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Mother’s Cancer Inspires Nutrition Outreach: Elaine Rancatore, D.O.
After losing her mother to cancer, Elaine Rancatore, D.O., began educating everyone from high school students to senior citizens about the benefits of a healthful plant-based diet.
When Physicians Committee president Neal Barnard, M.D., recently gave a lecture on his new book, Power Foods for the Brain, in Broward County, Fla., Dr. Rancatore talked about the benefits of fruits and vegetables in preventing Alzheimer’s disease and demonstrated how to make the book’s Blueberry Breakfast Smoothie.
“There is no time to waste in putting this new brain-boosting diet into action. We should all encourage physicians, dietitians, teachers, parents, and everyone else to spread the word,” says Dr. Rancantore. “And let’s not forget to make these changes in our own homes—it will help ensure that we’ll have as long as possible to spend with those we love.”
A longtime Physicians Committee member, Dr. Rancatore has practiced emergency medicine for 18 years and knows just how serious and debilitating Alzheimer’s can be.
“Patients don’t just forget names and dates—they can often end up in situations that are harmful to their physical health,” she adds. “They may forget to turn off the stove, or they may get lost and end up walking in the street.”
In addition to her position at Baptist Health South Florida, Dr. Rancatore is a co-founder of 2R-Health, which was created to promote healthful nutrition and physical activity, to develop and encourage healthy habits in our nation’s youth, to stem the epidemic of obesity and chronic diseases, and to support and promote research in cancer prevention and treatment.
She also spreads this message as a media spokesperson for the Physicians Committee’s 21-Day Vegan Kickstart, which she has participated in several times.
Dr. Rancatore received her medical degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, New Jersey School of Osteopathic Medicine. She also recently completed Integrative Health Coach training at Duke University, which allows her to help patients make behavior changes that foster good health.
“As a busy professional, I had become frustrated with my inability to stick to an exercise routine. I signed up for health coaching last September, hoping that it might provide that extra incentive to get me on track. Maureen worked with me to assess all aspects of my life and we were able to see that my time management in general needed some work – in other words, the problem ran deeper than my inability to stick to an exercise routine.
Maureen helped me with my time management and also with prioritizing things that were important to me. I now spend more time talking with my children, working on my hobbies, and yes, exercising regularly.
I was surprised at the changes that took place. It was a change in my thinking, more than anything else. I now find myself more relaxed and I don’t feel guilty when I make time to do the things I enjoy. I did expect to accomplish something, but was surprised at the effectiveness and the depth of the changes that took place in my life.
Maureen is easy to work with, friendly, professional, and very good at what she does. She worked with me for only three months, but that was enough time to get me thinking in new directions and changing my way of doing things. Frankly, I was surprised at how significant change was accomplished in so short a time.
I definitely recommend health coaching to my friends and family. I was so impressed that I signed up my daughter for coaching with Maureen.
Asparagus spears are packed with vitamin E—aka the sex vitamin for its ability to boost fertility and stamina. As for basil, Italians know the herb by another name: “kiss-me Nicholas”. Enough said. If you like your pasta spicy, double the red pepper flakes.
2 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms
1/2 lb. fresh or frozen asparagus, cut into 11/2-inch pieces
1 small onion, coarsely chopped (1 cup)
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 cups cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 13.25-oz. pkg. whole-wheat or white linguine
1/2 cup torn fresh basil leaves
1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Toss together mushrooms, asparagus, onion, oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes in large roasting pan. Roast 20 minutes, or until mushrooms and onions begin to brown, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
2. Add tomatoes to pan, and roast 7 to 10 minutes more, or until tomatoes shrivel and soften. Transfer vegetables to bowl. Add wine to roasting pan, stirring to scrape off any stuck-on bits from bottom of pan. Place roasting pan on burner over medium heat, and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, or until wine has evaporated by half; or return roasting pan to oven 5 minutes, and let wine cook off.
3. Meanwhile, prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta, and reserve 1/2 cup cooking water. Stir reserved cooking water into reduced wine in roasting pan.
4. Return pasta to pot. Add wine mixture and vegetables, and toss over medium-low heat until heated through. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Stir in torn fresh basil leaves, and serve immediately.
Per 1 1/2-cup serving: Calories: 208, Protein: 7g, Total fat: 5g, Saturated fat: 1g, Carbs: 37g, Cholesterol: mg, Sodium: 15mg, Fiber: 7g, Sugars: 6g
A bowl of spicy Quinoa and Roasted Pepper Chili guarantees to take the chill off a cold winter’s day. This vegetarian chili is loaded with fresh vegetables, pinto beans, and quinoa and gets its zing from poblano chiles.
- 2 red bell peppers $
- 2 poblano chiles
- 4 teaspoons olive oil
- 3 cups chopped zucchini $
- 1 1/2 cups chopped onion $
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/3 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes with chipotles, undrained $
- 1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup low-sodium vegetable juice $
- 1. Preheat broiler.
- 2. Cut bell peppers and chiles in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet, and flatten with hand. Broil 10 minutes or until blackened. Place in a paper bag; fold to close tightly. Let stand 10 minutes. Peel and coarsely chop.
- 3. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add zucchini, onion, and garlic; sauté 4 minutes. Stir in chili powder, cumin, and paprika; sauté for 30 seconds. Add roasted peppers and chiles, 1/2 cup water, and remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until quinoa is tender.