Healing with Food: Cookbook helps survivors get 'back in the swing'
When she was first diagnosed with breast cancer, Barbara Unell was looking for a book with inspiration, research around good health and facts about nutrition. Although these topics were familiar to her through her career as an author and journalist for 30 years, she was reluctant to find a complete source.
Unell decided to take an idea that had been swirling in her heart and head and put it into motion with The Back in the Swing Cookbook: Recipes for Eating and Living Well Every Day After Breast Cancer. Unell, author and co-founder of Back in the Swing, teamed up with “BBQ queen” and local cookbook author Judith Fertig, to create the cookbook.
A breast cancer survivor, Unell created Back in the Swing in 2000 with her husband, Bob. Since then, it has grown from a grass-roots, local nonprofit into a national powerhouse bringing awareness exclusively to breast cancer survivors after recovery.
The Back in the Swing Cookbook provides readers with more than just recipes for healthy eating. It provides scientific research, uplifting tips for emotional and physical wellness, personal recovery stories encompassing 150 healthful recipes, and ways to prevent cancer through your diet.
“Once you’ve had breast cancer you have to take care of yourself for life, including a low-fat diet and eating foods that keep cancer cells from forming,” says Fertig, who tested all the recipes in the book. “These recipes are based on foods that are proven to help keep cancer cells forming and help survivors.”
The cookbook is not just another recipe book to put on your kitchen shelf; rather it's a tool for individuals going through any kind of therapy or treatment or want to know more about good health.
“My big dream is to change the conversation (about breast cancer) from fear to confidence. Because it’s not healthy to live in fear, certainly around our health,” Unell says. “I would love for this book to redefine that role and get people to start rethinking how we’ve been taught about breast cancer and appreciate our bodies and to take care of our bodies.”
The cookbook provides recipes that blend in with any lifestyle, whether you are a beginner or accomplished cook. Loaded with quotes from survivors, information on the benefits of certain cancer-fighting foods, research done by Unell, a question and answer section, healthy living ideas and exercises, Unell and Fertig have created a 288-page collaborative resource designed with breast cancer survivors in mind. There is even a section on menu planning ideas and celebration and holiday-inspired ideas.
The book is organized into chapters starting with desserts (as all cookbooks should!), breakfast, beverages, appetizers and snacks, salads and side dishes, soups and stews, and main courses. Each recipe is easy to follow with step-by-step instructions. Eye-catching recipes include: carrot cake cupcakes with pineapple-cream cheese frosting, celebration chocolate cake, huevos rancheros with black beans and chipotle peppers, Thai lettuce cups, Parisian raspberry and blue cheese salad, and pan-seared chicken breasts with artichoke sun-dried tomato pesto and asparagus.
During the national Back in the Swing Retail Therapy Week, Oct. 8-14, Kansas City-area retailers and restaurants will host Back in the Swing Cookbook parties, marking the 10th anniversary of the week. The cookbook is available wherever books are sold and online, including Rainy Day Books and Pryde’s Westport.
Back in the Swing also will host a table outside of Williams-Sonoma’s County Club Plaza location during the Plaza Art Fair, Sept. 21-23. Copies of The Back in the Swing Cookbook will be available for purchase. For more information visit, backintheswing.org.