Soy Foods: The Eeewwww! Factor

It can be hard to get past the eewwwww! factor when trying a new way of eating, but I’ve had plenty of practice. I have choked down horse meat in Switzerland, goat meat and cassava in Nigeria, seaweed and raw fish from Japan, and buffalo hump in Pakistan, and you know what? Once I got past the eeewww! factor, those were all pretty tasty. Lucky thing too: In every case, an easily-offended host was watching.

So here I am, looking (in private) at cartons of soy foods (eeeewwwww!): soy milk for my cereal, soy creamer for my coffee, soy cream cheese for my toast, soy tofu instead of meat. And you know what? Once I get past the eeewwwww! factor, my throat has begun to untighten, and my  eyes have even, occasionally, turned into happily triumphant half-moons. “Who’d a thunk it?” my dad would have said.

Here’s my soy report so far:

YUM (I will happily eat this again):
Vanilla Light Silk Soymilk on my favorite flax flakes cereal.
Plain Silk Creamer in my coffee (It doesn’t taste funny! I couldn’t believe it!)

YUK (Take it away! Please!)
Vanilla Light Silk Soymilk in coffee (undrinkable)

Yesterday I met my brother and his wife for a post-Christmas Sunday brunch in a restaurant with a great salad bar. I couldn’t resist half and half or an egg, but at home my ricenbeans and veggies prevailed. Tonight I have to bring food to a big New Year’s Eve party. I’m using up the last of my cream cheese to make my always snarfed up green chili/kalamata olive/tortilla pinwheels. I could use Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese and no one would know the difference, but why waste the good stuff on people who’d gag if they knew?

A Running Start on my New Diet

What fun! I went to four ethic groceries today—two Indian, one Asian, and a Mediterranean—and a health food store. I came home with quite a few interesting possibilities: two kinds of lentils (red and yellow), a spice mix, a small block of Thai-spiced baked tofu, L’a’rabars, a tub of Better Than Cream Cheese, tubs of green and Kalamata olives, quinoa (a grain I’ve never tried), whole wheat tortillas, and a box of protein powder.

What I ate today:  Breakfast: Fabulous (vegetarian but not vegan) Pacific Roasted red pepper and tomato soup, 1 slice Arnold Natural Wheat Bread (the only kind of nationally available bread I like) with Better Than Cream Cheese and one sliced green olive. Lunch:  Home-made “Nigerian Baked Beans” (recipe from World Vegetarian by Madhur Jaffrey, p.57, a lot of work but very yummy), one slice Natural Wheat bread; Dinner: 1 microwaved sweet potato, cooked spinach with lemon, home-canned applesauce.

Vegan Vixen!

Last month I called a dear friend I’ve known for 60 years (who has survived breast cancer for 20) to wish her happy birthday, and she told me she’d become a vegan—no meat, no dairy. Good grief, I thought. She’s gone off the deep end.

“No dairy?” I inquired. “What about J.?”  (her breast cancer surgeon husband)

“He’s doing it too. You should try it!”

“What?” I cried. “Give up my two-gallon-a-week skim milk habit? Brie at parties? My Sunday morning egg?”

“It’s not so hard, really,” she said.

But I wasn’t convinced. It had to be hard. And I’d have to have a rocket lit under me to even consider it.

I could deal with the meat part. About nine months ago, several books inspired me to go (mostly) vegetarian, most notably The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. I traded in meat for beans, exploring ways to cook beans to avoid my usually uncomfortable and embarrassing explosive reaction to them. After multiple disasters, I succeeded: Basically I double-soak all dried beans or lentils, once overnight and once on the stove. Get the details on my post called Beans: My Shape of Beef to Come. I have fallen in love with beans and rice, for which there are thousands of tasty yummy satisfying to even the critic in me recipes. And I’d eat anything I wanted when a guest at parties or restaurants, which wasn’t usually more than once a week.

