Smooth(ie) the Road to Good Nutrition

When cancer patients are faced with weight loss, weakness, changes in appetite and taste, smoothies can be a great way to add protein, calories, fluid, and fiber into their diet.

My clients face chemotherapy which causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, mouth sores, and early satiety.  Their treatment may include radiation therapy which also may cause diarrhea if to the lower half of the body, and sore mouth, throat, and esophagus if it is directed at the head and neck area.  And they may face surgery which has all sorts of ramifications that may affect their ability to eat.  The chemotherapy agents and pain medications may also cause constipation.

There are all sorts of commercial liquid supplements on the market that can meet 100% of your nutrient needs, providing the macronutrients (protein, fat, and carbohydrate), vitamins, minerals, fiber, and of course fluid, that you need daily.  Now there are also organic smoothies, and specific ingredient-free shakes for those with food allergies.  The commercial drinks are easy enough to just open and drink, when someone is feeling too fatigued and sick to prepare a shake from scratch.

Not facing cancer myself, I jumped on the smoothie bandwagon a couple of years ago when I got into a rut with my breakfasts, and decided to experiment with smoothies for a change of pace.  I am one of those people who just is not hungry when I first get up in the morning, and I would rather just putter around with a cup of coffee in hand for the first 2 hours of my day.  But facing a long day at work, I knew I needed something more to sustain me for those morning hours until lunchtime, and I found smoothies easy to get down, filling, and are chock full of nutritious ingredients to start my day in a healthy way.

If you choose to make one yourself, here is my go –to recipe to get you started.  All you need is a good blender, Ninja, Nutribullet, or other blending appliance of your choice, and the following ingredients:

1 cup frozen berries (high in fiber and antioxidants)

1 scoop 100% whey protein (easily digested protein)

1 handful of baby kale (superfood high in B vitamins, vitamin A, C, and iron)

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed (good source of fiber and omega -3 fatty acids)

¾ cup of plain or vanilla Greek yogurt (full of probiotics, protein, and calcium)

¼ cup of cow’s, almond, or soy milk (protein and electrolytes)

Blend and enjoy!