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.

@athenalee

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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Sprouts are definitely out. However, Feta is ok as long it’s a commercial product and pasteurized. No Artisan cheeses from a specialty shop, for instance. I really miss Sushi too 😕.

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Thanks Lori. I’ll check the feta label next time I pick some up. The young farmer I’ve been getting my “microgreens” from will definitely miss my business! And, they’re just so easy for healthy munching.

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@loribmt

Sprouts are definitely out. However, Feta is ok as long it’s a commercial product and pasteurized. No Artisan cheeses from a specialty shop, for instance. I really miss Sushi too 😕.

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Thanks for the reminder to be alert for pasteurized vs unpasteurized dairy products.
I never had Sushi, so can't say that I miss it. But as for an occasional steak or egg in a restaurant, I am getting used to sending it back to the kitchen.

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@athenalee

Thanks Lori. I’ll check the feta label next time I pick some up. The young farmer I’ve been getting my “microgreens” from will definitely miss my business! And, they’re just so easy for healthy munching.

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I know! I miss raw micro greens too, though they are ok to eat if you blanch them! So you can still keep the young farmer in business. But yes, the luxury of just eating raw out of the container is a no no.
My dietitian at Mayo, in the pre-transplant classes was so funny. She’d say, “When in doubt think of me tapping on your hand as you’re about to reach for something”! LOL. Sometimes I probably need more of a slap because temptation is hard!!
Oh, and there’s no 5 second rule anymore. Drop something and still want to eat it? Nope, think of it as the John Handy joke about losing your keys in a volcano…they’re just gone. 😂

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@loribmt

I know! I miss raw micro greens too, though they are ok to eat if you blanch them! So you can still keep the young farmer in business. But yes, the luxury of just eating raw out of the container is a no no.
My dietitian at Mayo, in the pre-transplant classes was so funny. She’d say, “When in doubt think of me tapping on your hand as you’re about to reach for something”! LOL. Sometimes I probably need more of a slap because temptation is hard!!
Oh, and there’s no 5 second rule anymore. Drop something and still want to eat it? Nope, think of it as the John Handy joke about losing your keys in a volcano…they’re just gone. 😂

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I’m just finding life post transplant and dealing with Sjogren’s neuropathy and pain difficult. Between the foods to avoid, and the meds, herbal supplements, and natural remedies that interact with Tacrolimus, it’s quite frustrating. At least I don’t have to worry about the five seconds rule…the little dog grabs everything.

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@rosemarya

Thanks for the reminder to be alert for pasteurized vs unpasteurized dairy products.
I never had Sushi, so can't say that I miss it. But as for an occasional steak or egg in a restaurant, I am getting used to sending it back to the kitchen.

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Hi @rosemarya, One of my biggest concerns post-transplant is eating restaurant meals safely. Can you please tell me more about what kind of foods you have ordered at restaurants, what you tell the server when you are ordering, what you say when you need to send the food back to the kitchen, do you eat the delicious bread served in the bread basket, hummus at the Greek restaurant, guacamole at the Mexican restaurant…. or are they no-no territory? Of course during this covid pandemic I am going no where, but I am looking forward to one day going to a restaurant with friends and I want to have a plan! 🙂 Thank you!!

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@rosemarya

Thanks for the reminder to be alert for pasteurized vs unpasteurized dairy products.
I never had Sushi, so can't say that I miss it. But as for an occasional steak or egg in a restaurant, I am getting used to sending it back to the kitchen.

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@rosemarya
I don’t send food back. You might be surprised at what some cooks do to it. Not worth taking chance. Refuse to pay for it.
Jake

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@hello1234

Hi @rosemarya, One of my biggest concerns post-transplant is eating restaurant meals safely. Can you please tell me more about what kind of foods you have ordered at restaurants, what you tell the server when you are ordering, what you say when you need to send the food back to the kitchen, do you eat the delicious bread served in the bread basket, hummus at the Greek restaurant, guacamole at the Mexican restaurant…. or are they no-no territory? Of course during this covid pandemic I am going no where, but I am looking forward to one day going to a restaurant with friends and I want to have a plan! 🙂 Thank you!!

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@hello1234 Enjoy Yourself! You can by listening to the fundamental food safety rule that your transplant team has share with you. I want to hear about your first dine out meal when it happens!
You will probably want to start simple and build confidence from there. Respect and a smile go a long way when speaking to a server. Mistakes happen in food preparation, especially when they are busy. I have never had a problem with a request, as mine are minimal. Most of my inquiries are about ingredients. As I said in a previous post, It is hard to get eggs well done, so the resolution is easiest to cook them at home and order something different if dining out!

I was transplanted a liver and kidney in 2009, so I have had to try to remember what early transplant eating was like for me.

