My wife’s diet plan during chemo treatment

The Cancer

It was in February 2011, after Chinese New Year week, and two days before I was schedule to fly to Sydney. I had a bad news. My wife was confirmed diagnosed with breast cancer!

It wasn’t too much a surprise to both of us, since she already knew the existence a lump in her right breast for about a year. She was hoping that it was benign and tried to manage through dietary supplements. However, having the lump confirmed as “Invasive ductal carcinoma” that had potentially spread to the lymph nodes by a Breast Specialist was still a hard knock to both of us.

My cancer scare changed my life. I’m grateful for every new, healthy day I have. It has helped me prioritize my life.
– Olivia Newton-John

This event was a trigger for us to rethink about our priority in life. It set in motion a change in our lifestyle. Immediately, my wife made a vow to Kuan Yin that she would be a vegetarian for life. This showed her faith and commitment to change. For me, realizing that for the two years I was staying abroad, I had not been there for my wife. I decided to stay back full time as her caregiver to give her all the support she need to brave through the cancer treatment – a six month long chemotherapy treatment.

The Diet

The first thing I started to look into is her diet (and mine as well). How to eat healthily to during cancer treatment? I did my research on the Internet; attended talks by dieticians; and read books. There were plenty of information around; you just have to start looking for them. None the less, too much information, especially contradicting ones, could cause confusion. End of the day, you just have to make your choice and have faith to follow it through.

I read “The China Study” by Prof. T. Colin Campbell during that period, and the book gave me all the scientific facts to confidently recommend a whole food, plant-based diet for my wife during her cancer treatment. We also tried to stick to organic foods as much as we can. Luckily, I was the one who prepare all her food, so, it is not a problem on what food to choose. The challenge is to make the foods tasty enough for her to eat it!

Please see the table below for her meal plan during her chemotherapy period.

We tried to be disciplined and eat at home most of the time, except during travelling, or days that she needed to spend time in the office, or the occasional urge to eat out.

Even through my wife continued to work during the 6-month period. Thanked to her employer; she was able to arrange to work from home most of the time. She only travelled to office for time to time for important face-to-face meetings. This gave her the maximum time to taste my cooking !

The Results

With a healthy diet and a change in lifestyle, my wife managed to go through her chemotherapy with little or no side-effect:

  • She threw up and had fever only once – after her first chemo session, before she fully adjusted with the diet and lifestyle change.
  • Her blood tests for immune system throughout the 6-month were always on health range
  • She avoided taking any medication that was prescribed to prevent side-effects, as much as she was allowed by the oncologist.

    Our climb up to Taksang Monastery in Paro, Bhutan. ( April 2011)
  • She was fit enough to travel and we did a Pilgrimage trip to Bhutan 2 months into her treatment period. She did a 4 hour climb up to the Taksang Monastery unassisted.
  • Her blood sugar level shot up to a very high level after the first round of chemotherapy due to the effect of the drugs. The oncologist prescribed her a medication (Janumet) to manage her blood sugar level. However, she stopped using the medication after we came back from Bhutan, and all her subsequent blood tests shown that her blood sugar was perfectly within the normal range.
  • She managed to slim down gradually, 8 Kg after 6 months, allowing the oncologist to gradually reduce the chemo drugs each round.

The best thing was, her oncologist was so impressed with her condition that she asked for her diet plan so that she could give to her other patients that was having similar problem!

My wife always told her friends that she was slimmer, looked better, and felt healthier compare to before, even though she was undergoing chemotherapy.

Soo Liang


One of the following:

  • 1 bowl of organic wholegrain cereal with Rice milk top with oat bran and wheat grass powder
  • 3 slices of wholegrain bread with either natural fruit spread with no added sugar or fresh avocado
  • 2 pieces of organic steamed sweet potatoes
  • 2 x whole meal or five grains vegetarian mantou (馒头) or baozi (包子)

One glass of beverage, any of:

  • Organic fruit juice
  • Almond and five grain powder beverage with black sesame
  • Unsweetened fresh soymilk

One serving of organic fruits: e.g. pear, papaya, kiwi fruits, guava, banana etc.

Lunch & Dinner

One of the following:

  • 1 bowl of mixed grain rice (e.g. red rice with quinoa, white rice with sprouted brown rice, etc.) – 2 dishes of vegetables with tofu or vegetarian soy/wheat protein*.
  • 1 bowl of noodles made from brown rice or wholegrain either cooked in various Asian styles e.g. Yam soup noodles, laksa without coconut milk, healthy loh mee, etc.
  • 1 plate of vegetarian wholegrain pasta with fresh tomato sauce or Mexican chili with kidney beans

One bowl of vegetable soup, e.g. lotus roots with cashews, winter melon with goji berries, white radishes and carrots, blended pumpkin and vegetables, blended spinaches, black beans soup.

* Note:

  • Selection of a wide variety of fresh vegetables (preferred organic) with no restrict in cooking methods, except deep-frying.
  • Low in salt ( use only Himalayan rock salts and or natural sea salts)
  • No sugar of any sort
  • Low in oil ( use only rice bran oil for frying and virgin olive oil for pasta dishes)

Healthy snack in between Lunch and Dinner

At least one or more of the following:

  • 1 serving of mixed nuts, seeds, and dried fruits, i.e. assortment of walnuts, Brazilian nuts, almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, dried beans, raisins, blue berries, raspberries, etc.
  • 1 serving of low salt, low fat organic chips, e.g. tortilla chips, baked potato chips, pea chips, etc.
  • One serving of organic fruits: e.g. pear, papaya, kiwi fruits, guava, banana etc.
  • One glass of blended juice from assorted fruits


At least 8 to 10 glasses of beverage throughout the day:

  • Herbal tea with no added sugar, e.g. Luo Han Guo (罗汉果), winter melon tea, barley drink , chrysanthemum (洋参菊花),  rose tea, roselle drink., chamomile tea.
  • Brown rice tea
  • 5 vegetable soup drink (burdock, carrots, radish and leaves, shitake mushroom)
  • Pure drinking water

No coffee, milo, milk, canned drinks of any kind.

Introduction Rice is the staple food for half of the world population. It is being consumed regularly worldwide, especially in East and South Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and the West Indies, contributing to one fifth of the calories consumed worldwide by the human [1]. However, rice is mostly consumed in the form of white rice, with the outer ...

3 thoughts on “My wife’s diet plan during chemo treatment

  1. Doreen Reply

    this is a post that is 8 years old but im grateful for Soo Liang’s sharing. gave me some idea on what to prepare for my mum’s meals. thank you so much!

    • Healthy Living SG Post authorReply

      I am glad that it helps. Wish you well on your journey.

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