Margaret came into my office with a spring in her step and a parcel balanced somewhat precariously on her free hand. This was her third consultation. She had presented with breast cancer and a strong desire to do all she could to improve her health herself.
We had discussed her diet and her detox program. She was keen to get started and began by purchasing some of the equipment I had suggested, including a juicer. After a week or so of making herself a litre of vegetable juice each day, she noticed that she was wasting all of the fibre left over from juicing! “A whole Kg of carrots yields one glass of juice and then I throw out this huge pile of orange fibre! It seems such a waste.”
One of the suggestions I gave her included making a ‘raw carrot cake’. She had done just that and brought a sample in for me to try. It was delicious! She had used two cups of carrot pulp plus one cup of almonds and Brazil nuts ground in a food processor. She also added two tablespoons of whey protein powder, sufficient xylitol to get to the desired sweetness and a mixture of spices. She continued to experiment with the recipe in creative ways without writing down what she had done. “I added a bit of vanilla essence, cinnamon, ginger and Chinese five-spice to this one! The good thing about ‘not cooking’ I am discovering is that you can taste the mixture and adjust it right away without waiting until it is cooked to find that you wish you’d added a bit more of this or less of that.”
I also suggested that she ground two tablespoons of organic linseeds, soak them in a half cup of water and then add them to the mix to act as a ‘binder’ to hold the ‘cake’ together. Margaret enjoyed that this new way of eating was tapping into her creative side. “At home, I serve it with the yoghurt-oil mixture that you have recommended and it is fabulous! I am so happy that all of the fibre is not going to waste now.”
I had one further suggestion for her. “You can spread it out on a tray of the dehydrator you have just bought, dehydrate it until it is slightly firmer, and can hold its shape. Then mix some almond butter (or grind and make your own using the juice extractor) and spread that on top as ‘icing’.
She was delighted with the whole concept and agreed that it opened up interesting possibilities to the idea of including a lot more vegetable juice, and much more raw food in her diet.
She planned to come to our next Client Evening which we hold at least once a month, typically on the first Friday of the month. These evenings are free. During the first part of the evening, each person is invited to share their experience of cancer. This sharing provides the opportunity to learn from others experiences and to recognise that they are not alone. Each person is also asked to bring a plate of food to share that is raw, organic and very low starch. In this way, everyone gets to benefit from trying new recipes and this second half of the evening becomes something of a party.
Margaret came to our next Client Evening, as did Fiona. I was amused to see that Fiona had chosen to bring a dish that also focused on using the vegetable fibre left over after juicing. In contrast to Margaret, she had used all the fibre, other than the stringy bits left over from juicing celery. Fiona blended this mixed fibre with ground up nuts and seeds, plus a variety of spices and Tamari. She then used this savoury blend to stuff tomato shells and wedges of red and yellow peppers and served them on a bed of lettuce leaves and alfalfa sprouts.
Inevitably then, the conversation turned to a variety of imaginative ways to create interesting and delicious food that provides the health benefits that are important for those dealing with cancer. Another woman present said that she used the unwanted pulp as ‘mulch’ for her garden, or to make quick compost for her pot plants. Another client shared that she added the pulp to the soups she made for the family, saying that it was the one way she could get good vegetable fibre into her reluctant teenage children.
Margaret had the final say, as people stood up to leave.
“There is one really good thing about this raw food preparation, the washing up is so easy! A quick rinse under the hot top leaves the plates very clean. There are no greasy plates or sticky saucepans to clean! Margaret’s positive outlook was inspiring to the whole group.