Fighting Cancer with Really Good Food

Good nutrition is important for everyone, but it is really important for cancer patients—including men undergoing or recovering from treatment for prostate cancer.

“Your body is in overdrive fighting the cancer,” says Richard Bevan-Thomas, M.D., medical director of USMD Prostate Cancer Center. “It is also repairing healthy cells that may be damaged as a side effect of treatments like chemotherapy and radiation. A healthy diet strengthens your immune system, helping prevent a secondary infection.”

Today, cancer patients in Tarrant County have easy access to the delicious, nutritious food they need thanks to the late Wendy Wilkie, the founder of Cuisine for Healing.  When Wendy learned her Stage IV breast cancer had spread to her liver, bone marrow and spleen, her doctor offered a grim prognosis. “She told me the average life expectancy was two years. I said, ‘Well, I’m not average,’” Wilkie recounts in a video on the Cuisine for Healing website.

The 46-year-old single mother had a lot to live for—especially her two children ages 10 and 13. 
Originally diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999, she’d already been battling the Big C for four years. She’d endured five blood transfusions, nine months of chemotherapy and numerous scans and biopsies. She began researching nutrition and how it could boost her immune system without taxing her body further.

Food Fight
The connection between nutrition and cancer is well-documented. Of the nearly 600,000 Americans who die each year of cancer, the American Cancer Society reports that about one-third of these deaths are linked to poor diet, physical inactivity and carrying too much weight.

Despite the evidence, Wendy still found it difficult to find food that was “clean”—free of harmful additives—even at the grocery store.

“I was reading labels on everything, mainly to ensure that I didn’t ingest any hormones, antibiotics, preservatives and most important, sugar,” Wilkie explains.

Wilkie knew other cancer patients were facing the same challenges she had: difficulty finding the healthy foods they needed, and trouble shopping for and preparing meals when their strength was zapped from treatment. She decided to do something about it, and Cuisine for Healing was born.

“Cuisine for Healing is all about making nutritious, delicious food readily available to cancer patients and people fighting disease through our outreach and retail food programs,” says Sue Austin, president and chief executive officer of the Fort Worth based nonprofit. “We also educate caregivers and the community about the power of healing food. It’s our hope that one day we can live in a world where cancer and other life-threatening illnesses can be prevented, treated and even eliminated through the power of healthy food.”

Eliminating Toxic Ingredients
Every offering on the menu meets Cuisine for Healing’s U.S. Registered Mark certification guidelines: the meals are made from organic ingredients, when possible, and are free of harmful ingredients, including:

  • Hormones
  • Antibiotics
  • Herbicides 
  • Refined sugar
  • Artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners 
  • Preservatives
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • Refined oils
  • Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils
  • Trans fats
  • Farm raised fish
  • Soy products

Just as importantly, none of the dishes are fried, char-grilled or prepared using plastics or styrofoam—all known for releasing dangerous carcinogens that are linked to cancer.

Foods are prepared fresh twice per week by chefs in the Cuisine for Healing kitchen. Meals are available for pick up on Tuesdays and Fridays at the Cuisine for Healing office at 1450 8th Avenue in Fort Worth. Home delivery service is also available to residents in Tarrant County for a nominal charge.  

Feeding the Body and Spirit
Through its outreach program, Cuisine for Healing provides low-income cancer patients with two fresh, healthy meals seven days per week for four to twelve weeks at no cost. The meals can be picked up or delivered free of charge to qualifying outreach clients by Cuisine for Healing volunteers. For every two meals purchased, Cuisine for Healing is able to provide one meal to a person in need. 

Because all of the meals have been developed to help the body heal as quickly as possible, USMD Prostate Cancer Center often recommends it to patients.

“Research shows that a diet low in fat and high in fiber can slow prostate cancer cell growth by up to 30 percent,” Dr. Bevan-Thomas says. “Cuisine for Healing ensures patients get the optimal balance of proper nutrition.”

As important as eating healthy is, doing so is often a challenge because cancer patients can have a diminished appetite.
Cuisine for Healing’s online shopping cart (http://www.cuisineforhealing.org/buy-food) makes it easy to view menu items and order food online—eliminating the stress of grocery shopping and meal preparation for individuals undergoing or recovering from treatment.
The menus changes frequently, but always includes a delicious variety of dishes made with locally grown and processed grass-fed beef; free-range chicken and turkey; ocean-caught fish and shrimp; organic vegetables and fruits (locally grown when possible); organic whole grains and seeds; pastas made from organic whole grains or seeds; organic, hormone-free dairy products and eggs; soup stocks prepared with beef bones, the whole bird or fish; and house-prepared salad dressings, mayo and sauces.
A sampling of chef-prepared offerings include:

  • Orange Cranberry Pumpkin Muffins
  • Roasted Turkey with Brown Gravy, Whipped Sweet Potatoes & Green Bean Almandine
  • Chicken Salad on Greens with Asparagus
  • Tortilla, Black Bean & Beef Barley Soups
  • Sweet and Sour Shrimp with Brown Rice
  • Veggie Enchiladas with Green Sauce, Black Beans and Brown Rice
  • Lemon Chicken, Spinach, Brown Rice & Veggie Medley
  • Peanut Butter Protein Poppers
  • Blonde Coconut Macaroons with Cranberries

“A lot of times people still have the notion that if food is healthy, it doesn’t taste good. We love creating flavorful dishes that people really enjoy,” says head chef Karon Constance.
 
Healthy Eating Made Simple
Along with its retail and outreach food programs, Cuisine for Healing is also dedicated to educating patients, caregivers and the greater community about healthy eating.

“People often struggle with how to shop, prepare and feed themselves or a loved one diagnosed with cancer or other life-threatening disease,” says Austin. “It can be a very different way of eating. Through community education, cooking classes, online resources and free recipes on our website, we try to make good nutrition part of people’s every day lifestyle.”

As Cuisine for Healing continues to touch the lives of a growing number of people, it’s a testament to Wilkie’s heartfelt desire to help others. Although she ultimately lost her battle to cancer in 2008, her legacy lives on—helping countless cancer patients and others give their bodies the nutrition they need to fight disease and thrive.  
 
You can learn more about Cuisine for Healing at www.cuisineforhealing.org.

To make an
appointment.

Contact us online or Call 1-888-PROSTATE.
 
Our Locations
Take A Tour
Meet Our Physicians
Patient Navigator
USMD in The News
USMD in The Media
Upcoming Events

Urology Website Design | Websites for Doctors Urologists by Vital Element, Inc.