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Topic: Alcohol in Organic Cooking Sauces - Concerns?

Forum: Recipe Swap for Healthy Living —

A place to share our "healthier" recipes and food tips for everyday life.

Posted on: Jan 26, 2020 09:48AM - edited Jan 26, 2020 09:51AM by Lady1741

Lady1741 wrote:

Was looking for a Nutritional Post but new to this site and couldn't find it. Was diagnosed with TNBC Stage 1a in March 2018 after routine mammo that I hadn't missed 28 years to the week! MRI blew up the tumor size so I went into my treatments with Stage 2a - no lymph nodes involved. 8 rounds chemo, BMX w/ reconstruction and total hysterectomy over the following year. My question on diet is this: I have been eating GF, organic, and healthy ( organic dairy and grass fed meats) for the past 20 plus years. I am 61 and carry the BRCA1 gene mutation to my surprise. Okay...well tried to go totally vegan and plant based. No can do. I've pretty much been eating a Mediterranean diet my whole life. Onco and Integrative Med Doc. said organic, grass fed yogurt and grass fed red meat (in small amounts) is fine. So, I've been cooking up several stir frys with tons of veggies and brown rice from scratch (using Coconut Aminos instead of soy) to up my veggie intake with chicken. I noticed that even most of the prepared Organic, Gluten Free asian flavoring sauces list alcohol in the ingredient list. I've also seen alcohol/wine in organic, vegan salad dressings, oils and vinegar. Yes. I know I can make my own, which I have, but sometimes I like to add more flavors of Hoisoin and Szchewan. Do I need to worry about the content of alcohol in these ready made stir fry sauces products and the affect it may have on BC reoccurrence. I have eliminated all alcoholic beverages entirely from my diet. Any suggestions or more knowledge on this topic. I'm so sad because I've given up 99% of everything I enjoy in food in the hope that it will prevent BC reocurrence. Thank you all who are taking the time to read this post. The other side of Survivorship is not as easy as my family thinks it should be.....

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Jan 26, 2020 10:18AM exbrnxgrl wrote:


I am not triple negative nor do I have any professional expertise in nutrition. Although I would never suggest that anyone subsist on a diet of sweets, alcohol and potato chips, it makes me a bit sad to read that you’ve given up 99% of the things you enjoy about food. I have always had a very healthy diet, but my feelings are that indulgences and culinary pleasures contribute to one’s enjoyment of life. So unless you’re guzzling whole bottles of salad dressing and sauces, my opinion is don’t stress yourself out over this. I know not everyone will agree with me on this but my generally healthy diet allows me to enjoy treats without an ounce of guilt. I am 8 1/2 years out from a stage IV dx with no progression since initial tx. I can’t attribute this to my relaxed attitude toward diet nor anything else that I’m aware of. I just know that stressing out about what I eat or drink has never been helpful to me. I have given up nothing, but I do limit my treats, so I have never felt deprived

Bilateral mx 9/7/11 with one step ns reconstruction. As of 11/21/11, 2cm met to upper left femur Dx 7/8/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/7/2011 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Dx 11/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 11/21/2011 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 11/21/2011 Bone Hormonal Therapy 6/19/2014 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane)
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Jan 26, 2020 10:52AM Piggy99 wrote:

Alcohol consumption (defined in most studies as 6-7 servings of alcohol a week) moderately increases a woman's chance of developing ER+ cancer. It has a slightly protective effect against developing TNBC.

Additionally, once diagnosed with breast cancer, alcohol has no significant impact on recurrence rates or survival.

You can definitely enjoy your sauces without any worries.

Although this is probably not my place, and I apologize for intruding, I worry about this sentence in your post: "I've given up 99% of everything I enjoy in food in the hope that it will prevent BC re-occurrence". This is unfortunately not how it works. Especially since you had a pretty decent diet before diagnosis, giving up everything you enjoy will not provide a meaningful change in your chances of recurrence. Of all the lifestyle things that could affect the length of survival once diagnosed with breast cancer, the only thing I'm aware of that has consistently been shown to provide a meaningful decrease in mortality across all types of breast cancer is exercise. For most other things, the evidence is either not well established or applies primarily to hormone positive breast cancer.

