Healthy Eating During Chemotherapy
Cream of Fig and Banana
To prevent the banana from discoloring, you can sprinkle it with some lemon juice. If you do, add a tiny bit of extra honey to make sure the cream is sweet enough.
2 dried figs
2/3 cup live-cultured or soy yogurt
1/2–1 teaspoon honey
1/3 cup whipping cream or soy cream
2 small portions
Cut off the hard “stem” of the figs and peel the banana.
Whizz the figs and banana in a blender or food processor to a very fine puree. Add the yogurt and the honey and whizz for another minute.
Whip the cream in a big bowl. (Soya cream will not get as stiff as whipping cream.) Add the banana mixture and fold it into the cream.
Divide the cream between two small bowls or glasses.
Tip: The dried figs may be replaced by dates or prunes.
for a family of four: multiply the ingredients by four and serve as a dessert.
Cauliflower Cream with Chicken Patties
Cauliflower is rich in cancer-fighting nutrients, but it also releases a smell when it is cooked which can make chemo patients feel nauseous. One way to minimize the smell is to put unshelled walnuts or a slice of bread in the cooking water with the cauliflower. Alternatively, bake or steam it. Cooking cauliflower in an aluminum pot will intensify the unpleasant odor and turn it from creamy white to yellow; iron pots will turn it blue-green or brown.
5 small cauliflower florets
salt and pepper
3 sprigs of fresh parsley
1/2 slice wholewheat bread
1/4 cup finely chopped chicken
2 tablespoons light cream cheese
2 small portions
Cook the cauliflower in boiling water with a pinch of salt for about 8 minutes until soft. Drain well.
Chop the parsley very fine.
Whizz the bread with the parsley in a blender or food processor until it’s crumbs. Mix the chopped chicken with 2 tablespoons of the breadcrumb mixture, a pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper, and a tablespoon of cream cheese. Divide into six portions and shape them into patties.
Place the patties in a single layer in the top of a steamer pan over boiling water. Cover the pan. Steam for 3–4 minutes until done.
Add the hot cauliflower in the meantime to the rest of the breadcrumbs and whizz to a smooth cream. Add the rest of the parsley and the cream cheese. Season with salt and pepper and reheat. Put the patties and cauliflower, cream in two small bowls.
Tip: The chicken patties have a very soft and delicate texture, but if it is still too difficult to swallow the cooked patty, it may be whizzed in with the cauliflower. The chicken patties can also be cooked on a plate in the microwave; this will take a few minutes on full power.
for a family of four: 1 pound, 10 ounces cauliflower, 4 slices wholewheat bread, a small bunch of fresh parsley, 11/3 cups finely chopped chicken, 2/3 cup light cream cheese. mix the chicken with a quarter of the bread and the cream cheese. serve as a main course.
Jam Crêpes with Vanilla Sugar
For this recipe it is best to use jam made with 100% fruit. If not available, any other jam can be used provided it is not
2 tablespoons wholewheat flour
1/2 tablespoon vanilla sugar
pinch of salt
1/3 cup lowfat or soy milk
1 tablespoon whisked egg
splash of mild olive oil
2 tablespoons 100% fruit jam
1 teaspoon confectioners’ sugar
2 small portions
Mix the flour, vanilla, sugar, salt, milk, and egg together and stir until the batter is smooth.
Heat a splash of olive oil in a small frying pan. Pour half of the batter into the pan and fry the crêpe for a few minutes until dry on top and light brown on the other side.
Flip over and fry for another minute or so until light brown. Slide on to a plate and repeat with the remaining batter to make a second crêpe.
Place the crêpes on two small plates. Spread with the jam, roll up, and dust with the confectioners’ sugar.
Tip: These crêpes may be served with a scoop of ice cream or some fresh fruit.
for a family of four: multiply the ingredients by six and serve as a dessert
Almond and Peach Smoothie
Soft fruits such as peaches are ideal for smoothies like this one. However, the fruits must be ripe. The same goes for apricots, plums, melon, mango, bananas, and all sorts of berries.
2 ripe peaches
1/3 cup peach syrup
1/4 cup ground almonds
scant cup lowfat or soy milk
2 small portions
Peel and pit the peaches.
Whizz all the ingredients in a blender or food-processor. Make sure the mixture is as smooth as possible.
Pour into two glasses and serve immediately or place in the fridge until needed.
Tip: This smoothie can also be made with canned peaches, using the syrup from the can. If milk is a problem, replace it with fruit juice.
for a family of four: multiply the ingredients by three and serve as a drink.
the challenge Cooking for somebody with cancer can be very rewarding but also very disappointing. All you want is the patient to appreciate the food, eat well, and keep strong. However, it could easily be that the patient can’t eat any of the dishes you have so carefully prepared. Unfortunately, this is just part of the reality. Try to accept it with as light a spirit as possible because it is frustrating not only for the cook but also for the patient.
Grilled Cheese and Tomato Sandwich
Toasted cheese sandwiches can be made with any cheese that melts easily and all sorts of tasty ingredients can be added, for example, grilled vegetables, chopped nuts, and sliced meats without preservatives, such as fresh ham from a butcher, or smoked chicken.
2 small tomatoes
small sprig of fresh parsley
2 slices wholewheat bread
1 tablespoon light cream cheese
1 thin slice cheddar cheese, big
enough to cover a bread slice
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
2 small portions
Wash and then cut the tomatoes in half. Scoop out the seeds and slice the tomatoes into small strips. Chop the parsley fine.
Remove crusts from the bread. Spread both slices with cream cheese. Divide the tomato strips and the parsley over one slice of bread. Cover with the cheddar cheese. Put the other slice of bread (cream cheese side down) on top. Press down lightly and brush with a little olive oil.
