Radiotherapy recipes – food for #prostate and other abdominal #cancer treatments

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The sunbird on the hibiscus, took this yesterday and thought was a nice peaceful photo

I am having to adapt our way of life for 6 weeks while my husband has radiotherapy for some pesky little stray cells that escaped the robotic surgery three and half years ago. The prognosis is good, but the process is painfully slow…

The surgeon tells us we must be very careful not to create gas in the gut as this can effect the precise targeting of the rays (in Singapore they naturally have the most up-to-date equipment). ‘No green vegetables, especially broccoli, cauliflower  and other brassicas; no beer (or champagne I imagine though we don’t mention it!), no pulses of any kind, nothing wholemeal, no fruit for breakfast, especially not papaya, and no granola’  – or anything at all good for you in other words. But we can have courgette, carrot and mushrooms – and lashings of white rice  and pasta of course, things that are really NOT on our normal menu!

No fruit!

No fruit!

I am also undergoing some maintenance acupuncture and consult Dr Ang. Food and diet play an enormous role in Chinese Medicine, he explains. Chinese doctors, unlike western nutritionists who give blanket instructions to their patients, are  much more careful. They will test foods on their  patients for a few days to see if there are any contra-indications – bloating, gas, queasiness – before determining the right type for the condition. Foods are, as you know, predicated on yin (cold) and yang (hot). For prostate cancer he advocates tomatoes (the carotenoid pigment may help prevent cancer by lessening damage caused by free radicals)  in large quantities, mushrooms especially shitake, plus ginger and garlic. The one thing that is absolutely forbidden is RAW vegetables (and this coincides with western medicine as any raw veg will be hard to digest).

Of course you must also pay attention to the immune system which is always weakened by the assault of radiotherapy, and he gives me a list of everyday immunity boosting foods for various types of cancer:

Food Properties Common use
Soy bean Cold Prevents gastric cancer
Tofu Neutral Helps prevent cancer esp. breast cacner
Maize/corn Neutral Detoxes, reducing chances of colon cancer
Sesame seed Neutral General cancer preventer
Kiwi Cold Prevents cancers of oesophagus, stomach, intestines, lung, liver and breast
Fennel Warm Beneficial for colon cancer patients
Mangetout Neutral Anti tumour and good for radiotherapy patients
Cabbage Neutral Helps to protect against colon cancer – but will give you wind!
Tomato Cold Fights free radicals and protects against cancer
Papaya Neutral Good source of beta carotene which helps fight free radicals & protects against cancer
Asparagus Neutral Protects against skin cancer, lymph carcinoma, lung, breast and bladder cancers
Aubergine Cold Use for gastric cancer, lip cancer and cancer of the mammary gland
Pumpkin Warm Lung cancer, carcinoma of ammary gland and cancer of the intestine
Cucumber Col Generally anti cancer esp. oesophagus

He then tells me the story of the Green and White Snake and the lingzhi mushroom, which we must take to boost our immune systems (I have been taking it twice daily for nearly two years now): it is a complicated story especially told by Dr Ang who is beside himself with joy, eyes shining and grinning widely as he recounts the tale. A beautiful lady marries Xu Xian, a young man who shelters her and her sister from the rain.

The White Snake and the Green Snake getting a ride from Xu Xian

The White Snake and the Green Snake getting a ride from Xu Xian

Unknown to him she is in fact a White Snake and will devour him at the time of the Dragon Boat racing.  A monk, Fa Hai comes to warn the husband of his fate and naturally he does not believe him. Of course it comes to pass that she does indeed turn into a snake and he dies of fright. However, she loves him so much that she goes off to the sacred mountain to get a lingzhi mushroom, which is the only thing that will cure him. There she battles demons but eventually obtains the mushroom and he is saved. But the story does not have happy ending (it is a famous Peking Opera) as the lovers are split by the monk again and the White Snake disappears for ever, until her sister, the Green Snake, avenges her centuries later and her spirit is released.

‘If Chinese Doctor not know this story then he is not proper doctor,’ he says with a flourish as the tale finishes and he pops in the final needle.

the legend has been made into films, plays, cartoons and opera

The legend has been made into films, plays, cartoons and opera

Anyway back to the new eating regime:

I have been doing a lot of one-pot steaming and of fish on  beds of  ‘good’ vegetables like asparagus, aubergine, carrot and courgette,  with extra turmeric, ginger and garlicserved with white rice. For this I have adapted the following recipes:

Fragrant steamed fish; Thai steamed fish,  Cantonese poached fish

Steamed fish with shitake mushrooms

Steamed fish with shitake mushrooms and aubergine

I have also been steaming chicken in the same way – this recipe is specially immunity boosting.

The Singapore laksa and Malaysian laksa are good, as are the chicken soups with rice noodles that are weekly staples, with and without tofu and added seafood or fish

.singapore-laksa

Fusion chicken noodle soup

Fusion chicken noodle soup

I am also busy making fresh tomato sauce with basil for pasta which I am freezing and he can eat when I am away in Cambodia in a week or so.

Finally, I had a mountain of left-over rice after a supper party, and made a very delicious stir fried rice with omelette.

So think of us as we chomp our way through basically uninteresting food striving to make it both tasty, nutritious and immunity-boosting!

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