FactorFiction.jpgFirst off - if you're local to Winston-Salem and are interested in coming to my seminar this Monday from 6pm - 7pm titled "Fact or Fiction: Debunking Cancer Nutrition Myths" be sure you RSVP to our office (336-760-9983 or csi1955@cancerservicesonline.org). We will cover the following common questions as well as others!

  • Does sugar feed cancer?
  • Is organic food necessary to fight cancer?
  • Should I follow an Acid Alkaline diet?
  • Do microwaves or teflon pans cause cancer?
  • Should I do a colon or foot cleanse?

And yes - next month, I plan to offer this as a webinar so you can join in from anywhere!

Back to the topic at hand...

The Truth about Artificial Sweeteners

I've covered sugar in a few recent topics. Check them out here (does sugar feed cancer?) and here (The mystery of sugar: difference between simple sugars and complex carbs).

But what about artificial sweeteners? There are so many different kinds, it can get very confusing! Splenda.  Saccharin.  Asparatame.  Acesulfame K.  Stevia.  Sugar alcohols.  When it comes to cancer, there is a lot of controversy over artificial sweeteners and what they do to the body.

FIRST, it's important to understand that for most people, the consumption of simple sugars in the form of corn syrups and added sugars FAR OUTWEIGHS any health risk from consuming artificial sweeteners.  So if you're someone who regularly drinks sodas, sweet tea and eats a lot of sweets, it is definitely worth your effort to cut back and switch to 'diet' drinks. This article is to focus on which artificial sweeteners have the least risk. The increased risks of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease from consuming sugar drinks probably outweigh the risks posed by artificial sweeteners.

I keep all things in perspective. :-)

What's Wrong With Drinking Something Sweet? 

I have mixed feelings about artificial sweeteners. In general, I think that the less "artificial substances"  we consume, the better. I also think that drinking artificial sweetened drinks keeps people accustomed to sweet tastes. How sensitive your taste buds are to sweetness is called "sweet acuity".

A large portion of sugar intake in America is from our fluids. So if you choose to take in fluids that are calorie free, which ones are the safest?

The best beverage choices for nourishing our bodies is water, seltzer water, seltzer mixed with a little juice or unsweet tea. I would even add some black coffee or to the list, based on the phytochecmicals you can get. But sometimes we just want something a little different!

What Do We Know About Artificial Sweeteners?

When it comes to cancer, artificial sweeteners have had a lot of buzz, but most of the well designed studies (required by the FDA before they can be approved as a food additive) do not show a clear causal relationship between artificial sweeteners and cancer. While different countries have different conclusions on current data, it's still safe to say that consuming artificial sweeteners in moderation is a fine choice for most people.

Of course, you do not NEED to consume artificial sweeteners to have a healthy diet. It's up to you to make that choice for yourself.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) did an article on their website at the end of last year called It's Sweet.... but is it Safe? It's a great resource. If you want more than I've got in this article, you'll definitely want to check it out!

According to the same article, here is a short list of artificially sweetened drinks and which sweeteners are used. If your favorite diet soda is not on the list, you can tell which sweetener is used by looking at the ingredient list on the beverage you are considering. 

  • Coke Zero: Aspartame, Acesulfame-potassiumfoodadditivestowatch.jpg
  • Crystal Light Peach Iced Tea Drink Mix: Aspartame, Acesulfame-potassium
  • Diet Coke: Aspartame
  • Diet Dr Pepper: Aspartame
  • Diet Mt. Dew: Aspartame, Acesulfame-potassium, Sucralose
  • Diet Pepsi: Aspartame, Acesulfame-potassium
  • Pepsi Next: Sucralose, Acesulfame-potassium (and High-Fructose Corn Syrup and Sugar)
  • Red Bull Sugar Free: Aspartame, Acesulfame-potassium
  • Sam's Choice Diet Cola (Wal-Mart): Aspartame
  • Tab: Saccharin, Aspartame
  • Vitaminwater Zero: Erythritol, Stevia Leaf Extract

The short answer for what ones are safe can be found from the CSPI's guide to food additivies, which can be found at www.chemicalcuisine.org. [Photo credit: image to the right comes from CSPI].

