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Author Pam Braun, a former restaurant owner and chef, used her own experience as a cancer survivor to write her book, “The Ultimate Anti-Cancer Cookbook.” She’s in Sacramento on Saturday to discuss her experience.

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    When: 2 p.m. Saturday

    Where: Avid Reader at The Tower, 1600 Broadway, Sacramento

    Admission: Free

    Details: , (916) 441-4400

    At this book signing, meet author and cancer survivor Pam Braun, who will also discuss how food helped her fight the disease.

She used food to fight her cancer

Published: Friday, Apr. 25, 2014 - 1:57 pm

Can food help fight cancer? Pam Braun, a late-stage cancer survivor, thinks so.

Ten years since her Stage 3 diagnosis of fallopian tube cancer, Braun not only survived but thrived. She credits diet and exercise as key to her fight against the disease. She shares her story at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Avid Reader at The Tower, 1600 Broadway, Sacramento.

“This is very important,” Braun said. “One out of every three women will have cancer sometime in their lifetime; one out of every two men will have cancer. Children born today have a 50-50 chance. But one-third of cancers could be avoided by diet and exercise. That’s why this is now my calling.”

Pulling from her own ordeal, Braun — a former restaurant owner and chef — wrote “The Ultimate Anti-Cancer Cookbook” (Vireo, $19.95) featuring 225 recipes and cancer-fighting food tips. At the Sacramento appearance, she’ll sign copies and discuss how healthy eating helped save her life. Joining her will be Dr. Edwin Alvarez of UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, who will address early cancer warning signs and how good nutrition can help survivors.

Already in its second printing since its October release, her book has been well received, particularly within the cancer community, Braun said.

“It’s been very rewarding,” said Braun, now 62. “When I started this 10 years ago, there really was no evidence (if changes in diet) helped cancer patients. But every year, more evidence is coming out. We’ve discovered that some foods may cause (or contribute to) cancer while others help prevent it.

“I was so desperate when I started this — I was given a 15 percent chance (of survival) — I decided, I’m doing it,” she added. “What have I got to lose?”

Braun, who lives in Van Nuys in Southern California, sees herself as a typical middle-aged woman who had a typical American diet — before she got sick.

“I was like your average American,” she said. “I was 52 when I got sick, slightly overweight. I weighed 25, 30 pounds more than I do now. With middle age, my weight had crept up. I wasn’t exercising. I didn’t eat that badly but I didn’t eat that well. When I got sick, I didn’t ask, Why me? I thought, Why not me? I was a perfect candidate.

“But now there’s convincing evidence that diet matters,” she added. “To me, it seems like a no-brainer.”

The foods to avoid or consume in moderation? They’re familiar candidates: Red meat, processed food, salt and alcohol. The good guys? Fresh fruits and vegetables (five servings a day), whole grains, nuts and berries.

“Garlic is really good, too,” Braun added. “Several herbs and spices are good; you eat so little but they pack a really big punch. There are more antioxidants in oregano than blueberries. Grow some fresh oregano and add it to your salads.

“The main thing to remember: Stay away from processed foods and eat fresh,” she added. “It makes a difference.”

Call The Bee’s Debbie Arrington, (916) 321-1075. Follow her on Twitter @debarrington.

Read more articles by Debbie Arrington

About Appetizers

Chris Macias has served as The Sacramento Bee's Food & Wine writer since 2008. His writing adventures have ranged from the kitchen at French Laundry to helping pick 10 tons of zinfandel grapes with migrant farm workers in Lodi. Chris also judges regularly at food, wine and cocktail competitions around Northern California. His profile of a former gangbanger-turned-pastry-chef was included in Da Capo's "Best Food Writing 2012."

Read his Wine Buzz columns here
(916) 321-1253
Twitter: @chris_macias

Allen Pierleoni writes about casual lunchtime restaurants in The Sacramento Bee's weekly "Counter Culture" column. He covers a broad range of topics, including food, travel, books and authors. In addition to writing the weekly column "Between the Lines," he oversees the Sacramento Bee Book Club, in which well-known authors give free presentations to the public.

Read his Counter Culture reviews here
(916) 321-1128
Twitter: @apierleonisacbe

Blair Anthony Robertson is The Sacramento Bee's food critic.

Read his restaurant reviews here
(916) 321-1099
Twitter: @Blarob

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