Summer is in full swing! I love this time of year for so many reasons. Walking or running barefoot in the grass. Taking a dip in a serene lake or walking the ocean shore. Plenty of sunshine. Warm evenings. Hiking, kayaking, bicycling. Picnics with family and friends. Napping in a hammock. Watching fireflies sparkle in the dark. Working in my flower garden.
Four summers ago I was preparing for major surgery to remove a tumor located behind my sternum, followed by chemotherapy. As I recovered from the surgery and began chemo treatments, I decided to make some major changes in my terrible diet to help increase my energy, speed up my recovery between chemo sessions and help my body heal. One of the biggest changes I made – besides reducing refined sugars and processed foods - was adding in lots of leafy green veggies, and I can’t believe the difference it made for my body.
And that’s another reason why I love summer - the abundance of food that becomes available, especially leafy greens! Leafy green veggies (kale, spinach, collards, chard, mustard greens, dandelion greens, and lettuces) bring vitality, energy and amazing nourishment to our bodies. They are the food most missing from modern-day American diets, and the food we usually need most. Greens are high in dietary fiber, calcium and iron. They also contain high levels of vitamin K, magnesium and folate and cancer-fighting phytochemicals such as vitamin C, lutein and carotenoids.
Adding greens to your diet is easy, and your body will thank you for it with increased energy, more balanced moods, faster healing from trauma, and fighting or preventing disease. If you do nothing else – just get those greens in on a daily basis, if possible. Make a greens salad, steam greens or sauté kale, collards or spinach with a little olive oil, sea salt and garlic. Or try this simple and yummy recipe from Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen: The Girlfriend’s Cookbook and Guide to Using Real Food to Fight Cancer.
Yield: makes 2 1/2 cups
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large carrot, thinly sliced into rounds (about 1/2 cup)
2 bunches kale, thick stems removed, thinly sliced (about 8 cups)
1 garlic clove, minced
2 to 3 tablespoons tamari (soy sauce)
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup raisins
Heat the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the carrot for five minutes. Add the garlic, kale, tamari, cashews and raisins and sauté a few minutes until cashews begin to soften.
About Kendall: Kendall was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma at age 27. After making changes in her diet during cancer treatment and noticing major improvements in her energy and overall health, she pursued board certification as a Health Coach to further her knowledge of food and health. She is the co-author of Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen: The Girlfriend’s Cookbook and Guide to Using Real Food to Fight Cancer (http://kickingcancerinthekitchen.com), which will be available in September 2012. She resides in Maine with her husband and baby boy. You can find Kendall on WhatNext: @kendallhhc