As October becomes November the Cancer Awareness society moves their focus from Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October) to Lung and Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month (November). While the Breast Cancer Awareness society has brought home the “one in nine” the more correct statistic for Jewish Ashkenzi women is “one in eight”. The high rate is attributed to the “Jewish gene” – three mutations in the genes BRACA1 and BRACA2 – which raise the likelihood of breast cancer by 60-80 percent. 4,000 Israeli women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year, and 900 die of the disease. Lung cancer however, is the most dangerous of all cancers and is responsible for 29% of all cancer related deaths.
The cancer society has acknowledged a link between unhealthy lifestyle choices and higher cancer risk. Two significant ways to reduce the risk of cancer are through exercise and diet. Healthy dietary choices include eating a plant based diet, eating whole grains, reducing saturated fats (animal products), reducing trans fat omega-6 oils (hydrogenated vegetable oils) and instead, using oils that are high in omega-3. The two foods that I consider to be the most beneficial to both preventing and curing cancer are flax seed and seaweed.
Flax, high in omega-3 is also one of the best sources of vegetable lignins, compounds that have anti-tumor, anti-estrogenic, and anti-oxidant properties. While flax appears to have value in treating all cancers, it is of extra value in treating both colon and breast cancers as the cells of these cancers have estrogen receptors and can be inhibited by the anti-estrogenic compounds in lignins.
Seaweeds are vegetables that are easily digested, contain ten to twenty times the amount of minerals as regular (land) vegetables and have an abundance of vitamins and minerals. Seaweeds detoxify the body, remove residues of radiation, are beneficial to the thyroid, and improve liver function. Seaweeds ability to help reduce growths and tumors is noted in ancient Chinese texts which claim “there is no swelling that is not relieved by seaweed”.
To mark the occasion of October and November Cancer awareness months, I offer a recipe which uses both flax-seed and seaweed. Satisfyingly enough, no-one, other than yourself, will know that they are eating seaweed, or flax-seed for that matter. I served this dish for Shabbat lunch (when we had company), I didn’t get a single seaweed comment, and there were no left overs.
This recipe has two parts but it’s not complicated. If making the crust is overwhelming, then buy a frozen ready-made whole wheat crust and just enjoy the health benefits of the filling. I promise you though, the crust isn’t hard to make, and from beginning to end, it adds only 5 minutes of work and one mixing bowl. If you are up to it, it’s worth the effort because while my recipe calls for olive oil and flax-seed, you know that they what you are buying contains margarine galore and not even a single, solitary, flax-seed.
Wishing everyone good health and happiness ad meah ve’esrim.
Crust1 cup whole flour (spelt or wheat)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp ground flax-seed
1/2 tsp Atlantic grey sea salt
3 tbsp hot water
1/2 cup water (apx.)
Preheat oven to 180 c (350 f)
Allow the the flax-seed and the salt to soak in the hot water for 5 minutes. Pour the dissolved salt flax mixture into a bowl and add the remaining ingredients. knead the dough until it is smooth. Roll out the dough into a thin layer and place in either a pie dish or a baking pan (any size or shape will work). Prick with a fork and bake at 180c (350f) for 10 minutes, until it is partially baked. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Wakame Filling2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
1/2″ (1 cm) ginger, grated
1 bunch beet leaves (mangold or kale), coarsely chopped
2 carrots, sliced into matchsticks
1/4 tsp turmeric
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp wakame
1 tbsp ground flax-seed, soaked in 4 tbsp water for 5 minutes
1 small kohlrabi, slice into thin roundels
1 thinly sliced carrot roundel
Soak the wakame in cold water for ten minutes. Squeeze out the excess water and set aside.
Preheat oven to 180 c (350 f).
Heat the olive oil in a deep frying pan. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and spices and saute for 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Add the beet leaves and the carrots and saute until the beet leaves are limp. Remove from the flame and stir in the wakame and the the flax-seed. Spoon onto the half-baked pie crust.
Spread the kohlrabi roundels in a circle over the top of the pie to form a flower shape. Place the carrot roundel in the center of the circle. Carefully brush the kohlrabi flower with olive oil.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the top is golden.
Serves 4-6 as a side dish.