Z is for ZEBRA or ZUCCHINI?

Editor Note--It's the end of summer but that green striped summer squash is the vegetable that seems to never stops giving. However, zucchini and other brightly colored veggies might be of particular interest to a "Zebra" fighting cancer through diet. NET surgeon and specialist Dr. Eric Liu shares some nutritional thoughts--
I have particularly STRONG feelings about diet and nutrition. It’s not that there are food that you STRICTLY can or cannot eat. Rather, it’s a whole approach to wellness and the role foods play. The most important thing in my opinion is that you stick to a BALANCED diet. None of these crazy diets where you can only eat apples all day long. You need balance – which means carbs, fats, and protein. Now, there are good and bad types of each, so stick with the good ones when you can. If you are malnourished (which happens a lot with our NETs), then consider the types of food more rich in energy, including fats and proteins.
I’m also a big fan of PHYTONUTRIENTS. Those are the natural nutrients that come from plants. The more red, blue, green, orange, purple, the better in my opinion. Also, remember, lots of plant nutrients are in the skin, so when appropriate think about cleaning them and keeping the skins on (like carrots).
Remember, all these nutritional tips are for you to stay strong and healthy, especially when you are undergoing treatment (surgery, hormones, chemotherapy). If there is a certain type of food that doesn’t agree with you, then DON’T EAT IT. But you can certainly try. Unless specifically told to you by your health care professional, it is rare that foods have some catastrophic effect on your health (except things like grapefruits and certain medicines).
People ask me about “SURGAR” all the time. I say that none of us should really eat processed sugar, but sometimes it is good for our mental health. Heck, anyone who’s been to my office knows that. So in small quantities, it’s still okay. You won’t be “feeding” the tumors with an occasional treat. But cut back on the sodas, processed foods, and other INDUSTRIAL FOOD COMPLEX stuff.
As always, consult your health care professional and think about getting a professional nutritionist on your team if this is something that is important to you.