At this point, I think it would be prudent to discuss raw veggies. There is no effective way to decontaminate raw veggies with any accuracy or effectiveness. This means that just because you wash a grape with water doesn’t mean the surface bacteria or wild yeasts have been removed. Even if you wash them in straight vinegar there is no guarantee that the microorganisms have been killed.
Much of the produce these days is actually sealed with some form of wax or oil to help keep the produce fresh for a longer period of time. This will actually trap the naturally occurring contaminants and cause them to become stuck to the outside of the fruit rendering the washing process ineffective. Because of this, I would not feed anyone going through cancer treatment raw veggies or raw fruit. Especially, if they have a compromised immune system.
This is simply a better safe than sorry path that I take. It only takes a few bacteria getting into your body to give you violent food poisoning. This causes diarrhea, vomiting, and generally making someone who is already fighting cancer have to fight even harder for no reason.
Diarrhea and vomiting can cause extreme dehydration. This can cause death in vulnerable populations. Food poisoning is simply not worth the risk. I know that about halfway through chemo, my mom was craving a salad. I eventually caved-in and prepared one for her. Unfortunately, her body simply couldn’t process the raw greens. Her body then rejected the salad.
Can I wash veggies with soap? NOPE!
Once I was asked if it was okay to quite literally wash veggies with soap and water, like you would wash your hands. The answer is NO. In this case, instead of bacteria and wild yeasts, we get a new contaminant called the chemical contaminant.
Chemical contaminants are caused by the mixing of chemicals (usually cleaning chemicals) and your food. Chemical contaminants can literally kill you. So do NOT wash your fruits and veggies with soap, bleach, ammonia, carpet cleaner, or anything else that you believe would help clean them. It’s just not worth the risk.
There are still many ways to work fruits and veggies into meals. So, don’t lose hope that you won’t be able to make complete and healthy meals full of vitamins and minerals. If you have trouble getting complete vitamins, minerals, and nutrients into your meals, you can always use supplements. ALWAYS talk to your doctor and dietitian first before making any changes of this kind.