Online classes to help Scots living with cancer enjoy food again

Living with cancer is hardly a picnic at the best of times and eating may be the last thing you want to think about.

By Julie Currie
Friday, 1st May 2020, 7:30 am
Mum’s journey...inspired Ryan Riley to help others whose enjoyment of food had been impacted by a cancer diagnosis, leading him to co-found Life Kitchen.
Mum’s journey...inspired Ryan Riley to help others whose enjoyment of food had been impacted by a cancer diagnosis, leading him to co-found Life Kitchen.

With cancer patients now having to shield themselves from Covid-19, it’s likely even harder for many people to find their appetite.

However, in a bid to help people living with cancer enjoy food again, World Cancer Research Fund has teamed up with Life Kitchen to run a weekly Instagram Live programme.

The collaboration was originally meant to be for cooking classes in real life.

Intimate gatherings...closed group sessions will also be hosted by WCRF oncology dietician Adele Hug to help answer people's personal questions.

But due to the country-wide lockdown, the series has gone virtual.

And for those who need more personalised support a WCRF oncology dietician will also be offering free, closed-group classes.

Every Tuesday at noon WCRF dietician Adele Hug will be joining Ryan Riley, chef and co-founder of Life Kitchen, on Instagram Live.

Together, they will be cooking and discussing a different recipe each week from the WCRF and Life Kitchen joint recipe booklet, which has been specifically designed for people living with cancer who experience taste changes.

World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) is a leading UK charity which funds research into the links between cancer and poor lifestyle choices.

Cancer, as well as treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, can often affect the way food tastes making it unpleasant, bland or particularly metallic, sweet or salty.

Ryan’s recipes combine specific ingredients to enhance flavour and help people to #EnjoyFoodAgain.

Viewers are encouraged to cook along at home and ask questions.

Ryan said: “My mother was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer when she was 45 and sadly passed away two years later.

“She really struggled with losing her taste and enjoyment of food, so I’m thrilled to be working once again with WCRF.

“Please do join us on Instagram – it’s lots of fun but also gives people the opportunity to talk to us directly and ask any questions they might have.

“I really hope that these cooking classes will help people rediscover the joys and nutritious benefits of food, particularly during this difficult time.”

As part of the collaboration, Adele will also be hosting free closed-group private sessions every Monday at noon for 10 weeks.

During the sessions, she will offer people advice on how to eat well with cancer ­­­– especially during the lockdown.

It is an opportunity for people to let a specialist get up close and personal with their fridge and help them make the most of the food items they currently have.

The sessions only allow for small groups, so all participants have the opportunity to ask very specific questions and discuss any concerns they may have related to living with cancer during the current public health crisis.

The recipes all follow WCRF’s healthy eating guidelines so they are suitable for everyone.

Due to Covid-19, it is more important than ever that we all eat nutritious food to keep our immune systems strong.

Adele said: “It’s so important for those living with cancer to eat well but this will mean something different for each person.

“For many, it means fibre rich foods like fruit and vegetables, lean meat, fish, pulses, good fats and calcium-containing foods like dairy or fortified alternatives.

“And for others, the traditional advice may need to be relaxed to meet their specific needs.

“All the recipes that Ryan will be cooking follow WCRF’s healthy eating guidelines and can be adapted to meet the specific needs of any individual.

“This is what I’ll be discussing during each session while I watch along.

“For anyone who needs that extra bit of dietary advice during this difficult time, please do get in touch with us to join our closed sessions.

“During these sessions I can address any queries that may be unique to you.”

To join the cooking class every Tuesday at noon, follow WCRF UK on Instagram at @wcrfuk and Life Kitchen at @lifekitchencookery.

And to join the closed group session on Monday at noon sign up at or email [email protected]

Research in its infancy when WCRF launched

World Cancer Research Fund is one of the world’s leading cancer prevention charities.

It is the only UK charity dedicated to funding life-changing research into the prevention of cancer through diet and lifestyle.

Since 1990 World Cancer Research Fund UK has been a member of the WCRF network, funding ground-breaking research and advising people about the link between diet, weight, physical activity and cancer prevention.

When World Cancer Research Fund UK was first established, scientific research into the link between diet and cancer was in its infancy.

Since then the WCRF network has funded millions in cancer prevention research and awareness-raising.

WCRF prides itself in cutting through the jargon to turn the latest global research on cancer prevention and survival into practical, straightforward advice and information.

By doing so, it helps anyone who wants to reduce their risk of developing cancer to make fully informed lifestyle choices.

Life Kitchen is a multi-award-winning cooking school that provides free cookery classes for people living with cancer.

Life Kitchen is run by co-founders Ryan Riley, an author, cook and food stylist, and Kimberley Duke, a recipe developer, chef and food stylist.