Healing Food at Health Institute de Tijuana


Delicious Lunch Served Today: salad with coleslaw, cooked plantain and apricot, quinoa, prickly pear with pico de gallo and broccoli salad.

Amazing how life takes you places that you ask to go… When I was in undergrad at Bastyr University my roommate at the time had just finished a rotation at the Gerson Institute in San Diego before starting school to become a naturopath. The Gerson Institute uses the protocol of Max Gerson, MD to treat cancer and other chronic diseases using nutrition therapy. At the time my father was diagnosed with stage IV sarcoma and was struggling to stay alive doing conventional cancer treatment: radiation, chemotherapy and surgery. His oncologist at the time was absolutely opposed to any “alternative” treatments. Unfortunately my father passed away 2 years after his diagnosis and because he was only 48 at the time; I have always thought, “what would I do if I was diagnosed with cancer?” I continued to see Gerson Therapy researched in different books and watched the documentary The Gerson Miracle, and I thought this is a place I want to study or visit sometime in my life. Well I got my wish sooner than I thought…

Since I have been vegan for 20 years and my partner Dan has been vegan for 10 years I honestly felt like cancer is something we would never have to face. Then December 12, 2017 my partner was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer… what a shock to stay the least!!! Dan is young, healthy, physically active, and one of the most positive people I have met in my life. So after letting the news sink in and meeting with the chemo and radiation oncologists Dan decided he wanted to go to the Gerson Clinic, or Health Institute de Tijuana. The day after his diagnosis we started the Gerson Therapy at home. This is a diet therapy with no SOS (salt, oil, sugar), eating cooked oatmeal for breakfast every morning, Hippocrates soup with lunch and dinner, and all fresh (no frozen or canned) vegetables and fruit. The Gerson Therapy involves prescribed juices (since food is our medicine), coffee enemas, and some supplements. Here is a video of the 4 basic components of the Gerson Therapy: diet, juicing, detox and supplementation.

At home we did the Gerson Therapy for 3 weeks until coming to the Health Institute de Tijuana (HIT). In 3 weeks time Dan already had amazing progress… for instance his AST and ALT (liver enzymes) dropped in 1/2 and are now just barely above the normal range. He has metastasis in liver so this is significant!! Now that we are at HIT and it is like a vacation!! It is only 3 blocks from the ocean we get amazing meals prepared for us and juices. There are cooking classes, yoga, meditation, group therapy classes, and the most inspiring people you could meet (patients, nurses, and doctors alike). He is on a specific regimen of juices, and supplements that are prescribed by his doctor. We see his MD every day for 1 hour check ups. He has his vitals taken three times/day and does an IV drip of Laetrile and vitamin C. He gets his blood work done weekly and when we go home we check back in monthly with blood work.

Gerson Therapy is a nutrition based cancer treatment that works by healing the body and boosting the immune system to eliminate cancer and other degenerative diseases. This treatment has been used for over 70 years and even on the shuttle ride down here we met a mom and daughter who beat cancer 6 years prior using the Gerson Therapy. One of the main nutritional components of this therapy are the juices. Here is a recipe for the green juice (please note that they are adjusted accordingly to each person; for instance Dan’s green juice has green pepper omitted to not aggravate GI bleeding).


Green Juice Recipe (from Gerson Institute)

  • Dark green lettuces – ¼ to ½ of a head (depending on the size of the lettuce): red and green leaf lettuces, romaine, endives. Iceberg is useless and do not use
  • Escarole – 2 or 3 leaves
  • Beet tops (young inner leaves) – 2 to 3 leaves
  • Watercress – 5 or 6 leaves
  • Red cabbage – 2 or 3 leaves
  • Green bell pepper – ¼
  • Swiss chard – little
  • Green apple – 1

Preparation: Greens should be washed taking care to rinse off sand or soil that is often present at the base of the leaves. Shake off water or put in salad spinner to remove excess moisture. Cut off bottom portion of stems of chard or any other fibrous leaves. Chop up because it is quite stringy and hard to pulp. This avoids raising temperature of pulp and killing enzymes.

