A recipe for living with cancer.

Posts tagged ‘vegan’

To Be Brutally Honest…

I have had time to calm down about my lipid levels.  After two days of being a strict vegan, eating no sugary products (cookies) and drinking no alcohol, I have honestly looked at the last couple months and my eating patterns.  And I have to be honest with myself.  Yes over those months I have been getting back to being a vegan or veganish (a vegan who eats fish!) and yes I have avoided dairy most of the time.  But when we go out to eat I will often have a veggie wrap – it has cheese , or a salad-it has feta, sometimes parmasean, or cavitelli -made with ricotta -so there have been many times when the healthy vegetarian option I am eating has fat in it.  We stopped eating at Dinette, my Hubbie’s fav restaurant, because there was nothing I could eat there when I was being strictly veganish.  I once ordered one of their pizzas without cheese…oh my…cardboard.  So in the past couple of months we’ve gone back there and I’ve eaten the pizza with cheese, but only a little, HA!  What was going on?

I was entitled.  I have breast cancer and made it through chemo, surgery and radiation and — well, I deserve to eat some stuff.  I maintained my weight, was feeling great, so my cheating, if we can even call it that, was not only justified but helping me get back to a normal life.  My chocolate cookies may also have had a bit to do with my LDL and cholesterol increase.

In the last two months I have perfected my vegan chocolate chocolate cookies (my son has named them “the cookie from heaven”).  And to be honest, I have eaten at least one every day for probably a month straight, some days more. One must taste test in order to ensure the product is worthy!  Even though vegan, there is sugar and a small amount of fat, but small amounts add up.  And sugar is one of the culprits that will increase LDL.

But how could I resist these cookies, part brownie part cookie and vegan ?


Or these my son made?


Here is the recipe in case you’d like to try them:

Triple C-Chocolate Chocolate Cookies

or The Cookie from Heaven

In bowl of mixer Cream until fluffy

6 T room temp vegan margarine (I use Earth Balance)

scant 1/2 cup white sugar

scant 1/2 cup brown sugar (scant just means don’t fill to top)

Add to bowl and blend:

4 T applesauce

In microwave melt:

1/2 cup dark chocolate (I use El Rey 70+%)

Add 1/4 cup good cocoa powder and mix directly into melted chocolate

Add chocolate mixture to bowl and blend well.

Add to bowl:

1 cup minus 1 T APF (all purpose flour) If dough to stiff, remove another T next time.

1/4 tsp baking soda

Blend and add 1 cup chocolate chips/chunks or bits.

Scoop a walnut sized ball for 2″ cookies.  Place on parchment covered cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 8-12 minutes.

You want these cookies to be set but still soft in the center so depending on your oven it can take anywhere from 8-12 minutes.  This makes about 15 3″ cookies or 24 2″ cookies.

I have added extra white chocolate chips to the batter, also walnuts.  I love nuts and walnuts are so healthy and have good fat and not in a chocolate cookies would be even healthier LOL!  The cookies are very delicate when hot out of the oven but once they set they are between cookie and brownie.  They freeze well and taste yummy frozen too!  So to be brutally honest, I know why my cholesterol and LDL levels went up, but I sure enjoyed all those cookies along the way! Now, moderation.

