Lu’s 5 Tips for Cooking for Someone with Cancer
Hi Carley’s Angels Family! I’m Lyndsay; Holistic Chef, Certified Nutritional Practitioner and owner of Holistic Lu – a private chef company operating in the GTA.
I am also lucky enough to have been one of Carley’s best friends and am honoured to be able to work with Carley’s Angels as an Integrative Cancer Care Expert.
Today I’m here to share with you some simple tips and tricks for cooking for someone going through cancer treatment.
As many of you know, cancer treatment is difficult for many reasons; it’s mentally and physically draining and can feel like a marathon of hospital visits and appointments. Although chemotherapy and radiation are incredible, lifesaving treatments they do come with their own set of side effects; including, but not limited to weight loss, malnutrition, poor appetite, increased nutrient needs, impaired digestion, taste changes, and nausea.
Because of these symptoms, it is so important for anyone undergoing these treatments to be nourished properly so that they have the energy, strength and mental clarity to kick cancer’s ass!
One of the trickier parts of going through treatment, and supporting a loved one through treatment, is figuring out what to feed them. How to properly nourish them? How to keep weight on? How to manage a decrease in appetite? These are some of the common questions that patients and caregivers ask. These are some of the questions I aim to answer here with my tips and tricks for cooking for someone with cancer!
- Consume Small Portions, Often
A decrease in appetite can make it feel nearly impossible for someone going through treatment to consume an entire meal, even though their body actually needs MORE nutrients to keep up with the physical demands of treatment. This makes it so important for them to eat small meals more frequently; both to meet their nutrient requirements, and to maintain a healthy weight.
- Consume Easily Digestible Foods
Cancer treatments are taxing on the body and can impair and/or slow down the digestive system, making it difficult for people to break down food and absorb the nutrients they need. This combined with the increased nutrient needs in cancer patients makes it super important for anyone undergoing treatment to consume foods that are easy to digest. Think oatmeal, soups, smoothies, fruits, and well-cooked vegetables.
- Incorporate Healthy Sources of Fat
Healthy fats are not only a great source of nourishing calories, but also provide great anti-inflammatory benefits for the body. They are an important aspect of any diet, but particularly important during treatment, when trying to maintain a healthy weight. Some of my favourite sources include avocado, olives, hemp seeds, olive oil, nuts, and seeds.
- Consume Vitamin C
Vitamin C is an extremely powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants are compounds in the body that work to repair damage to cells caused by free radicals which can contribute to many illnesses as well as aging. Vitamin C also works, as many of us know to boost the immune system. Sources of vitamin C include citrus fruit, bell peppers, broccoli, and pineapple.
- Eat your Antioxidants
Vitamin C is a major antioxidant, but it’s not the only one out there! To get the full benefits of antioxidants, include foods like berries, green tea, kale, beets, spinach, and dark chocolate.
One of my favourite ways to put each of these tips into practice, especially as the weather is finally warming up, is to make a smoothie. I’ve included here one of my favourite, go-to smoothie recipes for you all to try!
Tropical Summer Smoothie
2 cups of coconut water
½ cup pineapple
½ cup spinach, packed
2 Tbsp hemp seeds
2 Tbsp fresh mint
1” knob fresh ginger, peeled
1 tsp fresh lime juice
Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender, blending until completely smooth.
I hope these tips and tricks have been helpful, and that you remember: small portions, easily digestible food, high-quality fats, vitamin C and antioxidants are the recipe for success throughout cancer treatment! And don’t forget; nourishing yourself is just as important as feeding your loved ones!
In good health,
Carley’s Angels is working to unite traditional and holistic cancer care in hospitals. For more information on how we are doing that click here. And click here to donate or to get involved.