A fighting chance

Breast cancer

A guide to healthy eating to help prevent and overcome breast cancer.

Breast cancer

You may be reading this because you have been diagnosed with breast cancer or a friend or member of your family has. It could be that you want to prevent this disease or just want to find our more about the most common cancer affecting women in the UK….

Whatever your reasons, this guide, based on the latest science, explains how meat and dairy foods are linked to breast cancer. It will help you discover different ways of eating healthier, tastier foods that don’t contain the harmful substances found in meat and dairy but do contain vital fibre and disease-busting compounds.

It also contains a useful seven-day meal plan with easy-to-follow, inspiring recipes, as well as a list of delicious superfood ingredients with an explanation as to why they can help combat illness.

This guide cannot guarantee to cure cancer but it does provide the scientific and nutritional information you need to make an informed choice about which foods to eat that, coupled to conventional therapy, can help overcome breast cancer. It also shows you how to eat healthily to help prevent breast cancer.

If you would like to read a more thorough review of the scientific research on breast cancer and diet see Viva! Health’s fully-referenced scientific report One in Nine available free online. The title refers to the number of women in the UK who will get breast cancer in their lifetime. This report explains why breast cancer cases are continuing to rise and looks at how diet affects your risk of developing one of the West’s major killers.

Breast awareness

Breast development

During puberty, blood levels of the sex hormone oestrogen rise, causing the development of sexual organs and secondary sexual characteristics, such as breasts and body hair, so that reproduction becomes possible. During this time girls develop milk-producing glands called lobules at the back of the breasts. These lobules are connected to tiny tubes called ducts that can carry milk to the nipple. The lobules, ducts and blood vessels are surrounded by fatty tissue and connective tissue called stroma, attached to the chest wall.  Men have much less fatty tissue in their breasts than women but can still be affected by breast cancer.

Fighting chance

The female breast
Picture credit Philip Downs


Breast changes

Try to get to know how your breasts normally look and feel. This will help you notice any changes early on, which is very important as effective treatment is then more likely.

Look out for the following changes:

  • If one breast becomes larger than the other
  • If a nipple becomes inverted
  • Rashes on or around the nipple
  • Discharge from one or both nipples
  • Skin texture changes (puckering or dimpling)
  • Swelling under the armpit or around the collarbone (where the lymph nodes are)
  • A lump that you feel is different to the rest of your breast tissue
  • Continuous pain in one part of the breast or armpit (not a common symptom)

If you notice any of these changes, make an appointment to see your GP as soon as you can but try not to worry as most changes do not turn out to be breast cancer.


Different types of breast cancer

When cancer occurs, cells grow in an uncontrolled way. If untreated, the cells may spread to other parts of the body. If the cancer cells develop in the ducts of the breast, the cancer is called ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). If they occur in the lobules, it is referred to as lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS). If the cancer cells have spread into the surrounding breast tissue, lymph glands or further within the body, it is called invasive breast cancer.


Oestrogen sensitive cancers

Oestrogen receptor-positive (ER-positive) cancer is when there are certain proteins on the surface of the cancer cell that respond to oestrogen by causing the cancer cell to grow. Most breast cancers (around 75 per cent in postmenopausal women and 50-60 per cent in premenopausal women) are ER-positive. Determining whether breast cancer is ER-positive or not can help to guide treatment as women with ER-positive cancer are usually offered hormone therapy (to block the effects of oestrogen), whereas women with ER-negative breast cancer are usually offered chemotherapy.


Number crunching

The rising tide…

Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting women in the UK and one in nine women will get this disease. Each year more than 44,000 women are diagnosed with it: that’s more than 100 women a day. Breast cancer accounts for nearly a third of all cancer cases in women in the UK.

Ten most common cancers in UK women

Ten most common cancers in UK women

There has been much publicity about how improved diagnostic techniques and treatment methods have improved the chances of surviving breast cancer. Indeed, survival rates have been improving for more than 20 years and more women are surviving than ever before. However, not so well publicised is the fact that the chances of getting breast cancer are rising year on year. The number of cases in UK women is increasing by more than one per cent each year. Between 1971 and 2003, the incidence rates have increased by an astounding 80 per cent!

Incidence and mortality (death) rates of breast cancer

Incidence and mortality (death) rates of breast cancer in England and Wales between 1971 and 2003


Male breast cancer

Breast cancer can occur in men too although the numbers affected are a great deal lower; one in 300 men in the UK at some point in their lives compared to one in nine women. However, the incidence of breast cancer among men is also increasing. Between 1973 and 1998, it increased by 26 per cent. What is particularly worrying is that men tend to have larger tumours which have spread further by the time they seek help. It should be remembered, though, that breast cancer is rare amongst men. The five most common cancers in UK men are prostate (24 per cent), lung (16 per cent), bowel (14 per cent), bladder (five per cent) and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (four per cent).


Breast cancer around the world

Studies show that the number of people who get breast cancer in different countries varies widely. Some countries have a much higher incidence than others. For example, in Northern Europe and North America the risk of breast cancer is many times higher than that in parts of Asia and Africa.

Breast cancer rates in selected countries in 2002

Breast cancer rates in selected countries in 2002


Why do the rates of breast cancer among different populations vary so much? Some people suggest it is due to genetic differences between populations. Maybe white Northern European women are genetically programmed to be more susceptible to breast cancer than Chinese women? However, this is simply not the case.

Scientific studies show that when people move from a country that experiences very low levels of breast cancer to one with a much higher incidence (for example Japanese women moving to the US), their risk of breast cancer soon changes to match that of where they move to. This shows us that genes alone are not the cause and that some environmental factor such as chemical pollutants or diet must be involved.


Breast cancer rates in the UK

UK breast cancer rates vary from region to region. For example lower rates are seen in some areas of Yorkshire, Trent and Wales and significantly higher rates are found in East Anglia, Oxford and in the Southwest. This must reflect differences in diet and lifestyle. Furthermore, South Asian women living in the UK are less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than other women but the risk varies according to ethnic subgroups. For example, Muslim women from India and Pakistan are almost twice as likely to develop breast cancer as Gujarati Hindu women. This may be because Gujarati women are more likely to be vegetarian and will therefore have a higher intake of fruit and vegetables in their diet which has been shown to lower the risk of breast cancer.

These observations have led scientists to investigate the causes of breast cancer, including the role of diet.

The causes of breast cancer

The risk of developing breast cancer is extremely low in young women but increases with age. More than half of breast cancers occur in women over the age of 65. However, there are many other recognised potential risk factors, which are listed below:

  • Having had breast cancer
  • Having benign (non-cancerous) breast disease
  • Genetics – breast cancer in the family (see below)
  • Early puberty/menstruation – before the age of 11
  • Late menopause – after age 54
  • Having a first child late in life
  • Having no or few children
  • Not breast-feeding long term
  • Exposure to radiation
  • High dietary fat intake
  • Overweight and obesity – particularly for postmenopausal women
  • Moderate to heavy consumption of alcohol
  • Oral contraceptives (the pill) and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may very slightly increase the risk of breast cancer

In addition to these risk factors, some studies suggest that certain chemicals may be to blame. For example, persistent organic pollutants called polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have been blamed. PCBs do not break down easily and are generally present at low concentrations in most foods, especially fat-containing foods such as milk, oily fish and meat. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) may also be responsible. These chemicals are commonly found in air pollutants produced from vehicle exhausts. Additionally, organic solvents that are commonly used in everyday items such as detergents, dry cleaning, paint thinners, nail polish removers, glue solvents and perfumes may be involved.


It’s in the genes or is it?

Since the discovery of two genes (BRCA1 and BRCA2) linked to breast cancer, some women have adopted a type of ‘genetic fatalism’ about the disease. A fault in either of these two genes can increase the chances of getting breast cancer. So the thinking goes, “I can’t do anything to lower my risk… it’s a genetic lottery”.  However only a small percentage (five to 10 per cent) of breast cancers are caused by abnormal genes. The vast majority (90 per cent) are not, which must mean they are caused by environmental factors, including diet.

If you have a faulty gene, it does not mean you will definitely develop breast cancer but it does mean you are at a much higher risk. That said, 30 years ago, women with a faulty gene were just 40 per cent more likely to develop breast cancer than women with a normal copy of the gene. Now, women with a faulty gene are 70 per cent more likely to get this disease. So what are women doing that has increased their risk so much? If the genes are the same, it must be that their diet and/or lifestyle is different. The conclusion here then is that you can cut your risks, even if you have a faulty gene, by making changes to your diet and lifestyle.


The role of diet in breast cancer

The role of diet in breast cancer is controversial. There appears to be a general reluctance to accept that diet can affect your risk of getting this disease. However, the wealth of evidence indicating that diet is a major cause of breast cancer is accumulating. Common themes occur in the scientific literature; a diet rich in animal-based foods is linked to an increased risk of breast cancer while a plant-based vegetarian or vegan diet is linked to a lower risk.


East versus West

Sadly, there has never been a better time to observe the damaging effects of the Western diet as countries in the East (such as China and Japan) move from a traditional plant-based diet rich in fruit, vegetables and wholegrains towards a more Western diet characterised by meat, dairy and processed foods. As the typical Western diet pervades the world, it takes with it typical Western diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and certain cancers. For example, the rates of breast cancer seen in Japan are very low, but in the cities, where women have more access to a Western-style diet, the levels are much higher and rising.

So if certain diets and lifestyles can increase the risk of these diseases, it stands to reason that you can lower your risk by changing your diet and lifestyle.


Over a third of cancers diet-related

The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that diet accounts for around a third of all cancers in Western countries and a fifth of cancers in developing countries. The World Cancer Research Fund say that the incidence of cancer throughout the world could be reduced by up to 40 per cent by making dietary and lifestyle changes alone.


Western diet causes Western diseases

A recent study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology and Biomarkers Prevention investigated the effects of a Western diet on breast cancer risk in a large group of women from Shanghai. This study identified two distinct dietary patterns; they called one “vegetable-soy” as it included a high intake of vegetables, soya products and fish. The other they referred to as a “meat-sweet” diet. More Western in style, this diet was characterised by various meats, poultry, fish, confectionary, puddings, bread and milk.

