Sunday, August 4, 2013

REVIEW: The Anti-Breast Cancer Cookbook by Julia B. Greer

I won this book through LibraryThing, and the reason I opted to try to win it is because of my knowledge that I'm at a higher risk for breast cancer, due to never having had children and carrying a few extra pounds. This cookbook lists your risk factors:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Family History
  • Personal History of Breast Cancer
  • Race
  • Dense Breast Tissue
  • A Diagnosis of Lobular Carcinoma in Situ
  • Age at Menarche and Menopause
  • Mantle Field Radiation at a Young Age
  • Not Having Children
  • Recent Use of Birth Control
  • Using Hormone Replacement Therapy after Menopause
  • Not Breastfeeding
  • Consuming Alcohol
  • Being Overweight or Obese
  • Lack of Exercise
  • Diet
Cancer experts are uncertain whether any level of alcohol consumption is safe for women. Alcohol promotes breast cancer by increasing circulating estrogen levels. (p. 21)
The book then extensively describes the connection between an unhealthy diet and breast cancer, and what you can do to change this, such as:
  • The hormones found in meat and milk may increase your risks. However organic milk may be far better for you than conventional milk, as it has been shown to have higher levels of omega-3 as well as CLA, which may help decrease body fat, lower blood sugar levels and diminish growth of breast tumors. (I just recently started taking CLA supplements).
  • Antioxidants protect cells from damage caused by free radicals, which may come from things like sunlight, cigarette smoke, and charred meat. "Free radical damage to cells may lead to DNA damage, which can contribute to cancer risk. Antioxidants interact with and stabilize free radicals, thereby preventing some of the damage free radicals might cause." Some great sources of antioxidants are cereals, nuts, legumes, sweet potatoes, dark orange, yellow and green vegetables, wine, tea, citrus, tomatoes, and so many other great food sources.
  • Cruciferous vegetables contain certain compounds that are "effective in keeping cancers from occurring as well as in slowing the growth of tumors that are already present. In breast cancer, cruciferous vegetables help trigger cell death and alter estrogen metabolism." Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, and arugula.
The book then moves into recipes that are great for preventing breast cancer, or even shrinking tumors. Many vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free recipes are included and labeled.
Whole grains are rich in fiber and cancer-fighting nutrients and decrease the risk of developing diabetes. Go wheat, not white, for bread and pasta, and always choose whole grain. (p. 22)

I made the recipe for Pecan-Apple Sweet Potatoes, which is vegan and gluten-free.

Pecan-Apple Sweet Potatoes


3 pounds (about 6-7) sweet potatoes
Nonstick cooking spray
5 apples (any combination of Fuji, Braeburn, Empire or Rome Beauty will work well), peeled, cored and sliced into large, thin pieces
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup water
3 tbs nonhydrogenated buttery spread (such as Smart Balance or Fleischmann's Olive Oil Spread)
1 1/2 tbs cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/3 cup pecans, chopped


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place potatoes in a large pot and cover by 2 inches with water. (I instead peeled and sliced the potatoes into 1/2 thick slices before boiling, to speed up cooking time.) Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20-25 minutes (test tenderness by cutting into a large piece with a knife). Remove from heat, drain water, and let dry on paper towels. Let potatoes cool until they can be touched and peeled. Spray a large casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Cut potatoes into 1/2-inch-thick slices and alternate with the apple slices in the casserole. In a saucepan, place sugar, water, nonhydrogenated spread, cornstarch, and salt; bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until thickened. Pour mixture over potatoes and apples. Sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. (I didn't have any nutmeg, so rather than do these three separate spices, I opted to just sprinkle on some Pumpkin Pie Spice instead.) Top with pecans. Bake until lightly browned and fragrant, about 1 hour. Let cool or serve immediately. This dish is delicious, warm or cold, the second day. Makes 10 servings.

Nutritional Information per serving:

Calories: 190
Fat: 4g
Saturated fat: less than 1g
Carbohydrate: 37g
Total sugars: 18g
Protein: 2g
Sodium: 150mg
Cholesterol: 0mg
Dietary fiber: 4g

Of course, I forgot to take pictures, but this turned out delish! This is a really forgiving dish, allowing you to easy make small switches and alterations, and you can even do as I did and turn the heat up to 450 degrees for the final 10-15 minutes (so I could cook another dish), and then even continued cooking it beyond the 1 hour mark. It came out great! The apples and potatoes almost melted in your mouth, the pecans added some nice crunch. Very good! It would probably have been good with a little coconut sprinkled on top in the last few minutes as well, to toast just a little.

Concentrate on eating fewer animal products and more plant-derived foods. (p. 22)
My final word: I'm very happy with this cookbook! There are a bunch more recipes for me to try yet, like Quinoa with Black Beans, Corn and Shrimp Salad, and BBQ Wild Salmon. If I were to have any complaints, it would probably be the lack of color photos of the cooked dishes (I love full-color cookbooks!), and the cheap binding which appears would fall apart without too much use. (It's already coming loose on me.) But as for being an informative cookbook for the prevention of breast cancer, with delicious recipes...SUCCESS!

Buy Now:

Barnes and Noble

My Rating:


I won a copy of this book through LibraryThing Early Reviewers in exchange for my honest opinion.

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