Incorporating Greens Into My Father's Diet

Last updated: April 2023

When my father got prostate cancer at age 72, I was determined to help him in any way I could to make his journey not so hard. I thought that trying a plant-based diet could help him. I was a diabetic, so I had tried this myself before.

Prostate cancer is something that all men need to be cautious about. I scream at my sons all the time who think this is an old man’s disease. When we love someone, we have to be aware of everything that they need or need protection against. Being a patient advocate and a volunteer at different community centers, I had some knowledge about it from other people’s testimonies I had heard.

Keeping greens in my dad's diet

When my father was diagnosed with prostate cancer, the one thing I followed like a ritual was to keep greens in his diet on a daily basis. Knowing that my father had a family history of cancer, I felt precautions had to be taken to ensure his health and well-being above everything.

Regular checkups and tests were routine. But I tried to keep his health a priority with the kind of food we consumed. So it was a hobby to buy fresh fruits and seasonal vegetables, and put salad bowls on the lunch and dinner tables as often as I could.

My father was never into heavy drinking. He did smoke for years, but eating healthy foods from the beginning was easy for him. My father is 5'4" and never weighed over 135. He always preferred home-cooked meals over junk and oily foods. Between me and his wife, I went the extra mile to induce healthy eating habits.

Shopping for them together

There were some vegetables that were more constantly in the diet than others, like broccoli, spinach, oranges, and grapefruits. I think broccoli has a lot of health benefits, in particular.

So, my father and I made a routine to go shopping for fresh vegetables and fruit every week. We would spend hours buying the fresh stock at outdoor markets. It was also a way to spend quality time together doing things that we both loved. We would find fun ways to make these vegetables and fruits more fun and yummy to eat.

Trying different recipes

I would find different recipes. I found one I wanted to try with eggplant and tried cooking it with yogurt; it turned out to be really good. My father didn’t like it. But I actually made it for some friends, too.

Plant-based diets can be very fun and healthy if taken in the right way. I actually prefer it to be eaten raw like a snack. Other times I make a yummy platter of salad with fruit, vegetables, nuts, and grilled chicken chunks. This is so good.

I think it's interesting to try different things. For someone like my father who loves greens, this was never a problem. But it can be fun eating plants if you haven’t done it before. Oh, by the way, my father will be 90 this year.

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