There was a great turnout for the Cancer Nutrition Truths webinar last Thursday. Thanks to everyone who attended! I appreciated the questions and chance to share what we know about nutrition and cancer. Or, as I like to say, how to get the biggest bang for your mental energy.

You only have so much mental energy, so why waste it on the myths or unknowns about cancer? Let's start with the proven truths and move on from there.

For anyone who missed it, here is a link to the recording:

In fact, if you missed the Cancer Nutrition Myths webinar, you can check that out here:

And for those of you who can't stand the thought of listening to me ramble on about cancer and nutrition for an entire hour... :-)

I present to you the cliff's notes!

15 Cancer Nutrition Myths Debunked:  15 Cancer Nutrition Myths Debunked.pdf
10 Cancer Nutrition Truths: Cancer Nutrition Truths Fact Sheet.pdf

Julie's Favorite Resources:

Here are my go-to sources for updated evidence based and just plain interesting information!

And in case you missed my rant about nutrition and health quacks, you need to check out this post: Are They A Quack? Nutrition Information: Who To Trust?

NO! Dr. Oz and Dr. Mercola are not reliable sources of truth. And Food Babe is an amazing example of what PR can do for you. She is not spreading truth. She is a fear mongering bully (if you ask me)! :-)

More Printable Fact Sheets

And while I'm at it, I'll go ahead and link some of my favorite fact sheets to use when I'm giving presentations.

My next webinar will likely be on Carbohydrates. I taught a class last month and everyone seemed to have the lightbulb go on and understand more about carbs, gluten and why they can be good for us (or the large marjority of us anyway).

If you have a suggested time of day for a webinar, let me know! So far I have done 7:30pm and 4:30pm (Eastern time). Both were well attended but if you weren't able to make it because of the timing, let me know.

- Julie

Don't Miss It! Cancer Nutrition Truths Webinar: Thursday, September 18th at 4:30pm Eastern Time. No Fee!
Register at this

My regular readers might remember my intern, Anne and her Cinnamon Coconut Granola recipe. It's so great and simple! The nuts give you protein, so for breakfast you can add it to greek yogurt with berries and you have a delicious meal.

I also have used the recipe to do "granola in a mason jar" gifts. Put the dry ingredients in one jar and the wet in another. Then your gift receiver just has to mix the two together and bake. Ta da!! If you want the label to go with the jars, click here:  MasonJarGranolaLabel.pdf.

Anyway... back to her quiche!

Introductions from Anne

Hello! My name is Anne Smith and I am the newest RD on the block. I just passed my registered dietitian exam mid summer and I couldn't be more excited! I have, in part, Julie to thank for it! After a 2 week community rotation with her and Cancer Services, I felt more confident and ecstatic to start my career as a dietitian! I currently work as a clinical RD in Raleigh and I am loving every minute of it!

With that said, when I tell people about my newest accomplishment of becoming a registered dietitian, you wouldn't believe how fast the questions start coming!

  • "Is gluten bad for you?"
  • "What about a low carb diet?"
  • "Is avocado really good for you?"
  • "What do you eat?"
  • The worst thing I hear is "I don't have time for breakfast".
As many dietitians will agree, breakfast is a very important part of your day! Check out Julie's last few articles, in case you missed them:

What is an Optimal Breakfast?

Coffee: Cancer Fighting or Breakfast Don't??

How to Build a Breakfast That Lasts!

Breakfast not only provides you with essential nutrients and energy to end your overnight sleep-fast (as I like to call it), it can set the mood for the whole day! The trouble is having time in your busy mooring to make a healthy breakfast rather than grabbing a calorie-dense doughnut or cream-cheese smeared bagel from the local coffee shop.

So, with the input of my sister, I created this delicious Crust-Less Quiche recipe that you can make ahead of time and just warm up a piece in the morning. To aid in the eating process, you can wrap your piece in a whole wheat tortilla and have a little Quiche wrap during your morning commute.

This recipe is packed with protein to help you feel satisfied longer. Feel free to change the cheese or veggies or add more of your favorites!