Here is some of my experience:
Well, to begin, I had no taste, was on a kidney restricted diet, was swollen from ascites and edema. no appetite, and in the later stages controlled nausea. I had to talk myself into eating or I would not be strong enough for surgery.
On the morning after my transplant surgery, I was able to select a light breakfast – wheat toast, butter and jam, orange juice and a cup of coffee I thought I was in heaven! I could taste it! I didn't gag! I piled on the extra jam and I had orange juice which had not been allowed since my kidney failure. To top it off, my husband brought me a cup from the coffee shop! To this day, I have to say that it was the absolutely best breakfast I have ever eaten!

We lived at Gift of Life transplant House in Rochstser MN for 13 weeks, (2 weeks in ICU; 9 weeks as out-patient with self prepared meals; 3 weeks post transplant) So I got to witness and learn what others were eating during my temporary residence there.
My first meal 'out' was to the Hubbell in Mantorville MN, down the road from Rochester. It was our celebration at having my immediate post transplant restrictions eliminated. In preparation, I studied the menu, and knew what I wanted before I arrived. The place was clean and I immediately felt relaxed. It was obvious by my slow movements, that I was recovering from something, so I told the hostess that I had a recent transplant and had a few questions. The hostess was gracious and she answered my questions. I was able to request a substitution for something that I was not sure about. Food was delicious, and I splurged on a dessert! I know that this was an ideal situation, but it gave me confidence.

My guide is always: cleanliness via eyes and nose, and health dept certificate usually displayed at entry. Menu options is equally important.

Now that I am experienced, and with the introduction of COVID19, I add the CDC/local guidelines plus common sense.

Yes, I do eat the bread, guacamole, hummus at 'some' restaurants. My friends know that I need to take the first serving, and there is no dipping unless I get a separate dish for the dip. I do eat the homemade things. Fresh is always the best! I was more hesitant in the beginning, but as i became familiar with particular restaurants, I have developed a confidence. foods. And really, our restricted foods is a minimal amount.

Whenever I am upset with watching my husband or others eat anything and everything, I remember my delicious morning after surgery breakfast and celebrate how far i have come!

Do you and your friends have a favorite restaurant? What do you anticipate to be your most challenging dining out decision?

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@rosemarya

@hello1234 Enjoy Yourself! You can by listening to the fundamental food safety rule that your transplant team has share with you. I want to hear about your first dine out meal when it happens!
You will probably want to start simple and build confidence from there. Respect and a smile go a long way when speaking to a server. Mistakes happen in food preparation, especially when they are busy. I have never had a problem with a request, as mine are minimal. Most of my inquiries are about ingredients. As I said in a previous post, It is hard to get eggs well done, so the resolution is easiest to cook them at home and order something different if dining out!

I was transplanted a liver and kidney in 2009, so I have had to try to remember what early transplant eating was like for me.

Here is some of my experience:
Well, to begin, I had no taste, was on a kidney restricted diet, was swollen from ascites and edema. no appetite, and in the later stages controlled nausea. I had to talk myself into eating or I would not be strong enough for surgery.
On the morning after my transplant surgery, I was able to select a light breakfast – wheat toast, butter and jam, orange juice and a cup of coffee I thought I was in heaven! I could taste it! I didn't gag! I piled on the extra jam and I had orange juice which had not been allowed since my kidney failure. To top it off, my husband brought me a cup from the coffee shop! To this day, I have to say that it was the absolutely best breakfast I have ever eaten!

We lived at Gift of Life transplant House in Rochstser MN for 13 weeks, (2 weeks in ICU; 9 weeks as out-patient with self prepared meals; 3 weeks post transplant) So I got to witness and learn what others were eating during my temporary residence there.
My first meal 'out' was to the Hubbell in Mantorville MN, down the road from Rochester. It was our celebration at having my immediate post transplant restrictions eliminated. In preparation, I studied the menu, and knew what I wanted before I arrived. The place was clean and I immediately felt relaxed. It was obvious by my slow movements, that I was recovering from something, so I told the hostess that I had a recent transplant and had a few questions. The hostess was gracious and she answered my questions. I was able to request a substitution for something that I was not sure about. Food was delicious, and I splurged on a dessert! I know that this was an ideal situation, but it gave me confidence.

My guide is always: cleanliness via eyes and nose, and health dept certificate usually displayed at entry. Menu options is equally important.

Now that I am experienced, and with the introduction of COVID19, I add the CDC/local guidelines plus common sense.

Yes, I do eat the bread, guacamole, hummus at 'some' restaurants. My friends know that I need to take the first serving, and there is no dipping unless I get a separate dish for the dip. I do eat the homemade things. Fresh is always the best! I was more hesitant in the beginning, but as i became familiar with particular restaurants, I have developed a confidence. foods. And really, our restricted foods is a minimal amount.

