Fight Right Nutrition: Bone Broth

Our Healing Belly Baskets for cancer patients and survivors includes nutrient dense foods that may help to reduce inflammation in the body. These baskets include bone broth, which is full of proteins and minerals that support gut health and overall body function. We all require certain nutrients to thrive and cancer patients and survivors are no exception to this rule! An estimated 1/3 of cancer deaths are caused by cachexia or muscle and tissue wasting (NCI). Easy to digest proteins, like those in bone broth, may help to shut down this wasting in cancer patients!

Bone broth is made from the bones of animals (e.g. cows, chickens, fish) and is typically cooked over low heat for several hours to extract the nutrients from the bones.  It can be bought online, in local stores and some restaurants, but it is also relatively inexpensive and easy to make at home. There are many free recipes available online and broth can be flavored in many ways to accommodate personal preferences.

One easy way to make bone broth is to take a whole chicken, seasoned with unrefined sea salt, and cook it in a crockpot for a few hours on high. When finished, debone the chicken and save the meat for lunch, dinner or other uses! Add the bones back to the liquid in the crockpot, cover bones with water, and add a couple of tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar (helps to pull the minerals and other nutrients from the bones). Let it simmer on low for about 24 hours. Once cooled, remove bones, strain the broth, go ahead and sip on it, or add to storage containers for later use.

We personally like to make small glass mason jars to store our bone broth in the freezer, so we can take out and drink or add to food when needed. You can also add broth to ice cube trays, freeze, pop out and store in containers in the freezer for later use as well! Some folks also like to use their Instant Pots (pressure cookers) to make bone broth in a shorter amount of time. Check out the recipe below to help get you started:

Want more options for nutrient dense, anti-inflammatory foods? We developed our Fight Right Anti-Inflammatory grocery list for cancer patients, survivors and the general community. Download it here.

How to Change Your Thinking About Exercise

Exercise!  How does this word make you feel?  Energetic or apathetic?  For many of us, the thought of exercising brings up comments such as…”I wish I had time”, or “I can’t, I have bad knees, hips, feet, etc.” or “I really don’t enjoy it” or my favorite “I don’t like to sweat.”  What would happen if we changed our perception about exercise and thought  about exercise as a 30 minute detoxification experience?

At Hitting Cancer Below the Belt (HCB2) we bring up the subject of detoxification in our presentations because it’s a critical piece in achieving health and remaining well.  The lymphatic system is an important system involved in the bodily detoxification process. The lymphatic system is a circulatory system in the body which transports bacteria accumulated in the space between cells and collects waste and cellular debris from tissues.  Nodes in the neck, groin, and armpit help to collect the lymph which is fluid made up from plasma, proteins, foreign particles, and bacteria.

Why discuss the lymphatic system when we originally made a statement about exercise?  Well, the lymphatic system is dependent on muscle contraction and manual manipulation for the system to move!  That’s right, moving/exercising stimulates the lymphatic system.  If you don’t move, you may very well be marinating in your own cesspool of toxins….not good if we want to be well and stay well.

So, let’s think of exercise as a 30 minute detoxification session.  Let’s sweat knowing that you are helping your body to remove harmful invaders and substances that can create inflammation and harm cellular structure.  Finding ways to move each day for 30 minutes or more gives a large boost to our bodily detoxification system.  The body spends more energy in trying to detoxify the body then anything else.  It’s a 24/7 job, and we can either help by moving or hinder by remaining sedentary.

If you feel inspired, join us at the 2018 Boxer Brief 5K, Saturday, June 9th at Stony Point Fashion Park.  The 5K walk/run begins at 8:00am.  It’s an entertaining morning of music, costumes, speakers, prizes, and a kids’ .5 mile run!  The “Caped Colon Crusader” .5 mile run for children under the age of eight is a free activity that begins at 7:45am.  Children are encouraged to dress up in their favorite capes or create a cape for their activity.

Register Now

Stress Reduction: Mindfulness and Visualization Apps

On May 9th, we offered a stress reduction workshop on visualization and we have some meditation apps to share with all of you!

Dawn Quicke, CMT, NeuroStrategist, and owner of Living Health Massage and Wellness Center, guided us through a couple of practices which helped attendees to discover the healing power of visualization and how to live a deliberate life.  This practice is much more that “just being or staying positive”. Our thoughts and the words we use contain power and we have the choice to use our words to our advantage or disadvantage.  Our body contains cells which record our emotional state.  For instance, if you close your eyes and think about holding a lemon, smelling the lemon, and then taking a bite out of the lemon it’s quite likely you will experience a sour taste and even a sour expression; however, the lemon is not real.  The lemon is just imagined. The imagined image created a physical and emotional response within the body.  We highly suggest to pay attention to your thoughts as they do impact your body.

