The After Cancer Diet, by Suzanne Boothby

Suzanne Boothby’s The After Cancer Diet: How to Live Healthier Than Ever Before (2011) is primarily aimed at those who have completed treatment and want to live a full and disease-free life.  But in practice it will help those still with cancer, and those who would like to do what they can to prevent it.  It was produced in collaboration with Suzanne’s father Richard, a doctor experienced in the treatment of cancer who contributes a foreword, and it is written in a light style with plenty of advice and encouragement.

Naturally it addresses food and drink, with advice based on sound dietary research discussing what is best and what should be avoided (though there have been developments in the science since its publication), and there are some simple recipes the most cack-handed in the kitchen can manage.  But it covers physical exercise and mental wellbeing, also necessary for good health.  The emphasis unsurprisingly is on eating good-quality unprocessed food.

The term cancer survivor is dropped in favour of thriver, indicating the positive approach running through the book.  It is not necessarily a term that will achieve widespread usage, but it emphasises the value of having a mindset focused on being well rather than being ill.  The upshot is that someone with cancer need not feel powerless, but can be active in the effort to regain their health.

A quick read, it is full of tips presented in easily-digestible chunks.  A few of the recipes as written would probably require access to specialist shops, but the basics can be implemented with available ingredients.  The important point is that readers are not required to make wholesale lifestyle changes, which are hard to sustain.  Any steps in the right direction are worthwhile, and likely to lead to further improvements.

While I found the book useful, there was one thing that grated (so to speak), leaving aside the lack of a hyphen between after and cancer in the title: the use of the infantile veggie instead of vegetable.  Boothby is not alone in adopting this unfortunate usage, the Glucose Goddess does, and I expect there are other food writers who do as well.

Presumably it is employed on the assumption that many adults have a resistance to eating vegetables, and calling them by the user-friendly term veggies will make them more palatable – a veggie can’t be unpleasant, can it?  It’s on a par with pretending food on a spoon is an aeroplane when trying to encourage recalcitrant babies to eat their puree, and it should be confined to that demographic.


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