Anne's Crust-Less Quiche Recipe

Thumbnail image for crustless quiche.jpg

For a printable version, click here: AnnesCrustlessQuichePrintout.pdf
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cook time:
45 minutes
Serving size:
1 slice (1/4 cup)
Calories per serving:
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 6 asparagus stalks, chopped
  • 1 c raw spinach
  • 1 c LF shredded cheese
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray an 8-inch round casserole dish, pie pan, or oven safe skillet with non-stick spray to avoid sticking.
  3. Combine eggs, tomato, asparagus, spinach, 3/4 cup of the cheese, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
  4. Pour into your sprayed dish and bake for 40 minutes or until center is no longer loose.
  5. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese on top.
  6. Return to oven and bake for 5 more minutes or until the cheese is completely melted.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow the quiche to cool for 5 minutes. Slice into 8 1/4 cup slices and serve.
 Options for additional PROTEIN:
                                                                        Protein         Calories
2 oz thin sliced LF roasted turkey breast         10                       60
1 slice LF turkey sausage or bacon                 2                         35
1 slice soy bacon                                             2                         60

Happy baking!
- Anne

First off, I feel that it's important for me to say ...


Of course, there's always qualifiers... but the point is that you really should not skip breakfast.


There are lots of reasons, but here are a few of the things that we have evidence for, regarding the benefits of breakfast:

  • From this 2009 review article in the Cambridge Journals: "The evidence indicates that breakfast consumption is more beneficial than skipping breakfast, but this effect is more apparent in children whose nutritional status is compromised." [1]
  • This study, from Nutrition Journal, compared two different breakfast meals consumed by adolescent girls. I find two of the conclusions interesting. 1. both types of breakfast reduced after meal (post prandial) cravings. 2. The higher protein breakfast (35g) tended to decrease cravings more than the control breakfast (13g). Other than protein, the meals were matched for calories, fat content, dietary fiber, and sugar content. [2]
  • A similar study, by the same authors but published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, was also done in adolescents (must be where all the research money is!!!), concluded that "breakfast led to beneficial alterations in the appetitive, hormonal, and neural signals that control food intake regulation."[3]
  • The Journal of Epidemiology published a study showing that eating breakfast can prevent weight gain. [4]
  • This Tufts report states in can help with cognitive function (never bad for anyone battling "CancerBrain" or "ChemoBrain"!). Granted, the study was funded by Quaker Oats Company, but I don't think that skewed too much! [5] 
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY, this study, from way back in (gasp!) 1999, shows that with breakfast and coffee, we are HAPPIER people! [6] (NOTE: if you missed my last article, it's a brief Q&A about why coffee can be a cancer fighting food.)
For a less scientific look at breakfast, you can always read about: What Nutritionists Eat For Breakfast! Great ideas there, and also you can see a theme of what nutrition experts agree on! HINT: it does not involve eliminating entire food groups (ahem... Paleo...). :-P

[Side note: for my eval of the paleo diet, check out my post from Jan 2013. If you want a second opinion (always a good idea to seek!!), check out this interesting article: The Paleo Problem]

What's in the Bowl?

Ok, so since we've established that breaking the fast of your overnight rest is important, now it's time to focus on how to build the best breakfast that you can, given your circumstances.

Two posts ago, I discussed the basics on building a breakfast.

The goal is to have:
  1. a fruit or vegetable (1 cup is ideal)
  2. a carbohydrate source to help replenish the stores that were used up overnight while you slept (Fruit can fill this role if you want. Also, remember that dairy foods have some healthy carbs too. For you counters... I would aim for 30 - 45g of carbs).
  3. a protein source to help fill you up and get the day started. See discussion below on goals!
In addition, if you have some kind of fat mixed in with breakfast, it will help the meal last a bit longer.

Last year about this time, I shared about a discussion regarding how much protein to have at breakfast. You can read that post here: How much protein should you have at breakfast? Essentially, it talked about aiming for 30g of protein at breakfast, and spreading protein out throughout the day.

This thinking is evidenced through this study, published January 2014, in The Journal of Nutrition. [7] Their conclusion was "the consumption of a moderate amount of protein at each meal stimulated 24-h muscle protein synthesis more effectively than skewing protein intake toward the evening meal." They compared diets of people who consumed 10g at breakfast (15g at lunch and 65g at dinner) to people who consumed 30g at each meal.

I can attest that reaching 30g at breakfast can be a challenge, but I would say 20 would be a realistic goal.

You Don't Need to Count!!

