Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Maitake Tumor Soup



Sometime around the stage when I realized red licorice was unhealthy (it's a processed sugar, and often contains high fructose corn syrup which has been shown to proliferate tumor and cancer cells), I started to care more and more about what I'm ingesting. I started talking to other people about nutrition. As things tend to work in mysterious ways, I saw an interesting book about healthy foods in Susea's kitchen (one of my mom's close friends, who has helped raise me as if I was her own daughter - that's the thing about Friday Harbor, you have love and kindness from all over the island. You're raised by a village).

Susea, seeing how excited we were as we flipped through the pages, sent us a copy of the book, The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, by Johnny Bowden. It's been a great way for Danny and I to read together. I read aloud to him, and he corrects my errors (which are getting fewer all the time). He explains things when I have questions, and most of all we have completely changed our diet. I now look at food differently. I often eat meals that aren't that tasty, although with the power of the mind, you can happily eat anything that's good for you.

My meals are no longer just based on flavor. I'm going for nutrition to sustain my body. Some people would like my meals, but most would probably yearn for a burger and fries, a steak...maybe even meatloaf. I've delved into vegetables in a serious way, with an emphasis on mushrooms. Apparently, they're known to safely eliminate toxins, while also boosting the immune system. 

I don't know if my diet will change my outcome, but I hope that it does. From the book mentioned above, we've learned that Maitke mushrooms have been linked to smaller tumors in rats. Mushrooms in general, are known to pull out toxins. Ever since I read that piece of information, and dad sent me a package of maitake mushrooms, I've been integrating them into my diet. 

Anyway, here's what Danny and I had for dinner last night (which he then supplemented with a homemade hamburger - he's a meat an potato kind of guy).

My Ingredients - Give Or Take:
1 organic medium onion (chopped)
6 organic garlic cloves (chopped)
1 1/5 cup of organic asparagus (chopped)
4 cups of dried mushrooms (cut up with poultry scissors after soaked)
*I choose Maitake mushrooms which you have to soak in hot water for 5 minutes - after 5 minutes it's more like 2 cups condensed
1 cup of the mushroom water/juice from the soaking
1 1/5 cup of organic vegetarian broth
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of fresh ground pepper
A pinch of salt

*Garnish with chopped purple cabbage
*Garnish with chopped kale

Instructions:
Heat the pan on medium, with a table spoon of olive oil tossed in the base. Once the olive oil has spread across the pan, toss the onion and garlic in - stirring regularly.  Cook and stir for five-ish minutes, until the vegetables are opaque, but not browned.

After several minutes toss in the asparagus, and the mushrooms. Cook for two minutes. Add in the mushroom juice, vegetable broth and fresh cracked pepper. Stir and bring it to a boil. Cover, and simmer for 45 minutes.

Pull the pot to a cool burner and let it sit for 15 minutes, uncovered. 

Ladle batches into a food processor, and let each batch process for 10 minutes each. Once all batches are done, put them back into a pot and re-heat them gently. Once they're warm again, ladle them into bowls, and garnish them with kale and purple cabbage. 

I wish I could say that the whole thing goes quickly, and although the original recipe states 60 minutes, it took me well over two hours. It's worth it though. I'm just excited that I can follow instructions, and make more challenging meals. I didn't even make any mistakes! I've learned a lot of helpful tricks to make things more successful. For example, pulling out all of the ingredients and putting them on the counter. Double checking the list and chopping everything before I start cooking, has saved me too. It's nice to see myself progress in the kitchen. It's fun to cook. 

It's no pizza, and it's definitely no burger, but it's unbelievably healthy and worth it. Either way, I'm thrilled that I can take things step-by-step. I'm working day by day to get things back into working condition. It's empowering!

I'm not saying that I don't have moments of weakness, when I randomly meet a cookie, or a slice of salami and it finds it's way into my mouth - but 80 to 90 percent of my diet consists of healthy dishes like the one I mentioned above.

My life is not what I thought it would be. I never expected to have a brain tumor - heck, I'd never even broken a bone, but this is my life now. I have to be much more careful than most.

The worst thing I could ever do, would be to not take this diagnosis seriously. I don't want to deteriorate. As this brain tumor progresses, it's expected that my abilities will continue to wane, and I will need more and more help physically and mentally. I'm scared for that. I know that those doctors aren't trying to scare me, it's just life, living with a malignant brain tumor. I just saw it on Andrea's blog. Although she was dealing with leukemia, it's just as real to me, as I assume it was for her. I have a few years where I'm probably safe, I don't know how many, and I'm trying to elongate them. I want to be with my family and friends as long as I can. I don't want to fail them. I choose to make the effort. 

Who knows if it'll work, eating healthy, but it's worth a shot.

3 comments:

  1. Good Morning, Jess : ) I'm so glad you are paying attention to nutrition. When I was diagnosed with lymphoma this August, my friend found a spectacular cookbook for me. "One Bite at a Time" by Rebecca Katz. The recipes are delicious, even yummy, and all approved for ingredients that discourage cancer and tumors. There are even desserts.

    I've been blessed with friends who cook for Walt and I, and some have chosen to not only buy the book, but to make it a principle cookbook for their own eating.

    As I gain strength and improve physically, I try to remember to say "I'm dealing with cancer" - I feel it is more positive than to say "fighting" or "battling". In that vein, please consider thinking only of the tumor going away, not progressing, as the doctors are inclined to say. So far, you have created your own, miraculous, recovery. I think part of it is being positive.

    I wish you, Danny, and your folks a most wonderful, joyous Thanksgiving, much like the one we plan here : )

    Love and kisses,
    Dee Dee Pearce

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  2. Arrived in Grenada and immediately came down with a sinus infection/cold. Catching up today, but I sure could have used some of that delicous looking soup. Um, um, um! xoxoxoxo

    ReplyDelete
  3. Jessica:
    Getting caught up on some reading after being back in Minnesota(Yes with the accent:)
    Food looks like split pea soup Mmmm Mmmmm Good. Don't know if your Dad shared. We taped a part of Dr Oz. who had a guy on stating what the best foods were for fighting cancer. I know it sounds strange "fighting cancer" but this guy claimed we all have cancer in our body. What foods we eat can make a difference in feeding cancer to develop a tumor or not.

    Top 5 cancer fighting foods from the show were Bocchoi(SP), Artichoke hearts, Flounder, tomotos cooked with olive oil, and the seeds from strawberries(I think you need to eat the strawberries as I have never seen a bag of Strawberrie seeds next to the potato chips:). Anyway we have the clip recorded and would love for you and Danny to stop by and see it. You never know it may be helpful.

    In our prayers,
    Rich

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