I LOVE food. I love creating with food, I love talking about food, I take pictures of food. Last week I posted on Facebook that I missed eating kale and it solicited a bit of response so I thought I would post about the type of “diet” I’m on during treatment.
When I first met with my radiation oncologists they asked what my diet was like. I’ve always been a relatively clean eater – fresh whole foods, lots of whole grains, veggies and greens – anything to help aid in digestive health. Apparently this was a big no-no… they suggested I see a dietician… Me? A dietician? I just spent the last couple of years training myself to eat well. It’s ironic that some of the foods you eat to help fight cancer, you are recommended to not eat while you’re actually fighting cancer.
With the type of treatment I am going through I suffer side effects from both radiation and the chemotherapy drugs. Basically, in layman’s terms – radiation makes you go, chemo drugs make you not. It’s a barrel of monkeys each week from day to day, but my docs seem pretty happy with how I have been managing my side effects. My radiation treatment is more aggressive, as I have it 5 days a week so my diet is more focused on treating the radiation side effects. It’s important to listen to your body and control the different side effects you are feeling and managing them with what you eat each day. It’s so important to manage this during treatment because it can lead to long term effects including irritable bowel syndrome… not fun! It’s also so important to maintain a balanced diet during treatment because your body needs nutrients for maintaining weight, healing and repairing body tissue, while also keeping your immune system strong. Some days I can’t cook – either I’m feeling really nauseous, or I get a tingly sensation in my fingers, a common side effect of chemo that sometimes leaves me a little clumsy. Those days I’m thankful for a wide array of home delivery options available in the city 🙂
Another something interesting – antioxidants are bad to take while undergoing radiation therapy. Taking large amounts of supplements can reduce the effects of radiation treatment on cancer cells. In the same way antioxidants can protect normal cells, they can also protect cancer cells. I had to stop taking all my vitamins and supplements a week before I started treatment. That also helps make you feel sluggish during treatment. Naps are key.
Things I have to avoid or reduce during treatment: fibre, milk products, caffeine, spices, berries, beans, leafy greens, raw fish, coconut anything – basically things that go right through ya. Lucky for me its the season of comfort food. We’ve been playing in the kitchen making things like lactose free turkey pot pie & shepherd’s pie. I seem to be eating a lot of pasta and steamed rice. And my weird indulgence through treatment – mango. Don’t know why, but it seems to be my sweet indulgence these days.
The top 10 things I can’t wait to incorporate back into my diet post-treatment:
- Ty’s homemade hot sauce… so good on eggs!
- Avocados… I’m going to eat my weight in guacamole!
- Brown rice
- Dates stuffed with coconut oil. These are my lil workout energy treat… I miss them.
- Beans and Chick Peas