In case you don't know, I'm not one to suggest that you obsessively count calories, protein, carbs, salt, fat, or anything else about your food, unless it's medically necessary. I find that some people can cross into disordered eating behavior if they obsess too much about the numbers.

However, when you're trying to take an objective look at something, or considering a change to make, it can be helpful to "evaluate the data." When it comes to your breakfast, I would suggest you do a bit of evaluating. Do you have at least 15g of protein, 1 cup of fruit (or vegetable) and some kind of fat to fill you up?

If you need some ideas, you can check out this practical article from Business Insider. I like the point they make about eggs:
"Before you toss the yolk, remember that the yellowish center is where most of the nutrients are found."

And for a list of how much protein is in various food items, check this article out:

Take pictures of your best breakfasts and tag me so I can share them! I'm on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter!
- Julie

  1. Alexa Hoyland, Louise Dye and Clare L. Lawton (2009). A systematic review of the effect of breakfast on the cognitive performance of children and adolescents. Nutrition Research Reviews, 22, pp 220-243. doi:10.1017/S0954422409990175.
  2. Heather A Hoertel, Matthew J Will and Heather J Leidy (2014). A randomized crossover, pilot study examining the effects of a normal protein vs. high protein breakfast on food cravings and reward signals in overweight/obese "breakfast skipping", late-adolescent girls. Nutrition Journal 2014, 13:80  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-13-80.
  3. Heather J Leidy, Laura C Ortinau, Steve M Douglas, and Heather A Hoertel (2013). Beneficial effects of a higher-protein breakfast on the appetitive, hormonal, and neural signals controlling energy intake regulation in overweight/obese, "breakfast-skipping," late-adolescent girls. Am J Clin Nutr April 2013 vol. 97 no. 4 677-688.
  4. Yunsheng Ma1, Elizabeth R. Bertone2, Edward J. Stanek III2, George W. Reed1, James R. Hebert3, Nancy L. Cohen4, Philip A. Merriam1 and Ira S. Ockene. Association between Eating Patterns and Obesity in a Free-living US Adult Population. Am. J. Epidemiol. (2003) 158 (1): 85-92. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwg117.
  5. Caroline R. Mahoney, Holly A. Taylor, Robin B. Kanarek, Priscilla Samuel (2005). Effect of breakfast composition on cognitive processes in elementary school children. Physiology & Behavior 85 (2005) 635 - 645.
  6. Andrew P Smitha, Rachel Clarka, John Gallaghera. Breakfast Cereal and Caffeinated Coffee: Effects on Working Memory, Attention, Mood, and Cardiovascular Function. Physiology & Behavior: Volume 67, Issue 1, 1 August 1999, Pages 9-17. DOI: 10.1016/S0031-9384(99)00025-6.
  7. Madonna M. Mamerow4, Joni A. Mettler4, Kirk L. English4, Shanon L. Casperson6, Emily Arentson-Lantz4, Melinda Sheffield-Moore6, Donald K. Layman7, and Douglas Paddon-Jones. Dietary Protein Distribution Positively Influences 24-h Muscle Protein Synthesis in Healthy Adults. J. Nutr. June 1, 2014 vol. 144 no. 6 876-880.
I promise to cover more details and evidence regarding breakfast. I realize that I was going to do it with the next post, but I wanted to add a spontaneous short topic update that was spurred on by a Facebook follower.

English: A photo of a cup of coffee. Esperanto...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Q: What are your thoughts on cancer patients drinking coffee? Can it reactivate cancer cells??


Nope. Coffee (in moderation, like 18 ounces or less a day) is perfectly fine. Caffeine helps stimulate brain cells which might help with some of those cancer brain side effects! They have also shown the phytochemicals in coffee to be helpful to our bodies. Want to read the report? Check out AICR's highlight on coffee!

The caveat is not to overdo it. Drinking coffee all day long to make up for not enough sleep, or loading it down with high fat cream and a bunch of sweeteners or syrups are not health promoting activities! And if you still want to stay away from it, you can always do green tea. I usually alternate 1/2 of the mornings with tea and 1/2 with coffee. It's rare that I go a day without one or the other!

Let this be your good news for the day!

And if you want to know more TRUTHS about nutrition and cancer, I have scheduled my next webinar:

Cancer Nutrition Truths: What the Data Shows.
Thursday, September 18th from 4:30 - 5:30pm Eastern Time.

