Monday, June 11, 2012

Guest Blogger - Jillian McKee

Jillian McKee is my guest blogger today and she has great advice on how going veg can help if you and/or someone you love is battling cancer or if you'd like to keep cancer away!

Bringing a wealth of personal and professional experience to the organization, Jillian McKee has worked as the Complementary Medicine Advocate at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance since June of 2009.

Jillian spends most her time on outreach efforts and spreading information about the integration of complementary and alternative medicine when used in conjunction with traditional cancer treatment.

Read more about Jillian and her organization here.

Vegetarianism and Cancer

The benefits of a vegetarian diet are undeniable: from improved appearance to reduced risk of cancer and heart disease, a plant-based diet can have an enormous impact on health and wellness. For individuals who have already been diagnosed with cancer, a vegetarian diet can be the key to better health, whether the person has just been diagnosed, is currently in treatment or in remission

As with any healthy eating plan, vegetarian diets should be well-balanced and full of variety. The following foods will ensure better health, energy and quality of life.

Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are typically the biggest part of a vegetarian diet. These foods are high in nutrients and low in fat, calories, sodium, cholesterol and other harmful substances. They also provide energy and help the body run more effectively and efficiently.

Whole Grains
Whole grains provide the body with lasting energy, and are a healthier option to other types of carbohydrates. Barley, oats, quinoa, brown rice, and other whole grains provide protein and fiber, as well as essential amino acids and other vitamins and minerals.

Protein is an essential part of any diet. It provides energy, strength and the ability to fight infection.  A common misconception concerning plant-based diets is that they don't provide enough protein to sustain good health. This is simply untrue. In fact, vegetarian protein options provide all the great benefits of meat, but without all the fat and cholesterol.

The following foods are all great sources of meat-free protein:

All beans, peas, lentils and legumes are excellent sources of protein. They're also high in fiber, antioxidants and vitamins and minerals, and can be prepared many different ways.

Nuts and seeds
These types of food make excellent snacks, as they boost energy and provide the body with necessary healthy fats.

Soy is a staple of most vegetarian diets. It's full of protein and antioxidants and is a great alternative to both meat and dairy. A few popular soy-based products include tofu, edamame, soy nuts, soy milk, soy yogurt and even soy ice cream.

Green vegetables provide protein and fiber, as well as calcium, potassium and other important vitamins and minerals. Certain greens, such as spinach and kale, have even been called super foods! A fun and creative way to get more greens into a diet is to blend them with fruits and yogurt to make a delicious and nutritious smoothie.

The term "food is medicine" can take on a whole new meaning for people with cancer. By following a vegetarian meal plan, individuals with mesothelioma, breast cancer and other illnesses can help take a proactive approach to healing. A balanced plant-based diet will provide benefits such as increased energy, quicker healing after treatments or surgery, improved body function, better overall health and greatly increased quality of life. 

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