Wednesday, June 15, 2016

More Food Synergy – and Evidence That It’s Doing Something

Once I had created the Mango Lassi with Anti-Cancer Spices, I wanted to make another drink that would feature anti-cancer vegetables and fruit. Green drinks run the gamut from bitter or sulfury at one end to super-sweet with sugar or fruit juice at the other. I haven’t been a fan of most of the ones I’ve tried.

After months of experimenting, I’ve come up with this combo, where the rich flavor of almond and grapeseed oil tames the strong flavors of the greens. The raspberries, lemon, and stevia add just enough sweetness. One of the advantages of the blending process is that you can use the fibrous parts of the vegetables that normally get thrown away, like the stems of the broccoli and parsley. The anti-cancer foods in this drink are the two cruciferous vegetables, the parsley, and the raspberries. 

The Pretty Good Almond Berry Green Smoothie

Time: 15 minutes including cleanup
Servings: 1 large drink

½ cup sugar-free almond milk
1-2 tablespoons water
½ cup ice
2 teaspoons grapeseed or peanut oil
1 cup of light, leafy cruciferous vegetable, such as kale or arugula, firmly packed
1/3 cup of dense cruciferous vegetable, such as broccoli, cabbage, or cauliflower coarsely chopped
1 small handful of parsley or ½ celery stalk
¼ lemon, peel removed
2/3 cup raspberries or blueberries
1-2 packets stevia

Add almond milk, water, and ice to the container of a blender.
Add the remaining ingredients in the order given.
Pulse 20 times to chop the solids, then puree for a slow count of 30 or until mixture is smooth.
If the mixture is too thick, add a little more water. If you taste too much of the cruciferous vegetables, add another teaspoon of oil. If you want a sweeter drink, add more stevia.

I drink this smoothie every day at lunchtime and sometimes follow it with a half ounce of dark chocolate, another anti-cancer food.
Almond milk only lasts about a week after opening and I’ve only been able to get it in half-gallon containers, way too much for my needs. Kitchen stores sell little trays for extra large ice cubes, almost 4 oz. (1/2 cup). I freeze portions of almond milk and take them out one at a time. When you do this, you will add water rather than ice to the one-cup measure and you will have to puree about 2-3 times as long because of the extra frozen liquids.

I've read that cruciferous vegetables contain small amounts of various toxins. In order to limit exposure to any one toxin, it is recommended that you vary the ingredients of the smoothie on a regular basis.

Tip for Storing Vegetables: Many vegetables will keep longer if they are wrapped in a paper towel inside of the usual plastic bag. If the paper towel gets wet, it should be replaced with a dry one. For greens that come in a plastic clamshell, open the container immediately after you get it home, before storing it in the refrigerator. Put a paper towel on top, shake the container a couple of times, and re-close the lid. Store upside down (paper towel down) in the refrigerator. Each time you reopen it, remove any leaves that are starting to yellow, replace the paper towel if it is wet or stained, and shake the container before putting it away. This helps to keep the leaves from packing down, getting too wet, and spoiling.

One Way to Re-Use Plastic Clamshells: I give relatively clean and undamaged clamshells to a guy at my gym. He passes them along to Amish farmers who use them when they make butter and cheese.

Help for Prostate Cancer? Some studies have indicated that lycopene, which is found in tomatoes, may help against prostate cancer. To get a worthwhile amount of lycopene you need to use processed tomato products, such as tomato juice and tomato paste, not fresh tomatoes. You can add a tablespoon of tomato paste to this drink, which doesn't affect the flavor much. With this, use a bit more water and less ice. I like the Italian tomato pastes that come in a tube. Some of them are double concentrated, which presumably means twice as much lycopene. My favorite brand is Mutti, but there are others. American brands in cans work just fine too.

Other ideas for prostate cancer: quit eating red meat and processed meats like bacon and sausage; if you're overweight, lose a few pounds (see the new post How To Keep The Weight Off As You Get Older); if you're sedentary, get up and move around.

The Evidence That It’s Doing Something
I’ve complained about my digestive malfunctions elsewhere in this blog (Trouble Down Below, Last year I started drinking the mango lassi ( and the Pretty Good Green Smoothie. Over the next couple of months I noticed that my fingernails were stronger and my skin looked better. 

This week I was doing my usual pedicure routine: remove old polish, file nails and calluses, wash and push back cuticles, and apply new polish. After the old polish was gone I noticed that there was a distinct difference in color between the upper and lower parts of the nail; the lower part was a nice, healthy-looking pink, while the upper part was yellowish. The dividing line comes 1/3 to halfway up the nail. 

Toenails take 12-18 months to grow out so this change represents a process that started 6-9 months ago. Mid-December, six months ago, is when I started with the drinks. Nothing was different about my foot care routine so this seems to represent a metabolic change of some kind. What sort of change is it and what are the implications for my health? I have no idea but I wish someone would check it out.

Update: Here are my feet six weeks later, seven and a half months after I started with the drinks:

Update on nails, 2/2/2018: I've now been using the Mango Lassi and the Green Smoothie for more than two years and I think I understand what's happening to my toenails. For a number of years, the nails on some of my toes had begun to lift off the nailbeds (onycholysis). In the time since I started using the drinks, the toenails have started to reattach themselves, in effect lengthening the nailbeds. The same thing is happening, in a less obvious way, to my fingernails. Perhaps this is an indication of improved physical condition.