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Frequently Asked Questions

 


I hope you can provide me with some much-needed direction. I was recently diagnosed with a severe case of C-diff. After treatment and a hospital stay, I am now allowed soft foods.

Are there foods I should avoid? Focus on?

The doctor said "soft foods" without much guidance. Can you make a few suggestions to help in this path of recovery?

A - Thanks for visiting my web site and asking your very good question. You can read more about the infection in your large bowel caused by the overgrowth of the bacteria called Clostridium difficile (commonly called C-diff) at the following web sites:
http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dhqp/id_Cdifffaq_general.html
http://healthlink.mcw.edu/article/954992292.html

If you have not done so already, the most important thing to introduce into your diet are *friendly bacteria*, often called probiotics, that will help repopulate your gut and crowd out the potential for regrowth of the C-diff bacteria. Probiotic bacteria are found in fermented foods like yogurt. Make sure the brand you purchase contains live cultures as consumed. Stonyfield Farms is a brand name of yogurt made with six different species of these live helpful bacteria. Sauerkraut, tempeh (fermented soybeans – look for recipes on my web site) and miso (fermented soybean paste – again look for recipes on my web site) are some foods that provide probiotics.

In addition, I recommend purchasing a product called Culturelle. This is an over the counter probiotic supplement that your local pharmacy can order for you if they do not have it on the shelf. I have used this brand myself and for my family in a prophylactic manner whenever we have needed antibiotics, because this brand has been actually used in research studies and shown effective for repopulating the gut with those “friendly bacteria”. Here is one study actually showing control for relapsing C-diff using the same strain of bacteria in Culturelle:
Gorbach SL et al Successful treatment of relapsing clostridium difficile colitis with lactobacillus GG' The Lancet 26th Dec 1987, 2 (8574) p1519

A soft diet usually means avoiding foods high in fiber, nuts, seeds, and gassy foods and foods that are easy to chew. However, there are very few research studies showing which diet is most effective for recovery of C-diff. Some animal studies showed that using diets including soluble fiber (oat bran) helped eliminate the C-diff infection sooner than a diet with insoluble fiber (wheat bran).

Foods high in soluble fiber include: oats and oat bran, oatmeal, beans, peas, rice bran, barley, citrus fruits, strawberries and apple pulp.

Foods high in insoluble fiber include whole-wheat breads, wheat cereals, wheat bran, rye, rice, barley, most other grains, cabbage, beets, carrots, Brussels sprouts, turnips, cauliflower and apple skin.

You can read more about probiotics and prebiotics (foods that the good bacteria need to thrive) at the following web site:
http://web.cancernutritioninfo.com/main.cfm?id=1406&display=yes&RequestTimeout=500

You can also read more about using foods to manage diarrhea at:
http://web.cancernutritioninfo.com/main.cfm?id=1397&display=yes&RequestTimeout=500

In addition to bananas being a good food to help control diarrhea, there is a product called Kanana Banana flakes that has had been successful controlling diarrhea by adding pectin and soluble fiber to the diet. This product also can be ordered from your local pharmacy.

Lastly, I also recommend seeking the professional expertise of a Registered Dietitian (RD) in your location, either in the outpatient department of your local hospital or in private practice to help you with this transition back to full recovery. You may have other nutritional needs that should be taken into account as you recover from this serious illness. You may find one in private practice by typing in your zip code at www.eatright.org if your local hospital or medical center does not have one available to evaluate and counsel outpatients.

posted 4/06

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Nutritional Concerns during Cancer Recovery

Nutritional Concerns during Recovery How do you eat in restaurants and still maintain an ultra-healthy diet? posted 12/99
Nutritional Concerns during Cancer Recovery Do you ever 'CHEAT' on your diet? posted 12/99
Nutritional Concerns during Recovery What do you eat for snacks?
Nutritional Concerns during Recovery What is your opinion on other books on nutrition and cancer? posted 4/00
Nutritional Concerns during Recovery Can one eliminate dairy and meat (but not eggs) and still work with your recommended dietary changes?
Nutritional Concerns during Recovery What are your views about sugar for cancer patients? Does it *feed* tumors? Should I avoid it in any form? posted 08/00
Nutritional Concerns during Recovery What can be done to relieve the fatigue I am still experiencing since my cancer therapy has been completed? Will any dietary supplements help me? posted 7/01
Nutritional Concerns during Recovery Please give me your advice on microwaved food and cancer? posted 2/02
Nutritional Concerns during Recovery I have recently heard that Vitamin A may be linked to osteoporosis. I see Vitamin A in nearly everything on food labels, even my soymilk. What is the connection and how much should I be consuming? posted 5/02, updated 2/03
Gastric Cancer Will consuming dairy foods increase my risk for ovarian cancer recurring? posted 11/02
Gastric Cancer Diana, what are the top 10 - 20 foods that you make sure you eat on a regular basis? posted 12/02
Gastric Cancer Diana, What 5 things have you changed in your diet that you think are the most important for enhancing the odds for long-term cancer recovery?
posted 12/02
Gastric Cancer Do you have diet suggestions for someone who has diarrhea after
radiation therapy for rectal cancer?
posted 1/04, updated 4/04, 11/04, 5/01
Gastric Cancer Is there any diet to alleviate lymphedema resulting from cancer surgery? posted 8/04
Gastric Cancer How "strict" do I need to be with my diet? posted 5/05
Gastric Cancer What tips do you have to stay on a healthy diet during the holiday season? posted 11/06

