Posts Tagged ‘food and cancer’

The Clean Truth about the Dirty Dozen

In Uncategorized on February 6, 2013 at 9:46 pm

Clean or dirty produce; is it really that simple? Should that be the sole consideration for eating organic produce?  No, beyond the obvious that organics contain fewer pesticides than conventional, there is also the integrity of our food to consider.

peas and cornThe Environmental Working Group (EWG) maintains lists of the twelve worst (the dirty dozen) and the 15 cleanest (clean 15).  These are great lists, they help us navigate the produce world to know when should consider organic whenever possible and when we can make do with conventional.  However, the lists don’t tell the whole story.  Corn and peas, for example, are part of the clean 15, but they are amongst the list of the top ten genetically modified foods; do you really want to consume GMO’s?  Remember too, that the lists of dirty and clean produce were compiled after the USDA washed the produce using the high-power pressure water systems most of us will never have in our kitchens.

watermelonWatermelon; they are part of the clean 15, but are they safe? You can wash the rind, but what do they absorb?  Consider farming practices in Eastern China; some of the farmers there used the growth hormone Forchlorfenuron to speed up growth and boost yield. However, they used too much of the hormone and the fruit began exploding. The visual for my stomach is not good.  Forchlorfenuron is a legal hormone in China and in the US; here it is used on grapes and kiwi– Forchlorfenuron has been implicated in cancers and neurological disorders.  Remember, just because the FDA says a certain amount of a particular chemical is safe, this isn’t always the case, and for children and those of us who consume copious amounts of produce, there is a cumulative effect.

And what about nutrients?  There seems to be much controversy on whether or not organics contain more nutrients than non-organics—and one recent study has fueled the fire.  But I challenge that study and question the motives and the funding. Regardless, the fact is that it doesn’t mean that organic food is not healthier. Good read: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/09/organic-food-isnt-more-nutritious-but-that-isnt-the-point/261929/

Further, if you remember from my post on Salvestrols, clearly organic is best. Salvestrols are plant derived compounds that produce anticancer agents. These agents cause cancer cells to commit suicide; I like that.  Salvestrols are also part of the plant’s immune system.  Plants are subject to attack by various pathogens, primarily fungi.  These pathogens usually attack the skin of the fruit and or the roots of the plant.  Salvestrols are produced by plants to protect themselves from pests and disease. However, the use of fungicides and crop protection chemicals means that plants which are not organically grown will not express high concentrations of Salvestrols because they are not exposed to the attacks which cause the plant to produce them. Plus, the Salvestrols will enter any fungi that they encounter in the human body and act as natural antifungal agents in the same way as they do in the plants from which they were obtained. In these situations, it appears that what is good for the plant is good for the gardener-or consumer.

salvestrolsLastly, Salvestrols are generally produced late in the ripening phase as this is when the plant is most vulnerable to attack, but produce is typically picked and shipped well before ripe.

Purchasing locally produced organic produce or having your own garden are excellent ways of ensuring that the produce has had a chance to ripen on the vine and is not poisoned during growth…..and, that it has predators. So, the moral of the story is….buy organic or grow your own when you can, and if you can’t, try to avoid the worst offenders, avoid GMOs and never, ever trust the FDA; your health depends on it. When all else fails, consider supplementation; the purest you can find. I guess I should have titled this post the dirty truth about the clean 15….but I prefer to stay in the positive.

For more information:







To listen to Dr Michael Schachter speak on cancer prevention, treatment and Salvestrols, please click here and scroll down to December 4th, 2012.



~~If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any~~

Elyn Jacobs is a breast cancer survivor, professional cancer coach, radio talk show host, speaker, and the Executive Director for the Emerald Heart Cancer Foundation. She is also on the peer review board of the Natural Standard Database. Elyn empowers women to choose the path for treatment that best fits their own individual needs. She mentors women who are coping with issues of well-being associated with breast cancer and its aftermath; she is passionate about helping others move forward into a life of health and wellbeing. Elyn has been featured on CNN Money, Talk About Health and more and has contributed to Breast Cancer Answers as well as written for the Pink Paper, Breast Cancer Wellness, Natural Healing-Natural Wellness, Integrative Oncology Essentials, and other publications. Elyn lives in New York with her husband and two young boys.

