" . . . and be sure and gets lots of protein!"
That's one of the first admonitions I got from my chemotherapy nurse. That and "Drink a gallon of water the day of and after chemo" and "Wash your hands -- a lot." And "Flush. Twice."
I am obedient. Never got called to the principal's office. No detention. Got a speeding ticket once. I don't even remember getting "grounded." Always playing it safe. (Pretty boring, eh?)
So when someone tells me to do something, it's a pretty good bet I'll do what I'm told.
But "Get lots of protein" is a little vague. So . . . . . I researched!
We all need protein to form and maintain muscles, tissues, red blood cells, enzymes, and hormones, to carry many body compounds and medications, to maintain fluid balance, and to fight infections and strengthen the immune system, especially important for those of us undergoing chemo.
To come up with a quick estimate of your protein requirement:
- Take your weight (in pounds) and divide by 2
- The number you get is the approximate number of grams of protein you need daily
So -- hypothetically speaking, of course -- if I weigh 120 pounds, I divide 120 by 2 to get 60. I need 60 grams of protein for maintenance, more while undergoing chemo and radiation. I shoot for 90 grams daily. I can easily get to 60. Ninety is a stretch most days, though.
My favorite quick and easy sources of protein are yogurt and protein drinks. I also keep the fridge stocked with cottage cheese and hard boiled eggs.
So, if I have my favorite yogurt (coffee flavored) and a protein shake, I'm a third of the way there!
But woman (especially one who likes to cook, even when she's running low on energy) cannot live on yogurt and protein shakes alone. I also eat lots of hamburgers, steak (so glad we bought half a cow for the freezer; also glad I'm not a vegetarian!), chicken and tuna.
I've always liked beans and greens; Mr. Rosemary, not so much. So now I had a great excuse to cook some for myself.
Beans and greens ain't real pretty -- at least mine wasn't. But it sure tasted good! Any kind of greens will do -- kale, spinach, escarole, beet greens, or any combination. I used a combination of baby kale and baby spinach. Some recipes I consulted for advice used Canadian bacon; I used regular 'ol bacon.
Just meant more protein to me!
Beans and Greens with Bacon
adapted from Epicurious
1/2 pound bacon
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
7 ounce bag mixed baby kale and spinach
1- 15 ounce can cannellini beans, drained
1 cup (or more) chicken broth
dried crushed red pepper
In large frying pan saute bacon over medium high heat until crisp. Remove bacon and chop into small pieces. Set aside. Remove all but 2 tablespoons grease from pan.
Over medium heat, in same pan, saute onion until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Add greens to pan and toss until wilted. Add about 1 cup chicken broth and cook until it's reduced. Add beans and cook until warm. Sprinkle with red pepper and serve.