Cook Up a Cure: Cancer-Fighting Recipes from Philly Chefs

Robert Aikens's pink grapefruit and roasted beet salad. Photograph by Brett Thomas; styling by Lisa Russell

It’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, in case you haven’t gotten the memo. We’re taking it as a great excuse to get in the kitchen and start cooking. Naturally.

Here’s why: We asked some of Philly’s top chefs to create delicious recipes that use antioxidant-rich, cancer-fighting ingredients, ones that have been shown to slow or prevent cell changes. That’s what we call a win-win.

The recipes are below. We’ve highlighted each cancer-fighting ingredient in pink—what else?

So go ahead and grab a fork. It’s time to eat up.

Pink Grapefruit & Roasted Beet Salad
From Robert Aikens / Serves 6 to 8

2 large golden beets, trimmed and washed
3 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
5 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt, to taste
2 large pink grapefruits, peeled and segmented
7 Tbsp. crumbled goat cheese
4 c. cleaned baby mâche
Black pepper, to taste
1/2 to 1 c. vinaigrette (see recipe below), or to taste

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Canning Produce to Save the Season

From now until mid-September, two of the season’s most-awaited fruits, locally grown peaches and tomatoes, will be at their peak. Can a few jars over the next few weeks, and you’ll be able to enjoy their sweet summer taste and nutritional benefits long after the first school bus hits the streets. “Canning has become increasingly popular in the Philadelphia area over the past few years, because people want to know what they’re putting in their bodies,” says Marisa McClellan, local canning-ista and author of the award-winning blog “You have total control over what goes into that jar, so you can keep the amount of sugar and salt firmly in check.”

What’s more, canning local produce in reusable glass jars minimizes your carbon footprint and reduces your exposure to cancer-causing BPA, which often lines store-bought cans. The best part: Fruits and vegetables captured at the peak of their season taste so much better than anything you’ll find on a shelf. “They taste like sunshine,” says McClellan, who plans to preserve 25 pounds of peaches and 100 pounds of tomatoes this season, which she’ll pick up from South Street’s Pumpkin Market and Rittenhouse Square’s Farmers’ Market. Come winter, the tomatoes will find their way into soups, sauces and salsas, and the peaches will grace cakes, cobblers and sides of cottage cheese. “There’s a deep satisfaction that comes from taking raw ingredients and turning them into something that lasts,” says McClellan. “I always look forward to seeing a new row of jars on my countertop.”

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The $100,000 Smile

Photo: Svetlana Damjanac/iStock

Plump your pout
No matter how pearly those whites are, shrinking lips stack years onto your smile. A well-placed shot of lip filler, like Restylane or Juvederm, adds a touch of youthful volume. $450 to $800 per syringe at Deme, 2200 Arch Street, suite 102, 215-561-3363 and 744 Lancaster Avenue, suite 100, Wayne, 610-688-3363; Read more »

Jenna’s Goodbye Post

Jenna Bergen

To my very dear Be Well readers:

I’m writing with some bittersweet news, my friends: This will be my last post on, at least for the foreseeable future. No, I haven’t decided to give up my healthy ways for a life filled with potato chips and ice cream (although I will continue to eat both occasionally, because, well, I’d be crazy not to), nor have I decided to join the army (I’m just not that brave). What I have done: Accepted a position at Prevention magazine, where I will continue to cover fitness and do my best to inspire all of us—myself included—to sweat daily. Of course,, the little blog that I was lucky enough to start only two very short years ago, will continue—so please keep reading it!

This was a tough decision for many reasons, the greatest being that I believe in Philly. I believe that this cheesesteak-eating town is destined to become one of the healthiest cities in our country—if not the healthiest—and I will miss watching it unfold.

It’s been an honor to work with and learn from some of the city’s best health and fitness professionals, and a pleasure to write for you all. Thank you for proving with your interest in that health and fitness has just as much—if not even more—of a reason to be covered by Philly Mag as politics, shopping, and entertainment. For this, I will always be grateful.

In happiness and health,

Jenna Bergen

Fight Fat Like An Athlete

Former Eagle Tra Thomas' 7 Deuce Sports in Medford is one of only a handful of gyms in the nation that currently offers Kinesis training (pictured).

Professional athletes don’t just hit the treadmill for half an hour, knock out some bench presses and crunches, and head home like the average gym-goer. They train intensively, busting through an array of exercises and drills to improve agility, strength, balance and speed. But also unlike the average gym-goer, they have specialized training camps and expert coaches at their disposal. After retiring from an active 12-year NFL career, former Eagle Tra Thomas decided he wanted to bring the professional sports training experience and its health benefits to the everyday fitness enthusiast. Read more »

A Smarter Way to Spray Tan?

Kim after Fake Bake.

Spray tanning is a topic we’ve talked about before, both here on Be Well and in the mag (check out the hilarious “To Spray Tan or Not?” piece that ran in this year’s May issue), because we all know that toasting our skin in the sun isn’t good for our (future) looks or our health. Unfortunately, spray tanning has a tendency to look a little, well, odd, at times, and a little too orange most of the time. Read more »

Work Out, Outdoors

Photography by Shea Roggio

If you’re … too smart for Shape-Ups
Try … Walk-Star. One-pound wrist and ankle weights add extra whittling oomph to this fast-paced, 4.5-mile city or suburban walk. As for what to do with that treadmill: Clothing rack? Room divider? Impromptu jungle gym? Read more »

Diabetes’ Biggest Little Heroes

Both my older sister and younger brother have type 1 diabetes, so finding a cure for the disease is a cause near and dear to my heart. Every two years, JDRF Chairman Mary Tyler Moore, a type 1 diabetic herself, and more than 100 hundred children with type 1 diabetes gather in D.C. for the Children’s Congress, where they meet face-to-face with some of the top decision-makers in the U.S. government in the hopes of securing the funds needed to find a cure. The children, ages 4 to 17, represent all 50 states and the District of Columbia. I’ve posted videos of the four adorable girls that will be representing Pennsylvania this year, June 20-22, below. Their stories and dreams for a cure are incredibly familiar. I hope they inspire you to, at the very least, say “yes” the next time the person ringing up your groceries asks if you’ll donate a dollar to finding a cure.


Though Ashley was only five years old when she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, she already knew what it was. Her younger sister, Samantha, had been diagnosed about a year earlier, at 11 months old. Ashley would like to be a teacher one day. She plays soccer, does gymnastics, and enjoys drawing. Her birthday wish is for a cure for type 1. Ashley and her family are working hard to raise awareness and encourage Congressional support of research, to help us one day make her wish come true. Read more »

Acme’s First Gluten-Free Deli

Calling all gluten-free grocery shoppers! It’s time to hit up the deli case at Acme’s Paoli location. The grocery store has teamed up with Dietz & Watson to create its first gluten-free deli, and it launches today, Wednesday, June 15, at 1PM. The deli will have more than 20 gluten-free lunch meats and cheeses, all of which will be be kept separate from the regular offerings in a special, 8-foot display case to safeguard against cross-contamination. “We even have special blue gloves that associates will use with the gluten-free products so there’s no chance of cross-contamination,” says Steve Riley, marketing director for Dietz & Watson. Stop by today for sampling and free coupons! 39 Leopard Road, Paoli, 610-240-0101, — Kelly O’Shea

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