The “vegetable-soy” diet contained higher levels of fibre, vitamins C and E and soya protein while the “meat-sweet” diet was rich in total and saturated fat. Results showed that the Western-style “meat-sweet” diet almost doubled the rate of breast cancer among postmenopausal, overweight women. This must be why some Chinese women refer to breast cancer as “rich woman’s disease”. Chinese (and other) women consuming a traditional, largely plant-based diet, have much lower rates of breast cancer.


Red alert

Previous work has shown that red meat increases the risk of bowel, stomach and pancreatic cancer. Recent research now also links red meat to breast cancer. Researchers from Harvard Medical School looked at the diets of over 90,000 premenopausal women over 12 years. They found that those who ate more than one-and-a-half servings of red meat a day (the equivalent of a sausage and a burger) almost doubled their risk of ER-positive breast cancer. This, and other research, indicates that a high red meat intake can cause breast cancer.

Several possible explanations for how red meat causes cancer have been suggested:

  • Carcinogens (cancer-causing agents)

Cooked or processed red meat is a source of carcinogens (such as heterocyclic amines, N nitroso-compounds and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) that may increase the risk of breast cancer

  • Growth hormones

The treatment of cows with growth hormones (banned in the EU but not in the US) is also a concern (see the Viva! Health report White Lies for more information on this)

  • High iron levels

Red meat is a rich source of haem iron, a very easily absorbed form of iron and a major source of stored body iron. This type of iron (as opposed to non-haem iron which is found in plant foods) has been shown to increase cancer growth in oestrogen-induced tumours. Indeed, in humans, high levels of iron have been shown to increase the risk of several cancers, including breast cancer

  • High fat intake

A high fat intake can increase oestrogen levels and so increase the risk of breast cancer


Fat facts

Eating high amounts of fat may cause breast cancer. A major review of studies on diet and breast cancer published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that women who ate the most saturated fat had an increased risk. It was concluded that in the North American population, a large number of breast cancers (24 per cent in postmenopausal women and 16 per cent in premenopausal women) could be prevented by changing the diet. This study also revealed a protective role for fruit and vegetables. In other words, women who ate the most fruit and vegetables, had the highest vitamin C intake and ate low amounts of animal fats were less likely to have breast cancer.

In 1999, researchers from the Southern California Medical School in Los Angeles published a review of studies looking at the effect of fat intake on oestrogen levels. Results showed that lowering the intake of fat could reduce oestrogen levels. As high oestrogen levels are linked to a higher risk of breast cancer it was concluded that reducing fat intake may help prevent this disease.

A study led by Dr Sheila Bingham of the Dunn Human Nutrition Unit in Cambridge revealed that women who ate the most saturated animal fat (found mainly in whole milk, butter, meat, cheese, cakes and biscuits) were almost twice as likely to develop breast cancer as those who ate the least.

In a subsequent study involving over 90,000 premenopausal women, researchers from Harvard Medical School confirmed that animal fat intake was associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. Red meat and high-fat dairy foods such as whole milk, cream, ice-cream, butter, cream cheese and cheese were the main sources of animal fat in this group of relatively young women.

However, this research did not find a link between vegetable fat and breast cancer, the increased risk being associated only with animal fat.



The hormone oestrogen is found in red meat, poultry and eggs but the major sources (supplying 60-80 per cent of oestrogens in the human diet) are cow’s milk and dairy products. The high levels of hormones in these foods have been linked to the development of hormone-dependent cancers such as breast cancer.

Women eating a Western diet have higher oestrogen levels compared to women eating traditional plant-based diets. For example, a review published in the Scandinavian Journal of Clinical Laboratory Investigation showed that women who consumed a high-fat, high-protein diet with mostly refined carbohydrates (such as white bread, white pasta and white rice) and sugars had higher levels of oestrogen in their blood. They also found high oestrogen levels amongst breast cancer patients. In other words, an unhealthy Western diet raises oestrogen in the blood, and high oestrogen levels are found in women with breast cancer.

Several studies have looked at oestrogen levels in blood taken from postmenopausal women who were later diagnosed with breast cancer and compared their oestrogen levels with those taken from other women who were not diagnosed with breast cancer. Results showed that oestrogen levels were higher in women who later developed breast cancer.

The science provides strong evidence that high oestrogen levels in postmenopausal women increases their risk of breast cancer.

Why the link with meat and milk?

Dairy milk

When looking at the relationship between diet and breast cancer in 40 different countries, researchers found a link between meat, milk and cheese and breast (and ovarian) cancer. Meat was most closely associated, followed by cow’s milk and cheese. In contrast, cereals and pulses were shown to protect against breast cancer.

These researchers concluded that meat, and in particular, dairy foods could increase the development of hormone-dependent cancers such as breast cancer.

The reason scientists are concerned about dairy products is because the levels of hormones in milk have increased hugely over the last 100 years as modern dairy farming methods have intensified. The milk produced now is quite different to that produced many years ago; with modern dairy cows frequently impregnated while still producing milk. In fact, two-thirds of milk in the UK is taken from pregnant cows with the remainder coming from cows that have recently given birth. This means that the hormones, such as oestrogen, are very high in milk.


Is your milk bioactive?

Milk contains many biologically active molecules, including enzymes, hormones and growth factors. A typical glass of cow’s milk contains 35 hormones and 11 growth factors! In fact cow’s milk and dairy products are loaded with gonadal, adrenal, pituitary, hypothalamic and other hormones.

The detrimental health effects of consuming cow’s milk and dairy products are more widely discussed in Health! Viva’s referenced report White Lies. It describes how saturated animal fat, animal protein, cholesterol, hormones and growth factors in dairy products are linked to a wide range of illnesses and diseases including some of the UK’s biggest killers such as heart disease, diabetes, prostate cancer as well as osteoporosis, eczema, asthma, Crohn’s disease, colic, constipation and even teenage acne. White Lies is available free online at www.vivahealth.org.uk or for £5.00 from Viva! Health.
For more information on British dairy farming methods see Viva!’s fully-referenced report The Dark Side of Dairy, at www.viva.org.uk or telephone 0117 944 1000 (Mon-Fri 9am-6pm).


Growth factors

As well as the animal fat, chemical contaminants and/or hormones found in meat, fish and dairy foods, certain growth factors in milk may also increase the risk of breast cancer. One growth factor under scrutiny is insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1).

It is produced in the liver and body tissues of mammals and promotes cell growth and division, which is crucial for normal growth and development. But to do this it must be at the right levels. High IGF-1 levels can cause cells to grow uncontrollably. IGF-1 in cows and people is identical; therefore IGF-1 in cow’s milk could dangerously raise our levels of IGF-1, triggering our cells to become cancerous.

Over the last decade, IGF-1 has been linked to an increased risk of many cancers, including childhood cancers, lung, pancreatic, prostate, gastrointestinal, melanoma and breast cancer. When IGF-1 is added to human breast cancer cells in the laboratory it causes them to grow. IGF-1 may also transform normal breast tissue into cancerous cells. It has been suggested that high IGF-1 levels in the blood could be used by doctors to predict certain cancers in the same way that high cholesterol levels are currently used as a predictor of heart disease.

So what causes high IGF-1 levels in the blood? Because two-thirds of milk in the UK is taken from pregnant cows it not only has a hormone content that is markedly elevated, the amount of IGF-1 is also higher. IGF-1 is quite stable to both heat and acidic conditions and can survive the harsh conditions of both pasteurisation and stomach acid. So it is not destroyed during pasteurisation and may cross the intestinal wall and enter the blood. Regular milk ingestion after weaning may produce enough IGF-1 in breast tissue to encourage cell division and increase the risk of cancer.

Research from Harvard Medical School investigated the relationship between IGF-1 and breast cancer by looking at blood samples from a large group of women, 397 of whom were later diagnosed with breast cancer. They compared levels in these women with levels in women who did not develop the disease. Results showed that premenopausal (but not postmenopausal) women with high levels of IGF-1 were more likely to develop breast cancer than those with normal or low levels. This could be because IGF-1 levels fall as we get older, so postmenopausal women have lower levels to start with. Alternatively it could be that premenopausal women are more at risk because oestrogen enhances IGF-1 action and oestrogen levels are much higher before the menopause.


Diet and IGF-1

Numerous studies show that IGF-1 levels are higher in people who consume cow’s milk:

  • Researchers from Harvard Medical School examined IGF-1 levels in over 1,000 healthy women and found that as animal protein (mainly from cow’s milk) intake increased, so did IGF-1
  • Researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in Washington also found that milk consumption was linked to IGF-1 levels
  • A study from Creighton University in Omaha, NE, observed a 10 per cent rise in IGF-1 levels in people who increased their intake of non-fat milk from less than one-and-a-half servings to three servings per day
  • Danish researchers measured the effect of cow’s milk on IGF-1 levels in 54 two-and-a-half year old boys. An increase from 200 to 600ml of cow’s milk a day caused a massive 30 per cent increase in IGF-1
  • Researchers at Bristol University investigating diet and IGF-1 in 344 men found higher intakes of milk, dairy products and calcium were associated with higher levels of IGF-1. Lower levels of IGF-1 were associated with high vegetable consumption, particularly that of tomatoes
  • A study from the Cancer Epidemiology Unit at the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford found vegans (who consume no animal products, including dairy) had a nine per cent lower IGF-1 level than meat-eaters and vegetarians

The research shows conclusively that diet has an important role in determining IGF-1 levels.

Dairy cow picture

Damaging dairy

In her best-selling book Your Life in Your Hands, Professor Jane Plant CBE, Anglo American Professor of Applied Geochemistry at Imperial College, London, describes her very personal and moving story of how she overcame breast cancer by eliminating cow’s milk and all dairy products from her diet. Jane was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987, had five recurrences of the disease and by 1993 it had spread to her lymphatic system. She could feel the tumour growing on her neck and was told that she had just three months to live, six if she was lucky.