On the short list they suggest to avoid Aspartame, Acesulfame-K, Saccharin. So based on the list above... that leaves you with Vitaminwater Zero. Yikes.

Should I Avoid Artificial Sweeteners Completely?

Is having an occasional diet soda (or a regular soda for that matter) going to cause a problem?


But the more important question is whether that diet soda is providing your body anything that supports its function. Next time I will discuss some real food and more nourishing ways to add sweetness to your foods.

What Does Julie Do? It always amuses me that people actually care what I do. But they ask!! I rarely drink soda. If I want a special drink, I'll have a Le Croix, maybe mixed with juice (virgin mimosa, anyone?). If I have soda, it's probably a regular soda about 1/2 the time and diet soda 1/2 the time. And I probably drink 2 sodas a month, on average.

I invite you to share with me (via email or facebook) if you have a favorite "diet" drink that doesn't contain Aspartame, Acesulfame-K or Saccharin.

Stay Sweet!

- Julie

English: Brown Flax Seeds. Français : Graines ...

English: Brown Flax Seeds. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I often get great questions from either my in person seminars or via email. These questions are things that I'm sure my readers are interested in as well, so I am planning to share the periodically with you.

This one came through email and is a common question I get from breast cancer survivors and anyone else with hormone positive cancer.

Q: I was diagnosed with breast cancer 2 years ago. My question is about flax seeds. My cancer was very early stage, but strongly hormone receptor-positive. I have heard that flax seeds and flax oil should be avoided for women with hormone-receptor positive cancer. Is this true? I am grateful for any help you can offer.

A: Great question! The short answer is that flax is perfectly safe. I would suggest the ground seeds (grind yourself or buy it ground) rather than the oil. There is a lot of good lignins in the seeds that you don't get in the oil. The AICR reports up to 4tbsp a day safe for breast cancer prevention. Here's a link to their fact sheet - it's great!

Julie's Expanded Answer:

I think it's important for people to understand that you cannot get human estrogen in food. Plants DO NOT produce human estrogen!! And eating animals that have been treated with hormones does not mean that you are absorbing human estrogen from them either. Human estrogen can come from within your own body, or via synthetic hormone pills. That's it!

Regarding this question, and a similar one about soy and estrogen, it's important to understand where the facts are.

FACT 1: Some plants have phytoestrogens.
Phytoestrogens are plant estrogens. Please do not get confused. These are NOT THE SAME AS HUMAN ESTROGEN!!! Plant estrogens just means that the chemical structure is similar to human estrogen. So far, studies suggest that plant estrogens are actually beneficial to our bodies. They have been shown to help lower cholesterol, and also compete with human estrogen in the context of estrogen receptors.

FACT 2: Flaxseeds are one of the top sources of lignans, which is one of the three major categories of phytoestrogens. In some studies it was shown that women who consumed higher amounts of lignans actually had lower rates of breast cancer.

FACT 3: You can also get lignans from other food sources, such as vegetables, grains, fruit, tea, coffee, legumes, nuts and seeds. All things that are really great for you!

FACT 4: Flaxseeds are a good source of Alpha-Linolenic Acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that is known to have anti-inflammatory properties. That means it's good for your heart and for cancer fighting benefits! However, it's not nearly as active as the omega-3 fatty acids you would find in fish or fish oils.

I find this quote from the fact sheet especially helpful for the breast cancer survivors out there:

"Tamoxifen is an adjuvant therapy for breast cancer that seems to work principally by competing with estrogen for binding to estrogen receptors. Health professionals often question whether the lignans in flaxseeds could interfere with tamoxifen. However, studies of mice injected with ER+ human breast cancer suggest that in both high- and low estrogen conditions (modeling pre- and postmeno-pausal breast cancer), flaxseed either enhanced or maintain the effectiveness of tamoxifen in decreasing tumor growth, decreasing cell proliferation and increasing apoptosis. However, no results of clinical trials of flaxseed use during tamoxifen treatment are currently available. Research is in progress regarding flaxseed use during treatment with aromatase inhibitors."
Personally, I would be comfortable consuming it but if you don't, there are plenty of other ways to get a nutritious diet. I would avoid the oil, or supplemental versions of flax since you would be missing out on all the great benefits of the rest of the flax seed.

