A Dietitian's Cancer Story Newsletter: Fall 2003

Greetings from Diana Dyer, MS, RD, author of A Dietitian's Cancer Story.

Kia Ora!

My husband and I recently returned from a 2-week vacation to New Zealand. Wow - what a beautiful country! Don't let anyone ever tell you that New Zealand is a small country and 2 weeks is enough time to see it. No way! Two weeks was not even enough time to see the highlights on one island, let alone both the north and south islands. We rented a campervan (a small "RV" type of vehicle) and meandered for two weeks on the north island. While we did see many highlights, we also spent lots of time in small towns, shopping in real grocery stores, eating in small town restaurants, meeting people and discussing the news of the day after reading the New Zealand Herald, and answering questions about America; in other words, meeting real New Zealand. It is a country I would go back to in a minute, in spite of the 13 hour flight from LA.

What led us to NZ? Ostensibly, the reason we went was to visit our younger son who is currently studying there during his junior year in college. However, the real reason my husband and I did last minute schedule juggling to find 2 weeks together to visit him (and New Zealand) had more to do with remembering that if life is always put on hold to *wait until________ (you fill in the blank)*, many of life's golden opportunities may not wait. That is one of the many lessons that having a cancer diagnosis can teach us! Grab each day, savor it, be alive, and live that day to the fullest :-)

I started with the phrase, "Kia Ora!", a greeting commonly used in New Zealand. I also want to end with the same phrase. It is an expression from the Maori language (the indigenous people of New Zealand) that is hard to translate and has many meanings. It is a common greeting that can mean both hello and good-bye. It also can mean help and thank you. Yet Kia Ora has deeper meanings, too, as the word ora also means life, health, well-being, and happiness. A literal translation is good life. Thus, a greeting with Kia Ora also is an inquiry or a hope regarding your physical and spiritual life and well-being. Finally, the translation I like best is the one that means "Be Alive!", which is my hope for all of you as you travel your life's journey.

Kia Ora,


Newsletter Contents:

I. New Terrific Web Site
II. Recipe and Food Info
III. Disaster Planning
IV. Information for Cancer Caregivers
V. Correction about the Lorna Sass book mentioned in the previous newsletter
VI. Updated "Nutrition and Physical Activity During and After Cancer Treatment: An American Cancer Society Guide for Informed Choices"
VII. Book Ordering Information
VIII. Removal Instructions

I. New Terrific Web Site

Cancer Nutrition Info, LLC (www.cancernutritioninfo.com) is a new website developed by Suzanne Dixon, MPH, MS, RD that explains complex nutrition-cancer research in easy to understand language. In addition, practical tips on how to apply cancer-fighting nutrition to your life are provided. A generous amount of free information is available on the web site, with access to the full database of research reviews requiring a very low annual fee. A free trial will let you try this service before you subscribe.

I highly recommend this web site. I consider it the new gold standard for explaining this often confusing and contradictory information. Suzanne has a passion for sharing reliable nutrition and cancer information, plus the gift of communicating effectively to people with a cancer diagnosis and health care professionals. Subscribing to the full web site will be money well-spent, for yourself or someone you care about.


II. Recipe and Food Info

(A) Pumpkin Chili - with the early onset of chili (i.e., chilly!) weather, try making this yummy recipe. Don't let the name scare you. This unusual chili is scrumptious and delicious served with a green salad, whole grain bread and some New Zealand kiwifruit. (http://www.cancerrd.com/Recipes/pumpkinchili1.htm)

(B) Tuna-melt the healthy way - I recently read an article on comfort foods that gave me a heart attack reading the ingredients. Here's a recipe make-over so you can eat a delicious tuna-melt sandwich with comfort :-)

1 small can water pack tuna, drained
1/4 cup soft tofu
1/4 large onion - diced small
2 Tbsp. black olive relish or tapenade
2-3 Tbsp. hummus

Mix all the ingredients together. Serve as follows:
4 bagel halves (whole grain),
1 avocado - cut into slices,
1 large fresh tomato sliced into 4 slices,
broccoli sprouts,
4 slices of low-fat cheese or soycheese flavor of your choice.

Preheat broiler. Place avocado slices on the bagels, followed by a generous scoop of the tuna salad, tomato slices, broccoli sprouts, and then a slice of cheese. Pop under broiler until the cheese is bubbly and browned. Enjoy without any guilt as you eat all those healthy fats!!!

