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​Keto? Mediterranean? No sugar? No fat? No processed foods?

kitkit Member Posts: 29

I have been reading studies about how diet affects breast cancer growth and have been bouncing between them in my head and daily life. Some studies, such as keto diet, seem to contradict each other, with fierce advocates on all sides.I thought it might be helpful for us to share the type of diet (not for weight loss, but for progression) we might be on and why.For added info, I am stage 4 with three separate radiated mets in spine, femur, and cerebellum. I'm on 3rd cycle of xeloda after two years on Ibrance/letrozole and then a disastrous nine months on Piqray.I'm going to crosspost in several groups and see if there's any consistency among members.


  • denny10
    denny10 Member Posts: 421

    Hi kitkat, I have always tried to eat a healthy, mixed diet, lots of fruit and veg.. I eat less red meat nowadays, but that's for environmental reasons mainly . I rarely drink alchohol [ I went off the taste during chemo 15 years ago] . My oncologist encourages me to eat and drink whatever I want in moderation, his mantra is enjoy life while you can, quality of life is important. It will be interesting to find out what others think and do.

  • elderberry
    elderberry Member Posts: 1,058

    Hi. My diet is sort of Mediterranean . Not planned that way, just what I like eating. I don't like following some strict guidelines that restrict things like carrots because of sugar or blueberries because of carbs -- that sort of thing. I love pasta and I prefer high glycemic breads for their chewy crusts and fluffy insides but generally eat whole grain breads. I like meat and feel guilty that I enjoy it. My MO also said eat and drink what you like. Yes, in moderation, but sometimes I ask "what is moderation?" 1 oz of vodka or a one classic martini with 2 oz? 4 oz of red wine or 6 oz? How often? Alcohol is the boogieman in cancer studies and is a valid concern. I am not going to do anything that might actually HURT me but I don't want to live a life of deprivation. I don't eat fast foods because I think they taste awful for the most part. I eat French Fries but only if I am sure they will be excellent and most places don't make them that good. So it is a rarity if I am eating out. Festival du Bois , a Francophone music festival held here every year , always has fantastic poutine. How can you go wrong with fries, cheese curds and gravy? I love fruits and veggies. Veggies I don't like as much are great when roasted - like Brussels Sprouts.

    I don't have much of a sweet tooth. I don't avoid sugars, just don't care to eat a lot of it.

    What do others do?

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,742

    I am with Denny and her mo. I eat healthy about 85% of the time but don’t follow any particular diet protocol or regimen. I also rarely eat red meat but that’s because I don’t often want to but I have no problem when I do crave it. I was never much of a drinker but will have an occasional drink.

    At stage IV, I intend to enjoy my life and food, even the “bad” foods, bring me joy. This works for me and since I have had no progression in 10 1/2 years , both my mo and I are happy. I know some people are more comfortable taking an active and sometimes restricted diet regimen, but that doesn’t work for me. Do what makes you happy and what makes you feel good. If that’s a diet protocol/regimen, great. If it’s everything in moderation great as well! Take care.

  • sondraf
    sondraf Member Posts: 1,579

    Current drug is really hitting the appetite and has changed taste for me, and Ive also noticed that certain foods (bread,chocolate,sugar, cheese, corn based products) make me nauseous or feel weird so I just dont want them anymore. Instead Ive been subsisting on crunchy + watery fruit and veg (celery, oh god I cant get enough celery right now), lean turkey slices, peanut butter, nuts and nut protein bars, berries, sweet potatoes, low fat cottage cheese and yoghurt, coconut water, cheerios, low-sugar fruit popsicles, and spanish olives. Oddly, lemon/carrot loaf cakes from the store are ok, but I cut them into tiny squares to take at drug times. I never wanted tart things before this drug and now its all I want. There is also one brand of ready-meal here that is both very high quality and properly seasoned, so I pick up a chicken tikka version from time to time as its just the right portion size for one hot meal for the two of us.

    Im never sure from day to day how Im going to be feeling, so our fridge is stocked with the above which makes it easy for me to eat small and often (or not at all if I dont feel well) and we aren't wasting food. Conveniently Other Half is a once a day eater himself and isn't bothered about not having formal set meal times. And when we get back from vacation I want to start making my own popsicles containing more fruit and veg and coconut milk.

