Education Resources

Getting Ready: Preparing for Surgery, Radiation, and Chemotherapy with Minimal Side Effects


In Getting Ready, Dr. Bernie Siegel guides you through a series of visualization exercises and inner journeys to help you to mentally prepare yourself for medical procedures such as surgery or chemotherapy. This CD can help to enhance your treatments so that you get more of a positive affect out of it. This can also help you to relax and focus. In this CD Bernie also explains how your desire and intention truly affect the physical world. This CD can help you to change your attitude, your thoughts, and your perceptions to more positive ones to help you to heal. With the correct positive attitude, you can make your treatment day a day of rebirth!

Publisher: Hay House

Publication date: June 2004ISBN: 1401903983Format / media: 1 CD




Eating and Hydrating Survival Guide For Chemotherapy Patients

By: Dr. Lillian Klancar, Hematology/Oncology, Breast Cancer Care Consultants and Jana Tompkins,
Patient Navigator, Progressive Health Center

So you’ve been diagnosed with cancer and you’re facing chemotherapy.  You’ve searched the web or you’ve picked up a pamphlet about eating the proper amounts of protein and carbohydrates during your rounds of chemo.  All good in theory, but what if you just can’t eat or drink and feel too tired to even try?

Here Are Specific Strategies to Help You Survive Chemotherapy

There are four common side effects of chemotherapy that nearly everyone in treatment will experience – dehydration, changes in appetite, fatigue, and pain.  We’re going to focus, here, on dehydration and changes in appetite.  In our next article we will suggest strategies for coping with fatigue and pain.


 Staying hydrated is CRITICAL.  Being well hydrated will help prevent nausea, help relieve sore mouth and dry mouth, help to prevent both constipation and diarrhea, and can add nutrients especially if you can’t keep down solid foods.
Strategies to staying hydrated

  • Try sipping room temperature or slightly warm water or watered down juice in small amounts frequently.  Set a timer and sip on the hour or half hour.  Try to get at least eight 8oz. glass of liquid each day, throughout the day.  But, take it slow – too much at one time may increase nausea.
  • Although warm water is less likely to cause stomach upset, if sips of water are hard to tolerate, try sucking ice chips every few minutes, throughout the day.  One 10 oz. cup of ice chips is about 6 fluid ounces, so try to eat at least ten 10oz. cups of ice chips.
  • Add slices of lemon, lime, ginger, peppermint leaves or cucumber slices to your water to make it not only more palatable, but also to relieve nausea.  You can make a ginger tea by adding hot water to a cup with a quarter-sized slice of peeled ginger root.  Let it steep for several minutes, remove the ginger and cool to warm.  If you do not have access to fresh ginger root, there are organic ginger teas available in most supermarkets.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine and carbonated sodas.  These liquids actually dehydrate the body.

Make a Magic Mineral Broth from the cookbook, The Cancer Fighting Kitchen.  This broth is a nutrient dense broth/soup that will hydrate and add valuable minerals to your body.  SEE RECIPE AT THE END OF THIS ARTICLE.  If you’re too tired to do almost anything, ask your companion or a friend to help out and make a large batch so you’ll have this on hand.


When going through chemo, food just doesn’t taste the same.  Many patients say that everything tastes metallic or too salty.  You’re likely to experience nausea, indigestion or heartburn, which makes eating almost impossible.  The result is weight loss, and some people become malnourished – and that can affect your ability to heal.  You may crave empty calories, leading to weight gain.  Obesity in breast cancer patients is linked to recurrence!  Maintaining a nutrient rich diet and an optimal weight is key to survival.