Ever the scientist, Jane was determined to find a solution to this ‘problem’. She began looking at breast cancer rates around the world and saw that in rural China they are a great deal lower. However, among wealthy Chinese women with a more Western lifestyle (for example in Malaysia and Singapore), the rate of breast cancer is similar to that in the West. Furthermore, evidence shows that when Chinese women move to the West, their rates increase to match those of their host country. This suggests that diet and lifestyle (rather than genetics) must be a major cause, keeping the risk low in rural China and high in the UK.

Jane focused on the role of diet in breast cancer and to her surprise found that people in China consume more calories a day than people in the US but only 14 per cent come from fat compared to a massive 36 per cent in the West. This, coupled to the fact that Chinese people tend to be more physically active than people in the West, is why obesity affects far more people in the West than in China.

However, Jane recalls her diet had not been particularly high in fat and describes it as low-fat and high-fibre. Then she had a revelation: the Chinese don’t eat dairy produce. She had been eating low-fat yogurt and skimmed organic milk up until this time and immediately stopped it. Within days the lump on her neck began to shrink and the tumour decreased and eventually disappeared, leading her to the conviction that the consumption of dairy products is a major cause of breast cancer. Although she received chemotherapy during this time, it did not appear to be working and so convinced was her cancer specialist that it was the change in diet that saved her life; he now recommends a dairy-free diet to all his breast cancer patients.

Jane eventually defeated cancer by eliminating all dairy products from her diet, replacing them with healthy alternatives and making some lifestyle changes. She now advises that if you do only one thing to cut your risk of breast cancer, make the change from dairy to soya.

Many women have used Jane’s advice about dairy to overcome breast cancer. What is most shocking is that until they read her book, most of them had no idea how diet could affect the course of this disease. Most doctors do not give any dietary advice to their cancer patients. One woman says “Thank you dear Jane for making this precious information available to us”. Another says “I am convinced that the book has saved my life”. Read these and other success stories at Cancer Support International’s website www.cancersupportinternational.com

Smoked food

No smoke without fire

How you cook certain foods can influence their role in breast cancer. A recent study published in the journal Epidemiology linked barbequed and smoked meats to breast cancer. It showed that postmenopausal women who eat a lot of grilled, barbequed and smoked meats have a whopping 47 per cent increased risk of breast cancer. It also showed that big meat-eaters who skimp on fruit and vegetables have a massive 74 per cent increase in risk. Why this effect was not seen in premenopausal women is unclear. That said, it would seem prudent for women of all ages to avoid barbequed and smoked meats, and to increase fruit and vegetable intake.

Think and eat positive

There are many ways you can protect yourself against breast cancer and other diseases. For example: stopping smoking, losing weight, exercising more and cutting down on alcohol. However, changing the way you eat is also vital – and in your control.


Fruit and vegetables

There is strong evidence linking fruit and vegetable consumption to a lower risk of breast cancer.

  • A large study from Harvard School of Public Health showed a lower risk of premenopausal breast cancer in women eating five or more vegetables a day compared with those eating less than two. This is because carotenoids (nutrients found in brightly coloured vegetables and fruits such as carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, spring greens and tomatoes) may reduce breast cancer risk particularly where there is a family history of breast cancer or high consumption of alcohol.
  • A study from the Istituto Nazionale Tumori of Milan looked at the role of diet and breast cancer risk over nine-and-a-half years in just under 9,000 Italian women, of whom 207 developed breast cancer. This study identified four diets: salad vegetables (mainly raw vegetables and olive oil); Western (mainly potatoes, red meat, eggs and butter); canteen (pasta and tomato sauce); and prudent (cooked vegetables, pulses and fish, with little or no wines and spirits). Only women eating the salad vegetables diet had a significantly lower (35 per cent) rate of breast cancer. Women who were not overweight had an even greater reduction (50 per cent). The protective effect of the cooked vegetables in this study may have been outweighed by the hormones, fat and pollutants from the fish included in the prudent diet.
  • In a later look at this same group, a further 31 breast cancer cases had occurred strengthening the evidence that the salad vegetables diet offered significant protection (75 per cent lower), against a subtype of breast cancer called HER-2-positive. HER-2-positive breast cancers have higher than normal levels of a protein known as HER-2 on the surface of the cancer cells, encouraging the cancer to grow. Around 20 to 25 per cent of breast cancer patients have HER-2-positive breast cancer.


Viva! Health believes that all types of fruit and vegetables – cooked and raw – clearly play an important role in protecting against breast cancer.

Go Organic
Choose organic fruit and vegetables as they contain more vitamins, minerals and cancer-fighting antioxidants. They don’t contain nasty chemicals (additives, pesticides and drug residues) and they are GM-free. They also taste much better!


Folic acid

Folic acid (folate) is an important B vitamin used in the production of red blood cells and DNA – the blueprint for life. Low levels of certain vitamins, including folic acid, can cause major damage to our DNA. Because of this, it is thought that a low intake of folic acid increases the risk of several cancers, including breast cancer.

Several studies show how folic acid can protect against breast cancer, particularly among women who are heavy drinkers. B vitamins are needed by the liver to break down alcohol. Therefore, many alcoholics are deficient in B vitamins.

  • Researchers from the Cancer Council Victoria in Australia investigated the effects of folic acid, alcohol consumption and breast cancer risk in over 17,000 women (with 537 cases of breast cancer). Women who had a high alcohol consumption coupled to a low intake of folic acid had an increased risk of breast cancer but those who drank a lot but had a reasonably high intake of folic acid had no increased risk.

Folic acid is found in many foods including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, peas, chick peas and brown rice. Other good sources include fortified breakfast cereals, wholegrain bread and fruits such as oranges and bananas.


Fantastic fibre

Many studies link dietary fibre with protection against breast cancer. It probably does this in several ways including:

  • Reducing oestrogen production
  • Slowing the recycling of oestrogen into the bloodstream from the gut

Fibre intake and breast cancer were looked at in a large group of women called the UK Women’s Cohort. This study showed that premenopausal women who ate 30 grams of fibre a day had half the risk of those eating less than 20 grams. Fibre from cereals were most effective. Fibre regulates oestrogen levels, which may explain why the effects were only seen in premenopausal women.

The average person in the UK eats just 12 grams of fibre per day. To increase your intake choose a high-fibre breakfast cereal, switch from white bread and pasta to wholegrain and ensure you have at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

Varied vegetables

Eat your greens!

Green vegetables such as spring greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and kale can protect against cancer. A powerful compound they contain called sulphurophane is responsible. It has attracted much attention since its discovery in the early 1990s as it stops the growth of cancer cells, but not normal cells. Try to eat raw and lightly steamed green vegetables every day. Thinly sliced raw broccoli, peppers, carrots, celery and cucumber make delicious crudités, great for dipping in houmous.


The soya connection

Eating soya foods when you are young reduces breast cancer later in life.

  • The Shanghai Breast Cancer Study found that women who ate the most soya (tofu, soya milk and other soya products) as teenagers halved their risk of breast cancer. This may at least partly explain why Asian women suffer much less breast cancer than Western women
  • A year later, another study also showed that women who ate a lot of soya (as teenagers and adults) also had less breast cancer
  • A review of 18 studies on soya and breast cancer shows that a high soya intake moderately reduces breast cancer risk

The low rate of breast cancer in Japan suggests that soya foods are beneficial – or at least, not harmful – to breast cancer patients. However, a few researchers are cautious about recommending lots of soya foods to postmenopausal women (whose natural oestrogen levels have dropped) who have ER-positive breast cancer. This is because of the potential oestrogen-like effect soya foods have. Soya contains plant hormones, or phytoestrogens. These are much weaker than oestrogen, the animal hormone (found in animal milk and blood) but can exert a very weak oestrogen-like effect.

The concern is that soya phytoestrogens may stimulate the growth of ER-positive tumours. This is not a concern for premenopausal women, who have much higher levels of oestrogens which are many times more potent. These concerns are based largely on the results of animal experiments that have produced such mixed results that their relevance to human breast cancer patients is unclear.

There have only been two human studies on this, the findings were also unclear. The cautious approach is for postmenopausal women at risk of breast cancer to limit the number of soya products they eat to three or four a week. Remember though, dairy products contain oestrogen which is much more powerful than soya phytoestrogens – so it is much more important to remove dairy from the diet than to reduce soya. To help prevent breast cancer later in life, teenagers should be encouraged to eat soya more regularly and to remove all dairy from their diet.

* All soya ingredients in the recipes are marked.

A healthy diet

A healthy diet for breast cancer is also a healthy diet for life. The nutrients you need to combat breast cancer will protect against other diseases. A healthy diet then contains a wide range of fresh fruit and vegetables, wholegrains (wholemeal bread, wholegrain pasta, brown rice and oats), pulses (peas, beans and lentils), nuts and seeds. Peas are best eaten raw or lightly steamed, not boiled endlessly. Raw sprouted chick peas, mung beans and adzuki beans are packed with nutrients. A healthy diet is rich in disease-busting antioxidants that protect against cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. The high blood levels of antioxidants in vegetarians and vegans are one of the reasons for the lower incidence of chronic diseases amongst them.

A healthy diet should provide plenty of fibre, protecting against breast and bowel cancer as well as heart disease. Fruit, vegetables and wholegrain foods (including wholegrain cereals) are all excellent sources of fibre. A healthy diet contains plenty of valuable vitamins and minerals, again protecting health. It should also contain a source of ‘good’ fats including the omega-3 fatty acids shown to protect heart health and fight breast cancer. Good sources include flaxseeds, hempseeds and oils made from them, walnuts and dark green leafy vegetables.

