Maintain Your Strength During Cancer Treatment

December 17, 2022

Getting a diagnosis of cancer is life changing and many thoughts go through your mind. Today we have a special show for you because our co-hosts have over 25 years of experience each in the field of nutrition and they have both had cancer. They have researched cancer diets and know from experience how difficult it can be to eat during treatment. In this show, we’ll discuss how to use nutrition to maintain your strength during and after cancer treatments.

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MELANIE: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition, brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. Today we have a really important and meaningful topic to share with you. I'm Melanie Beasley. I'm a registered and licensed dietitian, and joining me today as our cohost is Kelly McGraw, who has a master's in science and clinical nutrition and dietetics, and is a licensed nutritionist. And this is our first time we get to be in studio together. It's really fun to see you.

KELLY: I'm so excited, Melanie.

MELANIE: What makes this topic special to both of us and to so many people today is that we are both in the field of nutrition and we have been in this for years, right? But also we have both had cancer, so we get to work together as survivors. And I was diagnosed with breast cancer 12 years ago. That was just two weeks after having had back surgery. And I almost didn't go in for my mammogram because I was in pain from the back surgery. Really glad I did. I think it was because it was just such a pain to reschedule. I just went in and they found it. My cohost, Kelly today also is a cancer survivor, and I'm excited to have you share with our listeners your story as well.

KELLY: Thanks, Melanie. I think the first thing we bonded over was having cancer together.

MELANIE: Absolutely.

KELLY: Right. So here's my story. When I was 48, my doctor recommended that I get a colonoscopy due to my father's history of colon cancer. My father was first diagnosed with colon cancer at age 67, and he asked his doctors at that point, should my sister and I be screened early? And the doctor assured my dad that because he was 67, my sister and I didn't need a colonoscopy until the recommended age of 50. Currently, the new recommended age to get a colonoscopy is 45.

MELANIE: So listeners 45. That's the, that's the current. Right?

KELLY: 45. Go get your colonoscopy. I was 42 at the age of my dad's diagnosis. If I had gotten a colonoscopy at age 42 or even 45, things may have turned out really differently for me. However, I made my appointment as my doctor suggested, and I had my colonoscopy. I woke up from the anesthesia in the procedure room and although I was groggy, I really do remember this. I remember the doctor saying she was going to send out a mass for a biopsy.

MELANIE: How terrifying.

KELLY: Terrified.

MELANIE: I, just to hear that.

KELLY: Right. I knew that that wasn't good, and I knew I was awake and not sleeping or, you know, dreaming.

MELANIE: Oh my gosh, Kelly.

KELLY: So I felt as expected, really scared and anxious.

MELANIE: Of course.

KELLY: The nurse wheeled me into recovery and made sure my husband was there with me and told me the doctor would be in to discuss the results. I didn't know that normally you don't have your spouse in there. You're just alone and they kick you out, right, when you get a colonoscopy?

MELANIE: Yes. Thank goodness.

KELLY: Right. So the fact that my husband was there, you know, I knew something was wrong.

MELANIE: Something was up.

KELLY: So shortly after the doctor arrived to tell me that I had a suspicious mass on my sigmoid colon, and it was most likely colon cancer. A week later, my colon cancer was officially diagnosed.

MELANIE: That waiting for that week, it's like having a wasp in your hair.

KELLY: Right. Exactly.

MELANIE: That you want to get out.

KELLY: Right, terrible.

MELANIE: You just want to know.

KELLY: The days drag on.

MELANIE: It's terrible. Getting a diagnosis of cancer is truly, truly life changing. Many of our thoughts just run through your mind. It's everything that you can think of. How did this happen to me? What could I have done differently to prevent this? Was it my food choices? Was it stress in my life? Should I have exercised more? Environmental toxins or my genetics? And the big overarching question, am I going to survive? The National Cancer Institute reported that only 10% of all cancers may be caused by inherited genetic changes. Only 10% listeners. But the incidences of cancer has dramatically increased since 1990s. We have to say what is going on?

KELLY: Right.

MELANIE: After resection surgery, you thought you were free and clear of colon cancer. Right?

KELLY: Exactly. I thought I was done.

MELANIE: But not so.


MELANIE: Unfortunately you were not done with this journey. Tell us some more.

KELLY: Right. So I had a colon resection to remove the cancer. About a foot in my colon was removed.

