How to Cook for a Chemo Patient

How to Cook for a Chemo Patient

 

 

 

 

By Chef Ryan Callahan

 

The scariest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life was be the caregiver for my mother while she went through cancer treatments.

 

Between the surgical reconstructions and the effects both short term and long term of chemotherapy, it was a hard and grueling battle the whole way. No amount of preparation or reading or support groups could have prepared me for what it is like to watch your loved one be torn apart, stitched back together, and then have a series of chemical bombs dropped on them.

 

With all that being said, there are many things that you can do to make your loved ones battle with cancer easier for both of you and improve their quality of life in the process. The aspect of what I focus on is the cooking and eating portion of caregiver life.

 

Eating is not just an important part of existing, it is also an extremely important part of feeling happy and healthy. During chemotherapy, my mother had extreme difficulty dealing with loss of appetite, metallic tastes, mouth sores, and nausea.

 

Here are a few tips to help get you started:

 

Cooking for Chemo Tip #1: Hydration

 

 

Ingest lots of fluids! Dehydration is no joke! Water regulates many functions of your body including digestion, muscle movement, and taste. There are many ways to get water into your body: sports drinks, soup, vegetables, fruits, food in general, or even drinking plain old water.

As a caregiver, it is our responsibility to monitor and regulate fluid intake. I would suggest keeping a food and water log. You are also responsible for encouraging your loved one to drink and eat more even when they don’t want to. I frequently encouraged my mom by saying, “Just one more bite. Just one more sip.”

 

 

Cooking for Chemo Tip #2: Roundness of Flavor

 

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In short, this is the key to cooking for people going through chemotherapy. Roundness of Flavor is my personal culinary theory that encompasses every aspect of the actual tasting experience.

When you eat food, you experience food with all of your senses not just your mouth. Roundness of Flavor teaches you to find all five flavors (salty, savory, spicy, sour and sweet) and sensory experiences (touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing) and bring them into balance.

When your sense of taste and smell come out of balance, you have to find which aspect of the sense has come out of balance and compensate when you cook to bring balance back to your body.

 

For example, if you are extra salt sensitive during chemo you will reduce the salt content of a meal, but increase the savory or spicy characteristics to bring balance to your dish.

 

Example:   This McCormick Everyday Essentials Variety Pack is a convenient kitchen staple

 

As a caregiver, it is your responsibility to learn what flavors work for your loved one and what flavors do not and adjust accordingly. By catering your cooking to their specific taste and flavor changes, you will be able to help them eat more. This will also increase their quality of life.

 

 

 

Cooking for Chemo Tip #3: Palate Cleansing

 

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Palate Cleansing is a technique where you utilize a subtle and almost imperceptible sour note in your cooking to create the illusion of lightness inside of a dish.

Palate Cleansing is important because as chemotherapy side-effects become progressively stronger, chemo patients tend to have increasingly strong tastes of metal inside of their mouth. This metallic taste can become so strong that sometimes your loved ones will lose the ability to taste anything but metal.

Palate Cleansing is an easy-to-use cooking technique for waking up those taste buds and clearing out that metallic taste from your mouth. Palate Cleansing is also a great way to make heavier foods feel light in your mouth, allowing you to eat more nutrient dense dishes without feeling ill or disgusted while you eat them.

Simply add 1-2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar to your meal as you are cooking it. Sour flavors should always be followed by equal parts sugar. Adding sugar after sour allows you to mask the actual sour flavor and smell of the vinegar while still allowing it to work its magic to rid your mouth of metallic tastes.

Remember, that is 1-2 tablespoons per entire dish not per serving. You can also cleanse your palate with fresh palate cleansing herbs like flat-leaf parsley, basil, and cilantro.

 

 

Cooking for Chemo Tip #4: Sanitation

 

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If you prefer not to mix your own solution, try Clorox Bleach Floral Scent Kitchen Cleaner. I use this cleaner and find it more convenient and pleasant to use than a straight bleach and water combination.

Sanitation is the act of keeping your house, home, kitchen, and work space clean and disinfected from hazardous bacteria, viruses, and chemical contaminates.

The easiest way to ensure that your space is sanitized is by creating a bleach and water sanitizing solution.

The typical recipe is one tablespoon of bleach to one gallon of water. This is the cheapest and most cost effective way to sanitize any hard, non-porous surface. Because bleach comes in varying concentrations, check the back of bottle for each brands specific sanitizing recipe. What you want to do is make sure to clean and then wipe down every kitchen surface with this sanitizing solution before and after cooking.

