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May 6, 2014 01:31 PM

Fighting to keep my voice

I was recently re diagnosed with throat cancer. The first time I got the diagnosis we did surgery, radiation and chemo and I was on a liquid diet for about one week which wasn't the end of the world. This go round there will be no surgery or I will never be able to speak again, and 20 weeks of radiation. In the meantime my Dr. recommended that I go on a full liquid diet. Not a clear liquid diet but a full liquid diet. His rule of thumb was if you have to chew, don't ingest it. Can anyone please help me find healthy recipes for this sudden long term possibly permanent life & dietary change?

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  1. First of all, I'm so sorry you have to fight this beast again, and I wish you smooth treatment and speedy recovery.

    Figuring you're not dreaming of blenderized meat and three, I searched for full meal replacement shakes and found this: http://www.mealreplacementshakereview...

    Since their top shake is low in total carbs and sugar, that's especially good for cancer patients. It's also inexpensive and you won't have to prepare it.

    I thought of posting some of my favorite home made shakes but don't know if you're going to feel like shopping or prepping and don't know how much help you'll have.

    I'm also thinking you'll need calories due to loss of appetite or discomfort swallowing, so maybe pureed soups, cream added, or even Greek yogurt, to get calories and protein in there.

    Thinned with stock split pea pureed with ham in it might work, and it's already supposed to be mushy. :-


    Greek yogurt can be a great friend in terms of protein, smoothness and as a base for shakes.


    1 Reply
    1. re: mcf

      Please share as much as possible. My hubby is here to help in any way needed. We both did a little research and keep coming across high sugar smoothies. I am really in search of full nutrition ideas. I can't (or shouldn't) live on fruit smoothies. That's ok for a snack at most. Thank you for your guidance!

    2. I'm so sorry to hear about your diagnosis - that's devastating. As an opera singer, I can think of little else that would terrify me more! I'm sure you've gotten plenty of opinions from other doctors, but if you haven't already, I would recommend that you get an umpteenth opinion from a doctor who specializes in the care of the voice - a singer's doc, so to speak. They are particularly sensitive to the specific needs of the voice and may have some new insight.

      As for the dietary issues, mcf gave you lots of great ideas. I think greek yogurt will likely be one of your best friends during this time - make sure you get the full fat type, it's much more delicious than nonfat or even 2%. There are lots of protein powders out there to fit any macro-nutrient need - low carb, high carb, low fat, high fat, you name it. My husband drinks a lot of low-carb protein to fuel his weightlifting workouts and he's a big fan of the Dymatize Elite brand, which we order online through Vitacost. It's fairly inexpensive, too, as far as protein powders go. I've also ordered an unflavored protein powder (Jarrow brand) from there - it's nice because you can add it to savory foods for an extra hint of protein without flavor.

      There are lots of threads on the Home Cooking board about eating after wisdom tooth extraction or other mouth surgeries that might be helpful. Pureed soups are a popular suggestion, and you may find that you can successfully puree lots of things you never thought possible!

      5 Replies
      1. re: biondanonima

        Thank you. Yes I've seen several doctors. Last round of this ended my on air career. I still work in the radio industry but no longer have a morning show or a show at all for that matter. Sadly, the cancer part doesn't bother me too much but being mute....devastating thought. Needless to say, anything I can do to prolong my ability to speak will be sought out. Thanks again!

        1. re: Jenmeddez

          Oh my, I'm so sorry to hear that you had to give up your on-air career - that really is devastating.

          A couple of things I just thought of that might add some variety to your diet - I know a lot of vegans soak raw cashews and almonds and then puree them to make nut "creams" - these can be used as the base of soups, sauces, dips, etc. Silken tofu can also be pureed into oblivion and the flavor will blend right into whatever fruits or vegetables you add.

          I would also spend some time researching recipes from other cuisines, like Indian, Thai, etc. Indian food in particular tends to be "saucy," and you might find that you can enjoy those sauces over other soft foods, or puree other things into them.

          1. re: biondanonima

            <<I would also spend some time researching recipes from other cuisines, like Indian, Thai, etc. Indian food in particular tends to be "saucy," and you might find that you can enjoy those sauces over other soft foods, or puree other things into them.>>


            in particular there are TONS of great, saucy, indian curries (red lentil, saag, dahls, etc)
            and MANY great middle eastern saucy/stewy dishes (e.g. ghormeh sabzi) that, with a blender, can easily be converted to tasty, smooth, savory, meals.

          2. re: Jenmeddez

            Jenmeddez, you have written with eloquence and have spoken to us although none of us can hear your voice.

        2. I'm so sorry to hear this news. It sounds very challenging. But it also sounds like you have a great attitude, so that will go very far.

          A couple years ago I was on a soft-foods diet for 6 months (luckily due to problems with orthodontia, not anything more serious) and also helped a friend with oral cancer who was on a liquid diet for quite a while post surgery.

          You actually probably could live on fruit smoothies (especially protein enhanced smoothies) for a very long time. I usually added protein powder and/or ground flax seeds to smoothies. But, that isn't very satisfying. I found it incredibly important to have savory options as well as sweet.

          Pureed vegetables with seasonings or butter or cream can actually be quite delicious. I loved pureed cauliflower or broccoli. This works for nearly all vegetables. I made every kind of (for me vegetarian) soup imaginable. I would often make 2-3 pots of soup in a week, and freeze individual portions, so there were always several types to choose from in the freezer. I loved vegetable soups of al kinds, and was very happy with the heartiness of pureed bean or lentil soups. Things that are meant to be dips (hummus, tzatziki, etc.) became foods I ate off a spoon and really enjoyed. I was also able to eat thinned refried beans.

          The biggest change for me at first was the sudden reduction in fiber intake. It was hard on my system. I added in fiber powder to one or more meals a day.

          I also felt very challenged eating at other people's homes, especially at first. I would try to drink a snack before I went, and I would also let them know what was going on with me (without expecting accommodation - I just didn't want to be rude.) I was luckier than you in that I could eat soft foods from a spoon like polenta. I even realized that I could simply swallow overcooked vegetables and lasagna and things like that, but that probably isn't recommended in your situation.

          I also met with a nutritionist which I found helpful.

          Good luck to you! If you think of more questions please ask. Take care.

          1. Do you have a nice blender? I'd invest in one. I like the Warring MX1200XTX. It has everything but programmable cycles, and is both better and cheaper than comparable Vitamix and Blendtec models.

            I use mine a lot for soups that I blend smooth then put them through a fine mesh strainer. Soup types I've made include broccoli gruyere, cauliflower, squash, onion, leek, etc. They are all drinkable and include lots of nutrients. I pressure cook all the vegetables before blending. A pressure cooker is another piece of gear you may want to look into if you don't have one already.

            1. I also hope that you have the best success with your treatment.
              Searching this board as well as the home cooking board as already suggested will give you tons of results for liquid diets ideas.

              Nut butters can be an excellent source of nutrition (and delicious) when added to smoothies, and peanut flour is an alternative to protein powders.
              (Nut butter, a banana, milk)

              Avocado smoothies are a good source of nutrition, add 1/2 or a whole one to any smoothie or soup to make it creamy

              Quick cook oatmeal is great in a smoothie- put it in the blender alone first and blitz before adding other ingredients

              Ground flax seeds, hemp seeds, and chia seeds are good additions for fiber (and the hemp and chia have a decent amount of protein as well)

              A pureed lentil or other bean soup with canned coconut milk

              Look at soup recipes and just blend until a suitable texture- something like sweet potato peanut butter stew would be hearty.