MELANIE: A foot?

KELLY: Yes, a foot.


KELLY: But I recovered really well. Life went on, I adapted, and I hoped that would be the end of it, but it wasn't. I met with my oncologist every six months for blood work and CAT scans. During my 18 month checkup, a CAT scan showed what looked to be scarring where my colon was reattached. So I got to go have another colonoscopy. And as you can imagine, it felt a little surreal and just as scary when my surgeon came in and told me that I had another mass on my colon that he found was once again cancer. Yes. So that means that first surgery just didn't get rid of everything.

MELANIE: And what was the timeframe between the original diagnosis and then the second diagnosis?

KELLY: 18 months.

MELANIE: 18 months.

KELLY: Yep. So again, my colon cancer was once again confirmed. I met with my oncologist who told me that if I only had surgery to remove a cancer like I did with my first diagnosis, that I couldn't expect to have a different result this time. So this time I would need chemo and radiation, followed by another colon resection. And in January of that year, I started chemotherapy.

MELANIE: Oh my gosh, Kelly. What a long, scary journey. You know, after my cancer treatment, I suddenly developed many, many different food sensitivities and I could no longer eat gluten and dairy and corn and chocolate and peanuts and sugar just to name a few. And I suddenly had a very limited diet. But I also knew doing what we do for a living, that I needed to maintain my strength, my bone density, my muscles, importantly my mood, because I had young children.

And that is the topic today, is how to eat to maintain your strength, your bones, your muscles, your mood, you know, after and during that cancer treatment because what we put in our mouth makes a huge difference in our body's outcome. The foods I can or can't tolerate may be different than Kelly, but the basic eating plan is really the same. Right, Kelly?

KELLY: Exactly.

MELANIE: We simply have to nourish our bodies with all the critical nutrients. And that's the overriding goal here.

KELLY: Right. Absolutely. So as nutritionists and dietitians, we both looked up research to determine the best anti-cancer eating plan. And it is very confusing in fact.

MELANIE: There's so much information out there.

KELLY: Right. Yes. So much.

MELANIE: Dr. Google does not always serve us well.

KELLY: No, exactly. So a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in May of 2009 reported that the incidents of colorectal cancer was higher in vegetarians than in meat eaters. There are just so many studies and conflicting results that we want to suggest an eating plan that makes sense and is doable.

Healthy foods to incorporate to support the body


MELANIE: So I'm hearing nothing terribly dramatic. It's the message that we've put out there for a long time. So a good starting place is to include sufficient protein in your diet to maintain our muscles, our mood, our energy. And we, we cannot talk about protein without mentioning the quality of protein is very, very important.

KELLY: Right. And we also know that we need a variety of vegetables to supply us with a variety of vitamins and antioxidants. Again, like Melanie was saying, quality is critical.

MELANIE: Quality is critical. You know, they did a lot of studies on what causes colorectal cancer. And I know some of them that they put out there, they studied men who ate a lot of beef. But what the study does not mention is they did not monitor, what were they eating with beef? Were they eating hamburgers, French fries and beers.

KELLY: Right, exactly.

MELANIE: Which all has an impact. So some grass fed burgers is certainly going to be a little different. And in addition, we understand that the importance of eating natural, healing fats, not the fats that they fry food in in a restaurant. So we want the healing fats and we want to eliminate the Franken fats or the refined fats and oils that come from factories. Right?

The importance of drinking filtered water


KELLY: Exactly. Yeah. Right. And of course we recommend drinking filtered water free of contaminants.

MELANIE: I agree with you thoroughly is that the water we put in, we are made primarily of water and we have got to have quality of water. And I want to talk about that when we come back from break. But it's time for our first one. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition, brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. I'm Melanie Beasley. I'm a licensed and registered dietitian, and I'm in studio today with the delightful Kelly McGraw who is a licensed nutritionist. Today we're sharing the nutritional plan we follow having had cancer. Our own personal reason to eat real food is to maintain our strength, our bones, our energy, our moods during and after cancer treatment. Stay with us today as we discuss the benefits of real food. We'll be right back.


KELLY: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Both Melanie and I have been dietitians and nutritionists for over 25 years. And of course we have researched cancer diets. We believe that in order to maintain strength in your body and your brain, it's important to include all the macronutrients, protein, vegetable carbohydrates, and healthy fats. We also understand how difficult it can be to eat during treatment. Working with you as nutritionists, we problem solve with you. We support you and we give you encouragement. So call us. We are here to help: 651-699-3438.

