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Cook for Your Life Fights Against Breast Cancer
by Ann Ogden on October 3, 2016
by Ann Ogden on October 3, 2016
I am a breast cancer survivor, and increasing survival rates and preventing recurrence of this devastating disease is a cause that is very close to my heart, and to the mission of Cook for Your LIFE.
When I started Cook For Your Life in 2007 I felt that a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables could be cancer-protective. Our programs and website reach to all those touched by cancer, but starting in 2009, we created specific Cook For Your LIFE programs to focus on breast cancer survivors from across the social spectrum of New York City’s cancer community, including offering programs in Spanish. The common thread of these programs was to teach survivors and caregivers, free of charge, how to increase fruit and vegetable consumption in everyday meals while using healthier cooking techniques.
It turns out this was the right direction to take.
Recent studies have shown that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, specifically cruciferous vegetables (kale, broccoli, cabbage, etc.), may not only be breast cancer-protective, but helpful in preventing recurrence. Fruits and vegetables provide phytochemicals, nutrients, and antioxidants that actively combat cancer-causing free-radicals, and may even turn on the genes that help our bodies to resist cancer. And, last but not least, eating a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables can help us maintain a healthy weight – an increasingly important factor in helping prevent breast cancer recurrence and maintaining overall health.
Cook For Your LIFE has been participating in research work too. Since 2010 we have been working in collaboration with researchers at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health on an NIH funded controlled study focusing on Latina breast cancer survivors: ¡Cocinar para su Salud! Using teaching methods CFYL has developed through several pilot programs generously funded by Team Continuum & Aetna and by Susan G. Komen Greater New York City, we wanted to find out if our teaching methods really do help patients to increase their consumption of health-promoting fruits and vegetables. We are excited to say that the published results of our study show that they do! We taught a group of 70 at- risk Latina breast cancer survivors, in Spanish, using culturally adapted recipes and nutrition info. Through the changes they learned to make to their diets, these women not only maintained a measurable increase in fruit and vegetable consumption over the control group, they experienced weight loss too. We are thrilled to be continuing this work with our colleagues at Columbia. This year we started a much larger 5 year NIH funded study among a wider ranging demographic of breast cancer survivors that we hope will show ways our work can be scalable.
But enough from me, it’s time to get into the kitchen! Try a few of our great recipes and enjoy the fabulous foods that can help protect you, help get you through treatment, and keep you healthy.
Fight breast cancer with your forks and Cook For Your LIFE!
Ann Ogden Gaffney
Founder & President