The After Cancer Diet: How To Live Healthier Than Ever Before

The After Cancer Diet: How To Live Healthier Than Ever Before

The After Cancer Diet: How To Live Healthier Than Ever Before

The After Cancer Diet: How To Live Healthier Than Ever Before

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A health expert “explores ways survivors can live a preventative lifestyle so they can continue to thrive” (Kerry Monaghan, nutrition and wellness coach).
For the more than eleven million cancer survivors in the United States, a healthy lifestyle is essential after treatment. Cancer wellness writer Suzanne Boothby aims to provide this invaluable information to cancer survivors in her book, The After Cancer Diet. In it, Suzanne shares what cancer survivors should eat, drink, and do to remain cancer-free for life, including sample recipes, regular exercise routines, detox programs, and overall advice for leading a healthy, happy life full of creativity and joy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780983839552
Publisher: Diversion Books
Publication date: 02/06/2019
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: eBook
Pages: 112
File size: 376 KB

About the Author

Suzanne Boothby is a Brooklyn-based wellness writer, certified health coach and cook. She is a proud graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She also has an advanced certificate in Health Coaching from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and received training as a California-certified Master Gardener.

As a foodie and health expert, Suzanne loves to coach clients to find vegetable variety and cook delicious food. She has been researching, writing and editing about holistic health and wellness, food politics and gardening for more than a decade. She has worked as an editor and freelance writer for many different magazines and newspapers across the United States and in New Zealand, including Mother Jones Magazine, Chicago Life Magazine, Seattle Conscious Choice, Organic New Zealand, and others.

In addition to The After Cancer Diet: How To Live Healthier Than Ever Before, Suzanne co-wrote and edited Integrative Nutrition: Feed Your Hunger for Health and Happiness. She also edited and contributed to the Go Green East Harlem Cookbook (Jones Books) and Simple Food for Busy Families: The Whole Life Nutrition Approach (Ten Speed Press).

When she is not writing or cooking, she loves traveling, gardening, yoga and dance. Visit to learn more.

Read an Excerpt


Discover Your Diet

Oscar Wilde said, "I can't stand people who do not take food seriously."

In all my years of experimenting with nutrition and diet, I have to say, I agree wholeheartedly. Food is the foundation for health. When we put the right foods in our body, the system runs smoothly. When we put junk in our body, the system breaks down. Sometimes this breakdown is minor and expressed in little aches and pains or energy slumps. Over time, it's expressed in larger ways like cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Food is an avenue to manage this breakdown and, in some cases, reverse the direction.

The problem, of course, is that we are all different, so I can't give you the perfect formula to maintain health and balance in the body. I can recommend where to start, give you guidelines to get to know your body better and help you learn the signals of good health.

I think life has a certain rhythm to it. Wake up, shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, go to work, do your work, eat lunch, take a break, eat a snack, finish the day, come home, eat dinner, unwind from the day, go to bed.

Maybe your routine is different, but whatever your day looks like, eating is a big part of it. Food is the fuel we use to power up each and every day. It nourishes our cells and our souls at very deep levels.

When was the last time you actually thought about your diet? You know all that food you eat every day. Food is a daily decision and when you understand the importance of eating well, your world can expand in so many new directions.

My dad is a great example. He used to drink three to four cans of diet soda a day. He didn't consider it much — it was usually available in the doctor's lounge. He was always dragging by mid-afternoon and was not sleeping that well at night. While he was studying nutrition, he tried an experiment. He quit drinking diet soda cold turkey and replaced it with water and tea. Within about two weeks, he was more energetic during the day and was sleeping through the night. That's the power of fueling your body well.

Here are a few questions for you to consider:

o Does your day start with energy and vitality, or are you dragging yourself from your bed to your coffeemaker?

o Are you feeding your body, or are you feeding your desires?

o Do you end your day with the same energy as when you woke up?

Vibrant health makes your day. When you feel powerful around your food choices, your whole life opens up.

You may think, "Sure, I'd love to be healthier, but I don't want to be one of those health nuts. I'm not interested in eating bunny food all day long. I don't want to give up my favorite foods or feel hungry all the time."