Schedule Nutrition Counseling

MELANIE: And I have to say, I've heard from clients how much they love you because of your mercy and your compassion.

KELLY: So that's so nice.

MELANIE: I want to say, you know, Kelly is a wonderful person to reach out to.

KELLY: Oh, you’re so sweet.

MELANIE: Well, before we went to break, we were talking about water. And I did little research and prep for this radio show. And UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center put out this article I thought was really interesting. And they say in their article, “Patients with cancer often have weakened immune systems and can't properly protect their bodies against infections, including those caused by food-borne illness sometimes found in your water.”

And this is why it's important to be aware of where your drinking water is coming from. We have to be careful. If you have well water, I recommend that they boil it to remove. And you can Google how long you boil well water. If it's bottled water, make sure that source of bottled water is reverse osmosis filtration or distilled. The distillation process also removes contaminants. And if it's tap water, a good reverse osmosis filter even that you have at your sink will remove bacteria and chlorine and medications. If you check out our website, Nutritional Weight and Wellness and search water, you're going to come up with articles and podcasts on clean water guidance. So that's important.

KELLY: Exactly. Yep.

Foods to eliminate


MELANIE: Well let's start with the foods that would be wise to get out of your diet. And it's always the bad news first, I think. But no one who listens to us regularly is going to be surprised when I say sugar, sugar, sugar. So let's talk about this. Where are we getting sugar? It could be your soda, could be muffins, candy, pizza, coffee drinks, cookies. And we understand that when you're tired and want a pick me up, it's easy to turn to sugar.

Well, how can you avoid sugar? So that, that's the trick. Try this. Drink two glasses of filtered water. Wait just 15, 20 minutes and you'll feel better. You'll have fewer cravings. You are hydrating your body. Step one is to eliminate that sugar. And sometimes dehydration is confusing to the body. And the body sends out a sugar craving. It could be dehydration. Even check your protein bars, your granola bars, and those can be loaded with sugar and they're really not real food.

KELLY: Absolutely.

MELANIE: They’re crumbled cookie mashed together in a bar.

KELLY: Exactly. Step two is to get rid of all flour products, right? Bread, pasta, pizza, muffins, bagels, and of course cereal. Most grains are inflammatory to most of us who have had cancer. Any boxed and bagged processed food, any fast food absolutely has to go.

MELANIE: Yes the worst thing: eating fast food.

KELLY: Absolutely.

MELANIE: I have seen more clients who've come to me with cancer who have had a long history of fast food intake.

KELLY: I've seen the same thing.

MELANIE: Yes. No food comes through a window.

KELLY: That's right.

MELANIE: So it's important to replace refined oils with natural healing fats and oil. So throw out corn oil, soybean oil, even sunflower and safflower oil, unless they're cold, expeller pressed. Vegetable oils, goodness, canola oil. And check the label of each and every premade product that you're eating. First I have to say, why are you eating a pre-made product?

KELLY: Exactly.

MELANIE: But if you’re having something, check for those inflammatory oils. A lot of delis and restaurants, they're still using these damaged fats. Damaged fats cause damaged cells. So start including grass-fed butter. If I go to a restaurant, I literally will tell them I'm allergic to other oils. Would you just use butter? And they pay attention when you use the word allergy.

Healthy fat is healing for our cells


Olive oil is okay, avocado oil, coconut oil. Oh goodness my favorite: a good source of bacon grease. Love it. And these are the fats and oils that make up your cell wall. And they protect your cells from damage, bacteria, viruses, and of course cancer. These refined oils leave holes in your cell walls and that allows damage and disease in. So heal those cell walls or those membranes with some good quality fat. And like we say, it just makes your food taste delicious.

Quality of food matters


KELLY: Oh, absolutely makes it taste delicious. It's also important that we're choosing good quality food. We want to choose organic whenever possible. Red meat should be grass fed. Poultry and eggs should be organic and free range when possible. And when we're buying fish, look for wild caught to safeguard against pollutants and antibiotics. I like to buy from the farmer's market or just directly from the farm so I know exactly where my food is coming from and how it's grown and produced.

