Macaroons for the Chemo Tummy

The good thing about being both a doctor and a cook is that when you don’t have any more medicine to offer, there’s always the food.

Case in point – my sister’s chemo-induced nausea. Despite maximum doses of Zofran, she still finds herself quite queasy, usually between meals. We decided to try some mint lemonade and bingo! – the stuff really works for her. She’ll nurse a tall glass all afternoon to help keep her tummy in control.

Then, her good friend Lorraine, an onco nurse, told us she heard anectodal reports from her colleagues that macaroons were also helpful for chemo and radiation induced GI distress, both upper and lower. Well, that was all I needed to head to the kitchen to whip up a batch of cousin Jessie’s macaroons. Indeed, Sis found them useful when she has that empty stomach queaziness. (They didn’t work if she had already eaten something that makes her nauseus.)

Unfortunately, Sis is now on a low residue diet and macaroons are off the list. Coconut is a nut, after all, so don’t overdo it, and avoid them completely if you are at risk for obstruction. And remember, both these foods are high in sugar, so take them in small doses. Fortunately, that’s the way they seem to work best – a sip here, a nibble there…

Minted Lemonade

Make lemonade either homemade or from canned concentrate. (I would not use powdered) in a 2 qt pitcher withy a lid. Tear up a whole lotta’ mint leaves (we use about a 1/4 cup torn leaves) and mix them in with the lemonade. Store in the fridge – it will keep for several days. Serve over lots of ice. Alternatively, freeze the mint with water in ice cube trays and use the mint ice cubes in your lemonade.

Jessie’s Macaroons

I’m sure any macaroon recipe would work, but these macaroons are the best I’ve ever had. Cousin Jessie makes for Passover every year, so of course, they are flourless. Be sure to use unsweetened coconut – the sweetened stuff has additives like propylene glycol and sulfites.

2/3 cup egg white
¾ cup sugar
1/8 tsp salts2 ½ cup natural coconut
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp almond extract
1 tbsp white corn syrup

Combine all ingredients, stirring well, in a moderate size saucepan. Heat over mod heat till warm. Off heat let stand 10 mins. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Drop by tsp or small scoop onto baking sheet and place half an almond on top. Bake in 325 oven 18-20 mins till golden. Let cool on the paper. Store in a tightly covered container.

Sorry for Poor Quality photo – it was taken with my old phone.

9 Responses to Macaroons for the Chemo Tummy

  1. When my mom needed hyperalimentation during chemo, but wanted low volume, I did a lot of coconut puddings made with the powdered coconut milk and the various Ensure/Boost/Resource supplements – it's so flavorful that it hides their "cooked" taste and you get the lower-GI benefit of the lauric acid in the coconut along with the calorie-rich coconut fats and micronized solids.

    Mom enjoyed gingered lemonade; I shredded gingerroot or galangal and infused it when I made the simple syrup.

  2. Best wishes to your sister(and to you). Macaroons are also nice for people with IBD type distress for some reason. I like them because they are so tasty – thanks for the recipe!

  3. When I was doing chemo, the only things I could tolerate were tropical fruit. I highly recommend watermelon and pineapple. Also, bubbly water is much more palatable than flat water, which I could not force down. The bubbles seem to kill the medicine taste that water gets.

    I hope sis feels better soon. If she's not already doing it, be sure she drinks as much liquid before each chemo as possible. Drowning myself just before the infusions cut my nausea in half.

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