Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Healthy Holiday Dessert Recipes, Eating Advice from Cancer Education Center

With the holiday season upon us, and its emphasis on parties and food, the Center for Advancement in Cancer Education (www.BeatCancer.org) urges informed moderation. The not-for-profit organization specializes in dietary guidance for cancer prevention, prevention of recurrence, and support during or after treatment.

"Food is everywhere, and we all tend to eat too much during the holidays. Desserts are probably the hardest to resist, and are a big source of Christmas weight gain. Careful attention to the holiday dessert-binging tendency can actually help lower our risk for cancer, because obesity and sugar intake are both tightly linked to the disease," says Susan Silberstein, PhD, Executive Director of the Center for Advancement in Cancer Education.

According to a report released last month by the American Institute for Cancer Research, more than 100,000 cases of cancer each year are caused by excess body fat. Obesity is a known cause of cancers of the endometrium, esophagus, pancreas, kidney, breast, and colon. Obesity also negatively affects survival and can make treatment more difficult. (CNN Medical News Nov. 5, 2009: (http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/11/05/obesity.cancer.link/index.html)

"Obesity is only one problem caused by holiday over-indulgence. A second specific concern is ingestion of sweets, which can suppress immune function and actually feed cancer," adds Silberstein.

Cancer cells use a lot more glucose than normal cells. Researchers at Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah have uncovered new information on the mechanism by which sugar "feeds" tumors. The research is published in the journal "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences." ("Science Daily," Aug. 18, 2009.)

For these reasons, many health-conscious people feel they have to either "cheat big-time" and pay later, or deprive themselves and their guests of the indulgent joys of holiday desserts.

"Not so!" emphasizes Silberstein, who also authored the recipe book "Hungry for Health." "Don't worry. You can have your proverbial cake and eat it too," she elaborates.

The following simple, guilt-free, healthful dessert recipes are excerpted from Silberstein's "Hungry for Health" (www.HungryforHealth.net):

1/4 C flaxseeds, ground
1/4 C unsweetened carob powder, sifted
1/3 C walnuts, finely chopped
1/3 C raw almond butter
1/3 C honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
small bowl of unsweetened shredded coconut

Process all ingredients until mixture forms a dense ball. Remove from processor and roll small portions between palms of hands to form one inch balls. Roll in coconut to coat. Place on serving platter and refrigerate.
Yield: About 18 truffles

18 Deglet Noor dates, pitted
1 C almond butter
1/2 C shredded unsweetened coconut
18 pecan halves (optional)

Fill dates generously with nut butter. Roll top of date in coconut. Press a pecan half into top of each date, if desired.
Yield: 18 pieces

1 1/2 C raw almonds
1 1/2 C raw cashews
1 T flaxseeds, finely ground
1/4 C sesame tahini
3/4 C honey
1 T vanilla extract
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1 1/2 C unsweetened coconut

Place almonds and cashews in food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add flax, honey, tahini, vanilla, coconut and salt and pulse a few times more. Press firmly into 9 by 5 by 1 inch brownie pan and refrigerate several hours. Cut into small squares and store in airtight container in refrigerator. Remove just before serving.
Yield: About 24 pieces

For more information about "Hungry for Health," or about the scientific data linking diet to cancer prevention and control, contact the Center for Advancement in Cancer Education at 888-551-2223, or visit www.BeatCancer.org and www.HungryforHealth.net .

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