Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Book Recommendation - The Essential Cancer Treatment Nutrition Guide & Cookbook

I have had many goals since I quit working, an entire two weeks ago now.  I have opened my zazzle store and try to add a new product each day.  I started the radio/podcast, which is to give people a place to discuss cancer and share experiences.  A few of you know I am fond of the greyhound breed of dog, and I have started proceedings to get a new dog - this time a puppy!  I am working on an ebook for sale, as well as considering writing a newsletter for free.

I am quite worried that everybody will get sick of me, but a girl's gotta stay busy.

You'll notice that nowhere on that list is housecleaning.  Just sayin'.

One of the items on my bucket list is to eat healthy.  Post c-diff, I was on a very restricted diet.  Only white flour, no fiber, no fruit or vegetables, nothing healthy.  During that time, when I was able to eat again,  I got hooked on candy, cupcakes,  more candy and ice cream.   When my bowels recovered, my taste-buds did not.  I have turned into an evil sugar eater - something I never was before.  It's quite strange because I was Ms. Vegetable USA.  Now I've developed a tooth so sweet they sparkle with the sugar embedded in them.  The odd part is I have no appetite at all, which is either due to the cancer or Abraxane, so when I feel like eating, I grab a cookie instead of something healthy.  I am pretty sure I could go days without eating and not even notice, unless there is candy in the room.

You all know how hard it is to eat at work, and I was always so busy, so I didn't.  Now that I'm home, I want to get back to eating healthier.  And, I have the perfect way to do it.

I was given The Essential Cancer Treatment Nutrition Gude & Cookbook to review.

It took me a while to open it and I'm very sorry it did, because I was missing out.  I suppose I had it in my head that this was an "eat right to cure cancer" book but I was wrong, it doesn't purport to cure anything, but it does have a wealth of information about eating right while being treated for cancer.  It has over 150 recipes, and helpfully, they are linked to side effects.  For example, if you are experiencing constipation or dehydration, you can find a recipe that will help with those symptoms.  And, if the recipe contains something that we cancer patients commonly have trouble with, at the bottom are substitutions.

For example, you are experiencing dehydration and constipation, so you may want to eat a Vegetable Tortellini Soup, but if you have a meat aversion, it tells you what substitutions you can make so you will still enjoy it.  I have a lot of food aversions right now and I find that incredibly helpful.

There are menu plans for specific problems.  There is an anti-diarrhea menu plan, a constipation menu plan, foods for anemia, for dry mouth - just about every problem we experience when undergoing cancer treatment, there is a way to eat to help control it.

The beginning of the book describes what can happens to your body on various treatments, such as fatigue and mouth sores, and explains why eating well can combat some of those side effects and give you restorative benefits.  Also included in the book are shopping lists, nutrient information,  foods to avoid, food safety and of course, a bunch of recipes.  Sprinkled throughout the book are "survivor wisdom." which are sayings from other cancer survivors that are oh, too true.

The recipes are not only easy, but delicious.  Some are unique, such as Curry Chickpea and Avocado Sandwich, and others are familiar, such as one-pot macaroni and cheese.  None are so difficult that they can't be made even by a tired cancer patient.  Like me.

Here is a recipe from the book so you can see for yourself.  I am having this one tonight:

Creamy Mashed Potato Casserole

Preheat oven to 350F (180C)
8 cup casserole dish, greased

6 large russet or yellow-fleshed potatoes (about 3 lbs/1.5 kg) (see tip)
4 oz light cream cheese, softened, cubed
3/4 cup hot milk (approx)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1/2 tsp paprika

1.  Peel potatoes and cut into 3 inch (7.5 cm) chunks.  Place in a large saucepan and add salted cold water to cover.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat and boil gently for 20 to 25 minutes or until fork-tender.  Drain well and return to saucepan. Place over low heat and dry, shaking pan, for 1 to 2 minutes.

2.  Press potatoes through a  food mill or ricer, or mash with potato masher or use an electric mixer at low speed until very smooth.  (Do not use a food processor or the potatoes turn to glue.)  Beat in cream cheese and milk until smooth, season with salt and nutmeg to taste.  Spread evenly in prepared casserole dish.

3.  In a small bowl, combine Cheddar cheese, bread crumbs and paprika.  Sprinkle evenly over potatoes.

4.  Bake, uncovered, in preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes or until top is golden and a knife inserted in center is hot to the touch.

Recommended For:
Low appetite
Sore mouth and tongue
Weight gain promotion

Bonus Features:
High protein
Prepare ahead

The type of potatoes used determines how fluffy your mashed potatoes will be.  The starchy russet, or baking, variety produces fluffy mashed potatoes.  Yellow-fleshed potatoes, like Yukon Gold, have a slightly butter taste and make delicious mashed potatoes with a creamier texture.  Regular white potatoes also make a  creamy puree, although not as flavorful.  New potatoes are not suitable for mashing as they don't have the starch content of storage potatoes.

This recipe should be adjusted for your symptoms. Follow the symptom-guide.  
For lactose intolerance:  Replace the milk with a lactose-free beverage, such as lactose-reduced milk or non-dairy milk (e.g.  soy milk or rice milk)
To encourage weight gain: Replace the milk with evaporated milk, half-and-half, cream or table cream. Use full-fat cream cheese rather than light.

Nutritional Analysis per Serving
Calories 299
Fat 7 g
Sodium 218 mg
Carbohydrate 48g
Fiber 4 g
Protein 12 g

I am given books to review frequently, and I am always honest about what I think. I really like this book and think it would be very valuable for any cancer patient, including a post-treatment survivor.  It is jam-packed with understandable information about nutrition for those of us with unique needs, and every recipe looks fantastic.  They are in the perfect range of easy-to-make yet tasty.

I highly recommend this book both as a gift for a cancer patient, or for yourself.

And, if I do start a newsletter, I will send out another recipe from the book!



  1. Hi Ann, thank you for that information. The link doesn't seem to be working for me - it keeps coming up with an error? And I say go for the newsletter! I'd read it!

  2. That book sounds awesome Ann! Thanks for sharing! I gotta get one so I can share with my chemo friends! You are such a wealth of information and I have a feeling you are going to use this time to enrich the lives of so many who need you and what you have learned. Can't wait to see a newsletter coming soon :)

  3. Sorry, fixed the link. Now you can see the book. Don't pay $100 bucks for it, I don't know what people are thinking putting prices like that on Amazon.

  4. Thanks for the great post, Ann! We love reading this blog and recommend it constantly!
    P.S. In the recipe above, you can replace the potatoes and some of the milk with steamed cauliflower! Sounds crazy, I know!


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