This topic was inspired after the last webinar about cancer nutrition myths. Attendees wanted to know what the truths are about nutrition and cancer. Yah!! Focusing on the positive ways you can optimize your nutrition and reduce cancer risk is one of my very favorite topics.

This webinar will cover just that - what does current evidence show regarding the most effective way to get your nutrients and which nutrients we need to maximize our immune system.

Registration link:

Join me!
- Julie

Webinar Good News!

I had another great group for the webinar this week. If you missed it, you can catch it at any time because the recording worked this time, yah!

To access the webinar, click here: Fact or Fiction: Debunking Cancer Nutrition Myths

Get Your Day Started Right!

You have all heard it before. I'm sure Kellogg's started it. But really, the most important meal of the day? Let's not discriminate; I think ALL meals are important. No one meal is more important than any other. They're just, how should I say it ...  'different'.

Yes, I'm talking about breakfast!

The first meal of your day can be a starting point for getting in cancer fighters. Breakfast is also important in maintaining a healthy weight, which is imperative for healthy survivorship and in decreasing your risk for cancer. Research shows that people who are successful at maintaining their weight eat breakfast every day.

Breakfast is the meal that tells your body the day has started. When you go to bed at night, your body's metabolism slows down. However, your metabolism won't speed back up again until you have that first meal.

What is a Healthy Breakfast?

If you're one that doesn't like breakfast, you're not alone. It should be a relief to know that you don't have to only eat breakfast food in the morning. Think outside the cereal box. Who said you can't have a sandwich or soup? Or leftovers? Don't tell me you've never had pizza for breakfast! I had 2 slices of pizza and a nectarine for breakfast 2 days ago and it was marvelous!

A healthy breakfast should consist of 3-4 different food groups and should have carbohydrate, protein and a bit of fat. Since most people don't like vegetables at breakfast, fruit is a must! I prefer that people eat their fruit rather than drink it, but 3/4 cup of 100% fruit juice can be a good back up plan when you're in a hurry.

Some examples for breakfast might be:

  • 1 cup cereal with low-fat milk and 1/2 grapefruit
  • Low fat granola with berries and yogurt
  • 1 egg, whole wheat English muffin and strawberries
  • Fruit smoothie (frozen fruit, milk, yogurt and a splash of juice)

When I'm in a hurry, here are some things I grab to eat on my way:

  • Kashi granola bar and banana
  • Crackers, 1 oz. low-fat cheese and a 100% juice box
  • Apple and peanut butter
  • String cheese and a banana

Plus, I'm NEVER without my hot tea in the morning (thanks to my husband)!

The best time to have breakfast is within 1 hour of waking up. It's OK (in fact normal) if you get hungry a few hours after eating breakfast. That just means it's time for a snack!

In the US, we tend to get stuck in a rut for breakfast. All we can think of is cereal, toast, oatmeal, eggs and McDonald's. A lot of the cereal bars on the shelf really ought to be in the candy section! The worst thing to do,though, is to NOT eat breakfast at all.

Next post, I'll get into more specifics about how much carbs, protein and fat I think is helpful in making breakfast filling.

Good Morning to you!

- Julie

Webinar update: I have great news - A wonderful group joined me for the webinar this past Monday. They asked great questions and we made it through all the information!

Not so great news - the recording didn't work!! I did get a month free of the software, but it's not available for replay. So I decided the only way to make it up to you is to offer it AGAIN! Join me for the second time around - Fact or Fiction: Debunking Cancer Nutrition Myths.

It's Monday, August 25th at 7:30pm. Back to our topic, something I wish I didn't actually have to address!

aretheyaquack.jpgNutrition Info: Who Do You Trust

This is something I have to deal with daily. Questions from the community and from cancer survivors regarding something the read, heard, saw on the news or someone told them. When it comes to nutrition, everyone seems to think they're an expert. Even well intentioned individuals can be the source of misinformation.

I could give you story after story of questions I get, but let's just pick a few to highlight.

Let's look at a few examples:

Food Babe: You may have heard of Food Babe as the one who petitioned Subway regarding their bread ingredients, and Kraft regarding the additives in their "cheese". She makes a lot of claims and presents herself as an expert. Here's an interesting blog post from a farmer in Minnesota. I saw the link via a Dietitian Farmer on Facebook and thought it was very well done.