If you want even more information than this, then you should really just read the fact sheet!!
- Julie
JulieonVaca.jpgCheck out my office for today. Not so shabby!!

I'm on vacation, but doing a bit of writing today from our family cabin in Washington State. It's funny how "work" doesn't seem so hard when I'm doing it in such a beautiful location.

As you may remember, my last article was to work through the fact vs. fiction of the "sugar feeds cancer" statement.

If you missed it, here's the bottom line: there's nothing about the cancer that "feeds" on sugar more than any other cell in our body. At this point, it has not been shown that eliminating dietary sources of sugar and carbohydrate actually results in slower growth of tumors. It does result in your body having to work extra hard to make the glucose that it needs to function.

For today, I'm going to discuss the truth about sugar. What are food sources of sugar and how our bodies process them.

Which foods have "sugar"?

Just like in my last article, this is not a simple question! The term "sugar" is actually a very generalized term. I think the average consumer hears the word sugar and imagines table, or white sugar. Like the kind you would add to your coffee or use in baking. In fact, there are many different types of sugar. And that's what makes this issue so complicated!

Typically, we nutritionists describe sources of dietary sugar as either "simple sugars" or "complex carbohydrates". All sugars are considered as part of the carbohydrate group. Obviously some carbohydrates are more nutritious choices than others.

Simple Sugars:

Simple sugars mean that the food is very close to the way that your body would absorb it. Therefore, it doesn't take much digestion prior to the intestines being able to absorb it.

Most of the sugars absorbed by our bodies is in the form of glucose.

Glucose is used by cells of our bodies for energy. In fact, the brain runs most efficiently on glucose and the body will do whatever it can to ensure adequate glucose for the brain.

Even if you don't provide your body food sources of glucose, your body will make the right amount of glucose for your brain to function. However, this process of making glucose in the context of not eating any carbohydrates causes stress on your body.

Table sugar is actually made of two basic sugars, fructose and glucose, bonded together. When we consume table sugar, our digestive system breaks up the bonds and we absorb the fructose and glucose separately.

Glucose is absorbed into the blood and carried for use by all our cells. Fructose is absorbed as fructose and then converted by the liver into a glucose-like substance that is treated as glucose by the body.

Lactose (or 'milk sugar') is made of glucose and galactose bonded together. Our bodies break up the lactose into glucose and galactose and they are abosrbed in the same way. Galactose is converted quickly into glucose after it is absorbed and is then treated as glucose.

Complex Carbohydrates:

Complex carbohydrates are also broken down into the basic sugars before they are absorbed. However, the digestive process requires more work, and there are many other nutrients that are included with the sugars in a complex carbohydrate. This includes fiber, vitamins, minerals, phytocemicals and others. All things that your body needs!

Some examples of complex carbohydrates are:

  • oats
  • wheat (noodles, bread, tortillas)
  • quinoa
  • rice
  • popcorn
  • teff
  • barley
  • corn
  • beans
  • fruit
  • potatoes
  • winter squash
You'll notice that these are all whole grains, fruits and starchy vegetables, which is why many people refer these foods "healthy carbs". In fact, many of them can be found on the American Instute for Cancer Research's list of Foods that Fight Cancer!

Hopefully this clears some things up for you. If you have more questions, email me and I'll be sure to address them in the next article. Until then, I want you to guess how many teaspoons of sugar the average American consumes in a day. GO!

- Julie

Many people have heard the statement that "sugar feeds cancer". I have had patients whose friends, family or other source told them to completely avoid sugar. I've even heard some well-intentioned, but somewhat misguided health professionals tell this to patients!

This series of posts will hopefully set the record straight regarding what we know about sugar and cancer.

The Facts About Sugar and CancerCancerDietitianGraphic.jpg

Our bodies need sugar, specifically glucose, for energy. Every cell of our body, especially the brain, needs glucose to live. The sugar that we need comes from 2 places. One is from the carbohydrate that we eat.

When we eat carbohydrates (either complex carbs, like whole grains or simple carbs like syrups), our body digests them and breaks them down into glucose for the body to use.

The second source of glucose is actually from our body. Our body will make the sugar we need if we don't get enough from our food. 