 


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Miscellaneous

WBC Count What research studies have you funded with the proceeds from the sale of your book? posted 9/02, updated 9/05, updated 12/06
WBC Count Has your WBC count finally gone back up to normal?
WBC Count What do you think helped your WBC count finally get back to normal? posted 8/02
Lab Tests Can you recommend a web site or relatively user-friendly book that would explain the particular lab tests I am having done, results and what that means? posted 4/02
Coffee? Do you ever drink coffee? I just cannot give it up! posted 8/03
Black-outs What did you eat during the recent black-out? posted 9/03, updated 10/03
Cookbooks Diana, do you have a favorite cookbook? posted 9/03
Cookbooks Diana, I am a student entering the field of dietetics. One of my assignments is to find a Registered Dietitian on-line, view the web site, and ask a few questions. I am very impressed by your web page. I do hope you have a few minutes to answer a few questions. posted 10/03
Cookbooks Why don't you put calories and other nutrients on all of your
recipes? How can I figure this out myself?
 
posted 8/04
Cookbooks I could not get a flu shot this year. Are there immune-boosting foods that you can recommend? posted 11/04, updated 1/05
Cookbooks How do you know you are cured? posted 5/05
Cookbooks Can you give me some advice about self-publishing a book? posted 7/05

 

 

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Nutritional Concerns during Cancer Treatment (related to side effects)

Nutritional Concerns during  Cancer Treatment Can you provide a list of all chemotherapy drugs called alkylating agents that may potentially have interactions with antioxidant supplements during chemotherapy? posted 10/02
Nutritional Concerns during  Cancer Treatment Dear Diana, I am undergoing treatments for cancer and am not eating well. What should I do? posted 7/01
Nutritional Concerns during Treatment Can I drink your soy shake recipes if my oncologist or dietitian has recommended that I follow a neutropenic diet due to my low white blood cell counts? posted 5/00, updated 7/01, updated 11/02, updated 8/03
Nutritional Concerns during Treatment Should I consume antioxidants during my cancer therapy? posted 12/01, updated 10/02
Nutritional Concerns during  Treatment Can herbs interact with any of the chemotherapy drugs? posted 4/01, updated 9/02
Nutritional Concerns during  Treatment Are there any diet changes to help relieve bloating during abdominal radiation? posted 4/03
Nutritional Concerns during  Treatment Do you have diet suggestions for someone who has diarrhea after
radiation therapy for rectal cancer?
posted 1/04, updated 4/04, 11/04, 1/05
Nutritional Concerns during  Treatment Is it safe to drink green tea if I have a port for administration of my chemotherapy? posted 1/04
Nutritional Concerns during  Treatment Can you tell me foods to eat to reduce the acid in my urine and pain in my bladder and ureters? posted 2/04, updated 5/05
Nutritional Concerns during  Treatment How can I eat a diet as healthy as you suggest if I need to be
hospitalized for more than a day or two?
posted 3/04
Nutritional Concerns during  Treatment My husband is having chemotherapy treatments and has lost his sense
of taste after one treatment. Are there any foods I can prepare that will give him some relief?
posted 9/04
Nutritional Concerns during  Treatment Is there a good web site describing the nutrition related side effects from chemo drugs? posted 10/04
Nutritional Concerns during  Treatment Should I stop drinking green tea during chemotherapy to avoid consuming too many antioxidants? posted 7/05
Nutritional Concerns during  Treatment How can I use the diet recommendations on your web site and in your book to both increase my intake of cancer fighting foods for optimizing my cancer recovery and lose weight at the same time? posted 3/06
Nutritional Concerns during  Treatment What tips do you have to stay on a healthy diet during the holiday season? posted 11/06

 

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Herbs and other Dietary Supplements

Can herbs interact with any of the chemotherapy drugs? posted 4/01, updated 9/02
Is the herbal product Amrit® safe to take during chemotherapy? posted 9/02
Did you use Essiac tea? There seems to be so much confusing and conflicting information available about this. Can you steer me to some reliable information? posted 8/02, updated 1/05
Herbs Do you know anything about the recalls of the herbal products SPES™ and PC-SPES™, both made by BotanicLabs? posted 6/02
Herbs Which herbs might cause problems with blood clotting? updated 8/03, 1/04
Herbs Can you tell me if a product called Sun Soup is useful for patients with lung cancer? posted 1/03, 4/04, 1/05
Herbs What is your opinion on IP6? I've been hearing good things about its effect on cellular health. posted 2/04
Herbs Should I drink wheatgrass juice to help fight my cancer?posted 2/04

 


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These questions and answers are intended to be of a general informative nature. Please consult with the Registered Dietitian in your cancer center or your health care provider for nutritional advice that can be individualized to your specific medical condition.

Contact Information:
Phone/Fax: 734/996-9260

P.O. Box 130221, Ann Arbor, MI  48113

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