Creating Healthy, Appetizing Meals for Cancer Patients by guest blogger Jillian McKee.
Cancer patients face a myriad of difficulties that range from large, such as undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments, to small, such as the fact that food often tastes different during and even after cancer treatment. However, even smaller issues can take on greater importance, as an OncoLog article points out that cancer patients who lose just 5 percent or more in body weight may have a harder time tolerating chemotherapy and have higher mortality rates.
Cancer patients often experience symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, loss of appetite, vomiting, sore mouth and/or throat and dry mouth during treatment. In addition, the emotional effects of having cancer and the stress of having to deal with treatment and fears and anxiety that are associated with cancer can cause patients to lose their appetite or have regular nausea or vomiting.
Because of these issues, many cancer patients need a specific nutrition plan to help them maintain a healthy weight and nutrition level despite not feeling well or hungry.
If you or your loved one has a cancer diagnosis, such as having been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is a good idea to design a nutrition meal plan for before, during and after treatment. Many patients do not have the energy to go to the store or make meals during treatment or when they do not feel well, so loved ones may want to go for them or cancer patients may want to go to the store and prepare some meals on days when they feel better to have items on hand later on.
Examples of some nutritious, healthy food that should appeal to cancer patients and be gentle on their bodies include the following:
- Clear broth soups with pasta, such as noodles or stars
- Fruit juice, milk, tea, water, electrolyte-rebalancing sports drinks
- Mild cheeses, such as American, cream cheese, or cottage cheese
- Scrambled eggs
- Baked chicken
- Whole wheat bread for turkey sandwiches or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and peanut butter toast
- Mashed potatoes
- Well-steamed vegetables that are tender and soft
- Enriched cereals, both hot and cold
- Fruit sherbet
- Greek yogurt
- Canned fruit
- Corn (off the cob)
- Protein snack bars
- Tuna fish sandwiches
- Fruit and yogurt smoothies
- Pita bread and hummus
If you are looking for ways to add protein to the diet, considering making tuna or turkey melts with cheese and add grated cheese to soup, mashed potatoes, rice or pasta. Also, try making yogurt drinks and smoothies with some protein powder mixed in.
Adding calories to someone with an upset stomach or poor appetite can be difficult, so appeal to the specific cravings of the cancer patient and add calories to meals and treats. For example, offer granola, which is high in fat and calories, for breakfast or add to yogurt for a snack. Try dried fruit as a snack or a treat.
Speak with your doctor for additional nutritional tips and to find out what areas of the meal plan needs additional focus, such as adding protein or calories. Remember that a healthy, nutritious diet will help the patient feel better with more energy and experience an improved quality of life. Spending the time and energy to create a workable meal plan is always worthwhile.
About Jillian McKee
Bringing a wealth of personal and professional experience to the organization, Jillian McKee has worked as the Complementary Medicine Advocate at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance since June of 2009. Jillian spends most her time on outreach efforts and spreading information about the integration of complementary and alternative medicine when used in conjunction with traditional cancer treatment.
Read more: http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/jillian/
Ever feel like there is just not enough time in the day, week, life time?
I feel like that all the time, in just one area.
No not work, on weekends or vacations. I love transition and change so I am cool with all of that.
Books - there are too many that I want to read...cook from....and study!
At present I am totally addicted to vegan and vegetarian cookbooks.
Okay so now I don't have enough time to cook as much as I want either.
Check out The Urban Vegan. This book is awesome.
Super easy recipes that are interesting and delicious.
Made the Gobhi Aloo last night and damn that was awesome.
Put it on some lavender sticky rice and it was downright gorgeous to look at.
I always wanted to open a bookstore (Amazon killed that idea) that also was a yarn/knitting store and now I want to add food.
Okay so that is not a thrilling dream but hey gatta admit it would be sweet.
Come on down and peruse some books, eat some delicious healthy organic food and knit a pair of socks.
Cantonese Egg Foo Yung
3 oz oyster mushrooms
1 cup finely diced Bok Choy stalks
1 sweet red pepper, diced finely
1/2 cup onion chopped
3 T vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1 T dry sherry or dry vermouth
1 cup chicken broth
1 T each soy sauce and chili sauce
hot red pepper sauce to taste
1 T cornstarch
Combine all the sauce ingredients in a saucepan, except 1/2 c chicken broth and cornstarch.
Mix cornstarch and 1/2 cup broth and add to sauce pan and heat and stir until thickened.
Place oil in a saute pan and saute the veggies until soft.
Remove from heat.
