When you're neutropenic, eating fresh fruits and veggies, or anything uncooked or unprocessed is a big "no no". (The good news is these severe restrictions only last several days.) That's because your body has no means of fighting any contaminants that might be lurking in your food. Instead of living on frozen pizzas and canned fruit bathed in sugar, simply cook all fresh foods thoroughly. For example, wash fresh veggies and broil or bake them. Fresh fruit can also be baked, cooked or broiled and added to oatmeal or pancakes. Soups are a great way of eating lots of fresh veggies- just make sure you cook your soup to almost scalding temps! Absolutely no salad bars or buffets. Meats are allowed but, again, they must be thoroughly cooked (no rare or medium rare steaks). Basically, you must know how your food is prepared to ensure it is safe to eat. That means restaurants are out of the picture (for now). Canned and frozen foods are generally safe, as are other items like breads and cereals and other prepacked foods. When in doubt, ask your doctor. For more info on neutropenia guidelines,
about the author
Lizzy Smith was diagnosed with myeloma in 2012 at age 44. Within days, she left her job, ended her marriage, moved, and entered treatment. "To the extent I'm able, I want to prove that despite life's biggest challenges, it is possible to survive and come out stronger than ever," she says.