Healthy Holiday Recipes for Mesothelioma Patients

Chai tea masala

For many, the holidays are the time to indulge in our favorite sweets and treats without worrying too much about the extra sugars and fats.

But for people receiving treatment for mesothelioma, those temptations often aren’t there and just the thought of eating anything can be a challenge.

And staying healthy and avoiding the excess can be a real challenge for mesothelioma patients who have already gone through treatment.

Here are some ideas to help keep you nourished for the season.

Sugar and Spice

Cookies, cakes and pies are usually seasoned with ginger, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon as well as allspice, cardamom and anise.

While these spices can fill a kitchen with the scents of the holidays, they also serve a valuable purpose.

The chemical compounds in the spices have antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. They help boost our immune system, and many have demonstrated antitumor activity.

For a recipe that combines several spices, try this chai tea that makes a delightful start to any winter morning.

The spices can be stored in an airtight container to use daily.

Chai Tea Masala

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons cloves

  • ¼ cup cardamoms

  • 1 ½ tablespoons black peppercorns

  • 2 sticks cinnamon

  • ¼ cup dry ginger powder

  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg powder

  • 1 cup water

  • ½ cup milk

Preparation:

Combine the first four spices and dry roast on a heated, non-stick pan for about a minute or two. You’ll start to smell the spices as the oils are released. Let it cool completely and grind in a coffee grinder with the remaining two spices.

To Make the Tea:

Add 1 cup water and ½ cup milk (any kind) to a saucepan. Add 1 teaspoon of the masala mix to the pan and 2 teaspoons of loose black tea leaves and bring to a boil. Simmer for about two minutes, then strain and serve. You can add sugar if you like it sweetened.

After your first try with this recipe, you can add more masala if you like it stronger. A slice of fresh ginger during the boiling will add even more flavor. Experiment to find your perfect combination of this delicious cup of tea.

Holiday Herbs

Rosemary and sage are well-used herbs not only during the holidays but also year-round and frequently in the Mediterranean diet. In these parts of the world, such herbs are known for their medicinal properties.

Carnosol is a particular polyphenol with strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

Using these herbs in recipes is an easy addition and adds great flavor. This vegetable stew is a perfect winter recipe that can be used as an appetizer or a main meal. It’s also very quick and easy to create.

Quick Vegetable, Potato and Bean Stew Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

  • 1 cup frozen chopped onions

  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 1 teaspoon dried basil

  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled

  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1 teaspoon ground sage

  • 1 bay leaf

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable stock or water

  • 12 ounce package of frozen, sliced carrots

  • 3 cups frozen cubed potatoes

  • 2 16-ounce cans butter beans or Great Northern beans

Preparation:

  • Warm a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil, onions and garlic and all herbs and spices. Sauté 2-4 minutes or until onions are browned slightly and mixture is fragrant.

  • Sprinkle flour over mixture and stir to evenly distribute, cooking one minute longer.

  • Add stock (or water) and stir well to thoroughly incorporate flour.

  • Add potatoes, carrots and beans and stir to coat. Cover, increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and keep pot covered.

  • Simmer for 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender and gravy is thickened.

Serves four.

Recipe from eatright.org.

Winter Wonders

Fresh fruits and vegetables don’t stop when winter arrives. Your farmers market and produce stores will let you know what is local and ready to eat for the best flavor and value this season.

The list is long, but beets, cauliflower, kale and kiwis all make the cut. To ensure a nutritious boost of phytochemicals, go for brightly colored foods.

The recipe below is an English classic and a true comfort food. Cauliflower cheese is soft and creamy and makes a delicious dish.

Cauliflower Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium cauliflower

  • 1 ½ ounce butter

  • 1 ½ ounce plain flour

  • 14 fluid ounces of milk

  • 1 teaspoon English mustard

  • 3 ½ ounce cheddar cheese grated

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

  • Wash the cauliflower thoroughly and place in a large saucepan of salted water. Bring to a boil and cook for 3-5 minutes, until the cauliflower is almost tender, but still fairly firm. Tip into a colander and leave to drain.

  • To make the sauce, melt the butter in a medium, heavy-based pan and stir in the flour. Cook over a gentle heat for one minute. Remove the pan from the heat and gradually add the milk, a little at a time, stirring well between each addition. Return the pan to a medium heat and bring the mixture to the boil, stirring constantly. Simmer for two minutes, and then remove from the heat.

  • Stir in the mustard and two thirds of the cheese and set aside. Arrange the cauliflower in an ovenproof baking dish. Carefully pour over the sauce, ensuring the cauliflower is completely covered. Scatter over the remaining cheese and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the top is golden-brown and bubbling.

Serves four.

Recipe from bbc.com.

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Registered & Licensed Dietitian

Tejal Parekh is a registered and licensed dietitian in Florida with a master’s in nutrition and dietetics from Georgia State University. She realized her passion more than 10 years ago when she started working with cancer patients. Tejal also is one of the first dietitians in Florida to be board-certified as a specialist in oncology nutrition.

3 Cited Article Sources

  1. Johnson, J. (2018). Carnosol: A promising anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory agent.
    Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3070765/
  2. Larson, H. Quick Potato, Vegetable and Bean Stew Recipe.
    Retrieved from: https://www.eatright.org/food/planning-and-prep/recipes/quick-potato-vegetable-and-bean-stew-recipe
  3. White, J. (2018, November 26). Cauliflower cheese recipe. Retrieved from: https://www.bbc.com/food/recipes/cauliflower_cheese_55471

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