In my efforts to eat a plant-based diet, you all know that I have been perusing all kinds of vegetarian and vegan cookbooks. I see the use of butternut squash in a lot of recipes and I have taken the big leap of faith and actually purchased one, without ever having cooked one previously, nor having a clue of what I would do with it once I got it home. It’s a bit daunting, sitting there on the kitchen counter, although it seems so autumn-ish.
I spent some time on the Internet and managed to find two recipes that seemed a) appealing and b) easy to make. The first recipe is a butternut-squash-and-potato latke and the other is a casserole. I think I will make them both tomorrow, eating the latkes first and saving the casserole for Tuesday. Hopefully my taste buds cooperate because both sound really good (of course, I have low expectations because I don’t even know what a butternut squash tastes like!).
I know there are many who still question my migration to a plant-based diet, but it is in the name of health and preventing cancer from ever returning. In every book I read, every documentary I watch, the message is the same. I’ve been reading “The Cancer Survivor’s Guide: Foods that help you fight back” and it’s a reminder of why I started this food journey in the first place. Here is a sampling of the reasons:
- Diets high in fiber and low in fat tend to reduce estrogen in the body. For someone with an estrogen-fed tumor, reduced estrogen seems like a good idea.
- Dairy products tend to boost insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) which has been linked to breast and ovarian cancer.
- Cooked meats generate cancer-causing heterocyclic amines.
- Antioxidants fight cancer and are found mainly in vegetables and fruit.
- I feel fuller and eat fewer calories on a plant-based diet.
- I feel better and actually attribute much of my handling of chemo to my diet.
Not an all-inclusive list, but hopefully enough for people to understand that this is about long-term survival for me, so I’ll do what it takes. The good news is I feel better, am having more success with weight loss, and I actually enjoy what I’m eating, so it’s really not a chore. Definitely an adjustment to re-learn how to cook different foods, but in the long run, hopefully it helps us all.