The “C” word that really hurts doesn’t have four letters, it has six. It seems like it is everywhere sometimes, and not just because people are living long enough to get cancer. Far too many are struggling with this disease. The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen, 2nd ed. is a book for all of us, those who never want to get on the cancer train, those in the midst of that journey, and those who have made it to the other side and don’t want to go down that road again

The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen, 2nd ed. is a book rooted in science and peer review, not anecdotes and quackery. It’s  not magic, they don’t promise miracles, but what they do promise you can rely on. Because it’s rooted in science, it’s practical. They aren’t going to tell you to eat blueberries at every meal of the day. It’s about eating a healthy, diverse diet of foods that encourage good health and discourage cancer growth.

When people take chemo, it can seem as though the treatment is worse than the disease. Chemo kills white blood cells, the mechanism for fighting infection. Leukopenia is common side effect, making the person with cancer susceptible to opportunistic infections even from the common bacteria that is party of our body’s natural fauna. All of a sudden, they can’t eat berries and celery and other raw fruits and vegetables that aren’t safely sealed inside a peel that keeps bacteria out. Sores in their mouths make some foods painful. Fighting cancer in the kitchen is not just about building up strength, but also about accommodating the side effects of treatment.

I am awed by the amount of thought and attention to detail that went into this book. There are recipe recommendations for different side effects from anemia to sore mouth. There’s suggested menus for before treatment, the day of treatment and after treatment. There is even quick fixes for when people’s taste buds act up and food flavors are off, suggestions such as adding some lemon juice if the food tastes too salty. There is a list of foods and spices and how they affect health. The authors recognize that not everyone can afford to buy organic everything, so they provide a list of those fruits and vegetables that you don’t really need to buy organic. This is not a restrictive, limiting cookbook. There are recipes with meat and with fat because this is not about fads, it’s about good nutrition.

It’s also about food that looks and tastes good. There are delicious recipes for soups, salads, veggies dishes, burgers, roasts, snacks and dips, teas, granita, elixirs and broths. The pictures are gorgeous and mouth-watering. You would want this cookbook for the recipes even if they did not promote good heath.

5-stars

This book is important, not just to those who have cancer now, but to those who want to promote healthy eating to do as much as they can to prevent cancer, and for those who have survived cancer and don’t want another ride on that train. I wanted to read this book because my sister had cancer and struggled so much with the side effects, sore mouth, neutropenia (like leukopenia) and steroid-induced paralysis. When I received the book several months ago, I would call my sister and share some tips and suggestions, though she eventually promised to request the first edition from the library.

She died in November and to be honest, it’s a little hard to review this book because I wanted so badly for her to have this newest and best information in her hands. We all expected her to have more time. She was a great cook and a professional nutritionist herself, so she was interested and planned to read it as soon as it came out. I am glad, though, that other people will have this resource. I would recommend everyone have it, not just people with cancer, but those who want to avoid it. Also, when friends, family, or co-workers have cancer, you can look up ideas in the book and bring them a soup or broth or hotdish that will not just feed them, but help them with their treatment. Best of all, it will taste good.

The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen, 2nd ed. will be released on February 14th. I was provided an advance e-galley from the publisher through NetGalley

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