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The Mind-Body Connection to Beating Breast Cancer

In Uncategorized on September 27, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Much has been written about the importance of the mind-body connection as it relates to a patient with cancer. Unfortunately, many physicians still don’t understand or appreciate the importance. And in fact, many of us patients struggle with it too.  We want to take care of ourselves, but often we focus most on the urgent task at hand, our cancer.

Tuesday, on Survive and Live Well, Dr Deanna Attai and I spoke about the mind-body connection to breast cancer.  We spoke about hope; “A physician is in a powerful position to influence the outcome of disease”, says Dr Attai. “Even in the face of the most advanced of cancers, there is usually room for some words of encouragement, which can make all the difference in the patient’s attitude towards their disease and its treatment”. If a patient is told, “there is no hope; there’s nothing I can do for you”, likely the patient will give up or certainly would not agree to a potentially life-saving, but grueling surgery or treatment, or for that matter, might not investigate alternative options and second opinions.

We spoke about healing the patient with the cancer instead of just the disease of the patient; that in addition to needing hope, “Disease does not happen in a vacuum, you need to understand the whole person before you can even begin to focus on the disease, a patient’s entire situation – diet, lifestyle, feelings about complementary/alternative versus traditional medicine all come into play.”

We shared some thoughts on how words such as the infamous “positive attitude” and ”you’re going to be fine”  mean different things to everyone and how they can often be painful to the breast cancer patient; small words, big impact.

Thank you Dr Attai for sharing your wisdom and experience to help us understand that treating cancer involves the whole person. Cancer is a complex situation….but it gets better when we connect the head bone to the neck bone… …all the way to the ankle bone.  To replay this conversation please visit:  http://hipcast.com/podcast/H1J8NTpQ.

Join us Tuesday, October 2nd, when I will chat with Dr Kathleen Ruddy as she clarifies the efficacy and potential of the first ever breast cancer vaccine and talks about the three different types of breast cancer, the genetic profiles that appear to distinguish them, and how this information can be used to tailor treatment for those currently battling breast cancer.

You can listen live, Tuesday, October 2nd at 1pm EST, on www.W4CS.com.  Have questions or want to join in the conversation?  Join us in the chat room!

For a show schedule and archives, please visit:  https://elynjacobs.wordpress.com/survive-and-live-well-schedule/.




Words are a hot topic these days. Rachel Pappas and I also had a great conversation about words, tone and social graces in Cancer Etiquette 101.  Check it out if you haven’t read it.


Elyn Jacobs is a breast cancer survivor, professional cancer coach, radio talk show host, speaker, and the Executive Director for the Emerald Heart Cancer Foundation. Elyn empowers women to choose the path for treatment that best fits their own individual needs.  She is passionate about helping others move forward into a life of health and wellbeing. Elyn lives in New York with her husband and two young boys. To learn about Elyn’s coaching services, please visit:  https://elynjacobs.wordpress.com.  To tune into the Survive and Live Well radio show, please visit http://www.W4CS.com, Tuesdays at 1pm (EST). To view info on upcoming topics and guests, please visit: https://elynjacobs.wordpress.com/elyns-blog/.


Facebook @Elyn Jacobs Consulting

LinkedIn @Elyn Jacobs


Cancer Fighting Farm-Stand Recipes

In Uncategorized on March 28, 2012 at 4:46 pm

Spring, oh the possibilities.  Spring means summer is not far off, and the thought of fresh produce comes to mind.  Nothing beats farm-fresh produce.  The produce you find in most supermarkets has spent many days, if not weeks traveling to that shelf, depleting it from quality and taste.  While you still have to be concerned with toxic pesticides and fertilizers, many farms grow organically or at least limit the use of these chemicals.  Ask your local farmers, they love to talk with pride about their food.   By buying local, you can often avoid Genetically Modified Crops (GMOs) which should not be consumed by anyone (See notes below).  No farm-stand available?  You can still enjoy these recipes, but please consider organic or even grow your own.  No room for a garden?  Herb gardens take up very little space and produce some powerful anticancer agents (i.e. cilantro helps remove heavy metals such as mercury from the body). Summertime is also a great time to use the abundance of fresh kale, basil, arugula, cilantro or garlic scapes to make pestos for pastas, sandwiches and crostini.

