[Guest Post] Adopting a Plant-Based Diet
This is a guest post by Tristina Brown, MS, RD, CSO. Ms. Brown is the registered dietitian at CentraCare’s Coborn Cancer Center. She’s a board-certified specialist in oncology nutrition. She designs individual nutrition plans for patients based on individual needs. She is a frequent contributor to Survivorship Momentum – a quarterly newsletter for cancer survivors created and distributed by the Coborn Cancer Center.
Eating healthy is important for everyone, but even more vital for someone going through cancer when your immune system is at its weakest. A growing body of evidence even suggests that eating healthy can reduce the risk of reoccurrence.
Adopting a plant-based diet does not mean becoming vegetarian, but instead limiting animal foods and consuming more plant-based foods. Plant-based diets may include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds, as well as small amounts of dairy products and lean animal protein such as fish, chicken and lean cuts of beef or pork. Consuming a plant-based diet can help lower your risk of cancer, heart disease and other chronic diseases, help manage diabetes and lower your blood pressure. Plant foods also tend to be much lower in calories.
Tips for getting more plant-based foods into your diet:
- Cover 2/3 of your plate with whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables and 1/3 of your plate with fish, poultry, meat or low-fat dairy foods.
- Think color! Try to consume a minimum of five fruits and vegetables per day whether fresh, canned, frozen or dried.
- Consider going meatless for at least one meal per week.
- Limit consumption of red meat and avoid processed meats such as cold cuts, bacon, sausage and hot dogs that contain carcinogens.
Mushrooms: A great source for valuable nutrients
While most mushrooms are available year round, many are at their peak in the fall and winter. Portobello mushrooms are known for their meaty flavor and can be used as a meat substitute. Low in calories and with no saturated fat or cholesterol, portobellos are also packed with nutrients and vitamins.
After removing the stem from the cap, wash both sides with a wet paper towel. Next, drizzle with oil, Italian dressing and other seasonings you like, such as garlic. Then grill or broil each side for a couple of minutes.
Try the following:
- Fill the mushroom cap with pesto, then top with mozzarella or parmesan cheese and grill or broil until warm and cheese is melted;
- Fill with wild rice, chive and onion cream cheese and top with cheddar cheese, grilling or broiling until warm and cheese is melted;
- Boil with potatoes, drain, then mash, adding cream of mushroom soup and salt/pepper to taste;
- Use in place of beef in stroganoff or other recipes.
Go to this link to view and print a healthy grocery shopping list!