The Benefits of Proper Nutrition for Cancer Patients – Guest Post by Jillian Mckee

Eating a nutritious diet is important to maintain overall health and energy levels. Nutrition is the process by which the body takes in vitamins, minerals, nutrients and calories. Calories provide the fuel that the body requires for movement, and the vitamins, minerals and nutrients are used for cellular repair and new tissue growth. Because breast, prostate and mesothelioma cancer make it hard for many people to eat, it is essential for these patients to consume the right foods. Some cancer treatments affect the way that the body absorbs nutrients. This is especially true for cancer patients who have a tumor in their stomach or esophagus. Fats, protein and carbohydrates are the three main types of food to focus on.

Carbohydrates
The body uses carbohydrates to get its energy. In a healthy diet, the body also needs to take in nutrients, vitamins and minerals, and an appropriate amount of calories. Some foods offer lots of calories, but they have little nutritional value. This is true of most sweets and simple carbohydrates. Antioxidants are often found along with most carbohydrates. Antioxidants are common in fruits and vegetables, and are essential in preventing cell damage that is caused by reactions with oxygen. Although antioxidants are thought to help prevent cancer, many doctors recommend against taking such supplements during cancer treatment.

Fiber
Fiber is derived from plant carbohydrates and cannot be digested. There are two main types of fiber. Soluble fiber is found in foods such as oat bran and lowers the body’s cholesterol levels. Insoluble fiber is found in wheat bran and improves bowel function.

Fats
Fats are essential in the diet since the body uses the substance to make hormones. In addition, fats are rich in energy. Several types of fat are found in most diets, but experts recommend sticking to poly and monounsaturated fats. These are ordinarily found in plants, seeds and fish. Animal fats are generally saturated fats, and they are associated with an increased risk of heart disease. Because fats are high in calories, increased consumption is often linked to obesity. Obese adults are at a higher risk for developing a number of different types of cancer so fats should be consumed sparingly.

Protein
Protein is the building block of muscle tissue. Because the body catabolizes muscle tissue in the event of a protein deficiency, it is imperative for cancer patients to ensure adequate consumption of this dietary element. Protein is common in a number of plant foods. Beans, dried peas and lentils are great sources of protein and help the body recover after cancer treatments.

Eating right is essential for overall health, and most experts recommend that cancer patients pay close attention to their diet. Because cancer treatments are hard on the body, many patients feel lethargic. Eating right enhances natural energy levels and is a great way to feel better. Eating a healthy diet may also improve the survival rates of cancer patients. Because many victims suffer from eating disorders and lack of appetite, it is even more important for cancer patients to eat the right foods.

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Akaara Vadisal

Akaara Vadisal or Sweet Milk Pongal is a very famous dish among the Vaishnavites in the South. Made with milk it is extremely delicious and loved by one and all.

Ingredients
Rice – 1 Cup
Milk – 5 Cups
Green gram dal – 1/3 Cup
White jaggery – 11/4 Cups
Water – 2 Cup
Ghee – 3 tlbs
Cashewnuts – a few
Raisins – a few
Saffron – A few strands [optional]
Cardamom power – ½ tsp

Method:
Boil Milk and water in a heavy bottomed pan. Set aside two cups of this hot milk.
Reduce flame and add rice to milk and let it cook on low flame. Stir constantly.
Cook dal till it is soft and keep aside. When the rice is three fourth done add the dal and mix well.
If the rice mix thickens add the 2 cups of milk set aside earlier and stir well.
When the rice is fully cooked add powdered jaggery little by little till it is dissolved and comes to a thick consistency.
Remove from stove. Heat ghee and fry Cashewnuts and raisins. Add this to Akara Vadisal along with cardamom powder. If using saffron, soak a few strands to warm milk and add in the end.
Mix well and serve hot.

Tips:
Akaara Vadisal can be made with Basmathi rice too. Gives a very different and wonderful flavor.
Always use light color jaggery. Acchu Vellam is the best option.
Ensure that there are no impurities in the jaggery before you add it to the pongal.

