Seven years ago this May I lost my dear friend Eric to a brain tumor. He was diagnosed at the end of September and died on May 1st. It was a rough seven months for everyone involved and especially for Eric who tried to maintain his positive “can do” attitude in the midst of this terrible diagnosis with a poor prognosis. As the disease spread and took over his body, Eric lost a lot of weight, his treatment caused excruciatingly painful mouth sores and his disease progression negatively impacted his ability to swallow. When he had an appetite, which was infrequently, he was afraid to eat or drink anything for fear of choking. There was a look of fear in his eyes when taking in food or drink because of the real possibility of choking.

These side effects and symptoms, which are so common among cancer patients, are one of the main reasons why patients become malnourished and lose weight during cancer treatment. They, and their caregivers, want to know what to eat to nourish them for their fight and which will help mitigate the terrible side effects and symptoms that they are experiencing. This experience led me to start Savor Health, a provider of personalized nutrition services for cancer patients – What I have learned during this journey in cancer nutrition is that patients are looking for safe, evidence-based resources to provide them with control over their disease and their lives. When they go to the internet, they are overwhelmed with the number of web hits they find. They are not sure what to believe and what is safe and legitimate and what is hearsay and anecdote. And they don’t want to make a wrong decision for fear of worsening side effects or even death. They are looking for resources to help them manage the side effects and provide strong nutrition and enough calories to prevent weight loss. Savor meets this need. Our experience at Savor made us realize that there is the need for an easy to use cookbook that provides for the nutritional and caloric needs of cancer patients in an easy to navigate manner.

My partner at Savor Health, Jessica Iannotta, and I wrote the Meals to Heal cancer cookbook to help cancer patients and their caregivers get proper nutrition during treatment. Jessica is an oncology credentialed Registered Dietitian with over 15 years of clinical oncology nutrition experience. The cookbook is comprised of 150 healthy, nutritious, mainly plant-based recipes that address the myriad side effects experienced by patients undergoing cancer treatment. Organized by meal event, each recipe has a legend next to it that indicates what side effects and symptoms the recipe is best suited to help manage and mitigate. The back of the book on page 251 contains lists of recipes organized by the major side effects that they helps manage and mitigate. This cookbook is unlike any other cancer cookbook in that it is primarily plant based recipes emphasizing healthy ingredients rather than just trying to add calories without attention paid to their health value and it is organized by side effect and symptom for ease of use.

Research confirms that proper nutrition in cancer patients DOES matter. Jessica and I are thrilled to provide a tool to help patients and their caregivers get the nutrition that they need during treatment!

The cookbook is available now at Amazon.