The Food for Life Program Continues to Grow
Last month, PCRM trained the largest class of new Food for Life instructors and Educational Alliance Program (EAP) partners in the program’s ten year history. We brought on 27 new team members to the Food for Life program network. The addition of these new instructors and EAP partners enables the cooking and nutrition class program to reach communities in the following new states: Georgia, Kentucky, Alabama, and Tennessee. The new instructors and EAP members are eager to empower class participants with the knowledge and cooking skills to turn every meal into a delicious dose of healthful nutrition. To find out if there is a class near you, please visit our class resource page. Please visit www.foodforlifetraining.org to learn more about becoming involved with teaching the Food for Life program in your community.
Holiday Menu: Simple, Delicious, Veg-Friendly Dishes
The winter holiday festivities are a perfect opportunity to show off your culinary skills! This holiday season, consider these low-fat, high-fiber, plant-based recipes for your table. Avoiding the heavy, dairy- and meat-laden meals will help you maintain a healthy weight and a high energy level throughout the season. One of the many recipes featured in this special menu is a dessert recipe by chef and Food for Life instructor Jason Wyrick, the Masala Chai Apple Crisp, found in Dr. Neal Barnard's latest book, 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart: Boost Metabolism, Lower Cholesterol, and Dramatically Improve Your Health. View the holiday menu >>
Holiday Gifts that Save Lives
This holiday season you can honor the special people in your life in a meaningful way. When you make a tribute gift to support PCRM’s lifesaving work, we will send a card to let the honoree know of your thoughtful donation and explain how our innovative nutrition research, outreach, and advocacy are creating a healthier, more compassionate world. With a donation of $20 or more your honoree will receive a year’s subscription to Good Medicine magazine filled with the latest nutrition news, cutting-edge research articles, and updates on all PCRM’s programs and campaigns. Click here to make a tribute gift and support PCRM’s lifesaving work.
Shop to Support PCRM
We offer a wide variety of books, DVDs, and other resources through the online PCRM Shop that promote a healthy, plant-based lifestyle. Grab a copy of Dr. Neal Barnard’s 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart to keep your friends and family healthy all through the holiday season—or any of the other bestsellers that are available for quick holiday delivery! Visit the PCRM Shop >>
Food for Life Instructor Spotlight: Gloria Huerta
Cancer. It is the diagnosis no one ever wants to hear. Food for Life instructor Gloria Huerta began her work with the Food for Life program in memory of her mother, Lucy, who lost her life to pancreatic cancer.
As an advocate for whole foods and plant-based nutrition, Gloria has learned the vital role that healthful nutrition and an active lifestyle play in not only preventing, but reversing, lifestyle diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and certain forms of cancer. Being Latina, she knows first-hand the love for eating, and any gathering is a good reason to create mouth-watering feasts. Unfortunately, many of those meals are dripping with oil and loaded with cheese, and meat is usually the overwhelming portion. Raised on meat everyday as a child, she ate only a few types of vegetables and even fewer types of grains. In the past, she only liked beans if they were refried and loaded with cheese, so actually, it was “queso con frijoles” and not “frijoles con queso.”
In 2006, she adopted a vegetarian diet and on Jan. 1, 2010, began her first 21-Day Vegan Kickstart program. That month, she celebrated her 48th birthday on the 21st with a vegan carrot cake! Gloria thought, “If this Latina could do it, so could my people!” She attended a Food for Life cancer class in Pasadena, Calif., following the Kickstart, and after being nudged repeatedly by her dietitian (now Food for Life colleague and mentor); she decided to apply to become an area instructor. Today, she conducts bilingual Spanish-English Food for Life classes in the Los Angeles area.
Gloria’s dream is to one day run a Meals on Wheels program for cancer patients. She knows that if something like that would have been available for people like her mother, it would have made an incredible difference. “It is easy to make healthy meals, without compromising flavor or culture," Gloria says. "They can still have their chiles rellenos, pozole, enchiladas, tacos, tostadas, tamales, etc., in a new, healthier way. The beautiful bright colors, the textures, the flavors, the mesmerizing aromas that now fill my home and classes create not only a great learning environment, but an opportunity to explore and be creative."
“Eating healthfully is an investment in yourself, in your health, and in your future,” Gloria says.
Aside from teaching Food for Life classes weekly, Gloria has a full-time job with It Is Written Television. Follow her Spanish-language blog featuring recipe resources here. Be sure to also “like” her bilingual Facebook page, Tu destino está en tu plato, where she posts photos, recipes, and the latest news about her classes. Gloria is teaching a series through Dec. 19, so if you haven’t had the pleasure of taking one of her classes, you can sign up here.
Food for Life in the News: Support Systems are Key in the Battle Against Cancer
PCRM’s dedicated communications team makes regular coverage of The Cancer Project and the Food for Life program possible in newspapers, blogs, and television clips across the country.
Food for Life instructor Nancy Lyons was recently featured in a piece published by the Tri-City Herald of Washington that looked at the many ways her community of Kennewick provided support to those affected with cancer. Since 2009, Nancy has taught more than 60 Food for Life classes and is able to continue to spread Food for Life’s lifesaving message by connecting with various venues like the Tri-Cities Cancer Center in her community. Through the classes, Nancy provides much-needed support on the topic of nutrition including practical cooking tips, informative lectures, and a delicious sampling of several recipes per class, filled with cancer-fighting foods. To read more about why Nancy believes nutrition is an important factor in cancer prevention and survival, click here.
Foods for Life classes are taught all across the U.S. and in select countries abroad, reaching thousands of people every year. To see if there are any classes in your community, visit the Cancer Project’s website.
Diet and Cancer Research Update
Breast cancer awareness is important not only in October, Breast Cancer Awareness month, but during the holidays and throughout the year. Researchers are curious about how diet affects hormone production, and rightly so, because the majority of America’s cancers are hormone-related.
Vegetarian diets may help reduce levels of excess hormones, according to a new study. The study observed how dietary patterns affect breast cancer risk by measuring hormone markers in the blood, urine, and feces. Three groups of participants—a vegetarian group, an omnivorous group, and an omnivorous group with breast cancer—were evaluated extensively. Researchers recorded five-day diet records while issuing a series of tests. Four assessments took place over the course of a year.
Researchers mainly looked for changes in hormones and their metabolites, like estrogen. Results showed that the vegetarian group significantly decreased estrogen production while boosting the hormone sex-hormone-binding-globulin (SHBG), which is known for removing excessive hormones. The omnivorous participants with breast cancer had the highest amounts of hormones while reporting a poor fiber-to-fat ratio in the diet. The omnivores without cancer did better than those with cancer, but not as well as the vegetarian group.
Although the total study population was small—31 participants—the study produced a large amount of data that showed significant results. The vegetarian group showed great improvements in hormonal output and had a higher dietary fiber-to-fat ratio. Fiber intake was only one component of the study, and the author of the study, Mylène Aubertin-Leheudre, Ph.D., concluded that less body fat, eating less total fat, and eating more fiber, particularly cereal fiber, works synergistically to lower circulating estrogen levels in post-menopausal women, lowering the risk of breast cancer. Dr. Aubertin-Leheudre believes both limiting fat and adding cereal fiber help raise SHBG levels and improve circulating estrogen clearance from the body.
Aubertin-Leheudre M, Hämäläinen E, Adlercreutz H. Diets and hormonal levels in postmenopausal women with or without breast cancer. Nutr Cancer. 2011;63:514-24.
New Food for Life Cooking and Nutrition Classes for December
View cancer prevention and survival classes here >>
View diabetes prevention and treatment classes here >>