"Vani Hari is better known as the Food Babe. She started her online company in 2011 to "spread information about what is really in the American food supply." Her background? Based on what she writes, you would think her college degree is in nutrition, food or health. But no, she is a computer programmer."
Read more here: 10 Things I Wish the Food Babe Knew

Dr. Mercola:
Joseph Mercola operates a very successful business via his website. Wikipedia has a nice overview, if you want to know more about it. He has practiced in an office in Chicago in the past but no longer practices. However, he makes a LOT of money through his marketing techniques and questionable "science."

Per "Joseph Mercola is a D.O., in Illinois, and operates one of the internet's largest and most trafficked health information sites. In 2012, Mercola stated that his site had over 300,000 pages and is visited by "millions of people each day" and that his electronic newsletter has close 1,500,000 subscribers. The site vigorously promotes and sells dietary supplements, many of which bear his name."

Read more here: FDA Orders Dr. Joseph Mercola to Stop Illegal Claims.

Although there are plenty of sources opposing the information Dr. Mercola is spreading... that doesn't stop Dr. Oz from inviting him on his show (or it doesn't stop Dr. Oz allowing Dr. Mercola to pay him to be on his show, I'm not sure which it is!). Which brings me to my next questionable source of information...

Dr. Oz:
Holy Moly. If you're not already clued in... Dr. Oz is pretty much a reliable source of crazy talk and sales. I honestly used to think he made some sense, back when he was on Oprah once a week. But once he switched to be his own show EVERY DAY for an HOUR, he seems to have run out of evidence based things to say, therefore he has decided to fill up his time with a bunch of crazy talk. And if you didn't know, he was questioned by the US Senate this summer based on his questionable claims that he makes as he sells products (that are unproven) right and left.

Read more here: CNN Article - Congressional hearing investigates Dr. Oz 'miracle' weight loss claims

Places to check on credibility:

One of my favorite websites to check for credibility regarding health related issues is They do a very thorough job of searching backgrounds, any citations and also debunking any misinformation that the person might be giving. Of course is a great place too, for those urban legend type emails or facebook posts.

In addition to checking the facts of the information you hear, you will want to double check the credentials of the person giving it to you.

First off - do they have a degree or credential in the area of study that they are advising on? 

For nutrition, there are two credentials that are accepted under the licensing laws, which depends on the state. Registered Dietitian credentials (RD or RDN) are accepted in all states and Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) is accepted in 12 states.

To become a Registered Dietitian, you must complete a course load approved by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). You also must complete an internship approved by the same body and also pass an exam.

In order to become a Board Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition (CSO), you must document 2,000 practice hours in the area of oncology and pass an additional exam. This is a relatively new credential, as I was part of the first group to take the exam in 2008. I have to retake the exam every 5 years to maintain the certification. I took it again in 2013 so I'm good until 2018! Phew. :-)

In addition, I have completed a Master's in Public Health Nutrition from UNC- Chapel Hill. I'm proud to say that US News and World Report has ranked UNC as the #2 School of Public Health in the nation. Woot woot!

The standards to become a CNS include an advanced degree in nutrition, regionally accredited nutrition education, 1,000 hours of supervised experience, and a rigorous exam in science-based clinical nutrition. I actually don't know many people with this credential, I think it might be more popular in other parts of the country.

Is the Degree or Credential Legitimate?

Another layer of challenge when evaluating the person giving you information is whether the degree or credential came from a legitimate agency. I explained above the credentialing body for RD's and CNS's. These credentials require degrees from a legitimate college or university.

However, it is known that some "colleges" have created their own accrediting agency and then proclaim themselves "accredited." Therefore, you can't always trust the college info a school provides about itself.

To find out if an agency is legitimate, consult the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), a private agency that accredits the accreditation agencies ( Some "Institutes" or "Colleges" will offer credentials or degrees for a weekend or semester and are mainly just a profit making business, not an educational institution. Better check to be safe!

Use Common Sense!!!

Ok - the last line of defense when evaluating information is your own common sense. If it sounds a little wacky... it might be. If it sounds too good to be true... it probably is! And if you can't find any information to back the person up from a legitimate and/or evidence based and unbiased source... steer clear!!

Just because someone is popular, or made a lot of money, or has done something a long time does NOT mean they know what they're doing. But it usually means that they're making a lot of money!!

It's up to you to protect yourself from false information. Please be cautious.

