Behind The Scenes of Healthy Eating Challenges...
I stole this post from an older blog I had to recycle here. I get that it was written during my time with cancer, but it has great information on how to use salads/foods to help you to get what you need to keep that body healthy and thriving!!!
Some days eating is SUCH a challenge when you are going through chemo! I hated that aspect because I KNEW I needed to eat yet just couldn't find ANYTHING that tasted good. One way I got around that was having salad/snack material in my fridge.
Salads are a great way to add needed nutrition while keeping things mild so as to not upset your tummy. I STILL love salads and it's a great way to throw a lot of nutrition into a small compact, POWER packed, meal.
The thing about salads/snacks is that you can make them be whatever you need or want them to be. Tonight for instance, we will be having salad that I will be making the chicken for it in a crockpot all day. I can add my turmeric to it and have a healthy and beneficial meal not only for me but for my family. By adding kale and spinach, that I happen to have right in my garden outside, I have now added some great greens (Kale can be skipped and replaced with just spinach if you find that upsets your stomach. I actually avoided that on my two weeks that I was having treatment and just did it on my "rest" week). Know your body and what you can, or can't do, during your treatment. Sometimes that's a hit or miss concept, but you will get to know your body more as you go.
For this post I'm not going to actually post a "recipe", salads are great because you can make them be anything you want or need to have. I love that about them. I make things that can be frozen and used when needed for proteins, and many things can be set up and just around in the fridge to grab and add as needed.
Here are some great additions to salads or any meal/snack, broken down by some groups, to give you ideas! Know this list isn't a complete list, it's just to help get those ideas going.
Protein (because the body uses this to heal);
Eggs - we use fresh from our chickens. If you can find a farmers market, or even better, a friend, that has some make sure to grab a couple dozen. These can be hard boiled ahead of time, peeled even, and added to your fridge for a quick protein boost in your favorite salad. They also make a quick power packed snack!
Meats - we use a lot of chicken, but any can be used. Again, this can be made ahead of time or left overs from a meal (one of my favorites). I cook a lot of my meats in organic turmeric and pepper (the two work well together).
Greens - like the dark green Kale, spinach, peas... all protein sources in varying degrees
Beans - pinto, kidney, or black beans can give you up to 13-15 grams of protein and are also a great fiber source. This is also a more bland way to get protein when your stomach isn't into having anything other than "bland".
Tofu - yet another more "bland" protein source that can give you that extra protein, and is a little more easily broken down than meats. You can season and cook it also like you would some of your meats you would normally put on your salad.
Lentils - you can make your own meat substitute. Again, if your body won't allow you to eat meat, you can make a veggie burger ahead of time to store for salads. It's a great way to get that protein into your salads.
Avocadoes offer about 2 g of protein and are an easy snack beyond a healthy addition to a salad.
Fiber (during chemo keeping your gut healthy is HUGE. Constipation is a real problem and can lead to bowel obstructions if not dealt with)
Beans - Again, it's not only a great source of proteins but it's an awesome fiber source as well. I honestly LOVE black beans in my salads
Nuts - almonds, pecans and walnuts are the highest sources of fiber, but using sunflower seeds, pepitas, or other nuts can be beneficial as well.
Berries - wild blueberries will be covered later as well, but add a high antioxidant factor to your salads. We love all types of berries in ours and they pair well with meat also. I do have to admit blueberries (because of the antioxidant factor) and raspberries are a favorite around here.
Veggies - The crunchier the better!! Broccoli, peas, green beans, cauliflower... oh this list can go on!
Fruit - Don't forget fun ones like pomegranate seeds, mango, papaya, kiwi, peaches and apples... oh the fun fruit brings! Avocados are also a fruit that offers 6.7 g of nutritional fiber, did you know that?
Antioxidants (great for immune support and also in that potential "cancer prevention" category. I am listing them from their potential, highest to lowest)
Small Red Beans (dry, I just soak them overnight)
Blueberries (wild is best)
Red kidney beans (again dry but if you soak them you can then store them)
Blueberries (cultivated drops them below the others, wild is best)
Red delicious apples
Granny smith apples
Black bean (dry)
OK, I have to admit I am writing all this in the morning before eating breakfast and I'm totally craving a salad currently! I may have to do my salad dinner plans for lunch today.
Iron (Because this is important to keep that low red blood cell issue at bay!)
Beans (yes they truly are showing in here to be that magical food ha ha)
Dark green leafy vegetables
Dried fruit - raisins, apricots, craisins
Legumes - tofu, lentils, lima beans, etc.
Nuts and seeds - pumpkin, squash, pine, pistachio, sunflower, cashew, unhulled sesame
Potassium (heart health)
Tomatoes Broccoli Spinach Papaya Raisins Oranges Cubed cantaloupe or honeydew Peaches (lower) Apple (lower) Pineapple (lower) Strawberries (lower)
So with all these ideas hopefully you have a great place to start on making a healthy meal that you can eat, and feel good about, what you are putting into your body! Salads offer a great way to make a quick easy meal that you AND your family can eat together. The added benefit to everyone is that you all can boost areas of your body that need some extra support, and keep things simple so mealtime can be manageable. Lots of times I found myself scrambling to get supper because chemo ran so long during my day. So much of this can be made ahead of time and the meats and such frozen so all I needed to do was grab all I needed and put it all together. Another fun aspect is putting everything out and letting individuals put their own salads together. I am always amazed at what my children combine to make a fun healthy meal for themselves. My son's latest salad creation is actually the first picture in this post.
Obviously for those of us that are now beyond chemo and just making sure to keep going with healthy habits, these salads offer a great way to do that also! Ovarian cancer means no cure date, so I can assure you there is never a time I ever quit fighting. Food is one great way to help my body stay strong for that fight!!
You guys are INCREDIBLE!!! Until next time...
**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product/blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.