MELANIE: And I love when you're buying from the farmer's market to get things and freeze them in anticipation. We're in Minnesota.

KELLY: That's right.

Vegetables are a key player


MELANIE: No farmer's markets right now. Long winter. Some of them. But you know, Kelly, we can't talk about cancer without talking about the importance of good quality vegetables. Vegetables, vegetables, vegetables are key. And despite this cold weather, you can still get vegetables in season. Cruciferous vegetables are both immune boosting and cancer fighting. Cruciferous vegetables are known for their many health benefits, including their cancer fighting properties.

Well, what do I mean? I mean the stinky ones. When you cook cruciferous vegetables, they fill the house with that sulfur fragrance and that is your immune boosting cancer-fighting vegetable. Broccoli is one of the most well-known cruciferous vegetables, although there are so many others like Brussels sprouts and cabbage, cauliflower, turnips, dark leafy greens like kale and collard greens. Arugula is one of my favorites.

These are all great, beneficial for our health and nearly all excellent sources of vitamin C and vitamin K, folate, which is a B vitamin, potassium, fiber, and magnesium. It, they’re powerhouses, and the cancer fighting properties are attributed to those certain compounds associated with decreasing inflammation, lowering your cancer risk.

And studies have found strong links between greater consumption of cruciferous vegetables. All of them are great, but the cruciferous lowered the risk of lung, colorectal, stomach, breast, prostate, and a whole host of other cancers. More recent research suggests that the compounds found in these wonderful cruciferous vegetables turn on the genes that suppress tumor and tumor growth and they stimulate self-destruction of cancer cells in addition.

So that's what we want: those cancer cells to self destruct. I really, really am a big fan of getting five to nine servings of cruciferous vegetables in. And you want to make sure that your cruciferous, all of your vegetables really need to be organic, especially if you have a history of cancer. We already know there's a ton of research out there how glyphosate, which is Roundup, causes cancer. So a whole host of pesticides is probably not what your body needs when it's trying to fight.

KELLY: Exactly.

MELANIE: Organic is great.

KELLY: Vegetables are amazing. So we talked about how protein is so important and we want a variety of fresh meat, chicken, eggs, and fish. Fish like salmon and sardines are rich in those healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Eggs are one of the most readily available proteins we can consume. And they contain cholesterol, which is necessary for hormone production. And they also contain those omega-3 fats.

Detoxing your kitchen


Okay. So we also want to think about detoxing our kitchen. Not everyone thinks about this. We want to get rid of plastics, Teflon and aluminum foil.

MELANIE: Aluminum foil. That's a household favorite.

KELLY: Right.

MELANIE: I'll, I'll tell clients wrap your, if you just love your aluminum foil, at least wrap your food first in parchment paper.

KELLY: Right.

MELANIE: And then the aluminum foil.

KELLY: Exactly.

MELANIE: And look at your pans.

KELLY: Right.

MELANIE: I have a favorite pan. It's aluminum. So what I do is I put like one of those pad protection on there or else I will put parchment paper. But never let the aluminum touch your food.

KELLY: Right. That's such good advice.

MELANIE: And let's talk some more when we get back on some other steps you can take. It's time for our second break.

KELLY: Great.

MELANIE: You're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. As a person who's gone through cancer treatment, I totally understand the struggles and also the expense. So if you have a friend or a family member who could use a gift certificate to a local food co-op to buy high quality food or a gift certificate for nutritional counseling, we'd be honored to work with them. Good food and caring support are valuable healing tools. Call our office at (651) 699-3438. We can make it happen.


KELLY: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. At Nutritional Weight and Wellness, we believe that for the best support, food is first and then supplements. But people always ask, which supplements do you take? So here are three important supplements for me: Bifido, vitamin D and omega-3s.

Frequency and types of meals


MELANIE: Wonderful. Those are great supplements. I take those myself. I want to talk a little bit about the frequency and the types of meals. So some of you have been listening for a long time, but for those of you who are just popping in to listen, frequency is important to keep blood sugar balanced. So we don't want your blood sugar to spike and we don't want your blood sugar to plummet. How do we do that? We're going to have a good source of animal protein, which we were discussing earlier, some vegetables and some healthy fat at every meal.

