Free eight-session cooking courses in Venice and Playa Vista designed to help residents prevent and survive cancer through proper diet and nutrition are being offered by the Cancer Project, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing cancer prevention through education and research.

The eight-week course is scheduled to begin in Venice Tuesday, January 8th, at the Abbot Kinney Memorial Library, 501 Venice Blvd., and in Playa Vista Thursday, January 10th, at the Playa Vista Library, 6400 Playa Vista Drive.

“The single easiest and best thing most of us can do to prevent cancer or its recurrence is to eat right,” says Jennifer Reilly, R.D., a senior nutritionist for The Cancer Project. “More than a third of all cancer deaths in this country are due to poor diet.”

Reilly says the prescription for better health is a low-fat vegetarian diet. She adds that fruits, vegetables and whole grains are naturally low in fat, “chock-full of fiber and filled with cancer-fighting antioxidants and phytochemicals.”

People should cut down on fatty foods and added fats and oils, particularly saturated fats, which have been linked to an increased risk of breast, colon, and prostate cancer, Reilly says.

Likewise, Reilly suggests looking for healthy substitutes for dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt, which have been implicated in the occurrence of breast and colorectal cancers.

The challenge, Reilly acknowledges, is not only to teach people which foods are good for them, but also to show them how to make the foods taste good.

Each class centers on important cancer-nutrition topics as the instructor guides students through the preparation of tasty and easy-to-prepare recipes.

n The eight-week session at the Abbot Kinney Memorial Library in Venice is scheduled to be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays with the following subjects:

January 8th, Fueling Up on Low-Fat Foods;

January 15th, Favoring Fiber;

January 22nd, Discovering Dairy Alternatives;

January 29th, Replacing Meat;

February 5th, Planning Healthy Meals;

February 12th, Antioxidants and Phytochemicals;

February 19th, Immune-Boosting Foods; and

February 26th, Maintaining a Healthy Weight.

n The classes at the Playa Vista Library are scheduled to be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursdays on the following subjects:

January 10th, Fueling Up on Low-Fat Foods;

January 17th, Favoring Fiber;

January 24th, Discovering Dairy Alternatives;

January 31st, Replacing Meat;

February 7th, Planning Healthy Meals;

February 14th, Antioxidants and Phytochemicals;

February 21st, Immune-Boosting Foods; and

February 28th, Maintaining a Healthy Weight.

Information about Cancer Prevention and Survival Cooking Classes,, or (202) 244-5038.

The Cancer Project is a nonprofit collaborative effort of physicians, researchers, and nutritionists who have joined together to educate the public about the benefits of a healthy diet for cancer prevention and survival.

Based in Washington, D.C., The Cancer Project is an independently incorporated affiliate of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.