Whenever I am upset with watching my husband or others eat anything and everything, I remember my delicious morning after surgery breakfast and celebrate how far i have come!

Do you and your friends have a favorite restaurant? What do you anticipate to be your most challenging dining out decision?

Jump to this post

Thank you @rosemarya for your detailed, informative and INSPIRATIONAL response!! I live in Florida, so right now we are the epicenter of covid-19. However, I dream about the day that I can treat myself and visit some of my favorite local restaurants….For instance, we have a beautiful and delicious Italian restaurant that is waterfront! It's one of my dreams to go there and order my favorite veal cutlet with pasta! (I think I will enjoy their hot bread and butter too when I go!) I always worry about the cleanliness of these restaurant kitchens, but I am hopeful that the cooking process will kill whatever may be the problem. I am going to ask for everything well done and HOT! Thank you again for being so knowledgeable and enthusiastic about my future meal! I will definitely let you know all about it when I go….THANK YOU!!!!

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@hello1234

Thank you @rosemarya for your detailed, informative and INSPIRATIONAL response!! I live in Florida, so right now we are the epicenter of covid-19. However, I dream about the day that I can treat myself and visit some of my favorite local restaurants….For instance, we have a beautiful and delicious Italian restaurant that is waterfront! It's one of my dreams to go there and order my favorite veal cutlet with pasta! (I think I will enjoy their hot bread and butter too when I go!) I always worry about the cleanliness of these restaurant kitchens, but I am hopeful that the cooking process will kill whatever may be the problem. I am going to ask for everything well done and HOT! Thank you again for being so knowledgeable and enthusiastic about my future meal! I will definitely let you know all about it when I go….THANK YOU!!!!

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Maybe consider well done😉 Some restaurants think well done is almost burnt🥴

Have you seen the heating chart for cooking meats. fish, poultry, pork? You can, depending on the restaurant, specify a temperature. When someone knows you have a transplant, they are likely to be very careful to meet (no pun intended) your needs. It is also a great opportunity to promote organ donation in a very natural manner!

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@loribmt

I know! I miss raw micro greens too, though they are ok to eat if you blanch them! So you can still keep the young farmer in business. But yes, the luxury of just eating raw out of the container is a no no.
My dietitian at Mayo, in the pre-transplant classes was so funny. She’d say, “When in doubt think of me tapping on your hand as you’re about to reach for something”! LOL. Sometimes I probably need more of a slap because temptation is hard!!
Oh, and there’s no 5 second rule anymore. Drop something and still want to eat it? Nope, think of it as the John Handy joke about losing your keys in a volcano…they’re just gone. 😂

Jump to this post

I spoke with my microgreens farmer and he said he grows all his greens in soil and well vented conditions like sprouts. He assures me that he is well versed on the sprout concerns, but microgreens do not have similar bacterial issues.

I’ve just started investigating, it does seem that bacteria growth is much less common with microgreens. So, I’ll continue to research before imbibing again!

I’m wondering about other raw vegetables at restaurants or potlucks in general. How do we know these things have been properly washed?

Thanks as always for the insights!

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@athenalee

I spoke with my microgreens farmer and he said he grows all his greens in soil and well vented conditions like sprouts. He assures me that he is well versed on the sprout concerns, but microgreens do not have similar bacterial issues.

I’ve just started investigating, it does seem that bacteria growth is much less common with microgreens. So, I’ll continue to research before imbibing again!

I’m wondering about other raw vegetables at restaurants or potlucks in general. How do we know these things have been properly washed?

Thanks as always for the insights!

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I’d be much less concerned with eating the micro greens from your local farmer. He’s seems pretty attuned to the bacterial issues. If you wanted to go the extra step to safety, you could do a soak in some vinegar water and spin dry. (Salad spinner)

What to avoid (or what I’ve been told to avoid) would be the sprouts or pre-washed lettuce and veggies in bags from commercial sources or pre-cut veggies and fruits from a grocery store. Especially chopped iceberg lettuce in bags. They seem to test high in bacteria. Also still on my no-no list are any deli meats unless heated to 160 degrees…which defeats the purpose of cold cuts and tastes awful! LOL And of course, avoiding buffets or raw foods where I don’t know the cleaning process.

We use packaged fresh spinach soaked in vinegar water first. Most of our spinach is sautéed or eaten in soup anyway. Leaf lettuce I generally wash each leaf after soaking the head in v-water.

No way will I eat at a potluck unless it’s food I make myself or really know the cook! It’s no biggie. I grew up going to church pot lucks with my mom gently touching my wrist and almost imperceptibly shaking her head if I was reaching for a spoon in a dish of unknown parentage. Her quiet action screamed, “Don't touch that!” Haha! As I got older, I appreciated her behind the scenes knowledge of the cooks!

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