Therefore, even if you cut out all intake of sugar or other form of carbohydrate, your body will make the sugar you need from fat and protein. This is not the ideal situation for your body, as it can cause your body to go into a stressful state. There is a certain amount of carbohydrate that is important for healthy cell function.

Cancer cells use sugar for energy just like the rest of our body. Cancer does have a higher metabolism than other cancer cells, which is why it takes up sugar at a faster rate and therefore causes the "glow" or "light up" on a PET scan. But there's nothing about the cancer that "feeds" on sugar more than any other cell in our body.

At this point, it has not been shown that eliminating dietary sources of sugar and carbohydrate actually results in slower growth of tumors. It does result in your body having to work extra hard to make the glucose that it needs to function.

Sugar and Insulin

When we digest and absorb sugar from different types of foods, our bodies produce insulin to process the sugar. This is a normal and essential part of metabolizing food. However, if you eat too much sugar or carbohydrate, it results in a large amount of insulin being produced.

Insulin tells our cells to grow. Too much insulin can tell our cells to grow too much. Some people think that too much insulin could cause cancer cells to grow more. There's not enough research right now to fully understand how insulin and cancer are related, but we know that too much sugar, and too much insulin is not good for our health.

Bottom Line

Simply put, sugar does feed cancer. BUT, sugar (glucose) also feeds the rest of your body. For those who are going through treatment, remember that your healthy cells need energy especially during this time. Avoiding sugar completely will not help treatment, but it could leave your healthy cells low on energy.

My next post will address the various sources of sugar and how you can make the healthiest choices when it comes to your risk for disease. More from me later!

- Julie

This past Monday, I had the privilege of participating in an event with Guide Posts of Strength, in High Point. To find out more on the event, you can check out the news story here. But the best part is to get recipes from the chef they brought in!

A Happy Coincidence

I met Chef Chuck a few months ago, only I didn't know he was a chef! All I knew at the time is that he was a young adult cancer survivor who came in to the Young Adult Cancer Survivor Symposium that Cancer Services and Wake Forest Baptist Health Cancer Center put together.

Then I noticed he was commenting on the Cancer Dietitian Facebook Page and I checked into his website - http://www.thechefsrecovery.com/. I still had no idea that we were going to be presenting at the same event this week until I was sent the flyer late last week. It was a fun surprise!

Chuck shared some great tips on making healthy foods at home, which is one of my focus areas for survivors and anyone interested in optimizing their health and nutrition status. The truth is that the more you can put food together for yourself, the better it is for your health. However, that requires an important variable that many of us don't have a lot of. TIME!

The best thing to do is pick the things you want to do for yourself, and find the best store bought option that you can for the others. Here are some of the items that my husband and I find the biggest nutrition benefit to make at home. Click on them for my favorite recipes!

And here's the recipe Chuck taught us on Monday. It's a great one you can make yourself!

Chef Chuck's Homemade Lentil BurgersChefChuck.jpg

  • 2 Cups Cooked Lentils
  • 1 Medium Sized Red Onion Chopped and Sautéed
  • 2 Bell Peppers Chopped and Sautéed
  • 1 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 1 Cup Hemp (Optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon Cumin Ground
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Onion Powder
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon to 1 1/2 Teaspoon Celery Salt
  1. In a food processor or blender, add lentils, veggies, and bread crumbs. Blend and pulse until mixed.(If desired leave a few tablespoons of lentils and veggies un-blended)
  2. Season with seasonings and pour mixture into a large bowl.
  3. Press patty to desired burger size. (If you reserved some lentils and veggies,carefully press them into each patty).
  4. Sear in a non-stick skillet to a golden brown color and serve with desired condiments and toppings.
Feel free to top it with the Remolaude. Or you can KISS like me (Keep It Simple Stupid). I use plain greek yogurt and fresh basil leaves. Yummy!!

The Chef's Remolaude Sauce

  • 1/4 Cup Raw Honey
  • 1 Teaspoon Liquid Smoke
  • 1/2 Cup Organic Ketchup
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1/4 Cup Mayo (Your Preference)
  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a mixing bowl.
  2. Chill and serve.

