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March Recipe: American Irish Stew

St. Patrick’s Day is a great time to experiment with different Irish staples like root vegetables and lean meat. This stew boasts hearty vegetables like carrots and parsnips, which contain carotenoids, potent antioxidants that help maintain healthy cells. A moderate amount of beef gives the one-pot a full flavor and powerful protein. Give this meal a real cancer-protective punch by pairing it with something green – a fresh salad or some steamed veggies. Bonus points if you eat green while wearing green!

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1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 1/4 lbs. beef, top round, cut into 3/4-inch pieces (stew beef with the fat trimmed may be substituted)

3 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces

2 medium parsnips, cut into large chunks (optional)

3 cups low-fat, reduced-sodium beef broth, or as needed

4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary

1 leek, coarsely chopped

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add beef and garlic. Cook, gently stirring until meat is evenly browned. Season with salt and pepper.

Add onion, carrots and parsnips. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 75 minutes or until meat is tender.

Stir in potatoes and simmer another 30 minutes. Add rosemary and leeks. Continue to simmer uncovered until potatoes are tender. Do not overcook to avoid potatoes falling apart.

Serve hot and garnish with parsley.


Makes 6 servings. Per serving: 1 1/4 cups

Per serving: 370 calories, 8 g total fat (2 g saturated fat), 43 g carbohydrate, 32 g protein, 6 g dietary fiber, 427 mg sodium.

Did You Know?

The custom of drinking alcohol stems from an Irish legend that St. Patrick chided a dishonest innkeeper for serving his customers less-than-full glasses of whiskey. Although many drink beer to celebrate the occasion, limit to one drink a day for women and 2 for men for lower cancer risk.

Cancer Prevention Foods with Dr. Rula: Fact or Fiction?

It has been estimated that only 5% of all cancers are due to genetics which means that up to 95% of cancers have a lifestyle and environmental component.  The fact that many cancers are preventable is important to remember.  Our diet has been one of the top lifestyle issues related to cancer with an estimated 35% of cancers being related to our food.  There is a lot of misinformation out there about what foods cause cancer, so this is a good opportunity to separate fact from fiction.

Sugar causes cancer.

Many of my patients are incredibly fearful that sugar will cause or feed their cancers.  I try to calm this fear because we do not have any evidence that there is a direct link between eating some sweets and cancer risk.  We do have some evidence that eating a very high carbohydrate diet may increase the risk of some cancers but as with everything, it is all about balance.  Having an occasional sweet will not change your cancer risk.  VERDICT:  FICTION

Soy causes cancer.  

Soy is probably one of the foods I get the most questions about from my cancer patients.   Soy foods contain isoflavones that act as a phytoestrogen in the body.   Since high estrogen levels contribute to cancers, it was thought that these phytoestrogens would also promote cancer.  For years, breast and prostate cancer patients were instructed to avoid all soy.  However, recent literature reviews have shown that eating whole soy foods may lower the risk of many cancers.   For example, breast and prostate cancer patients that eat soy foods have a lower risk of cancer recurrence.  I recommend that people eat up to 1-2 servings a day of whole soy foods like tofu, edamame and soy milk.  It is best to minimize processed soy like soy isolates since we don’t know if these foods have a different effect in our body. VERDICT:  FICTION

Coffee causes cancer.

It has recently been found that coffee contains acrylamide a chemical that has been linked to cancer. This got coffee drinkers worried that their coffee was making them sick.     A 2017 study looked to assess any link between coffee consumption and cancer risk and found that drinking two cups of coffee a day was associated with a lower risk of many types of cancers.  So, if you are not sensitive to caffeine, go ahead and enjoy your coffee. VERDICT:  FICTION

Red meat and processed meats cause cancer.

Red meat includes beef, lamb and pork (yes – pork, it is not the “other white meat”).    Processed meats are any meats that go through any type of curing, smoking or salting, or have any added chemical preservatives. Processed meats include foods like hot dogs, bacon, ham and sausage.  Both red meat and processed meat consumption has been linked to cancer risk.  With this evidence, I advise my patients to limit their consumption of these foods to no more than once a week.   VERDICT:  FACT

Vegetables and Fruits lower the risk for cancer.

Your mother was right; eating fruit and vegetables is good for your health.  That evidence is growing that eating a diet that is high in vegetable intake lowers the risk for many different cancers.  I recommend to my patients that they get at least 5-9 servings of vegetables and fruit (emphasis on vegetables) daily.  VERDICT:  FACT

Eating a healthy diet is a powerful tool to help ward off cancer. Food not only has the power to heal us but also the power to make us sick. There are many foods that are not only delicious but are good for you as well.  So, eat foods that love you back!


You may also be interested in…..

