Cancer and cuisine: Tips for leading a healthier life

January 31, 2014 | by Valerie Zapanta

City of Hope recently hosted two free Ask the Experts events, titled "Cancer and Cuisine," focusing on the benefits of healthy eating, physical activity and weight management, as well as easy-to-make healthy recipes.

Here are some quick tips from both programs:

  • Select a rainbow of fruits and vegetables for nutrient diversity.
  • Do not focus on single nutrients, because the nutrients in food work together to create health and fight off disease.
  • Dark, leafy green vegetables are the most nutrient-rich food on the planet.
  • Exercise regularly, and try to exercise three to four hours a week.
  • Watch your weight.

The first Ask the Experts event was held at the newly opened City of Hope | Antelope Valley practice. The video above features Vijay Trisal, M.D., medical director of community practices for the City of Hope Medical Foundation, and guest speaker, Katja Wargin, certified holistic health counselor.


Wargin prepared a healthy and easy-to-make green smoothie:

Ingredients (Makes 6 servings):

6 cups fresh baby spinach or kale 1 1/2 cups fresh or drained canned pineapple chunks or pears 3 cups green grapes 1 1/2 bananas 1 1/2 cups water 1 1/2 cups ice

Instructions: Blend all ingredients together. Add more ice for a thicker smoothie.

The second Ask the Experts program took place at City of Hope in Duarte, Calif. The video below features Leslie Bernstein, Ph.D., R.N., professor and director of City of Hope’s Division of Cancer Etiology, and guest speaker and sous chef Junior Perez from Tender Greens Hollywood.

Perez prepared a quinoa salad that he eats regularly.

Ingredients (Makes 8 to 12 servings):

1 large red beet 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided Salt and pepper 3 cups black or red quinoa 1/4 cup lemon juice 1/4 cup chopped dill 3 whole radishes, shaved or thinly sliced 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely diced

Instructions: ·    Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place the beet on a sheet of foil and drizzle over 1 teaspoon oil and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cover the beet in foil, and roast for 1 hour or until a knife pierces the beet easily. Peel the beet while it's hot and set aside until cool. Finely dice the beet and set aside 1/2 cup cooked beet for the salad. (Remaining beet can be saved and used as desired.)

·    Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Rinse quinoa thoroughly. Place quinoa in boiling water and cook until it's no longer opaque (the little tendrils will unravel as the quinoa softens). Drain and spread out on a rimmed baking sheet to cool. You should have about 4 cups quinoa.

·    In a large bowl, toss the quinoa with the remaining one-fourth cup olive oil and lemon juice; add dill, radishes, cucumber and beet. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper, or to taste. This makes about 8 cups of quinoa salad.

** Sign up for our next Ask the Experts program, "HPV and Links to Cancer," on Feb. 20 to learn about related cancers, importance of awareness and symptoms.

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