Place eggs in a bowl and add sherry or vermouth. Mix but do not beat.
Add cooled vegetables.
Heat 1 T of oil in a pan, when hot, ladle egg/veggie mixture into pancake sized rounds and cook on medium heat. Turn and cook until brown on both sides.
Plate and dress with sauce.
Check out my Friday Fast Food Tips video: http://ow.ly/bU2xz
I read a lot!
Anything that has to do with food, farming and good health.
The book The Jungle Effect has been recommended to me over and over and finally I had the opportunity to read it.
Seems that there are "cold spots" all over the world where certain diseases are virtually non-existent.
The inhabitants from these areas only retain their disease-free status when they eat the indigenous food. If they move elsewhere and adopt a more modern diet the incidents of the disease rises to the level of modern times.
The factor making the area disease-free is the food not genetics.
Each disease has a different "cold spot".
There is Okinawa, Japan for breast and prostate cancer.
Cameroon, West Africa for bowel issues.
Iceland for depression.
Crete, Greece for heart disease.
This is just to name a few!
This book tells stories of patients that have come to see the author, who is an MD, either because they are showing signs of a certain disease or they wish to avoid the disease.
With a lot of research and travel to these cold spots the author really delves into the native foods and dishes and finds the scientific reason for the health benefits.
This book is fascinating and affirms that what you eat has a huge impact on disease.
Check it out and get cooking. Pick the health concern that is most importnat to you and look at the cold spot and the foods eaten there.
Gatta go chop some veggies!
The Jungle Effect on Amazon!
Better Write It Down!
I have a great memory.
When it comes to a "to do" list or "to buy" list I can pretty much wing it!
I am not going to lie here, I have gotten into the car after a marathon shop, waiting in line and checking out and found....I forgot the asparagus and I was making asparagus soup for dinner.
Hello! Bad language is followed by getting back out of the car and going back into the store. Grrrr! Who has got the time for such nonsense?
What a waste of time, not to mention a waste of money as I always find a few more yummy thing I just have to have!
So I make a list.
Actually I have a list of all the common ingredients I use in my meal preparation, on my ipad and my computer.
As I am creating the menus for the week, I check off the stuff that I need to get. Easy!
It also helps with a impromptu inventory of what I already have.
No more, "yes dear I bought more avocados and we have 4 rotting in the fridge, ouch."
They say that for every minute you spend in a grocery store over 30 minutes, you will spend at least $1 per minute.
Get out fast!
Wonder why they rearrange the store so frequently? It keep you running around in circles looking for the food on your list but passing all kinds of alluring treats.
Marion Nestle has written a great book titled " What to Eat" that has a whole section on the psychology used by food stores to get us to buy more food. They are just so tricky.
Really interesting and lets you see through the "matrix"!
So do a little list building of your own.
Once you have the basics down you can add new stuff as you start to add to your diet.
Having a list will help you to speed through through the store, save you from buying impulse items, have the food to create complete healthy meals and avoid the need to grab something yucky because there isn't anything in the house to eat.
Let me know how you do.
You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!
I love my kids as much as the next mother.
They were wonderful guys, but.....
My oldest son was way to much like me, I mean way to much....
Every morning for years, he's ask me what was for dinner.
Yeah I had menus and probably could have answered intelligently if I had wanted to but come on it's 6:30 in the morning, who cares?
He did! Way to much of a planner! 8-)
So what are you having for dinner?
You're busy, you'll think about it later, maybe pick something up on the way home.
Fast forward through your day and now it is 7pm and you are sitting down to Chinese take-out or sandwiches from the local deli.
Sure is easy but how is that food serving you?
High in salt, preservatives, sugar, processed foods, fats and oh those chemicals.
You know you should eat better, you want to eat better for you and the family, but who has the time?
Initially menu planning can take a bit of time but once you have a method in place it is super easy.
Start by taking an inventory of your schedule for a typical week.
Now you have the parameters of the amount of time you can spend on meal prep.
Next take an inventory of your family's/your food preferences.
Come up with staple meals that you can make fast or ahead of time for those nights were prep time is non-existent.
Fill in with recipes that you want to try on those night when you have more time.
We will be talking "list creation" next time.
I Am Just Not Feeling It!
Each of us is a science experiment. We are all unique and are affected in different ways by all the things that we eat and do. Some people can eat junk food and it never seems to affect them. Some never exercise but they appear to be in good shape. For most of us, what we eat matters. When we really start to pay attention we realize that the connection between what we eat and how we feel, look, and think is huge. Do you feel groggy and lazy after lunch? Do you snap or feel irritable with your coworkers or family when you haven’t eaten in a while?