Thanks Chef for the great ideas!! Be sure to follow him on Facebook and check out his cookbook

Announcements and Reminders:

For those of you interested in coming to any of my upcoming seminars in person, or via web, here's the run down:

  1. Thursday, June 19th at 7pm: Fighting Cancer With Nutrition and Mindfulness Webinar with Wendy Kuhn, Health Coach. Sign up here: http://www.anymeeting.com/PIID=EA57DF85824C3B.
  2. Saturday, June 21st I will be presenting: Fighting Cancer With Your Fork Seminar for the Sisters Network Breast Cancer Survivor Conference. Details Here: http://www.eventbrite.com/o/sisters-network-greensboro-nc-2241713917
  3. Monday, June 23rd 6:30pm: Fighting Cancer With Your Fork Webinar for Triage Cancer. Details here: http://triagecancer.org/webinars/
    Sign up here: https://www.anymeeting.com/AccountManager/RegEv.aspx?PIID=EA56DE86864E3D.
  4. Thursday, July 17th at 11am: Ask the Cancer Dietitian Q&A session at Cancer Services, Inc. Email csi1955@cancerservicesonline.org to sign up.
  5. Monday, July 28th at 6pm: Fact vs Fiction - Debunking Cancer Nutrition Myths Seminar. Email csi1955@cancerservicesonline.org to sign up.

I hope to "see you" sometime soon!

- Julie

Upcoming Webinars

I want to invite all of my readers to join me for one or both of these upcoming webinars I will be speaking on. The first one is next Thursday, June 19th at 7pm, titled "Fighting Cancer with Nutrition and Mindfulness". I will be co-presenting with Wendy Kuhn, a health coach out of Chapel Hill. We are going to tag-team to give you the down and dirty on a cancer fighting diet and how to incorporate mindfulness into your eating routine and your day!

Register for this FREE webinar at this link:

The second webinar I'm presenting is "Fighting Cancer With Your Fork", in collaboration with Triage Cancer, a non-profit out of southern California that connects conference organizers with cancer speakers for a variety of topics. The date is Monday, June 24th at 7:30pm (Eastern time). I will cover the top 12 (or 13 or 14) most researched foods when it comes to nutrition and cancer!

Register for this FREE webinar at this link: https://www.anymeeting.com/AccountManager/RegEv.aspx?PIID=EA56DE86864E3D.

I hope some of you can join me! Now back to the Brussels. :-)

Revolutionize Brussels!

My intern, Jessica, developed the recipes for smoothies I shared in the last few articles, and she did some smoothie classes around Winston-Salem. She demonstrated and sampled the creamy cado smoothie and everyone loved it! Be sure to try one for yourself. :)

Here's a great printable of the recipes if you want to share with your friends and co-workers: Smoothie_handout.pdf

Another project we worked on while she was interning is to do a cooking video. It was a bit of work to plan out what and how to do the video in a short amount of time, but I think she did a great job. You can learn how to make this recipe in less than 4 minutes!

If you asked Jessica what inspired her to create this recipe, she would tell you it's because a friend of hers said she hated Brussels sprouts. Jessica saw this as a challenge and made this recipe for her. Guess what? Her friend loved it!!

Well.... my friend, Scott, told me last night that he doesn't like Brussels sprouts. So I guess this is a challenge to him too. :)

Or, if you really can't stand the thought --> Make this same recipe with cabbage instead of Brussels sprouts! They're both in the cruciferous vegetable category which is one of the top cancer fighting foods. Enjoy!

Here's the video:

Here's the recipe:

  • Oil (to coat pan)
  • 1 bag Brussels sprouts, sliced thin
  • 3/4 cup pesto (homemade or store bought)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts (or to taste)
  • Parmesan cheese, if desired

  1. Heat pan and coat with oil.
  2. Saute sliced Brussels until they turn bright green.
  3. Add pesto and mix over low heat.
  4. Add toasted walnuts, and mix.
  5. Top with parmesan, if desired.
  6. Enjoy warm or cool.

Seriously, it's so yummy! But let me know what YOU think!
- Julie

photo 5.JPG

Last article, my nutrition intern shared some awesome smoothie recipes.
I hope you tried out at least one of them over the weekend!

Here she is doing a demonstration of the creamy cado smoothie at the YWCA Senior Health & Fitness day today:

I know it sounds weird to drink avocado, but almost everyone who tried them said they're REALLY yummy! And kids love them too!