    We did order Five Guys last night because that sounded like an amazing idea, and that was ok, a small burger with a few fries. Tonight we will grill a small pork loin and Ill have a bit of rice on the side and some peas or something.

    Alcohol - forget it, although I did have a few ounces the other week at a party in the form of wine and champagne but that was a truly exceptional circumstance and balanced out by high quality protein. :) Actually, not being able to drink is a plus since price per pint in London is just about at £7 (the £5 pint pre-pandemic was a marvel reserved only for certain financial and hipster areas of the city)

    I think everything in moderation is fine - we are already restricted enough so why make life more difficult than it already is? I go with the flow and listen to what body is feeling and wants, but also paying attention to how to makes me feel. Sure, those tart Haribo look tasty but I know I wont feel well after, so go have another bit of lemon loaf :)

  • chico
    chico Member Posts: 187

    Hi kit and everyone else. My Onc tells me to eat what I like and I certainly do. I am a vegetarian who eats 3 large meals a day plus lots of snacks particularly chocolate. I also have a glass of champagne or wine every day. They weigh me at the hospital at every visit and tell me not to lose weight although I am not overweight I’m not skinny. This suits me and my lifestyle however I do feel that if you choose to follow a certain regime that is right for you then do it. I take my meds and turn up for scans otherwise I’m living the best life I can and loving it.
  • Kikomoon
    Kikomoon Member Posts: 358

    I love talking about food!

    I keep Raisin Bran, peanut/almond butter toast with berries, Kind bars, cream of wheat , apples, and bananas on hand as I can always eat those. Since whole brain radiation, I can’t eat a whole lot at one sitting and I don’t like feeling stuffed at all, so I feel like I’m eating all day. I used to eat green smoothies till one came back up. Now I can only eat them if they come from a smoothie shop.

    I need to eat more veggies but I find it hard to make a good grocery list or have energy to prepare it.

    I generally only eat chicken and seafood, or vegetarian although half a good cheeseburger every once in awhile is good, and a glass of wine if we’re out. I don’t drink at home anymore. No sweets except a small portion at events. Never had a sweet tooth, just a fat and winetooth.

  • moth
    moth Member Posts: 3,293

    I'm vegan and was vegan for many yrs before dx. I think the only evidence I've seen is that for late stage 4, macro emphasis may help buy a bit more time & slow cachexia and sarcopenia.

    I think cancer is constantly stealing our nutrients and meeting with our metabolic processes & there's little we can do about it.

  • elderberry
    elderberry Member Posts: 1,058

    Everything in moderation is good ----- does that include moderation? Just kidding.

    Ha ha -- a winetooth. I used to say my husband had a small beer belly but my rolls over my pants were "martini muffins" I actually had 2 oz of really cold Polish potato vodka last night. My liver probably wasn't happy but my head was. Confession. It was worth it. I enjoyed it!! Today I draw in my horns again. Last night I roasted some cubed sweet potatoes dressed in just olive oil, pepper and salt, steamed some broccoli and had some chicken wings. I was craving chicken wings. They were tossed in olive oil, salt, pepper, a little Greek oregano as well then placed on a rack in the over and crisped up. I tell myself they are healthier than pub wings- those that are deep fried with ranch or blue cheese dressing to dunk them in.

    moth: To be fully vegan is admirable. For a few years in my early adulthood my DH and I were vegetarians but there was no way we were going to give up cheese or eggs. I just LOVE cheese. Living a block away from a place that has so many cheeses, from so many countries ----- I have not even begun to explore a many of the selections. My DH and I frequently have Beyond Meat burgers and sausages and they are excellent. It isn't a hardship to have them instead of beef.

  • sondraf
    sondraf Member Posts: 1,579

    There is a lady on the news here in the UK with terminal bowel cancer, diagnosed de novo at 35, despite being a vegetarian and daily runner. Or I think about Z - same thing. I think diet can play a part in managing drug side effects (or you are forced to do so by some like Piqray), and exercise is always good for many reasons, but beyond that if diet and exercise can't be confirmed to have caused my cancer then I cant believe that its going to cause growth either.

    Elderberry - I will be sharing that "martini muffin" comment with my mother, the QUEEN of the Martini!