Hope you can Join me on Monday!
- Julie

Reminder to sign up for Webinar: Don't miss the Webinar version of my most recent seminar - Fact vs. Fiction - Debunking Common Cancer Nutrition Myths. It's at 7:30 Eastern Time on August 18th. The webinar is free, but space is limited.

Nature's Sweeteners

I've done a few articles recently on sweeteners. Here's the run-down, in case you missed them:

The bottom line is that neither sugar, nor artificial sweeteners are anything that you absolutely should avoid 100% of the time. However, they are both things that you make seek to consume only in moderation. Especially given the amount of sugar that the typical American consumes. It's in a lot of things that you may not even realize!

The typical American consumes 23 teaspoons of added sugar EVERY DAY!


Other sugar stats:

  • 23 tsp is almost 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 200 years ago, the average American ate 2 pounds of sugar in a year
  • Today, it's 3 pounds a week!
  • Sweetened beverages account for the largest percentage of sugar intake
  • One 12 oz. can of soda has ~11tsp of sugar

Enough craziness!

My suggestion to you is to buy things plain.

Yes - plain cheerios, plain corn flakes, plain yogurt, plain oatmeal, plain tea. 


Why? Because then you get to control exactly how sweet it gets and exactly what type of sweeteners you want to add. Call me a control freak, but something has to get this under control and it's not going to be the profit making food companies. At least not until consumers demand it.

How Do I Sweeten Naturally?

Ok, so now that you've bought everything plain, you're wondering how you can get it to taste good enough to eat, right? I mean, plain yogurt tastes like sour cream! Personally, I love sour cream... but not usually with my granola. It's great on chili though!

Here are some ways that you can add sweetness to your foods that are pretty close to how the food was produced:

  • Dates are great to blend or mix in (smoothies if you have a good blender, or purreed and mixed with baked goodies if you have a food processor). If you cut them into small chunks, they're awesome in oatmeal!
  • Fruit, especially perfectly ripe fruit, can be a great way to add sweetness. chopped fruit topped with plain cereal and plain milk is pretty dang good!
  • Honey or maple syrup are simple sugars like white or brown sugar but may have a few extra plant chemicals that you wouldn't get from the sugar. I like to use maple syrup or honey mixed in the plain yogurt, or in my oatmeal.
  • Stevia leaves. NOTE that this is an actual plant you can grow! I have one growing in my yard right now. Last year I couldn't keep it alive because my daughter kept eating all the leaves til it was naked! Seriously, the leaves are super sweet! These are great for blending into smoothies or purees, or brewing with your hot tea for added sweetness.
Let me know what you think! I'll be sure to share some of my favorite recipes that taste sweet but aren't loaded in sugar.

- Julie

PS - below the references is a very telling infographic. Wow!

Center for Science in the Public Interest
New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

sugar infographic.jpg
[Infographic by]

debraporch.jpgI hope everyone has had a good week. When it's summer I often find myself trying to balance the desire to be outside, with the necessity of getting work done. Occasionally I get lucky and can accomplish both at the same time. And sometimes, I get a double bonus and I get to work with another dietitian while outside. Woohoo!

This picture is of the "office" that Debra Benfield, of Body in Mind Nutrition, and I shared as we planned out the Mindful Eating series that Cancer Services will be offering to GYN Cancer Survivors this fall. We've got some fun things we're planning! More details to come.

Recipes I want to try:

A few things that I want to share this afternoon before heading out for the weekend. First are some recipes I came across this week that I'm planning to try. I thought you might like to as well! I love the idea of a week of meals that can be prepared in 30 minutes or less. Perfect!

The other recipe is for a peanut butter pie. YUMM! And cancer fighting with the flax and soy in it.

In addition, I had a great turnout for the seminar at Cancer Services this past Monday. And I had multiple requests to offer it as a webinar so people could tune in to the information from home. Well.... your wish is granted! Join me on Monday, August 18th via internet as I cover 15 cancer nutrition myths. 15 myths in 60 minutes means I'm going to have to talk fast!

Webinar: Fact vs. Fiction - Debunking Common Cancer Nutrition Myths:

  • Does sugar feed cancer?
  • Is organic food necessary to fight cancer?
  • Should I follow an Acid Alkaline diet?
  • Do microwaves or teflon pans cause cancer?
  • Should I do a colon or foot cleanse?
Get all your questions answered August 18th at 7:30 Easter Time! The webinar is free, but space is limited.