A healthy diet should contain little or no saturated fat, animal protein and cholesterol. We don’t need any of these baddies. The government advises replacing saturated fat with unsaturated. This means eating more avocados, nuts, seeds and using vegetables oils and spreads such as flaxseed oil and soya spread in place of butter. We do need some protein but all plant cells contain some so it’s not hard to make sure that your veggie or vegan diet supplies enough (pulses, nuts and seeds are particularly rich sources). Protein deficiency is very rare in developed counties. Plants do not contain cholesterol, so a vegan diet is cholesterol-free. We don’t need to eat cholesterol (and it’s better not to); our livers can produce as much as we need.

Red meat, poultry, cow’s milk, cheese, butter, cream, ice-cream and milk chocolate all contain the unhealthy saturated type of fat linked to breast cancer and several other cancers, heart disease, stroke, obesity and diabetes. Some of these foods contain substantial amounts:


The fat content of selected dairy foods

Total fat %Saturated fat %
Vegetable fat spread6014
Whole cow’s milk42.5
Soya milk (sweetened)2.40.4

Butter is over 80 per cent fat of which most is saturated! It is incredibly unhealthy. As the table above shows, plant-based fat spreads are a much healthier option. If you like eating fresh bread, try dipping it in flaxseed or hempseed oil with some balsamic vinegar, an even healthier option.

Saturated fats from meats, whole milk, cream and butter are responsible (along with lack of exercise) for the huge rise in obesity we are seeing. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of many health problems including breast cancer. Vegetarian or vegan diets contain much less saturated fat. Many vegetarians and vegans don’t have to worry about their weight, as their diet is so low in ‘bad’ fats anyway. A veggie or vegan diet can be used to lose weight without limiting the amount of food you eat. This is dieting without denial! For more information on how to successfully lose weight the veggie way see the Health! Viva guide the V-Plan Diet (available from http://www.vivashop.org.uk or telephone 0117 970 5190 for your copy at £2.00 inc p&p).

A healthy diet does not contain animal hormones and growth factors linked to breast cancer and other illnesses including teenage acne!

A diet containing saturated fat, animal protein, cholesterol, hormones and growth factors is not a healthy diet. Meat and dairy products contain all these unhealthy components whereas a vegan diet rich in fruit and vegetables, wholegrains, pulses, nuts and seeds offers significant health benefits that can help prevent and overcome breast cancer.


What do I need each day?

  • At least five (aim for seven to 10) portions of organic fruit and vegetables including green leafy vegetables, salad vegetables, orange vegetables (carrots, squash and sweet potatoes), fresh and dried fruits. Go for the brightly coloured ones to boost your antioxidant intake
  • Three to four servings of wholegrain foods (wholemeal bread, wholegrain pasta, brown rice and oats)
  • Two or three servings of pulses (peas, beans and lentils) nuts and/or seeds. Add to meals or just snack on them!
  • A small amount of vegetable oil (flaxseed, hempseed, rapeseed oil or virgin olive oil). Make sure to include a daily source of omega-3 (ground flaxseeds – great sprinkled on breakfast cereals – or oil made from them and/or walnuts and green leafy vegetables)
  • At least one B12-fortified food (fortified soya milk or breakfast cereal – essential if vegan) or take a B12 supplement (as directed on the packet)
  • 1-2 litres of water per day (at least eight glasses spread through the day)

The best of the bunch

Vegetables basket

To paraphrase a very famous quote – all vegetables are equal, but some vegetables are more equal than others! There are vital nutrients to be found in all plant foods (edible ones that is!). But some go that bit further – they are jam-packed with health-promoting goodies such as antioxidants.



Antioxidants are the good guys battling to preserve your health. They go around the body mopping up destructive molecules called free radicals which are produced when your body breaks down food or as a result of exposure to harmful chemicals (including cigarette smoke) or radiation. Free radicals damage cells and play a role in many diseases – especially cancer. Low levels of antioxidants in the blood are a sign of poor immunity and disease. So a good supply of antioxidants is crucial for health. Think of a great big fresh salad with green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, sprouted seeds, mango and avocado as sending the cavalry in! People who eat lots of fruit and vegetables (and therefore antioxidants) have less cancer, heart disease and neurological (nerve) diseases. Antioxidants also protect against macular degeneration, an eye disease that affects older people. Oh yes, and they are anti-aging too!

AntioxidantsGood sources
Beta-carotene (which we use to make vitamin A)Apricots, broccoli, cantaloupe melon, carrots, green leafy vegetables, lemons, mango, peas, pumpkin, spinach, sweet potatoes, squash and watercress
Vitamin CBerries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries), citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruit, lemons), green leafy vegetables, peppers, parsley, peas and many other fruit and vegetables
Vitamin EAvocado, asparagus, nuts and seeds, vegetable oils (especially wheatgerm oil), and wholegrains
LuteinBroccoli, Brussels sprouts, courgette, curly kale, peas, pistachio nuts, romaine lettuce, spinach and spring greens
LycopeneGuava, papaya, pink grapefruit, rosehip, tomatoes (cooked organic tomatoes are an excellent source) and watermelon
SeleniumCereals and nuts (especially Brazil nuts)

Caution: there is some evidence that certain antioxidant supplements (especially beta-carotene) may be harmful to some people. You can get all the antioxidants you need by eating a well-balanced vegan diet rich in brightly coloured fruit and vegetables and containing a good source of unsaturated vegetable oils.



Carotenoids are a group of important nutrients responsible for the deep colour of some fruits and vegetables. As a rule of thumb the greater the intensity of the colour the more carotenoids contained. Perhaps the best known one is beta-carotene which is converted to vitamin A and acts as an antioxidant mopping up damaging free radicals.

Good sources of carotenoids (always try to buy organic):

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Squash
  • Spring greens
  • Coriander
  • Thyme
  • Romaine lettuce

To get the best out of these foods eat them raw or lightly steamed.

Fantastic foods

Vegan food

What follows is a list of some of the best foods you can eat, what they contain and why they are so good for you (again – buy organic). It is by no means all inclusive – there are endless exciting options in the world of plant foods, but here are some ideas to get you started…



Raspberries, strawberries, gooseberries, blackberries, blackcurrants, blueberries and redcurrants are all crammed with vitamin C, fibre, folic acid and other valuable nutrients that can help combat breast cancer. However, perhaps their best asset is that they are among the fruits highest in antioxidant content. This means they can help you prevent or overcome breast cancer and keep you fighting fit.



Cranberries are an outstanding source of antioxidants. They are also a very good source of fibre and manganese. Cranberry juice can also help ease cystitis. Several scientists are looking at how cranberries could help protect against heart disease and stroke, boost the immune system and act as an anti-cancer agent. Again, the antioxidants and fibre make these little jewels in the fight against breast cancer.

Caution: cranberry juice may cause adverse effects in people taking warfarin. If you are concerned, see your GP.


Cruciferous vegetables

Spring greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and kale provide a good source of folic acid, vitamin C and fibre, all important for preventing or overcoming breast cancer. However, the most striking feature of these vegetables is their high concentration of a substance called sulphurophane. This is a well-known protector against cancer and eating these vegetables regularly reduces the risk of lung, stomach and breast cancer.


Dried fruits

Dried fruit such as currants, sultanas, raisins, dates, figs and apricots provide a good source of fibre which protects against breast cancer. They also provide a rich source of B vitamins and the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, copper and manganese. Keeping up a good supply of vital minerals is essential to help you combat disease. Go for the unsulphured (organic) varieties.



We don’t need saturated ‘bad’ fat in the diet but we do need unsaturated ‘good’ fats (including omega-3s) for a wide range of functions. Evidence shows that omega-3s can help prevent breast cancer. The best way to obtain them is from plant sources, rather than oily fish which are often dangerously contaminated with mercury, PCBs and dioxins. Flaxseeds (also known as linseeds) are one of the best sources. All you need is one teaspoon of flaxseed oil or one tablespoon of ground flaxseeds daily. Buy them loose and grind them up a little at a time and store in a sealed container. Whichever form you use, it’s important to store the oil or ground seeds in the fridge. Use as quickly as you can for the greatest benefit.



Garlic has been used for hundreds of years to combat a host of ailments. It offers many health benefits including helping to maintain a healthy heart and circulation. Garlic contains antioxidants and is renowned for it beneficial effects on the immune system, crucial in the fight against breast cancer.



May help clear a blocked nose and maintain a healthy circulation. Ginger contains antioxidants and can also aid digestion. Stress can lower the body’s ability to fight disease so it is important to relax. Try a gentle cup of lemon and ginger tea to soothe your stomach and help you calm down after a hard day. Ginger is great in stir fries and curry and you can put a healthy zing in soup by adding ginger, garlic and lemongrass. Also, try juicing organic carrots and apple with a little grated ginger.



Almonds, Brazils, hazelnuts, cashews, macadamias, pistachios, pecans and walnuts are high in fibre and protein and rich in a wide range of vitamins and minerals. They are a good source of unsaturated fats which lower cholesterol. Walnuts are a good source of omega-3. The fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals and ‘good’ fats in nuts provide a little powerhouse that will help you stave off breast cancer and other diseases. Pistachios are a good source of antioxidants and contain more of the antioxidants lutein, vitamin A and vitamin E than other nuts.

Caution: nuts are high in fat so avoid eating too many. This isn’t usually a problem as nuts are so filling. Avoid salted nuts because of their high salt content.


Oats and other wholegrains

Wholegrains have not had the tough bits called bran and germ removed by milling. Consequently they contain loads more nutrients. They are a far superior source of fibre which has been shown to prevent breast cancer. Wholegrains (especially oats) have cholesterol-lowering properties which is good for your heart. Refined grains, such as white rice and white flour, have both the bran and germ removed. Although vitamins and minerals may be added back after milling, they still don’t have as many nutrients or fibre as wholegrains which are a particularly good source of protein, antioxidants, B group vitamins, vitamin E and minerals (magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and selenium). Why eat nutritionally inferior white bread, white rice and white pasta, when you can get wholegrain varieties bursting with the nutrients that can help prevent or overcome breast cancer? Try the wholegrain varieties today – they are more satisfying and taste much better!