But now, the fire under me has been stoked:  The China Study by T. Collin Campbell (see also my review) has fueled me with enough motivation to try eating vegan (no animal protein), but with three caveats: 1) I restrict my diet to vegan (plant-based) only at home;  2) I keep my morning coffee cream, and 3) I get to reconsider in 3 months.

I’m going to blog my successes, failures, discoveries and frustrations right here on my breast cancer blog. Want to try this with me? If you’ve read The China Study and are convinced that a plant-based diet is a good idea for breast cancer survivors, please email me and let me know your issues and discoveries. Also let me know if I can share your comments or if you’d prefer they remain between us.

And a special thank you to Marisa Acocella Marchetto, author/artist of Cancer Vixen (another must read for all us breast cancer people—not just survivors, but the friends, family and health professionals who deal with us) for inspiring my “Vegan Vixen” title. I really love her work. My blog fans can read my review of Cancer Vixen here, and don’t miss Marisa’s fabulously illustrated new breast cancer blog.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Behold: My Fabulous New Website Design!

I had all sorts of sticky requests for my website: Those buttons across the top took some doing, and he didn’t think he could grant my wish for rounded corners, but in the end he managed that too. I got everything I wanted and then some. He even got my breast cancer blog viewable most recent post first, or one can consult the archives to read the story from the beginning.

I also had a wonderful time eating fabulous food with Dylan and Ann and visiting with family. We had a white Christmas, but my flying weather both to and from Denver was perfect. Wow. My 2007 Christmas has been the best ever!

I’ll be working to upload new material to my website in the next few weeks and clean it up even more. Let me know how you like it. Got a suggestion?

For more information on Dylan Kuhn, website designer, go to

My First Breast Cancer Blog Entry in Six Months!

I just read The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell, probably the most highly credentialed researcher who has ever studied the correlation between animal protein and the diseases of affluent societies: Cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and many others. This man has worked from MIT, Virginia Tech, and at the top of our government health agencies. What he has to say about animal protein and breast cancer is going to make a vegan out of me.

A vegan? Oh no! Have I gone out of my mind? I’m the one who has downed two gallons of skim milk a week for almost my entire adult life! I have given up most meat in the last year, but I replaced it with dairy. Bad move, says Dr. Campbell. His book has convinced me that the amount of meat and dairy a country consumes correlates shockingly with the amount of breast and other cancers suffered by that population.

I am so impressed that I am going to try to go vegan (no animal protein), at least at home. Sigh. No more cheese? No more milk? I don’t know how I’ll do it, but what a no animal protein diet promises is worth a try. I am going to start January 1st, and my New Year’s Resolution for 2008 is to eat a vegan diet at home for three months. If I find I just can’t do it, I’ll quit or modify it.

I plan to continue my breast cancer blog this year, journaling my successes, failures, and frustrations with a vegan diet, and any other related struggles. Please tune in! You can respond (no public response is available on my website yet) by going to the Contact page on this website.

Dr. Campbell sells no products other than this book. He has nothing to gain, no programs to buy, no diet books to reap millions from. 

Why has no doctor given me this book? Why isn’t it making headlines around the world? Could it be $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$? Whoever you are, whatever your present health, please read this book and then decide for yourself. The life you save might be your own.

Just Listed: New Lake Effects Art, plus Christmas Sales!

So here are my latest listings: Original Lake Effects III watercolors from last summer’s  painting project of Lake Michigan; a fabulous new signed and numbered collage print series showcasing the new Lake Effects III (summer) watercolors. Also find my new 2007 handbags and scarf & bag sets (now on sale for Christmas) as well as new necklaces and earrings (also on sale for Christmas).

Order anytime, but if you call by the 18th (i.e. the next ten days!) you can get it for Christmas!

The season has come for me to create! I love winter—so much time to focus and get things made and written. I have some big projects to finish, including the children’s book titled What’s In the Woods? (Great Lakes companion to my successful What’s on the Beach?) 

So Happy December, everyone!