Heat a big frying pan, put the sandwich in the pan, oil side down, and toast until brown. Brush the top with a little oil, turn, and toast until brown. Cut the sandwich into quarters and put them on two small plates.
Tip: Wholewheat bread is recommended but if it causes problems, white bread can be used, too. You don’t have to use the cream cheese.
for a family of four: multiply the ingredients by four and serve for lunch.
mild olive oil
During treatment, it’s best to avoid very strong tastes, so choose a mild-tasting olive oil.
Baked Potatoes with Spinach Cream and Ham
The baked potatoes are cut open and slightly scruffed up before serving, and the cream is put on top. If a finer texture is preferred, the potato flesh can be scooped out, pureed with the spinach cream, and then spooned back into the skin for an appetizing look.
2 small baking potatoes
pinch of salt
1 thin slice fresh ham without
preservatives, from the butcher
1 small onion
31/2 ounces spinach
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons crème fraîche
or soy yogurt
pinch of pepper
2 small portions
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Scrub the potatoes under running water and place each on a piece of foil. Sprinkle with the salt and fold the foil tightly around the potatoes. Put them on a baking tray and bake for about 1 hour or until done.
Cut the ham into small ribbons. Peel and chop the onion. Wash, dry, and chop the spinach.
Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the onion for 3 minutes over a low heat. Raise the heat, add the spinach, and stir-fry for 4 minutes. Strain the mixture until most of the liquid has been removed.
Mix in the ham and the crème fraîche just before serving. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper, and heat for a few minutes.
Remove the potatoes from the oven. Unfold the foil, cut the potatoes open, and criss-cross the potato surface with a fork.
Put the potatoes on small plates and spoon in the spinach cream.
Tip: You can also use frozen spinach or replace it with watercress, arugula, or peas.
for a family of four: double the ingredients and serve as a starter or side dish.
¼ cup mashed sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of molasses
1/3 cup maple syrup
4 cups of old-fashioned oatmeal
1/3 cup of pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Hearty dash of salt
Preheat oven at 300 degrees. Line baking pan with foil and coat with nonstick cooking spray.
In microwave-safe dish, combine sweet potatoes, butter, molasses, and maple syrup. Microwave about 3 minutes or until bubbly.
In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Pour sweet potato mixture over oatmeal mixture, tossing until well mixed. Transfer to prepared pan and bake 35-40 minutes, stirring mixture about half way through. Cool.
Lemony Lentil & Quinoa Salad
6 cups water, divided
1 cup green lentils, rinsed
1 cup quinoa, rinsed really well
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¾ cup thinly sliced green onions
¾ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups of the water to a boil over high heat. Add the lentils and reduce the heat to medium low, allowing the lentils to simmer, until tender, but not mushy, about 30 minutes. Drain and let them cool completely.
While the lentils are cooking, prepare the quinoa. In another medium saucepan combine the remaining 2 cups water and quinoa. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce the temperature to low, cover the pan and simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. Remove the pan from the heat and cool completely.
Make the dressing: in a small bowl, whisk together the tarragon, salt, pepper, lemon zest, lemon juice,
olive oil and mustard.
When the lentils and quinoa are completely cool, in a large bowl combine them with the sliced green onions, tossing them gently together. Add the dressing and toss again gently until everything is coated.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, until chilled, or for up to 4 hours. Just before serving, stir in the chopped fresh parsley.
Basil Pistachio Pesto
4 cups of Fresh Basil Leaves
½ cup of Pistachios (roasted, shelled)
½ cup of parmesan cheese (grated or shredded)
3 garlic cloves
.12 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
½ cup of olive oil (more, if needed)
Add salt and pepper
Add the basil leaves to the bowl of a food processor or blender.
Zest about ½ teaspoon of lemon zest and add the pistachios, parmesan cheese, 3 cloves of garlic, 1/8
teaspoon of red pepper flakes in a blender or food processor.
Blend or pulse until Blend or pulse until you have a rough chop.
While the machine is running, gradually drizzle in olive oil, and continue to blend until a smooth
paste is formed. Add about 1-2 teaspoons of fresh squeezed lemon juice and blend again.
Taste for seasonings and adjust as needed with salt and pepper or extra lemon juice.
Watermelon and Tomato Salad
1 large seedless watermelon, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 tomatoes, cut into 1-inch dice
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
12 mint leaves, sliced thinly
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 pinch coarse salt, or to taste
1 pinch ground black pepper, or to taste
Gently mix watermelon, tomatoes, feta cheese, onion, and mint in a large bowl.
Whisk olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper together in a small bowl; drizzle over salad and gently toss to coat.
Coconut Fish Curry
1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil
1 white onion or 2 green onions, chopped
1 (13.5 – ounce) can regular coconut milk
2 tablespoons tamari plus more to taste
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 1/2 teaspoon agave syrup
6 (4 – ounce pieces) whitefish (rockfish, flounder, or halibut work well) or 1 can of chick peas can also be a substitute for fish.
1 (14.5-ounce) can stewed tomatoes (after the fish ingredient)
4 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 bell pepper, cut into strips
4 cups leafy greens, torn apart or sliced in ribbons
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or cilantro
Optional: Hot sauce
Heat oil in a large pan or wok over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until slightly soft. Stir in the coconut milk, tamari, ginger, agave, and curry powder. Simmer uncovered. When sauce starts to bubble, add the fish (or chick peas), tomatoes, mushrooms, and pepper and cook covered, for five minutes. Add leafy greens and basil or cilantro. Cook until the veggies are tender. Add more tamari if desired.
Reprinted with permission from Healthy Eating During Chemo Therapy by Jose Van Mil with Christine Archer-McKenzie, Kyle Books
Photographs copyright © 2008 Henk Brandsen