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Published: June 8, 2024

Integrative Nutrition Reviews: Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen

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Welcome to the latest in our Integrative Nutrition Reviews series, where we consider books, movies, and other media related to health, food, and personal wellness. Want to suggest something for us to review? Post it in the comments!

We’ve all known someone who has been affected by cancer. Though there are many aspects of this terrible disease that still remain a tragic mystery, thankfully researchers now know that many forms of cancer can be prevented simply by eating whole foods, exercising regularly, and making healthy lifestyle choices. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a great time to learn and empower all of us to take charge of our own health and adopt habits conducive to a long, happy life.

But what if you or someone you love has already been diagnosed with the “Big C”?  Are there any ways you can take matters into your own hands? That’s exactly what Integrative Nutrition graduates Annette Ramke, Class of 2010, and Kendall Scott, Class of 2009, did when the they were diagnosed with cancer. Kendall is a Hodgkin’s Lymphoma survivor diagnosed at age 27, and Annettte survived breast and ovarian cancer, with her first diagnosis at 36. Together they’ve just released Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen, an inspiring cookbook and guide designed to help people not only survive, but thrive, during cancer – from diagnosis through intense treatment and beyond.

Rather than slog their way through chemo, Annette and Kendall worked alongside their oncologists and surgeons to do all they could to feel and look as their best during treatment. Adopting a “food as medicine” approach, they made manageable changes to their diets and lifestyles and felt a big difference – increased energy, improved digestion, and more stable moods. And this was while undergoing intense chemotherapy and recovering from major surgery! As they write in Chapter 1, “It’s a Whole New (Cancer) World”:

“When we are suddenly faced with a cancer diagnosis, or want to do all we can to prevent the disease in the first place, realizing that what we put in our mouths impacts the quality and, very likely, quantity of our life is empowering. Suddenly there is something more we can do. You aren’t just cooking dinner any more. You are caring for your body.”

This new outlook on food and life motivated the two women to enroll at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition where they met in 2009. The rest, as they say, is history, and this powerful book is an invaluable and entertaining read for all those who want to support themselves or a loved one through cancer, or simply boost their overall health.

With over 100 delicious recipes that promote healing and soothe the symptoms of cancer treatment, Annette and Kendall share their own stories with wit, humor, and brutal honesty. Their compassionate advice touches upon everything ranging from what to do when your hair falls out (“Hair matters!”) to accepting post-surgery scars. Chapter 8, entitled “It’s OK to Eat Chocolate and Cry,” emphasizes self-care and primary food as essential to getting you through hard times.

Whether you’re in the thick of the cancer world or just want to look and feel your best, we can’t recommend Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen highly enough!


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