Content contributed and originally ran on Lacuna Loft’s website at: https://lacunaloft.org/eat-tastes-good-chemo/.
A few years ago, NPR ran an article featuring four tips to help a foodie get through chemo. In the article, the author shares the four tips that she used when deciding what to eat while undergoing chemotherapy. She emphasizes that sometimes you just have to eat what tastes good! Here at Lacuna Loft, we thought that this advice was great! There are so many articles out there telling you all of the anti-cancer properties of this and that and different food tips for chemo. Once you’re going through chemo treatments though, sometimes you just have to eat what works!
My mother and I always loved a particular diet soda. While she was doing chemo and radiation treatments, all of a sudden I noticed our beloved diet soda’s main competitor starting to appear in the fridge at home. I couldn’t believe that she had made the switch! I asked her about it, and she replied that the old favorite just didn’t taste the same anymore. I experienced some of this myself, once I began chemo treatments. While on a road trip with some friends to a wedding, we stopped at a restaurant for dinner. I ordered something that I’d enjoyed before, but that time around, the food burned my mouth and was almost impossible to eat. I kept asking everyone I was with to try the food, expecting that it was far spicier this time around or had some other component wrong with the food’s normal taste. No one else thought the food tasted any different than it ever did! Then it dawned on me…my mouth had been bothering me all day. I guess I had pushed it to the back of my mind in hopes of enjoying the car ride without thinking of my ailing mouth. Throughout the rest of the meal, I picked around from everyone else’s plate but nothing really tasted good. When we left the restaurant I was still hungry. On the way out of town we stopped by an ice cream place and I got a medium, hot fudge concrete (for everyone not from the midwest, think blizzard).
I ate a lot of ice cream while going through chemo. Eggs were another go to meal for me. I’m lucky enough too that both of those foods still taste pretty good to me now that I am a few years past my chemo treatments. Other foods are still off limits though. For instance, I ate at a Korean restaurant with some friends during chemo. I still cannot stand the smell of what I ordered that day. My husband and I also used to eat at a popular eatery every once in a while during chemo treatments…it was right across the street from the hospital. It took a few months post-chemo for me to be able to even walk into that eatery without feeling nauseous.
Some of these preferences have gone back to the way they were before treatment and some of them haven’t. I think it is just another one of those changes that cancer causes that needs to be embraced, not resisted.