Through the generous funding from CHNA15, the Community Health Network #15, under the discretion of Emerson Hospital, the Healing Garden is excited to introduce our LiveWell for Cancer Survivorship Program. The LiveWell program is designed to improve the well-being of cancer patients through a group-based healthy eating program that provides participants better access to fresh fruits and vegetables through a farm distribution program, nutrition education classes focused on nourishing, health-supportive meals and a virtual Livestrong© group exercise program. The goal of this program is to improve the patient’s well-being through group-based healthy eating, regaining strength through exercise, weight management and fitness, and enhanced quality of life. We hope to help clients overcome issues including food insecurity, improve diet and exercise, overcome isolation, and ultimately produce lasting, healthy lifestyle behaviors that contribute to better cancer survival outcomes. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the program is being provided virtually. This program will run from July – October 2020.
A group of 12 Healing Garden clients now meet twice a week for an hour-long exercise class with Christine Salovardos, LIVESTRONG Coordinator of the YMCA of Central Massachusetts in Westborough, MA. Christine walks the clients through a variety of exercises to build muscle strength, increase flexibility, moderate energy levels, improve endurance, and elevate mood.
Christine Salovardos, LIVESTRONG Coordinator YMCA of Central Massachusetts, Boroughs Family Branch
Twice a month clients receive a farm share from the Community Harvest Project in Grafton, MA. Community Harvest Project provides a variety of fresh produce like zucchini, summer squash, cherry tomatoes, green beans, cabbage, and blueberries. Clients then participate in a virtual nutrition class. Amy Noordzij has facilitated the first of 6 nutrition classes. Amy provides a variety of recipes that highlight the fresh produce provided as well as the health benefits needed while in or post-treatment, like anti-inflammatory qualities, flavoring to accommodate changing taste buds and easily digestible foods. Amy kindly shared one of the recipes from her class that you can find below.
Amy Noordzij, Chef, a chef trained at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts in NYC, a whole foods-plant based culinary school. She is a personal chef to individuals in cancer treatment and those who are looking for support for healthy survivorship. She was on the board at Gaining Ground in Concord for 8 years.
Summer Zucchini Soup with Basil
An extra hydrating soup with the abundance of zucchini and can be served hot or cold.
- 4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, rough chopped
- 1 small yellow potato, small dice
- 4-5 zucchini, quartered and chopped into 1” slices (about 8 cups chopped)
- Sea salt and pepper
- 1 qt. vegetable or chicken stock
- 1-2 cups water
- 1 lb. frozen or fresh sweet peas
- 2 cups, loosely packed, basil leaves*
- 7-oz. block of feta, broken into pieces, optional
- Zest + juice of 1 lemon
In a large Dutch oven or pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the potatoes and fry them for about 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the zucchini and garlic, a generous teaspoon of salt, plenty of pepper and fry for another 3-5 minutes until they begin to lightly brown. Pour in the stock and 1 cup of water. Bring it to a boil and then simmer and cook for 7 -10 minutes until the zucchini are soft but still bright green. Check for consistency might not need the 2nd cup of water.
Add the peas, stir, and cook for one minute. Remove from the heat, stir in 1 cup of the basil, reserve the other cup for garish and let it all cool just a minute. Use a blender to either blend the soup until smooth or for a little more texture just blend 1/4-1/2 of the soup and add it to the remaining soup in the pot. Taste for salt, pepper, and lemon.
When ready to serve, spoon the soup into bowls and top with a generous crumble of feta, basil, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and fresh pepper.
- Important to cut the potatoes small otherwise they will not become soft enough by the time the zucchini is done.
- You can substitute Summer Squash for the Zucchini or a mix of both. For an extra pop of green color, a few large handfuls of spinach can be a nice addition when the peas are added into the soup.
- If you don’t have basil a smaller amount of mint will complement the peas.