I'm not a big fan of cancer. In fact, one might say that cancer is my arch enemy...someone lurking around corners, causing me to glance back in fear. I didn't have much experience with cancer for the majority of my life, and for that I'm grateful. But when cancer hit, it hit hard. 2 years, 3 deaths. Less than 2 years really. January, December, and again in May. Aunt, uncle, grandmother. My grandmother was the first one sick, actually, and we didn't expect her to survive 2 of her children, but she did. And of course she lived over 80 years, and we knew that she wouldn't last forever...but watching her suffer for so long was practically unbearable. She lived with our family, and I was away from home, in college & then grad school, so I never really knew which of my visits home would be my last moment spent with her. Cancer is a fuck of a disease...your body just deteriorates, and it gets so painful that they put you on crazy drugs that make you act like you're 5 again...or at least that's what they did for my grandmother. Honestly, some days she acted just like a kid...clapping her hands in excitement, saying silly things that made no sense. It was good to see her "happy" but I knew it wasn't the amazing, educated woman that I'd known for so long. Watching her slowly waste away was hard, but I'm so grateful for the moments that I spent with her, the stolen seconds that we shared.
My aunt & uncle were much more unexpected. My mom called me one day to tell me my aunt was in the hospital, so they flew to Florida, and when I spoke to them the next day, she had died. I guess she had been sick for some time, but they kept it from us...whether she didn't want us to see her suffer or she was ashamed, I don't know. Shortly thereafter we found out my uncle had cancer, and that it was so far that he wouldn't be able to beat it. He died Christmas eve. And for his poor family, Christmas will never be the same again.
I know that I've shared some really personal & emotional experiences with people who barely know me at all, but isn't that the point? To understand that cancer is painful & heartbreaking for those going through it, as well as those who share the experience? And, most of all, to know that there are people who go through it with us, holding our hand & screaming at the world for being so stupid sometimes!
And so, I reach out my hand to everyone, since honestly there are so few people without have experiences to share. I'm submitting this recipe to Livestrong with A Taste of Yellow as my first time blog event (*grin*). I couldn't let this one pass without participating (ok, I almost did let it pass...but I came through)! I thank Barbara for this event, and I hope that she doesn't mind that this recipe is not much of a recipe at all...of course everyone can make french toast! But it's personal & has meaning, and I hope everyone can enjoy it with me.
*Introductory note: My dad's side of the family seems to be plagued with colon cancer (& remember, it's important to get a colonoscopy regularly! I know, it's not dinner time conversation, but catch it early & we can do something about it!) so I wanted to make something that's high in fiber for this event. We know whole grains are important, but make sure to find bread that has a high fiber content, as apparently not all whole grains provide the same level of fiber. My bread had flax seed, which is another step toward healthy eating. I also incorporated berries, which evidently are cancer fighting too. I swear I read in a magazine once that research had shown cinnamon to be helpful in the prevention of cancer, so I included cinnamon as well.*
High-Fiber French Toast
4 slices high-fiber bread
1/2 cup sliced strawberries
1/2 cup blueberries*
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp water
1 tsp cinnamon
Beat eggs in a wide bowl, & place one piece of bread in the egg mixture, coating both sides. Let the bread sit in the bowl while you prepare the pan. Heat non-stick pan over medium heat & spray pan with cooking spray.
Meanwhile, place strawberries, blueberries*, water & sugar in small pot on medium-low heat. Make sure to stir often. When the liquid has thickened & the mixture is warm, remove from heat.
Place egg-ed slice of bread into non-stick pan, flipping after about a minute to cook both sides evenly. Repeat with other slices of bread.
Stack pieces of bread on a plate, top with fruit compote & some extra cinnamon, and serve. Of course, it's best served while still warm.
*I used dried blueberries, which worked fine, but if you use fresh or frozen blueberries, you might not need as much water.
My doctor tells me I need to eat 50 grams of fiber a day...50 grams?! Is that even possible? Do I really have to spend the rest of my life worrying that I'm not getting 50 grams of fiber a day? There's so many "cancer-curing" foods out there...it makes us feel like if we eat enough of them, we can be sure that cancer doesn't attack our bodies. It weighs on our mind...am I eating enough of the right foods...am I going to get cancer if I don't eat enough blueberries? If I'm not a fan of flax seed? It gets to a point that we probably need to take a step back & just try to be healthy. Of course, incorporating "cancer-fighting" foods into our daily diet will give us one more chance to kick cancer's ass, but making yourself crazy over it can't be good for your body either. So try to be healthy, remember to make those annual treks to the doctor, and try to remain strong...for our families, friends, and ourselves. Live strong.