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Food For Life eases participants into healthier lifestyle
Learn to love the foods that love you back.
That's the healthy advice of Jean Myers, a cooking instructor for the Cancer Project, who says certain foods can prevent cancerous cells from forming.
“The most nutrient foods come from plants,” Myers said. “They are full of antioxidant and vital chemicals.”
Myers hosts a six-week program called Food For Life that is meant to ease participants in the direction of a healthier eating lifestyle.
Myers said she believes that a plant-based diet is the best route for people who are looking to improve their eating habits. She points out that a plant-based diet consists of fruits,vegetables, whole grains, beans and small amounts of nuts and seeds.
“They are healthy ways to get fats, but you can overdo it,” Myers said of nuts and seeds in the diet.
Although the classes can be used to improve one's lifestyle as a whole, Myers said that the main focus of the class is to educate people on the foods that help prevent formation of cancer and future threats of recurring cancerous cells.
The next Food For Life classes start Jan. 6, and Myers is enrolling participants now.
She advises people who take her class that a variety of plant-based foods in a person's diet is the main thing that prevents cancerous cells.
“You want every color of the rainbow in your diet as well as plants.”
Myers said people who participate in plant-based diets have a 40 percent less risk of cancer and also show other signs of health improvements.
“When people switch to plant based, their cholesterol level drops, and they lose weight.”
A plant-based diet also helps the immune system and has been shown to improve blood level numbers in people with diabetes, Myers said.
While some effects of the diet appear to be rather immediate, Myers said the cancer portion is demonstrated over time.
“Cancer risk, you kind of have to take the long picture.”
Myers said the course is split up into six weeks with topics that include an introduction to the diet, decreasing fat increasing fiber, alternatives to dairy, replacing meat, boosting the immune system with a lot of antioxidants, and general weight loss.
The program is actually set up in the proper length of time for people to adjust to the diet changes.
“When you do, it's not a sense of depravation,” Myers said.
Myers encourages the plant-based lifestyle because of the proven results it has shown.
“When you make big changes you see big results.”
Myers said the class has no fee but encourages participants to give donations if they can, to help carry on the series.
For more information on the courses, Myers can be contacted at 344-4699 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile, try these Cancer Project recipes:
Jill's Lazy Sunday Stew
Makes 8 servings
1 30-ounce bag frozen hash brown potatoes
2 14-ounce cans tomato sauce or diced tomatoes (if you prefer chunky soups)
1-1/2 cups water
2 15-ounce cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed (optional)
1 cup frozen corn
5 ounces (about 1 cup) frozen spinach
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon garlic powder
Salt, to taste (optional)
1 tablespoon vinegar (optional)
3 or 4 green onions, chopped (optional)
Combine tomato sauce or diced tomatoes, potatoes and water. Cover the pot and simmer at medium-high heat until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
Add the beans, frozen corn and spinach, and spices. Turn down the heat to a low setting and simmer until all flavors are blended.
Serve the soup garnished with chopped green onions.
Makes 4 servings
1 bag (16 ounces) frozen stir-fry vegetables
1-1/2 cups cooked or canned beans (your favorite kind), rinsed and drained
1/4 cup low-fat stir-fry sauce (check ingredients to make sure it is vegetarian)
2 cups cooked couscous, brown rice or other whole grain, kept hot
Cook and stir the vegetables in a pan or wok over medium-high heat with 2 to 3 tablespoons of water as needed. Once the vegetables have thawed but are not completely cooked, add the beans and sauce.
Cook and stir over medium heat until the vegetables are tender-crisp.
Serve over the hot couscous or cooked grain of your choice.
Stored in a covered container in the refrigerator, leftover Easy Stir-Fry will keep for up to 3 days.
Makes 8 servings
1 large jicama, julienned
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 cup finely chopped red onion
1 large cucumber, chopped (seeds removed)
1 orange, peeled and sliced in bite-size pieces
1 avocado, chopped (optional)
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup lime juice
Pinch cayenne pepper
Salt, to taste
In a large bowl, toss together jicama, bell peppers, onion, cucumber, orange, avocado (if using) and cilantro. Pour lime juice over all. Sprinkle with cayenne and paprika. Season with salt to taste. Let sit for 30 minutes before serving.