Pomegranates are an extremely good source of vitamin C. Also rich in vitamin B5, potassium and disease-busting antioxidants. The antioxidants in pomegranate juice (punicalagins) are particularly good at mopping up harmful free radicals; important in preventing or overcoming breast cancer. Pomegranate juice can lower blood pressure and has been found to be effective in lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke. Other research indicates that pomegranate juice may be effective against prostate cancer and osteoarthritis. Even if you just buy one carton a week – this vibrant juice could help.



Pulses (choose organic) include the whole range of peas, beans and lentils:

  • Red, green and brown lentils
  • Black-eyed beans
  • Peas
  • Chick peas
  • Broad beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Butter beans
  • Baked beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Adzuki beans

You can add pulses to soups, stews, curries and chilli. You can use them in salads too!
Pulses are a great source of protein, fibre and iron. Try to combine foods containing vitamin C with (such as peppers or dark green vegetables or orange juice) with your meal to help you absorb the iron. By swapping meat-based meals for ones made with peas, beans or lentils you will not only reduce your fat intake (linked to breast cancer) but you will increase the amount of fibre in your diet which can help prevent or overcome this disease.



Quinoa (pronounced ‘keen-wah’) is a highly nutritious grain with ancient origins. Along with corn and potatoes it was one of the three staple foods of the Inca civilization who referred to it as the “mother of all grains”. Its protein content is very high and it contains a balanced set of all eight essential amino acids (the build blocks of protein), making it an unusually complete food (like soya). It is a good source of fibre, phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten free which makes it a good choice for people who are allergic to wheat. For good breast health, replace all refined carbohydrates (white rice, white pasta, and white cous cous) with wholegrain products such as Quinoa. It’s easy to prepare – measure one cup or 240 ml of grain (serves two), rinse in a fine mesh strainer and put the grains into a saucepan. Add two cups (480 ml) water. Cover and bring to the boil over high heat. Turn heat down to low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Use quinoa in place of any rice dish and enjoy its light, chewy texture and nutty flavour.



Pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds are an excellent source of protein, fibre, B vitamins, vitamin E and minerals including magnesium, iron, phosphorus, selenium and zinc. In addition, they contain omega-6 and omega-3 fats. All in all, little powerhouses of goodness that can help combat breast cancer! Pumpkin seeds are a good source of zinc which helps maintain a healthy immune system. Sunflower seeds are a good source of omega-6. Sesame seeds are an exceptionally good source of calcium. Sprinkle them on salads and stir-fries or just snack on a handful now and again!


Shiitake mushrooms

Like other mushrooms, Shiitake mushrooms are an excellent source of B vitamins. A compound in shiitake mushrooms called lentinan is believed to stop or slow the growth of cancer. Another substance (1,3-beta glucan) is also said to slow cancer and lessen the side effects of chemotherapy. They also contain a compound called eritadenine which is thought to lower cholesterol. These claims are currently being studied. You can substitute ‘normal’ mushrooms for shiitake mushrooms or combine them both together in your cooking. Try Shiitake mushrooms with garlic on toast for a tasty winter breakfast.



Eating lots of soya during your teenage years has been shown to protect against breast cancer later in life. Soya offers many other nutritional benefits. It is a particularly good source of protein containing all eight essential amino acids which we need (as does quinoa). Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Soya products provide a rich source of unsaturated ‘good’ fats including omega-3 and are free of cholesterol – as are all plant foods. Soya protein actually lowers ‘bad’ cholesterol levels in the body.

Soya products provide an excellent source of disease-busting antioxidants, B vitamins (including folic acid) and iron. Calcium-fortified soya products such as soya milk and tofu provide a valuable source of this important mineral. Many whole soya foods also contain valuable fibre which is important for good bowel health and also lowers cholesterol. Soya foods can be used in place of meat, fish or dairy foods. Soya is clearly a healthy option in the battle against breast cancer.



Previously regarded as little more than a garnish, watercress has finally been given the recognition it deserves. It is a great source of nutrients such as vitamins A and C and calcium. Watercress contains compounds that help prevent DNA damage in white blood cells (important immune cells). This damage is considered to be an important trigger in the development of cancer. Watercress also boosts the level of antioxidants in the blood. Watercress sandwiches made with yeast extract and wholemeal bread make a delicious lunch. And watercress soup – surely one of the best soups ever?!


Yams and sweet potatoes

Yams are similar to sweet potatoes and can be cooked in much the same way as the good old spud. They are high in vitamins B6 and C, fibre, potassium and manganese. Sweet potatoes are rich in fibre, vitamins A, B6 and C. They both release their sugars more slowly into the bloodstream so the energy they provide is spread out over time unlike the quick burst you get from a ‘normal’ potato. This can help protect against obesity and diabetes. If you have diabetes, they are a good alternative as they can help stabilise blood sugar levels. You can make delicious mash by mixing up your root vegetables (yams, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips). Sweet potatoes are great in curries or just simply baked. The vitamins, minerals and fibre found in yams and sweet potatoes make them a good healthy option.

A week of cancer-busting recipes


Breakfast – Porridge with Dairy-Free Milk
Lunch – Beans & Greens Salad 
Snack – Fresh Fruit (apple, pear, orange, grapes, nectarine or peach)
Dinner – Tortilla Wraps with Mango Salsa
(Make Broccoli Soup for Tuesday)


Serves 4
10-15 minutes

Rolled oats (look like big squashed flakes) will keep you going longer than porridge oats. However, both are rich in fibre, complex carbohydrates and protein. Dairy-free milks include soya*; oat; hazelnut or almond; rice. Try to pick one fortified with calcium and B12. Experiment until you find one you like.

960ml/34 floz/4 cups water
200g/8oz/2 cups rolled or porridge oats
Dairy-free milk to taste
Healthy syrup to taste, such as agave, date or maple
Cinnamon to taste

75g/5oz/½ cup raisins or chopped dried apricots (cook with porridge)
½ tsp cinnamon

1. Soak the oats and water overnight in a bowl if possible, cover and leave in the fridge.
2. In the morning, place the oats and water mix in a saucepan.
3. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and cook for 5-10 minutes, or longer, stirring occasionally.
4. Serve with dairy-free milk and syrup/sprinkling of cinnamon if desired.

Top tips

  • If you’re making just one portion of this, it’s easy – 1 cup of water to half a cup of oats.
  • Get your Five A Day! Just add a portion of your favourite fruit to this recipe – defrosted frozen berries, fresh or dried fruit are all good. Mix in when the porridge is ready to serve.
  • You’ll find healthy syrups in supermarkets or health stores. Date, agave, maple – date being cheapest, maple is the most expensive! Agave (pronounced ah-garvi) is much lower in calories than refined sugars or honey and doesn’t mess up your blood sugars either!


Beans & Greens Salad
Serves 4-6
5-10 minutes

2 medium-large bunches of broccoli, washed and cut into florets
1 large red or orange pepper, chopped into small pieces
1 handful of chopped rocket
1 tin of mixed beans or other pulses of your choice (chick pea or kidney beans), drained and rinsed – preferably salt- and sugar-free.
4 spring onions, chopped
1 large carrot, grated

1. Steam the broccoli until just tender – it needs to have a little bite to it.
2. Place in a large bowl.
3. Prepare the rest of the ingredients and add to the bowl.

Top tips

  • This salad is very quick to prepare at home and you can take it to work in a food container. Keep the dressing separate in a small jar – add it to the salad just before serving.
  • Aminos are like low-salt soya sauce. You will find Braggs or Marigold brands in good health food shops.

Healthy Dressing
2 or more of these: zest and juice of 1 fresh lime, lemon and/or orange
2 tsp Aminos
2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes (Engevita/Marigold yeast flakes sold in good health stores)
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2-4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp of date or maple syrup
Optional: 1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed

1. Place all the ingredients in a jar.
2. Put the lid on and give it a good shake until it is thoroughly mixed.
5. Pour over the salad when it is ready to serve.


Tortilla Wraps with Mango Salsa

Serves 4
15-20 minutes

1-2 wholemeal tortillas or chapattis per person
1 tin of kidney or pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 300g jar of ready-made salsa (hot or cool)
1 red pepper, de-seeded and finely chopped
½ -1 tsp mild chilli powder, according to taste
1 garlic clove, crushed
½ tsp cumin powder
½ tsp dried oregano
Hot pepper sauce to taste if desired

Filling Options
Choose 1 or more

1 large tomato, chopped
1 large carrot, shredded
½ avocado, chopped
Shredded green lettuce leaves for 4 – about a handful per person (not Iceberg)
4 tbsp plain soya yoghurt (Sojasun or Yofu)
2 tbsp finely chopped red onion

1. Warm the tortillas gently by wrapping them in foil and placing them in a warm oven.
2. Combine the beans, salsa, red pepper, herbs and spices in a small saucepan and heat through until the red pepper is soft, stirring occasionally.
3. Prepare the filling options of choice and make the Mango Salsa. Put aside.
4. Mash the beans in a pan with a potato masher – leave some texture.
5. Set out all filling options.
6. Remove the tortillas from the oven and serve – place a dollop of beany filling per tortilla, then top with filling options – don’t overfill them or it will all squish out of the ends!
7. Roll up and eat while warm, accompanied by Mango Salsa.

Mango Salsa
Serves 4
5-10 minutes

1 large ripe mango, peeled and chopped as fine as possible
1 tomato, chopped fine
½ red onion, finely chopped
1 large handful fresh chopped coriander
1 tbsp lime juice (or more to taste)
Black pepper

1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
2. Chill in the fridge.


Breakfast – Berry Nice Fruit Smoothie. Wholemeal Toast with Banana.
Lunch – Broccoli Soup
Snack – Handful of Dried Unsulphured Apricots and Prunes
Dinner – Spicy Beanburgers and Quinoa Superbowl Salad


Berry Nice Fruit Smoothie
Serves 4
5 minutes

2 ripe bananas, broken into chunks
500ml soya* or other dairy-free milk. Vanilla flavoured soya* or rice milk is nice – or just add ½ tsp vanilla extract to the plain variety
4 handfuls of frozen berry fruits
Optional: 1-2 tsp agave syrup

  1. Blend until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add agave syrup if desired, then blend again.
  3. Serve immediately.

