Nutrition can play an integral part in the fight against pre-existing cancers as well as overall cancer prevention. Recent research has concluded that following a plant-based diet aids in decreasing overall cancer and disease risk. If cutting out high biological value proteins such as those coming from animals, it is essential that you ensure you are continuing to eat complete proteins (those that contain all 9 essential amino acids). Many clients wanting to follow plant-based diets often make common mistakes after eliminating animal protein sources abruptly. Often they complain of hunger, weakness, fatigue as well as not feeling satisfied. They tend to then increase their intake of refined carbohydrates and non-nutrient dense foods to feel fulfilled. These unhealthy diet habits are of a lesser quality and lack balance.
I often do not encourage clients to go strict vegetarian/vegan immediately if they plan to start treatment, as their body will be in a catabolic state and highly crave adequate protein intake.
Lack of knowledge on how to follow a plant based diet and or not knowing which alternative protein sources to implement can even be detrimental to one’s health/recovery.
Try these suggested plant based protein sources
Beans/Legumes (black, lima, chickpeas tend to be highest)
Lentils or split green peas
Seeds (hemp, chia, flaxseed, sesame, to name a few)
Grains (i.e. farro, steel cut oats)
Dark Leafy greens/seaweed (spirulina, kale, mustard/collard greens)
Knowing which plant based protein sources to substitute is the first step, yet can often come as a challenge on knowing how to make meals satisfying. For suggestions on meal preparation and recipe ideas, weSPARK is hosting a nutrition workshop 7/28 on plant based nutrition, hope to see you there!
Megan Sewards MS, RD is a Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition . She is well versed in current nutrition research and recommendations for those with the active diagnosis of cancer, those in remission and or those currently undergoing cancer treatments. Be sure to follow her on Instagram for daily health tips.
weSPARK Cancer Support Center is located in Los Angeles and offers completely FREE programs, workshops, classes and individual therapies to cancer patients, survivors and their loved ones. Remember to take a look at our monthly program schedule for more information about the services we offer.
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