Recipes for Chemotherapy
One task I’ve been busy at during chemotherapy is building a set of recipes that are nourishing, tasty, and that don’t irritate. I have taken a few considerations into developing these recipes:
- including anti-angiogenetic foods (those that reduce the production of blood vessels, which feed tumors. See more at http://www.eattodefeatcancer.org/) .
- relying on organic vegetables to reduce exposure to pesticides, and organic dairy, eggs and meats to balance omega 3 and omega 6 ratios and curb inflammation.
- reducing the use of refined sugar
- making things that my kids will also eat
I will be adding to these regularly. I hope some of you will like them – even if you’re not in chemotherapy!
Soups have been a blessing during chemo. They are nourishing, filling, and don’t irritate the mouth.
Consumption of cruciferous vegetables has been shown to be linked to longer breast cancer survivorship. When you don’t feel like eating, it can be hard to get enough veggies. I found this soup to be very palatable, and it also offers variety because it is so easy to change up the ingredients.
- 3 cups of chopped green veggies – kale and/or broccoli work well
- 1 medium peeled potato, or 1 potato sized jerusalem artichoke cubed
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic if desired
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 5 cups water
- 1 tsp herbes de provence, or italian herb mix (you can sub basil)
- salt and pepper to taste
Sautee onion and garlic on med heat in a large saucepan or soup pot until onions are translucent. Add all other ingredients. Stir and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then turn heat down to low. Check occasionally and add water if needed. Let simmer for 10 minutes or until potato is soft. Puree.
Potato Leek Soup
- Thanks to my sister for bringing her delicious leek soup over and inspiring me to make some more!
- 3 cups leeks, sliced and washed
- 3 medium potatoes cut into cubes
- 2 carrots sliced
- 2 celery sticks sliced
- minced fresh herbs to taste (try rosemary, dill, or fresh fennel)
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 cup water or stock
- 3-4 cups milk (depending on the consistency you desire)
- Place all the vegetables in a large pot on the stove with the butter. Cook on med-high heat for several minutes until the butter has melted.
- Place the stock in the pot and cover with a lid. When it boils, turn heat down to low and simmer until potatoes are tender.
- Take pot off the burner. Add in 3 cups of milk. Blend (hand blenders are magic for this). Add more milk if necessary to reach desired consistency.
- Heat to warm, but avoid boiling.
Jim would call this miso stew – I call it “Stewp”. Whatever you call it, it’s a fast, healthy meal in a bowl, and my kids love it.
Ingredients (Many of which are optional – marked (O)):
- 3-5 dried shitake mushrooms
- 2 inch piece dried kombu seaweed (O)
- sliced fresh vegetables such as carrot, celery, kale, bok choi, nappa, cabbage, broccoli, etc. (O)
- 1/2 cup frozen corn, peas or peeled edamame (O)
- 1 cup cooked noodles such as soba, egg noodle, or udon (O)
- 2 inch piece of tofu cubed
- 1/4 cup miso paste
- 1 egg per person being served
- garnish such as sliced green onion or wakame seaweed (O)
- Fill a large saucepan with water and add shitake mushrooms and kombu. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes to make a stock.
- Add any raw sliced vegetables you are using and simmer until tender.
- Add any frozen vegetables you are using and bring back to a simmer. (If you have small children who don’t like soup hot – OR if you have mouth sores from chemo, add frozen veg directly to bowls just before serving; this will cool the soup down quickly.)
- Add in noodles and tofu.
- Skim 1/2 of liquid from the pot. Add miso paste to the liquid and work out lumps with a spoon. Pour mixture into pot. Do not boil – keep burner on low.
- Crack eggs directly into the pot. Put on a lid and poach them.
- Add garnish and serve with chopsticks and a spoon!
Last chemo cycle I was bothered more than usual by taste changes. Not only that but I found the texture of many foods completely off-putting. For a few days I was living on scrambled eggs, soups and smoothies, while tolerating a few crunchy vegetables. I was concerned about nutrition – one of my big campaigns has been to revise my diet to maximize phytochemical intake and create a strong “terrain” for healing. Jim and I have tweaked the recipes in this section to maintain nutrition as much as possible during periods of mouth changes.
Scrambled eggs with veggies (Serves family of 4).
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms (shitake, oyster, portabello, etc)
- 1 cup finely shredded leafy greens (cilantro, kale, spinach, leeks are some of my favourites)
- 6 Omega3 eggs (to preserve Omega3:Omega6 ratio and reduce inflammation in the body)
- a splash of milk (more milk = runnier eggs)
- 1 ripe avocado peeled and cut into small cubes
- salt to taste
- Put olive oil in an iron skillet, or other frying pan and heat on medium.
