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Two famous Vancouver chefs help cancer survivors eat nutritious meals

One of the many challenges facing cancer survivors is ensuring they are eating nutritious meals.

This morning at the University of British Columbia, two top-notch Vancouver chefs — Rossana Ascencio and Vikram Vij — lent their talents to share the recipes of their best dishes with prostate cancer survivors.

Former prostate cancer patients and their partners took part in six sessions designed to share ideas on healthy dishes that are easy to make at home.

“My father’s gone through this recently,” says Vij. “He has been a big advocate of using cinnamon, turmeric cloves and spices to enhance a prostate problem free life.”

Vij has his own facility, now called Vij’s Kitchen, located on UBC’s Vancouver campus. The lab provides a vital learning space for basic food theory.

The prostate cancer program was created by the BC Cancer Agency and the UBC School of Public Health.

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It is not focused on disease prevention, but rather on helping with the side-effects of treatment.

The long-list of diet restrictions can be difficult for patients. About half of all patients need hormone therapy to try and keep the prostate cancer cells from growing, but it comes with a long list of side effects and serious consequences for long-term health.

Ascencio says the sessions focus on low-fat foods, increasing the intake of fruit and vegetables, and most importantly how to translate everything the patients learn into action.

“We are looking at more plant alternatives, and incorporating them into our diets,” she says.

Today may be the last class, but it’s only the beginning of the research – the patients will be evaluated down the road to see if the dishes they cooked made a difference.

~With files from Jordan Armstrong

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