Last year at this time, we thought my mom was cancer free. We were wrong. The melanoma had snuck into her bloodstream and reared its ugly head at the end of the summer. After a clinical trial, she finally got into a regular round of treatment. Every other Thursday she and my dad drive into Baltimore and spend a few hours in a hospital. I’ll spare you the details because that’s really my mom’s story. Her awesomely brave and powerful story.
My story is about the tomatoes.
While I cook often and am always trying out healthy superfood-filled recipes on mom and dad, I make it a point to cook something healthy and cancer-fighting every other Thursday. It started out with a lentil stew full of veggies and tomatoes, then it was a hearty tomato soup, my mom loved the zucchini pasta with roasted tomatoes. I had read that tomatoes have powerful cancer fighting properties, so my Thursday night recipes have been centered on this pretty little fruit. Being able to focus on making a healthy meal for someone I love on a night that she really needs the nourishment has helped me to deal with the cancer diagnosis. What may look like heavy research, detailed grocery lists, and a lot of meal planning to some has been incredibly healing for me. Finding the next delicious tomato dish has helped me to feel like I have a hand in her healing and that has been a wonderful gift.
And it turns out I was right about the tomato …
The tomato gets that beautiful red hue from an antioxidant called lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that combats those nasty cancer-causing free radicals. While eating raw tomatoes is awesome (because they are also loaded with folic acid and vitamin C), cooking them actually helps release the lycopene. Think roasting, broiling, grilling, stewing, sautéing. There really is so much you can do.
So, on Thursdays we eat tomatoes.