If you want to pop in a little bit of fruit or a little bit of starchy root vegetable, that's fine, but needs to be a little bit so it's balanced. This is going to balance your blood sugar. This is going to keep you full and this is going to nourish those cells. So eating about every three to four hours in that balance of protein, fat, vegetables is key. And it's an easy way when you're doing that to get all your veggies in.

KELLY: Right. It makes it so much easier.

MELANIE: For each person and the type of cancer, it's kind of critical that we individualize the, the meal plans because as you're going through this journey, your appetite, your taste, everything changes: what you can eat, what you can't eat. Are you immune compromised or your white blood cell count low? These are the things that we work with our clients to make sure they're nourished, they're safe, and they can have a positive outcome. And sometimes it's a process of moving from processed food to real food. Baby steps.

KELLY: Baby steps, right?

MELANIE: I have some clients, they're all in, they want to jump in that pool and do everything at once. That's great. And then I have other people that overwhelm and they want baby steps. It takes education. It takes support to make that switch. You need a team and we'd like to be part of that team.

KELLY: Yes, we, we would.

Tips for getting in nourishment during cancer treatment


MELANIE: So Kelly, when you were going through this process and this journey, did you have any a time in your life when you said, I just can't eat what I know I should be eating? Cause you have this knowledge.


MELANIE: Tell me more about what you did.

KELLY: Yeah, so definitely during chemo; I had four rounds of chemo. And you know, after the second and third rounds of chemo, those first one to two days, I was very nauseous. And it's very hard to eat when you're nauseous.

MELANIE: Absolutely.

KELLY: So what I concentrated on at that point was hydration, trying to get a little bit of protein in. And then really on those like day three, day four, then really getting back into eating my protein, finding those vegetables and eating those healthy fats.

MELANIE: Wonderful, wonderful. And even the stress, sometimes the stress when you're going through the journey, it just shuts down your appetite.

KELLY: Right.

MELANIE: And so what I had to do was I had to make smoothies I could sip on. So I made protein smoothies. I added some frozen vegetables, which it may sound horrific, but when you add certain things you don't even taste the vegetables.

KELLY: Right.

MELANIE: And then I used a little bit of coconut milk in there for my healthy fat and that was how I nourished. I wish I would've known what I know now working for this fabulous company because now I would've added collagen to my water and you know, other things.

KELLY: Exactly.

MELANIE: But I find that when, when clients are very nauseated who are going through this journey that when food is cold, you don't pick up the taste acuity like you do when food is room temperature warm. So a lot of cold foods, they seem to tolerate a lot better. And if you can drink and sip it helps with hydration, nourishment. Sometimes with radiation they may have a problem with swallowing, depending upon where the radiation is. They might have difficulty with pain with elimination. How did you work with that Kelly?

KELLY: Well, so back to what you were saying about the smoothies, which is a really, really great tip. One of the side effects when I had chemo for you know, colon cancer is you are very sensitive to cold. Where when you swallow something cold it feels like you're choking.

MELANIE: Oh for goodness sakes.

KELLY: So you need to have everything warm. So I would have bone broth; knowing what I know now, would I add some collagen? Yes. Would I want to get some Key Greens in? Yes, absolutely. But I really stayed with lukewarm foods. I couldn't use that cold trick.

MELANIE: And was that from the chemo or was that from the radiation?

KELLY: That was from the chemo.

MELANIE: The chemo.

KELLY: Yes. And even touching anything cold after, you know, the first week I couldn't open my refrigerator or touch cold things. I would have my family get food out for me.

MELANIE: Kelly, that is so it's interesting.

KELLY: It’s a weird side effect.


KELLY: Right.

MELANIE: Have you seen that in clients?

KELLY: Absolutely. So it's a common chemo drug prescribed for colon cancer and we all have the same symptom for sure.

MELANIE: Yes. Primarily the clients I see I would say have been pancreatic and breast cancer just because of my history.

KELLY: Yes. Right.

MELANIE: But that's good to know.

KELLY: Yes, exactly.

MELANIE: Yeah. You're my, you're my 411 when it comes to colon cancer. The other thing that I found was I was dropping weight and some of the medications they put you on compromised bone. So then stepping in with bone support to make sure that you don't end up with osteoporosis during this journey and you survive cancer to start fracturing.

KELLY: Right.

MELANIE: So when the time is appropriate working with your doctor, we start adding some bone support. But in that process, adequate protein is key in getting your bones able to stay healthy, stay strong. But tell us a little bit about what does a day of eating look like for you? What did you have to eat yesterday?