I cannot imagine what it's like to have a BRCA mutation and feel like your whole life is spent waiting for the other shoe to drop. You have no control over the mutation, and I can see how it would be empowering to try and control the things you can, like diet and alcohol consumption. But please know that you can enjoy the foods you love without being punished with a recurrence if you do. Once you've done all the treatments recommended, you eat food that provides good, balanced nutrition and maybe go for a walk several times a week, whether or not you have a recurrence is out of your hands. For better or for worse.

Best of luck, and may you never need to get to know this site too well.

Diagnosed as Stage IV de novo at age 42. Dx 1/23/2018, ILC/IDC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 1/31/2018 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Targeted Therapy 2/8/2018 Ibrance (palbociclib) Hormonal Therapy 3/30/2018 Femara (letrozole)
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Jan 26, 2020 11:08AM Claire_in_Seattle wrote:

Agree with Exbmxgrl on this one. Unless you are following the recipe that says "start with marinating yourself with one bottle of wine," the key is balance and a general focus on healthy food. This includes the indulgences and sweets that make life a lot more fun.

I try to focus on ingredients that I can recognize: real flour, real dairy products, cuts of meat or fish, fresh vegetables and fruits, herbs, wine, butter or olive oil. I use some frozen items such as peas and spinach, and some canned/jarred items such as tomatoes and stock which I don't have time to make from scratch. I am the lady who often has 4 types of carrots in her fridge. Which reminds me that I need to use up the parsnips and red cabbage.

Usually, I have wine with dinner, but since there is an extra 15 pounds of me at the moment (down from 20+), I am drinking herbal tea and upgrading my lunches from the dubious items that I was purchasing. I now make veggie soups which are more nutritious and contain fewer calories. When I shed the remainder of the weight, I will layer wine back in as I miss the celebratory evening ritual.

I will be taking a break in about 10 days to celebrate my birthday appropriately. This includes a ski trip, champagne, good wine, and chocolates for Valentine's Day which immediately follows. Still working on a second present for myself. The Wellies will be great and get good use, but they don't quite cut it for a milestone birthday.

Don't do organic wine. Organic or biodynamic grapes yes, but you need sulfites unless you like to drink expensive vinegar. This from a winemaker friend of mine who owns a biodynamic vineyard which produces amazing wines, and where I get to camp in the orchard. (I put the lodging savings into wine and good food.) These wines will be labeled something like "made from organic grapes."

Anyway, my take is that life is too short to deprive oneself of good food. This is not the same as a diabetes diagnosis where managing one's food intake would be critical. Or heart disease. Exercise has been shown to have a clear benefit in survival, but diet is a lot harder to pin down. Obviously, a diet of Cheez Doodles and soda isn't a good idea for breast cancer survivors, but it's a bad idea anyway.

Anyway, most of us look at food the wrong way. We need to focus on nourishing body and spirit. Yes, I had done a bit too much wine in the past year or so. Do I think it's going to affect things (other than weight) one way or another??? No, but I can say that I am looking forward to a more svelte future where I can rock my belt collection and look fabulous in my clothes. Which is why I decided to focus and take action.

So take a great breath.....and then plan a fabulous and healthy meal of foods you love. This would include wine. Because you have much to celebrate, which is the rest of your life.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it. - Claire

Completed all treatment (AC +T, lumpectomy, radiation and 5 years of AIs - anastrazole). Now celebrating every single day for the wonderful life I have been granted. Dx 8/2009, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 1/21 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- (FISH)
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Jan 26, 2020 01:30PM HeartShapedBox wrote:

Lady- I too have eaten a very healthy (basically Mediterranean) diet of organic veggies, healthy og fats/lean og meats, and have a very active lifestyle.... and yet here we are with cancer anyway. Like others have said, the studies showing bc risks associated with alcohol consumption are referring to actually drinking multiple alcoholic drinks each week on a regular basis. Certainly a negligible amount of alcohol in a sauce, vanilla extract or medicinal tincture etc is not going to make any impact. If risk prevention was as straightforward as "eat healthy to 'prevent' cancer " you and I wouldn't have cancer to begin with! It simply doesn't work that way.

Enjoy your life and enjoy your food- I've also read that whole or fermented soy (as in tamari, tempeh or miso, as opposed to tofu or soymilk) is has been proven to NOT raise estradiol/ estrogen levels.