Cross-contamination is the most common (but easiest to prevent) cause of food poisoning.

A perfect example of cross-contamination would be cutting chicken on a cutting board, not sanitizing, then chopping a salad on that same cutting board.

That is a guaranteed way to give your loved one food poisoning, which will bring along a whole host of additional problems.

 

 

Food Temperature

 

When we store food, we want to make sure that our refrigerator is at 40 degrees or lower and that our freezer is at 0 degrees. This will ensure minimal bacterial growth during the storage period.

The next thing is need to consider as far as temperature is concerned is the proper temperature to which foods are cooked. What this means for you is that you are going to need to get a food thermometer and take the temperature of all food before you serve it.

 

 

 

 

As a caregiver, you want to ensure that all foods are cooked to the well done temperature before serving.

By ensuring your food is cooked to proper temperature, it does two things:

1) It kills any harmful bacteria in the food and

2) Makes the food much easier to digest.

 

 

 

 

 

While being a caregiver can be scary, it truly is a rewarding experience. But, to be truly successful as a caregiver you will have to learn new skills and new information that you never thought that you would have to learn. The most important of these skills, is learning the difference between cooking and cooking for chemotherapy.

 

By Chef Ryan Callahan

 

 

 

Chef Ryan Callahan is a culinary industry veteran with over 15 years of hands on culinary experience.

 

 

 

Chef Ryan’s cookbook, Cooking for Chemo …and After!, is a 2016 Gourmand Award winning cookbook in the Health and Nutrition category.

 

 

His cookbook was created after spending a year as his mother’s caregiver while she went through cancer treatments.

 

 

 

Thoughts, questions, tips?  Feel free to comment below.

 

 

 

 

 

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Vitamin B17 – Laetrile Cancer Treatment

Vitamin B17 – Laetrile Cancer Treatment

 

 

 

Laetrile (also called amygdalin or Vitamin B17) therapy is one of the most popular and best known alternative cancer treatments. It is very simple to use and is very effective if used in high enough doses and if the product is of high quality and if it is combined with an effective cancer diet and key supplements (in other words, you need to do your homework to maximize its benefits).

 

Laetrile works by targeting and killing cancer cells and building the immune system to fend off future outbreaks of cancer. It uses two different methods for killing cancer cells. It involves a strict diet (as do all cancer treatments) and several supplements.

 

 

The Theory

 

When the laetrile compound molecule comes across a cancer cell, it is broken down into 2 molecules of glucose, 1 molecule of hydrogen cyanide and 1 molecule of benzaldehyde. In the early days of laetrile research it was assumed that the hydrogen cyanide molecule was the major cancer cell killing molecule, but now it is known that it is the benzaldehyde molecule that is by far the major reason the cancer cell is killed.

 

Laetrile therapy takes some time to work;  in spite of the marvelous design of the laetrile molecule,  the molecule happens to chemically react with the enzyme of a non-cancerous cell (i.e. rhodanese), before it reacts with the enzyme of a cancerous cell (beta-glucosidase), the rhodanese will break apart the laetrile molecule in such a way that it can no longer kill a cancer cell. Thus you have to take enough laetrile molecules, over a long enough time, that enough laetrile molecules coincidentally (as far as we know) hits all of the cancer cells first.

 

 

RecommendedSecond Opinion – Laetrile at Sloan-Kettering

Second Opinion: Laetrile At Sloan-Kettering

 


The Benefits of Laetrile

 

 

1. May Help Protect Against Cancer

 

Some studies show that vitamin B17 is beneficial in avoiding cancer and keeping the spread of existing cancer cells to a minimum.  While many practitioners believe that vitamin B17 laetrile is a very good cancer treatment, most agree that it shouldn’t be the primary cancer treatment for any patient — instead, they recommend that it be used as an effective add-on supplement.

 

Vitamin B17, specifically in the form of D-amygdalin, may help with the regression and growth of cancerous cells and tumors because it exhibits selective killing effects on mutated cells, also called apoptosis. Apoptosis is a mechanism of “programmed cell death” and considered an important part of cancer treatment. Vitamin B17 compounds have the important ability to kill cancer cells more readily than killing normal, healthy cells.