When you get a recipe on this site, you know that there is good reason to eat them. So today's
article talks about why these smoothies are so good for you!

What's so cancer fighting about these smoothies?

By Jessica Beardsley, Cancer Services Nutrition Intern

Blueberries - Touted as a superfood, this summertime berry is native to north America. Blueberries provide the following nutrients:
•    Vitamin C
•    Vitamin K
•    Fiber
•    Phytochemical anthocyanin, a powerful cancer fighting agents that are concentrated in the skin of the blueberries

You can find two types of blueberries in the store: cultivated and wild. The cultivated blueberries are much larger, fitting about 90 in a cup compared to 150 wild blueberries. Wild blueberries have almost twice the skin per cup compared therefore twice the antioxidant power as the cultivated variety. *Note, I usually find wild blueberries in the frozen section of my market. They are great for making blueberry pancakes or smoothies! [1,2]

Tofu & soy - Edamame and soy products like Tofu and soy milk are a great staple to have in your kitchen. Soy provides:
•    Complete protein
•    Excellent source: selenium, manganese, and calcium
•    Good source: magnesium, iron and copper
•    Isoflavones: genistein and daidizein
•    Saponins which may lower cholesterol and protect against cancer
•    Phenolic acids which have potential to stop cancer cells from spreading
•    Phytic acid, an antioxidant
•    Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids (polyunsaturated fats)

Tofu comes in many varieties including soft, firm, silken, and fermented. The silken tofu is a great for smoothies as it lends a soft, creamy texture and takes on the flavor of the foods that you blend with it.

Soy and Breast Cancer
- It's not so controversial anymore!
A common misconception is that breast cancer survivors should avoid soy. Current research on breast cancer survivors shows that it is safe to consume food sources of soy. It is not advised to consume powdered or supplement form of soy isoflavones. [3,4]

Spinach - Spinach, that dark green leafy vegetable made popular by that cartoon sailor man is another cancer-fighting food perfect for your summer recipes. For examples, spinach is a source of:
•    Fiber and folate
•    Carotenoids: lutein and zeaxanthin, both powerful antioxidants that neutralize free radicals in your body befofe they can do harm

Research has shown that dark leafy vegetables can stop or slow the growth of certain skin, lung, stomach, and breast cancers. [5]

Great taste and cancer fighting nutrients all in one cup. What's not to love?!

Try one today!
- Julie

1. http://www.aicr.org/foods-that-fight-cancer/blueberries.html
2. http://www.superfoodsrx.com/nutrition/nutritional-research/wild-vs-cultivated-blueberries-56.html
3. http://www.aicr.org/foods-that-fight-cancer/soy.html#research
4. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/news/expertvoices/post/2012/08/02/the-bottom-line-on-soy-and-breast-cancer-risk.aspx
5. http://www.aicr.org/foods-that-fight-cancer/foodsthatfightcancer_leafy_vegetables.html
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I have another intern, woohoo! She wrote this article for my column in the Yadkin Valley Living. Enjoy the yummy recipes!

Smoothies for Summer Nutrition
photo 4.JPG
By Jessica Beardsley, Cancer Services Nutrition Intern

You have probably enjoyed that frozen, blended treat that is thick like a milk shake but made of fruit instead of ice cream. The smoothie is the perfect summertime treat providing you with fruits and vegetables while also cooling your pallette and refreshing you from a hot summer's day. Vegetables, you say? Yes. And that's not all. Blend your smoothie with milk, yogurt, or tofu and it can be a great source of protein. Smoothies can even be a quick meal when you're in a hurry.
I love smoothies because you can put nearly any fruit or vegetable you want into a smoothie (provided you have an adequate blender) and it will taste great! Here are a few recipes that are not only delicious but help fight cancer with their phytochemical antioxidants. Each recipe makes two smoothies, so share one with a friend!

