Diana, do you ever eat any meat (other than fish)?
When figuring out what to eat that would optimize my odds for long-term survival, my original goal was to eat only those foods or beverages for which I could find some research indicating those foods contained some component that would signifantly help to interrupt and/or prevent the cancer process. For that reason, I did not include any meats, many of which contain saturated fatty acids that promote cancer and may also produce harmful molecules during various cooking processes. In contrast, as you mentioned, I have choosen to consume fish that have a high content of omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, trout, and albacore tuna, for which research is accumulating to show that intake of these types of fatty acids on a regular basis may help to prevent and even interrupt various cancer processes.
During the past 7 years that I have changed my diet, I have continued to focus on reading about nutrition and cancer. I have found no research data linking increased poultry consumption to increased cancer incidence of any type in contrast to some research data that have shown increased risk of many types of cancer, particularly colon, breast, and prostate, with red meats (Proc Nutr Soc 1999 May;58(2):243-8, High-meat diets and cancer risk, Bingham SA). Additionally, data from the Nurses' Health Study do show that early-stage breast cancer patients had a stastically significant decreased risk of mortality when consuming increasing amounts of poultry. (Holmes et al, Cancer 1999;86:826-35, also see pages 751-753 for a thoughtful counterpoint to the article).
During this year (2002) I have started to add back small amounts of skinless, boneless chicken breast into my diet. However, I never rely on that as my sole source of protein at a meal, never eat as much as I formerly would have, and always buy chicken that has been raised without antibiotics or hormones. I always include some beans with my meal and always use the chicken as an ingredient in a recipe, not as the center of attraction on my plate. This has given my diet more variety, another source of high quality protein (to help my bone marrow optimize the production of white blood cells and other components of the immune system), simplify cooking for my husband who really really does not like having beans as the main source of protein every night :-), and given me an additional available protein source when eating out/traveling (I still always prefer finding restaurants that cater to vegetarians). I consume chicken 2-4 times per month.
The following recipe for Chicken Salad Roll-ups gives you an example of how I include chicken in my diet. (I modified this recipe from one similar in the Sept 2002 issue of Prevention Magazine)
Mix all ingredients together. Spread on bread for sandwiches. This made enough for 2 large dinner sandwiches and enough left over for one lunch. I served it with a large green salad, fresh fruit, and steamed green beans, fresh from the garden.
Ingredients could easily be added or increased to make enough to serve more people. My husband commented on how good this was at least 3 times during dinner. That is a sign of a recipe to keep and repeat again some day soon!
faq posted 11/02
These questions and answers are intended to be of a general informative nature. Please consult with the Registered Dietitian in your cancer center or your health care provider for nutritional advice that can be individualized to your specific medical condition.
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