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Drink to good health… (Part One)

April 4, 2012

I had the honor of being invited to a Bloggers Summit last week at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) in Goodyear.  The event they hosted brought in bloggers from around the country who write about their experiences with fighting cancer.  Some were survivors, some were caregivers, all were incredibly knowledgable and inspiring.  In the little bit of time I got to spend with them I was touched by each of their stories.  Cancer had reeked devastation in all of their lives, and yet they were positive, passionate people, each motivated and driven to share their journey and what they have learned.  Among those I met was a widow who helps others navigate the maze of information and technology relating to cancer, a caregiving husband who has nursed and advocated for his wife through cancer twice and is about to publish his first book, a poised, well-spoken sixteen-year-old who has battled brain cancer and is now a patient advocate, and a colon cancer survivor in her early twenties who is now in medical school.  The entire group was well-informed and articulate about diagnosis, treatment, the realities of cancer.  I joined the group during their tour of the CTCA facility and was in awe not just of their questions, but of the straight-forward answers they received in return.  I was again impressed by not only the work done at the CTCA, but by their ability to be both efficient and professional while also being compassionate and direct.  The passion of the bloggers was matched by the passion from the CTCA staff.  No subject was left off of the table, and no question went unanswered.

Chef Frank Caputo was on hand throughout the day discussing his role as chef at the hospital and how he is involved with a patient’s care.  He also created an amazing lunch for all of us that was like nothing anyone had seen before in a hospital setting including a fresh green bean salad, tomatoes stuffed with quinoa, a melt-in-your-mouth turkey breast, wild rice with walnuts and sautéed apples, and a field green salad.  As with every meal he prepares, he had reduced the fat, sugar and salt and left the fresh flavors and nutrients for a meal that not only satisfied, but left me feeling energized.  I was truly touched at his response, when after listening to one survivor talk of her struggles with getting enough fiber in her diet after cancer had taken a section of her large intestine, Chef Caputo thought for a moment and then told her he had a solution.  He returned to the room with a smoothie he created just for her, to help give her the fiber her body needs, while making sure it would be something she would digest (and enjoy) as well.  His gesture did not go unnoticed throughout the room, it was exemplary of the dedication to patients and their well-being that CTCA provides.

At the beginning of the day, Chef Caputo brought all of us a treat. He had made us each a Detox Delicious smoothie.  He told us that over the years they have compiled a book of smoothie recipes that they keep in the kitchen, each recipe is named for a different patient.  Since cancer treatments can change a patient’s flavor palate, appetite and metabolism, the chef and his team work with each patient to find out what they are craving and what their diet is requiring.  They then create a smoothie for that patient that will be something they will enjoy while giving them the nutrients they need.   According to the National Cancer Institute, 40% of cancer deaths are attributable to malnutrition.  One survivor in the room mentioned that during her treatment almost all foods tasted like motor oil to her, with the exception of lemons.  Lemons were one of the only flavors that she could still taste.  This is the kind of thing that Chef Caputo takes the time to find out, so that he can create a drink that a patient will not only be able to taste and enjoy, but will give them what they need to continue their fight.  He keeps this book of recipes so that when a patient returns, he can have their smoothie ready for them.

In Ricardo’s Cafe at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America there are five smoothies available for all to enjoy.  They generously shared their recipes for me to post on the blog.  Here are the first two, I will share more in a coming post.

Enjoy in good health!

Detox Delicious – designed to help the body cleanse naturally without stripping the body of benefits
1/2 cup parslep
1/2 cup spinach
1/2 cup broccoli
Juice of two lemons
1 Tablespoon tahini (sesame paste)
1 clove garlic
1 cup of green apple (seeded and cored)
1/2 cup vegetable stock

Makes 16 ounces

Super Greens – high in antioxidants and phytochemicals
1 cup raw kale
1 cube of frozen wheat grass
1 cup of fresh spinach
1 cup of fresh watercress
1 cup of fresh green apple (seeded and cored)
1/2 cup fresh broccoli
1 cup vegetable stock

Makes 16 ounces

Cancer Treatment Centers of America
at Western Regional Medical Center
14200 W. Fillmore Street
Goodyear, Arizona  85338

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Geri permalink
    April 5, 2012 6:48 pm

    Wondering how the smoothies are made. In a high speed blender or juicer? What type of appliance do they reccomend? Thank you for your help.


    • April 5, 2012 6:51 pm

      I think that they use a high speed blender at the cafe, but a juicer should work too. A high speed blender would give you more nutrients, since it would include the pulp along with the juice.

  2. Theresa Ozuna permalink
    April 5, 2012 7:44 pm

    I have been making veggie smoothies in our blender … nothing fancy. I also didn’t want to spend the money for another appliance. Just be kind to your blender … start out with the liquid (water, hazelnut or any other nut milk), add chopped apple/celery or hard veggie, and then keep adding. I start with stir, chop and then liquify (depends on your blender) to make it as smooth or chunky as you want. … fresh mint is also wonderful … tho’ I prefer chocolate mint. GO BLENDERS!

  3. Paulla Reres permalink
    April 6, 2012 6:39 pm

    Vitamix works great! I have one and love it!

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