Using a two-step (grinder/press) juicer, grind and collect pulp in a bowl. When all produce has been ground stir thoroughly, but not so much as to introduce unnecessary air into the pulp.

If you’re using an electric press raise the juice part slowly to avoid having pulp squirt out of cloth and onto the juice person.

Using multiple juicing cloths you can prepare the second cloth while the first one is pressing. Also, some people will fold over the squashed cloth/pulp package and press it again to get a little more juice out of the pulp. Wash juicer after every green juice.

After pressing, the remaining pulp, conveniently packaged in the juice cloth, can be discarded.

The green juice is much more active than the carrot or carrot/apple juices and should be consumed immediately. Dr. Gerson did not recommend storage of the green juice for any length of time before consumption as it deteriorates rapidly.


Recipes from Indonesian Cooking Class

Spicy Sambal, Tempeh Me Goreng, and Curried Greens (with my cat waiting to steal some food)

Spicy Sambal, Tempeh Me Goreng, and Curried Greens (with my cat waiting to steal some food)

Last Tuesday we had a really great time cooking up some delicious Indonesian food. We started by making the basic yellow sauce that is common all over Indonesia… of course I had to do some modifications because the sauce usually has shrimp paste and a ton of ingredients that I couldn’t find even at Asian markets in Portland. It took some experimenting, but alas the recipe has been tested by two classes and my family and everyone enjoyed it!!

We used the yellow sauce for the greens (green beans work really nice too) and then we made a sweet tempeh. The tempeh dish is called Tempeh Me Goreng, that has a sweet soy sauce over it, but again to make it gluten free some modifications where made and I have to say this is my favorite way to prepare tempeh now… try it, you’ll see.

The spicy sambal is something you can get creative with, depending on how hot you like your food. For the second class we had some serious spicy food lovers so I put in a habenero pepper to give it a real kick!

Indonesian Curry (serves 4)

  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ¼ medium onion
  • 1 in. piece of turmeric
  • 1 in. piece of ginger
  • 1-2 chilli peppers (depending on how hot)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • black pepper to taste

Mince up all the ingredients in food processor. Then use 2-3 TBS coconut oil on medium heat to sauté ingredients together for 5-10 minutes. Can use immediately or put in fridge for later use. Will keep for 1 week or more in fridge.

Mixed Greens (serves 4)

  • 6-8 cups chopped greens
  • Indonesian Curry + 1 cup coconut milk
  • Liquid Aminos or salt to taste

Use any greens you like: spinach, kale, mustard, collard greens, or even green beans. Steam for just a couple minutes if cooking spinach or for 5 minutes for the tougher greens. Then top with Indonesian Curry and about a cup of coconut milk.  Add liquid aminos or salt to taste.

Tempeh Me Goreng (serves 4)

  • 1 package organic tempeh
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ medium onion
  • 2 TBS agave or maple syrup
  • 3 TBS liquid aminos (coconut or soy)
  • 1 TBS black strap molasses

Traditionally the tempeh is deep-fried first, but since we are already going to be sautéing them with the onion and garlic there is no need to fry them beforehand unless you want them crunchy. Slice the tempeh into thin strips. Use 2-3 TBS coconut oil on medium heat to sauté chopped onion until slightly brown. Add garlic and tempeh and cook until golden. Mix in the agave, aminos, and black strap molasses. Ready to serve and enjoy!!!

Sambal Oelek (Spicy Sauce)

  • 2 jalapeno peppers
  • 2 red chilli peppers
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 TBS rice wine or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon agave or maple syrup
  • salt to taste

Finely chop the peppers and garlic. Sauté over medium heat to soften and add vinegar until starts to thicken. Add agave and salt to taste. Stores in refrigerator for a couple of weeks.

Spring Cooking Class Series

It has been quite a while since the last cooking class… so I am excited to be starting up again! Since I got to spend some time in Bali I thought it would only be appropriate to make some great Balinese cuisine. The most popular dish I saw and consumed in Bali was Nasi Campur (mixed rice). Sounds simple enough, but you would not believe the presentation of this dish at some of the local warungs (small cafes). Basically it involves rice with veggies, tempeh, and sambal, a hot mix of chiles and garlic for those who like it spicy! My favorite restaurant in Bali, Warung Sopa was in Ubud, more of the cultural center of Bali… lots of beautiful rice patties and artwork. I especially loved this restaurant because you got to choose which veggie and/or tempeh or tofu dish you would like in your nasi campur.