Visualization, like meditation, does require some practice. Dawn suggested we check out the Calm and Insight Timer apps to help us incorporate this way of thinking and being into our lives each day.  Check out the links below:

Do you practice mindfulness?  Do you have an app or other resource you like to use?  Would love to hear from you!  Send us an email at

Coconut Oil: What’s Up with Fat?

In June, we shared some thoughts and additional studies on the coconut oil and saturated fat controversy that recently took the Internet by storm. Several experts in the field have also taken the time to share their perspectives on the risks associated with substituting saturated fats like coconut oil for polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in our diets, particularly omega-6 PUFAs in highly refined “vegetable oils” such as canola and soy oil, etc. (see Hyman, Davis, and Perlmutter). These experts and others have also identified issues with the methodology underlying the guidelines created by the American Heart Association (AHA) to consume less saturated fat (see also Bastian and Bastian).

In general, HCB2 is not opposed to the inclusion of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids (PUFAs) as part of a diet based primarily on real, whole, and anti-inflammatory foods. These fats are essential to the many processes the body undertakes everyday to keep us well and functioning.1 We also agree with the AHA and others that replacing overall dietary fat intake with additional carbohydrates fails to result in reduced LDL cholesterol levels and also fails to support overall health and wellbeing in general.2 In addition, we agree that trans fats, which are required to be out of the food supply by summer 2018, should also be avoided.3

HCB2 General Dietary Guidelines on Coconut Oil and Other Saturated Fats

We differ on the advice offered by AHA in several ways:

1) HCB2 encourages that people continue to smartly consume quality saturated fats (e.g. coconut, virgin coconut oil, butter/ghee, etc.) because these fats are shown to have positive health effects on HDL (“good” cholesterol), gut integrity and cancer, patient quality of life, and more.4, 8-15, 25

  • Studies have found virgin coconut oil increases HDL (“good”) cholesterol and helps to decrease body mass and waist circumference as well as offer other beneficial effects on cholesterol levels.8-9
  • Several studies, including at least 2 meta-analysis studies, found that saturated fat does not appear to be associated with cardiovascular disease events nor all-cause mortality.10-13
  • Virgin coconut oil has been shown to improve quality of life and reduce chemotherapy side effects for breast cancer patients.14
  • In at least one animal study, researchers found that diets high in saturated fats (including coconut oil) reduced inflammation, tumor burden and colon cancer cell proliferation. It also increased colon cancer cell apoptosis. These results may be due to increased expression of a particular gene (Muc2) that has been shown to strengthen the integrity of the intestinal wall.15
  • Loss of this same gene expression (Muc2), which was shown to have increased expression with a saturated fat diet, has also been connected to colon cancer in humans, and its loss may also be a predictor of poor colon cancer disease outcomes in addition to cancer reoccurrence.16-17

salmon2) We encourage that saturated fats be consumed with other quality foods, including lower-glycemic carbohydrate sources (e.g. veggies and fruits). Refined sugars and other highly processed carbohydrates should generally be avoided as they are often lacking in quality nutrients and can add to the inflammatory burden placed on the body.4, 13, 23-24

  • One additional analysis examining dietary recommendations found there to be little or weak evidence linking saturated fats to coronary artery disease and other conditions. Instead, there is evidence linking sugars and the oxidation/over-heating of PUFAs (including possibly to some extent the small   amounts of PUFAs found in foods consisting primarily of saturated fats) to bodily inflammation and disease such as heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes and more.13
  • Another recent study found that it is added sugars in highly processed foods, which may also contain some saturated fats, that increase coronary heart disease (CHD) and other conditions. The authors strongly advocate for diets based primarily on whole, real foods.23

Time for an Oil Change: Avoid Heavily Refined and Inflammatory Vegetable Oils

olive oil3) We strongly encourage that people avoid cooking with unsaturated fats (PUFAs) as they can become oxidized during the cooking process and therefore can contribute to bodily inflammation. We also do not advocate for the consumption of “vegetable” oils (e.g. canola, corn, soy, sunflower, safflower, etc.) overall given evidence that these oils are already oxidized and inflammatory before they are heated due to how they are processed and stored.5-6, 13

4) There is also concern that regular intake of “vegetable” oils high in omega-6 PUFAs affects the omega-6 to omega-3 fat ratio in the body, which may contribute to various inflammatory health conditions, including obesity, heart disease, cancer and diabetes.7, 12, 18-22, 25-27

