INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- You might know chef Holly Clegg from her blogs and cookbooks. One of the most popular is “Eating Well Through Cancer,” which includes recipes for spinach artichoke dip.
“I think food gives you back control in your life,” said Clegg. “You lose all control when you have cancer and people want to know what is right and wrong and not that there is a right and wrong, but they want some guidance.”
The book’s co-author, Dr. Gerald Miletello, gives lots of guidance as an oncologist.
“Everybody, when you tell them they have cancer, the first question is, 'what should I eat?'” said Miletello.
The answer, it turns out, is deceivingly simple. For the most part, patients can eat what they want as long as they’re getting calories and protein.
"The chemotherapy and the treatments work a lot better if we can keep your nutrition up,” said Miletello.
The challenge is eating around the side effects. It’s a long, miserable list that makes eating less of a priority.
“You lose your taste buds and that’s the big thing. How do you get the taste buds back? There are simple tricks we can do-- putting a thin slice of lemon on your tongue before you eat to stimulate your taste buds.”
The cookbook is full of tips like that, alongside nourishing recipes, to ease side effects. There’s a chapter with recipes for a sore mouth. In fact, many of the recipes were tested on Clegg's dad, Jerry, who survived larynx cancer.
For the 15th anniversary edition, chef Clegg added diabetic exchanges and got feedback from around the country.
“I had a couple of cancer centers say we need more snacks. Snacks and smoothies, so snack and smoothies became a larger chapter in this book,” said Clegg.
Clegg has sold over a million cookbooks. For more on recipes to help with cancer, click here.