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What To Eat When You Have Multiple Myeloma
Posted: Nov 10, 2016
What To Eat When You Have Multiple Myeloma image


Over the last five years, I’ve examined many facets of diet and myeloma, which I shared with our late friend, Pat Killingsworth. Last year, Jenny with the Myeloma Crowd graciously invited me to share this information with you once more.

Rather than send you looking for each segment that I previously composed, I thought it would be useful to summarize what we’ve learned in one place. We can then add each of the sections that describe why the conclusions are as shown below:

So what are our recommendations for helpful diet from these various sources I’ve covered?

In General

  • Increase levels of protein consumption, particularly for oily fish such as salmon
  • Increase consumption of cruciferous vegetables (radishes, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, watercress)
  • Eat more fruits and herbs with ursolic acid: apples, basil, cranberries.
  • Within your diet, emphasize fruits with pterostilbene: blueberries, grapes, acai and rhubarb
  • Include papaya and papaya juice in your fruit choices
  • Add turmeric and curries to the spices you cook with
  • Include parsley (agigene) in your diet—parsley pesto, added to soups and other dishes.
  • Try to use whole grains for wheat, rice and pasta
  • Eat cheeses with Vitamin K2: Gouda, Asiago, Parmesan, Emmenthaler and Jarlsberg
  • Cooked and stewed tomatoes
  • Add kelp (kombu) to your diet- miso soup etc.
  • Moderate alcohol consumption (resveratrol containing red wines being a good choice)
  • Consider a Vitamin D, Vitamin A and a fish oil supplement particularly if fish consumption is low
  • Consider a curcumin supplement in consultation with your doctor

Things to Avoid or Reduce:

Most Important to Reduce
  • Reduce sugar consumption and sweetened drinks*
  • Reduce simple carbohydrates*
  • Cut down on butter and sweetened dairy products (ice cream, puddings etc.)
Likely Helpful to Reduce
  • Fried foods, particularly French fries and potato chips (acrylamides)
  • Asparagus (l-asparagine)
  • Excessively toasted breads and baked goods (acrylamides)
  • Moderate coffee consumption and perhaps substitute some tea (acrylamides)
  • Try to avoid highly processed foods, MSG, artificial colorings etc.
  • Avoid artificial sweeteners
  • Avoid Vitamin C supplements, EGCG and green tea on Velcade days
  • Avoid supplements with Glucosamine or hyaluronic acid. Avoid Glutamine for similar reasons: helps your stomach, but may also help MM cells
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid: may reduce neuropathy with Velcade, but also compromise its effectiveness

* Particularly important on Dex days; simple carbohydrate includes refined flours and potatoes.

And if you are going to have a carbohydrate or sugar rich portion of your meal, it is better to take these after consuming the salad or protein base so that digestion proceeds slowly and blood glucose levels rise slowly.

But remember, that we not only eat to help fight the cancer, we also eat to nourish our body and cultivate appreciation for our life.

Regardless of your religious persuasion, I believe a simple grace-- shared or even silent-- before a meal will help to bring appreciation and nourishment. This is the blessing I use, but find whatever seems appropriate and sincere for you and yours.

“We give thanks for this food,

the work of many people,

the offering of other forms of life.

May it nourish us body, mind and spirit…”

Chew slowly and completely, paying attention to tongue and taste. Mindful eating is paying attention to each morsel you put in your mouth. Why not enjoy it?

Consider your good fortune to be here today. Enjoy each bite.

The author Jennifer Ahlstrom

about the author
Jennifer Ahlstrom

Myeloma survivor, patient advocate, wife, mom of 6. Believer that patients can help accelerate a cure by weighing in and participating in clinical research. Founder of HealthTree Foundation (formerly Myeloma Crowd). 

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