(C) Kiwifruit has been determined to be the most nutrient dense fruit of the 26 commonly consumed fruits in the world, with twice as much vitamin C as an orange, being a good source of potassium, fiber, vitamin E, folic acid, and also containing many other vitamins, minerals, and numerous disease fighting phytochemicals. Be sure to eat the seeds and the skin, too. I buy several every time I go to the grocery store. Here are some web sites with recipes using kiwifruit and other New Zealand recipes:

(D) Carrot Dip and Beetroot Dip - Two hummus recipes with a root vegetable base instead of garbanzo beans. These two beautiful and healthful recipes are another way to incorporate more veggies into your diet. Both recipes are graciously shared by Chef Sue Bender, owner of Rocksalt Restaurant in Orewa, New Zealand, where we had a lovely meal. Both my husband and I *licked the platter clean* when first served the beet hummus as an appetizer (called an entreé or starter in New Zealand). Our waitress was so surprised that she asked if we would like to sample another variety of hummus and brought us the carrot dip. By the time she was back to ask how we liked that one, our dish was again *licked clean* :-) These two recipes are very different, but both are simply delicious! They will look beautiful on a buffet table served with small whole wheat pita or crackers. Enjoy, enjoy.

Carrot Dip
2-1/2 # carrots, peeled and chopped in 1-2 inch pieces
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. whole cumin
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. olive oil
small amount of salt and pepper

Roast in oven at 350 degrees all above together until caramelized and soft. Then puree in food processor or blender with the following:
2-3 Tbsp. fresh gingerroot, grated
1-1/2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1-1/2 Tbsp. tahini (sesame seed paste)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup water (add slowly, adjusting to reach consistency desired)
Makes ~ 3 cups. Allow to set several hours for flavors to blend.

Beetroot Dip
2# beetroot - wash well, cut off tops and small root -
Roast in oven at 350 degrees with 1 Tbsp. brown sugar until able
to be pierced through with a fork. Puree in blender or food
processor with the following: (you may wish to first slip the
skins, but I didn't bother since the beets were well washed)
1-1/2 Tbsp. tahini
1 medium clove raw garlic
1-1/2 Tbsp. frozen orange juice
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. water (adjust, adding more or less to reach desired
Makes ~ 2 cups


III. Disaster Planning

So many people were without power recently from either the power blackout in August (that included my city in Michigan) or Hurricane Isabelle. While I was fortunate to only be inconvenienced for ~20 hours, my goal is to be better prepared for any emergency that might last longer in the future.

The Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG) has produced a small booklet called Disaster Planning for Vegetarians, which gives a sample menu for a family of four that does not require refrigeration, cooking, or water to prepare foods. Also included is a list of what can go in a three-day food supply for a family disaster kit.

To receive a copy of Disaster Planning for Vegetarians, send a self addressed envelope with two first class stamps to Disaster Planning, The Vegetarian Resource Group, P.O. Box 1463, Baltimore, MD 21203. Or download the information from the VRG web site: http://www.vrg.org/journal/vj99nov/99bdisaster.htm

In addition, the following web site has many recipes using canned foods: http://www.mealtime.org/

If you haven't yet put some thought into planning for an emergency, I hope this information helps you get you started.


IV. Information for Cancer Caregivers

I recently attended a wedding at which several people in attendance were my friends from the town in which I was living when I had my first breast cancer diagnosis in 1984. Being among those friends again, who had cared for me and my family for nearly a full year, brought back deeply felt gratitude for my caregivers. I realized back in1984 that I could never return the favors in kind, which led to my first understanding that help is meant to be passed on, not re-paid.

A new video entitled "Beyond Flowers: What to Say and Do when Someone You Know has Breast Cancer" is meant for cancer caregivers. Ideas of how to help, and how important help is to dealing with this life-altering event, are well expressed in this documentary, which evoked both joy and tears as I reflected on all the loving help I have received over the years. Ordering information, is available at http://www.betweenus.org/video_synopsis.html. (In spite of the title, the ideas presented are really appropriate for all cancer diagnoses.)

A very good book for caregivers with dozens and dozens of ideas of how to really help a friend or relative with cancer is appropriately titled When Your Friend Gets Cancer: How You Can Help, by Amy Harwell, Harold Shaw Publishers, Wheaton, Illinois. I donated a copy of this book to my church library.


V. Correction from previous newsletter

In my Summer 2003 email newsletter, I mentioned that my favorite cookbook "Recipes from An Ecological Kitchen" by Lorna Sass is out of print. I'm delighted to tell you that a very astute reader, Claire Zurack, wrote to tell me that this book is still in print but with a different title. Look for Lorna Sass' Complete Vegetarian Kitchen. Now you won't have the fun of needing to visit all the used book stores in your locality, but you can have the fun of going right out to purchase this book. Enjoy!


