• Does anyone have advice or suggestion on any recipes to help my father eat, because his saliva glands have been burnt during his chemo ??

    Asked by Cllaireyy on Sunday, February 9, 2014

    Does anyone have advice or suggestion on any recipes to help my father eat, because his saliva glands have been burnt during his chemo ??

    My father has recently had the all clear after being diagnosed with tonsil cancer, after finishing his chemo he has been finding it extremely hard to eat, due to his dry mouth and lack of saliva. Does anyone have any good recipes or advise to overcome this problem. Thank You!!

    10 Answers from the Community

    10 answers
    • CHERYL12661's Avatar

      What about smoothies, puddings, Ensure, etc. I am praying that you manage to get him to eat. What type of cancer does he have? I will keep him in my prayers as well.

      over 5 years ago
    • geekling's Avatar

      Sadly, if his saliva glands are kaput, no one has yet thought how to revive or reanimate them however the docs can offer a throat spray with lydocaine which will help with nourishment in other than social situations,.

      There are "swallow therapies" which you Dad ought to be getting a prescription to be taught and to learn. Get after his doctor(s) to write one and refer him to a good therapist. Until your Dad heals up a bit more, it will be difficult to discern the exact problem. One pal of mine can't hardly chew because he aspirates his food into his lung, for example.

      There is no better time in the world to invest in a good juicer and/or high speed blender. He may need to learn to love fruit (juicy), greens (juicy), and sprouts (juicy) to make up and to moisten the bits of cardboard to which he is used (breads, crackers, meats). I'm not saying that you or your Mom aren't good cooks. I'm saying that breads and flesh and pastas and even dairy are dry and people who have their saliva glands produce extra saliva in order to process them while chewing.

      If there is no problem with aspiration, soups and stews will be fine. If you could tell me what your Dad likes, I could likely come up with something which would satisfy. No single food will do because we, as humans, are used to and flourish with variety.

      For example, lettuces can be blended up into soup. small cucumber pieces, little avocado chunks, and quartered cherry tomatoes are fine as 'stew chunks'. I don't know what your Dad likes .. salt, lemon, a little oil can be added for flavoring. You could also add bits of sweet tropical fruit or berries for sweetness. You can soak and blend nuts for more flavor and omega 3 oils.

      If you decide to get a juicer or a blender it might behoove you to get a little juicing book. Sarah Owen wrote a nice one called "Top 100 Juices". I wrote some books on using whole foods http://www.etsy.com/shop/rawmaven

      Best wishes

      over 5 years ago
    • barryboomer's Avatar

      Eat only fluid laden foods which are all the plant foods.
      Eating an orange or watermelon will just slide down.
      Sip and spray water into the mouth during the day....keep it next to him.
      It sucks but what can you do.....?
      Good Luck...at least he seems to be getting better from the cancer....

      over 5 years ago
    • meyati's Avatar

      Drink cranberry juice. I know it helps radiation areas. Popcicles are great and soothing to a messed up throat. While others are recommending smoothies, etc, thick gooey stuff-even milk can make you feel like you're strangling and choking. Popscicles slowly melt and dissolve, believe me, the cold feels so good on surgery scars, burns, and recently removed tonsils. Also, didn't anybody tell him about sugarless gum? It moisturizes the mouth. My son's mouth is dried out from meds. he lost his teeth because of that, and they told him to chew Trident.

      Get a referral to a speech therapist or speech pathologist. It's what they do-teach people how to swallow. You need to know what type of therapist to ask for, and not all medical staff and counselors are knowledgeable.

      over 5 years ago
    • Roadahead's Avatar

      My husband had (has) the same issues after radiation, I made gravy for everything! He is a big game hunter so finding ways to cook lean meats were a challenge. I use the crock pot with plenty of homemade broth that can easily be made into gravy or au jus. The best to you....one day at a time!

      over 5 years ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      At this point it's important to get anything in him that he can tolerate and get down. I have been through this same thing 3 times. I lost from 40 to 50# each time from sores in the mouth, sore throat, nausea, etc. Things that I ate were anything that I could get down. For awhile it was chocolate pudding, I liked it and it went down without hurting, mashed potatoes and gravy were another one I could eat most of the time. As far as the saliva gland part, it depends on how bad they were damaged from the treatment. There are a couple of prescriptions he can take that will encourage the glands to produce saliva. If they are not totally gone it will help. Mine worked with the help of this the first two times. The last time they were completely fried so they no longer work. I eat anything with what I call a "good slide factor". Casseroles, vegetables with a lot of juice, soups of any kind, etc.

      over 5 years ago
    • Srich63300's Avatar

      Like all the above suggestions - use lots of gravy, etc with soft foods, shakes, etc - muscle milk and make protein shakes - I also find that Robistussin straight will help to thin the mucus that the milk based products leave behind and make it hard to swallow- survivor since 2004 - still working on it!!

      over 5 years ago
    • barryboomer's Avatar

      Check out Glutamine Powder as a preventive during treatments...

      over 5 years ago
    • mac101467's Avatar

      All of what I have read from the postings are spot on. I too have experienced salivary gland damage and it is coming up on 2 1/2 years post treatment and they are not anything close to what they were before. What I have done is working for me. I have experienced trouble (still do) swallowing just about anything without choking. I have learned to adapt to a new eating style. Sometimes the best things to eat right now are puddings, jello, smoothies. Be careful though. I have noticed a huge difference in spices and salty items. they seem to burn my mouth more frequently. So as long as I have plenty of fluids to moisten my throat, it works better and easier. It takes time and as long as the nutrition is getting in, he will adjust slowly, but he will. Remember, at one time, we all started out on soft mushy stuff and learned to eat more solid food.

      over 5 years ago
    • Roadahead's Avatar

      One night my husband woke up in the night and said 'poached eggs'....they were the first things he could really eat while in radiation!

      over 5 years ago

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