Wholemeal Toast with Banana
Serves 1
5 minutes

2 slices of wholemeal bread
1 ripe banana

  1. Make 2 slices of toast.
  2. Mash 1 medium banana on top (no spread).

Top tip

  • Add some tahini for a more substantial topping.


Broccoli Soup
Serves 4-6
20-25 minutes

This is a wholesome soup bursting with goodness – if you are very hungry serve with a wholemeal roll.

2 onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 medium heads of broccoli, cut into florets
1L/36fl oz low-salt vegetable stock (home-made or made with 4 tsp bouillon powder or a stock cube – Marigold or Kallo brands especially good)
¼-½ tsp allspice
1 tsp dill
Aminos to taste
Cooked sweetcorn and/or finely chopped red pepper
Tin of haricot beans, drained and rinsed
Black pepper

  1. Bring all the vegetables, stock, allspice and dill to the boil in a large saucepan.
  2. Lower heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until broccoli is tender.
  3. Blend until soup is smooth.
  4. Add aminos to taste – approximately 2 tsp.
  5. Add sweetcorn, red pepper and beans, heat through and serve.
  6. Add black pepper to taste.


Spicy Beanburgers and Quinoa Superbowl Salad

Spicy Beanburgers

Spicy Beanburgers
Makes 6-8 small burgers
25 minutes

This is a tasty and flexible recipe that can easily be changed by using different combinations of beans/lentils and spice/herbs.

1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
10ml/2 tsp olive oil
1 medium carrot, grated
½ tsp mild chilli powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tin of pinto or kidney beans, drained
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp soya sauce
1 tbsp tomato purée
75g/3oz rolled oats
Oil spray

  1. Fry the onion and garlic in oil until soft.
  2. Add the grated carrot and spices and continue to heat for a couple of minutes.
  3. Mash the beans thoroughly in a bowl.
  4. Add the cooked vegetables and spice mixture to the beans.
  5. Add the mustard, soya sauce, tomato purée and oats.
  6. Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly.
  7. With wet hands, form the mixture into burgers and flatten each one with the back of a wooden spatula or spoon. (Use a cup or cookie cutter if you want them evenly round.)
  8. Using 1-2 squirts of oil spray, fry gently for a few minutes on either side – alternatively, bake in a medium oven for 20-30 minutes, turning once.
  9. Serve burgers in a wholemeal roll with a little vegan mayonnaise or relish and salad.

Quinoa Superbowl Salad
Serves 4.
15 minutes

Quinoa Superbowl Salad

Quinoa (pronounced ‘keen-wah’) is a wholegrain – high in protein and iron, it really is a superfood and very quick and easy to prepare.

450g/1lb quinoa
1L/35fl oz of hot water
½ tsp mixed herbs
3-4 tsp low-salt vegetable bouillon or 1 low-salt veggie stock cube

Choose from any of the following:

2 large handfuls Pak Choi or Cos lettuce, shredded
1 large handful of rocket leaves
2 red peppers, diced
3-4 sticks celery, sliced
2 large carrot, grated
1 tin of beans or lentils – kidney, flageolet or green lentils – drained and rinsed (Try to use an unsalted variety if possible)
Sweetcorn kernels (drained and rinsed if tinned)
1 large handful of French beans, lightly steamed
1 large handful of fresh peas
1 handful of chopped dates or unsulphured apricots
1 handful of smoked tofu* pieces
1 handful of grilled tempeh* pieces

  1. Dry roast the quinoa in a heavy or non-stick pan for 2 minutes stirring carefully so it doesn’t burn.
  2. Add water, herbs and crumbled stock cube/bouillon powder.
  3. Bring to the boil then simmer for 15 minutes or until the grains are fully cooked – add a little more liquid if necessary.
  4. Allow the grains to cool and add the ingredients of your choice from the options above.
  5. Add Healthy Dressing (see Monday’s recipe) and serve.

Top Tip

  • You can keep some Superbowl Salad for lunch the following day.

Healthy Dressing
See Monday’s recipe


Breakfast – Beans on Toast
Lunch – Quinoa Superbowl Salad
Snack – Bean Salsa with Rice Cakes
Dinner – Pasta with Home-Made Tomato & Lentil Sauce. Mixed Salad


Beans on Toast
Serves 4
5 minutes

1-2 slices wholemeal bread
1-2 tins baked beans (use ‘naturally sweetened’ Biona or Whole Earth – available from large supermarkets organic/free-from sections or health food stores. Avoid brands containing milk products, sugar or artificial sweeteners if possible)
Black pepper and/or chilli sauce

1. Heat the beans in a pan.
2. Make the toast and pour the beans over.
3. Season with black pepper or chilli sauce if you like – then eat!


Superbowl Salad (see Tuesday’s recipes)

Bean Salsa with Rice Cakes
Serves 4
5 minutes

300g jar or tub of ready-made salsa (hot or cool – your choice!)
1 tin kidney or borlotti beans, rinsed and drained (use unsalted if possible)
1 tbsp of lime juice
2 tbsp of finely chopped fresh coriander or parsley
Black pepper

1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.
2. Spread on rice cakes or other low-fat vegan crackers.


Pasta with Home-Made Tomato & Lentil Sauce. Mixed Salad

Pasta with Home-Made Tomato

Pasta with Home-Made Tomato & Lentil Sauce
Serves 4
30 minutes

2 cloves of garlic, chopped
4 spring onions, chopped
1 tsp of olive oil
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp of tomato purée
1 tsp of date syrup (optional)
Black pepper
12 fresh basil leaves, chopped (or 2 tsp dried basil)
225g cooked lentils – green, brown or Puy (or 1 tin, drained)
225-300g dried wholemeal pasta of your choice (or wheat-free alternative if appropriate)
Nutritional yeast flakes

  1. Gently fry the garlic and onion in the oil for a few minutes.
  2. Add the remaining sauce ingredients, bring to the boil then simmer for 20-25 minutes.
  3. Bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the pasta according to the packet instructions.
  4. Stir the lentils into the sauce and warm gently.
  5. Drain the pasta and mix in the sauce.
  6. Serve with lots of black pepper and a sprinkling of nutritional yeast flakes – with Mixed Salad on the side.

Mixed Salad
Serves 4
5 minutes

Choose from the following:
2 handfuls of lettuce leaves (such as Cos, Lollo Rosso or Lamb’s Lettuce)
1 handful of watercress and/or rocket
¼ of a cucumber, sliced
2 handfuls of sprouts – alfalfa or purple radish
2 medium carrots, grated

  1. Wash, dry and chop the leaves.
  2. Combine in a salad bowl and add dressing.

Dressing – (see Monday’s recipes)


Breakfast – Granola or Muesli with Fresh Berries & Dairy-Free Milk
Lunch – Butter Bean Paté & Salad Sandwiches
Snack – Healthy Hummus & Vegetable Sticks
Dinner – Almost Instant Noodles


Nutty Walnut Granola Crunch
Serves 1
2 minutes


1 good handful of cereal (see below)
1 handful of fruit
½-1 cup of dairy-free milk

1. Combine all ingredients in your favourite cereal bowl and enjoy!

Nutty Walnut Granola Crunch
20+ portions
70 minutes

600g/1½lbs rolled oats
150g/5oz barley or brown rice flour
125g/scant 5oz walnuts
½ tsp salt
240ml/8fl oz apple juice concentrate (Meridian brand available from health stores or by post from Goodness Direct)
120ml/4fl oz date or agave syrup
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
2 tbsp water
2 tsp vanilla extract
150g/generous 5oz raisins

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3.
2. Combine the oats, flour, walnuts and salt in a large bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together the apple juice, syrup, oil, water and vanilla.
4. Pour over the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly until evenly moistened.
5. Divide the mixture between two large oven trays, spreading out into a 2cm/1 inch thick layer.
6. Bake until golden brown, stirring well every 15 minutes – use a timer!
7. Cooking time total 50-60 minutes.
8. Remove from oven and stir in the raisins while mixture is still hot, to plump them up.
9. Allow the granola to cool completely.
10. Store in air-tight containers in the fridge or a cool cupboard.

Top Tips

  • If buying granola or muesli choose one that is dairy-free (no added whey or milk powder), not too high in fat and as unsweetened as possible. Look in your local health food store or in the ‘free-from’ shelves of large supermarkets.
  • Alternatively, make the easy granola recipe above! It’s easy, makes 20 portions and is cheaper and healthier than most of the commercial alternatives.


Butter Bean Paté & Salad Sandwiches
Serves 4
5 minutes

425g/15oz can of butter beans
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 clove of garlic, crushed
4 sprigs of basil
1 small red pepper, finely chopped
Black pepper to taste

1. Drain and rinse beans under cold water.
2. Put beans, lemon juice, garlic and basil together and blend to a purée.
3. Mix in sweet pepper and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
4.  Spread on wholemeal bread and add salad item of choice (such as tomato, cucumber or salad leaves).

Top Tip

  • Great on toast, rice cakes, oat cakes…or as a dip with veggie sticks.


Healthy Hummus

How to make hummus
Serves 4
5 minutes

1 tin of chick peas, (preferably salt-free) drained and rinsed
1 tsp tahini
1-2 cloves garlic depending on taste
2-3 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp vegetable stock or water
Black pepper to taste

1. Blend all ingredients until smooth.
2. Optional: a pinch of plain or smoked paprika; roasted red pepper – all very good!

Top Tip

  • If you have leftover chick peas, use them in a salad, soup or stew. They also freeze well.