  • moth
    moth Member Posts: 3,293

    Sondraf, I saw bowelbabe is dying. CRC in young people seems to be increasing & we don't know why...

    I'm vegan for ethics, health & environment. I think there are general health benefits but poor evidence for treating cancer. It might have delayed when I got cancer tho...can't be sure about that.

    Elderberry it doesn't feel admirable. It feels calm & easy now. Lots of good vegan cheeses avail. I was vegetarian for years & tried to go vegan several times - in the 80s it was harder. Omg the 80s & 90s vegan cookbooks were so weird lol. But I just reached a point that there was no going back because I couldn't be complicit in that much despair...

    Anyway, back at my thing - protein, healthy fats, veg, whole grains, fruit. I've seen dietitian studies on providing nutrition to cancer pts & that's where they seem to focus, in that order. I'm seeing daily protein recs of 1.5-2g/kg body weight. It won't help the cancer but it can help the body stay strong enough to live with the cancer a bit longer

  • sondraf
    sondraf Member Posts: 1,579

    Moth - I saw that this morning she has moved to home hospice. She had a rough start to 2022 with like a month or 6 weeks in hospital for sepsis, so I guess it isn't surprising. Sounds like she can't walk and is just sleeping a lot so I cannot imagine it will be very long, poor lady. She did raise something like over £1m in 24 hours after her post, though, for several cancer research charities, one of which supports my hospital's research fund (we go to the same one), so her voice at least has had the impact and reach she desired.

  • cowgal
    cowgal Member Posts: 625

    My MO doesn't want me to take vitamins/supplements other than Calcium and vitamin D and wants me to get my nutrition from my food. I have Celiac disease so I am unable to eat gluten from some grains. I try to eat in moderation but I admit that I have a sweet tooth and I do need to lose some weight. I do eat red meat and live in an area where it is much easier to come by then non China caught fish but we do eat some frozen fish on occasion that is safe. I try to have at least one vegetable at every meal and have some fruit daily. I wish I like vegetables more and had access to a greater variety of them. I look at my monthly blood tests and use them to help me to see what I need to be sure to increasing in my diet. For me, I always seem to be low to on the border on iron and potassium and I try to consume dairy to keep my calcium levels up. I eat fat free Greek yogurt for the calcium, get some probiotics and also to help prevent getting mouth sores from some of the medication. I find that for me, I feel best eating what I would call low carb-ish...normally not more than 60 to 100 grams/day. My body just seems to feel better when I don't eat a lot of carbs and I eat a low to a moderate amount of fat. Too many carbs make my joints hurt and I have less energy. I have recently added a daily glass of tart cherry juice to see if that will help with the aches and pains from arthritis/cancer drug side effects. I do not drink alcohol due to the drug interactions.

    I think that there is a whole lot of different eating plans/styles that cancer patients try and I just think that what makes someone feel better able to function may be different from someone else. We just have to try to find what works for us. Incidentally, I read an article that said that there is thought that the longer one has been exposed to hormones, the greater their risk for breast cancer and said that because of this, women who experienced menstruation earlier had an increased risk.

    Elderberry, I love a good french fry too and I would love to try poutine.

  • finallyoverit
    finallyoverit Member Posts: 133

    This is an area where I definitely struggle. On top of being a picky eater, I get really bored eating the same things over and over. I try to keep healthy stuff in the house and when it comes time to eat I lack the energy and desire to actually cook anything. I struggle with neuropathy so being on my feet for any length of time is a struggle too. Don’t mind me today, ladies. I’m having one of those everything sucks days today. Everything is such a struggle and unless you’ve worn these shoes, you just don’t get it

  • cowgal
    cowgal Member Posts: 625

    Finallyoverit - Yep, I completely get it. I really struggle a lot too. Some nights my husband puts a protein on the pellet grill and I throw a bag of frozen vegetables in the microwave and that is supper. I rarely make things that take much time to prepare. I do like roasted vegetables and even sheet pan suppers where you basically throw it all in a pan and bake and that's it! On the neuropathy issue, I suffer from that and low back pain and sciatica. I have been taking gabapentin and a small amount of CBD oil. I ran out of the oil about a month ago and really noticed that the neuropathy in my feet and a few fingers has come back. I should be getting some more of the oil tomorrow and of course start taking it again. I am pretty convinced it must have been helping quite a bit. My neuropathy was never completely gone but was significantly better.

