Chemotherapy: What To Eat When You Don’t Feel Like Eating
The side effects of chemotherapy that are commonly experienced can really make eating difficult. Nausea, vomiting, a furry tongue or metallic taste in the mouth, and mouth ulcers are just a few of the things people going through chemotherapy for breast cancer commonly deal with, all of which can really curb your appetite and make you feel like not eating. Another thing that is occurring is that the chemo drugs can kill the microvilli in the bowel, and that can create loss of appetite and other discomforts as well.
Here are some suggestions for what to eat when you don’t feel like eating. I have listed not only things you may enjoy eating, but also things that will help you to feel better again.
First of all, you might want to avoid highly spiced foods, fried foods, dairy products, and heavy food like pizza and pasta. Keep it light. Try these:
Juicing Vegetables and Fruits – When you don’t feel like eating, juicing vegetables and some small amount of fruits is one of the very best things you can do for yourself. The juices are filled with healing plant nutrients that go directly to your body’s cells, they require very little energy for your body to digest, they are easy to swallow, and you can customize your selection of vegetables and fruits to suit your own palate, so if you don’t like the first result, try try again! For loads of tips on juicing and what is best to juice, see my category of articles on the benefits of juicing for breast cancer.
Organic Vegetable Broth/Soups – Have one of your friends who likes to cook prepare this ahead of time for you. You could supply the organic produce, all they need to do is cook it up and put it into freezer containers for your use later. If you find that a chunky vegetable soup doesn’t work for you, just put it through your blender or food processor. All of the healthy nutrients will help you feel better quickly.
Ginger Mint Tea – Mint helps the digestion, soothes an upset stomach, cools the digestive tract If the peppermint tea (organic of course) in your shop seems too strong for you, just pour some boiling water over fresh peppermint leaves – use as many or as few as you need to suit your palate. Add a few slices of fresh peeled ginger – it is a natural appetite stimulant and helps a lot with nausea.
Green Smoothies – Excellent for an upset digestive tract. I would suggest avoiding dairy products in your smoothies, make them with organic almond or coconut milk. They offer pure nutrition, some necessary fiber for your digestive tract, they are quick and easy to make, and give you more energy, and are filling and will keep you hydrated. Drinking a green smoothie every day will provide you with all the vitamins you need, a much cheaper (and more natural) option than buying multivitamins.
Good Fats – Very important, because every cell in your body requires them. Be sure to include avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, chia seeds, freshly ground flaxseed and nut butters like cashew in your daily eating regimen. Keep away from fried foods, they are too heavy right now and won’t help you to feel better at all.
Salads – Some HATE the idea of salads when on chemotherapy, I was one of them. Even though I knew how good they were for me, I could not stomach the idea of all those raw veggies sitting there staring at me on the plate. So I juiced instead, and that was just fine. Luckily that feeling of hating salads didn’t continue past the chemotherapy! For much the same reason as juicing, though, try to include some raw vegetable salads into your daily meals – if need be, get your family to help you wash, peel, chop and prepare all the veggies ahead of time, placing them into glass containers or zipper bags for you to easily take later.
Hummus & Veggies – The health benefits of hummus are actually pretty significant. It helps with balancing blood sugar, it is high in protein, you can flavor it lots of different ways to suit yourself (fresh basil added is awesome), but mainly because of the anti-cancer benefits of chickpeas, which are full of lots of healthy phytochemicals. Freshly prepared hummus is so easy to make, give me a shout if you need the recipe.
Water – Drinking plenty of water is especially important when you’re going through chemotherapy, as one of the most common side effects of chemotherapy is damage to the kidneys. By flushing the kidneys with adequate water you help to prevent kidney damage.
Ginger, Ginseng, Swedish Bitters – These are all useful for stimulating the appetite and ginger also has some good anti-cancer and anti-nausea properties (see my page Diet and Cancer for more information).
Probiotics – Probiotics help to replace the good bacteria lost through chemotherapy, and they also boost the immune system, 70-80% of which resides in the intestines.
Spirulina and Wheatgrass – Spirulina is a form of micro-algae that is rich in minerals, vitamins, chlorophyll, healthy fats, iron and protein. Spirulina aids your immune system, helps your body to heal and cleanse and detox your body from the chemo drugs. Wheatgrass is similar in that it has many vitamins, minerals, trace elements, chlorophyll, but also selenium and laetrile, both of which are great cancer fighters. It boosts immunity, helps to keep the body oxygenated (and we know that cancer cells hate oxygen) and is nothing short of miraculous for health. Best taken in juice form (and yes, it does take some getting used to).
Meditation – When you REALLY don’t feel like eating, sitting quietly and clearing your mind of all the excess brain noise and chatter can help you overcome those “green moments” when nausea and negative thoughts threaten to take over. Give it a try, you will see what I mean. If you need help getting started, I’ve got a meditation course that’ll help you.
Please Keep Eating!
Everyone is different, and what works for one person may not necessarily work for another, but please persevere. Your body needs nutrition and you really DO need to keep eating to keep yourself strong. This feeling will pass and you will soon start feeling better.
And whatever you do, avoid (like the plague) those cans of Ensure, those meal replacement drinks that are recommended by nurses, hospitals, etc. In a single can of Ensure, you’ll be treated to sugar, bad carbs, GMOs, synthetic vitamins, maltodextrin, preservatives, fillers and chemicals you absolutely do not need in your body. They are about the farthest thing from nutrition that you can get.
I have some great recipes for super nutritious and easy to prepare food, see my page Cancer Blaster Recipes.
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