Evening at Colleen's - Eating for a Healthier Version of You

Author: Catherine McCoy   Date Posted: 2 June 2015 

For our April Evening at Colleen's Catherine explained why we should have a diet low in carbohydrates. Below is a summary of the Evening. Our next Evening is on Thursday 25 June Belinda Hawkins from embracingchemo.com.au will talk to us about: Cancer: Learning to ride the emotional roller coaster. 

Eating for a Healthier Version of You

Healthy eating and enjoying a healthy lifestyle should always be your goal, especially if you have experienced a diagnosis of cancer.

Why Eat a Low Carbohydrate Diet

Restricting the amount of carbohydrates you eat is a method of reducing blood glucose (sugar) and better controlling your insulin levels.  Not only will balancing your glucose/insulin levels through food help you to lose weight, increase energy and improve sleep and mood, but elevated blood glucose and elevated insulin are implicated in the development and progression of many cancers.

Research shows that cancer cells depend on a steady glucose supply to produce energy and to continue growing and dividing.  In addition, insulin, which rises in the blood when you eat a high carbohydrate diet, can promote cancer cell growth.  Restricting the amount of sugary, sweet carbohydrates in your diet may therefore help reduce cancer growth.

Recommended Foods

Eat lots of fresh vegetables, nuts, seeds, low carbohydrate fruits, meat, chicken, fish and other protein-rich plant foods – organic where possible.  You can have high protein meal replacement powders amd bars on hand for those days when food preparation is difficult, but fresh whole food is always better.

Remember:  When adding extra protein to your diet, don’t forget to reduce the amount of carbohydrates on your plate – you don’t want to end up with larger servings of food.

Suggested Servings

  • Protein (meat and fish) portions – use the same size as your hand (i.e. from the base of your palm to the tip of your index finger and the thickness of your hand).  Vegetarian proteins such as legumes, quinoa and tofu need to be twice the size of your hand to achieve the same amount of protein per serve.
  • Salad and vegetable portions – enjoy 2-3 handfuls of vegetables per meal.
  • Fruit – enjoy 1 handful of raw fruit as part of a meal (replacing 1 handful of vegetables) or as a snack.  Limit fruit to 2 serves per day.
  • Nuts and seeds – enjoy ½ to 1 handful as a snack
  • Fats and oils – use 1-2 tablespoons of oil (avoid all vegetable oils) in cooking or as a dressing.  If you are hungry and/or losing weight while undergoing treatment, increase the servings of good fats.  Olive oil is great, but Coconut oil should be used as your main oil as it provides MCTs (medium chain triglycerides which are easily digested) for additional calories and to support energy production. Coconut oil can be added to steamed vegetables for additional calories and to support energy production.  Coconut flakes or shredded coconut are a great addition to many dishes and snacks.
  • Soups, stews and curries – are a great way to enjoy high protein meals that are easily digested and contain a good amount of nutrients.  Herbs and spices can be added for extra health benefits and taste.
  • Grains – limit the amount of grains to 1-2 serves per day and choose gluten free grains where possible.

Breakfast and Snacks

Breakfast and snacks seem to be the most difficult challenge for people when increasing protein in their diet.  Here’s some suggestions, but feel free to make up your own.

Breakfast does not have to be cereal, but if cereal is your thing, make sure you add nuts & seeds to up the protein.  Why not try:

One slice of toast, sliced avocado, sardines (or tinned salmon/tuna)

One slice of toast with avocado, 2 poached eggs, handful of baby spinach

2 fried eggs (using coconut oil), grilled tomato, mushrooms

Porridge with rolled oats (or quinoa), using 1 sliced date for sweetening, small amount of milk or yoghurt – add nuts and a sprinkle of coconut flakes or shredded coconut

One slice of toast topped with smashed avocado, ricotta cheese, rocket and 1 poached egg

1 cup unsweeted yogurt, small handful of fruit, 1 handful of nuts, coconut flakes, chia seeds


Crackers with cheese and cherry tomatoes

Crackers with tinned tuna/salmon

Boiled egg with a handful of berries

Cheese with a handful of nuts

Crackers with avocado, salt & pepper

½ cup unsweetened yoghurt with added nuts and seeds and coconut flakes/chips

Celery or carrot sticks with peanut butter (natural unsweetened) or another nut butter of your choice


With your health in mind,

Catherine McCoy



0404 079 673

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