Category Archives: Nutrition

The Cancer Fighting Kitchen

The Cancer Fighting Kitchen

Cancer Fighting Kitchen

 

I’ve got to start this book recommendation with props to Amber:  Thank you for this awesome cookbook; it’s really helped me through these last few rounds of chemo!

If you are also dealing with or about to deal with chemo, then I recommend that you get your hands on Rebecca Katz’s The Cancer Fighting Cookbook, gather some friends, and have a cancer cook-off to stock your freezer full of chemo-friendly, cancer-fighting foods.

Although the recipes can be a bit complicated, they are worth the effort, as things do taste significantly better, and I can tell that I’m getting meaningful nourishment, even when I’m not eating as much as I know that I should.  The recipes are also easy to simplify and come with modification suggestions.

I also got a lot out of the introduction that has a comprehensive list of common chemo side-effects and how to tackle them with the specific recipes within the book.  There is also a list of how certain foods and spices, many of which you probably already eat, may help keep your cancer at bay.

Although I have not tried all of the recipes in the book, here are some that I’ve found helpful during chemo:

Magic Mineral Broth (Page 54)

This one was the biggest investment, but it was worth it.  Katz calls for it in other recipes (you can sub out a store-bought broth if you don’t have time for this), and I can really tell the difference in the soups.  I also froze individual servings, which has been great for the days when sipping a broth is about all that I can do.

Lemony Greek Chicken Soup (Page 60)

This has a lot of sustenance, and the flavor’s really good, especially when I have a metallic taste in my mouth from the chemo.

Rockin’ Black Bean Soup (Page 71)

This also has a forward flavor, which is great when things are tasting bland.  I simplified this one by using canned beans, and it turned out well.

Creamy Broccoli and Potato Soup (Page 75)

I really like the sustenance that this provides, but when I make it again, I will spice it up a lot more.  I found it to be kind of bland, so I  will add some more black pepper or maybe some garlic.

Tuscan Farro and Bean Salad (Page 107)

Orange Ginger Roasted Chicken (Page 117)

This is a good one not only for when you’re feeling up for something a bit more hearty, but it also appeals to family and caregivers.  The last time that I made this, I used the leftovers to make a flavorful chicken soup. As the book suggests, you can also use the carcass to make a chicken broth.

Almond Muffin Mania (Page 192)

Coconut Rice Pudding (Page 198)

I hope that you find my suggestions useful and get a chance to take a look at this helpful cookbook.

If you try some other recipes in this book or make different modifications, then please post your suggestions!

Hemoglobin Help

Hemoglobin Help

The only side effects I faced after my first chemo treatment were a headache, fatigue, and a dry throat.  The headache only lasted a couple of days after the treatment, and the fatigue was more than manageable.  When I mentioned these to my nurse, she revealed to me that the headache most likely came not from the chemo but from the anti-nausea medicine.  Yesterday, she gave me a different anti-nausea medicine with my second round of chemo, and I am happy to report that I do not have a headache.  I am tired and a little nauseous, but it’s nothing major.  I can’t remember the last Saturday I spent reading and napping on the couch, so I really can’t complain.

I discovered that my fatigue is due to my low hemoglobin levels or anemia.  An average woman ranges from 12 – 16 g/dL, and I was at 11.8 yesterday.  That doesn’t seem like much, and it’s not at all something to worry about, but it is enough to make me tired.

Hemoglobin is the iron-containing protein in my red blood cells that transfers oxygen from my lungs to other parts of my body.

Here’s an illustration of red blood cells with red Volkswagen Beetles; you can see the hemoglobin because it’s what  makes the red blood cells red.  It’s not what makes the red Beetles red.

 beetleREDBLOODCELLS

 

Here’s a picture of a bunch of red Power Rangers in a New York City subway.  They all have hemoglobin.  Given their obvious exuberance for red power, we can only assume their hemoglobin levels are just fine.

 

Power-Rangers Subway

I learned that I need to increase my iron, Vitamin B-12, Vitamin C, and folic acid intake to raise my levels.

CLICK HERE and HERE to see what I plan to eat to help my hemoglobin.

I enjoyed a kale and strawberry smoothie this morning, I had lentil soup for lunch, and I have beef stew on the stove.

Go Team Hemoglobin!

It’s a Cancer Cook-off!

It’s a Cancer Cook-off!

I received some advice tonight that goes along perfectly with advice many of you have already given:  I need to ask for help BEFORE I need it, and I need to stock my freezer.

With chemo on the horizon, I’d like to stock my pantry and freezer with easy-to-prepare and portion meals of all varieties. So, I’m asking for help.

(This is very hard for me, by the way!)

There are a few ways that you can help, if you’d like.

1.  Reply to this post with some of your favorite, easy-to-portion, freezer-friendly recipes.  They can be anything from light soups or rice dishes for nauseous days to flavorful foods for days when everything seems to taste the same.  Apparently garlic, basil, horseradish, ginger, and green chilies are good for this.  Also, cool or refreshing foods for when my mouth is sensitive or sore.

Those of you who have been through chemo, please share food hints and/or recipes you found helpful.  I’m also going to stock my pantry, so please suggest anything that I should have on hand.

2.  You can cook for me.  I’ve been advised to ask for foods that I can easily freeze and portion.   Please use disposable dishes because I may not get to it for awhile, and I may forget which dish is yours.  I’ve heard soups, casseroles, marinaded light meats, and rice dishes are good.  I’m also supposed to eat a lot of vegetables.  Apparently, food I love may seem awful, and food I currently dislike may seem great, so create and share whatever sounds good to you!

I can pick up food, and I welcome deliveries.  I’ll be in Lakewood/Golden Thursday evening, the Wheat Ridge area Friday evening, Denver Saturday afternoon, and the Littleton area Monday afternoon.  Yeah, pre-treatment preparations are giving me a lovely tour of Denver.  Rayan works downtown, so he can pick something up in that area after work.

3. You can cook with me.  A friend sent me a great cookbook: “The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen”.  I plan to bust out and freeze some recipes this coming Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.  I’ll be on Spring Break, so I can cook all day.  Anyone is welcome to join.  Bring extra takeaway dishes if you’d like to take some home.  Wine is obviously on the house for anyone cooking in my kitchen.

If you are unable to help out with food right now, but you would like to later, I know that I will probably make another food request as I get further into treatment.

Thank you all again and again for your support!!