I recently had surgery. I had my initial consult with the surgeon back in October 2018. I needed the surgery, but kept putting other things and other people in front of myself. As a result of my cancer diagnosis, I have had too many surgeries in the last decade. I kept thinking that this surgery could be optional. I continued to endure the pain and discomfort until I realized that the time had come to face my fear. Luckily I was in good hands and my recovery has been less painful than what I imagined.
You might wonder what does this have to do with “healthy eating”? Plenty…especially because I am the main food shopper and chef for my household. Plenty…because I don’t like serving fast food or take-out and making things from scratch is just what I do for my family. Yes, it is time consuming. That’s why my surgery had so much to do with eating.
Before surgery I cooked up a storm in order to make it easy for my family to continue to eat healthfully. I prepared double batches of soups, chili, proteins, casseroles, etc. This made it easy for someone in the family to get dinner on the table without too much fuss. I prepared things that freeze well and taste better when they are reheated (especially dishes like soup and chili). It was important to me to prep items that I would enjoy and that were easily digestible as I sat on the couch giving my body time to heal. I cooked what I call “food for the soul.” What does that mean to you? For some it is comfort food like macaroni and cheese. For others it is a recipe that their mother or grandmother lovingly made for Sunday Supper. For each of us it is something different. Sometimes the dish is healthy and sometimes the dish is decadent. Hopefully it is a meal that inspires happiness and healing.
Whenever I have a surgery or some type of medical procedure, “Magic Mineral Broth” is my go-to choice because it is delicious and nutritious as well as easy to digest. This broth is full of magnesium, potassium and sodium. The creator of this recipe calls it an elixir or tonic. When I am ill or recovering, this broth is food for my soul and the taste far surpasses any store-bought broth.
Magic Mineral Broth
The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen: Nourishing, Big-Flavor Recipes for Cancer Treatment and Recovery by Rebecca Katz
Makes 6 quarts
6 unpeeled carrots, cut into thirds
2 unpeeled yellow onions, cut into chunks
1 leek, white and green parts, cut into thirds
1 bunch celery, including the heart, cut into thirds
4 unpeeled red potatoes, quartered
2 unpeeled Japanese or regular sweet potatoes, quartered
1 unpeeled garnet yam, quartered
5 unpeeled cloves garlic, halved
1/2 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 (8-inch) strip of kombu seaweed
12 black peppercorns
4 whole allspice or juniper berries
2 bay leaves
8 quarts cold water
Rinse all of the vegetables well, including the kombu. In a 12-quart or larger stockpot, combine the carrots, onions, leek, celery, potatoes, sweet potatoes, yam, garlic, parsley, kombu, peppercorns, allspice berries, and bay leaves. Fill the pot with the water to 2 inches below the rim, cover, and bring to a boil.
Remove the lid, decrease the heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, for at least two hours. As the broth simmers, some of the water will evaporate; add more if the vegetables begin to peek out. Simmer until the full richness of the vegetables can be tasted.
Strain the broth through a large, coarse-mesh sieve (remember to use a heat-resistant container underneath), then add salt to taste.
Let the broth cool to room temperature before refrigerating or freezing.
Storage: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for five to seven days or in the freezer for four months.
Deborah Binder lives in Edmonds with her family. She is “dancing with N.E.D.” (no evidence of disease) after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2009. She is a foodie who loves to cook from scratch and share her experiments with her family and friends. She attended culinary school on the East Coast and freelances around town for local chefs. Her current interest in food is learning to eat for health and wellness, while at the same time enjoying the pleasures of the table. As Julia Child once said, “Everything in moderation including butter.” Deborah can be contacted at [email protected].