Holiday Eating Tips for Cancer Patients, part 1

Uploaded by paloaltomedical on 22.06.2010

Hi, my name is Erica Framsted and I am an oncology dietitian at PAMF. The topic that
we're going to discuss tonight is eating problems during the holidays because as someone who
likes to eat, the prospect of Thanksgiving and other holidays to come is very exciting,
but for others, especially those going through cancer treatments things like your appetite,
the way things taste overall don't make for such a pleasant experience. So from day to
day holiday or otherwise working to try to provide some new suggestions and tips for
how to overcome some of the challenges with eating for every day including the special
holidays. So some of the barriers that the patients that I work with tell me are that
obviously foods taste wrong or smell different than they are used to and that affects their
ability to eat and enjoy food. Some other things I hear are feeling full very quickly
after eating and so the amount of food that one would normally eat is suddenly reduced
sometimes by half or even two thirds. Of course fatigue can play a big part and lack of appetite
and enjoying to eat and finally stress. So I'm going to talk about those four major problems
today beginning with when our tastes are a little bit off. I think the biggest offensive
taste that people tell me that they are noticing is metallic. It tends to be with meats and
chicken and more protein foods than anything else, so in this instance I would recommend
marinating those foods in something sweet, whether it's fruit juice or sweet and sour
sauce maybe a sweet wine. By marinating the food first as it's cooking it tends to balance
out on any metallic flavors. It also helps to cook and glassware or ceramic instead of
metal because sometimes that hot metal adds a little metallic taste to the food itself
that maybe we wouldn't notice otherwise. But in chemotherapy or even sometimes radiation
to the mouth area that taste sensation is heightened and sometimes not in a good way.
Another suggestion is to use plastic cutlery instead of metal forks and spoons because
warm food on that metal inside your mouth can impart some of a metallic taste. So that's
another suggestion for a very specific metallic taste. For any other flavor that might taste
off, then I suggest using what another local chef Rebecca Katz has created, the elements
of FASS which stands for fats, acids, sugar and salt. Depending on which flavor is jumping
out that you are not enjoying using the counter flavor can help balance out overall that dish
that you are eating. So let's start with fat. Fat coats the tongue,
helps flavors sort of integrate into your mouth a lot smoother and and provides heft
or some bulk to your dish. So you feel a little more satisfied and you know happier once you
are done eating. So examples of better fats to use would be maybe be olive oil or avocados.
For the acid element it helps counteract a very sweet flavor to your dish. So maybe a
squeeze of lemon juice over something that tastes very sweet to you or a couple of different
vinegars to try, basalmic or red wine vinegar. That acidic element can counterbalance something
that tastes hyper sweet and not in a good way. Moving on then to salt, salt is very
strong flavor and I think it's best added to food after it's done cooking. It kind of
helps flavors explode in your mouth and suddenly unlock the complex flavors to a dish. So some
of the best sources of salt seasoning would be sea salt or kosher salt. You don't get
that metallic or bitter element from iodized salt. So just sprinkling that over a finished
food can help impart a strong and more pleasant flavor. Finally, with sweets, sweet is the
very first flavor on the tip of your tongue so it's probably the first flavor that you
will recognize when you taste something and from that point on, the other flavors as they
travel to the other sections of your taste buds start to sort of show themselves so rather
than using simple white table sugar, many people find that using a small amount of agave
nectar or a high quality maple syrup, grade B maple syrup or a little bit of honey itself
can help provide just the right balance to a bitter flavor and in a smaller amount than
teaspoon after teaspoon of white sugar. So for any bitter flavors, adding a little bit
of sweetness to it can help balance that out.