Sevai or Rice Noodles

The Italian Noodles is catching up in a big way amongst people of all ages in recent times. The South Indian Sevai or Idiappam can aptly be pointed out as a fore runner of its more international counterpart – Noodles. The rice Sevai is light and easy to digest and can be had any time of the day. Ideal for those recuperating from illnesses it can also be had by patients who are diabetic.

Instant Sevai mixes as well as ready to cook Sevai is available now in the market making it an even easy option and a boon for working women. The traditional method of making the Basic Sevai is as follows:

Ingredients:
Par Boiled Rice – 3 cups
Raw Rice – 1/3 cup
Salt – as required
Oil – to grease

Method:

Soak the rice well for over four hours.

Grind to a very smooth paste like idly batter.

Add salt to taste. Pour in idly plates and steam. Don’t over cook

Grease the Sevai maker with oil

While the idlies are still hot place them in the Sevai Maker and press.

You will get long noodle like thin strings of Sevai. Keep replacing the trays on which you collect the Sevai at the bottom of the Sevai maker. This will ensure that they are separated, easy to handle and cool easily.

Add required seasoning and serve with appropriate accompaniments.

Nowadays ready made Sevai mix is available. All you need to do is drop the contents of the pack in boiling water and follow the instructions given to get instant Sevai ready in a jiffy.

Various Flavoring:

Once basic white Sevai is ready all one has to do is decide the flavor and get started on it. Some of the popular flavors are:

Lime Sevai – Heat oil. Add Mustard seeds. When it splutters add split urad dal, a pinch of asafetida, finely chopped chilies and curry leaves. When the urad dal is brown add turmeric powder and take off the heat. Pour over the white Sevai. Add Lime juice as required and mix well. Fried Cashewnuts are optional.

Coconut Sevai – Heat coconut oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When it splutters add Bengal gram, curry leaves and finely chopped green chilies along with a few red chilies. Sauté for a few seconds. Add grated coconut and fry for a few seconds. Mix well and serve

Sweet Sevai – When the basic Sevai is still warm add/ sprinkle powdered sugar over it. Heat ghee and fry Cashewnuts and kiss miss and add to the Sevai and mix well

By Mrs. Mira Balachandran,; mira.balachandran@gmail.com

Rava Idly

Ingredients

Rava – I cup

Thick Curds – 2 ½ cups

Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp

Channa Dal –  ½ tsp

Green Chillies – 2

Chopped Cashew – 1 tlbsp

Fruit Salt – 1 tsp

Salt

Curry Leaves

Oil

 Variation [Optional]

Finely chopped onions – 1 small

Grated Carrot – 2 tlbsp heaped

Finely chopped tomato – 1 tbsp

Finely chopped ginger – 1tsp

Fry onions till golden brown. Add the rest of the ingredients and sauté for a minute. Add to batter and mix well.

Method

Pour 2tlbsp oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds. When it splutters add Channa Dal and green chilies.

When Channa dal is golden brown add Rava and fry in low flame till well roasted. Switch off stove and cool.

Add half the curds and salt and mix well. Let is rest for 10 minutes.

Add rest of the curds and the vegetable mix [Given above as ;Variation’. This is optional] to the batter and mix well. Add fruit salt and mix. Check for salt.

Grease Idly plates and pour the batter and steam for 5 to 7 mins or till it is done.

Serve hot with chutney of your choice.

STEAM COOKING

Steaming is perhaps the oldest form of cooking – even before the cave man discovered fire. It is said that food was softened over hot springs or stones in ancient times. Steaming is a moist method of cooking that combines hot air and moisture to soften and cook ingredients.

Steaming is a preferred method of cooking for the simple reason that it retains the nutrient factors when compared to other forms like baking or frying, retaining color, flavor as well as texture. Research has established that steamed food only showed a loss of 40% vitamins in vegetables compared to 70% that is lost when the same is boiled. All the essential goodness is retained and there is lesser requirement for fat too. Food is not exposed to intense heat as in other methods.

