Grocery Tour Boosts Nutrition for Cancer Patients, Survivors

Dietitian Debbie Davis in the produce aisle | Doylestown Health

Registered dietitian Debbie Davis is on a mission--to spread the word about healthy eating in a fun and interesting way.

So, when COVID-19 restrictions interfered with her popular, hands-on nutrition experience for Doylestown Health cancer patients and survivors at Simply Fresh by McCaffrey’s in Doylestown, she got to work, creating a virtual version and video of her aisle-by-aisle supermarket tour.

“We talk about the importance of good nutrition during and after cancer treatment, foods that promote health and those to avoid or limit,” explains Debbie, an outpatient dietitian with Doylestown Health who is board certified in oncology nutrition.

A good diet promotes a healthy weight, strength and energy. Eating right can give people an advantage when treating and preventing cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses, especially when combined with physical activity and a healthy lifestyle, according to Debbie.

Nutrition Is Key

Proper nourishment is vital to keeping patients strong during treatment and providing resources the body needs to stay healthy once treatment is completed.

“Nutrition plays a key role in cancer treatment and survivorship,” says Rachel Saks, director, Doylestown Health Cancer Institute. “Thanks to generous donor support and our partnership with Simply Fresh by McCaffrey’s, we are able to provide free nutrition counseling for our Doylestown Health cancer patients throughout treatment and our supermarket tour with a registered dietitian.” Patients may participate in the tour up to a year after treatment and may invite a spouse, partner or caregiver.

Keeping it Interactive and Fun

Debbie allows time for discussion, questions and answers during the virtual program that uses a Zoom format. She sends class materials by mail, including a wonderful cookbook and a Simply Fresh gift card.

Virtual Tour Highlights

Understanding Food Labels

“During the tour, we review how to read and interpret food labels,” says Debbie. “I tell everyone, ‘It’s the advertiser’s job to design the front of the package so the food looks healthy, and it’s your job to read the nutrition information on the back of the box.’”

Eating a Rainbow

"There is much scientific evidence about the benefits of a plant-based diet featuring whole grains, vegetables, fruit and beans," notes Debbie, who provides information based on American Institute for Cancer Research® recommendations.

“I suggest eating a rainbow of five to six servings of fruits and vegetables daily, because they contain important nutrients, vitamins and minerals,” says Debbie. “They also have phytonutrients, which have been shown to protect the body from damage and help repair DNA.”

A Gift from the Heart

The program is offered to Doylestown Health's Cancer Institute's patients and [cancer] survivors thanks to generous financial support from the Minford Foundation.

“I am so happy to be able to sponsor the nutrition program,” says Debbie Minford Dailey, president of the nonprofit Minford Foundation, and a long-time supporter of Doylestown Health and its Cancer Institute. “It is a great way to help patients and survivors, as well as family members and caretakers.”

“As a cancer survivor myself, I know that you can feel vulnerable when you first finish treatment,” says Debbie Minford Dailey. “The nutrition program provides you with knowledge, so you can take charge and do something positive for your recovery.”

To register, contact Debbie Davis, 215.345.2356.

About Doylestown Health Cancer Institute

Doylestown Health Cancer Institute offers patients the quality care they expect from a leader in cancer diagnosis and treatment - close to home. Accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer our board-certified physicians and oncology-certified practitioners provide comprehensive, coordinated care and services for the full range of cancer diagnoses including breast, lung, urologic, gastrointestinal and other cancers.

About Doylestown Health Nutrition Services

Doylestown Health Nutrition Services offers personalized nutrition plans for those with a current medical condition or those interested in preventive health and weight loss. Doylestown Health Nutrition Services specializes in nutrition therapy for diabetes, weight management, cardiovascular disease, digestive and eating disorders, pregnancy, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.

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