Peanut Butter Cocoa Smoothie

  • ¼ c peanut butter
  • ¾ c silken tofu or lowfat greek yogurt
  • 1 banana
  • 2 Tb honey
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tb cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ c lowfat milk or soy milk
Creamy-cado Berry Smoothie
  • ½ avocado
  • 1 c frozen wild blueberries or mixed berries
  • 1 c frozen mango or pineapple,
  • 2 cup lowfat milk or soy milk
"Annie Get Your Greens" Smoothie
  • 1 banana
  • ½ c frozen peaches
  • ½ c frozen strawberries
  • 2 c fresh spinach
  • 1 ½ c lowfat milk or soy milk
For this Creamy-cado Berry smoothie I used Silk soy milk, Trader Joe's frozen mango, Kirkland's Triple berry and half an avocado. I love this smoothie because its so simple and easy. Depending on the thickness you can eat it with a spoon or sip it through a straw. Remember you can always add more liquid to make it thinner! Enjoy!

Jessica's Smoothie ABC's:
  1. Add Liquid -  It helps the blending process (ie. You can always add more milk, juice or water)
  2. Bananas (raw!) - I use raw bananas, not frozen, for sweetness and creaminess. You can also get creaminess with yogurt, avocado or tofu
  3. Cold - I use frozen fruit instead of ice cubes because it makes a thicker, heartier smoothie with more antioxidants
  4. Disguise - If your making a spinach or tofu smoothie, make sure you're also using a sweet fruit, juice, or honey to mask the taste.
  5. Evenly loaded -  Liquid first, then pile on the banana and soft stuff in the blender and finally add the frozen chunks of fruit.
Next time, find out what's so cancer fighting about these smoothies.
In the meantime... Just enjoy the yumminess!!
- Julie
Several blogging moms were invited to tour our local Papa Murphy's Take 'N' Bake Pizza kitchen to learn how they source and prepare their food. When my co-worker invited me, I wasn't really sure what to expect. The other bloggers weren't necessarily blogging about health and I'm always cautious to not be "bought" by food companies. I try to keep my information based on evidence, rather than persuasion.

[FYI - to date I have never been paid to talk, write or promote any food item that I wouldn't consider healthy or buy for myself or my family. To be honest, I've only been paid to write about one food product. My budget wishes I could tell you it was more, haha! If it has anything to do with this website, it actually turns out to be a donation to Cancer Services, the non-profit I work for. $ put to good use to help our community!!]

Anyway - back to my Papa Murphy's trip! I cautiously elected to sign up and go. Plus, I knew I would get to go home with a pizza for free - so that's always nice! Here is what I experienced. Many things I was pleasantly surprised about!

Papa Murphy's Pizza Dough
Thumbnail image for IMG_0087.JPG

This part I found fascinating! Having worked at Domino's in high school, I had experienced pizza dough that was delivered already mixed and ready to be rolled out. At Papa Murphy's, they get the flour in, but actually use this ENORMOUS mixer to make dough every day.

Many of their pizzas come on thin crust. They also have original crust and a thicker "pan" crust pizza as well. I personally like the thin crunchy crust best, which is fortunate, because after I came home I decided to look up the nutrition info.

You know that I am pretty picky when it comes to ingredients and nutrition. Most of the time, I would prefer to make things myself. However, making pizza crust is NOT EASY! Nor fast.

Here's the link for the nutrition info.
And the link for the ingredient list.

I was glad to see that in the nutrition info, all the pizzas had 0g trans fat. However, just because the nutrition facts say 0g, doesn't mean there is none. That just means there is less than 0.5 grams PER SERVING. A serving of the pizza is 1/12th. I'm gonna say that we eat at least 2-3 servings each!

Good news though - when I looked through the actual ingredient list, the thin crust pizza indeed had no hydrogenated oils in it. I can't say the same for the other crusts, so I would suggest sticking to thin crust.

Papa Murphy Pizza Toppings

So i was also very surprised to find out that the veggie toppings come in as whole veggies and the staff at papa murphys chop them up each day. Here are some photos of what they've got.






In addition to hand chopping the veggies, they also shred the cheese from BIG blocks! None of that pre-shredded bag stuff for these pizzas. They have big machines to shred the blocks.

Pizza, Salad and Other Items

IMG_0079.JPGWhen I walked into the store, I was actually greeted with a cool case of salads. They would be a good size for 2-3 people and sell for $5 each. A pretty great deal and wonderful pair with your veggie pizza. You can get your raw veggies and cooked veggies all in one place!

In addition to the prepacked salads, you can have a 'make your own salad' just like you do with the pizza. Pick your lettuce and your toppings and they can customize it for you. Pretty awesome!