Example menu of a day of eating


KELLY: So yesterday I start, I like savory breakfast. So I started my day with a couple eggs. I had a little bit of turkey sausage and then I had arugula with a little bit of tomato and some oil and vinegar.

MELANIE: Yum. I love arugula. I stir fry it with some garlic.

KELLY: Oh that’s such a good idea too. Yeah.

MELANIE: And then when was the next time you ate after dinner?

KELLY: So then I ate lunch. So I had like a nine o'clock breakfast. I ate my lunch at noon and then I had a salad. So I had some grilled chicken. I used spinach this time, I put a little bit of sunflower seeds and again some olive oil and balsamic. I just can't get enough of that.

MELANIE: So you, organic spinach I'm guessing?

KELLY: Absolutely.

MELANIE: Organic chicken, I'm guessing.

KELLY: Of course.

MELANIE: How much chicken do you put in your salad?

KELLY: Four ounces. And I'm pretty good about knowing at this point what four ounces looks like.

MELANIE: That's the cooked weight, right?

KELLY: Yeah. But I always recommend my clients that they start weighing out their protein to begin with. Right? It's really easy to underestimate what that looks like.

MELANIE: Yeah. I find a lot of women and I was the same as we put a little splash of protein and think, oh I got my protein. And then I have them weigh it and they're like, oh my goodness.


MELANIE: I just had a client email me, say, I've never eaten so much food in my life. And I feel fantastic. And when I go to the bathroom it's normal now. So…

KELLY: Exactly. We hear that so often, don't we?


KELLY: Yeah.

MELANIE: So then when was the next time you ate yesterday?

KELLY: So then I had an afternoon snack. And what I like to do a lot of times for that is I make up smoothies in the morning and I always make up a batch of smoothies. So I will portion it out, servings, I'll freeze some, I'll have some during the day. So that's what I had for my snack. I had a smoothie. It had, I always like to use cauliflower rice that's frozen and organic. Right? Don't really taste it. It gives it a nice consistency.

MELANIE: Frozen cauli rice.

KELLY: Yes. Exactly.

MELANIE: Perfect.

KELLY: Can't get enough. And then I also put a little bit of kale in because I needed to get rid of that. I had a vanilla protein powder and then I put a half a cup of berries in that.

MELANIE: And what kind of protein powder?

KELLY: I used the vanilla protein powder for that.

MELANIE: The vanilla whey that we carry?

KELLY: Yeah. Exactly. Delicious.

MELANIE: Yes. It, it smells... I can't do it because I'm allergic to dairy, but to me it smells like vanilla ice cream. It does. And I'm so jealous. And then that must have filled you up pretty good.

KELLY: It did. Yes.

MELANIE: And when was the next time you ate after that?

KELLY: So then I had dinner. My husband's traveling so it's whatever I want to eat when he's gone. And I had some salmon, I had some mushrooms I wanted to cook up and asparagus. And I put some butter over my vegetables; tasted delicious. And I had a little bit of wild rice that I wanted to use up.

MELANIE: And then what kind of salmon?

KELLY: It was, it was wild caught salmon. Right. Always looking for that. And I just put it in the oven at a low temperature, put a little seasoning on; delicious. So easy to make.

MELANIE: Wonderful. Well let's talk a little bit more about food when we come back from our break. You're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. The rate of cancer has been increasing dramatically since 1990. Researchers point to poor quality food, environmental pollutants and stress. How can you reduce these risk factors? Could you eat better? The big food companies tell us their food is healthy, but all the research reports tell us that processed foods are unhealthy because they're full of sugar, bad fats and chemicals and also nutritionally void. So in our Nutrition for Weight Loss classes, we teach people how to eat real clean foods to support their immune function. Join us in January. Make a resolution to eat clean. It's a really fun class. We’ll be right back.


KELLY: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. If you liked the show, please let us know. Send us an email or call our office or leave a review on your podcast app, or comment on our Facebook page. We listen to your feedback. I also you encourage you to get your food right. Taking steps to learn what food supports your body is health. Tackle your cravings, keep sugar in check. Start by either in person or at one of our six locations or on Zoom. Go to or call and talk to us at 651-699-3438. We are a friendly bunch.

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MELANIE: We are a friendly bunch.

KELLY: We sure are.

