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


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


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



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.






You may also be interested in:

Dealing With Cancer Related Weight Loss (Cachexia)

An Over-Bed Table Improves Quality of Life

Vitamin B17 – Laetrile Cancer Treatment

Painkiller Induced Constipation (OIC)

Complete Guide to Cancer and Hair Loss

Best Nutrition Drinks for Seniors and Diabetics

Caregivers Need Sleep!

Shower Chairs and Bath Benches

Safety Grab Bars and Hand Rails for the Bathroom

Adjustable Beds – Benefits and Reviews

Choosing a Transport Chair

About Me

Create Your Own Blog

Book Review of “Our Dementia Diary”


Book Review of

“Our Dementia Diary”




Rachael and Irene were supposed to live a long and happy life, retire and travel the world. But a thief called Alzheimer’s visited in 2004 and began tearing apart the lives they had carefully built for a quarter century.

This is a remarkably honest story of the enduring love between two people coping with uncertainty and the eventual loneliness of losing a spouse.

The author, Rachael Dixey, professor at Leeds Beckett University copes by keeping a journal—a way to release her feelings. She ties these entries with “interpolations” to make sense of it all. She wonders if a more appropriate title might be Fifty Shades of Dementia.



Dixey manages to find strength amidst the tears to take care of herself and find the humor. She hires in-home caregivers for Irene while she works (for sanity). When Irene is hospitalized and then placed in a care home, she visits almost every day and soon realizes the toll it takes when Irene recognizes her and says, “I love you” and the next day, forgets and walks past her in the corridor.

During the nine-years, from Irene’s diagnosis to her passing, Rachael writes of the full range of emotions—from the love she and Irene shared to missing Irene, feeling lonely as a singleton, dating (nothing lasts but gives her strength to be stronger for Irene), and even contemplating Irene’s death. Through it all, she visits Irene regularly, cares for her, feeds her, and feels Irene in every room of their house.

She recounts with humor the folly of dealing with social services. Irene attends adult day services in a county that only covers healthcare and receives healthcare in a county that covers social services such as adult day care. After almost a year, they work it out where she feels assured of not losing their home. Meanwhile, she takes time off periodically. The time away gives her greater appreciation for what she and Irene had despite some funny (in hindsight) foibles during her travels.

She recounts the good times they had going on “epic walks,” camping, exploring the mountains, trees, and sunsets. She misses those quiet mornings together. She struggles to remember the bad unusual behaviors for five years before Irene’s diagnosis at age 57. Home movies help her see the beginnings of Irene’s inexplicable behaviors. She’s able to piece together those embarrassing outbursts when Irene would storm out of restaurants after finding something wrong with her meal. She recalls the desperate cries at home when Irene couldn’t find a piece of clothing she had worn for several days in a row (likely because Rachael removed it for washing). And yet, Irene’s heart-wrenching cry early on returns to her from time to time, “I don’t know who I am anymore. Please help me.”

Written by an author based in the UK gives us Americans a refreshing expression of care between partners. Her writing is characterized as informed humility. We gain greater awareness and knowledge of what it’s like to live with Alzheimer’s while feeling the angst and pain of losing her soulmate. Written by one of a gay couple gives us an endearing portrait of how love among LGBTs is no different than love among (dare I say, traditional?) male-female partners. Oftentimes, because of ongoing discrimination, the bond of their love seems stronger.

I’m glad she chose to write, Our Dementia Diary – Irene, Alzheimer’s and Me and that her and Irene’s story is being shared. The LGBT caregiver’s voice is one that needs to be heard.


Based on a review by Brenda Avadian, MA,  who serves as President of The Caregiver’s Voice.



More information from Amazon:


This is a love story from start to finish, Irene and Rachael’s. Based on the diaries of Rachael Dixey who looked after her civil partner Irene after she developed early onset Alzheimer’s disease, the book opens with the lines: Irene, Alzheimer’s and me – Alzheimer’s came between us. It does that, drives you and the love of your life apart, going your separate ways because you cannot follow.

That’s the story really, that’s it. The end. But it is also the beginning of the story, which shows how life can still be lived despite losing a life partner to dementia, and how to cope emotionally and practically with a disease that robs you of your loved one a thousand times before they die.



The story charts the daily decline and inexorable loss of Irene to dementia. With the dramatic deterioration in Irene’s health Rachael turns from lover and soul mate to career and, finally, single woman. Eventually, no longer able to cope with Irene at home, she makes the agonizing decision to allow Irene to be put in a care home. There she spent her last six years. When she died aged 66, the couple had spent half their life together.

This book is a powerful and moving account of the progression of dementia, and raises serious questions about how our society cares for those who develop the disease, especially at a young age and in the gay, lesbian community. It also deals with loss and grief, during the illness and afterwards. Their memoir will be invaluable for anyone affected by dementia, those working in mental health and those caring for a loved one with a life-changing and incurable illness.

