By changing our diet we can aid recovery and help prevent some of our most devastating diseases.

“A properly fueled body is a miraculous self-healing machine”, says Dr. Joel Fuhrman MD.  You may have heard him recently on PBS talking about cancer preventing foods.  He is a board certified family physician, New York Times best-selling author, and widely published nutritional researcher.  He says by changing our diet we can aid recovery and help prevent some of our most devastating diseases.

            Recent experiences with a family member and a close friend who has cancer have made me want to learn what I can about the possibilities for preventing it.  Like Dr. Fuhrman, I also believe the body is a miraculous healing mechanism.  Unlike a machine, we also are spiritual and emotional beings.  Imbalance in any of these areas can result in a poorly nourished body and disease.

            Fuhrman tells us to keep in mind GOMBS as foods for preventing cancer.  These are Greens, Onions (also garlic), Mushrooms, Beans and Berries, and Seeds.  Experimenting with them, I have found they are all readily available, easy to prepare, and delicious.   

            Perhaps the often neglected healthful foods dark greens like spinach, kale, and collards are the most important foods for preventing diseases, from colds to cancer.  One reason is they, along with most fresh fruits and vegetables, create and alkaline balance within the body.   Dr. Oz had an expanded segment on acid/alkaline balance last week.  Many years ago, I heard a cancer researcher from the University of New Mexico say an alkaline body cannot get cancer.  At that time, we would have never heard that statement on mainstream media.  Today it is coming to be accepted.  Greens are also valuable sources of vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and fiber.

Green smoothies are becoming popular and they are an excellent and tasty way to include greens in your diet each day.  An online newsletter at can give you ideas for nutritious smoothies.  There are many versions of high powered blenders, large and small, for making smoothies.  The popularity of green smoothies with teenagers motivated a nutritionist on television to express concern because she said they may be harming themselves by drinking green smoothies.  Can you imagine such a thing—talking about kids who usually live on soft drinks, French fries, and hamburgers; warning them about drinking green smoothies!  I laughed out loud and hope teens do what they usually do—rebel and keep drinking those smoothies!

I like to start my smoothies with fresh grapefruit juice, which I juice with an electric citrus juicer.  The juice goes in the blender with a  good sized apple cut into chunks; a tablespoon or two of chia seeds; blend until smooth; add 2 or 3 large handfuls of organic baby spinach, purchased at the supermarket and a few sprigs of fresh mint.  If you need more liquid add water, green tea, or other liquid.  Blend thoroughly; throw in some ice cubes and blend; I like to drink it with a straw.  Lately I have been adding about a tablespoon of pomegranate juice concentrate (for its health benefits and it is delicious); and sometimes half an avocado. You can vary smoothies by using whatever liquid you like; adding any kind of berries, a half banana (fresh or frozen), or whatever fruit you like.  The greens are a must but vary the rest to your liking.

I have seen amazing results when people enthusiastically start drinking green drinks, and stop eating processed foods containing sugar, white flour, high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated fats.  The body kicks into healing mode.  The worse you feel, the more you will notice the difference.

O stands for onions.  It is simple to include onions, mushrooms, and beans all in the same dish.  I have never met a bean I didn’t like.  You can buy cans of most any kind of beans or cook dried beans yourself.  Chop some onions, mushrooms, and perhaps some garlic and bell peppers (the best source of vitamin C) and sauté in a small amount of olive or coconut oil.  Combine with cooked or canned beans; a few tomatoes, either canned or fresh, and/or salsa, and seasonings.  I like curry powder because it is delicious and the first ingredient is turmeric, a potent anti-inflammatory herb.  Ground cumin, Italian seasoning or whatever you like is good (if you used mixed seasonings, be sure and read the small print and be sure you don’t have questionable and unhealthy ingredients); I usually add some Braggs Liquid Aminos.   Cook for a while and enjoy.

For dessert or a snack any time, put some liquid into blender or small food processor.  Coconut milk and unsweetened almond milk are both good.  Add a frozen banana, some frozen berries, and vanilla.  Blend thoroughly and you have a delicious “ice cream”.  Sprinkle on a few ground almonds and you have all your GOMBS for a day.

If you need support and information on eating for the prevention of cancer, come to Bound by Nature Health Food store on Monday, May 5 at 6pm for a class and samples of cancer preventing foods. Call 501-362-611 to reserve your spot.  It’s free!  A positive attitude and faith in the body’s ability to heal is essential when entering any health improving lifestyle.  Your thoughts influence the results.           

(Janice Norris lives in Heber Springs, has a B.S. in home economics from Murray State University, owned and operated health food stores in Illinois and Heber Springs, and wrote a weekly column in Illinois for 15 years. She can be reached at