I like to think of it this way: Each day, when I wake up I have a new opportunity to treat myself well. Each meal is an offering to my body and an act of self-care. Whether I am having a green smoothie or a chocolate chip cookie, I always feed myself with love. When eating is self-care, you become very generous with a dynamic combination of nutrients, flavors, and colors.

So I encourage you to start with this same mindset. Every time you eat, you can think, "I am worth every effort it took to make this meal — from the farmer who cultivated the veggies to the person who took the time to prepare this food."

A new area of scientific study also offers hope and inspiration for the power of nutrition and lifestyle. One of my favorite integrative doctors in New York City, Dr. Frank Lipman, loves to discuss this topic called epigenetics. It looks at how you can change your genes in this lifetime based on diet and lifestyle factors.

While there is plenty of science to back it, I think you have already seen it firsthand. Have you ever met someone who just looked way older than they should? Maybe someone who has "lived a hard life." Many celebrities or rock stars come to mind for me. That's epigenetics at play. Similarly, I have nutrition-school friends in their 50s and 60s who radiate youth and easily look 10 years younger than their actual age.

I've heard Dr. Lipman describe epigenetics in such an inspiring way.

"Your genes are not set in stone and how you live your life really does matter," he said at a talk at the Urban Zen Foundation in New York City.

"There are thousands of genes that render you susceptible to the classic, chronic diseases so many people are experiencing today, such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes and cancer. But whether or not these genes are expressed, and blossom into disease, may be determined by how you live your life, how you eat, the toxins you're exposed to, the supplements you take, your beliefs and how you handle stress," he wrote in an article.

I don't want to get too scientific here, but the basic gist is that you have control of your health. You don't have to sit around waiting for your next check-up. You don't have to fear that the cancer will come back. You can make simple, sustainable changes to your diet and begin to create your new future.

A great example is Dr. Barry Sears, biochemist and author of the bestselling, The Zone Diet. Sears became interested in health research when his father died of a heart attack at the age of 53 and his father's three brothers died of heart attacks a few years later. Sears thought he was doomed to the same fate and so he started to work on ways to combat heart disease as a researcher at Boston University's School of Medicine and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His work led him to nutritional science and evolved into the Zone diet. Sears has outlived all of his relatives. He is now in his 60s and continues to promote healthy diet as a means to combat and reverse chronic conditions.

So here's the goal: eat well and enjoy the foods you eat. You can develop a taste for the foods that will fuel your recovery and heal your body. As a cancer thriver, you have overcome health challenges many people can only imagine. But I know you can keep that strength going and try some new ways of eating and living. Keep reading and keep with it.

Many people get stuck with where to begin. So I say, start where you are. This diet is not about a radical transformation; it's about small steps. If you can take on one challenge a week, you can change your life and tremendously improve your health.

Challenge One: Eat real food.

Much of the food you eat these days comes from boxes, cans, and bags. Real food comes from a place. Apples grow on trees. Corn grows on a stalk. When you are at the grocery store, look at the label of the food you are about to purchase. If you see a long list of ingredients and/or ingredients you can't pronounce, you are not moving in the direction of real food.

If you go out to eat at a standard restaurant, most of the food is dead and colorless. Imagine that food going into your system and fueling your cells, blood, tissue, muscles, etc. It's not the same as fresh, colorful food full of vital nutrients and vitamins. Real food examples include carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, rice, lentils, or walnuts.

When was the last time you created a real food meal?

I spent a year living in New Zealand and working on organic farms. At many of the places I stayed, when we got hungry, we would head to the garden and see what looked good. It was fun to connect with the rich smells, textures, and colors of all the vegetables. I use this same approach at the grocery store or the farmers' market today. Each meal begins with delicious, real food.

Now you might be a creature of habit. My great uncle has been eating the same meals for decades. Thursdays are spaghetti night. Sundays are Chinese food night. You may have a similar routine and that's OK.

You can keep your routine — just add something new to it. Try a real food. If you always order fettuccine Alfredo, order it with a side of broccoli. Green vegetables have the most impact so go for things like broccoli, green beans, cucumbers, celery or Romaine lettuce. Once you have developed a taste for these greens, you can graduate to powerhouse veggies like cabbage, kale, and collards. And eventually, your taste will naturally shift to more healthful foods.

