Gather the Abundance

It’s October ~ the harvest season and time for Baltimore’s annual Race for the Cure to raise awareness of and funds for breast cancer treatment, and prevention, and to celebrate breast cancer survivors.

The harvest season is a great time for the Race for the Cure because it unites two powerful cancer-prevention strategies:  nutrition and exercise.  According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, one of every two men, and one in three women over the age of 50 today will develop some form of cancer at some point in life – about 77 million people.  According to their analysis of over 4,500 studies, the AICR has formulated the following guidelines for cancer prevention:  1)  Choose a diet rich in a variety of plant-based foods (whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables).  2)  Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables (at least 7 servings a day ~ mix colors to get a wide variety of cancer-preventing nutrients) and washthoroughly.  3)  Maintain a healthy weight and be physically active (be particularly aware of your waist-to-hip ratio, and exercise 4-6 days a week).  4)  Drink alcohol in moderation or not at all (even a single glass of wine can raise estrogen levels!).  5)  Select foods low in fat and salt (this eliminates nearly all “fast food”).  6)  Prepare and store foods safely (limit grilling, broiling and “blackening” meat and fish – this produces carcinogens).  7)  Do not use tobacco in any form.

In addition, it should be noted that anyone with a history of cancer or at high risk for developing cancer, is encouraged to eliminate meat and poultry, and most dairy products due to the use of hormones and their possible effect upon humans.

Also, it is very important to know which fruits and vegetables are most likely to be contaminated with pesticides, so that you can choose organic; strawberries, bell peppers, spinach, U.S. cherries, Mexican cantaloupe, celery, apples, apricots, green beans, Chilean grapes, cucumbers.  This information and other very useful dietary information (and much more) is presented in A Dietitian’s Cancer Story by Diane Dyer, MD, RD.  Her website is: and contains healthy recipes as well as answers to frequently asked questions; and her book may be ordered by calling 1-800-843-8114 (partial proceeds go to AICR).  Her book contains hundreds of tips useful to anyone interested in a healthy lifestyle.  There is a grocery list, suggestions for meal selections in a variety of restaurants, and dozens of resources for anyone facing a cancer diagnosis.  (The author is a three-time cancer survivor!)

So use this time of harvest to gather the abundance of delicious and nutritious food to your table, and take advantage of the cooler weather to enjoy nature while you walk, jog, run, cycle, roller-blade, or play outdoor sports.  And congratulations to all of you who are doing the Race for the Cure!