 

In a study by the Department of Physiology at Kyung Hee University in South Korea, when amygdalin extract was combined with cancerous human prostate cells, the extract helped significantly induce apotosis in the prostate cancer cells. The researchers conclude that amygdalin may offer a valuable, natural option for treating prostate cancer.

 

Other animal studies show that vitamin B17 amygdalin is effective at killing cancerous bladder and brain cells under certain conditions, especially when combined with other antibody-enzyme complexes.

 

There still isn’t agreement in the medical community at this time as to whether vitamin B17 should be used as an anti-cancer treatment.

 

Recommended: Doctored Results – The Suppression of Laetrile at Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research 

 

2. Boosts Immunity

 

Vitamin B17 contains special properties that slow down the spread of illness throughout the body by killing harmful cells, but the exact way that vitamin B17 does this isn’t well-understood.

 

A study published in the International Journal of Radiation and Biology found that vitamin B17 amygdalin stimulated the immune system by causing a statistically significant increase in the ability of a patient’s white blood cells to attack harmful cells. 

 

One theory of vitamin B17’s effects suggests that transformation of normal cells into dangerous cells that can cause disease is normally prevented by beneficial enzymes produced within the pancreas, so vitamin B17 may help increase the production of pancreatic enzymes that destroy harmful properties within the body.

 

Vitamin B17 is also thought to help the body experience enhanced detox effects by supporting liver function. This boosts immune function by ridding the body of toxins, malignant cells and other potentially harmful substances before they cause illness or serious chronic diseases.

Another explanation of vitamin B17 mechanisms is that when vitamin B17 releases cyanide, it increases the acid content of tumors and leads to the destruction of harmful cells within the tumors, arresting their growth.

 

 

3. Reduces Pain

 

In a case series published in 1962, when patients were treated with a wide range of doses of intravenous vitamin B17 laetrile, pain relief was the primary benefit reported. Some of the patients’ responses included decreased adenopathy (swollen lymph nodes) and decreased tumor size.

 

However, patients weren’t followed long term to determine whether or not the benefits continued after treatment stopped, so it’s hard to tell whether vitamin B17 could act as a natural pain reliever for other conditions, such as arthritis.

 

 

4. Lowers High Blood Pressure

 

Vitamin B17 may cause a low blood pressure reaction due to formation of thiocyanate, a powerful blood pressurelowering agent. However, it’s unknown if this is an effective treatment long-term or if the effects are mostly temporary.

 

Once metabolized, vitamin B17 causes enzyme beta-glucosidase production that interacts with intestinal bacteria to detox the body and lower blood pressure. This normally isn’t a danger for most people and may be beneficial for some, but it’s important not to use vitamin B17 in this way if you already take blood pressure-lowering medication.

 

If you have any existing heart issues that could become complicated if you experienced a sudden drop in blood pressure, you should avoid taking vitamin B17.

 

 

Best Sources of Vitamin B17

 

Apricot kernels and raw bitter almonds are most commonly used to create an extract form of vitamin B17.

Almost all seeds and kernels from various types of fruits contain vitamin B17, such as apple seeds and pear seeds. Beans and certain whole grains also contain vitamin B17.

The exact amount of vitamin B17 within foods is not well-known, and levels are thought to vary widely within a food depending on where it’s grown, the quality of the soil and how fresh it is.

According to the Vitamin B17 Organization, these are some of the highest sources of absorbable vitamin B17:

 

Apricots (kernels/seeds)

Seeds from other fruits like apples, cherries, peaches, prunes, plums, pears

Lima beans

Fava Beans

Wheatgrass

Almonds

Raspberries

Elderberries

Strawberries

Blackberries

Blueberries

Buckwheat

Sorghum

Barley

Millet

Cashews

Macadamia nuts 

Bean sprouts

Bamboo shoots

 

 

Vitamin B17 Supplements

 

 

Although it was not approved for treatment by the FDA, doctors like John A. Richardson M.D. began using it “illegally” to treat patients at his clinic in San Francisco, and it was working remarkably better than orthodox treatments.

His success with laetrile is documented in Laetrile Case Histories: The Richardson Cancer Clinic Experience by John A. Richardson M.D. and Patricia Irving Griffin, R.N. However the team was later was forced to downplay the overall benefits of B-7 when held up against conventional cancer treatments.

The FDA then came out hard in its attack on Laetrile. The FDA considers Laetrile an unapproved form of treatment and ‘illegal’ for a practitioner to administer, therefore you cannot buy Laetrile in the US, though you can buy B17 / amygdalin in supplement form.

