food - nutrition - recipes



books and articles



Please check these books for tips and recipes for easier eating.



Easy-to-Swallow, Easy-to-Chew Cookbook

Over 150 Tasty and Nutritious Recipes for People Who Have Difficulty Swallowing
Donna L. Weihofen, R.D., M.S., Anne Robbins, PhD., CCC-SLP, Paula A.
Sullivan, M.S., CCC-SLP
PART ONE: Understanding Swallowing and Swallowing Difficulties.
1. How We Swallow.
2. Swallowing Safely and Easily.
3. Tailored Food Textures and Nutrition Tips.
4. Tips for Easy Swallowing.
PART TWO: The Recipes.



The Cancer Survival Cookbook

200 Quick and Easy Recipes with Helpful Eating Hints, Roche Laboratories
Donna L. Weihofen, Christina Marino



Eating Well Through Cancer

Easy Recipes & Recommendations During & After Treatment
Holly Clegg, Dr. Gerald Miletello



Simply Soft Food

200 delicious and nutritious recipes for people with chewing difficulty or who simply enjoy soft food' by Kristine Benishek

While this book was planned and written for the elderly and those with chewing problems, it is a great addition to recommendations for our swallowing problems caused by throat cancer, radiation and scar tissue, in addition to difficulty chewing. (PWS)




National Cancer Institute - Eating Hints for Cancer Patients: Before, During, and After Treatment


suggestions for special diet problems



Acid Reflux is a common problem for us and is regarded generally as one of the causes of cancers of the esophageal and the larynx.


An explanation of GERD

Link to our site for info on Acid reflux:


Recipes for Acid Reflux Diet


Articles with Food Hints


Pat Sanders

As cancer patients and survivors, we want every chance at good health that we can provide for ourselves. We get most of our nutrition, that will build our immune systems, by eating the basic three times a day, but there are some foods that are better for us and help to keep us in good health. We have to count snacks and drinks, which for most of us add calories, fat, and not much else. Let’s see if we can get what we need and not too much of what we don’t.

Early on, we have been on a liquid diet due to surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy, so let’s start with some help for people who are doing that now. You may have a liquid drink that the doctor has prescribed. The worry is getting enough nutrients for your body to have strength to regain health. The blender is the handiest tool in the kitchen for this time. Milkshakes can be made with powdered protein supplements, which you can buy at the drug or health food store, added to the liquid diet, milk, ice cream, or yogurt. Do NOT add raw eggs since uncooked eggs often harbor salmonella and you don’t need a stomach upset from that! Most likely, citrus fruits will irritate, but there are juices that are not so acidic, such as pear, black cherry, grape, apple or apricot, that you might tolerate well and some juices can be added to a milkshake to cut their acidity. Clear broth is available, chicken, beef or vegetable.

Hopefully, you will soon reach the stage of swallowing very soft foods. The first of these should be foods that slide down without much effort. Egg custards, puddings and even gelatin, which has a low nutritional value, will taste good and swallowing will be easy. Cream of wheat or similar cereals can be thinned with milk and be almost liquid. Try mashed potatoes with milk, butter and sour cream and mashed baked sweet potatoes are great. Applesauce, avocado and yogurt are smooth and nourishing. Some like baby foods as their first semi-solid food and can get a good variety at the super market.

The next step follows easily with the addition of bananas, peanut butter, ripe melons, cottage cheese, canned fruits, soft scrambled eggs, oatmeal, grits, creamed soups and macaroni & cheese. Melted cheese can be added to eggs, grits, or soups. Vegetables should be cooked to the point of softness and mashed with a fork. You can use a blender for creaming if you’re not ready for a little chewing.

Baked fish or chicken should be the first meats to try because of the texture. You can start with very small bites. A sauce or gravy helps if you have a dry mouth. Most vegetables are fine, if cut very small and cooked to the point of softness. Baked potatoes, pasta and well cooked rice with whatever flavorings you wish can be tried and you will find out which are the best for you. If something is hard to swallow, try mashing, blending, or cooking longer.

Now that you are eating more and more of a regular diet, it is time to quit thinking of, "What can I swallow?" and start thinking of. "What is good for me in what I swallow?"

When you have cancer, beating the disease is the first concern and you don’t count calories because losing weight can be a problem and keeping your weight up is regarded as desirable. As I was recovering from cancer, it was the only time in my life that a doctor congratulated me on gaining several pounds. When I made this comment to the doctor, he laughed and said, "It means you’re eating."

It is not necessary for most of us to change our diets completely. Let’s take one step at a time and reduce some of the things we know are bad for us while substituting things that are good for us.

FATS - Cut back on animal fats. Trim the fat from roasts. Don’t eat the skin of chicken. Drain fat before making gravy. Substitute liquid vegetable oils for meat fats where some fat content is needed. Use bouillon cubes for flavor instead of bacon drippings in beans or greens. Use a lower fat milk and try some of the low-fat or no-fat products like salad dressings, yogurt, cottage cheese, sour cream, ice cream, or frozen yogurt.

SWEETS - Use one spoon of sugar instead of two in your tea or coffee. Cut down on desserts or make them with less sugar. Substitute water, herb teas or fruit juices for colas.

SALT - Since most of us lose some of our taste capabilities, we tend to use more salt. Try using a "Lite Salt" which tastes the same but has less sodium content. A dash of flavored vinegar or a squeeze of fresh lemon can add taste without adding salt. Herbs and spices used freely while cooking can replace salt or fats. Many people believe onions and garlic are cancer fighters and they certainly won’t hurt you, so load up on both of them.

VEGETABLES - You can double up on most of these if they are cooked without Fats, Sweets or Salt. Eat them raw or cooked in salads, but watch the calories in salad dressing. Roast them in the oven, steam them on stove top or in the microwave. Go back for a second helping and cut back on meat and dessert. Especially recommended are the orange and dark green vegetables. They are well known as………the cancer fighters!


Pat Sanders

Since we have lost most of our sense of smell, which affects our taste, we need to be looking for things that will make food "taste" more like it used to. While there are four acknowledged taste bud sensations, sour, sweet, salty and bitter, some authorities feel there is a fifth, savory (herbs, for instance), which reacts more to aroma. The aroma moves up into the area behind the nose and thus allows a stronger "flavor". Experiment with herbs by putting a little bit of dried herb on your tongue and nibbling at it with your front teeth and you should get a strong flavor, often too strong to be pleasant. The dried herbs taste a lot different and a lot better cooked with foods. Chewing a few leaves of a fresh herb, such as mint or basil, will taste good and fresh herbs can be added plentifully to raw salads and cooked dishes.

Suggestions from other laryngectomees and from nutrition magazines have made possible the following ideas to help make food a pleasure, even with less smell and taste:

Cook freely with herbs and spices and use lots of onion and garlic. You may find that chicken is tasty again if cooked with tarragon or dill. Italian seasonings and salsa perk up flat dishes. Mashed potatoes with a dash of Cajun seasoning are delicious. Grits, rice or pasta dishes made with Jalapeno cheese are very flavorful but be careful of the hot pepper until you know it won’t burn your mouth and throat.
Vary the texture of your foods. A bowl of ice cream with a crisp cookie. An apple with yogurt. Have a salad "with" your meal instead of "before", or nibble on raw carrot sticks when you are having soft cooked vegetables. The texture of food has been part of the enjoyment all along. We just don’t think of that.
Vary the temperature of your foods. A sliced cold tomato with hot vegetables. The contrast seemingly adds different flavors.
Add a squeeze of lemon juice, a flavored vinegar or a mustard sauce to a baked potato or vegetables.
Alternate your bites with a different flavors, temperatures or textures.
Eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and savor each bite.
Try something different. Instead of a bland salad dressing, try Caesar’s or Italian or a make-your-own vinegar and herb. You might like a strong salad dressing sprinkled lightly over vegetables.
You will find that you like things you would not eat before and that you have more taste left than you thought you did. Thanksgiving turkey time is coming up. Try pouring apple juice or wine over the turkey and topping with a lot of different herbs and enjoy the aroma as it bakes. My family loves "blackened turkey", made by coating the turkey with Cajun seasoning and cooking long and slow.
Have a Good Thanksgiving!!!


let's talk low-carb


Why Low-Carb?

You can be on a low carb diet for things like weight loss, diabetes, or yeast (candida), which is a problem for many larys.... and not count calories or fats. All low carb diets are not the same and if the only thing you specify is for it to be low in carbohydrates, you can still eat a lot of fats ...and fats have a lot of calories and that puts a lot of weight on you.

Main thing to stay away from in low carb is SUGAR! Anytime, anyplace, anywhere.

Let's just think about carbs and how to count them. I like to count about 20 carbs as all I want in a meal.

If there is a label showing carbs in a serving.. note the size of the serving.
For instance in DelMonte, Petite Cut Diced Tomatoes,
One serving - 1/2 cup (with 3 1/2 servings in a can.)
Total Carbs - 6g
AND you get to subtract the Dietary Fiber of 2g)... so 4 grams per serving that you eat.
If you multiply 4g x 3 and 1/2, you get 14 carbs in the entire can.

Let me give you an idea of a cold plate for supper and how you count the carbs:

0 carbs - several slices baked chicken
0 carbs - ounce or two of cheddar cheese, bite size.
4 carbs - 1/2c cottage cheese, topped with:
4 carbs - 1/2c Petite cut diced tomatoes
4 carbs - 1/4c dry roasted peanuts

EAT ABSOLUTELY NO CRACKERS (5 crackers count 10 carbs)

If you need something else, slice up lots of cucumbers or yellow squash for another 3 carbs, put some raw carrots, broccoli or cauliflower on the plate... and use them, dipped in sour cream (1 carb for 2 TBS) instead of the crackers

Enjoy your picnic type dinner for less than 20 carbs.... Oh, watch what you drink and leave off the dessert.

Your diabetes will love it... no sugars, no need to strain your body to take care of it.
Your yeast will hate it... no sugars to eat for them and that is their favorite thing!

Pat Sanders


So what else can you eat?

At supper, I like to add a small apple but an apple is about 17 net carbs (that's after fiber is subtracted, so some evenings when I have that cold plate, I substitute an apple for the cottage cheese and tomato. It's not as filling but it sure does taste good and I might add a little more chicken.

BTW, regular meats do not have carbs. You can change out the chicken for tuna fish, roast beef, pork chop, etc. Hard boiled eggs do not have carbs... you can have those.

Fruits have a lot of carbs so you need to look those up on a chart. Good idea to check veggies, too. Here is one site:

It lists fruit and veggies alphabetically... by glycemic index... AND by the number of carbs in 100grams... and a simple note, low or high. The glycemic index takes into account the fibrous foods digest more slowly. The glycemic index score indicates how fast it enters your blood stream... so the lower, the slower! Keeps you from having highs and lows.

You can find better charts if you want but this gives you some "at a glance" numbers. I like the ease of counting the carbs, minus the fiber and that gives a good figure to work with.. aim for 20 carbs in a meal and if you slide over a little, that's not bad.

When I originally looked at a list like this, I was shocked at beets... and then I remember what they used to be called, sugar beets.

You will see me eating a couple of these: cauliflower, broccoli, green beans, cabbage, asparagus, salad, with maybe one higher veggie and meat. No bread, ladies and gentlemen. An average dinner roll is most likely 15 carbs.

Pat Sanders



What about breakfast?

Fast breakfast within the rough limits of 20 carbs per meal..
Yogurt - Get the kind with artificial sugars (or no sugars at all).. The ingredients panel should say on most of them 14-16 carbs. My favorite easy fast thing to add to that is peanuts for the protein in an amount that would be 4 or 5 carbs... about 1/4 cup.

NOW, if you have time to cook... make an omelet..
2 eggs (I use 3 egg whites) - no carbs. Sprinkle with herbs?
Add: You can use as your filling with very low carbs...any of these: peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, or left over veggies (not starchy ones). You probably will not go over 10 carbs even with lots of them.
Add: Cheese or meat, such as bacon or sausage...or have it as a side dish. no carbs...

With this breakfast, you will not get hungry for a long time.. lots of protein...and if you have a blood sugar problem... this is wonderfully low in carbs... but if you add 1 slice of bread and 4oz juice, you will add 25 to 30 carbs and if you reach for the jelly... forget it.. it is out the roof on any diet. Without them... good low carb breakfast.

Pat Sanders



In Hospital?

When I was in the hospital, I could not believe the meals they called Diabetic. The dietitian almost fell over when I told her some of what they were bringing me, until I got to choose my own meals. Angel Food Cake! Even later, they had a diabetic meal scheduled that had a meat and 2 veggies, bread and a no sugar added dessert. Doesn't sound too bad, does it? Try this!
Pork, green beans, Sweet potato, large wheat roll and a pudding. (3 reasonably high carbs)

Here is what I did. Said bring the plate of meat and two, add a salad,( hold the roll and dessert.) And, it left me with:
Pork, green beans, sweet potato, salad (1 high carb)

I suggested that they do that all the time. Have a plate with no more than one high-carb, and give the person a chance to add a salad. If they want to keep both of the veggies in the very low carb range, some might choose to keep the bread... That way, it would be one high carb on a whole tray.

BTW, the peanut butter they brought on a breakfast tray had ingredients listed by highest quantity first:
roasted peanuts, peanut oil, sugar.... and on down through the chemicals. I buy the kind where the ingredient list reads: peanuts, salt.

Pat Sanders



Tradeoffs work!

Yesterday, we went to DeSoto's, a local restaurant in Gulf Shores, AL, that has terrific lunches, reasonably priced.

Meat and 2 veg, tea and fabulous bread that they bake in little loaves.
I ordered grilled flounder, mixed veg steamed (Caul-broc-carrots), was trying to decide what the other veg dish would be when they sat the bread on the table... I immediately decided that I could live with green beans if I could have some bread. Had about the amount that would be in 1 slice of bread... but it is funny how much you enjoy foods that you love when they become treats. This is when eating slow is fun! It was a marvelous lunch.

Pat Sanders






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