Almost Instant Noodles
Serves 4-6
10 minutes

500g/1lb 2oz wholemeal or soba (buckwheat) noodles
450g/1lb carrots, grated
1-2 squirts low-calorie oil spray
1 small handful of parsley, chopped
1-2cm/½-1 inch fresh ginger, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Aminos to taste
Mixed seeds: ½ cup (sunflower/pumpkin/sesame)
Fresh or dried chilli, finely chopped

1. Plunge the noodles into a pan of boiling water.
2. Bring to the boil for 2-3 minutes until the noodles are soft then drain.
3. Using the oil spray, fry the garlic and ginger very gently (almost just warming) in a frying pan.
4. Add shoyu and mixed seeds.
5. Add the chilli (optional).
6. Stir in the noodles, season with pepper.
7. Add the carrots and parsley.
8. Serve immediately.

Top Tip

  • This dish is also good with a squeeze of lime or lemon, chopped coriander instead of parsley or cashew nuts instead of seeds.

Breakfast – Wholemeal Toast with Banana
Lunch – Miso* Soup with Shiitake Mushrooms
Snack – Piece of fresh fruit – apple, pear, orange, small bunch grapes or nectarine/peach
Dinner – Curry Nights: Gujarati Vegetable Curry, Delectable Dhal & Pilau Brown Rice with Raita


Wholemeal Toast with Banana
(See Tuesday’s recipe)


Miso* Soup
Serves 4
20 minutes

A variation on the traditional recipe but very good nonetheless!

4-5 dried shiitake mushrooms (available from health or oriental stores)
1L/35fl oz vegetable stock (home-made or made from reduced-salt stock cube/bouillon)
1 strip wakame seaweed  (available from health or Oriental stores)
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 stick celery, finely sliced
1 red pepper, finely chopped
½ bunch spring onions, finely chopped
1 tbsp rice wine or dry sherry
Dash of aminos
3 tbsp of hatcho or sweet white miso* (both lower in salt than other varieties), mixed in a small bowl with a little cold water until smooth
Cooked brown rice or cooked noodles (wholewheat or soba)
Optional: about half a pack of cubed plain or smoked firm tofu* OR large handful of cooked aduki beans

1. Soak the shiitake mushrooms in a jug of hot water.
2. Place the stock and wakame in a medium-large pan. Bring to the boil then simmer.
3. Add the carrot, celery, pepper and spring onions.
4. Add the mushrooms and soaking water to the pan with rice wine/sherry and aminos.
5. Cook for 5-10 minutes, don’t let the vegetables become too mushy.
6. Blend the wakame strip and mushrooms with some of the soup liquid until smooth – return to pan.
7. Remove from heat, add miso paste and stir in well, along with cooked rice or noodles.
8. Add tofu or aduki beans if using.
9. Serve.


Curry Nights: Gujerati Vegetable Curry, Delectable Dhal & Pilau Brown Rice with Raita

Gujerati Vegetable Curry, Delectable Dhal & Pilau Brown Rice with Raita

Gujerati Vegetable Curry
Serves 4
35 minutes

2 tsp sunflower or soya oil (don’t use olive oil)
1 onion, chopped
450g/1lb par-boiled potatoes, cubed
450g/1lb peas (fresh or frozen)
225g/8oz green beans
½ tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp chilli powder (or less if you don’t like food too hot)
1 tsp date syrup
½ cup of hot water

1. Heat the oil and lightly fry the onion.
2. Add the potatoes, peas and beans.
3. Add all the spices and fry for a few minutes, adding a little hot water to prevent sticking.
4. Add the syrup and hot water.
5. Cover and simmer on a low heat until all the vegetables are cooked, adding a little more water if necessary.
6. While everything else is cooking, make the rice, Dhal and Raita.

Pilau Brown Rice
Serves 4
30 minutes

250g brown Basmati rice
500ml/18fl oz water
¼ tsp turmeric
3 cloves
1 piece cinnamon stick – about 5cm/2 inch long

1. Put all the ingredients in a pan and bring to the boil.
2. Simmer for 25 minutes stirring occasionally to ensure that the rice doesn’t stick – cook for further 5 minutes or so if still too chewy.
3. Add a little hot water if necessary whilst cooking – the rice should have absorbed all the water by the end of the cooking process.
4. Remove the cloves and cinnamon stick and serve hot.

Delectable Dhal
Serves 4-6
15 minutes

Dhal is a spicy lentil sauce used all over the Indian subcontinent. It is a fantastic accompaniment to curries, as well as being a great source of protein. This recipe is quick, easy and very tasty.

200g/7oz red lentils
700ml/25fl oz water (add more during cooking time if you prefer runnier dhal)
1cm/0.5 inch cube fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Juice of half a lemon
Pinch of salt

1. Wash the lentils well in a sieve under running water.
2. Place the lentils in boiling water.
3. Bring to the boil then add the ginger.
4. In the meantime, dry roast the cumin seeds in non-stick frying pan.
5. Add the garlic to the cumin seeds and allow to brown, stirring to make sure neither burns.
6. Add to the dhal.
7. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the lentils are soft.
8. Add lemon juice and a large pinch of salt to taste.

Serves 4
5 minutes

Half a tub of Yofu* or 1 tub of Sojasun* dairy-free yoghurt
1 tsp fresh mint, finely chopped
2-3 tbsp soya* or other dairy-free milk
7cm/3 inch chunk of cucumber, grated

1. Mix yoghurt, mint and soya milk until smooth.
2. Add grated cucumber and stir in well.
3. Serve with the curry.


Breakfast – Exotic Fruit Salad
Lunch – Vegan Sushi & Green Salad
Snack – Banana
Dinner – Cauliflower ‘Cheese’ & Baked Sweet Potatoes and Tomato, Watercress & Rocket Salad. Summer Berry Compote with Cashew Crème


Exotic Fruit Salad
Serves 4
5 minutes

1 ripe mango
1 ripe pineapple
2 kiwi fruit
1 small ripe melon
Optional: orange flower water

1. Peel and chop the fruit into bite sized pieces
2. Add a little orange flower water if desired and serve chilled.


Vegan Sushi & Green Salad


Vegan Sushi
Makes 6-8 pieces
30 minutes

This is a fun recipe to make – don’t be put off by the instructions, it’s actually very quick once you have everything assembled and ready to go!

1 sheet nori (check packet to see if ready-toasted or not)
115g/4oz short grain brown rice
230-300ml/8-10fl oz cold water
1 tsp vegan low-salt bouillon powder
1½ tsp tahini
1 tbsp shoyu soya sauce
1 medium carrot, grated
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
Salad ingredients of your choice (2 handfuls of Pak Choi, Cos, Lollo Rosso, Lamb’s lettuce plus 1 handful of watercress and/or rocket)
Thinly sliced cucumber

1 or 2 of the following:

Thin strips of avocado
Sauerkraut (pickled cabbage)
Toasted sesame seeds
Spring onion greens, chopped
Wasabi (Japanese horseradish) very hot! Good for clearing the sinuses! You buy it dried from large supermarkets or health/oriental stores and mix with water according to instructions. Try a very tiny dab (about a matchstick tip’s worth) until you’re sure how hot you like it.

  1. Cook the rice in the water and bouillon powder until it is well-cooked and slightly sticky – about 25-30 minutes. (Add a little more water if necessary, but don’t drown it – you want all the liquid to be absorbed by time rice is cooked.)
  2. Prepare the other ingredients including 1 or 2 from the options if desired.
  3. If you don’t have a sushi mat, wet a clean tea-towel and wring it out well so that it’s just a little damp.
  4. Let the rice cool. It should be fairly sticky and just slightly warm – this makes it easier to roll.
  5. If the nori isn’t ready-toasted, do this now – simply toast it carefully by holding it with tongs over a gas flame or electric ring until it turns green.
  6. Place the nori sheet carefully on sushi mat/damp tea-towel.
  7. Spread the rice thinly on nori sheet, leaving a 1cm/ half inch gap at the top and bottom.
  8. With a chopstick or handle of a wooden spoon, make an indentation in the middle of the rice.
  9. Spread the tahini in the gap and then add the carrot.
  10. Add another option, such as cucumber or watercress at this stage.
  11. Using the tea-towel, roll the nori up into a mini Swiss roll, making sure you keep pulling the leading edge of the mat/towel back so it doesn’t get rolled into the sushi.
  12. Continue rolling tightly until the uncovered top edge of the nori is reached.
  13. Wet this edge with a little cold water and complete rolling – this will seal the sushi.
  14. Slice the roll in half with a sharp knife, making sure you cut through all the nori.
  15. Then slice each half into three or four pieces.
  16. Serve on the nicest plate you have, preferably plain white, with a little diluted shoyu sauce or aminos and a dab of wasabi.
  17. Prepare a Green Salad to accompany the Vegan Sushi.

Top Tip
Don’t try to fit in too much or too many or the sushi won’t roll up!


Cauliflower ‘Cheese’ & Baked Sweet Potatoes with Orange and Watercress Salad

Cauliflower ‘Cheese’ & Baked Sweet Potatoes
Serves 4
50-60 minutes

4 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed
1 large cauliflower or 2 small, chopped into florets
Large pinch of paprika (used smoked if you want)
Two large tomatoes, sliced

For the sauce:
2 tbsp shallot finely chopped (1 medium shallot) or equivalent Red onion, finely chopped
Spray oil
180ml/6fl oz water + 2 tbsp
6 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp light miso*

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.
  2. Stab the potatoes in several places with a skewer or thin knife to break the skin.
  3. Bake for 35-50 minutes until soft inside – test after 35 minutes.
  4. While the potatoes are cooking steam the cauliflower for about 10 minutes – don’t let it go too soft. It should have a bit of texture.
  5. While the cauliflower is cooking, make the sauce.
  6. Lightly fry the onion then add the rest of the sauce ingredients and blend until smooth. (For a low-fat version substitute 4 of the 6 tbsp tahini for 4 tbsp of silken tofu*. For a smokey version add a large pinch of smoked paprika.)
  7. Heat the sauce gently in a small pan without boiling. While you are doing this, warm an oven-proof dish in the oven.
  8. Place the cooked cauliflower in the hot oven-proof dish and pour the sauce over it.
  9. Top with sliced tomato and sprinkle with paprika.
  10. Bake in the oven with potatoes for about 10 minutes.
  11. Serve sweet potatoes, cauliflower ‘cheese’ and salad.