Food changes your mood.
Look at caffeine and alcohol. They are the ultimate mood changers. The typical person eats a diet that is high in sugar and processed food and that leaves them in a bad mood. Julia Ross, author of The Mood Cure states that “junk moods come from junk foods”. All those foods that are so easily accessible – french fries, chips, candy bars and ice cream are loaded with salt and sugar and preservatives. Some can make you feel high for a while, but then you drop like a brick as your blood sugar plummets. Ever notice how you crave different foods at different times? When we are down, we sooth ourselves with a bowl of chicken soup – comfort food. We crave protein when we are looking to be focused. We crave food that enhances romance, like spicy food, avocados, chocolate, and chilies when we are on a date.
Neurotransmitters are the chemical messengers that relay thoughts and actions to the brain. Serotonin can make us feel relaxed. Dopamine makes us feel stimulated. When we eat, food breaks down in our digestive track and creates changes in our system that send messages to our brain via these neurotransmitters. Pasta releases serotonin and thus we feel relaxed after a spaghetti dinner. Eat too much pasta and chances are you will be dozing on the couch. Eating protein releases dopamine and nor-epinephrine in the brain and helps us to be alert. Too much protein and we get short tempered and irritable.
When you eat fruits, starchy vegetables, and whole grains throughout the day, you keep your body fueled and your blood sugar level on an even keel. You also are getting vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients. Combining carbohydrates and proteins enhances the availability of serotonin in your brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter said to have a calming effect and to play a role in sleep.
So if you're wondering just how food affects you, keep a food journal for a week or two. Write down what you eat, how you feel, your stress level and how your body feels after the meal. This is the first step that I take with each of my clients. It is very illuminating for them to see, what they are eating and how it affects their everyday lives. Once you see what you normally eat and how it affects you then, start to add in foods that will give you more energy, help you to lose weight, and look better. This will keep your moods on an even keel and keep you alert and awake throughout the day.
So what can you do to boost your mood?
Exercise. You don't have to sweat it out at the gym to make a difference. Go for a walk. Get some fresh air.
Get organized! Sometimes clutter can make one feel overwhelmed and mildly depressed. Getting things in place can ease your mind and bring a smile to your face too!
Laugh . The simple act of laughter releases endorphins and is shown to improve your mood. Even smiling will have that effect.
Listen to music . Put on your favorite tunes and rock the blues away. Perhaps you enjoy soothing classical music. Dance around if you can.
Set small, achievable goals . Oftentimes, if our busy lives are broken down into more manageable tasks, we can feel happiness at minor accomplishments.
Volunteer . You may think that you do not have time in your busy life, but I'll bet you can find 2-3 hours a month to make a big difference in a few peoples' lives. That is a sure-fire way to feel great!
Runnin' on Mountain Dew, NOT!
My husband is s pretty observant guy. And I like that.
As you could imagine we talk all the time about our observations of people's shopping, eating and health habits.
We decide that really and truly, people know what they should and should not be eating but they don't think that it applies to their health. they get lucky and live until 90 or get unlucky and die young.
The unfortunate thing is that it takes too long to see the affects of our bad behavior and by the time we do start to feel bad and get sick we think that it is natural aging or maybe a genetic defect.
One of my husband's best comments to date on this subject came when we were discussing cars...which we do a lot....he made the observation that the vast majority of people take much better care of their cars than they do their own body
You would never see a person pour Mountain Dew into the gas tan of even the most inexpensive car and expect it to start right up and drive on down the road.
But that is what the vast majority of people do with their food. They dump soda, coffee, processed foods that contain chemicals, additives, dyes and foods and I use that term loosely and are shocked that they have cancer, heart issues, problems concentrating, sleeping, skin and digestive issues. They wonder why their kids have behavioral problems and can't focus and concentrate.
Your putting Mountain Dew in your gas tank - come on! You sure want that car to run well make it to work everyday, carry you back and forth to the cape into the mountains skiing.
Same hold true for your body. You will have to ride in it for the next 60-90 years. Yeah a longer ride is great but wouldn't you like it to be smooth and problem free? No flat tires, leaky radiators or transmission that's slipping - yeah the motor head is rubbing off, I know what these things are. 8-).
This is not rocket science but what you eat matters. You have the ability to choose what diseases you get, how you feel, how you function and look.
You have a choice. Dont' give that away.
You deserve to be Healthy!
I am a digestive health coach. I help my clients have more energy and a eliminate digestive problems by eating food they love!