Cook healthier, feel better

When it comes to fighting cancer, or heart disease, or the common cold, there are many variables that are outside your control, like what will happen next, how will it feel, and when it will get better. One of the few aspects of treatment that patients can manage is the food they put into their bodies. Eating healthily is always important, but it is paramount – almost vital – when illness strikes.

I’ve known this for a long time, and The John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey knows it, too. As part of a recent $130 million overall to their comprehensive cancer facility, The John Theurer Cancer Center allocated space where patients can learn how to grow their own vegetable garden, as well as an on-site demonstration kitchen where patients and families can find out how to manage their appetite and maximize the healing potential of their diet while undergoing therapy.

Not long ago, I was honored to lead a cooking demonstration at the Center, in which I offered ideas for healthy meals in a hurry, aimed toward working mothers and fathers (like my friend Lis Wiehl, a Fox News contributor) who don’t have time to prepare elaborate meals but want to make sure their kids eat nutrient-rich, health-promoting foods.

Menu items included my Raw Valentine Smoothie for Two, made using “superfoods” like organic  raw cacao powder, which contains one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants of any food in the world, goji berries, known as the fruit of longevity and red maca for healthy hormones. Other quick and easy meals included my Vegetarian Vicken Salad, and my Buckwheat Soba Noodle Recipe, and all three recipes can be found on my website,

For my most recent cooking demonstration at The John Theurer Cancer Center, Fox News Channels’ Dr. Manny Alvarez, who is also the chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Hackensack University Medical Center, joined me in learning how to 'Man Up,' and start making healthier alternatives to his beloved hamburger and fries.

Rather than prepare a hamburger laden with pink slime, hormones, antibiotics and who knows what else, Dr. Manny and I built a veggie burger made of vegetables and grains such as tempeh, garlic, peppers and onions.  We used lots of spices, including the oh-so-healthy turmeric, which contains many anti-inflammatory properties and has also been shown to inhibit cancer growth.

Also on our meatless menu: Vegetarian Sloppy Joes, made with Quorn meatless grounds, onion, Arrabbiata sauce, and again, turmeric.  And because a meal on a bun seems incomplete without coleslaw, I’ve concocted a raw, vegan slaw made of purple and green cabbage (which can help eliminate carcinogens from the body!), fennel bulb, lemon, apple cider vinegar, vegan mayo, and apples. It’s about as delicious as it gets, and guiltless too.

As I’ve said before and will keep saying, eating an organic diet full of plant-based, wholesome super foods as much as possible is key no matter who you are, but especially if you are sick with cancer, heart disease, diabetes, or any other condition. Preparing healthier foods is only a piece of the puzzle, but it’s an important step – one you can take slowly, but also seriously.  Make a commitment to eat better and before you realize it, you’ll feel better, and you’ll want to make more of my all-natural, nutrient-rich, health-promoting recipes.

Don’t be afraid to get started – your body and your family (and their tummies) will thank you.

Deirdre Imus, Founder of the site devoted to environmental health,, is President and Founder of The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center™ at Hackensack  University Medical Center and Co-Founder/Director of the Imus Cattle Ranch for Kids with Cancer. She is a New York Times best-selling author and a frequent contributor to, Fox Business Channel and Fox News Channel. Check out her website at'Like' her Facebook page here.