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Problems with Foods

Ann65's picture
Posts: 19
Joined: Jun 2012

I'm having a problem eating. I cannot tolerate tomatoes
and tomato base foods, cheese, sausages, hot dogs, hamburger, steaks, chicken, breads, and every day it seems to change. What I could eat today will probably not be good tomorrow.

I can eat fruits, some raw vegetables, drinks using Ensure and fruits with Splenda. But I'm feeling weak. Cannot tolerate the 'clear' ensure.

Any recommendations? I have 2 more chemo with an iron drip for the first 12 sessions. Then on to the next chemo kind. Help with ideas, please!

Posts: 43
Joined: Sep 2012

Hi Ann,

Sorry to hear you're having such a struggle, it's no wonder you're feeling so weak.

Please excuse my ignorance but am I correct in assuming Ensure is a supplement drink? My husband (who does weight training and needs lots of protein to build muscle) uses a product called Reflex. This can be made up into a drink with milk or water, or as my husband likes to do, added to porridge oats with fruit on top; this gives lots of high calorie, slow release energy.

I'm just about to startt chemo next week and my medics have said that Egg whites, legumes (lentil beans, chick peas, seeds, nuts, olive oil, fish oils, cold water fish (e.g. wild salmon), whole grains, cruciferious vegetagles (e.g. broccoli, cabbage), berries (e.g. strawberries, rasperries), pineapple and green tea are the best foods to be eating. I've heard figs are supposed to help with cancer prevention/reduction, but whether this is true or not, as a fruit I think they could add some variety to your diet if you're not already eating them. I know you can only eat a few raw veg, but I left them in the list for info' only and you may find you can go back to them at some point.

I'm sure you've got smoothies, juices and soups coming out of your ears but, have you considered adding starch to a simple soup to bulk it up? I quite often pour a 'soup sauce' over my rice which adds some variety and makes it more interesting.

Nuts are always a good snack (unsalted obviously healthier)but, have you tried adding some pine nuts to a pasta dish or salad? I know you can't tolerate tomatoes or cheese, but there's are lots of cheese alternatives made from soya or rice. They come in both slices, and sauces for cooking. This could be good alongside crackers as an alternative to bread too. I love crunchy peanut butter on crackers but it's not everyone's choice! I get bran crackers which are made purely from bran but there are loads of different types, so hopefully there'll be one to suit.

How about experimenting with different salad dressings to find one that suits. If you include lots of fresh (uncooked) spinach it will help with your iron intake and can be quite tasty with other fresh leaves e.g. rocket. I know alot of people can have a salad on its own but I feel somethings missing! Instead of having that piece of chicken or steak, have you tried some fresh mackerel? I never used to be a fan of fish but I found some freshly smoked mackerel in my local supermarket and found it has quite a 'meaty' taste.

I'm no culinary expert, as you can see, and I'm sure you'll receive lots better posts soon, but I hope I've given you a new suggestion or two.

I hope you're feeling back up to par very soon.

Eliza xxx

jamiegww's picture
Posts: 384
Joined: Dec 2009

Your chemo nurses might have some suggestions so don't hesitate to ask them. I've bought lots of "stuff" I hoped I could eat but ended up throwing it away. We don't realize how important our taste buds are until they get destroyed by chemo. I used to love eggs but now I can't even think of eating them without a piece of sausage for every bite. I found I can handle the noodles from chicken noodle soup with just a little broth mixed in. Nothing I used to eat really appeals to me anymore. I rely heavily on Boost nutritional drinks but only the vanilla flavor because chocolate doesn't work for me right now. Please don't give up........you just have to find what works for you right now. I'm sure others will have some better suggestions for you also.


Posts: 402
Joined: Nov 2010

I was told no "fresh, uncooked foods". I seemed to only want to eat pasta with some butter and garlic...that became my go-to food. I also liked salty things and ice cream. My onc said to eat whatever I wanted (not a good thing to tell a compulsive over-eater, especially when I was already feeling pretty sorry for myself at having bc). I used paper plates and plastic silverware. I couldn't tolerate lemonade or any fruit juices. And you are correct, each day was different as to what I wanted to eat.

Please check with your onc about the "raw" foods, I was told that because my immune system was compromised, they didn't want to chance me picking up some kind of bacteria.

Good luck,

Ann65's picture
Posts: 19
Joined: Jun 2012

I appreciate the ideas and any others that might come via this thread! Ann

Lynn Smith
Posts: 1265
Joined: Mar 2011

My oncologist told me not to drink Ensure.I wanted to TRY and gain some waight and she said don't drink that.It has alot of soy.I told her everything has soy,She said cookies etc OK but not Ensure which had higher amounts of soy.

I drink Fusion now but it doesn't put weight on you.

Lynn Smith

salls41's picture
Posts: 340
Joined: Apr 2012

What I liked or tolerated today, tasted totally different the next day. This not unusual. You just have to keep trying, I was the same with most of the foods you mentioned. I did like watermelon on a consistent basis and I developed a like of vanilla milkshakes. Baked potatoes worked well most of the time. I found that cool, not hot food was better in small amounts throughout the day. I started the day with 6 club crackers. Try using plastic spoons and forks.
Good luck, stay strong and stay hydrated :)

Posts: 579
Joined: Dec 2010

I could only eat plain Greek yogurt and fruit candy. Was told to take vitamin drinks or milk shakes. Went for the milk shakes. Lost a lot of weight then put a huge amount one when chemo finished down the line. Drink as much as you can, the main thing is to eat something to keep strength up sadly the last thing I wanted was raw or cooked veg. Fruit was ok. Your appetite will return.

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