Anyone who knows me knows that I have a natural gift: being able to complicate even the most basic and simple things. Imagine, then, if something is already complex on its own…
Therefore I find it necessary to explain the categorization I have chosen for my recipes. It may be that those who have already visited the page where I display all of them are now a bit confused. Through the definitions chosen in this blog I wanted to emphasize the importance of re-learning how to cook and eat things WITHOUT a large part of the ingredients that tend characterize our diet nowadays. I have deliberately omitted the definition ‘vegetarian’ or ‘vegan’, because I prefer to talk about a healthy diet without labels. This is also because, based on the knowledge that I have accumulated so far, I can say that there isn’t a type of diet that is in itself healthy. At the moment I follow the guidelines provided by the Institute of Cascina Rosa, linked to the National Cancer Institute of Milan; its DIANA project follows women who have been affected by breast cancer, and helps them to change their lifestyle. Listening to the words of Prof. Berrino, taking part in cooking classes and reading a lot, I came to the conclusion that there is nothing of which we absolutely need to deprive ourselves. We just need to restore a certain balance between the foods that we ingest, a balance that is now lost because of the ease and abundance with which we are able to supply ourselves with food. This is especially true in relation to our sedentary lifestyle. With this I don’t mean to say that we can continue eating everything we want and as we have always done, because the change itself is fairly radical.
What should we eat, then?
Put simply: we must re-learn how to feed ourselves mainly on vegetables and fruit (the latter in smaller quantities than the former), legumes, whole grains, nuts and oilseeds, to a lesser extent fish. Meat should only be eaten occasionally, especially if it’s red meat; cheese, too, as it’s very rich in fats. In general, however, it is important to get used to eating less protein than we are used to nowadays.
Without going too much into the merits of an anti-cancer diet, I can say that what is really good for our health comes from the earth, especially if it has not been changed, deprived of any of its parts or refined – that is to say, still close to its “natural” state. Secondly, the rule is: TO VARY. Do not attach yourself to a particular food, even if it is a “superfood”! If we regularly eat different things, we can enjoy the healing properties of each of them without reaching that point when they become harmful for us. Everything we ingest on a daily basis instead can eventually give us problems. For example, just think of the progressive increase in cases of celiac disease, due to the abundance and poor quality of refined wheat flour used nowadays in many foods we eat.
Referring to this I can begin to explain my reasoning behind the chosen categories. Below are the things that we should learn to try to abstain from – not forever, but for most of the time. I try to do it at least 6 days out of 7; maybe one day I’ll get even better.
01. without sugar
White sugar, or sucrose, as well as sugar cane, is the first thing we need to learn to deprive us in our daily diet. Let’s say that the more sugar we have in our blood the more we help stimulating the formation and growth of cancer. A cancer cell in fact works much more inefficient compared to a healthy cell and needs about 20 times more sugar to reproduce itself. Sugar should not be replaced but should be completely eliminated. The only way to sweeten that could be considered not harmful to our health involves the use of fruit, fresh or dried. In the future we will see why.
Keep in mind that, unfortunately, sugar, and even worse glucose syrup, is found in almost everything that is industrially produced. Take attention to the labels!
02. without refined flour
Also belonging to the chapter sugar: to deprive the latter also means depriving ourselves of those foods that, like sucrose, are converted quickly into sugar in our blood. Did you know that a blood glucose level of 100 g white bread corresponds to 100 g of white sugar? And the same thing goes for white rice and potatoes. This should give the idea. Like sugar, also refined wheat flour is used in almost all the industrially produced foods. Anyway, all types of (white) refined flour have a high glycemic index (GI). We need to learn to replace them daily with whole grains.
03. without wheat
As I said previously we need to learn to eat less refined wheat flour. Replacing it with refined flour of other cereals does not make much sense from the point of view of health (also spelt white flour raises our sugar level and it does not contain all the nutrients present in the bran and middlings). So these should also be used as whole grains. In any case, it is very important to vary and because of this I want to show that there are many alternatives to wheat, in refined form or not.
Eating gluten-free does not necessarily mean eating healthy. However, almost all the things we eat nowadays contain gluten. This chapter may be useful to those who wish to vary from time to time, as well as those who are intolerant.
05. without yeast
Here for yeast we refer to brewer’s yeast (baker’s yeast/bakker’s gist), which is originally a natural product obtained from the fermentation of corn for the production of beer and wine. Nowadays, the commercial yeast is produced on substrates made from sugar beet molasses. Brewer’s yeast is less digestible than sourdough. Such as sugar and refined wheat flour, it is at the base of many industrially produced foods we eat nowadays, and, probably for this reason, many people have become intolerant.
06. without meat
We need to restrict or better eliminate from our table the use of meat, in particularly red meat, and especially if preserved (like sausage, see the WCRF ‘s recommendations for cancer prevention). This does not mean we all have to become a vegetarian, because fish is still a food that we can occasionally safely eat.
07. without dairy
There are several studies linking the excessive consumption of dairy products and animal fats to breast cancer and prostate cancer. Because of this we should definitely limit the consumption of milk and cheese, which in addition to containing a lot of animal proteins have a very high fat content. These recipes are not necessarily vegetarian for the possible presence of fish or meat (preferably chicken or turkey).
08. without meat and dairy
Even these recipes are not necessarily vegetarian for the possible presence of fish.
09. without meat, dairy and eggs
Eggs are rich in protein and cholesterol, because of this we should not eat them too often. These recipes are not necessarily vegan for the possible presence of fish.
10. without meat, fish, dairy products and eggs
These are totally plant-based recipes (vegan), with low fat and protein. The progression I have chosen seems to indicate that the most correct diet is vegan. It ‘s true in broad terms, although this still allows the use of sugar, margarine (rich in trans-fats, more harmful than butter!), potatoes, and refined grains. In short, we are not there yet …
11. without… nothing!
These recipes have none of the things listed above. They are totally vegetal, sugar-free, and possibly accompanied by unleavened whole grain or sourdough. We can say that there can not hurt! Beware, though: this does not mean that we should necessarily only eat these. For sure these are the recipes that we should mainly feed ourself with to keep us fit and contribute – as far as possible – to the prevention of cancer and other chronic diseases.
12. without… limits!
And after being so good … allow ourselves to eat something forbidden! If it remains an exception and it is not a binge, it can not harm us. After all, we can not deprive ourselves of everything because of the fear of the disease. I remain of the opinion that to heal we need to nourish our soul over the body, and the joy given to us by a food even a little unhealthy, if consumed occasionally, can help us in this. At least this is my opinion…