How Can I Eat Healthy During Treatment?

My name is Ana and I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma almost two years ago. When I was receiving my treatments I was constantly doing research on what foods were good to prevent cancer and which ones I should avoid. Although I found that different sources gave me different responses I took notes. At my appointments I would ask my doctor: “Is there anything I should be eating or avoiding during treatment?” His answer was always the same “don’t consume uncooked meats (no sushi!) and don’t worry about supplements”, all I needed was my multivitamin.

I was told that my taste could change from some of the medicines and that some foods that I usually enjoy would become unappealing. So, while food still tasted good I should eat as much as I could. I did this especially while I would take my steroids, which killed my stomach. Luckily my taste didn’t change too much and I enjoyed eating during my treatment. But I still wanted to know what to eat and what not to eat.

While doing more research I found an article on Livestrong.com titled ‘Cancer Fighting Vegetables for Lymphoma’. I had found it! I had the answer and soon all I wanted to do was eat vegetables for Lymphoma: broccoli, greens, carrots, etc. My mom loves to cook so our meals are always fresh and home cooked. We began to read recipe books and found Kris Carr’s book Crazy Sexy Cancer. Kris Carr was diagnosed with a very rare cancer in her lungs and liver and has used nutrition and wellness to maintain healthy. Her diet is very strict and avoids all processed foods, dairy products and sugars. I couldn’t do it all the time since I constantly craved food. But I did follow her smoothies and juicing recipes since it was the perfect way to drink fruits and vegetables every morning.

Green juices and green smoothies became a ritual and my whole family was drinking them with me. We love them! Not only do they taste good, but they helped me take my gross steroids in the mornings and would help me get nutrients and vitamins.

The LLS has a special page dedicated to food and nutrition. I remember finding a phrase that guided me through my treatment and put me at peace that I was not going to find the food that cures cancer. “No diet, food or supplement is known to prevent, cause, treat or cure blood cancers. However, eating the right foods can make a difference in your health and how you feel.”

There is no set diet during treatment because everyone’s experience is different. But what we all have in common is that we all want to feel well. Eating anti-inflammatory fruits and vegetables and a balanced diet will help you feel better and can be mixed easily to make a delicious smoothie!

Here is my favorite smoothie recipe with lots of vitamins, fiber and anti-inflammatory fruits:

Serves 2

-2 cups of fresh spinach

-2 cups of water

-2 cups of mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)

-1 banana

You can add ice if you want and blend it all together!

-Written by Ana Hurtado, Boston Light The Night Walk walker and Hodgkin’s Lymphoma survivor.

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