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Smokey Split Pea Soup

Vegan Smokey Split Pea Soup

Quite a few years ago I took a contract job cooking for a self-proclaimed ‘meat, potatoes and sometimes ice cream guy’ who wanted to try a vegan, raw food diet. He admitted that he didn’t love most vegetables but was interested in improving his overall health (he didn’t have cancer). I love a challenge, but this was really challenging. I only had one frustrated (and colourful) juice pulp-throwing incident (thrown by me) before I started thinking with my meat brain. What would my Dad eat? I figured out ways to tickle that umami part of the brain, using different spices and veggies.

Vegan Smokey Split Pea Soup

Smoked paprika helped a lot. In general, smoked foods aren’t great for our health; they can contain toxins that come from the burning matter creating the smoke. We’re not talking about eating smoked meat here, or smoked fish, you will only be getting a small amount of the paprika, but the flavour will remind you (or your meat and potatoes buddy) of that chorizo-filled trip to Spain.

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New Years Black-eyed Peas and Greens

New Years Black-eyed Peas

To many people, eating black-eyed peas on New Years Day is considered good luck. Even if you don’t consider yourself overly superstitious, a cancer diagnosis in the family can leave you suddenly making wishes on every fallen eyelash and picking up pennies off the sidewalk. So if you are feeling as though an injection of luck would be a good way to kick off your New Year, I have a delicious way for you to do so. There will also be kale.

Black-eyed Peas

I love black-eyed peas. They are nice and small so they don’t take forever to cook and they become very creamy once cooked through. They are also high in protein, and offer kidney and adrenal support. This is great news for anybody but is specifically useful for people with cancer because fear is known to affect the kidneys and stress is often responsible for squashing your adrenals. Fear and stress are obviously common emotions for those with cancer in their lives, whether directly or indirectly, making this dish a pretty deliciously supportive and grounding way to start the New Year.

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Curried Sweet Potato & Lentil Soup (and homemade coconut milk)

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It’s hard to know what to do when someone close to you is diagnosed with cancer. We tend to want to do something because if we don’t, it means we are doing nothing, and that’s not a nice feeling when things feel like they’re falling apart. The problem is that the person with cancer has a lot on their plate and often isn’t very helpful when it comes to ideas about what you might be able to do to help them out. Flowers? Tequila? It’s hard to know. Food is usually a good idea, but what if they aren’t feeling well enough to eat? What if they are following a strict diet? What if you don’t know how to cook?

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The answer is very possibly: this soup. It tastes delicious, is highly alkaline and vegan (cancer will hate it), is full of vegan protein, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, anti-inflammatory powers, and is very easy to make. What if all they feel like eating is crackers this week? It freezes extremely well so it can be saved for a good food week. Or maybe the cancer thriver’s spouse/family/roommate needs some clean nourishment, I bet they’re feeling their share of nutrient-zapping stress.

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Baked Beans

There is something about the shorter days that make this one pot meal veeeery appealing. It’s pretty magical that you can put a pot of ingredients into the oven, looking and tasting one way, and pull it out HOURS later totally transformed. Like all of the best fall/winter food, you put it in the oven before the sun goes down, and enjoy it in the chilly, premature darkness.

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Baked beans are a favourite of mine. They were always a made from scratch, once in a while, special occasion food in my family. It wasn’t until I did some traveling through the UK (and other places where British people travel) that I realized that some people ate baked beans…..every day. And often for breakfast.

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Beans on toast?! A totally brilliant textural contrast, I totally get it. Although, an even better combo, especially if you’re into feeding your body blood-cleaning chlorophyll and antioxidants: beans with greens. Still texturally contrasting, but you also get the deeply cooked beans heat and flavour with the fresh, enzyme-rich, lemony-ness of the greens. Any fresh green will do, simply toss with some lemon juice.

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