Patricia Brown Clinic

'LIFE' Blog

'LIFE' Blog

Crazy Chemo Food Cravings

Posted on June 11, 2016 at 3:40 PM

Yes believe it or not, chemo results in food cravings, very strange ones too. You would think the thing that we all believe to make you feel really sick would send you off food, but even people I know who have had sickness have still experienced the weird world of chemo food cravings.

As I've said in an earlier post, my first chemo led to a craving for curry, anything spicy but preferably a Jalfrezi Curry microwave meal, a tinned one was ok as a back up. I think this was physiological, as I have said spicy food seems to sort me out if I've had a sickness bug lurking so with the expectant sickness you think will come with chemo, I resorted to the curry. But these cravings are I suppose like pregnancy, you get a thought in your head and you have to have it, you can't settle until you do. Also on my first few chemo's my other big craving was for Loveheart sweets and Swizzel's Fizzers and double Lolly pops. I could not get enough, I'd have the kids bag from the supermarket and a pack of Fizzers or a Double Lolly Pop was always in my bag if I was out and about. I did find sucking the Lollies helped with my sore mouth on the first chemo, but I did love them to and carried on with them when my mouth wasn't sore. I loved it when my friend, Miss B said I've got a little pressie for you and it was a big box of Fizzers and a tin of mini Lovehearts, or when my partner raided the local Mr Simm's sweet shop for me to stock me up too, I think he bought them out of Fizzers that day!

After a few chemo's I went off spicy food, my taste buds changed so anything slightly spicy tasted extremely spicy to me. I tried a Korma and anyone would think you had give me a Vindaloo. So from this I avoided spicy food. I craved bland food, chicken and mushroom soup, Batchelor's Pasta Packs and I hadn't ate them in years! I ate lots of home cooked pasta, but plain, no sauce. I made one in a pasta sauce but all I could taste was sugar, it seems to really heighten your sense of taste. So I loved a bowl of plain pasta with olive oil, or the filled pasta. Then I went off pasta and chicken and mushroom soup. The next craving was meat and lots of it. I have never been a big meat eater, was almost vegetarian at one point and if I did have meat it was always diced, never a steak or fillet. But I craved meat, and fatty meat, I had to eat all the fat off bacon, something I would never normally have done. Still, I could eat bacon every day but I limit myself to every other week now. I couldn't get enough of steak, or chicken fillets, pork, lamb and I don't like to eat lamb but I craved it. I still really enjoy meat.

My other big craving, peas. Yes peas. I was at my happiest eating a bowl of peas, at least that was healthy, garden peas, mushy peas not so much, but marrow fat peas, now I did love them. I even dreamt about them. My partner said I had been talking in my sleep one night, saying "Peas...Peas....Marrowfat peas" I could happily eat peas all day long, I had them for breakfast one time or often just as a snack. I really loved them peas.

The other craving which led to an embarrassing incident, Mr Kipling's Halloween French Fancy cakes, they were a limited edition. My dad had picked me up a pack from our local shop, they must of had an early batch as it was a few weeks before Halloween. Loved them. I did limit myself to one a day but the craving kicked in and I knew I would want more, I dropped on another box in another local shop, but then that was it everywhere was out of them until Halloween, there was another Mr Kipling cake with the same Halloween theme about, but these were no good, they weren't the cakes. So I resulted in Asda late one night, I'd had a lead that they might have them. I made my partner track down a store assistant for me to ask, probably quite desperately I asked "where are the Halloween Mr Kipling French Fancy cakes, the mint ones?" This caused confusion to start with as my taste buds were seriously off as they were actually lime! But I was convinced they were mint and I had a few minutes of been adamant that I was right but did eventually admit defeat when my partner showed me the evidence on Google, how did we live before Google?? I was then told that the Halloween cakes 'didn't land in store' until the week of Halloween. "Land?" I replied "Land? Its not a jumbo jet! Its a pack of cakes! And if it doesn't land until the week of Halloween and they go off the shelves a few days later that means I'm only having a week of eating them!" The store assistant looked quite scared, I probably seemed quite possessed! "And look" as I pointed to shelves of mince pies "they are out months before Christmas, Halloween is before. Why can I eat mince pies anytime but cant have a Mr Kipling Halloween Cake!!!" I had to admit defeat, and I did get a pack before Halloween but the taste buds had changed again and I wasn't actually that much for them!

Another few cravings, lettuce and mayo, dorito's and salsa dip, pork scratchings, Tyrells's Chilli Bites, Ready to eat cooked chicken, sliced ham, onion bhajis, crisps and orange juice. Most vegetables I really enjoyed but I went off fruit.

One bit of advice, even though I didn't have sickness as in being sick, I must of had some sensitivity as certain things I ate during chemo I cant stomach now and I still feel the same and I doubt I'll ever want to eat some things again, mostly any foods I ate while having chemo or in the days directly after. So beware eating your favourite food, it may not stay favourite for long!

Things I no longer can eat, Ice cream, dorito's, crisps all varieties other than Pom Bears, pork scratchings, Tyrell's Chilli Bites, Cocktail Sausages, ready cooked chicken, dairy milk chocolate, Galaxy hot chocolate, tea with milk (only like it with soya) chicken and mushroom soup. I cant eat from the Chinese take away that I had from during chemo, but I'm ok with others. Even typing these has made me want to heave!

I have also found chemo has changed my taste buds, I always used to be more of a savoury person, now I prefer sweet and still actually crave something sweet every day. As the chemo I had does cause weight gain (which I did need as I had wasted away to start with) but I would like to make my diet and lifestyle really healthy, which is hard when you crave sugary foods! But I've found a good alternative with Dark Chocolate Coated Cranberries. Its hard to control what you eat during chemo as the cravings really are quite strange and you just have to have it! Also, I'd say like a sickness bug, just eat what you feel like. But once you're out of it and given yourself a few months get your strength back try to get into a healthy lifestyle to keep your body in good condition, its important for everyone, but especially us who are in remission. So that's my next goal to get fit and healthy, pass me them chocolate cranberries!

Categories: Cancer and Me

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