That's all for this week. I'm off to do a triathlon relay this weekend and am looking forward to plenty of time outside where I don't have to get work done!!
- Julie

FactorFiction.jpgFirst off - if you're local to Winston-Salem and are interested in coming to my seminar this Monday from 6pm - 7pm titled "Fact or Fiction: Debunking Cancer Nutrition Myths" be sure you RSVP to our office (336-760-9983 or We will cover the following common questions as well as others!

  • Does sugar feed cancer?
  • Is organic food necessary to fight cancer?
  • Should I follow an Acid Alkaline diet?
  • Do microwaves or teflon pans cause cancer?
  • Should I do a colon or foot cleanse?

And yes - next month, I plan to offer this as a webinar so you can join in from anywhere!

Back to the topic at hand...

The Truth about Artificial Sweeteners

I've covered sugar in a few recent topics. Check them out here (does sugar feed cancer?) and here (The mystery of sugar: difference between simple sugars and complex carbs).

But what about artificial sweeteners? There are so many different kinds, it can get very confusing! Splenda.  Saccharin.  Asparatame.  Acesulfame K.  Stevia.  Sugar alcohols.  When it comes to cancer, there is a lot of controversy over artificial sweeteners and what they do to the body.

FIRST, it's important to understand that for most people, the consumption of simple sugars in the form of corn syrups and added sugars FAR OUTWEIGHS any health risk from consuming artificial sweeteners.  So if you're someone who regularly drinks sodas, sweet tea and eats a lot of sweets, it is definitely worth your effort to cut back and switch to 'diet' drinks. This article is to focus on which artificial sweeteners have the least risk. The increased risks of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease from consuming sugar drinks probably outweigh the risks posed by artificial sweeteners.

I keep all things in perspective. :-)

What's Wrong With Drinking Something Sweet? 

I have mixed feelings about artificial sweeteners. In general, I think that the less "artificial substances"  we consume, the better. I also think that drinking artificial sweetened drinks keeps people accustomed to sweet tastes. How sensitive your taste buds are to sweetness is called "sweet acuity".

A large portion of sugar intake in America is from our fluids. So if you choose to take in fluids that are calorie free, which ones are the safest?

The best beverage choices for nourishing our bodies is water, seltzer water, seltzer mixed with a little juice or unsweet tea. I would even add some black coffee or to the list, based on the phytochecmicals you can get. But sometimes we just want something a little different!

What Do We Know About Artificial Sweeteners?

When it comes to cancer, artificial sweeteners have had a lot of buzz, but most of the well designed studies (required by the FDA before they can be approved as a food additive) do not show a clear causal relationship between artificial sweeteners and cancer. While different countries have different conclusions on current data, it's still safe to say that consuming artificial sweeteners in moderation is a fine choice for most people.

Of course, you do not NEED to consume artificial sweeteners to have a healthy diet. It's up to you to make that choice for yourself.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) did an article on their website at the end of last year called It's Sweet.... but is it Safe? It's a great resource. If you want more than I've got in this article, you'll definitely want to check it out!

According to the same article, here is a short list of artificially sweetened drinks and which sweeteners are used. If your favorite diet soda is not on the list, you can tell which sweetener is used by looking at the ingredient list on the beverage you are considering. 

  • Coke Zero: Aspartame, Acesulfame-potassiumfoodadditivestowatch.jpg
  • Crystal Light Peach Iced Tea Drink Mix: Aspartame, Acesulfame-potassium
  • Diet Coke: Aspartame
  • Diet Dr Pepper: Aspartame
  • Diet Mt. Dew: Aspartame, Acesulfame-potassium, Sucralose
  • Diet Pepsi: Aspartame, Acesulfame-potassium
  • Pepsi Next: Sucralose, Acesulfame-potassium (and High-Fructose Corn Syrup and Sugar)
  • Red Bull Sugar Free: Aspartame, Acesulfame-potassium
  • Sam's Choice Diet Cola (Wal-Mart): Aspartame
  • Tab: Saccharin, Aspartame
  • Vitaminwater Zero: Erythritol, Stevia Leaf Extract

The short answer for what ones are safe can be found from the CSPI's guide to food additivies, which can be found at [Photo credit: image to the right comes from CSPI].