So my cooking class for April is going to be Balinese themed… we will be making Nasi Campur, with seasonal greens and tempeh or seasoned soy curls as sides. Of course there will be sambal to light our digestive fire. For dessert is a pudding made out of chia seeds and freshly made coconut milk with bananas on the top! The dessert is actually inspired by Ani Phyo, from her Ani’s Raw Food Asia book. Chia seeds are even more packed with omega-3’s than flax seeds!!! The cooking classes are on Thursday, April 5th and Tuesday April 17th. Go to my website to see the cooking class schedule for more info. As always the Creative Healthy Cooking Classes are vegan and gluten-free!

vegan nasi campur

vegan nasi campur

List of Indonesian Foods that are Traditionally Vegan and Gluten-Free

Gado Gado (steamed veggies and tempeh with peanut sauce) at Sanur Beach, Bali

Gado Gado (steamed veggies and tempeh with peanut sauce) at Sanur Beach, Bali

 Here is a list of some traditionally vegan and gluten-free recipes found in Indonesia. Many dishes are already gluten-free due to much use of rice, mung bean or tapioca flour over wheat flour. But you still have to watch out for soy sauce in dishes for flavor. The main non-vegan item in Indonesian cooking is chicken stock in rice and noodle dishes as well as shrimp paste that is used for flavoring many savory dishes. The dishes listed below don’t traditionally have either of those non-vegan ingredients or contain gluten (unless otherwise noted). The recipes for the dishes I have listed found from  www.indonesianfoodrecipes.com, a very helpful website for recipes on how to make many traditional dishes. I love all the desserts made from glutinous rice (this rice does not contain gluten, it just has that name because it is sticky). Glutinous rice is also called sweet sticky rice or mochi rice, since it is the rice that mochi is made out of… one of my favorite desserts!

 This is not a complete list by any means and of course any restaurant or chef may have a different version of these recipes, I just thought it was a good place to start.

Vegan and Gluten-Free in Sanur Beach, Bali

Nasi Campur

Vegan and Gluten-Free Nasi Campur at Manik Organic in Sanur Beach

I found a restaurant called Manik Organik that used to be completely vegetarian (now they serve fish and chicken) in Sanur Beach. This is the only place I have seen acknowledging gluten-free and vegan on any menu in Sanur… and trust me, I have been looking. Most of our time in Bali so far has been walking around and taking it easy to get plenty of rest for our adventures to come. The only other place I have seen that has the word vegetarian on the menu is at Bonsai Cafe (right on the Sanur Beachfront).  Anyway I was so happy to find this place again via happycow.net.

I tried the nasi campur, which was labeled vegan and gluten-free. It was delicious and seemed very traditional Balinese cuisine, served on a banana leaf. There was a mountain of brown rice and spicy sombal coated tempeh and tofu. With a green bean, water spinach, and sprouted vegetable dish (this was really tasty since it has some toasted coconut mixed in… both savory and sweet) and some tempeh and tofu kabobs. They have a great selection of juices too. I had the carrot, apple and parsley blend. Our next stop is Seminyak, Bali which apparently has lots of vegan and gluten-free options. More to come!!!

Drinking some fresh juice with a bamboo straw

Drinking some fresh juice with a bamboo straw

On My Honeymoon

Yeah for warmer weather!

Yeah for warmer weather!

I am leaving tomorrow to Bali… so excited! We will be there for 3 weeks and I plan on getting lots of inspiration for new dishes to make. There are even a couple cooking classes that I want to try and get to. But most importantly I want to get to the beach… living in the Pacific Northwest definitely is beautiful, but we are lacking any sort of warm beach so that is the highlight of my trip.

Just wanted to give you all a heads up that things might be a little quieter for a bit, but I will be back soon enough!