Tomato Basil Salad

1 pint or more cherry tomatoes (a combination of red, yellow and gold is nice)

Fresh basil

Organic extra virgin olive oil *

 Halve cherry tomatoes and place in serving bowl

Chop basil and add to tomatoes

Drizzle with olive oil

 *Note:  I use herb infused oils such as basil, rosemary, garlic or lemon.  In this recipe I prefer rosemary and basil infused.  If you cannot find them locally, Arlotta makes the very best olive oils I have ever tasted and also the most incredible balsamic vinegar.

 Tomatoes are a powerful anti-cancer fruit, particularly due the synergistic effects of lycopene, beta-carotene, vitamin C, phenols and other nutrients and antioxidants in the tomato working together to offer cancer protection. But please use organic or locally farm fresh and not the commercially toxic, GMO, or otherwise unhealthy sources.

 Basil has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It contains flavonoids that help shield cell structures from radiation and oxidative damage. Both fresh basil and basil oil have strong antibacterial capabilities, so by adding the herb or oil to your salad, you can help ensure your vegetables are safe to eat.

 Grilled Striped Bass with Dill Sauce

2/3 cup (packed) chopped fresh dill

¼ cup olive oil

2 Tablespoons white or golden balsamic vinegar

1 Tablespoon lemon fresh lemon juice

4-6 pieces of local wild striped bass, wild salmon or other fish, skin removed, each pc  about ½ lb

 Blend dill, oil, and vinegar and lemon juice in mini processor until almost smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.

 Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper

 Grill fish 8-10 min, do not overcook

 Drizzle fish with some of the dill mixture and serve the rest on the side.

 Dill contains antioxidant properties, and it also deactivates free radicals and neutralizes carcinogens that might find their way into our bodies.

Grilled Eggplant with Rosemary Oil and Cheese

1-2 eggplants

Cheese (Smoked Gouda, Munster, Monterey  Jack, Raclette, Mozzarella ….really any cheese or cheese substitute you like*)

Extra virgin Olive oil

Fresh chopped rosemary

 Slice eggplant lengthwise or crosswise, depending on size and preference (lengthwise is easiest for grilling)

 Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper and place on paper toweling

 Let sit at least 30 minutes, blot dry (this will remove the water as well as the salt….if you skip this, the eggplant will absorb too much oil)

 Meanwhile, chop the rosemary and mix with a generous amount of olive oil

 Baste eggplant with olive oil/rosemary mix, use more oil if necessary….eggplant should be well coated.   Grill eggplant until done on one side, turn, grill a few minutes and add cheese.  When cheese is melted, remove. 

 Note:  this dish goes well with the tomato salad or a salad of chopped tomatoes, parsley and olive oil

 *I prefer organic, raw or those from small farms to cut down on pesticides and added hormones.

 Eggplant is rich in dietary fiber, loaded with vitamins and minerals, and contains powerful cancer fighting antioxidants such as chlorogenic acid, which fights free radicals and helps protect cells from mutating into cancer cells, and nasuin, which helps cut off the blood supply to cancer cells.

 Rosemary is a powerful anti-cancer herb.  The two key ingredients in Rosemary-caffeic acid and rosemarinic acid-are potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents, which help protect the body’s cells from damage by free radicals. Rich in carnosol, Rosemary has been found to detoxify substances that can initiate the breast-cancer process. It’s widely known that an imbalance of estrogen hormones in women can contribute to breast cancer. Rosemary stimulates liver enzymes which inactivate estrogen hormones. Rosemary, along with thyme, oregano, basil and mint promote apoptosis in cancer cells and reduce their speed by blocking the enzymes they need to invade neighboring tissues. Rosemary can inhibit the formation of HCAS, the carcinogenic compounds that form when you cook protein, by 75% (so use chopped rosemary in your marinade if you choose to grill proteins) 

Grilled Zucchini with Chopped Dill

 Zucchini (one or two, more if very small)

Dill (I will leave it up to you regarding amounts, but if you love the taste of dill, by all means, be generous!)

