Cooking for Chemo Introduction

Everyone is different. If there is nothing else that you learn from Cooking for Chemo, this is the single most important idea that you can take with you. Because everyone is different, not every solution is as simple as one size fits all. Because of this, you will have to do much leg work and at home participation to adapt these techniques that I will teach you to your own personal situation.

Cancer is not a battle. It is a war. You must constantly work at beating it without fatigue or tiring out. If you are not willing to run the marathon, you can not beat cancer. With that being said, in Cooking for Chemo you will learn how to adjust your cooking to accommodate for eating related chemotherapy side effects. Through this process I will do my best to equip you with the weapons and tools needed to win the war against starvation.

Cooking for Chemo fights Systematic Starvation (cachexia)

20-50% of all cancer related deaths are due to systematic starvation (cachexia). This shockingly high figure is even higher in terminal cancer patients with starvation accounting for 80% of cancer related deaths. At Cooking for Chemo, we believe that learning how to cook at home, and learning how to adjust your cooking for the taste and smell changes that occur during cancer treatment, can help prevent starvation.

Learning how to cook, in addition to working with your dietitian and oncologist to make certain you are getting the proper nutrients that your body needs to survive, is the key to help prevent starvation. By understanding these taste changes, you are better equipped to communicate your needs and your preferences to your dietitian, who can then help you fill in any gaps in your nutrition. It really is two fold, you must want to succeed and be willing to do or learn whatever is necessary to succeed.

What is Cooking for Chemo?

Let’s begin with the basics. What is Cooking for Chemo? Cooking for Chemo …and After! is a not only a cancer cookbook, but a guide that will give you a greater understanding of what a person going through chemotherapy is dealing with when it comes to eating related side effects.

Cooking for Chemo requires effort on the part of the reader to learn culinary concepts, try them at home, and learn how to change your own perception of food and flavor in the process. The beginning of our cookbook is written to teach you the information that you need to know BEFORE you ever set foot in the kitchen. The recipes at the end of the book are simply recipes that worked for my mom and other cancer patients that I have worked with in the past.

Cooking for Chemo Recipes

The recipes in Cooking for Chemo are NOT a nutritional guide. They are NOT a cure for cancer. They are NOT for everyone. The recipes are a guideline to help you understand how I design recipes to accommodate for eating related side effects like nausea, metallic taste, and loss of appetite.

This is where you the reader come in. By learning the culinary theories in the front half of the book, you will be able to understand how to change ANY recipe to suit your needs and dietary preferences.

A perfect example of this is an acquaintance of mine who is a vegan. She makes French onion soup, but omits beef broth and cheese by replacing them with a porcini mushroom broth and a vegan cheese. She still follows the Roundness of Flavor chart when she seasons. As a result, it is so close to authentic French onion soup that the difference in flavor is undetectable.

This above concept is one of the many concepts you will learn in this book.

What you will learn from Cooking for Chemo?

Cooking for Chemo …and After! teaches you how to combat the most common eating related chemo side effects:

loss of appetite

metallic taste

mouth sores


difficulty chewing and swallowing

What’s Inside:

Foundations of Cooking for Chemo

You will learn the basics of flavor, how you perceive flavors, where flavors come from, and how you perceive flavors when you cook and eat.

Application of Cooking for Chemo

You will learn how to use what you learned in the previous lessons about flavor and how to use it to combat each specific eating related side effect. Each side effect has its own information dedicated to addressing each issue with proven practical techniques and strategies that work. These cooking techniques work with all dietary preferences and restrictions.

Implementation of Cooking for Chemo

Once you have the two first sections understood, we have included many recipes for you to practice what you have just learned. All of these recipes have the Cooking for Chemo techniques built into them. Each recipe is formatted to teach how the Cooking for Chemo techniques were applied. This is so you can begin adjusting the recipes of your own favorite foods.

How do I use Cooking for Chemo?

Using this website is very easy. You begin by reading the pages in the learning section sequentially in until you reach the end of the lessons. After you reach the end of the lessons we suggest that you visit our recipe sections, pick recipes that sound appealing to the cancer patient and begin cooking. This is where the built in tasting journals come into play. As they taste each recipe, make notes inside of the tasting journal pages to help you refine your culinary technique to fall in line with the cancer patients preferences.

Be forewarned though, a cancer patients preferences change with treatment, time, what medications they are on, and the concentrations of those medications in their body. It’s a bit like trying to hit a bullseye a mile away, while riding a horse across a ship’s deck in rough seas. It is very difficult, but it can be done.

Don’t Skip Ahead to the Recipes!

Do not skip ahead in the lessons. Every section builds on the previous section just like a textbook. These sections are laid out so that you may come back to them and re-read them as a refresher course.

Why did I write Cooking for Chemo?

I wrote this book because of my personal connection to cancer. Both of my grandfathers died from cancer as did my best friend in college. In the spring of 2013, my mother was diagnosed with HER2+ breast cancer and this began my year as a full time caregiver. With my previous experience with cancer and chemotherapy, I knew that an inability to eat and metallic taste was on the menu for my mother. What I did not know about was mouth sores, nausea, and a general disinterest in food. All of these side effects combined gave me a very difficult challenge while trying to make my mother’s cancer journey as easy as possible.

It was during this time as a caregiver that I discovered the breakthroughs that I now include in my books that help cancer patients eat again.

Why do you need Cooking for Chemo?

You need Cooking for Chemo because nobody beats cancer alone. It is through the help of friends, family, and many qualified professionals that we are able to beat cancer. For many people, Cooking for Chemo becomes a life line to sanity and humanity. This is because metallic tastes and constant nausea can break down your hope and will power to fight. We want to give these back to you. What fills your heart with love faster than a warm belly, laughter, and loved ones?

Very specifically, we are going to teach you everything you need to know to combat the most common eating related chemotherapy side effects. This will empower you to work with your dietitian and oncologist to get the nutrients your body needs to win. And if that wasn’t enough, we are also going to teach you a lifelong skill that will make you the hit of every party, outing, and family get together. Let me tell ya something. Knowing how to cook is a bit like being the only person in your family that owns a pick up truck (lorry). Everyone is going to want to use your services all the time.

Cooking for Chemo assumes that you have a very minimal grasp on basic culinary techniques. It assumes you are familiar with words like sauté, stir fry, chop, mince, and much more. If you are brand new to cooking, be not afraid as I have already written a fun, friendly cookbook that actually teaches you how to cook. I would recommend picking up a copy of my book, Chef Ryan’s How-to Cook Cookbook as a supplementary resource to Cooking for Chemo.

With all that being said, let’s get excited and prepared to learn everything you need to know about Cooking for Chemo!

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