Our Dementia Diary tells with brutal honesty of love, loss and life with Alzheimer’s and opens up discussion of how dementia can be handled better.




Also Recommended:

The 36-Hour Day, 5th Edition A Family Guide to Caring for People Who Have Alzheimer Disease, Related Dementias, and Memory Loss

This best seller is the definitive guide for people caring for someone with dementia. Now in a new and updated edition, this best-selling book features thoroughly revised chapters on the causes of dementia, managing the early stages of dementia, the prevention of dementia, and finding appropriate living arrangements for the person who has dementia when home care is no longer an option.




The author, Nancy L. Mace, M.A., is currently teaching dementia care internationally. She has been a consultant to the Office of Technology Assessment, U.S. Congress, and to the Alzheimer’s Association, and she was an assistant in psychiatry and coordinator of the T. Rowe and Eleanor Price Teaching Service at the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.  






You may also be interested in:

Book Review of “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?”

A Hospice Reflection

Preparing For Your Elderly Parent to Move In

Avoid or Slow Dementia By Building Cognitive Reserve

The MIND Diet for Fighting Dementia

First Signs of Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s, Elevated Cortisol and Your Genes

The #1 Alzheimer’s Care Tip

Preserving Alzheimer’s Patients’ Dignity

Stop Alzheimer’s Wandering

Amazon Echo Great Help for Dementia Patients

Caregivers Can Help With Aphasia

Dementia-Proof Cooking with Fire Avert

Convincing Your Parents to Transition to Assisted Living

FBI Warning: Seniors Getting Scammed!

Should You Get a Medical Alert System?

My Review of LifeStation Medical Alert System

Jitterbug Touch3 Smartphone Review

Dealing With Caregiver Anxiety

Managing Dementia Related Incontinence

About Me

Create Your Own Blog


Book Review of “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?”


A Caregiving Memoir You’ll Really Identify With




Roz Chast is a professional cartoonist and illustrator who captured her personal story about caring for her parents as they grew older and sicker. It’s titled Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? and was one of the New York Times’ 10 Best Books of 2014.


Chast was an only child, living in Connecticut, but cared for her parents who lived in Brooklyn. Her journey started in 2001 and ends with her mother’s death in 2009. Her father passed away in 2007.

Why this book is different


There are many books written by former caregivers and they’re each wonderful in their own way. What makes Roz Chast’s memoir stand out are her cartoon-style drawings.

They transmit her feelings so well, we can feel her annoyance when her father’s incessant chatter drives her up the wall. The pictures bring her anxiety-filled childhood to life and explains her (still) complicated relationship with her overbearing mother.

She perfectly captures the funny and crazy moments


While there is sadness, this book is far from depressing. It’s a real-life view of Chast’s caregiving journey. She remembers the funny things and crazy stories and captures them all in hilarious drawings.


roz chast

Image: The New Yorker

My favorite caregiving scenarios from the book


Chast is an excellent storyteller and entertains us with scenes that we’re all too familiar with:


  • Living an hour or two away, having her own children and husband, and just really not wanting to deal with her parents and their increasing needs.
  • Hating the ever-worsening grime and clutter in their apartment.
  • Trying to convince them (unsuccessfully) that they need more help in the house.
  • That first horrific episode of incontinence (the really messy kind)!
  • Those middle of the night phone calls when something happens…


I love this book and recommend it to any current or former caregiver as well as any family members. It doesn’t matter if you’re caring for a parent, spouse, relative, or friend, this book is beautifully illustrated, well-written, and a lighter way to get acquainted with caregiving and aging.

Check out the customer reviews of Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant? at Amazon

Excerpts From Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant?




Check out the customer reviews of Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant? at Amazon.


You may also be interested in:

A Hospice Reflection

Choosing a Medical Walker

Choosing a Transport Chair

Choosing a Walking Cane

The Difference Between Hospice and Palliative Care

Preparing For Your Elderly Parent to Move In

Convincing Your Parents to Transition to Assisted Living

Help for Anxiety in the Elderly

Assisted Living Questions and Answers

All About Hiring In-Home Help

Getting the Right Testing for Dementia

Be Aware of Bone Diseases in the Elderly

FBI Warning: Seniors Getting Scammed!

Elder Abuse Questions and Answers

Should You Get a Medical Alert System?

My Review of LifeStation Medical Alert System

Dealing With Caregiver Anxiety

The No. 1 Alzheimer’s Care Tip 

About Me

Create Your Own Blog



Why is “Heartburn No More” The #1 Best Selling Acid Reflux EBook?

Heartburn No More™ - Heartburn Cure Book


Why Is Heartburn No More The Best Selling Acid Reflux Book In Internet History, With Thousands Of Satisfied (And Now Heartburn Free) Users In 121 Countries Worldwide?