To get the optimum results while steaming:
Choose ingredients and ensure that they are of good quality and not rotten or stale. The reason for this is steaming enhances flavors and any ‘unwanted’ aroma or flavor will only get accentuated.

Ensure that you have proper gadgets for steaming and the appliances are in order. If steam escapes or the lids are not proper it will delay the cooking as well as prove uneconomical

Make sure that the vessel containing the ingredients is placed well above the water and there is no chance of the outer liquid entering the substance.

While dicing vegetables or meat or poultry ensure that they are of the same size so that they are evenly cooked in the specified time

Ensure water levels are adequate to complete cooking.

If you are cooking more than one item in a steamer make sure there is some space between containers to allow circulation of steam to ensure faster cooking

To save on fuel bring all frozen foods to room temperature before steam cooking.

Place juicy foods in the bottom so that they don’t drip liquids and spread their flavor on to other foods

Chakka Pradaman – Jack Fruit Payasam

READ THE PREVIOUS POST FOR ELABORATION ON “PAYASAM”

Any preparation from Jack fruit is considered a delicacy in Kerala and especially “Chakka Pradaman”, which is a sweet dish made from jack fruit. The aroma of this dish [ when cooking] will automatically bring visitors to your house.

Ingredients:

Fully Ripe Jack Fruit – 1 cup

Thick jaggery syrup – 1 cup

Thick coconut milk – 1 ½ cups

Thin and finely sliced coconut pieces – 2 tlbsp

Cardamom Powder – ¼ tsp

Ghee [CLARIFIED BUTTER] – as required

Method:

Chop jack fruit very finely and pressure cook the pieces with minimum water. After it cools down grind the pieces in a mixer to form a smooth paste.

Pour jaggery syrup in a heavy bottomed kadai and add the jack fruit paste and stir well to mix.

Continuously stir for about 10 mins or till it thickens and blends well. It should be thick in consistency.

Lower heat and add coconut milk slowly and mix well.

Do not let the mixture boil since the coconut milk may separate.

Add Cardamom powder and switch off stove just before it reaches boiling point.

Fry the coconut pieces in ghee till golden brown and add to the mix.

Serve hot or cold.

Tips:

Ready made “Chakka varatti” [JACK FRUIT PASTE MADE WITH JAGGERY] paste can also be used to make this payasam in case you don’t get jack fruit and you are desperate to have this. . Mix the varatti along with little milk or jaggery syrup to make a thick batter. Place this in the “kadai” [VESSEL] and repeat steps as mentioned above. In case you require more sweet ensure you add extra jaggery syrup to the batter and stir well.  

Spicy Turmeric Milk

TURMERIC – Treasure Chest of Cures

Words will not suffice to extol the goodness and benefits of Turmeric. Apart from being a staple ingredient in Indian cooking, it is perhaps one of the earliest known herbal remedies with records dating back its existence to as early as 600BC.

Curcumin found in the root of the turmeric is said to have amazing healing qualities. Apart from adding color and flavor to food, turmeric acts as an antiseptic and it perhaps knows its powers that Indians have made it an integral part of their everyday cooking.

Turmeric soothes the liver and cures indigestion.
Lowers Cholesterol and is an effective antibiotic.
Cures irritable bowel syndrome and is best recommended to get rid of hang over.
Blood is purified with the intake of juice of raw turmeric
Turmeric has great cosmetic value. Regular use is said to make skin, soft, smooth and fair and reduce the growth of facial hair.
The presence of turmeric plants around the house is said to ward of snakes and leaves of turmeric plant are said to be good mosquito repellants.

Spicy Turmeric Milk

An ideal concoction to relieve cold, cough and chest congestion. Best had before going to bed at night.

Ingredients:
Boiled Milk – 200ml
Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tsp
Coarsely powdered Pepper – ½ tsp

Method:
Mix all ingredients and heat milk on low flame till it is very hot. Stir well and have it as hot as you can.
Add ½ tsp of sugar for children who may fuss a bit to have the turmeric milk as it is.