Strategies for eating healthfully

Altered taste

  • For altered taste, try using a saltwater rinse prior to eating, and use plastic forks and spoons.  Use sea salt, not regular table salt.  Sea salt contains 80 minerals essential to the body.
  • Citrus (lime and lemon) stimulate the taste buds, but do not use citrus if you have mouth sores.
  • Add tart foods to your diet (anything that makes your mouth pucker) to improve saliva flow and stimulate a different taste sensation.  If foods taste too sweet or salty try adding drops of lemon juice until the food tastes better.
  • If foods tastes bitter or metallic eat plants based proteins and add sweeteners like agave nectar, honey or dried fruit.  For example, add dried cherries to cooked quinoa or try some cooked oatmeal with a tablespoon of maple agave.
  • Chemo does not affect the bitter taste buds as much as the other taste sensations so try incorporating healthy bitter vegetables like kale, cabbage and other greens to see if they appeal to you.
  • See an acupuncturist.  Acupuncture helps promote saliva production which improves the function of taste buds to improve taste.

Nausea or indigestion

  • Eat small meals, every 1-2 hours rather than 3 large meals per day.
  • Cut out greasy, high fat or fried foods.  Opt for nutrient dense soups and broths.  (Again, see the Magic Mineral Broth recipe at the end of this article.)
  • Some alternative therapies may also help control nausea and vomiting, especially in addition to anti-nausea drugs.  These therapies include acupuncture, acupressure and guided imagery.
  • Use the methods discussed under staying hydrated listed above.
  • Stay active as much as possible.  Exercise will help to stimulate your appetite, and help control the craving for empty calories and help control nausea.

Healthful eating

  • We often have cravings for empty calories and tell ourselves that our body is craving some vitamin or mineral it isn’t getting.  Quite the opposite is true.  The cravings originate primarily in our minds and not our bodies.  When we eat healthy, nutrient dense foods and begin to feel better, we begin to crave healthy foods.
  • Some studies are showing that certain vegetables, spices and herbs have the ability to block cancer’s ability to send out signals by which it builds a blood supply for energy and food it needs to grow.  These include green tea, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, oranges, lemons, apples, cherries, red grapes, bok choy, kale, mushrooms (particularly, maitake mushrooms), licorice, turmeric, nutmeg, artichokes, pumpkin, parsley, garlic, tomato, olive oil, grape seed oil, dark chocolate, and pomegranate.*
  • Try to choose organic foods, especially important for meals.  Your body is already dealing with toxins from treatment so clean foods provide less toxicity and usually a fresher and more concentrated taste.
  • Keep a variety of healthful foods on hand so that you can choose what appeals to you.  If the empty calories aren’t sitting around the house, you’ll choose the healthier available snack, like kale chips or piece of the fruit mentioned above.  Try to incorporate the list of foods above into your daily dietary intake.  You will feel so much better emotionally and physically after eating healthful foods that you will begin to love them and crave them.

*Dr. William Li
President, Medical Director, and Co-founder of the Angiogenesis Foundation


The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen
Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson

  • 6 unpeeled carrots, cut into thirds
  • 2 unpeeled yellow onions, cut into chunks
  • 1 leek, white and green parts, cut into thirds
  • 1 bunch celery, including the heart, cut into thirds
  • 4 unpeeled red potatoes, quartered
  • 2 unpeeled Japanese or regular sweet potatoes, quartered
  • 1 unpeeled garnet yam, quartered
  • 5 unpeeled cloves garlic, halved
  • ½ bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 8-inch strip kombu
  • 12 black peppercorns
  • 4 whole allspice or juniper berries
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt


  1. Rinse all of the vegetables well, including the kombu.  In a 12-quart or larger stockpot, combine the carrots, onions, leek, celery, potatoes, sweet potatoes, yam, garlic, parsley, kombu, peppercorns, allspice berries, and bay leaves.  Fill the pot with the water to 2 inches below the rim, cover and bring to a boil.
  2. Remove the lid, decrease the heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, for at least 2 hours.  As the broth simmers, some of the water will evaporate; add more if the vegetables begin to peek out.  Simmer until the full richness of the vegetables can be tasted.
  3. Strain the broth through a large, coarse-mesh sieve (remember to use a heat-resistant container underneath), then add salt to taste.  Let cool to room temperature before refrigerating or freezing.


Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 2 to 4 Hours
Storage: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days or in the freezer for 4 months.
Per Serving: Calories: 45; Total Fat: 0g (0g saturated, 0g monounsaturated); Carbohydrates: 11g; Protein: 1g; Fiber: 2g; Sodium: 140mg