MELANIE: So when we went to break we were talking about what Kelly eats and all real food. I don't hear any sugar.

KELLY: Nope.

MELANIE: I don't hear grains.

KELLY: Right.

MELANIE: And you can do some dairy. Is that correct?

KELLY: I can do a good quality dairy.

MELANIE: You're doing well.

KELLY: Yeah, absolutely.

MELANIE: So congratulations.

KELLY: Thank you.

MELANIE: And one of the things that I tell my clients, and I'm going to challenge our listeners. Here's your challenge today. Go to your pantry. Look in your pantry and pull out some food that is in there. It might be crackers, might be a protein bar, might be a granola bar. And set it on your counter and ask yourself, if I went away for two weeks and I came back, would these foods have changed? Probably not. Now, go to your refrigerator and pull out, maybe you have some eggs, you've got some chicken you need to cook, some shrimp, possibly some broccoli. Set it on your counter. Ask yourself, if I went away for two weeks, what would this food look like when I got back?

KELLY: Right.

MELANIE: It would decompose. And it will rot. So here's a little message for you. This is very simplistic, but food that is dead does not rot. Food that has life in it will rot, right? It will decompose. Food that is dead cannot impart life to the body. Food that will die will impart life. So we want live food that goes bad and that's the food that will give us life to our cells and help us live longer.

KELLY: Exactly.

MELANIE: So the message has always been at Nutritional Weight and Wellness, real food matters. And that's what we mean by that.

KELLY: Absolutely. It's such a powerful message and yet so simple when you think about it. But I was thinking Mel, like what do you eat in a day? I'm always thinking about what everyone else eats. Tell me, tell me what you had.

What another nutritionist eats in a day


MELANIE: It is really fun to go on our website and put in what a nutritionist eats in a day. You can put in Kelly. You can put in Melanie. But I, I keep my food pretty simple. I raised my children, cooked from scratch. I'm kind of over it. So I keep it very simple. I use my instant pot a lot. And so I recently instant potted a grass fed beef roast and I froze it in four ounce portions. So breakfast, I stir fried some of that beef with, I had Brussels sprouts to use up. I had mushrooms and onions. I cook it in bacon fat and I have a hash. So that was my breakfast.

KELLY: That sounds delicious. And I love leftovers for breakfast too using that whatever you had for dinner.


KELLY: Such a good tip.

MELANIE: And a lot of times it's because dinner after work, I'm kind of lazy. And that's when I have my eggs.

KELLY: Yeah.

MELANIE: So, and then I had a snack about four hours later. I love to do a protein shake just like you. It's an easy way to make sure I'm getting all of my protein in.

KELLY: Right.

MELANIE: I have to use a Paleo Protein powder. Because I cannot do whey.

KELLY: Right.

MELANIE: And same thing, I used half a cup of blackberries in there. I used coconut milk for my fat. It makes it nice and creamy, water. And I will put in frozen broccoli, cauliflower and kale.

KELLY: Great.

MELANIE: I'm not afraid. I challenge our listeners to put in some frozen veggies, you know, and, and you'll know your limit where you're like, oh, that's a little too earthy.

KELLY: Right.

MELANIE: And then I use a scoop of Key Greens. Because it's the antioxidant power of 20 fruits and vegetables.

KELLY: I know.

MELANIE: Doesn't replace my vegetables. But it gives us that added boost.

KELLY: Exactly. And it tastes delicious too.

MELANIE: It helps everything taste delicious.

KELLY: And Paleo Protein powder is such a good alternative for people like you, Mel, who cannot have that dairy.

MELANIE: The dairy, but it's a hundred percent of the amino acids and the body can easily assimilate and use it.

KELLY: Right.

MELANIE: So that was my snack. And then dinner, I had eggs. So I scrambled three eggs and then I put it in, I use egg like wraps, which are just eggs and some hot sauce. And I put some veggies in there which I had some cabbage I needed to use up, so I stir fried some cabbage. I put it in there and I love it with a little hot sauce.

Debunking the cholesterol myth


KELLY: That sounds perfect. What do you say to your clients when they are worried about having too many eggs per day?

MELANIE: Well, I usually point them to the research that was done I think like six years ago. It was even in the New York Times.


MELANIE: That they did research, oh gosh, back in the fifties on what caused heart disease. And that's the big concern.