But I Feel Good

Two weeks ago I chipped two teeth and visited the dentist. Then I woke up with liquid coming out of my ear and ended up at urgent care and the next day at the ENT. I had a hole in my eardrum and had lost some hearing.  They had no clue how it had happened, maybe it had to do with chemo, radiation, or all the coughing -allergies gone wild-who knows?  Falling apart bit by bit  but I felt good.
I finally stopped coughing (about six weeks), my allergies were better but still there– but keep in mind I felt  pretty GOOD.  I had my annual physical Tuesday with full blood work to check my lipids (everything looked good she said), and my Herceptin infusion and visit with the Oncologist on Wednesday. I see the plastic surgeon next Thursday and the breast surgeon the week after that for a general check and to measure my arms for lymphadema, and then just for sh-its and grins my colonoscopy in two weeks.  I feel great but to look at what’s happened in the last few weeks and all the appointments one would think I am falling apart piece by piece.
Finishing chemo was huge, radiation even better, but I am not done yet–but I feel good.
I am now taking the Arimadex (estrogen sucking drug for 5 years)  and have to watch for side effects: aching (apparently bad enough the Oncologist said CALL me immediately if this happens); menopause side effects may return, please no; increase lipid levels which I thought would be no problem until my blood work came back. Oh and bone demineralization which I will now be on fosimax to counter.  The side effects from that…I won’t go into those.
But I feel GOOD physically,mentally though I am a little annoyed, concerned and ferclemped and fa–mished.. Here’s a topic, fracking in southwestern Pennsylvania, talk amongst yourselves.  For all you SNL fans.
What is upsetting me is my lipid levels, they are HIGH.  After two years of being a vegan and bringing my cholesterol down 55 points to healthy and LDL to normal range…I am now 85 up on cholesterol and in the high range for LDL.  I have not been a vegan for the last year but didn’t think I’d been so bad,  For how high it is I should have been eating red meat, all meat, cheese, butter, ice cream, lobster, sugar, alcohol and a Big Mac once a week!  The annoying part in all this…Arimadex causes an increase in, you guessed it, lipid levels. I have six months to try my vegan diet to decrease my numbers again, get retested and see what’s what.  The caveat is — if they do not go down, then the question will be is it the Arimadex?
Then I will have to….oh never mind
I do feel GOOD!

Not the Best Time to Watch Dr. Oz

Do you watch Dr. Oz?  I flip channels and if I happen on his show I will pause and watch.  How could I not watch as he or the promo entices:  “these three things are on your must eat list to lose weight naturally” or, “these things found in your refrigerator will make you look 10 years younger” or, “10 minutes of these exercises will shape your thighs and buns” or, “these simple ingredients will naturally lower your blood pressure.”  Yesterday I paused and saw Dr. Furhman and his eat for health plan, so I watched and became very upset.

I am all for natural and healthy diets, have been for years.  I buy organic to decrease our pesticide load and try to help the earth; we have always eaten a healthy diet with less and less meat as we’ve grown older, and heck I became a vegan 2 years ago to lower my ‘high’ normal cholesterol and lipid levels and it worked.  Since chemo is over I am back to vegetarian and will work my way back to vegan once the surgeries are over.

What I find overwhelming with Dr. Oz is the quantity of information constantly thrown at you when you watch.  Were we to implement every single suggestion popping up on his daily show can you imagine what we would be doing? Eating a panopoly of foods to– decrease stress, stop a headache, ease a cough, decrease blood pressure, prevent cancer, get better skin, sounder sleep, better mental acuity, live longer and more. Now was it the chickpeas for the cough or the headache or the sex drive??  Or popping supplements to increase energy, stop the aging, help your sex life, melt fat fast, fight fatigue and ease arthritis.  With all the exercise suggestions and demos we could probably do a different exercise routine every day for a month without repeating.

Dr. Oz is a great doctor and his show does a great service and after a while I have to say to myself…to much information.  We are all individuals and some of these things will work for us and some won’t, and some are extremely expensive.  My issue watching yesterday was when Dr. Furhman spoke about preventing breast cancer eating basically a vegan diet.  It made me very upset.

I sit watching this while battling breast cancer, and am a tad concerned when (I am sure due to the shortness of the piece) many other factors were completely left off the table.

The environment, toxic chemicals on food, genetics all play a role in breast cancer and I came away from the show feeling guilty.  Yes guilty — for not having followed a better diet all these years.  Maybe I could have prevented breast cancer.  I am sure this was not the message the show intended to portray having Dr. Furhman as a guest.  And I do believe and encourage others to eat a plant based diet, will return to being a full vegan once this is over, and also encourage folks to buy organic with all the faults and falicies surrounding it.

Guilt aside, I grew up close to a superfund clean up site in a city with breast cancer clusters.  One of our homes, which we lived in for 10 years, was built on land previously used for apple orchards (we never had a bug problem!) and there was a high tension wire in the front yard.  And I have been consuming food, water and air replete with pesticides, insecticides and all sorts of toxins for 60 years.  Four immediate family members have died of cancer, my Mom breast cancer.

I also did not notice any recommendation on the show for buying organic.  Buying conventionally grown vegetables expose you not only to GMOs, but harmful pesticides. This was probably not the best time to watch Dr. Oz~but hey, Furhman may get a book sale out of it so maybe their purpose was fulfilled…just kidding.


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