Extra Virgin Olive oil

 Slice Zucchini lengthwise or crosswise, depending on size and preference.  (I find a 1/4” thickness works well on the BBQ)

 Chop dill and mix with olive oil, rub onto zucchini, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and grill

Zucchini has the ability to protect against cell mutations and oxidative stress, and contains powerful anti-inflammatory compounds. It is also a good source of potassium and lutein.

(See dill above) 

Watercress and Red Cabbage Salad

Wash one bunch of watercress and chop

Remove outer layers of red cabbage and slice thin or chop (use about ¼ of the head for one bunch of watercress).

Extra virgin olive oil

Aged Balsamic vinegar

Optional—add a handful of raw pine nuts or chopped parsley

 Toss salad with a pinch of salt, fresh pepper (if desired) and drizzle with Arlotta balsamic vinegar and lemon infused olive oil.  Alternatively you can use any olive oil and balsamic, but be sure to buy the best quality you can find.

 Serve at once

 Watercress offers a hefty dose of beta-carotene, copious amounts of calcium, carotenes like lutein, and trace amounts of omega-3’s.  Watercress has a high amount of PEITC (phenylethylisotiocyante) which appears to block cancer-causing chemicals, perhaps even protecting the lungs of smokers from the carcinogens associated with tobacco (however, please don’t smoke…I tell you this to understand the power of watercress)

 Red cabbage boosts immunity and is a member of the cruciferous family, whose indoles help with estrogen metabolism.  It also contains anthocyanins, a class of flavonids that provides as many as 36 different varieties of anticancer chemicals. Cabbage also contains a significant amount of glutamine, an amino acid that has anti-inflammatory properties. Red Cabbage boosts the immune system’s ability to produce more antibodies. Red cabbage contains large quantities of sulfur and other minerals that work as cleansing agents for the digestive system.  Raw red cabbage cleans the bowels, thus helping to prevent indigestion and constipation.

  Parsley has potent anti-inflammatory and anticancer abilities. The phytochemicals in parsley can slow the speed of cell division, leaving time for the cell to correct DNA mistakes or to activate apoptosis, and recent research shows that one particular compound found in parsley and celery, apigenin, can stop certain breast cancer tumor cells from multiplying and growing, so it’s a good idea to have some everyday.

 Additional Notes

 When salt is used, please consider pure sea salt as ordinary table salt and commercial sea salts are often treated with chlorine to bleach it white and may contain additional chemicals to prevent caking. 

When using balsamic vinegar, please keep in mind that many inexpensive varieties sold in the supermarket aren’t really balsamic vinegar but rather a cheap imitation. Try to purchase only high quality brands with no added ingredients

When olive oil is used, consider organic or a trusted source as not all olive oils are as pure as they claim to be.  I choose to use organic extra virgin olive oil for cooking and love the infused olive oils by Arlotta foods that we discovered at the farmers market in Southampton. 

Avoid canola oil…..have you ever seen a canola plant? That’s right, there is no such thing. Canola stands for “Canadian oil low acid”. Canola oil is developed from the rapeseed plant, which is part of the mustard family of plants. These oils have long been used for industrial purposes (in candles, lipsticks, soaps, inks, lubricants, and biofuels). It’s industrial oil, not a food.

Rapeseed oil is the source behind mustard gas, and on its own it causes emphysema, respiratory distress, anemia, constipation, irritability, and blindness. But through the beauty of genetic modification, it is now sold as edible oil. 

To be safe, use oils such as olive or walnut on salads

No GMO’s please:



Elyn Jacobs

Elyn Jacobs is a certified cancer coach, a breast cancer survivor, and the Executive Director for the Emerald Heart Cancer Foundation.  She empowers women to choose the path for treatment that best fits their own individual needs.  Elyn helps women to uncover the nutritional deficiencies and emotional stress patterns that may have contributed to their cancer and to support their body as it activates it own natural ability to fight the disease. She is passionate about helping others move forward into a life of health and wellbeing. To learn more about Elyn’s coaching services or to learn more about eating for life, please visit:  https://elynjacobs.wordpress.com.