KELLY: Exactly.

MELANIE: And the research article, the research project, rather took a long time. And then it came out that what caused heart disease was sugar and processed carbohydrates.

KELLY: Exactly.

MELANIE: Well unfortunately that research was tainted by the sugar industry that came in and paid the researchers just to say it was fat and cholesterol. And that was debunked like five years ago.

KELLY: Right.

MELANIE: So I will point them to that, but I also point them to the longevity and the health that I see in my clients who eat eggs sometimes six, eight eggs a day. My cholesterol is fantastic.

KELLY: Of course.

MELANIE: My good cholesterols through the roof.

KELLY: Exactly.

MELANIE: So we, I point them in that direction because eggs are a wonderful little perfect food in nature.

KELLY: It's so wonderful and so easy. So many things you can do with them. And I always tell my clients too, cholesterol doesn't make cholesterol.


KELLY: So when you eat it, it doesn't mean your body's making it good because of it. Right.

MELANIE: Yeah perfect. I love that. And we want to make the good cholesterol. So it all, and then I point them to the, you know, direction, circling back to the cancer is that we also need cholesterol to keep those cell membranes healthy.

KELLY: Right.

MELANIE: Each cell membrane has made up of a certain amount of cholesterol. So we want to be fueling our body with the proper type of fat. And I mean it's eggs are full of choline and eggs are full of antioxidants and vitamin A. All these wonderful things. Don't be afraid of the egg.

KELLY: Right. Exactly. I say the same thing. Do not be afraid of the eggs.

MELANIE: Do not be afraid of the eggs. Be afraid of the sugar.

KELLY: Right.

MELANIE: Be afraid of the factory fats. And be afraid of processed flour foods.

KELLY: Right. Exactly. The processed foods. That's what we need to worry about.

MELANIE: And if you go to our website and you search, like right now the holidays, you want to search for desserts.


MELANIE: But you're not going to see the desserts that we have full of white flour or wheat flour because we know how damaging it is now. And you and I don't consume those products.

KELLY: We can’t; right.

MELANIE: We know too much.

KELLY: We know too much. After two colon resections, I can't have gluten. It's not going to be a good thing. So yeah. Great recipe ideas though.

MELANIE: So, so you avoid gluten because it, does it cause gastric distress?


MELANIE: Or it's just, you know so much?

KELLY: I know, both right? So it does not work for me to have gluten.

MELANIE: So thinking to have a client I had about four years ago, she came to me with a, her first diagnosis of breast cancer. She had just been diagnosed. A friend told her to come to us. Such a privilege to work with her.

KELLY: Oh my gosh. Yes.

MELANIE: And we started by first getting her on real food and off the processed food.

KELLY: Right.

MELANIE: And so she went through a similar journey that you went through. She did a double mastectomy. She went through chemo. She went through radiation, and we worked closely with her oncologist based on some key supplements I wanted her on. And then we had to remove them during a certain period of time.


MELANIE: But always worked with her oncologist. Each step we went through. She went through a period of time what I was saying with the taste acuity.


MELANIE: She could only do the smoothies. She did not have the chemo drug with the cold sensitivity. And then when she went through radiation, she had swallowing problems. So then we had to come up with foods that she could swallow.

KELLY: Right.

MELANIE: Because of that radiation in the throat, it was like a huge sunburn.

KELLY: Oh, sounds awful.

MELANIE: And then the radiation, we wanted to support her tissues so that she could heal from, essentially the radiation is burning. So we wanted to support that. And she did very well. She let me be the boss of her.

KELLY: Oh, that's so, so great.

MELANIE: Such a privilege. And what a gift, you know, when they trust you.

KELLY: Absolutely.

MELANIE: She went through a period where she had a terrible sweet tooth.

KELLY: Interesting.

MELANIE: So we had to come up, we use a lot of the Key Greens and some other things for heartburn. And so she came out on the other end. She is cancer free and she's doing fantastic.

KELLY: I love that story.

MELANIE: Yes. I just got a Christmas card from her.

KELLY: She's so lucky to have worked with you. Mel.

MELANIE: This has been so great, Kelly. It's so fun to see your face and to talk with you. Congratulations on your journey.

KELLY: Thank you.

MELANIE: Our goal at Nutritional Weight and Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. It's a simple get powerful message. Eating real food is life changing. Thank you for joining us today.

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