At Cook For Your Life it’s our mission to teach healthy cooking to people touched by cancer. We turn nutrition guidelines into practical, easy recipes that are designed specifically for the different stages of treatment, and to promote healthy survivorship. Cook for Your Life is not about food as medicine, nor food to cure, it is about the simple, good food that nourishes and comforts us during treatment. It is about the foods cancer patients crave. Good food gives our bodies the strength we need to get through hard days, the courage to stay healthy when treatment is over, and comfort when our soul needs it most.
Cook For Your Life started in 2007 after founder, Ann Ogden, was in treatment for her second cancer diagnosis, triple negative breast cancer. Ann took a break from her successful career in fashion to focus on her treatment. Suddenly immersed in the world of hospitals and cancer treatment, she became aware of how little her chemo buddies knew about healthy food. Growing up with an Italian mother from a family of chefs and a father who was a Master Baker she was easily able to adapt recipes to help her cope with side effects and eat well even on the worst days. But for her treatment friends it was a different story. She started giving cooking tips and advice, which eventually led to her first free hands-on cooking class.
From these small beginnings, Cook For Your Life free hands-on cooking programs have directly served over 9,500 patients in the NYC area. CFYL continues a long-term collaboration with researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health on NIH funded research projects that explore dietary behaviors in cancer survivors. Ann is a peer reviewed and published co-author on several papers resulting from this work.
CFYL recently partnered with Drexel University to expand our monthly cooking program at the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge NYC to their Hope Lodge in Philadelphia.
To bring the warm atmosphere of our classes to a wider audience, and to maintain support for those closer to home, CFYL created a subscription-free website that launched in February 2012. Now with over 1,000 recipes that are easy to make and full of the nutrients and vitamins needed both during and after treatment, and video classes that show how to cook them, the website and the associated social networks serve as a platform for education and ongoing support for all in the cancer community wherever they may live. Each month, over 200,000 people use the site, and number that continues to grow.
Taking care of one’s health is always important, but during cancer treatment it’s crucial. Eating a balanced diet of healthy, nourishing food is vital to mitigating the rigors of cancer treatment and to healthy survivorship. It’s our goal to make that easier