Heartburn No More is the #1 best selling acid reflux ebook in the history of the Internet for a reason…





Thousands of women and men of every age have completely cured their acid reflux condition and gained complete freedom from digestive disorders naturally, without drugs, antacids or “magic potions,” simply by using the clinically proven, scientifically-accurate step by step method found inside this amazing heartburn freedom guidebook.



Jeff Martin, a certified nutritionist, health consultant and author has not just pumped out yet another “anti-reflux program” into an already over-saturated market. Jeff’s Heartburn No More can be more accurately described as a “Acid Reflux Bible.” It is quite simply one of the most comprehensive, complete, and precise guides to acid reflux freedom you will ever read. What makes it so much different than other heartburn publications on the market?


Well first of all, it’s not just a “heartburn relief” program, it’s an acid reflux cure program. This may seem like semantics or wordplay at first, but once you’ve read just the first chapters, there will be no doubt in your mind that pursuing “heartburn relief” is not only the wrong goal, it may be the reason that you’ve failed to stop and maintain your ‘acid reflux free internal environment’. Heartburn No More shows you exactly why you should fix the internal problem that’s causing your heartburn, not just masking the symptoms or getting relief and then goes on to show you exactly how to do it.



Secondly, what makes Heartburn No More different is the amount of attention that is paid to each and every element required to achieve permanent freedom from acid reflux symptoms and from digestive disorders. Heartburn No More not only thoroughly discusses the lies, myths and fallacies surrounding a very confusing subject, it is simply the most detailed book about heartburn, GERD and Gastro Intestinal health ever written.


The Heartburn No More book is quite extensive (150 pages of rock solid content) which focuses on 100% natural acid reflux treatment. That means there aren’t recommendations for harsh prescription drugs with nasty side effects.


In the Heartburn No More core formula section (The 5 step system) – Nothing is held back. In this section, Jeff gives a detailed overview of each step, and then dives into the specifics in a perfect chronological order.


There are also outstanding charts and checklists which make it very easy to know where you are at in the program and follow it.


Because the Heartburn No More program is not a quick fix ‘fairy tale’ cure but a complete holistic solution aimed at eliminating the root cause of heartburn and digestive disorders (regardless of their severity) and ensure you will permanently be acid reflux-free, it does take work and persistence to complete. “The dictionary is the only place success comes before work” says Jeff, as he emphasizes the “no quick fix” philosophy behind the entire book.


If there is any drawback to the Heartburn No More ebook, it’s that it contains so much information, that some readers may find it a bit overwhelming. Those who are looking for a quick start type of acid reflux program, might be a bit intimated at first. The good part however, is that even these types of readers can feel confident and assured that it will be worth the effort because this will literally be the last book they ever have to buy on the subject.



Who will benefit most from Heartburn No More?


In the broadest sense, anyone and everyone who needs to cure their acid reflux and regain their natural inner balance will benefit from Heartburn No More. This ebook is honestly for everyone. Even people without heartburn. This is a total health rejuvenation program better than 98% of the nutrition and alternative health books on the market. In fact, the advice in this ebook is guaranteed to help you with any other health condition you might have, especially if you suffer from digestive disorders such as IBS, Leaky Gut Syndrome, bloating, chronic constipation, Hiatal Hernia, Yeast Infection and Candida Albicans overgrowth.


In terms of graphic design, Heartburn No More is a clean and professionally formatted PDF e-book. It is well organized and ideal for printing and reading in the comfort of your own home.


This impressive and unique publication has changed many lives and the hundreds of inspiring testimonials and success stories are found on the Heartburn No More website archives as proof.



The Bottom line


Anyone looking for a quick fix solution to GERD, anyone looking to be told fairy-tales, and anyone looking for a “magic bullet”, acid reflux pills, over the counters, heartburn freedom in 2 days hyped up programs should not waste his or her time with Heartburn No More.


On the other hand, anyone searching for the truth about acid reflux and digestive disorders and who is ready and willing to put in some work and make the lifestyle changes necessary to achieve acid reflux freedom, will find Heartburn No More to be one of the best investments they ever made in their lives. Click here to learn more about Jeff Martin’s Heartburn No More


Heartburn No More™ - Heartburn Cure Book

Heartburn No More is a Proven Drug Free Holistic System for Eliminating Acid Reflux and Heartburn


The Heartburn No More program is an original high quality product and one of the most comprehensive holistic acid reflux solutions I have come across in my research.


The Heartburn No More book contains over 180 pages of rock solid content and outlines never seen before clinically proven methods to cure and prevent acid reflux, and has a money-back guarantee.





You may also be interested in:

Heartburn and Acid Reflux Help

The Fat Loss Diet I Recommend

Type 2 Diabetes Guide

Guide to Blood Glucose Meters

Caregivers Need Sleep!

The Drunk Caregiver

Don’t Ignore Sleep Apnea

Easy Home First Aid Kit

About Me

Create Your Own Blog