Challenge Two: Eat More Like a Vegetarian (And Especially Eat Your Greens)

So much research exists on the benefits of a plant-based diet, especially when it comes to cancer. "Eating a plant-based diet rich in phytochemicals, antioxidants, fiber, and other healthful plant compounds is the best way to prevent cancer — along with regular physical activity, not smoking, and being at a healthy body weight" said Colleen Doyle, MS, RD, director of nutrition and physical activity for the American Cancer Society.

I was a vegetarian for almost 10 years, so I know how great it can feel in the body. I also know the mental hurdles to stick with a restrictive diet. Ultimately, I found that my body was happier and healthier with small amounts of quality meat, but I know many vegetarians and vegans who are successful with it. Our culture has come a long way in supporting the vegetarian lifestyle, but all vegetarian, all the time is not realistic for everyone. If vegetarianism isn't for you, I still think you can eat more like a vegetarian.

Here's a few quick, easy ways to eat more like a vegetarian:

1. Try going meatless on Mondays. Meatless Monday is a national group who promotes cutting out meat one day a week and offers tons of recipes and support.

2. Pick one or two meals each day to cut out meat. If you have bacon for breakfast, opt for a lentil soup for lunch. If you are going out for a special occasion steak dinner, don't eat meat at breakfast and lunch.

3. Think of meat more like a side dish and make vegetables and grains the main event on your plate. I've found just a few bites of meat goes a long way.

4. Visit a farm or an animal sanctuary. Remembering where our food comes from helps us feel more empathetic toward animals and more excited about veggie options.

5. Eat more vegetables! Keep your same eating habits with meat, but just add more veggies to every meal and eventually your taste buds with crave more plant-based foods.

If you are a meat eater, begin by upgrading your meat. Look for animal products that are raised without antibiotics, grass-fed, and pasture-raised. These distinctions will combat most of what is wrong with modern factory-farmed meat. Grass-fed in particular means that the animals have less fat, calories and more omega-3 fatty acids, which you will learn in a later challenge help combat cancer. Another way to think of it is to make sure the animals you eat have eaten their veggies. Omega-3s are formed in the green leaves of plants, so the more grass animals eat, the more healthy fats you consume.

The quickest way to rev up any diet is to eat more vegetables. Do you know the three most consumed vegetables in the U.S.? I will tell you: tomatoes (found in ketchup), potatoes (found in French fries) and iceberg lettuce (probably found mostly on top of burgers).

Change takes time, so start small. Order spinach on your pizza. Have a salad with your burger. Look at each meal as an opportunity to put something fresh and colorful into your body. You don't have to become a health nut. Work at your own pace and stick with it.

If you try something new and you don't like it, try it again in a week. Your body needs time to adjust and your taste buds need time to get used to new flavors.

Why greens? Think of them as the nutritional stars of the plant kingdom. They have a very uplifting energy. They grow upward toward the sun. They have many essential nutrients, minerals, and vitamins. So next time you need a boost consider eating something green.

The top green vegetables to keep cancer free are any veggies from the cabbage family including kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, collards, and broccoli. These greens are excellent sources of provitamin A, which benefits the liver and is essential for the correct use of proteins in the body, according to Paul Pitchford in Healing with Whole Foods.

Greens also provide a rich source of alkaline minerals: calcium, magnesium and iron. These minerals are particularly important for cleansing the body of bad bacteria, parasites and more. I would argue they are a great defense in maintaining cell health.

I get that fast foods are cheap, convenient, and in some cases, tasty. But in the long run, these foods are not easy on the body. They slow down your system and are hard to digest. They create havoc in a delicate system. Just imagine if you put paint in your car's engine. You would see almost immediate results of a non-functioning car. Your body is pretty similar; the timeline is just a little bit longer.

Here's the trick to mastering this challenge. You don't have to give up any foods right away; all you have to do is add more greens to your diet. If you go with one green vegetable a day, you will start to add more fresh energy into your diet and you will eventually start to crave more fresh foods.

