Wednesday 27 March 2013

Taking responsibility

There seems to be a direct correlation between the evolution of modern medicine and a growing disconnection with our bodies. Over the past few decades we've handed the responsibility for our health over to the 'professionals'. In trusting others we have lost the ability to trust ourselves. Pharmaceutical and food companies are businesses motivated by money, not the greater good, and we must remember that. 

To regain or retain wellbeing we must take back responsibility for our health.

When cancer woke me up I did just that. I suddenly understood that the only person who could heal me WAS me. 
A Western Doctor is trained in Medicine. A Western Doctor can only give me what is in their tool kit, in short, drugs and diagnostics. I wasn't interested in drugs, I wanted to DEtoxify my body, to return to a place where I could begin to heal. My amazing body knew how to grow my 2 babies, while I consciously had no understanding of that process. In the same way I realised a simple truth - that my body is programmed to heal. I don't need to understand HOW, I just have to give it what it needs; nutrients, hydration, relaxation, oxygen. And trust.

I take full responsibility for every choice I made up until the point of diagnosis. I chose what I put in my mouth, what I put on my skin, and how I reacted to stress. At the time I was unaware that these WERE choices, but they were, and they made me ill. By taking responsibility I regained my power, I never felt like a victim, hope was never lost. I didn't rely on anyone but MYSELF to heal ME. That's not to say that I didn't ask for help. I turned to professionals for guidance, but I did the work. 

We each have the innate gift of being able to listen to our bodies, an ancient, instinctive wisdom that we have almost lost. We need to reconnect with ourselves, and maintain responsibility for our choices, in order to heal. 

Wednesday 20 March 2013

Everybody loves the sunshine

As living beings, we rely heavily on the power of sunshine to develop, grow and stay healthy, but in recent years, the sun has become the enemy. We've bought into the myth that we must protect ourselves from it's dangerous rays, and in the process have made suncream companies rich. Many sunscreens use harmful ingredients (more on this in another post) which permeate the skin and are far more carcinogenic than sensible sun exposure could ever be. How is it possible that in Britain, skin cancer rates have almost doubled in the last 7 years? 

Our immune systems rely heavily on vitamin D3, 90% of which we would ideally get from sunlight. Small amounts are available in egg yolks, butter, cod liver oil and cold water fish. We also need D3 for calcium metabolism and bone building. Interestingly, people with auto-immune disorders, including cancer, are often massively deficient in this important vitamin. Studies have shown that people with the highest levels of vitamin D3 at the time of diagnosis have better survival rates, suggesting the importance of raising levels.

On average we can get enough vitamin D3 from 20 minutes unprotected exposure to the sun (avoiding the hottest part of the day between 11am and 2pm). However, people with darker skin need more sunlight, and those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere where the sun is weaker, may need longer exposure. It's important to avoid burning!

Taking a good quality supplement can entirely reverse deficiency, but current daily recommendations are set far too low; cancer patients need between 5000 and 8000 iu's per day. It's worth investing in a high quality product, and at all costs avoid using Vitamin D2 supplements, which are synthetic, less potent and poorly absorbed. During the winter months, and even on summer days when there is no sunshine, I use 4 drops of Liquid Sunshine, which delivers 10,000 iu's of D3. I would recommend bi-annual blood testing as it IS possible to overdose on supplementation. Interestingly toxicity does not occur when D3 is synthesised from exposure to sunlight.

Monday 4 March 2013


Many years ago I was given a gift of Janey Lee Grace's fantastic book 'Imperfectly Natural Woman'. Everything within those pages seemed so unachievable, so far removed from my then-lifestyle. And yet I've become one of those annoying women who eats gluten free porridge with chia seeds for breakfast and who makes their own almond milk.

How did this transformation take place? For me it took a cancer sized kick up the backside, but in reality it was as simple as crowding out the bad with the good. I replaced milky tea and coffee with green tea, sugary snacks like cakes and biscuits with nuts and seeds, and alcohol with coconut water (in a wine glass!). Drinking 2 litres of filtered water per day flushed toxins from my system. I started juicing, and my sugar cravings disappeared because my body was finally getting what it had been pleading for; nutrients! I began to cook with herbs and spices, removing the need for salt. Feeling the benefits of this new regime motivated me to stay focused. I had more energy, felt less toxic, and as certain chronic ailments like gum disease and painful periods disappeared, I began to believe that I was giving my body what it needed to heal itself.

