To review, my premise is that myeloma patients should eat exceptionally well and exercise regularly, not so much to fight our cancer, but to keep our bodies strong enough to withstand the continual assault of induction, stem cell transplant(s), consolidation and ongoing maintenance therapy that’s necessary to keep us alive.
I closed yesterday’s post this way:
Today I spoke to a great group of patients and caregivers in Clearwater, Florida. Someone asked me:
“Pat, you recommend that we keep our bodies strong and healthy so we can withstand chemotherapy. Can you give us specifics about how to do that?”
Great question! At the time, I simply suggested a few websites where members of the group could find information about good nutrition, including Danny Parker’s column on this site. But now I realize that isn’t good enough. So I would like to give a more complete answer here tomorrow. Hope that he’s reading!
Until then, feel good and keep smiling! Pat
So let’s dive-right-in.
Unlike our good friend, Danny, I’m not going to take the time to provide you with a lot of links and site my work. Instead, I would like to share 15 nutritional rules l try and follow to help keep my body strong and moving.
Although many nutritionists that specialize in anti-cancer nutrition encourage eating a vegetarian diet, that may not be the best route to go for a myeloma patient.
I was a vegetarian for over a decade before my diagnosis. But after I began treatment, I sought advice from a well known natureopathic M.D. in the Twin Cities. She advised to I eat red meat (free-range beef or bison) three times a week–and add liver to my diet twice a week.
The reason: To try and provide my bone marrow with the protein and nutrients it needs to recover quickly following chemotherapy.
I never did eat that much red meat or liver. But the principle seems to be a good one.
Here are 15 nutritional guidelines I’m following now:
1) Eat as many raw vegetables as I can
2) Add natural antioxidants like oregano, parsley and basil, and use olive oil when I cook
3) Eat a lot of fresh or frozen berries
4) Substitute spinach and kale for iceberg lettuce
5) Make a special effort to eat brightly colored peppers; they are full of antioxidants
6) Mushrooms are great for your immune system. I try and eat a wide variety of different types
7) Snack on raw nuts constantly. You can find a great walnut, almond, cashew, hazelnut and pistachio mix at Target. Have you ever wondered why raw nuts cost more than roasted? The raw mix costs $2 more than the same size container of roasted!
8) Milled flax seed is an inexpensive nutritional powerhouse! I add it to all of my smoothies and sprinkle it on my high protein, low carb cereal mix
9) Yes, I try and avoid sugar. AND IT ISN’T EASY!
10) Supplement my diet daily by drinking a nutritionally enhanced protein drink
11) I do eat meat most days, the leaner the better! That may include beef, bison, turkey, chicken and/or fish
12) Avoid processed flour. That means most commercially made bread and other baked goods
13) I try and buy organic meat and vegetables, but I’m not obsessed with it. When shopping, I place freshness and a dark, healthy color over buying organics for organics sake
14) Substitute soy milk for regular milk whenever possible, and start most mornings with 2 brown eggs. A great source of protein and low cal, too!
15) One of my most important goals: Eat 10-12 servings of vegetables each and every day
This may seem like a long list, but I’ve internalized it and don’t really give these things a second thought. Eating healthy is a habit. And I’m pretty good about following these nutritional guidelines.
I think they help me keep my body healthy and strong–considering the perpetual pounding it takes from ongoing chemotherapy. Maybe adding a few of these suggestions to your diet can help you, too!
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat