Matriarch needs low acid food
July 3, 2014 9:36 PM   Subscribe

My mom was biopsied today and has some kind of lymphoma. What kind will be determined next week. I have a grocery list from the hospital of melons, frozen yogurt, smart water and cheese. Supposed to feed her a little something every two hours. She's down 25 lbs since this started and that's 20% off her fighting weight. Menu suggestions?
posted by Mr. Yuck to Health & Fitness (5 answers total)
I've had to read up on food safety lately and since your mom's health is bad right now she sure doesn't need food sickness. So - don't buy pre-sliced plastic-wrapped melons - that's a biological disaster waiting to happen. Avoid sprouts because of the hot, moist environment they grow in.

If it's OK with her doctor to have - vinegar and olive oil on food will kill they e. coli and salmonella in your stomach. So I would never serve just a plain salad to a person with a compromised immune system. And a glass of wine with a meal will also help - if that is OK with her doctor.

Be careful with smoothies. Smoothies are so nutritious. But some of the "powdered greens" you can buy have been shown to be contaminated. My partner got sick last month from an unknown cause and I am afraid it might have been the smoothie I gave him with "fresh organic" ingredients. So I may add vinegar and olive oil to the next smoothie, not sure how that will taste. have stopped making smoothies altogether for the time being.

Get a meat thermometer to test meat if you serve that to her.
posted by cda at 7:03 AM on July 4, 2014

I don't have specific menu suggestions, but here's a database of food acidity. Might help to browse around and get a feeling for the numbers?

Good luck, I hope her prognosis is good and her treatment is a cakewalk.
posted by Andrhia at 7:03 AM on July 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

On the melons: I just read in another thread this week that canteloupe rinds are basically a bacteria sponge, and cutting through them just smears it all over the melon meat. So maybe only smooth-rind melons?

I don't know anything about low-acid specifically, but we spent about 5 years trying to keep enough weight on my grandfather when his various cancers and treatments left him with almost no sense of taste/smell and zero appetite, and we just stopped feeding him anything that wasn't high fat because he ate so little and every calorie was urgent. Not only should you not feed her raw salad because of contaminants, but also because it isn't fuel. (Potato salad, on the other hand...)

We made meatballs* with just enough ground beef to feel like meatballs and the rest ground pork and bacon. "Smoothies" were Ensure and ice cream with avocado and/or nut oils snuck in. Cream cheese spread thick on a cracker. If he really wanted a vegetable besides mashed potatoes (made with cream cheese and butter), we'd cook carrots or broccoli or green beans and then toss them in butter. My aunt's an eating-disordered clinical dietician who eats no fat but a spoonful of olive oil a day, and even she was like "let's put extra butter in his peanut butter and we'll worry about his cardiac health later." Every calorie was so precious.

(*These were actually 1oz meatballs smashed into patties so they cooked through more thoroughly, but we all called them meatballs because papaw didn't know what a slider was.)

Note that you may have to recalibrate your mental image of "a little something" - possibly a digital food scale would be all-around helpful, and I recommend tracking how much she eats and also just using it to eyeball how much you're offering/urging her to eat. 2-4 ounces of food may be all she's going to do every 2 hours, and an ounce of food is a very small amount of food.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:03 AM on July 4, 2014

Smoothies usually go down well. Maybe one with a banana, peanut butter, and milk (or ice cream and Ensure as Lyn Never suggested).

I think I would also be going for calorie-dense. Most calorie-dense foods are not very acidic.

Does she like pasta? You can get the pre-made ravioli or tortellini with cheese in it, cook it and smother it with alfredo sauce and more shredded cheese or parm. It would be easy to make in small portions. You could also throw in some frozen peas or lima beans if she needs some green.
posted by zennie at 10:07 AM on July 4, 2014

If you have trouble finding Ensure try a drugstore or the drugstore area of the grocery store, often they are shelved there instead of with the canned diet and energy drinks like you would expect.
posted by yohko at 2:03 PM on July 4, 2014

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