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Fearless Fabulous Women: Ann Ogden Gaffney: Cook for Your Life

In the early 1990s, fashion industry executive Ann Odgen Gaffney found herself cooking and caring for a designer in the industry fighting AIDS, The experience taught her to be fearless which was especially helpful when she was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2001. Fortunately, Ann recovered following her surgery and her life went back to a new normal….well, sort of. A second diagnosis of unrelated breast cancer came later and was a more difficult journey with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.

Ann Ogden Gaffney

Ann Ogden Gaffney, Founder, Cook for Your Life

Ann learned from this experience that cooking was solace and nutrition was essential to manage side effects from treatment and support her recovery.  Her own experience plus listening to others facing dietary and eating challenges during treatment gave Ann the impetus to leave the fashion world to create Cook for Your Life in 2007. The organization’s mission is to give the cancer community the practical knowledge, tools and inspiration to cook their way into healthy survivorship. To date, the free classes and programs in the New York City area have served over 7000 individuals and on the free website some one million unique visitors around the world.

“Malnutrition is the number-two secondary diagnosis in cancer patients, and 30 percent of all cancer deaths are due to malnutrition,” Susan Bratton, Founder/CEO, Meals To Heal (from Getting Things Off My Chest: A Survivor’s Guide: Nutrition and Diet essentials).

Cook For Your Life’s programs have received funding from the National Institutes for Health (NIH), Aetna and Susan G. Komen and have been embraced by organizations such as Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Mount Sinai Health System, Atlantic Health System and American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge in New York City.


Ann’s vision is now a new book, Cook for Your Life: Delicious, Nourishing Recipes for Before, During and After Treatment (The Penguin Group/Avery Books). She joins me October 5, on Fearless Fabulous You! to discuss Cook For Your Life’s programs and share recipes. Live 4pmEST on and on demand for free on and the iHeart App. Or cut and paste this link:

Inspiring Women Around the World. Listen to all episodes on and the iHeart App anytime,

Inspiring Women Around the World. Listen to all episodes on and the iHeart App anytime,

More information and to connect with Cook for Your Life:

Fabulous recipes: Cook for Your Life’s Pumpkin Oatmeal

Pumpkin Oatmeal from www.CookforYourLife.orgMeal: Breakfast, Healthy Holidays Serves: 2-3 Prep: 15 min Main Ingredient: Pumpkin Easy to Swallow | Fatigue | Healthy Survivorship | In Chemo | In Radiation | Nausea | Neutropenic Diet Dairy Free | Healthy Comfort | Kid-Friendly | Quick and Easy | Sweet Treat | Vegan | Vegetarian Top Tags: Maple Syrup , Oats, Pecans , Pumpkin Ingredients ½ cup unsweetened pumpkin puree 1½ cups regular, almond milk or soy milk 2 tablespoons raisins ¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (See Ann’s Tips) ¼ teaspoon salt 1 cup rolled oats ¼ cup roughly chopped roasted pecans or walnuts Maple syrup

Serves: 2-3  Prep: 15 min

Suggested for: Easy to Swallow | Fatigue | Healthy Survivorship | In Chemo| In Radiation | Nausea | Neutropenic Diet Dairy Free | Healthy Comfort | Kid-Friendly | Quick and Easy |Sweet Treat | Vegan | Vegetarian



1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the pumpkin puree, milk, raisins, pumpkin pie spice and salt until smooth. Bring to a boil.

2. Add the oatmeal, then turn down the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the oats are tender, about 8 minutes.

3. Serve topped with pecans and a drizzle of maple syrup.

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