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Frequently Asked Questions


Q - How can I eat a diet as healthy as you suggest if I need to be hospitalized for more than a day or two?

This is a good question, and one that I have already thought of for myself, too. You will need to know ahead of time what aspects of your diet are particularly important to you; those for which you feel you can accept a compromise and those for which you will not.

My suggestions follow:

(1) If you are admitted unexpectedly, ask to speak to the Registered Dietitian (RD) assigned to the unit or floor where you will be staying as soon as is practical (Monday through Friday, 8-5 is best, but weekends are a possibility). Explain your food preferences and ask what special food requests can be accommodated. If it is a planned admission, call and try to speak to the manager of the Clinical Nutrition Department ahead of time, again explaining your food preferences and asking what options you will have available to meet them.

Please note that it is likely that you will be visited first by a dietary assistant or dietetic technician. If you feel that your concerns have not been understood or will not be able to be accommodated, ask to speak again to the RD who has responsibility for the nutritional care of patients on your floor. Hopefully, there will be enough options available for you to feel comfortable with your food choices, perhaps combining some of the hospital served foods with some items brought in by your family and friends.

(2) Ask if your family will be able to bring food into the hospital for you to eat. There is usually a refrig on the floor where food items can be kept well chilled. Be sure to have your food clearly labeled with your name, room #, and date. There is usually also a microwave on each floor to reheat foods as needed.

Make sure that these food items have been kept adequately chilled and consumed within just a day or two. You don't need to add food-borne illness to your troubles. (Although no guarantee of cleanliness, it is always a good idea to look at the state of cleanliness of the refrig and microwave available. You can politely ask how often they are cleaned.)

(3) If your family and friends can bring food in to you, there are several options available:

(a) Your family or friends may bring food prepared from your recipes. I would suggest having the food well chilled or even frozen if possible and put into clearly labeled single-serving size disposable containers.

(b) You may have a favorite restaurant in your town that will prepare take-out foods from their menus. If that food is brought into your room ready to eat (i.e., already hot or warm), I would not recommend saving left-overs to re-heat (again to minimize your risk of food-borne illness).

(c) Your family may be able to bring in frozen foods from the grocery store that can be reheated by you or them during meal times in the hospital.

(d) In addition, I would like to suggest another option you may not have thought of. Consider hiring a local personal chef for this time period. They can prepare meals to your individual specifications, even using entirely organic ingredients if that is what you would like. It is common for them to freeze single size portions of entreés and side dishes into ready to heat meals. This service is not as expensive as you might think, so check it out as another option to consider, taking into account that this plan might relieve your spouse of another difficult job during this potentially stressful time. Find one in your location by visiting the website for Hire a Chef.com and typing in your zip code. This service may also be a way that you could help a friend or relative across the country.

faq posted 3/04



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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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Phone/Fax: 734/996-9260

P.O. Box 130221, Ann Arbor, MI  48113

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