Your best tips for raw food safety post transplant.

Posted by jolinda @jolinda, Aug 3, 2019

Does anyone have good guidelines for eating raw food post transplant. I am specifically interested if anyone remembers the things you were taught about raw fruits and veggies. As an example I was told it is ok to eat prewashed lettuce if you rewash it or that fruit with bumpy skin, like cantaloupe can't be washed well enough to avoid contaminating the fruit when cutting through it.

MODERATOR'S NOTE
The knowledge exchange shared in this discussion helped to create this article written for the Mayo Clinic app. Knowledge for patients by patients and beyond Mayo Clinic Connect.

– How to safely enjoy fruits and veggies after a transplant https://www.mayoclinic.org/CPT-20514171

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Transplants group.

@nkdonahue

Thank you for your reply! I thought that reducing sodium intake to 2000mg daily would be required. I look forward to getting Moore details from her dietician.

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@nkdonahue I was told to keep my sodium below 2000 mg a day after my liver transplant. I didn't use a lot of salt before my transplant so that was easy for me, and I actually try to keep it below 1500 mg a day because otherwise, I do feel it in my fingers and feet.

As @cmael commented, the major restrictions are the fruits she mentioned, plus anything that is not well washed, like fruit, or not cooked — no sushi. I believe all post-transplant patients have those restrictions because they are based on foods that are contraindicated to the immunosuppressants, and when you are taking immnosuppressants your body cannot fight germs as well. Wash your fruit and vegetables well. I use a water/white vinegar bath on berries, you can get directions on that if you google. I started that because it helps to keep the fruit from spoiling because it kills the spores that may be on it but recently did read that it was the best way to wash berries for post-transplant patients also. Also, if you cutting a melon or any fruit, wash the skin first so if there is any bacteria on it, it doesn't get dragged through the fruit on the knife.

I am sure that after the transplant you will get information about foods not to eat and being careful about eating raw things. I don't think you really need a special cookbook.
JK

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@contentandwell

@nkdonahue I was told to keep my sodium below 2000 mg a day after my liver transplant. I didn't use a lot of salt before my transplant so that was easy for me, and I actually try to keep it below 1500 mg a day because otherwise, I do feel it in my fingers and feet.

As @cmael commented, the major restrictions are the fruits she mentioned, plus anything that is not well washed, like fruit, or not cooked — no sushi. I believe all post-transplant patients have those restrictions because they are based on foods that are contraindicated to the immunosuppressants, and when you are taking immnosuppressants your body cannot fight germs as well. Wash your fruit and vegetables well. I use a water/white vinegar bath on berries, you can get directions on that if you google. I started that because it helps to keep the fruit from spoiling because it kills the spores that may be on it but recently did read that it was the best way to wash berries for post-transplant patients also. Also, if you cutting a melon or any fruit, wash the skin first so if there is any bacteria on it, it doesn't get dragged through the fruit on the knife.

I am sure that after the transplant you will get information about foods not to eat and being careful about eating raw things. I don't think you really need a special cookbook.
JK

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@contentandwell I have not used anything but cool water to wash berries, and I do so just before eating them. Do you use the water and vinegar bath, then store the fruit to eat later? I would be very happy to prolong the freshness of pricey organic strawberries that we enjoy. Given that our daughter is just 24, I am relieved to hear that she may not have to change her diet as dramatically as I had anticipated. Do you have trouble making good choices at restaurants? Avoiding excessive salt seems like a challenge outside one's own kitchen. Thank you for your ideas.

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@nkdonahue

@contentandwell I have not used anything but cool water to wash berries, and I do so just before eating them. Do you use the water and vinegar bath, then store the fruit to eat later? I would be very happy to prolong the freshness of pricey organic strawberries that we enjoy. Given that our daughter is just 24, I am relieved to hear that she may not have to change her diet as dramatically as I had anticipated. Do you have trouble making good choices at restaurants? Avoiding excessive salt seems like a challenge outside one's own kitchen. Thank you for your ideas.

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@nkdonahue First, I want to welcome you to Connect, I neglected to do that in my first post to you. There are many so of us who are post-transplant that I’m sure it will be very helpful for you. I wish I had known about it sooner than I did.

On to strawberries – it’s funny that they always said to wash them just before eating them. I do wash the whole package now in the white vinegar/water wash. I read that in an article about making them last longer, and it really does generally give me an extra couple of days. I see it as a win-win. The berries last longer and the spores that may be on them are killed. Just make sure you rinse them well. Of course I need to eat a berry to make sure they are. 😉. I do the same with blueberries but raspberries are too fragile to do that with them.

I favor a couple of restaurants that are happy to customize the food for dietary requirements. If I have to go elsewhere I generally ask the server what can be done with limited sodium. Most restaurants have something that can be prepared low-sodium Generally eliminate anything that has been marinated because many restaurants start the marinating process much earlier in the day. When I know neither of these options will work I try to not have any sodium other than that meal, on that day. Once in a while I can’t really do any of that so I do end up having more sodium than I would like to have. I pay for it the next day in fluid retention but I don’t think an occasional lapse is going to hurt overall – my opinion so check with your transplant department.

Fortunately for me the prohibited foods are not things that are too much of a sacrifice to exclude, although I do love grapefruit juice and there is always some in the fridge because my husband loves it.