Top Tip

  • This ‘cheese’ sauce is also good with plain baked potatoes or steamed greens.

Orange and Watercress Salad

Serves 4
5 minutes

2 Oranges, peeled and divided into segments
1 bunch of watercress, washed, dried and chopped
1 large handful of seedless red grapes, washed
1-2 tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds
1 handful raw or lightly steamed garden peas

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Add Healthy Dressing (see Monday’s recipe) and serve.

Summer Berry Compote
Serves 6
20 minutes total

Fast, fresh and fruity! This simple dessert is a fantastic cancer-busting recipe as it’s full of red and purple berries – as well as tasting delicious, of course…

1kg/2.2lbs mixed summer fruits, fresh and/or frozen including strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blackcurrants, blueberries and/or redcurrants.
2-3 tbsp agave, maple or date syrup (available from large supermarkets or health stores)
4 tbsp water – halve if using syrup
5cm/2 inch stick of cinnamon
Optional: rose or orange flower water

  1. Remove the stems/stalks and wash and dry the fruit.
  2. Place the water and syrup in large saucepan, mix and heat.
  3. Add the fruit, turning very gently so they don’t break up.
  4. Add the cinnamon stick.
  5. Simmer for 5-10 minutes until lightly cooked.
  6. Allow to cool, remove the cinnamon stick and place it in a serving dish.
  7. Refrigerate until needed.
  8. Serve on its own or with Cashew Créme

Cashew Créme
Serves 4-6
3 minutes

180g unsalted cashew pieces
125ml/4½fl oz fruit juice (apple works well)

  1. Grind the cashews to a fine powder.
  2. Blend the nut powder with the fruit juice.
  3. Add water, until mix is fairly thin.
  4. Store in a screw top jar in fridge until needed.

Breakfast – Pancakes with Fresh Fruit & Maple Syrup
Lunch – Paella
Snack – Carrot, Red Pepper & Celery sticks with Healthy Hummus
Dinner – Carrot & Coriander Soup, Bread & Salad with Moroccan Rice Pudding


Makes approximately 8 (7 inch in diameter)
50 minutes (includes 30 minute standing time)


175ml/6fl oz soya* milk
175ml/6fl oz water
175g/6oz plain flour, sieved
2 tbsp chick pea flour, sieved
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp sunflower oil
Pinch of salt
Spray oil
Blueberries, raspberries or other berry fruit of your choice

1. Blend or whisk all of the pancake ingredients (except the oil for frying), until smooth.
2. Leave to stand for 30 minutes or so (or make the pancake batter the night before).
3. Heat a heavy non-stick frying pan. Spray lightly with oil.
4. Pour enough of the batter mixture in to the frying pan to thinly cover the bottom. Swirl around to distribute it well.
5. Fry on one side for about a minute. Loosen the edges with a spatula and flip.
6. Fry for another minute or until done. (Don’t worry if the first one is a bit dodgy – the rest will be fine!)
7. Remove from pan and keep warm in the oven on its lowest setting.
8. Add more spray to the pan if and when necessary.
9. Repeat steps 3 to 6 until all of the mixture is used up.
10. Serve with berries and a little agave, maple or date syrup.


Serves 6
Allow 60 minutes for the first time you cook this, it will be quicker next time!

This is a wonderful alternative to traditional Paella! Don’t be put off by the length of the recipe – the Paella ingredients can be measured and prepared while the Pilaf rice is cooking, or you can cook the Pilaf in advance. Leftover Pilaf freeze well, also.

Saffron Basmati Pilaf
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp olive oil
1½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp fennel seed
¼ tsp ground pepper
450g/1lb/2 cups brown basmati rice
½ tsp saffron steeped in 4 tbsp warm water
840ml/30fl oz vegetable stock

  1. In a medium-sized heavy saucepan, sauté the onion and garlic in oil over a medium heat until just softened.
  2. Add the cumin, fennel seed, pepper and salt.
  3. Sauté for 1 minute.
  4. Add the rice and stir constantly for about 2 minutes or until the rice smells fragrant.
  5. Add the saffron and water; bring to the boil and cover.
  6. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed.
  7. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes.

2 medium onions, cut into 1cm/0.5 inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 red peppers, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp dried oregano
¾ tsp red chilli flakes
½ tsp grated orange zest (about one large orange’s worth)
¾ tsp cumin seeds
25g/1oz dried arame (sea vegetable available from health stores), soaked in warm water for 10 minutes
1 tin chopped tomatoes
6oz smoked tofu*, cut into 1cm/0.5 inch cubes
2 courgettes, halved lengthways and cut into 1cm/half inch slices
2 tsp capers, drained
¼ cup pitted black olives, chopped
Greens for 6, choose from curly kale, green cabbage or purple sprouting broccoli
225g/8oz mushrooms, sliced if big, halved if small
4 cups Saffron Basmati Pilaf (see recipe)
2 tbsp parsley, chopped

Aioli (Garlic Mayonnaise)
2 tbsp Plamil vegan mayonnaise thinned with 1 tbsp soya* milk
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed

  1. Lightly fry the onions, garlic and peppers in olive oil in a paella pan for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the oregano, chilli flakes, orange zest and cumin seeds.
  3. Continue to sauté for 1 minute.
  4. Drain and rinse the arame.
  5. Add the tomatoes, smoked tofu, courgettes, arame, capers and black olives.
  6. Steam the greens for 5 minutes in another pan.
  7. Reduce the heat under the paella to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes while the greens are cooking.
  8. Add the mushrooms to the paella and sauté for another minute or two.
  9. Stir in the Saffron Pilaf and parsley.
  10. Heat through.
  11. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
  12. Drain the greens.
  13. Mix the mayonnaise, soya* milk and garlic together to make aioli.
  14. Serve the paella in middle of large plate, arrange the greens around the edges and put a dab of the Aioli in the middle.

Top Tip
If you don’t have a paella pan you can use a large frying pan or wok.


Carrot, Red Pepper & Celery sticks & Healthy Hummus
Serves 4
5-10 minutes

1 small red pepper
1 medium-large carrot
1 large celery stick

1. Chop the vegetables into sticks.
2. Serve with a little hummus (see Thursday’s recipe)


Carrot & Coriander Soup with Bread & Bean Salad
Serves 4
35 minutes

1 large onion, roughly chopped
1kg/2lbs carrots, roughly chopped
1 medium potato, roughly chopped
1 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2cm/1 inch fresh ginger, grated
600ml/2 pints vegetable stock made with vegan low-salt bouillon or stock cube
Juice of half a lemon
Black pepper
1-2 handfuls fresh coriander, finely chopped

  1. In a medium-size pan, lightly fry the onion, carrots and potatoes in the oil, adding a little stock to prevent sticking if necessary.
  2. Add the garlic and ginger.
  3. Add the rest of the stock, cover the pan and simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Blend the soup.
  5. Stir in the lemon juice and season with black pepper.
  6. Stir in the coriander leaves and serve.

Bean Salad
Serves 4
5 minutes

2 tins of mixed beans, rinsed and drained
2 spring onions, sliced
2 sticks of celery, sliced
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1 tomato, chopped
Small handful of parsley, chopped
Dressing (see Monday’s recipe).

Mix everything together in a bowl and serve with a bread roll and the soup.

Moroccan Rice Pudding
Serves 4-6
45-60 minutes.

1L soya* or other dairy-free milk eg rice or oat (1 carton)
100g/3oz short grain brown rice
Half a handful of unsulphured apricots, chopped
Half a handful of raisins
Orange flower water
½ tsp almond extract (use a natural one that’s free from artificial colours and preservatives)
½ tsp vanilla essence (again, use the good stuff!)
3 tbsp agave syrup
75g/2.5oz wholemeal semolina (available from health stores)
80-100ml/3-3.5fl oz water
1-2 pinches ground cardamom
Orange zest for garnish – and cinnamon sticks (optional)

  1. Pour the soya* or other dairy-free milk into a saucepan and bring to boil.
  2. Add the rice and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until rice is cooked – stir frequently to stop rice from sticking to bottom of pan.
  3. Place the apricots and raisins in a small bowl. Cover with orange-flower water and set aside.
  4. Mix the semolina with water to make a smooth paste.
  5. When rice is cooked, stir in the semolina paste.
  6. Stir until smooth then add dried fruit, orange flower water, almond and vanilla essence.
  7. Add more water if rice/semolina mixture is too thick.
  8. Serve hot or cold – if cold, spoon into small bowls and chill before serving.
  9. Garnish with orange zest – and a piece of cinnamon stick if you’re feeling arty!


  1. http://www.blcleathertech.com/default.asp?id=107
  2. Office for National Statistics (2004) UK 2005 -The Official Yearbook of the United Kingdom ofGreat Britain and Northern Ireland
  3. Currie. A. (2004) Dishing the Dirt. Viva!
  4. Kadekodi, G.K. Trade and Environment: Conflicts and Prospects – A Case Study of Leather Goods, Tea and Cut Flowers. Centre for Multi Disciplinary Studies,Dharwad: http://coe.mse.ac.in/eercrep/abs/gopal_abs.pdf
  5. http://www.cowsarecool.com/indianLeather.asp
  6. FAO, Committee On Commodity Problems: Trade In Hides and Skins and Environment. November 9-11 1998:http://www.fao.org/unfao/bodies/ccp/hs/98/w9790e.htm
  7. UNIDO, Pollutants in Tannery Effluents. August 9 2000
  8. http://www.cowsarecool.com/environment.asp
  9. Canada embarks on mass seal hunt. BBC NewsOnline, April 13 2004
  10. Gellatley, J. (2000) Born to be Wild, page 18
  11. Gellatley, J. (2004) Under Fire, Viva!
  12. http://www.savethekangaroo.com/background/index.shtml
  13. For a complete list of vegan materials go tohttp://www.vegetarian-shoes.co.uk/material.asp
  14. http://www.peta.org.uk/alerts/automation/AlertItem.asp?id=972

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