Challenge Three: Have a Sweeter Life (without the white stuff)

Americans eat way too much sugar. Estimates are always growing but it's close to 200 pounds per year. Sugar makes it harder for your body to absorb vitamins and minerals, suppresses immune function and even dehydrates the body.

All cancer thrivers should know sugar feeds cancer cells and helps them grow faster. Did you know that doctors actually inject patients with a radioactive glucose when doing PET scans to look for cancer? They do this because cancer cells love sugar; it's their favorite food. The glucose helps doctors to see the cancer cells and where they have spread. You don't want to feed any abnormal cells in your body something that helps them grow. You want to starve them so you can thrive.

Here's the hard truth about sugar: Every time you eat even a small piece of candy, you could be helping to grow a new tumor or promote abnormal cell growth. Foods high on the glycemic index (like sugars) cause the body to secrete insulin and insulin-like growth factor (IGF). These hormones promote cell growth and inflammation, inhibiting the body's natural defenses against developing cancer.

Sugar promotes silent inflammation in the body. You know inflammation from anytime you've experienced a sunburn. Classic signs of inflammation include redness, pain, warmth and swelling. But silent inflammation is an ongoing, chronic condition that you can't feel. Foods and habits that trigger it include smoking, stress, and eating too much sugar.

Silent inflammation works like this: your body creates an accumulation of white blood cells to fight the infection and your immune system goes into overdrive. When your body is so consumed by fighting off this problem, it can't provide protection from cancer cell overgrowth. When you have chronic inflammation, you are more vulnerable to develop disease.

Here's the scientific description of how sugar promotes inflammation. Sugar or any rapidly absorbed carbohydrate raises the blood sugar levels rapidly inducing an equally rapid rise in insulin levels. It's like a rollercoaster rising to the top of the ride. Higher blood sugar levels produce reactions with proteins called glycation. This reaction produces pro-inflammatory compounds called Advanced Glycation End products (AGE's), which promote inflammation.

So for every bit of sugar you eat, you are losing nutrients and promoting inflammation. If you don't have a great diet, you don't have room to consume excess sugar. The problem is that sugar is hidden in so many foods today. When you look at most foods that come from a box or a can, they probably have some form of sugar. You don't need to memorize all the names sugar goes by, just stop eating so much processed food. You can start easily at snack time. Make a commitment to eat snacks that don't come from a box or a bag. Try chopped carrots, celery and cucumbers with a homemade dip. Try apples and a natural nut butter. Try a bowl of warm oatmeal flavored with cinnamon (sans the sugar).

When my parents were young, ice cream shops were only open in the summer. Ice cream was a sweet treat reserved for a specific time of year. I like to reserve sugar for special occasions. If I'm going to eat it, I go for the best quality. I love a good piece of flourless chocolate cake made by a local bakery. I love homemade chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven. I don't eat those foods often, but when I do, I enjoy every bite. I feel okay about enjoying these treats because I'm not consuming sugar on a daily basis in unsuspecting foods like cereal, salad dressing or pasta sauce.

For everyday life, you can find many great natural sweeteners to use in low doses. Examples of these include maple syrup, honey, and stevia. Look online or go to your local health food store for more ideas. The good news is that as you eat less sugar, you will crave it less. If you take a break from sweets, you will most likely taste how sweet some of your favorite foods are and eventually want less of them.

White flour acts just like sugar in your body. It breaks down super quickly and causes a flux in your blood sugar, giving you a rollercoaster feeling of an energy surge and then a big crash. So you really need to watch out for all the white stuff in your diet such as bread, pasta, muffins, crackers, pastries, flour tortillas and more.


Excerpted from "The After Cancer Diet"
by .
Copyright © 2011 Suzanne Boothby.
Excerpted by permission of Diversion Publishing Corp..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Richard Boothby, M.D.,
Chapter 1: Discover Your Diet,
Chapter 2: Develop a Healthy Thirst,
Chapter 3: Move Your Body,
Chapter 4: Get the Toxins Out,
Chapter 5: Super Size Your Health,
Chapter 6: Free Your Mind,
Chapter 7: Create the Rest of Your Life,
Bonus: Recipes,
Resources, Websites and Support,
About the Authors,

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