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The Dietitian’s Diet
ratatoullie
Registered dietitian and farmer Diana Dyer spent more than 20 years working to improve the nutritional guidelines and practices of cancer patients. Here, she discusses her work and shares a simple recipe for readers to make at home.

Registered dietitian and farmer Diana Dyer shares her simple yet healthy recipe for ratatouille.

“From the soil to our plants and everything in between, how we grow our food is quite critical,” says Dyer.

It took the registered dietitian and farmer many years—more than 30—to truly embrace this line of thinking as part of her day-to-day work. Dyer spent 20 years working in the intensive care unit as a registered dietician before opening her private practice.

As a three-time cancer survivor (Dyer overcame neuroblastoma as a child and two bouts of breast cancer), she intimately understood the importance of integrating proper nutrition into one’s everyday routine for overall health and wellness.

“I eventually realized my clients needed this information as part of their complete, comprehensive cancer care,” she says.

After running her private dietitian practice for four years and working on a national level with organizations to break the barriers of knowledge about nutrition, Dyer opened the Dyer Family Organic Farm outside of Ann Arbor, Michigan, with her husband. “It’s not just ‘we are what we eat.’ It’s ‘we are how we grow what we eat,’” she offers. “We have to slow down and create time and value for that.”

For the first issue of Cancer Wellness, Dyer offers her Crock-Pot Ratatouille recipe, which incorporates garlic grown on her farm and utilizes easy-to-comprehend preparation methods she believes will help bring the art of cooking back to the masses.

Crock-Pot Ratatouille

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 large (or 3 medium) onions, sliced
  • 4 small zucchini, sliced (about 4 cups)
  • 2 large green peppers, cut into thin strips
  • 1 large eggplant, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 large tomatoes, cut into wedges (alternatively: 3 large tomatoes and 1 pint of canned tomatoes)
  • 2 teaspoons salt (adjust after cooking to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil (use fresh when possible, about ¼ cup, small leaves or thinly sliced)

PREPARATION

  • Layer half the vegetables in a large Crock-Pot in the following order: onion, eggplant, zucchini, garlic, peppers, tomatoes. Repeat the layering process with the remaining vegetables.
  • Sprinkle basil, salt, black pepper, and parsley over top. Drizzle with olive oil.
  • Cover and cook on high for 1 hour, then reduce to low for 7 hours. Your vegetables will be perfectly al dente and still beautiful in color!
  • Serve over brown rice, baked potatoes, or baked fish.
  • Optional add-ins: 1 can of cannellini beans (drained and rinsed)

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