I now have four daily rules. 

       Alkalise (eat clean, whole, unprocessed food, and drink green juice)
       Oxygenate (breathe and move)
       Relax (meditate, say daily affirmations, take enemas, laugh)
       Hydrate (drink filtered, alkaline water)

These are the non-negotiables, but I'm a work in progress, so there's always room for improvement. Taking exercise seriously has yet to happen!

Change can be difficult, and many of us actively avoid it. I began to embrace it when I stopped looking at food as a reward system. I now see every mouthful I eat for it's nutraceutical potential. Food has the power to heal, and these days I get my rewards elsewhere. I no longer 'treat' myself to a glass of wine or a bar of chocolate at the end of a long day with the kids, rather I see my long day with the kids as reward enough. I feel very lucky to be here, and to be well. That's motivation enough to carry on.

Friday 1 March 2013


When you're diagnosed with cancer, possibly the first and most important thing you can do is to cut refined sugar from your diet. I used to have a sweet tooth. The amount of sugar that I've eliminated from my diet over the past 3 years could fill a house, which is scary when you consider that cancer loves sugar. 

Cancer cells have mutated to survive a toxic, low oxygen environment within the body. As Nobel Prize winning Dr Otto Warburg discovered in 1931, to exist they must respire anaerobically, which requires a process of sugar fermentation. All cells use blood sugar (glucose) for energy, but cancer cells use up to 8 times more sugar, and yield only 5% of a normal cell's energy return. They essentially starve the body of energy for their own respiration. As a by-product they churn out acidic lactic acid, which creates an ever increasingly toxic environment. Interestingly PET scans take advantage of this sugar respiration. Radioactive glucose is injected into the body, cancer cells greedily absorb the sugar and tumours are highlighted.

Many alternative treatments rely on this greed to work. To a cancer cell, high dose vitamin C (given intravenously) resembles sugar. On absorption the vitamin C works as a cytotoxin, instigating apoptosis (cell suicide). This has no ill-effects on surrounding cells which are using oxygen to respire. Baking soda mixed with maple syrup is another well known alternative therapy discovered by Dr Simoncini. The cancer cells take up the sugar, but are destroyed by the alkalinity of the baking soda (remember that cancer cells cannot survive an alkaline environment).

Excess sugar consumption leads to a surplus of glucose within the body. This disrupts the balance of healthy gut flora, and has a direct impact on the immune system. High blood sugar is linked to candida growth, and creates systemic inflammation, the pre-curser to most disease. Furthermore, excess glucose not used for energy production is stored as fat. The body deposits toxins within these fat reserves.

Sugar comes in different forms: fructose, sucrose, glucose, maltose, galactose, and lactose. Read labels and be aware of their presence. Don't be tempted to swap refined sugar for alternatives. Particularly avoid aspartame (a carinogen), high fructose corn syrup (high on the GI index, creating insulin spikes), and xylitol (alcohol derived tree bark sugar). Safer options, in extreme moderation, are stevia, raw honey (watch out for supermarket honey which is often high in refined sugar), maple syrup, coconut sugar, and molasses. In their favour, these sugars contain enzymes and minerals, which processed sugars do not. 

As all carbohydrates are metabolised into glucose for cellular energy it would be impossible to cut sugar from our diet entirely. Simple sugars (ie sucrose) should be avoided because they're absorbed directly through the gut wall, creating high blood sugar levels, requiring the body to produce unnatural insulin spikes. Complex carbohydrates (like legumes, starches, grains and root vegetables) must be broken down into simple carbohydrates via the liver before they can be used for energy. This longer process means that blood sugars and insulin levels remain stable. Tropical fruit, and even root vegetables should be eaten in moderation despite the fact that the natural sugars in these foods result in a slower release of fructose. You can slow the effects of sugar consumption by eating protein at the same time, for example, eating a handful of nuts and seeds with raisins.

Eating a diet rich in sugar gives cancer cells a quick fix whilst giving nothing of value to the body. It's imperative to reduce the foods that these abnormal cells can easily use to grow. So many times I've been welcomed to cancer support groups and fund-raisers with a plate of biscuits or a tray of cakes - hospitals and clinics seem unaware of the sugar-cancer link. In order to heal, we need to inform ourselves and reject sugar in favour of a diet rich in fruit, vegetables and unprocessed foods.