Produce, Your Body’s Best Friend

In Uncategorized on January 2, 2012 at 12:30 am

So it is a new year….a new start or at least a good reason to take a good look at your habits.  Do you exercise, eat at least 10-15 servings of fruits and vegetables a day and include a wide variety?  The cellular level is where cancer begins and where nutrition exerts its biggest effect. Healthy cells are your body’s front-line defense against oxidative stress, and fruits and vegetables provide the antioxidants needed for healthy cell performance. I’ll even be so bold as to say that produce can often trump triggers such as environmental toxins, and can help protect you if you have a genetic predisposition to cancer.  Consider that not all smokers get lung cancer.  Could it be that the healthy body is capable of putting up a strong defense against the toxic effects of smoking?  Yes.  (Now don’t go back to smoking…this was just an example). If you need a good reminder of how food can help you beat cancer, take a look at this clip: http://www.ontopofcancer.info/2011/12/you-must-watch-this-video-if-you-really.html

I try to juice every morning.  My recipe, with some variation depending on what I have on hand: kale, apple, parsnip, broccoli, fennel, carrot, parsley, celery, cauliflower and cilantro.

 When I am just about finished drinking it, I mix in some superfood powders like black raspberry, black cherry and pomegranate, all powerful anticancer foods, but difficult to include in the daily diet.   I also try to eat at least 10 servings of fruits and vegetables each day in addition to the juice. However, despite my dedication, I often find I don’t have the time to juice or am traveling, and juice or even healthfully prepared produce is next to impossible to find.  Keep in mind that overcooking and microwaving foods destroys most of the nutrients in them.  So, I strongly recommend adding supplements to your diet in the form of dried powders (think Barleans or Completely Green and other similar brands).  However, on a recent flight to Canada, I was stopped by security; agent was certain that my mix of superfoods looked ominous.   Thankfully his litmus test proved otherwise, but I didn’t really appreciate my breakfast being manhandled, and my belongings interfered with.  So, I decided to look into Juice Plus, which offers a few blends of fruits and vegetables in easy-to- travel-with capsules.  Great for the road, perfect for busy days, and a must for those who just don’t get around to eating their veges. To learn more about Juice Plus, please visit http://elynjuiceplus.com.  Remember, no supplement is a replacement for the real thing, but it can help bridge the gap between intentions and reality. 

To read more about the anticancer diet, please visit:


http://elynjacobs.blogspot.com/2010/12/eating-to-cheat-cancer.html  (please note…I don’t mention watercress in this post, but it makes a delicious salad and is a powerful anticancer food. Watercress offers a hefty dose of beta-carotene, copious amounts of calcium, and carotenes like lutein.  Watercress has a high amount of phenylethylisotiocyante which appears to block cancer-causing chemicals, perhaps even protecting the lungs of smokers from the carcinogens associated with tobacco (however, again, please don’t smoke…I tell you this to understand the power of watercress…it’s reach is far beyond lung cancer)

Today is also a great day to get the kids to start craving vegetables.  Fruits are often loved by children, but for many, vegetables are not welcome.  I offer one slightly controversial solution.  Mindless eating:  while normally this is frowned upon and leads to obesity, I challenge you to put out a plate of raw veges where your young kids are playing…it will be empty in no-time.  I started this when the boys were very young, now all I hear is “more snack mom!”….and it is cut veges that they are yelling for.   Too late you say?  Please try it, but if it doesn’t work for your crowd, consider Juice Plus for them too, at least they will get the nutrients, and hopefully it will inspire them to give veges a chance….and it will give them a hefty dose of vegetables when you travel or are short on time, or patience.  Now, anyone have a great way to get kids to eat beans?

In good health,






Elyn Jacobs is President of Elyn Jacobs Consulting, Executive Director for the Emerald Heart Cancer Foundation, a certified cancer coach and a breast cancer survivor.  Elyn helps women diagnosed with cancer to navigate the process of treatment and care, and educates to prevent recurrence and new cancers.  She is passionate about helping others get past their cancer and into a cancer-free life. To learn more about Elyn’s coaching services, please visit:  https://elynjacobs.wordpress.com