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OC Mom Spotlight: Cancer Surviving Chef Develops Healing Menu

Chef Geeta Bansal of Clay Oven in Irvine​ ​was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011. Devastated, she began doing her research and elected to start a trial for a new type of treatment that delivered a single powerful dose of radiation in one session, followed by a surgery and other therapies.

The severe side effects of those treatments began to take their toll. So she turned to Ayurvedic cooking to counteract them. The anti-carcinogenic properties of turmeric was first on her list. Also, by taking Fenugreek, she was able to keep her hair from falling out. She used cumin & coriander when making soups to help her quickly regain her energy. To offset nausea, ginger & lemon were top on her list and she incorporated proteins like tofu and lentils to counteract anemia, low blood pressure & loss of appetite.

Today she is in remission and points to her embrace of Ayurvedic practices to her recovery.

While we don’t suggest eliminating traditional treatment methods to fight cancer and other serious medical conditions, we can learn by Chef Geeta’s example that an Ayurvedic diet can help offset some of serious side effects and set the stage for recovery.

A brief list of Ayurvedic ingredients:

– Turmeric is an anti-carcinogenic
– Coriander is a natural diuretic (cancer causes swelling & an inflammatory reaction in your body
– Fenugreek is an astringent, meaning a natural blood cleaner which kills harmful bacteria
– Fennel is an antioxidant
– Ginger stimulates appetite & relieves anxiety (chemotherapy is stressful and causes patients to lose appetite)
– Seaweed saag is great for fighting anemia (a common side-effect of cancer)
– Curry leaves are an anti-bacterial & contain calcium, iron and Vitamin C
– Cumin helps with digestion
– Green tea with rose has a cooling and calming property and can help with inflammation

Her menu now features many of the healing dishes that helped her including:

600 Degree Roasted Carrot Soup - A velvety blend of carrot, fennell, and the heat and scent of spices

​600 Degree Roasted Carrot Soup
The sweet and bitter winter vegetable helps the body retain heat, acts as a blood purifier and boosts immunity during the cold season. We roast ours with fennel to extract the sweetness and add a yogurt topping to aid digestion to the beta carotene rich velouté.

Alu Methi - Potatoes with Fenugreek

Alu Methi
Fenugreek is a winter herb that is loaded with vitamin B-12 and stimulates the digestive system. The potatoes balance the pungent aroma of fenugreek while cumin, corriander, and mustard oil counter the cool nature of potatoes.

Bison Tagine

Bison Tagine
Our cinnamon, clove and bay leaf accented curry of lean bison is not only delicious but cinnamon helps reduce cholesterol, stimulates circulation and acts as a demulsifier. Cloves are one of the oldest spices used in Ayurveda as an anti-bacterial and is known to improve vitality.

Choti Gobhi - Brussels Sprouts in Mustard Seed Curry

Choti Gobhi
The bitter and crunchy Brussels sprouts are cooked in a mustard seed sauce. The brown mustard seeds are warming, especially when combined with turmeric and ginger in our tomato sauce.

Dum Teesrio - Mussels in a tomato broth with a punch of curry and garlic

Dum Teesrio
Mussels are the ultimate health food, loaded with protein, omega-3, iron, iodine and other beneficial minerals. We cook ours in a spice broth that enhances the health benefits with turmeric, cumin, black pepper, tomatoes, lemon juice, garlic. Turmeric reduces inflammation and the black peppers & cumin help retain heat while the tomatoes and lemon provide essential vitamin C.

Kerala Shrimp

Kerala Shrimp
The mango and curry leaf sauce is loaded with antioxidants. The mango is known as a superfood being a diuretic, digestive, and helps the function of liver, ligaments, bones, and eyes. The curry leaves are anti bacterial and anti carcinogenic.

Tandoori Baby Back Ribs

Tandoori Baby Back Ribs
Ginger marinaded ribs slow cook with a spice mixture. The ginger enhances the health benefits of the other spices and herbs while being one of the oldest medicines as a stimulant for circulation and remedy for cold.

Tandoori Lamb Chops

Tandoori Lamb Chops
Our yogurt marinaded lamb chops are lean and the yogurt has been used since ancient times in Ayurveda to treat digestive issues. The cumin in the marinade helps to eliminate toxins and improves the absorption of minerals in the intestines. Coriander cools the body and balances the heat from meat while also acting as a diuretic.

Clay Oven is located at 15435 Jeffrey Road #116 in Irvine.

Facts, photos and information provided on behalf of Clay Oven

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  1. I wish there was a restaurant like yours down my way. If you are thinking of expanding, There is restaurant space averrable in San Juan capistrano near the mission

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