- Saute mushrooms until soft.
- Add shredded greens and wilt (about 2 minutes)
- Push veggies and mushrooms to the side of the pan and add in eggs. Scramble with a fork.
- When the eggs are almost done, mix veggies into them and add in avocado.
- Serve with whole wheat pita if your mouth won’t tolerate toast.
Using frozen bananas and berries in addition to the ice makes a soothing beverage for chemo throat burn. The protein powder makes it filling on days when you just can’t eat (of which I’ve had many.)
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 cup mixed frozen berries
- 1 cup yoghurt
- 1 scoop protein powder (preferably unsweetened – easy to find in bulk stores)
- 4-6 ice cubes (more ice makes a thinner smoothie)
- Combine ingredients
Note about juicers:
We have an industrial strength juicer that my sister bought for my birthday. It’s great because it extracts a lot of liquid and leaves the pulp very dry. Dry pulp = more juice for the ingredients you use. You can buy a cheaper juicer (my first was $40) but your produce costs will be higher over the long run, and it may not juice greens very well. If you’re planning on juicing every day as a long-term nutritional supplement, try to find a good juicer.
Note about juice:
Jim’s juice is different every day. While I am in chemo, he varies the ingredients depending on where I am in the cycle. I’ve been plagued with unpleasant taste changes during weeks 1 and 2 of the three-week cycle, so if it’s a particularly bad day, he tries to minimize the amount of a particular fruit or veg I’m finding hard to take. The key is using a small amount of a large number of organic (pesticide free) “anticancer” ( i.e. anti-inflamatory, immune boosting) foods. In time I’ll post some variations here, but the general recipe is below:
- 3 leaves kale
- 1 bunch of spinach (stalks, leaves and root) – or about 6 leaves
- 5 or 6 stems of cilantro
- 3 stems parsley
- 1 stalk celery
- 1 cm slice green or purple cabbage (omit or reduce if taste changes are affecting you)
- 1 apple
- 1 pear
- 1 cm slice melon (cantaloupe and watermelon are nice)
- 2 cm piece of ginger (omit if your mouth is sore)
- 1/2 lemon or 1 lime (omit if acid is bothering you)
- 1 med beet
- 4-5 med carrots
- Prep produce by washing and cutting off rinds and other unsavoury parts. (You don’t need to remove as much as if you were eating them – many seeds, stems and peels (e.g. lemon peel) can be juiced as long as they are clean)
- Juice greens first, fruit in the middle and beets and carrots last. Jim has found this order results in maximum extraction and a happier running juicer.
- Stir and serve immediately
NOTE: It is important to drink the juice within about 15 minutes of making it. Otherwise vitamins and phytochemicals break down and you end up drinking a sugary beverage without many nutrients.
The goal here was to devise recipes that had a lot of nutrition and still tasted okay. During the period where I had lost my taste buds, none of these would appeal, because of the rough textures, but they are great otherwise.
Great with soup! Makes 6-8 biscuits
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and prep baking sheets with parchment paper or lightly grease
- 1 cup spelt flour
- 1/2 cup coarse whole wheat flour (I use red fife organic flour)
- 1 cup large flake oatmeal
- 1 cup spelt flakes
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp Agave syrup (honey or maple syrup will do)
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup oil
- 1/2 cup milk or milk substitute
- Mix dry ingredients and wet separately.
- Add wet and dry together, mixing until uniformly wet.
- Use a soup spoon to measure batter out onto baking sheets.
- Bake for 10 min or until bottoms begin to brown.
Laura’s Damage Control Cookies
Although I have virtually cut out added sugar, my old sweet tooth sometimes rears its ugly head. These help. Recipe makes 36-48.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F and prep baking sheets with parchment paper.
- 1 cup butter melted, or oil as substitute
- 1 cup Agave syrup (or you could use maple syrup/honey)
- 1 egg
- 3 cups oats
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/3 cup cocoa
- 1 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional – I add these to the end of the batch for my kids so there are some with and some without chipits)
- Mix wet ingredients until they reach the consistency of butterscotch sauce.
- Mix dry ingredients and add to wet. Batter will be stiff.
- Use soup spoon (bigger cookies) or teaspoon (smaller cookies) to drop batter onto baking sheet.
- Bake for 10 minutes, or until raisins puff and tops of cookies look dry.