As you go through this process you will probably have more questions – ask away, that’s what we are here for.
JK

REPLY
@contentandwell

@nkdonahue First, I want to welcome you to Connect, I neglected to do that in my first post to you. There are many so of us who are post-transplant that I’m sure it will be very helpful for you. I wish I had known about it sooner than I did.

On to strawberries – it’s funny that they always said to wash them just before eating them. I do wash the whole package now in the white vinegar/water wash. I read that in an article about making them last longer, and it really does generally give me an extra couple of days. I see it as a win-win. The berries last longer and the spores that may be on them are killed. Just make sure you rinse them well. Of course I need to eat a berry to make sure they are. 😉. I do the same with blueberries but raspberries are too fragile to do that with them.

I favor a couple of restaurants that are happy to customize the food for dietary requirements. If I have to go elsewhere I generally ask the server what can be done with limited sodium. Most restaurants have something that can be prepared low-sodium Generally eliminate anything that has been marinated because many restaurants start the marinating process much earlier in the day. When I know neither of these options will work I try to not have any sodium other than that meal, on that day. Once in a while I can’t really do any of that so I do end up having more sodium than I would like to have. I pay for it the next day in fluid retention but I don’t think an occasional lapse is going to hurt overall – my opinion so check with your transplant department.

Fortunately for me the prohibited foods are not things that are too much of a sacrifice to exclude, although I do love grapefruit juice and there is always some in the fridge because my husband loves it.

As you go through this process you will probably have more questions – ask away, that’s what we are here for.
JK

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@jk Thanks for the welcome as well as your tips. I appreciate your sharing them.

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Hi all,
I am a transplant patient. How do you wash your fresh vegetables to assure they are clean? I am reading on the internet to bathe lettuce in vinegar and water, dip strawberries in baking soda/water, use a brush on cantaloupe, don't use soap just running water on a nectarine and tomato, etc. How do you wash your fresh fruit and vegetables for food safety? Many thanks!!

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@hello1234

Hi all,
I am a transplant patient. How do you wash your fresh vegetables to assure they are clean? I am reading on the internet to bathe lettuce in vinegar and water, dip strawberries in baking soda/water, use a brush on cantaloupe, don't use soap just running water on a nectarine and tomato, etc. How do you wash your fresh fruit and vegetables for food safety? Many thanks!!

Jump to this post

Hello. Congrats on your transplant. Being careful with food is important so your question is a good one! I used a combo of vinegar and water for several months post transplant, soaking everything for 10 minutes or so and then really rinsing well in order to get the vinegary smell off. If you are told not to eat grapefruit, don't buy one of the spray cleaners for veggies and fruits they offer in the health food stores as it has grapefruit/citrus juice in it. I use a vegetable scrub to clean off the peels of lemons, limes, apples, avocadoes, etc before I cut into them. I never heard about the strawberries and baking soda – I rinse them well and throw out any berry that looks a bit suspicious. Good luck with everything and take care!

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@hello1234

Hi all,
I am a transplant patient. How do you wash your fresh vegetables to assure they are clean? I am reading on the internet to bathe lettuce in vinegar and water, dip strawberries in baking soda/water, use a brush on cantaloupe, don't use soap just running water on a nectarine and tomato, etc. How do you wash your fresh fruit and vegetables for food safety? Many thanks!!

Jump to this post

30+ years out and I still wash my veggies & fruits carefully. I either spritz with vinegar and water, let sit and rinse well or I use hot tap water to rinse after scrubbing.

REPLY
@hello1234

Hi all,
I am a transplant patient. How do you wash your fresh vegetables to assure they are clean? I am reading on the internet to bathe lettuce in vinegar and water, dip strawberries in baking soda/water, use a brush on cantaloupe, don't use soap just running water on a nectarine and tomato, etc. How do you wash your fresh fruit and vegetables for food safety? Many thanks!!

Jump to this post

Great topic. You'll notice that I moved your message to this existing discussion about food safety and transplant patients. @hello1234, in addition to the comments you've already received, you may wish to scroll through past comments.

REPLY
@colleenyoung

Great topic. You'll notice that I moved your message to this existing discussion about food safety and transplant patients. @hello1234, in addition to the comments you've already received, you may wish to scroll through past comments.

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Thank you so much everyone!! All of your helpful comments and hints about washing your fruits and veggies are super valuable. I appreciate my Mayo Connect family!

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@linmarie, I tried the link, and it looks like the USD has redesigned their page. I found these sections that provide excellent food safety guidelines.

This has a section especially for transplant patients, however the entire brochure is an easy read, and I recommend any transplant recipient to look at the entire booklet.
Food Safety A Need-to-Know for Those at Risk
https://www.fsis.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media_file/2021-04/at-risk-booklet.pdfFood Handling and Preparation

For Safe food handling
https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation

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@rosemarya

@linmarie, I tried the link, and it looks like the USD has redesigned their page. I found these sections that provide excellent food safety guidelines.

This has a section especially for transplant patients, however the entire brochure is an easy read, and I recommend any transplant recipient to look at the entire booklet.
Food Safety A Need-to-Know for Those at Risk
https://www.fsis.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media_file/2021-04/at-risk-booklet.pdfFood Handling and Preparation

For Safe food handling
https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation

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Handy booklet, thanks! I knew most of the foods to avoid, but didn’t know about sprouts and feta cheese…bummer. And, let me just say I haven’t had sushi in nearly two years and I seriously miss it!

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