Friday, November 30, 2007

Kale - Hale and Hearty!

We have been harvesting our 5-6 varieties of kale for the past couple of weeks after we had our first hard frost, enjoying it both cooked and raw. I am one of these odd sort of folks who actually eats the decorative kale on my plate at a restaurant. After giving others a chance to follow my lead, I usually end up eating the kale from the plates of my friends or family, too. However, after two seasons of growing our own kale, and growing different varieties than the stiff curly kind found in grocery stores, I am now convinced that the typical variety of kale most people have seen (and maybe tried to eat) gives kale a bad name.

It is going down to ~15 degrees tonight here in southern Michigan. I don't really know how cold tolerant our kale varieties are, so I have taken the chicken's way out by harvesting it all this afternoon. It is sooooo good that I really did not want to chance losing any to the severe cold dip we will have tonight, which is forecasted to be followed by snow and freezing rain tomorrow night. From just 6 short rows (maybe 3 feet each) I have been harvesting kale for regular consumption for the past several weeks and today filled up a huge grocery bag with the kale just jam-packed in there. I want to try to freeze some for future use during the winter for adding to stir-frys, soups and stews, or even just as a delicious topping for baked potatoes.

Next summer, in addition, to planting even more of my heritage dried beans (those seeds are all dried, labeled, and packed for 2008 planting with all extra beans ready for soup making this winter), I want to plant at least twice as much kale.

Kale is off the charts when it comes to being loaded with molecules that are both antioxidants and have other health-promoting benefits (including cancer-fighting activity), too. I have a friend who has survived her brain tumor for years and years beyond the expectations of her oncologist. It could be just good luck or the reason may be that every morning she adds two handfuls of fresh kale to the basic soy shake recipe on my web site to start her day with a cornucopia of "cancer-phyting" phytochemicals.

Here is my original recipe, developed even before the word "smoothie" made it to the Midwest!

Diana's SuperSoy and Phytochemical Shake


2 1/2 oz. soft or silken tofu (1/6 of a 1 lb. block)
3/4 cup of soy milk
1 large carrot or 6 - 8 baby carrots
3/4 cup of orange juice
3/4 cup fresh or frozen fruit
1-2 tablespoons of wheat bran
1-2 tablespoons of wheat germ
1-2 tablespoons of ground or whole flax seed
Mix together in a blender for 1-2 minutes, then drink and enjoy!

Look for kale and other greens at your local Farmers' Market this winter. Make kale more than decoration on your plate!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Holiday Giving

Thanksgiving has passed, and we are now into the full swing of the holiday season. It is the time of year that we think of gifts for special people in our lives plus giving those end of year donations to organizations whose missions we support.

I would like to take this opportunity to humbly suggest that you consider purchasing a copy of my book A Dietitian's Cancer Story to give to a person you know with a cancer diagnosis, your local library, cancer center, doctor's office, or place of worship.

You may purchase my book in English by ordering it at any bookstore. If you order it from the independent bookstore called Nicola's Books in Ann Arbor, MI, either by calling the store at 734/662-0600 or directly from their web site, you may request that I stop by the store to personally autograph the book any way you wish.

My book (both English and Spanish versions) may also be purchased from If you order from Amazon, please visit my web site first at, click on books, and then click on my book or any book listed to go to Amazon's web site. I participate in the Amazon Associates Program, which pays me a small percentage of the dollar amount of everything you order through Amazon's web site on that visit (everything, not just books!). This small amount of money paid to me helps to pay my web site costs, which in turn helps to keep my web site free of advertising (yea!).

Last but not least at all, you may order my books (both English and Spanish) directly from AICR by calling 1-800-843-8114, asking to speak to Candi who handles all my book orders at AICR. Benefits of ordering directly through AICR are the following:
(1) Fewer middle-men take their cut this way so that more money is available for me to donate back to my endowment at AICR that funds nutrition research for cancer survivors,
(2) You may obtain great pricing for orders of 10 or more books (much better than Amazon's discounts)
(3) Candi (or other AICR staff) will love to hear from you!

For those who are considering donating money to a very worthwhile cause, please consider helping me increase the size of my research endowment at AICR by making a direct donation yourself to the Diana Dyer Cancer Survivors' Nutrition Research Endowment at AICR. Clicking on the title of this posting will take you directly to the page on AICR's web site where you may donate on line. You may also call AICR directly at 1-800-843-8114 and ask to speak to Heather Morgan who is the Directory of Development. (She will love to hear from you, too!) As a special opportunity, you may request that your donation to my endowment be designated in honor or memory of someone special to you. All donations, large or small, are helpful and deeply appreciated. I would be honored to have you join my efforts to keep funding research projects that will ultimately help cancer survivors optimize their odds for long-term survival and quality of life by using nutrition.