Vitamin B17, or laetrile extract, can be administered orally as a pill, or it can be given by injections (intravenous or intramuscular). Most often vitamin B17 is given intravenously for a short period of time and then followed up with lower doses of oral tablets for maintenance therapy.

In the medical community, vitamin B17 injections are usually used to help prevent or treat cancer, although these are extremely expensive, costing thousands of dollars for only a few months of treatment. Vitamin B17 injections are given to patients already undergoing chemotherapy treatments in some cases because they help offset symptoms of chemotherapy and prevent cancer reoccurrence.

Because the FDA made the purchase of vitamin B17 laetrile supplements illegal and almost impossible to obtain, many people choose to buy extracts or tablets over the Internet.

A popular way to consume vitamin B17 is eating apricot kernels. In the middle of an apricot, or other fruit seeds like a peach pit or apple seed, there is a hard shell that can be broken into. Once broken, a small seed/kernel in the middle is found that looks something like a small almond — this is the part of the fruit that’s naturally very high in vitamin B17.

 Experts usually recommend eating 25–40 kernels per day for disease prevention or about 16 kernels and up for maintenance.

 

 

 

Recommended Intake of Vitamin B17

 

At this time, there is no established daily value of vitamin B17 from the USDA. However, many physicians specializing in cancer treatment use vitamin B17 (or laetrile) in relatively high doses without patients commonly experiencing side effects.

 

Vitamin B17 isn’t used by many people who are relatively healthy and not suffering from a serious condition like cancer, so it’s hard to establish what the best preventative dose might be without more evidence or research.

 

Currently, the administration, schedules and the length of treatment with vitamin B17 vary widely depending on the patient’s specific condition and the practitioner prescribing it. Part of the trouble determining exactly how and how much vitamin B17 can be beneficial is that much of the research using vitamin B17 took place in the 1970s and ’80s but was discontinued since the ban in the 1980s.

 

Vitamin B17 laetrile (or amygdalin) is often taken as part of a larger therapy protocol that includes a specific diet with high doses of immune-boosting vitamins. Although no standard treatment plan exists, injecting vitamin B17 into a vein each day for two–three weeks is a commonly used method, followed by oral vitamin B17 tablets in smaller doses. Vitamin B17 extract is also used in enemas and treatments that can be directly applied to the skin.

 

Vitamin B17, in the form of amygdalin, given intravenously at up to 4.5 grams a day produced no clinical or laboratory evidence of toxic reactions, according to one report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.  Other studies show similar results and only report cases of toxicity when very high doses were given, causing cyanide poisoning.

 

 

Vitamin B17 Side Effects and Interactions

 

Many cases show that vitamin B17 is usually well-tolerated and doesn’t cause toxicity or harm, but some people experience side effects associated with symptoms of cyanide poisoning. Cyanide is a neurotoxin that causes a range of side effects, including nausea and vomiting, headaches, dizziness, discoloration of the skin resulting from oxygen-deprived hemoglobin in the blood, liver damage, abnormally low blood pressure, mental confusion, and even death.

 

A couple of serious warnings to keep in mind regarding interactions of vitamin B17 include the fact that it can lower blood pressure drastically in some cases and also cause blood thinning. So it should never be used with other blood pressure medications or prescriptions known to thin blood. It’s also not recommended to take vitamin B17 with probiotics because probiotics may enhance the effects of cyanide and lead to cyanide poisoning in some rare cases.

 

 

Thanks for visiting and reading … I hope this article provided some helpful ideas.  I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

 

 

 

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Cancer and Hair Loss

Cancer and Hair Loss

 

 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Cancer and Hair Loss

 

 

How can I prepare for my impending hair loss?

 

Each have their own way of coping and preparing.  Many cancer patients will cut their hair and wear it in a shorter style a few weeks before they lose their hair. This helps to make the hair loss a bit less traumatic as and will also make the hair loss easier to manage when it begins to happen.

Many find that by shaving their head just before their hair loss happens, or when it starts to come out, that they regain a sense of control over the situation.

This also eliminates the trauma of hair falling out over a period of days. Most chemotherapy patients find that they gain peace of mind by being prepared and proactively shopping for head wear and wigs before their hair loss happens.

 

Others decide to forgo hats and wigs altogether and go bald.

 

 

No matter what you decide, having something warm for your head in the evenings is a must.  Also, considering sun protection is essential.   Again, the process is as unique as you are so go with what feels right for you.