Chocolate and Blueberry Tofu Mousse with Sesame Crunch

Valentine’s Day is is quickly approaching, so why not celebrate with a healthy chocolate treat – all the chocolate goodness with none of the guilt.  Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids, a group of phytochemicals that act as antioxidants. It makes the perfect complement to blueberries which are packed with phytochemicals anthocyanins, ellagic acid and resveratrol- which have numerous anti-cancer and other health benefits.




Sesame Crunch

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup sugar

2 Tbsp. honey

1/2 cup sesame seeds (raw, untoasted)

1/8 tsp salt

Chocolate Mousse

1/2 cup plain almond milk

8 oz. dark or bittersweet chocolate chips

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

10 oz. silken tofu, drained and cut into cubes

Blueberry Mousse

10 oz. blueberries, fresh or frozen

1/3 cup water

2 Tbsp brown sugar

6 oz. silken tofu, drained and cut into cubes

2 Tbsp. sugar

1/8 tsp salt


Sesame Crunch

Place all ingredients into non-stick pan and heat over medium heat, stirring while mixture gently boils until entire mixture is amber in color, and most of liquid is absorbed. Transfer to sheet pan lined with lightly sprayed parchment paper. Cool completely; cut into pieces.


Chocolate Mousse

Place almond milk in small saucepan and bring just to boil. Stir in chocolate chips until melted completely. Stir in vanilla. Transfer to blender; add tofu cubes and puree until smooth. Spoon into 8 individual molds or ceramic dish. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.


Blueberry Mousse

Combine blueberries, water and brown sugar in saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and cook for 8 minutes. Drain blueberries and reserve liquid. Transfer blueberries to blender. Add tofu, sugar, lemon juice and salt; puree completely. Spoon over cooled chocolate mousse and return molds or pan to refrigerator. Transfer reserved blueberry juice back to saucepan. Bring to boil, simmer over low heat for 10 minutes to thicken. Set aside.


Unmold or spoon into 8 parfait cups. Drizzle blueberry sauce over top and decorate with sesame crunch.


Makes 8 servings


Per Serving: 280 calories, 14 fat, (6 g sat fat), 40 g carbohydrate, 6 g protein 4 g fiber, 100 mg sodium




January Recipe: Made-over Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bites

Why not celebrate the new year with something sweet and simple to make. This recipe combines fiber-rich whole rolled oats, creamy nut butter and heart healthy omega-3 fatty acid rich flaxseeds. A delicious hybrid between a cookie and a bar, these bites will satisfy your sweet tooth and your mid-afternoon hunger.
This recipes is vegan but can be made non- vegan with the change of just one ingredient (regular mini-chocolate chips in place of vegan).
The use of dark chocolate chips (at least 70% cocoa) adds antioxidants and other compounds with known nutrition and health benefits and the darker the chocolate (the higher the % cocoa) the lower the sugar content.

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Makes 24 cookies.
Per cookie: 157 calories, 8 g total fat (1 g saturated fat), 18 g carbohydrate, 3 g protein 3 g dietary fiber, 115 mg sodium.


  • 2 cups Gluten free certified old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 3/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup vegan mini-chocolate chips
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup natural almond butter

    Preheat oven to 350° F.

Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. In another bowl, mix wet ingredients (vanilla extract through maple syrup). Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to combine.

Drop the dough into 24 even mounds on a parchment paper/silicon mat-lined or greased baking sheet or pour into a greased 9-inch by 13-inch baking pan. Lightly press down to flatten (cookies will not flatten much during cooking).

Bake 12-15 minutes, until the cookies are just set in the center.

Cauliflower Chicken Fried Rice


  • 1 teaspoon peanut oil plus 2 tablespoons, divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced, whites and greens separated
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 cup snow peas, trimmed and halved
  • 4 cups cauliflower rice
  • 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)

Get an extra serving of vegetables and cut back on carbs by replacing rice with riced cauliflower in this healthy chicken fried rice recipe.




  1. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large flat-bottomed carbon-steel wok or large heavy skillet over high heat. Add eggs and cook, without stirring, until fully cooked on one side, about 30 seconds. Flip and cook until just cooked through, about 15 seconds. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the pan along with scallion whites, ginger and garlic; cook, stirring, until the scallions have softened, about 30 seconds. Add chicken and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add bell pepper and snow peas; cook, stirring, until just tender, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer everything to a large plate.
  3. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pan; add cauliflower rice and stir until beginning to soften, about 2 minutes.
  4. Return the chicken mixture to the pan; add tamari (or soy sauce) and sesame oil (if using) and stir until well combined. Garnish with scallion greens.

Serving Size: 1-1/4 cups


Per Serving: 304 calories; 15 g fat(4 g sat); 4 g fiber; 12 g carbohydrates; 30 g protein; 124 mcg folate; 200 mg cholesterol; 5 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 1060 IU vitamin A; 108 mg vitamin C; 75 mg calcium; 3 mg iron; 591 mg sodium; 883 mg potassium


Nutritional Bonus: Vitamin C (180% daily value), Folate (31% daily value), Vitamin A (21% daily value)