I love the following quote:
"The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it."
William James, American philosopher and psychologist (1842-1910)

I expect to be around for many years yet, but I do invite you to be a part of my endowment at AICR, which will outlast me as it continues funding nutrition research for cancer survivors for decades to come.

Many thanks from the bottom of my heart for your past and future support of my dreams.

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

New cancer-fighting (plus healthy and delicious!) recipes

Twelve-plus years ago when I had my second breast cancer diagnosis treated at the University of Michigan's Comprehensive Cancer Center there was nothing that the cancer center offered in regards to nutrition except for a few pamphlets developed by The American Cancer Society or The National Cancer Institute. Nothing...........

There has been progress during this time (slow but forward!). Today a friend sent me the recent new addition to the nutrition information provided on the U of M's cancer center web site, which included dozens and dozens of healthy and delicious recipes to optimize an intake of foods that contain multiple cancer-fighting molecules along with multiple molecules for promoting overall optimal health, too!

Click on the title of this posting to go directly to their web site and the new recipes. One of the unique and very useful aspects of this web site is the opportunity to choose which types of recipes will fit with the type of diet you are eating or foods you would like to try (<20% fat, vegan, kale, sweet potato, etc, etc). When I put up my web site in 1998, it was certainly one of the first (if not indeed the very first) web sites devoted exclusively to providing reliable nutrition information for cancer survivors. It is very meaningful to know that cancer centers are finally starting to provide additional information of this type to their patients, too.

There is still a ways to go to have nutrition information and Registered Dietitians (RD) included as an automatic and proactive component of true comprehensive cancer care for each and every single person diagnosed with cancer. However, the winds are indeed changing toward that goal, if not already shifted, with no turning back.

Take advantage of all the recipes on my own web site ( plus those on the University of Michigan's web site. Then ask for a referral to a Registered Dietitian at your own cancer center. If you're met with a blank stare and/or a stammering "We don't have one/don't need one/can't figure out how to pay for that service/another old and tired excuse", offer to help your own cancer treatment facility figure out how other cancer centers (large, medium, small sizes) are providing this essential and beneficial professional service as part of their full cancer care.

Thank you to all of you who are also pushing to initiate or expand the inclusion of nutritional services at your facility. Your efforts are appreciated today and will also be appreciated by all patients who are still to come.

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." - Mahatma Ghandi

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Local Thanksgiving Feast and Cranberry Chutney Recipe

We are traveling for the Thanksgiving weekend, but we are bringing our locally prepared holiday meal with us. We decided to make things as easy as possible on ourselves by taking advantage of the pre-cooked (ready to re-heat) special holiday meal offered by The Henry Ford Museum's Michigan Cafe in Dearborn, MI. In addition to using many heritage recipes, most of the ingredients are locally produced (yea!), including an organic turkey right from our own county (which I prefer instead of the bird we purchased at Whole Foods Market last year that came all the way from the state of Oregon!). Click on the title of this post to see what all we are getting. I know there are more goodies coming, too, from other families who will be sharing our meal of thankfulness.

I'll be bringing the following recipe that the general manager of the Farmers' Diner in Quechee, Vermont shared with me:


The original recipe would be enough for dozens and dozens of friends and relatives (i.e., it started with 6 quarts of cranberries!). So I broke it down to a more reasonable amount for a meal to feed 8-12.

1 quart fresh or frozen cranberries (this is a little more than one typical bag)
1-1/3 cup orange juice (plain, not with added calcium, etc)
~3-1/2 Tbsp. honey
~2-1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 small sprig of fresh rosemary leaves (no stalks)

Combine all in a heavy pot and bring to a boil. When berries begin to burst, take off the heat and cool in an ice bath.

The rosemary leaves came right from my own windowsill. I just love the smell of cooking rosemary (this amount is very subtle, not overwhelming). If you would like it a tiny bit sweeter, adjust to your own taste preferences.

If there are any left-overs, this recipe will freeze well, so enjoy this cranberry chutney as a colorful side dish on your dinner plate or even as fruit compote served with plain yogurt and granola (which is how I first had it when visiting The Farmers' Diner last weekend).

Thanksgiving is very special to me. My older son came home from the hospital on Thanksgiving Day in 1977 after being born a week before with complications. In addition, my first breast cancer surgery was done the day before Thanksgiving in 1984. I give thanks for my many blessings every single day but especially on Thanksgiving Day. :-)

May you all count your blessings, too, and enjoy your food and company this holiday weekend!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD