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Fruit & Veggie Food Safety

Too lazy to wash your fruits and veggies? Here are a few statistics that may inspire you. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about 48 million people are stricken with foodborne illness each year; 128,000 are hospitalized. Approximately 3,000 people die.

For patients with impaired or compromised immune systems, such as those going through chemo/stem cell transplant, practicing good food safety goes a long way.

Tips & Recipes for Healthy Eating with Amyloidosis

 

Are you wondering what diet to follow after a diagnosis of AL Amyloidosis? With so many unknowns and what-ifs, it is a scary and overwhelming time. Guest writer Lori Grover, herself an Amyloidosis survivor, provides helpful insights into healthy eating.

So much is out of your hands as you wait for test results and treatment options. I was terrified when I received my diagnosis five years ago. I found focusing on the things I could control (like following doctors’ orders, taking medications on time, reducing stress, and eating a clean diet) gave me back a small sense of power over my life.

I recently had the privilege of chatting about diet and Amyloidosis with Julieann Ray Cheng, a fellow Amyloidosis warrior, dietician, and author of soon-to-be-published “The Delightful Dietician” cookbook, who offered specific guidance, tips, and recipes to help manage the disease.

While there is no diet specific to AL Amyloidosis, Julieann recommends following a healthy diet to help you stay as strong as possible while you face treatment.

 

5 Tips for Healthy Eating: Variety is Key!

The following suggestions are based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025.

1. Include all the food groups: vegetables, fruit, protein foods, dairy, and fat.

2. Colour your plate. Be sure to include various fruits and vegetables to get all the vitamins, minerals, nutrients and antioxidants you need.

3. Customize your diet according to any specific restrictions given by your physician. Your doctors may tell you to avoid certain foods that can interact with your medications. If you have kidney involvement, you may also have to closely monitor electrolytes and minerals such as sodium, potassium, and calcium. As this will differ for every patient, be sure to follow your doctor’s recommendations closely.

4. Be prepared to battle nausea as chemotherapy may upset your stomach. On days when you receive treatment, you may not feel like eating much. Eat small meals, and prep for the days you don’t feel well. Have healthy foods on hand, like homemade soups in the freezer, for quick and easy meals.

5. Watch your fluids. Keep a bottle of fresh water with you and frequently sip to avoid dehydration and dry mouth. If you suffer from edema, your doctor may give you specific directions about how much fluid you can consume daily.

 

Foods to Avoid when you have Amyloidosis

Watch out for sodium.  A healthy diet when you have Amyloidosis includes no more than 2300 mg of sodium per day (certain disease conditions like heart failure and kidney disease may recommend 1500 mg of sodium or less per day). Many foods contain surprisingly high amounts of sodium, so keep an eye on the labels. Choose fresh, frozen, and no-salt-added canned fruits and vegetables. Stay away from processed foods, the salt shaker, spice blends or soup bases that contain salt.

Speak with your doctor before consuming alcohol. The current recommendation is two alcoholic beverages per day for men and one alcoholic beverage for women.  However, if you take regular medications,  it is best to avoid daily consumption of alcohol because it can place additional stress on the liver. Alcohol contains a significant amount of calories and is not essential to a healthy diet. It’s best to avoid or limit alcohol to special occasions.

Limit added sugar to 10 percent of your daily calories (200 calories or 50 grams of added sugars based on a 2000 calorie diet). Watch out for beverages like soda, coffee with added syrups, and sugary juices. A better choice is water with lemon or other fresh or frozen fruit to provide flavour. Foods that contain added sugars include breakfast cereals and bars, candy, high-fat milk and yogurt, desserts, and sweet snacks.  Consider fresh or canned fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth and provide your body with essential vitamins, minerals, and fibre.

Limit saturated fat to 10 percent of daily calories (200 calories or 22.2 grams of saturated fat based on a 2000 calorie diet). Fried foods, high-fat meats, whole-fat dairy, ice cream, coconut or palm oils, and butter contain saturated fat. Skip these whenever possible and choose healthy fat instead. Baking or roast foods, choose lean cuts of meat and remove the skin, and use olive, canola, sunflower, safflower, or soybean oil in place of butter, coconut or palm oil.

 

How Does Your Diet Rate?

 

 

The most important part of sticking to a healthy diet when you have Amyloidosis is to enjoy your food while you nourish your body. Making necessary adjustments will have an enormous impact on your overall health.

If you feel overwhelmed, consider making one change at a time and adapting the transition to your lifestyle. Most changes will set in and feel like your new normal after about three weeks. Look at each day as an opportunity to nourish your body with healthy foods.

Make the right choices, and your body will thank you! For more tips on implementing these healthy changes check out our posts Amyloidosis and Diet or our Treatment Survival Guide.

Finally, Julieann has graciously provided two delicious healthy recipes from her upcoming cookbook that she routinely prepares as she manages her amyloidosis diet.

Enjoy!

 

Lori Grover is a guest blogger for Mackenzie’s Mission. She was diagnosed with AL Amyloidosis in 2016 and writes to share experiences and lessons learned during her journey.  More wonderful blogs by Lori can be found on her page Amyloid Assassin.  Lori is a freelance copywriter, and a mom of two wonderful boys. She loves writing, reading, and all things crafty.

Julieann Ray Cheng is an Ohio-based dietician who was diagnosed with AL Amyloidosis in 2018. When not in the kitchen, she loves to travel with her family and shop for goodies. Keep an eye out for her cookbook “The Delightful Dietician,” available in the fall of 2021. 

 

Easy Vegetable Soup  (Servings:  6 – 10 oz bowls)

1 small onion, diced

2 teaspoons of olive oil or oil of your choice

4 stocks of celery, diced

2 potatoes, diced or 1 c small pasta noodles (if reducing potassium)

1 pound frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, corn, green beans, peas)

14.5 oz canned tomatoes, diced (may use low sodium or no added salt)

6 cups vegetable broth (may use low sodium or no added salt broth)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon white or black pepper

In a medium saucepan add olive oil, diced onions, diced celery. Sautee on medium heat for 5 minutes.

Add vegetable broth, mixed vegetables, diced potatoes, garlic powder, and white or black pepper.

Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes uncovered.

***If reducing the potassium omit the diced potatoes and diced tomatoes, add 1 cup small pasta noodles, ½ pound of mixed vegetables, and 2 cups vegetable broth.

By:  Julieann Ray Cheng, The Delightful Dietitian

 

Color Your Plate Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner  (Servings:  4)

4 chicken breasts

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon black or white pepper

1 teaspoon Rosemary

2 diced sweet potatoes, or 6 diced carrots (if potassium restriction is needed)

1 pound frozen tricolor peppers and onion blend

1 pound fresh or frozen broccoli or brussels sprouts

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons oil

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper for easy cleaning.  Spray with cooking oil.

Season chicken breast with garlic powder, onion powder, black or white pepper, and Rosemary.  Place on one side of the sheet pan.  Add diced sweet potatoes on the other side of the sheet pan.  Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

While the chicken breast and sweet potatoes are baking.  In a bowl add frozen tricolor peppers and onion blend, broccoli or brussels sprouts, garlic, and oil.

Remove pan from oven.  Add vegetable mixture to the sweet potatoes and toss.  Place back in the oven for an additional 25-30 minutes until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

**If the chicken breast is cooked with skin, Place under broiler for 4-5 minutes to crisp the skin of the chicken and vegetables at the end of cooking time.

***If sweet potatoes are omitted, add carrots with other vegetables during the second half of cooking.

By:  Julieann Ray Cheng, The Delightful Dietitian

Amyloidosis and Diet

While there is no special diet that will cure or treat Amyloidosis, both healthy eating and following doctor-recommended restrictions are essential. Guest blogger Lori Grover offers some tips on dealing with dietary changes.

 

According to Myeloma UK, eating a healthy diet increases energy levels, maintains muscle strength,  boosts your immune system and helps recovery after treatment. As you can see, making healthy choices makes sense. But easier said than done, right? Eating a healthy, balanced diet can be tricky for anyone. When your stress levels are high, and you feel horrible, making those necessary changes can be daunting. Because the disease affects everyone differently, your unique situation will determine the dietary suggestions that are made for you.

AL Amyloidosis can impact diet in a few ways.

  • Specific recommendations may be made as part of a plan to manage heart and kidney disease to prevent any further damage to organs
  • If kidneys are affected additional suggestions may be made to keep electrolytes in balance (especially if Dialysis is involved)
  • A low sodium diet and fluid restrictions may be suggested to combat edema
  • Certain foods or dietary supplements may be restricted because they interfere with medications
  • Dietary changes may be recommended to help deal with nausea, constipation, or diarrhea
  • A ‘clean diet’ may be advised if your white cell count is low (Avoidance of high-risk foods such as raw eggs, or shellfish)

 

Facing these dietary changes isn’t easy. Here are a few tips to ease the transition.

  • Look at it as a challenge.  Use it as an opportunity to try new foods, test out different cooking methods, and experiment with healthy recipes. Keep an open mind and try new things.
  • Focus on the foods you CAN eat rather than on the foods you can’t. Doctors and dieticians tend to give you lists of the foods you can no longer enjoy. While necessary, focusing on the things you can’t have can be depressing and overwhelming. Try to shift your focus and make a list of all safe foods and meals you can continue to enjoy. Having a go-to list on hand is useful when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
  • Create a collection of your favorite healthy recipes and try some new ones. Helpful websites to check out are Davita, Heart Foundation, and The Heart and Stroke Foundation. Experiment with new recipes and keep an open mind. If one fails, try, try again.
  • Meal plan, prep, and batch cook. Having ideas on hand makes mealtime easier. Some days you’ll have more energy than others. On those days, make extra and freeze and prep for other meals, so things will be all set for you when you’re feeling low.
  • Eat frequent, small meals throughout the day. Not only can it help if you’re feeling nauseous, but it also keeps you full and helps to avoid cravings. If you wait until you’re starving to eat, you’ll be more inclined to make bad decisions.

 

A low sodium diet may be recommended for both kidney and heart health.

Excess sodium in your diet contributes to fluid retention. Symptoms are swelling, puffiness, a rise in blood pressure, and shortness of breath (due to fluid around the lungs and/or heart).

The National Kidney Foundation recommends a maximum of 2300 mg of sodium per day and your doctor may recommend even less.

A balance must be struck to achieve an optimal sodium level for you, so follow your doctor’s recommendations carefully.  Limiting salt can be challenging, especially in the beginning, as your taste buds adjust. Keep at it and don’t give up…it will become your new normal.

 

Tips on dealing with a low sodium diet.

  • Avoid processed foods as much as possible. Read labels and choose lower-sodium varieties.
  • Eat whole foods and cook from scratch. Although it is more time consuming, cooking from scratch allows you to control the amount of salt.
  • Experiment with different spices and herbs to add flavour to your foods.
  • Add an acid when cooking, like a squeeze of lemon juice or vinegar to brighten flavours.
  • Pay attention to sauces, gravies, and salad dressings as they can contain a surprising amount of sodium
  • If potassium levels are a concern for you, be cautious with salt substitutes

 

A fluid-restricted diet may be advised to combat edema.

A common and severe side effect of AL Amyloidosis is fluid overload. This happens when you’re taking in more fluid than your kidneys can remove. A balance of restricting sodium and fluid, paired with diuretic medications, can help keep your fluid levels in check. In most cases, between 1.5-2 litres/ day of fluid is recommended.

Tips on dealing with fluid restriction

  • Fill a water bottle in the morning, and drink from it throughout the day to help you keep track of your water intake.
  • Keep a log (at least at the beginning) until you get an idea of how much fluid you are taking in, and don’t forget to include things like jello, watery fruit, and ice cream.
  • Plan to spread the fluid you drink throughout the day.
  • If dry mouth is a problem, ice chips, hard candies, and mouth rinses or sprays can help.

 

A low protein diet may be suggested to protect kidney health.

The goal is to strike a balance. While protein is necessary for growth and repair of your body, foods high in protein can add to the workload of the kidneys. When protein is digested, a waste product called urea is produced. If your kidneys are not functioning correctly, urea can build up in your bloodstream and cause further complications. For this reason, your doctor may suggest you limit your high protein foods.

Tips on dealing with a low protein diet:

  • Adjust the ratio of protein to vegetables in your recipes. Add more vegetables and starches to dishes such as soups and stews, to stretch it out and make it seem more substantial.
  • Think of vegetables and grains as the main dish, and protein as your side dish
  • Experiment with different types of protein, including plant-based options
  • Start a ‘meatless Monday’ as part of your routine, to test out vegetarian options

 

Specific foods and supplements may be limited.

  • You may have to cut out certain foods or supplements if they interact with the medications you are taking. For example, green tea and high dose Vitamin C can interfere with Bortezomib (Velcade) and make it less effective. Your doctor will give you a list of foods and supplements to avoid. Follow the recommendations carefully, and be sure to check with your medical team before adding any over the counter medications or supplements to your diet.
  • If your kidneys are affected, your levels of electrolytes and minerals will be closely monitored. Your kidney care team will make recommendations based on your levels. For example, you may have to avoid high potassium foods or those with high calcium levels.

 

There is no one size fits all diet for AL Amyloidosis. What is best for you will be decided based on your unique situation. Experts do agree that healthy eating has many benefits. And when you’re already facing so much, you want to do whatever you can to be your healthiest self.

The best take away tip I can give you is to keep an open mind and be ready to experiment. As you try new things and choose healthier options, you will adjust, and healthy eating will be your new normal.

For more tips on implementing these healthy changes check out our posts Tips & Recipes for Healthy Eating with Amyloidosis or our Treatment Survival Guide.

 

Resources

Myeloma UK handout                                                        The Heart Foundation

National Kidney Foundation

Heart and Stroke Foundation

Amyloidosis Foundation

Ted Rogers Heart Function

 

Lori Grover is a guest blogger for Mackenzie’s Mission. She was diagnosed with AL Amyloidosis in 2016 and writes to share experiences and lessons learned during her journey.  More wonderful blogs by Lori can be found on her page Amyloid Assassin.  Lori is a freelance copywriter, and a mom of two wonderful boys. She loves writing, reading, and all things crafty.

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