Saturday, May 29, 2010

Magic Mineral Broth

Gisele Barber, founder of Personal Cuisines in Sunnyvale, Calif., has offered to share recipes to improve the lives of sarcoma patients. What a yummy gift!

“Her passion to find new and healthy ways for the selection and preparation of food and meals is drawn from her experience as a survivor of colon cancer,” says her Web site.

The recipe below comes from "One Bite at a Time" by Rebecca Katz, a senior chef with the Commonweal Cancer Help Program.

“I'm a big fan of hers, and she has given me permission to use her recipes,” Gisele says. “Every recipe in this cookbook is wonderful!”

After her husband brought it to her attention, Gisele hurried to a bookstore. “I clutched the book to my chest like I had just purchased a bar of gold and cried all the way home. It was very emotional for me and still is because I remember the complications while going through chemo. The medical professionals didn't advise me of what to eat. They just told me that I would be very sick. Unfortunately, it was an awful experience with me ending up in the hospital with my intestines collapsing and again ... there was nothing they could treat me with. I'm forever grateful for this book and Rebecca's hard work because she has now made the journey with chemo/radiation so much easier.”

The recipe below makes a broth rich in trace minerals, potassium and electrolytes to help nourish the body, Gisele says. “It is wonderful for flushing out toxins and nourishing damaged cells and stimulating the taste buds. Drink this broth as you would a cup of tea or use as a base in soups and stews. I recommend freezing what you don’t use in 2-4 cup containers for future use.”

Magic Mineral Broth

6 unpeeled carrots with half of the green tops, cut into thirds
2 unpeeled medium yellow onions, cut into chunks
1 leek, both white and green parts, cut into thirds
1 bunch celery, including the heart, cut into thirds
4 unpeeled cloves garlic, halved
½ bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
4 medium red potatoes with skins on, quartered
2 Japanese or Hannah’s yams or sweet potatoes with skins on, quartered
1 Garnet yam with skins on, quartered
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 (6-by-1-inch) strip of kombu
2 bay leaves
12 black peppercorns
4 whole allspice or juniper berries

Directions: In a 12-quart or larger stockpot, combine all the ingredients. Fill the pot to 2 inches below the rim with water, cover and bring to boil.

Remove the lid, decrease the heat to low, and simmer a minimum of 2 hours. As the stock simmers some of the water will evaporate; add more if the vegetables begin to peek out. Simmer until the full richness of the vegetables can be tasted.

Strain the stock using a large coarse-mesh strainer (remember to use a heat-resistant container underneath). Bring to room temperature before refrigerating or freezing.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Arts in medicine

By Suzie Siegel

She was an angel with an autoharp. Like many people, I had struggled with sleep in the hospital. She offered to play, and I told her I didn't know if I could stay awake. She laughed and explained she was there to help, not perform a concert. After a few minutes, I snored along with her, in a duet.

During my week at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, the Arts in Medicine staff worked wonders. One man, a friend, maneuvered his double bass into the crowded room. I cried when he played "Evening of Roses," just as another sarcoma patient did several years ago. We think of it as her song. I hadn't cried in a long while, and I made him hold me as I sobbed. That was healing, too.

Drugs and discomfort splintered my sleep until I fell into a dream of love and comfort. I didn't want to forget those feelings. If I could draw the dream, I thought, maybe it could lead me back to the dream world.

An artist came to my room with paper, pencils, pens and paint. I'm no artist, but I convinced myself that I could draw something meaningful to me, even if it had no other merit. I became a child again, delighting in the colors, coloring, coloring, coloring in the midst of the medical world. I drew my dream.

The Arts in Medicine program also includes poetry, journaling, dance and other movement. I'm glad to see bastions of conventional medicine offering other ways of healing, and I hope patients seek them out. Don't wait for your doctor to recommend them because he may know little about them. Ask your hospital staff if they have anything similar. If so, make plans ahead of time. If your hospital has no formal program, invent your own. Bring your own music, notebooks and art materials. As Dr. Jimmie Holland says:

Not all medicine comes in a bottle.