  • Several studies link the consumption of PUFAs, particularly those higher in  omega-6 fatty acids in comparison to omega-3 fatty acids, to increased risk of breast and colorectal cancers.18-20, 26
  • At least one systematic review shows no reduced risk of cardiovascular events and related-mortality by substituting PUFAs, particularly omega-6 PUFAs, in place of saturated fats.21 Another more recent study examining outcomes from randomized control trials also comes to the conclusion that replacement of saturated fats with omega-6 PUFAs is unlikely to reduce cardiovascular-related events  and all cause mortality.22

HCB2 “Bottom” Line:

Focus on consuming more real, whole, and anti-inflammatory foods, which may naturally contain a spectrum of fatty acids, including saturated, PUFA (with particular emphasis on omega-3 fatty acids) and MUFA fats.

5) In regard to intake of unsaturated fats (PUFAs) overall, we encourage that people consume them from wild caught fish, raw whole avocado, and raw and sprouted nuts and seeds instead of “vegetable” oils. We also advocate for the consumption of monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) from olives and unheated virgin olive oil as well as avocados and some raw and sprouted nuts. 

Please see our Fight Right Anti-Inflammatory Grocery List for more information and suggestions.


  1. University of Maryland Medical Center (UMM). (2015). Omega-6 fatty acids. Retrieved June 23, 2017 from
  2. Sacks F., Lichtenstein A., Wu J., Appel L. et al. (2017). Dietary fats and cardiovascular disease: a presidential advisory from the American Heart Association. Circulation, 135(25).
  3. FDA. (2015). Final Determination Regarding Partially Hydrogenated Oils (Removing TransFat).  Retrieved June 23, 2017 from
  4. Hyman, Mark MD. 2016. Is Coconut Oil Bad for Your Cholesterol? Retrieved June 23, 2017 from
  5. Halvorsen B. & Blomhoff R. (2011). Determination of lipid oxidation products in vegetable oils and marine omega-3 supplements. Food Nutr Res, 55.
  6. Choe E. & Min D. (2016). Mechanisms and Factors for Edible Oil Oxidation. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, 5: 169–186.
  7. Patterson E., Wall R., Fitzgerald GF, Ross RP et al. (2012). Health Implications of High Dietary Omega-6 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids. J Nut Metab!po=30.1724.
  8. Cardoso DA, Moreira A, deOliveira GMM, Luiz RR et al. (2015). A coconut extra virgin oil-rich diet increases HDL cholesterol and decreases waist circumference and body mass in coronary artery disease patients Nutrición Hospitalaria, 32(5): 2144-2152.
  9. Lekshmi D, Nazeem P, Narayanankutty A, Manalil J et al. (2016). In Silico and Wet Lab Studies Reveal the Cholesterol Lowering Efficacy of Lauric Acid a Medium Chain Fat of Coconut Oil. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, 71(4): 410-415.
  10. de Souza R, Mente A, Maroleanu A, Cozma A et al. (2015). Intake of saturated and trans unsaturated fatty acids and risk of all cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes: systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. BMJ.
  11. Siri-Tarino P, Sun Q, Hu F & Krauss, R (2010). Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 91: 535-46.
  12. DiNicolantonio, J (2014). The cardiometabolic consequences of replacing saturated fats with carbohydrates or [omega]-6 polyunsaturated fats. Do the dietary guidelines have it wrong? Open Heart, 1(1).
  13. Lawrence, G. (2013). Dietary Fats and Health: Dietary Recommendations in the Context of Scientific Evidence. Advances in Nutrition, 4: 294-302.
  14. Law K, Azman N, Omar E, Musa M et al. (2014). The effects of virgin coconut oil (VCO) as supplementation on quality of life (QOL) among breast cancer patients. Lipids in Health and Disease, 13:139.
  15. Enos RT, Velázquez KT, McClellan JL, Cranford TL et al. (2016). High-fat diets rich in saturated fat protect against azoxymethane/dextran sulfate sodium-induced colon cancer. American Journal of Physiology – Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology, 310(11).
  16. Mizoshita T, Tsukamoto T, Inada KI, Hirano N et al. (2007). Loss of MUC2 expression correlates with progression along the adenoma-carcinoma sequence pathway as well as de novo carcinogenesis in the colon. Histology and Histopathology, 22(3):251-60.
  17. Elzagheid A,  Emaetig F,  Buhmeida A,  Laato M et al. (2013). Loss of MUC2 expression predicts disease recurrence and poor outcome in colorectal carcinoma. Tumor Biology, 34(2): 621-8.
  18. Murff HJ, Shu XO, Li H, Dai Q et al. (2009). A prospective study of dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids and colorectal cancer risk in Chinese women. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev, 18(8).
  19. Murff HJ, Shu XO, Li H, Yang G et al. (2011). Dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids and breast cancer risk in Chinese women: a prospective cohort study. Int J Cancer, 128(6): 1434-41.
  20. Reddy, BS. (2002). Types and amount of dietary fat and colon cancer risk: Prevention by omega-3 fatty acid-rich diets. Environ Health Prev Med, 7(3): 95-102.
  21. Schwingshackl, L & Hoffmann, G. (2014). Dietary fatty acids in the secondary prevention of coronary heart disease: a systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression. BMJ Open, 4(4).
  22. Hamley, S. (2017). The effect of replacing saturated fat with mostly n-6 polyunsaturated fat on coronary heart disease: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Nutrition Journal, 16(30).
  23. DiNicolantonio, JJ, Lucan, SC and O’Keefe, JH. (2016). The Evidence for Saturated Fat and for Sugar Related to Coronary Heart Disease Prog Cardiovasc Disease, 58(5).
  24. Volk, BM, Kunces LJ, Freidenreich, DJ, Kupchak BR et al. (2014). Effects of Step-Wise Increases in Dietary Carbohydrate on Circulating Saturated Fatty Acids and Palmitoleic Acid in Adults with Metabolic Syndrome. PLoS One, 9(11).
  25. DiNicolantonio JJ, Harcombe Z, and O’Keefe JH. (2016). Problems with the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans: An Alternative. Missouri Medicine, 113(2).
  26. Simopoulos, AP. (2008). The importance of the omega-6/omega-3 fatty acid ratio in cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases. Exp Biol Med, 233(6).
  27. Simopoulos, AP. (2016). An Increase in the Omega-6/Omega-3 Fatty Acid Ratio Increases the Risk for Obesity. Nutrients, 8(3).

