How Can I Eat Well With My Myeloma?

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What foods pose a health risk to patients with multiple myeloma? How can patients incorporate more helpful foods into their diet while preserving good taste and textures? Myeloma patient advocate and lifestyle columnist Danny Parker shares how he used current research to eliminate risk factors in his diet and increase his intake of more beneficial sources of nutrition. Danny also shares his method for re-creating the savory taste and crispy quality of bacon in a healthy way. Watch now to find out some simple changes you can make in your diet to eat well with myeloma. 

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Andrew Schorr:

Well, first of all, how did you eat before August 2010, I think it was when you were diagnosed. Did anything change, and have you made any changes along the way? 

Danny Parker:    

Well, what I did was I examined the research data that existed relative to the propensity of people to develop myeloma. These are actually some meta studies out there where you can look at this. 

That suggested some things to me that look like that they might be risk factors for developing the disease. Now, developing the disease is not the same as progressing with the disease, so we can't know whether the propensity to develop the disease is the same as what would happen within progression. 

There were some indicators that I could find within that data that were interesting to me. One of them was that it looked like that the oily fishes—there were at least three different meta studies that showed that people that were eating mackerel, or salmon or thesetypes of fish, seemed to be less likely to come down with myeloma.

Within the work I do, if you have noisy data, which is all data, looking at diet and human beings, it's gonna be noisy, because it's not controlled. But if you have three different studies from three completely different places, and they're showing something similar, that means there might be something to that. It doesn't mean that there is something to that, but there might.

Yeah, I've started consuming a lot more fish since August, 2010, so at least once or twice, often twice a week, I'll have fish of some sort. Then, there are some negatives that you could find within that same data. 

If you find one study says one thing, and you can't find that replicated and no one else can find it, then I'm not so persuaded by that. But if you find multiple studies showing that doesn't look like that's a good thing, perhaps, for developing myeloma, then that makes me think that, maybe, and especially if you're in remission, you have a low level of disease, maybe it would affect your propensity to from smoldering status to a more active status.

Butter is one of those things that looked like it was not so good, and why that is, I have no idea. Maybe Julie could tell us more about why that might be, but there were multiple studies from multiple different places suggesting that butter fat, for some reason, looked like that it might be a risk factor for developing myeloma. 

I'm pretty much an Earth Balance convert these days. I do bake. I use lots of "butter," or butter substitute for a lot of things I make, but I don't use butter often. I use a butter substitute. 

Then, there are other things that look like that they might be helpful with myeloma, or with cancer in general, like the cruciferous vegetables. Julie was emphasizing let's eat more vegetables, and absolutely.

There are certain vegetables that look like that they might be potentially more helpful than others, like the cabbages, the broccolis, the cauliflowers, these, and so I'm a guy that eats a lot more of this stuff these days than I used to. 

Does that make a difference? Of course, we can't know that, but again, my idea was see if we can stack the deck. The one thing I wanted to mention before I forgot it was Julie mentioned bacon because bacon comes up because it's often something people that love it, really love it. 

I actually have a substitute for bacon that I developed, and it's in a recipe that I already shared with Tamara called “In Praise of the Sandwich,” which is I've learned that you can copy the taste of bacon with pecans by roasting them in a pan in oil, and you get them so they're getting ready to smoke and burn, and then you salt them, and they actually—you have to turn them.

You can't let them burn, but that crispy, crunchy, almost burned taste is actually the taste of bacon. You can make a sandwich with that. I use watercress, which is another cruciferous vegetable. 

I use watercress to make sandwiches often, and cranberries, add those. They're good, too. I end up with sandwiches that go from being a normal sandwich to, potentially, a possibly helpful sandwich.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.


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Page last updated on May 22, 2018