My co-worker was extra clever and took her salad home (spinach, chicken, parmesan cheese, sun dried tomatoes) and used it on a pizza crust she had at home!

In addition to the salads and pizzas, made to order, you can buy just the dough for $2, or buy the crust rolled out for $3. Another one of the bloggers advised that the dough could be used to make some great cinnamon rolls. You pick the filling!

Cancer Dietitian's Pizza

IMG_0098.JPGI got to pick whatever pizza I wanted to take home with me. They can customize all types of pizza, from different sauces (garlic, tomato, basil tomato and chili thai), cheeses and toppings. I picked 1/2 of the veggie and 1/2 with margarita chicken pizza on thin crust.

You can see that it is loaded with veggies, many of the top cancer fighting foods like garlic, onions tomatoes, and leafy greens. I also added on a salad to have with it.

With take n bake, you take the pizza home and preheat to 425, then back for 12-16 minutes. Ta da! So tasty!!

The Bottom Line

I found this to be a very fresh and relatively healthy option for take-out pizza. When you compare it to other pizza delivery/take out options this is one of the best! You have REAL ingredients, plenty of veggies (not like the token 'veggie pizza' with just a few sprinkled veggies from other pizza places).

I would stick to the trans-fat free thin crust and plan to have a salad on the side. Also - a good thing to note for anyone in Winston-Salem - Tuesdays are $10 pizzas! Any size, any kind. THAT is a deal!

IMG_0093.JPGThanks to the owner for inviting us and showing us around. The only thing that would make this even more amazing would be a whole wheat crust. Unfortunately, I'm not sure that there's demand for that..... yet. :-)

- Julie

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Thumbnail image for ColorMattersWhiteFoods.jpgI am willing to bet that you've been given the tip to "avoid white foods". I hear it all the time and it drives me NUTS! I would like to be the first in line to tell you that white foods are good for you. Well.... some white foods are good for you anyway. :-)

Why You Don't Have to Stay Away From White Foods

One of my my problems with the statement that you should avoid white foods is that many well intentioned health professionals didn't include the adjective that should be included in that statement. It should be "cut back on processed white foods". This would communicate to the person that processed grains (like white flour, white rice and white pastas) are less nutritious than the whole versions (whole wheat flour, brown rice and other nutrient rich grains).

My other problem with the statement to avoid white foods is that they never point out the nutritious white foods that are good to include in your diet. And many people were told to avoid white potatoes.

PLEASE!! There is nothing wrong with white potatoes!! My grandmother is beaming right now, because she loved potatoes! [And lived to 92, by the way]. She always said that she should have stock in Idaho with the number of potatoes she ate.

Anyway, I think potatoes receive a bad rap because they are used to make french fries and potato chips. I would argue that eating real, whole potatoes is perfectly healthy. You can make your own french fries or potato chips if you want and they would be tasty AND healthy.

Another reason potatoes get picked on is because they have a high glycemic index, which means they can cause a quick rise in blood sugar compared to other foods. However, the glycemic index is a measure of a food eaten by itself. I never eat a potato plain, do you? I love to put some plain greek yogurt, cheese, chopped tomatoes, chives and even some shredded lettuce. All those topings are going to slow the digestion and therefore reduce the glycemic index. And even french fries and potato chips have enough fat on them to slow the digestion.

What's My Point?

The point is that there are many nourishing foods that happen to be white. And plenty of research showing that the nutrients promote health and fight disease, including cancer!

Here's a list of a few particularly beneficial white foods:

  • Onions
  • cauliflower
  • mushrooms
  • bananas
  • turnips
  • parsnips
  • garlic
  • oats
  • navy beans
  • white beans
  • almonds
  • potatoes (yes - eat the skin if possible)
  • white grapes

Each food has a different nutrient profile, but the examples above provide a variety of nutrients including:

In addition to the above nutrients, there are a few key phytochemicals that are found in white foods:

Obviously, a dinner that included white beans, roasted cauliflower and white fish over rice with banana for dessert with be a better alternative to fried chicken, mashed potatoes and french bread. with vanilla ice cream for dessert. But notice... they are both technically full of "white foods". 

Next time someone tells you to stay away from white foods, be sure to point out all the nutritious ones!

- Julie

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