"The verdict is still pending in terms of organic foods" being better for your health, Huynh said.
Cooking for patients at CTCA, Shoop uses organic produce when possible. He noted that even if there are no additional health benefits, patients can taste the difference. That's one reason CTCA has an organic garden behind the hospital.
Shoop also creates season-specific menus. Huynh explained that seasonal foods are preferable because the longer foods are shelved, the more their nutritional value decreases.Here are some healthy and flavorful recipes from the CTCA kitchens.
1 pound salmon steaks, cut 1/4-inch thick
2 1/2 ounces dry white bread crumbs
1 1/2 ounces oil
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 scallion, finely chopped
4 to 8 kebab skewers
Cut salmon into 1/4-inch cubes, discarding skin and bones. In a large bowl, beat the oil into the egg and stir in the salt, pepper, parsley and scallion. Add salmon, toss well, cover and let marinate 1 to 2 hours.
Thread salmon cubes on skewers and roll them in bread crumbs. Broil or grill them 4 to 5 inches from the heat until browned on both sides, allowing 4 minutes on each side. Serves 4. Serve with Mango Salsa and Coconut-infused Quinoa.
Note: Salmon is a lean protein and full of omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent heart disease and build muscle.
2 ripe mangoes, diced
1/2 ripe papaya, diced
1/2 canned chipotle pepper, minced
1 ounce fresh orange juice
1 ounce fresh lime juice
Combine all ingredients and refrigerate until chilled. Makes 2 cups.
Note: Papaya has a digestive enzyme that helps the body extract the most possible nutrients from food. This is especially important for cancer patients.
1 cup coconut milk, fresh or canned
1 cup quinoa (red, tan or both)
1 teaspoon corn oil
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons dried unsweetened coconut
Combine coconut milk with 1 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil.
Heat corn oil in a separate medium saucepan. Add spices and quinoa. Incorporate diluted seasoned coconut milk and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat, cover pot and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and steam with lid on for 5 minutes, then lightly fluff with a fork.
Toast the unsweetened coconut in a 325-degree oven. Garnish the quinoa with the toasted coconut. Serves 6.
Note: Quinoa is a protein-rich grain containing about 17 percent protein. Huynh said quinoa is a must, especially if you are cutting out animal proteins. The grain is a great substitute for rice and pasta, or use with soups.
Source: Executive Chef Jack Shoop and Nhu Huynh, clinical oncology nutritionist, Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Eastern Regional Medical Center.