Nourishing Body and Mind During Chemo

10 Tips for Eating During Chemotherapy

By Rebecca Katz

Though most people don't readily associate the words "chemo" and "food" (chemo can have the same effect as seeing a bunch of ants at a picnic), how someone eats during treatment can make all the difference in immediate and long-term health and well-being—it can even be a matter of survival. Food affects strength, endurance, metabolism, hydration, blood-sugar balance, mood, and our ability to weather emotional storms. Yet many side-effects of chemo—like nausea, mouth sores, and an altered sense of taste—make enjoying eating a challenge. As a chef and nutritionist who has worked with cancer patients on these issues for close to a decade, I've created some guidelines for how to stay well-nourished. I'm also a believer in harnessing the power of yum—food pleasure can and should be found during treatment—it just might not look like you expect.

Rebecca Katz MS, is the author of The Cancer Fighting Kitchen: Nourishing Big-Flavor Recipes for Cancer Treatment and Recovery, and One Bite at a Time: Nourishing Recipes for Cancer Survivors and their Friends (Second Edition). She is the Executive Chef for the Food as Medicine Training Program and Cancer Guides, sponsored by the Center for Mind Body Medicine, and is a visiting chef and nutrition educator at Commonweal's Cancer Help Program in Bolinas, California.

Rebecca lectures, teaches and consults at cancer centers around the country. She resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. Visit her on Facebook.

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