On the short list they suggest to avoid Aspartame, Acesulfame-K, Saccharin. So based on the list above... that leaves you with Vitaminwater Zero. Yikes.

Should I Avoid Artificial Sweeteners Completely?

Is having an occasional diet soda (or a regular soda for that matter) going to cause a problem?


But the more important question is whether that diet soda is providing your body anything that supports its function. Next time I will discuss some real food and more nourishing ways to add sweetness to your foods.

What Does Julie Do? It always amuses me that people actually care what I do. But they ask!! I rarely drink soda. If I want a special drink, I'll have a Le Croix, maybe mixed with juice (virgin mimosa, anyone?). If I have soda, it's probably a regular soda about 1/2 the time and diet soda 1/2 the time. And I probably drink 2 sodas a month, on average.

I invite you to share with me (via email or facebook) if you have a favorite "diet" drink that doesn't contain Aspartame, Acesulfame-K or Saccharin.

Stay Sweet!

- Julie

English: Brown Flax Seeds. Français : Graines ...

English: Brown Flax Seeds. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I often get great questions from either my in person seminars or via email. These questions are things that I'm sure my readers are interested in as well, so I am planning to share the periodically with you.

This one came through email and is a common question I get from breast cancer survivors and anyone else with hormone positive cancer.

Q: I was diagnosed with breast cancer 2 years ago. My question is about flax seeds. My cancer was very early stage, but strongly hormone receptor-positive. I have heard that flax seeds and flax oil should be avoided for women with hormone-receptor positive cancer. Is this true? I am grateful for any help you can offer.

A: Great question! The short answer is that flax is perfectly safe. I would suggest the ground seeds (grind yourself or buy it ground) rather than the oil. There is a lot of good lignins in the seeds that you don't get in the oil. The AICR reports up to 4tbsp a day safe for breast cancer prevention. Here's a link to their fact sheet - it's great!

Julie's Expanded Answer:

I think it's important for people to understand that you cannot get human estrogen in food. Plants DO NOT produce human estrogen!! And eating animals that have been treated with hormones does not mean that you are absorbing human estrogen from them either. Human estrogen can come from within your own body, or via synthetic hormone pills. That's it!

Regarding this question, and a similar one about soy and estrogen, it's important to understand where the facts are.

FACT 1: Some plants have phytoestrogens.
Phytoestrogens are plant estrogens. Please do not get confused. These are NOT THE SAME AS HUMAN ESTROGEN!!! Plant estrogens just means that the chemical structure is similar to human estrogen. So far, studies suggest that plant estrogens are actually beneficial to our bodies. They have been shown to help lower cholesterol, and also compete with human estrogen in the context of estrogen receptors.

FACT 2: Flaxseeds are one of the top sources of lignans, which is one of the three major categories of phytoestrogens. In some studies it was shown that women who consumed higher amounts of lignans actually had lower rates of breast cancer.

FACT 3: You can also get lignans from other food sources, such as vegetables, grains, fruit, tea, coffee, legumes, nuts and seeds. All things that are really great for you!

FACT 4: Flaxseeds are a good source of Alpha-Linolenic Acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that is known to have anti-inflammatory properties. That means it's good for your heart and for cancer fighting benefits! However, it's not nearly as active as the omega-3 fatty acids you would find in fish or fish oils.

I find this quote from the fact sheet especially helpful for the breast cancer survivors out there:

"Tamoxifen is an adjuvant therapy for breast cancer that seems to work principally by competing with estrogen for binding to estrogen receptors. Health professionals often question whether the lignans in flaxseeds could interfere with tamoxifen. However, studies of mice injected with ER+ human breast cancer suggest that in both high- and low estrogen conditions (modeling pre- and postmeno-pausal breast cancer), flaxseed either enhanced or maintain the effectiveness of tamoxifen in decreasing tumor growth, decreasing cell proliferation and increasing apoptosis. However, no results of clinical trials of flaxseed use during tamoxifen treatment are currently available. Research is in progress regarding flaxseed use during treatment with aromatase inhibitors."
Personally, I would be comfortable consuming it but if you don't, there are plenty of other ways to get a nutritious diet. I would avoid the oil, or supplemental versions of flax since you would be missing out on all the great benefits of the rest of the flax seed.

If you want even more information than this, then you should really just read the fact sheet!!
- Julie

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