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Hofer: Just in time for the holidays

Eating well is important for everyone, but it’s essential if you have cancer.

Good nutrition can boost your immune system and reduce your risk of infection as you undergo treatment. Now there are two nutrition books from the American Cancer Society that can make life a whole lot easier for people who have cancer: “Complete Guide to Nutrition for Cancer Survivors,” and its companion cookbook, “What to Eat During Cancer Treatment.”

The “Complete Guide to Nutrition for Cancer Survivors” tells you what you need to know about eating well and staying well during and after cancer. It addresses the hot topics in nutrition and cancer – including some of the various claims being made these days about foods that can cause cancer or prevent it.

Wondering about the wheat grass diet? Should you have an organic diet? Is it important to eat garlic when you have cancer? These are all questions that are addressed in the nutrition guide book. Other topics covered (and their connection to cancer) include: coffee, flaxseed, green tea, sugar, omega-3 fatty acids, soy and broccoli.

The “Complete Guide to Nutrition for Cancer Survivors” also discusses vitamins and herbs that can help people with cancer – the nutrients that will help your body heal. For example, according to the book, ginger can help with nausea. And melatonin may promote better sleep after cancer treatment. But kava-kava? The book advises caution during treatment. Additional topics covered include fatigue, weight gain or loss, and lifestyle choices to improve survivorship.

Its companion book, “What to Eat During Cancer Treatment,” is the ultimate comfort food cookbook for people going through cancer treatment and their families. Treatment can make eating difficult; this book offers 100 great-tasting, healthy recipes to help patients cope. All recipes are organized by side-effect. For example, for nausea, try Brie and Apple Grilled Cheese, page 11. For sore mouth, try Sherbet Shake, p. 72. For taste alterations, try Honey-Teriyaki Salmon, p. 110. The recipes are great for the survivor and good for the entire family – eliminating the need for separate meals.

Bonus features in the cookbook include: Advice for the caregiver; tips to make dining out easier; a kitchen staples list; and tips on assembling a take-along food “survival kit.”

Whether you’re looking for a gift for the cancer survivor on your holiday list, or you’re cooking for someone with cancer during the holidays, these resources provide help for people undergoing treatment.

Books are just one resource from the American Cancer Society to help people get well, as the society offers many programs that meet the immediate challenges many cancer patients face. Programs include Road to Recovery, which provides transportation to and from treatment; Reach to Recovery, which pairs newly diagnosed breast cancer patients with trained survivors who help them cope; and Look Good…Feel Better, which teaches female cancer patients beauty tips to manage the cosmetic side effects of some treatments. Anyone can access these programs and services by calling (800) 227-2345 or visiting

Books are available at

About the American Cancer Society

At the American Cancer Society, our vision is a world with less cancer and more birthdays. As part of that vision, we are fighting cancer in every community, for every family, to help save lives. We recognize each community has different needs and we’re here to help everyone stay well and get well, to find cures, and to fight back against cancer. For cancer information, contact us at or (800) 227-2345.

Charlotte Hofer is public relations manager for the American Cancer Society in South Dakota. She is a member of the Native American Journalists Association and is a regular contributor to Indian Country Today. Contact her at

Brie and apple grilled cheese 1 serving

Prep Time: 15 minutes or less

Total Time: 15 minutes or less Sometimes a slight twist, like a special bread or an unexpected cheese, makes an ordinary sandwich suddenly appealing. In this heated sandwich, brie, a creamy, soft cheese, melts into a yummy puddle of comfort on raisin bread. You can substitute cheddar or another hard cheese for brie if your doctor has advised you to avoid soft cheeses. 1½ ounces brie cheese, white rind trimmed, or other cheese, at room temperature

  2 slices raisin bread

  2 to 3 thin slices peeled Granny Smith or other apple

  1 teaspoon butter, softened

Spread the brie on one side of each piece of bread. Place apple on top of one slice and top with the other slice, cheese side down. Spread the butter on the other sides of the bread. Place in a skillet over medium heat. Cook until the bottom is golden and the cheese begins to melt. Carefully turn the sandwich and cook until golden and the cheese has melted completely.