  • parakeetsrule
    parakeetsrule Member Posts: 605

    I don't follow a strict diet either. It's just an additional source of stress to constantly be worried about what we can and can't eat. Everything in moderation, even moderation. There are lots of things I don't normally eat at home but won't hesitate to eat elsewhere. I don't drink soda at home but I'll enjoy Mountain Dew and Dr. Pepper when I'm visiting a particular relative's house. I rarely cook meat at home but will order it from restaurants or eat it at other people's houses.

    I try to eat whole, minimally processed foods, mostly plants but plenty of other things too. I get a weekly produce delivery and supplement it with dairy and eggs and bakery and other types of groceries. If I'm having a craving, I just eat whatever I'm craving. I see no point in fighting it. Even if it's a giant bag of chips or the ridiculous number of cookies I ate this weekend.

    I hate cooking so I also order more delivery than I would like...

  • elderberry
    elderberry Member Posts: 1,058

    moth: so right about early days vegetarian cookbooks. I had one in 1978 and it was all sprouts, brown rice or just instructions on how to steam a veg. Honestly!!

  • elderberry
    elderberry Member Posts: 1,058

    moth: I still say kudos to you! I am guilty of wringing my hands about the horrible conditions of the meat industry then chow down on wings. It makes me a hypocrite. Free rage eggs, and free range, hormone free, anti-biotic free chickens. Do I assuage my guilt that at least they were not in cages unable to move? Yes and no.

  • elderberry
    elderberry Member Posts: 1,058

    cowgal: Poutine is French Canada's contribution to world cuisine. Like regular fries, I am a purist when it comes to poutine. Superior fries, fresh, squeaky cheese curds and a gravy that isn't too thick. Poutine has been embraced now - outside of Quebec and Canada. But so many are tampering with it, even here, by adding in pulled pork, jalapenos, all sorts of things. It spoils a "perfect dish" :-)

    I like sheet pan dinners. Living on the coast gives me good access to fresh, locally sourced fish. It is Spot prawn season. Yay! They aren't cheap but they are so good and only here once a year.

  • cowgal
    cowgal Member Posts: 625

    elderberry - I would definitely want to try poutine as it is intended to be except for having to substitute gluten free flour.

  • sondraf
    sondraf Member Posts: 1,579

    cowgal - I hear you on the "low carbish" - I have similar problems when I eat too many carbs. Also, I naturally tend to "front load" carbs into the morning and rarely eat them after 4pm- somehow toast is totally appealing at 8 am but by mid-afternoon Im offended by the loaf of bread and have to hide it in a cupboard. Rice seems to be ok for me lately, but potatoes are on the iffy side.

    I may start making some mujadara - slow cooked carmelized onions with rice and lentils from the middle east - to eat for lunch or dinner.

  • divinemrsm
    divinemrsm Member Posts: 5,996

    For me, food is one of life’s simple pleasures. I can remember the best sandwich I ever ate, the best slice of cake I ever had, the first time I ate a s’mores (heavenly!), the first time I washed chips and salsa down with a margarita (heavenly!), etc.

    My taste buds have been altered several times with different treatment, so I'm not going to deprive myself of enjoying food while I can but I believe in moderation.

    It’s been 11+ years since diagnosis. I initially made a few dietary adjustments that I still follow. I stopped drinking diet pop which I loved. I upped the amount of water I drink and drink tons of it daily. I always liked vegetables and fruit and eat what’s in season, making sure I have some every day. Eating meat daily is a necessity, not a lot but I am entirely too hungry without it. I was never much of a drinker but will have an occasional margarita or glass of champagne—less than six drinks in a whole year. I’ve always been a one cup of coffee a day person. I try eating less processed food. High cholesterol runs in my family so I make some of my food choices based on that (I also take a statin). Lately I use as little salt as possible and started using salt substitute since my blood pressure was going up. I also substitute almond milk for regular 2% milk about half the time. I was not ever going to be someone who eliminated sweets. As many of us have said, it’s about moderation.

    I find food to be seasonal. I eat more comfort food in winter and lighter fare in summer. I like trying foods I’ve never eaten before.