Food for Life Nutrition and Cooking class for Cancer Prevention and Survival
Sponsored by the non-profit PCRM (Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine), this class series is designed by physicians, nutrition experts, and registered dietitians, that includes information about how certain foods and nutrients work to promote or discourage cancer growth, along with cooking demonstrations of simple and healthy recipes that can be recreated easily at home.
Scientists have long been accumulating a large body of evidence on the influence of diet on cancer. Time and again, precious phytochemicals found in plant foods are credited with boosting immune strength and inhibiting disease progression. Along with protection from cancer, plant foods also promote a healthy weight and help prevent other chronic illnesses such as diabetes heart disease and stroke.
The goal of this program is to empower people with easy-to-implement cooking skills that turn every meal into a delicious dose of healthy nutrition.
Each 3-hour class includes a nutrition video and discussion, followed by a cooking demonstration. People then have the opportunity to take home the recipes so they can recreate them in their own kitchen to complete the hands on experience of the class.
The class series covers a variety of cancer-related nutrition topics and demonstrates how to prepare several meals loaded with antioxidants and phytochemicals, high-fiber and low-fat foods, and healthy dairy alternatives. The series also provides information on planning meals and maintaining a healthy weight.
Week 1: Introduction: How Foods Fight Cancer
Certain diet patterns seem to have a major effect in helping people diagnosed with cancer to live longer, healthier lives. The National Cancer Institute research shows that as much as 50 percent of cancer risk may be related to diet. In this class, you will learn about the right food choices that can help reduce the risk of developing cancer as well as overcome the disease after it has been diagnosed.
Week 2: Fueling Up on Low-Fat Foods
Steering clear of meat, dairy products, fried foods, and other fatty fare is an important first step in preventing and surviving cancer. Dietary fat not only hinders the immune system, it also drives hormone production, which can result in higher rates of hormone-related cancers such as breast and prostate cancer. The easiest way to be healthy is to build your meals from foods that are naturally low in fat and to use cooking methods that do not require added fats or oils. In this class, you will learn how to prepare delicious, low-fat dishes made from whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits.
Week 3: Favoring Fiber
Fiber helps your body rid itself of toxins, waste hormones, excess cholesterol, chemicals, and other undesirables. Without fiber in the diet, these excess compounds can get reabsorbed into the bloodstream, leading to a possible increased risk of cancer growth. Additionally, fiber is especially important in helping the immune system function properly as well as facilitating the removal of waste from the body. Building your diet from fiber-rich plant foods is important for cancer prevention and survival as well as overall health. In this class, enjoy a fiber-rich meal as you work toward your goal of 40 grams of fiber per day.
Week 4: Discovering Dairy Alternatives
When humans consume dairy products, it causes worrisome biological changes in the body, one of which is a rise in the amount of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) in the bloodstream. Scientific studies have shown elevated IGF-1 levels to be a catalyst for the growth of breast and prostate cancer cells. In this class, you will learn about the wonderful benefits of avoiding dairy products as well as an array of possible dairy alternatives that provide ample calcium and other nutrients for a healthy diet.
Week 5: Replacing Meat
When cancer researchers started to search for links between diet and cancer, one of the most noticeable findings was that people who avoided meat were much less likely to develop the disease. This is partly due to the high fat and fiber-free characteristics of meat compared to plant foods, but also, as meats are cooked, cancer-causing chemicals, called heterocyclic amines, tend to form within the meat tissue. The longer and hotter meat is cooked, the more these compounds form. In this class, you will learn about and taste a variety of vegetarian sources of protein, which are low in fat, high in fiber, and loaded with cancer-fighting nutrients.
Week 6: Cancer-Fighting Compounds and Immune-Boosting Foods
Both antioxidants and the body’s immune system are critically important in fighting cancer. Cancer-fighting compounds, such as antioxidants, mainly found in fruits and vegetables assist in halting free radical damage, which can otherwise lead to cancer development. This class will explore foods that are rich in protective compounds and immune-boosting nutrients such as beta-carotene, lycopene, vitamin C, and zinc. It is important to be generous with a variety of vegetables and fruits as you plan your menu. Studies have demonstrated the ability of diets rich in vegetables and fruits to boost immunity and to reduce the likelihood that cancer will develop in the first place. Based on scientific research, vegetarians have approximately double the natural killer cell activity (natural killer cells engulf and destroy cancer cells) compared to nonvegetarians. Look forward to enjoying a colorful and scrumptious immune-boosting, cancer-fighting meal.
Week 7: Maintaining a Healthy Weight
Healthy weight control is essential for warding off a variety of chronic diseases, and studies have shown that slimmer people are even less likely to develop cancer. In addition, trimming excess weight may also improve survival after cancer has been diagnosed. This class will discuss and demonstrate filling fiber- and nutrient-rich dishes that will help you maintain a healthy weight.