Diagnosed at age 43. Triple + luminal B regional spread to lymph nodes, pathological TNM stage llB after 6 sessions neoadjuvant TCHP (dropped perjeta after 4 doses), initial clinical stage lllA Dx 5/24/2019, IDC, Left, 5cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (IHC) Chemotherapy 8/1/2019 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Targeted Therapy 8/1/2019 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Targeted Therapy 8/1/2019 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Dx 12/27/2019, DCIS/IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 2/8 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (IHC) Surgery 12/27/2019 Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 3/4/2020 Whole-breast: Lymph nodes, Chest wall
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Jan 29, 2020 03:33PM Lady1741 wrote:

Thank you for the support. It helps.

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Jan 29, 2020 03:35PM Lady1741 wrote:

Thank you. I know much of my concerns relate to hormone positive bc's. I appreciate the response and support. It's so wonderful to be able to shar with individuals who understand.

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Jan 29, 2020 03:37PM Lady1741 wrote:

Bless you! I do miss my wine - lol. Funny so many different opinions from my team of docs - one says - never again -- one says - a few on special occasions -- and the last one says - Hell yeah! Just don't overdo it - lol. I guess I'm so new to the other side, I'm still testing the waters. Thank you for your support.

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Jan 29, 2020 03:42PM Lady1741 wrote:

Thank you Heartshaped Box! I guess I'm still dealing with the anger of "why me" especially after leading the healthy lifestyle I have for the past 40 plus years. Funny, I asked my onco when I was diagnosed in 3/2018 at the age of 59 - "How could this happen now after how healthy I've lived?" His answer to me - "Let's turn it around and say, perhaps because of the healthy lifestyle you've lived it possibly prevented the BC from happening sooner?" Since I'm trying to find the positives in this "experience" (I hate the word "journey" , but I loved the band! - lol). I just don't want to feel helpless anymore. I am so grateful for the kindness of women like you and the others in this group. Sadly, a group I know none of us ever planned on joining. Bless you and thank you.

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Jan 29, 2020 09:13PM Claire_in_Seattle wrote:

On the topic of wine, there was a study published about 10 years ago that basically said: drink wine and you're toast if ER+. However, most of those women measured in that study had not been given anti-hormonals as part of their treatment as the study was retrospective to back when the standard of care did not include anti-hormonals. These results have since been refuted by studies at the University of Washington and Cambridge University. But the earlier study still casts its shadow, scaring millions of women globally half to death annually.

Then there is that very odd contingent who would advise you that a wine spritzer is the same thing. BLECH!!! I either drink or don't drink wine. A shandy (beer with Italian lemon soda) is nice on a hot day though. Right now, I am waiting for dinner to cook, though haven't decided whether it's the Brats made with local beer, or locally-made German sausage. I can decide while the veggies are roasting.

I think that one positive is being intently aware that I need to the make the most of every single day because there are no guarantees in life. I also now leave my haircuts to the professionals, with far better results. I live a full and rich life. And most of the time, I eat what I want.

Next up in my soup maker is leek and potato. I made one batch and it was absolutely delish.

Hoping for fabulous Nordic skiing next weekend. Because there are only so many perfect ski days. My birthday will be an area I have never skied before which straddles two valleys. I can't wait....and what a way to kick off a new year! - Claire

Completed all treatment (AC +T, lumpectomy, radiation and 5 years of AIs - anastrazole). Now celebrating every single day for the wonderful life I have been granted. Dx 8/2009, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 1/21 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- (FISH)
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Jan 30, 2020 06:29AM Yogatyme wrote:

Lady, you are getting good advice here and I agree with what others are saying. Cooking w alcohol is more about the flavor it adds as the heat cooks off all the alcohol so no worries. My DH has been sober for 20 yrs and I cook w wine frequently......has never made him tipsy or sent him running to the liquor store. So, enjoy your sauces and give yourself some good food to look forward to.

Yogatyme Surgery 3/2/2019 Prophylactic ovary removal Dx 7/19/2019, IDC: Papillary, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 8/12/2019 Mastectomy: Left, Right
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Mar 5, 2020 11:31AM ahappymom wrote:

Thank you so much for sharing these articles. I agree with your post!

Dx 4/20/2013, DCIS, Left, Stage 0, Grade 1, ER+, HER2-

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