Substituting tofu, tempeh, miso, and veggie burgers for steaks, burgers, and franks can work to your advantage. (You vegetarians are definitely on to something.) That's because soy foods contain phytoestrogens called isoflavones, weak estrogens that help fight against certain cancers, including prostate cancer. However, soy protein may sometimes be contraindicated for women with estrogen-positive cancers—breast, uterine, and ovarian. Always speak with your personal doctor before including them in your diet.
Although the research is preliminary regarding the amount we should consume, everyone can benefit by shifting from an animal-based to a plant-based diet. The best soy sources include soybeans, tempeh, tofu, and soy milk.
Neutropenic Diet Guidelines
The neutropenic diet was created to minimize a patient's exposure to foreign bacteria and decrease his or her risk of infection. Now, the diet is used for patients at risk for immune-related illnesses, especially cancer and AIDS patients undergoing aggressive treatment.
Here are the basic strategies to follow for the neutropenic diet.
Foods to avoid:
- Uncooked fruits and vegetables without peels
- Unpasteurized juice and milk
- Cheeses with molds
- Salads (especially from public salad bars)
- Dried fruits
- Unpackaged delicatessen food items
- Certain spices (especially those that are not irradiated)
- Foods with stem sites (they have a bacterial entry point)
Follow FDA food safety practices:
- Ensure that surfaces used for food preparation are clean.
- Discard leftovers that were at room temperature for more than two hours.
- Wash hands before beginning food preparation.
- Do not use leftovers prior to reheating to 165° F before serving. Discard any leftovers older than two days.
- Ensure utensils are clean.
- All raw foods such as meats, poultry, and entrees should be cooked until they are well-done and handled on separate surfaces to avoid cross contamination.
A separate cutting board should always be used for meats and a second one designated for cutting produce and breads. Meats should be cooked to an internal temperature of 185° F. Cold foods should be stored below 40° F and hot foods should be kept above 140° F. A home thermometer may help.
- Do not drink directly from cans. Cans should be rinsed and wiped down with water first and then poured into a clean glass for consumption.
- Wash the exteriors of products before consumption.
- Use sterile water to make soups, powdered drinks, and ice cubes.
- Baking is better at killing microorganisms than microwaving.
- Thaw food in the refrigerator, not on the counter or under water in the sink.