbs and spices to your cooking is a healthy way to add flavor. and boost your immune system. Many pre-made sauces contain sugar and preservatives, so we opt for seasonings like granulated garlic, onion powder, paprika, curry powder, Italian herbs, rosemary, thyme and oregano, to name a few. You can also add black or white sesame seeds to virtually any veggie. Sesame seeds have healthy oils and are loaded with vitamins and minerals like zinc, iron, selenium and vitamin B6.
One of my favorite recipes that is loaded with incredible spices is Chicken Tagine. It’s a North African stew that is filled with tender chicken and aromatic spices. You can find the recipe here: https://mysoulfish.com/chicken-tagine/
Cancer feeds on sugar, so it’s important to reduce your sugar intake to as little as possible when you have cancer. Fruit sugar is definitely better for you than corn syrup or white sugar. If you need a touch of sweetness, honey and maple syrup are good choices.
These are our favorite treats that help to build you up while also making you feel like you’ve had a decadent treat.
Chia seeds are high in iron and this pudding is made with full fat coconut milk which is loaded with essential fatty acids, electrolytes and antioxidants. It’s nice to have a creamy treat when your diet feels limited and if you’re looking to gain weight, coconut fat is a great place to start.
You can find the recipe here.
Warm Berries with Granola & Coconut Cream:
One of our favorite treats is warm berries with sugar free granola and coconut cream on top. It takes just like a cobbler without all of the sugar and gluten.
You can find the recipe here.
Aloha Bars and Drinks:
We have tried many different kinds of protein bars and drinks, Aloha are definitely our favorite as far as flavor and the low amount of sugar. The chocolate peanut butter cup and the mint are our favorites. They’re organic, low in sugar and high in protein. Our favorite protein drink flavors are the vanilla and the coconut . You can also find them at Whole Foods.
Plant Based Yogurt:
We love Siggi’s plant based yogurt, but you can choose from the variety of options that are now available in most stores, especially Whole Foods. Siggi’s are made with coconut milk, are low in sugar and are great with my Sugar Free Granola or on their own.
Homemade smoothies are a great way to get your daily fruits and veggies in an easy to drink shake. You can experiment with different ingredients to get it just the way you like it. We love coconut or almond milk with frozen organic mango, blueberries and banana. You can add in a small handful of organic spinach for some greens. A squirt of organic flaxseed oil is an easy way to add some cancer fighting oil to your diet.
We also add in a scoop of Kachava for some extra vitamins and minerals. Kachava is a superfood powder that is really tasty. It comes in chocolate, vanilla, coconut açaí, matcha and chai. It’s free of all major allergens and sugar. The vanilla and chocolates are our favorite, but if you like chai it won’t disappoint, it’s got great flavor. You can add Kachava to water or your favorite non-dairy milk. I like mine with a half a banana and some ice cubes blended until nice and smooth.
Almond Milk Pudding:
David loves the Zen Almond Milk Puddings. These do contain 16g of sugar per serving, so it’s more of an occasional treat than something you would want to eat on a regular basis.
Salad and Greens
An organic salad is always a healthy go to any time of day. Be creative – add in sunflower seeds, cut up avocado, fresh orange slices or fresh berries. Use different kinds of greens like organic spinach, kale and romaine. To keep it healthy you can make your own salad dressing. Store bought salad dressings can contain sugar, preservatives and unhealthy oils like canola and soybean. This is my go to homemade salad dressing recipe. We also love this dressing on top of pan seared chicken. It may well become your favorite sauce.
This is my favorite salad dressing shaker, it comes with a whisk ball for easy mixing.
Healthy Tip: You can’t get enough organic greens in your diet. Greens aren’t just for lunch and dinner. Add some spinach to your morning scrambled eggs (and throw in some mushrooms and onions too!) or some sauteed kale alongside morning berries. Try to come up with ways to add something green to every meal.
When you have cancer you become depleted of essential nutrients that help your immune system. These are our favorites:
Lypo-spheric Vitamin C is encapsulated for greater absorption in the body. High doses of Vitamin C have been shown to be highly effective in fighting cancer.
Lypo-spheric Glutathione is a master antioxidant that is absorbed more readily due to the lypo-spheric preparation. It’s a natural detoxifier.
You can squeeze the packets for both of these directly into your mouth or add to a small amount of water or juice to take as a nutrient “shot”.
Nancy is a Certified Health Coach and loves to cook healthy, delicious food for her friends and family.