 

 

Will I lose my eyebrows and eyelashes, too?

Every person reacts differently to treatments. It is common to not only lose scalp hair but also the hair on the rest of your body. This includes eyebrows and eyelashes. There are several options for replacing your eyebrows and eyelashes.

 

 

How long after chemotherapy will it take for my hair to fall out?

Drugs used during chemotherapy treat cancer by attacking the cancer causing cells in a patient’s body. Unfortunately, these drugs can also attack hair growth cells as well. Whether or not you experience hair loss during chemotherapy depends on the type of treatment, medication, and dosage you receive.

 

Most chemotherapy patients report losing their hair approximately 2-4 weeks after starting treatment.

Hair may come out in clumps or in single strands, all at once or gradually.  You may notice loose hair on your pillow, in your hair brush or shower drain.

If your hair falls out a lot at night, consider a sleep cap for for comfort and to catch the hair. A sleep cap can also help with the tenderness that chemotherapy treatments may also cause.

 

 

 

 

 

Does everyone who undergoes chemotherapy lose their hair?

No. Some chemotherapy drugs are more likely to cause hair loss.  Others merely cause thinning of the hair. Others may not cause hair loss at all.

Fortunately, in most cases, hair loss from chemotherapy is temporary. Consult with your doctor to determine the likelihood of hair loss in your particular situation.

 

 

How do I take care of my bald scalp?

It is very important to protect your skin during treatments. Your scalp will be especially sensitive to burning without the protection your hair provides. Apply a high quality full spectrum sunscreen, such as Elta Block, before exposing your scalp to the sun.

 

 

Alra Mild Conditioning Shampoo
 

 

Your skin can become dry during treatments. Wash your scalp using a gentle shampoo, such as Alra Shampoo.

 

As your hair begins to come back in, it may be brittle or dry. You will want to continue using the gentle shampoo in order to keep the hair nourished and encourage continued growth as your hair comes back in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How will my hair loss affect my daily life?

 

Psychological Affects:

Because the causes for hair loss vary greatly, almost anyone can be affected by it. While hair loss is not a specifically medically serious condition, it can have a significant psychological impact on an individual.

Some people experience a wide range of emotions during and following hair loss. These emotions can include anger, depression, sadness and fear. They can also affect friends and family members.

 

 

Often, wearing a head cover, hat or hairpiece can help to quell some of the negative emotions associated with hair loss by making the wearer less self-conscious of the physical affects of their condition.

 

 

 

Physical Affects:

Additionally, there may be multiple physical affects of hair loss to deal with on a daily basis.

 

 

Common physical affects of hair loss include:

 

Cold Head: Most of a person’s body heat is lost through the top of the head and scalp. This is especially true at night when the body is at rest. However, when hair is covering the head, the heat does not escape as easily.

When experiencing hair loss, most people will find that their head gets cold rather quickly, especially at night.

I recommend wearing a sleep cap or covering of some sort at night to prevent chills and promote rest.

Cold weather can also cause discomfort to a bald or balding head. A soft, warm cap or beanie is great for blocking wind and snow.

 

Sunburned Scalp: A bare scalp receives more exposure to the elements than one with hair covering it. To prevent sunburns on the scalp, always apply a high SPF sunscreen before sun exposure. Most hats and head covers will protect your head from the sun, while also keeping the sun out of the eyes and off of the face.

 

What will my hair look like when it grows back in?

It is unique to every individual. Some find that it comes back in the same as it was before treatments. Others will find that it may grow back with a different texture, fullness or even a different color than it was before the treatments.

 

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These changes are usually temporary and most individuals find that their hair will return to its original color and texture after several months.

 

 

How do I take care of my hair when it comes back in?

Hair may take several weeks after finishing treatment to begin regrowth.

Hair after chemotherapy or radiation is often lacking protein and weak. Therefore it is recommended that you:

 

Use gentle, vitamin induced shampoos free of dyes (See Alra Shampoo)

Avoid harsh or strenuous brushing

Use a soft massaging brush

Avoid or use gentle settings when using hairdryers

 

 

Try this Semi Oval 100 Soft Boar Wood Handle For Very Fine Hair is very gentle To The scalp. The soft bristle is specially designed for fine thin hair and balding men or women.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Losing your hair as part of illness or chemotherapy can be upsetting.  Being kind to yourself, protecting your scalp and finding an attractive head covering (if you wish) can help.

 

 

 

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