Chemotherapy is a bully.
Cancer patients receive chemo as a type of ‘liquid boxing glove’. The trouble is, in addition to kicking chemo’s butt, it usually leaves the rest of the body down for the count as well. For those unfamiliar with chemo, this is the way it works:
Since cancer cells are rapidly-reproducing cells, chemo attempts a TKO by going after all cells in your body that produce rapidly.
There’s just one gigantic problem with that – the cancer cells are not the only rapidly-producing cells in our bodies. One example would be the cells in the lining of the stomach. Since the ‘liquid boxing glove’ can’t tell the difference between a bad rapidly-producing cell and a good one, it takes them all down. And it hurts – badly.
After chemo is finally over, the pain does subside and the healthy cells do grow back. But some cancer survivors still experience mild digestive issues for years after treatment.
Enter your new favorite color: orange! If you haven’t had much experience eating or cooking with papaya, it’s time to open your horizons. It is said that Christopher Columbus called papaya the “fruit of the angels.” He was definitely on to something, because papayas certainly do watch over your health. The most unusual feature of this velvety fruit is papain, an enzyme that aids digestion. Papain has also been associated with a reduction in allergies, as well as easing pain from sports injuries and other physical traumas. (I’d say chemotherapy is a major physical trauma…wouldn’t you?)
Papaya also has a high concentration of antioxidants, such of vitamin C and carotenes, which give papaya its beautiful orange color.
And get this – you can even eat the seeds of the papaya. They have a taste that is similar to black pepper.
The bright, sunny flavor of these enchiladas is addicting. They’re bursting with healthy veggies and the nutty taste of roasted sunflower seeds. Preparation is very quick and easy. You could even have a friend gather the ingredients and prepare this for you.
Another ingredient that may also be new to you is tahini paste, which is made from ground sesame seeds. If you invest in a jar of tahini, it will be useful in other recipes as well. For instance, it is an important ingredient in hummus.
Papaya Enchiladas w/Lime
6 whole grain tortillas of your choice
1 yellow crook-neck squash
3 green onion stalks
1 c. spinach leaves
1/2 c. roasted sunflower seeds
1/2 c. shredded cheese of your choice (I used almond cheese here)
1 c. papaya
3 tbsp. papaya seeds
1/4 c. lime juice
2 tbsp. tahini paste
2 tbsp. unrefined coconut oil
2 c. vegetable broth
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. chili powder (add more to spice it up if desired)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Put all sauce ingredients in a blender. Blend until puréed.
Dice squash and slice green onions.Toss all filling ingredients together.
Lay a tortilla on a plate. Place about 3 tbsps. of filling toward the bottom of the circle. Roll. Place the rolled tortilla in a baking dish with ‘seam’ facing down. Repeat 6 times.
Spoon sauce around sides and over tops of rolled tortillas. If desired, top with a extra cheese.
Bake 20 minutes. Serves 3 (2 tortillas each).