VI. Updated "Nutrition and Physical Activity During and After Cancer Treatment: An American Cancer Society Guide for Informed Choices" - just published in October 2003.

You may access the full text on line directly (or download a pdf file) of the article "Nutrition and Physical Activity During and After Cancer Treatment: An American Cancer Society Guide for Informed Choices", published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, (CA Cancer J Clin 2003; 53:268-291) by going to the following web site: http://caonline.amcancersoc.org/cgi/content/full/53/5/268

You may also access the full text of the accompanying editorial for this important article entitled: "The American Cancer Society Guide for Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Survivors: A Call to Action for Clinical Investigators", by Rowan Chlebowski, MD. (CA Cancer J Clin 2003 53: 266-267) http://caonline.amcancersoc.org/content/vol53/issue5/index.shtml (scroll down and click on the editorial to view the full text on line or download a pdf file.)

Of particular note, Dr. Chlebowski has indicated in his editorial just how few scientific abstracts have been presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncologists' (ASCO) meetings during the past 5 years that relate to nutrition intervention after a cancer diagnosis. Specifically, less than one-tenth of one percent (12 of 15,015) of all abstracts presented during the past five years (including 2003) were relevant to helping the ACS reviewing committee evaluate nutritional interventions after a cancer diagnosis for these guidelines. Dr. Chlebowski clearly states that the lack of rigorous science in this important area is a "call to action" for funding agencies and scientists alike.

I would like to add that this woeful under-representation of rigorous science exploring the effects of nutritional intervention on the outcome of cancer (either in conjunction with or without conventional cancer treatments) can also be a "call to action" for all cancer survivors. Please use the data that Dr. Chlebowski has gathered to help advocate for more funding allocated to this vital area of study. You may express your opinions by writing any or all of the following people:

(1) Your legislators in Washington - find their names and contact info at http://www.senate.gov/ and http://www.house.gov/

(2) Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Andrew C. von Eschenbach, MD,
Phone: 301.496.561
Email: avonesch@mail.nih.gov

(3) NCI's Nutritional Science Research Group Chief
Dr. John Milner
Phone: 301-496-8573
Email: milnerj@mail.nih.gov

(4) NCI's Office of Cancer Survivorship, Program Director
Dr. Julia Rowland
Phone: 301-402-2964
Email: rowlandj@mail.nih.gov

Please don't be shy! All these people are paid with our hard-earned tax dollars. They help decide which research projects our tax dollars are funding and need to hear from you. Please use your voice to let them know (or remind them) about the under-representation and importance of cancer survivorship research. We are a group of nearly 10 million motivated people who would like to have strong scientific data to permit us to make informed decisions about nutrition and other lifestyle choices to help promote both the extension and quality of life after a cancer diagnosis. Expressing your opinion can make a difference. Believe in "the power of one"! "Be the change you wish to see in the world" - Ghandhi.


VII - Book Ordering Information

Both editions of A Dietitian's Cancer Story, the updated and revised edition published in April 2002 (new ISBN is 096672383X) and the Spanish edition published in 2000 (ISBN 0966723821), can be ordered from any bookstore, library, Amazon.com, and directly from the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) by calling 1-800-843-8114 or going to their web site, http://www.aicr.org.

Discounts for orders of 10 or more copies are available for both editions by calling AICR at 1-800-843-8114 - asking to speak to Candis Navarrette. Many cancer centers, health care professional offices, and places of worship have ordered books in larger quantities to have available to give as as educational and support information or to resell.

Bookstores and libraries may order directly from the book wholesalers Ingram or Baker & Taylor.


VIII - Removal from future Email updates from Diana Dyer

I know that life changes with time. Thus, if you are not interested in receiving future updates and announcements from me via Email or have other subscription requests, please Email that information to Newsletter1@CancerRD.com.

(Special Note - Please use this Email address only for subscription information. I do not check it regularly, and thus any personal messages to me may not be read or answered in a timely manner.)

For those of you who choose to remain on this list, be assured that I will never share or sell your name or Email address to anyone.

I send my best wishes to all of you for health, healing, and hope!

Diana Grant Dyer, MS, RD - Author
A Dietitian's Cancer Story (English and Spanish translation)
Available from AICR (call 1-800-843-8114)
My Website: www.CancerRD.com

"Information and inspiration for cancer survivors"

Proceeds donated to the Diana Dyer Cancer Survivors'
Nutrition and Cancer Research Endowment at the
American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR).


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