Okay, let’s get specific. What, exactly, should you be eating? The answer to that question will depend somewhat on your personal preferences, and on the type and severity of your side effects. A good guideline, however, is to start with just getting enough calories. Some people find it helpful to track their intake with an app like MyFitnessPal
to make sure they are hitting their daily targets. No matter how good your food choices are, if you’re not taking in enough calories, you’ll experience weight loss, fatigue, and weakness, so it’s important to make caloric intake your first priority. If you’re struggling to eat enough, just eat what you can tolerate.
To further fine tune your treatment nutrition plan, focus on protein, carbs, and fat. Protein is key during cancer treatment, because it helps your body rebuild damaged cells and tissues. Find it in lean meats, eggs, and dairy (beans and nuts if you’re plant-based). If eating is a struggle due to side effects, supplementing with protein powder is a totally reasonable choice (just watch out for artificial sweeteners—organic brands with whole-food ingredients
are your best bet).
Carbs are more than just bread! Fruit, vegetables, and grains are all carbohydrate sources, which provide energy, and are often palatable even during periods of low appetite. If you’re struggling to get anything down, mashed sweet potatoes with olive oil or grass-fed butter is a comforting and highly digestible snack option. (Pro tip from the bodybuilding world: sneak in some unflavored protein powder
for an additional boost.)
Healthy fats help your body absorb the other nutrients you consume, increase satiety, and keep your skin in good shape, which is a big deal during radiation. Choose avocados, organic oils, and high fat dairy like ghee, butter, and cheese. Nuts can be hard to digest, so tread carefully, but if you tolerate them well, they are an excellent (and convenient) source of quality fat.