Drink Up! Water Supports the Body and May Help Reduce Cancer Risk

One simple and life-changing way we can “ Fight Right” is to drink more water everyday. We cannot live without it as the human body is made up of at least 60% water, and heavily relies on it to carry out very important processes such as digestion, detoxification and nutrient absorption among other functions (1, 2).

Drinking At Least 4 Glasses of Water Every Day
May Help to Reduce Colon Cancer Risk

A recent assessment, however, shows that as much as 75% of the US population is not drinking enough water (2). Of those studies conducted to assess hydration and cancer risk, possible associations between water intake and bladder, breast, and colon cancers were found (3). One study found a significant association between colon cancer risk and water intake in men and women 30-62 years of age. Colon cancer risk was reduced in women that drank 5 or more glasses of water a day. For men, the risk was reduced with 4 or more glasses a day (4). Another more recent study (2013) found that colorectal cancer risk may be reduced, especially in women, by also consuming no less that 4 cups of water a day (5).

Cancer Patients Face an Increased Risk of
Dehydration Due to Cancer Treatments

Cancer patients are also especially susceptible to increased risk of dehydration as a result of their cancer treatment (6). Several sources suggest that an adequate intake of water for them is at least 40 ounces, while others suggest at least 64 ounces of water a day (6,7). Ultimately, HCB2 encourages everyone to focus on getting in more water each and every day to support optimal body and immune function – cancer hates that!

Please also check out our HCB2 hydration message that was recently aired on Channel 8 to spread awareness about the importance of hydration and the work we are doing in our community!



  1. USGS. 2016. The Water In You.
  2. Medical Daily. 2013. 75% of Americans May Suffer From Chronic Dehydration, According to Doctors.
  3. David, Y., Gesundheit, B., Urkin, J., & Kapelushnik, J. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2004. Water Intake and Cancer Prevention, 22:2, 383-385.
  4. Shannon, J., White, E., Shattuck, AL et al. 1996. Relationship of Food Groups and Water Intake to Colon Cancer Risk. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev, 5:495-502.
  5. Tayyem, R., Shehadeh, I., AbuMweis, S. et al. 2013. Physical Inactivity, Water Intake and Constipation as Risk Factors for Colorectal Cancer among adults in Jordan. Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, 14:9, 5207-5212.
  6. Colon Cancer Alliance. 2017. Colon Cancer and Hydration: Keeping Well, Staying Healthy.
  7. OncoLink. 2016. Preventing Dehydration During Cancer Treatment.