Help when it gets complicated

Honestly, I know a lot of people think I make my living by telling people to eat more broccoli and oily fish – and they know that already so they think they don’t need any help.

Well, to quote the wonderful Ben Goldacre, “I think you’ll find it’s a bit more complicated than that”.

I’ve spent the last couple of months with my head in the Cloud in an attempt to pin down some of the many, specific ways that diet and genes interact to change our risk for breast cancer and other diseases. I’ve learned a lot.

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Cancer: the choice is yours

These last few days, during a gap between modules on my MSc, I’ve been enjoying updating my knowledge about the latest advances in cancer treatments. Our understanding of the way cancer behaves is changing and evolving, and with it our ability to influence its growth and behaviour. I’ve been closely following this field for a couple of decades and feel genuinely excited about the things I’m reading and learning. Continue reading

Don’t blame it on the sunshine!

Or why bank holiday Monday might be the worst day to sunbathe ever.

I know!  It’s another cloudy bank holiday in the UK, but if it were full-on sun we’d be stripping off, baring lily white legs and shoulders, and wondering if it will shine long enough to be worth getting the sun cream out. Is it a factor 15 or factor 30 day? Gone are the days of coconut oil and tin foil! Continue reading

Feed your world

In attempting to explain the importance of gut flora, I often ask people to imagine themselves as an outside-in planet.

Your digestive tract is densely populated with micro-organisms in a similar way to humans on the face of the earth, though the scale is somewhat different. While there are billions of humans on Planet Earth, there are trillions of bugs inside you – about ten times as many critters as you have cells, all eking out a living on you and from you. And, if you play your cards right, they have plenty to give you in return.

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Drink up!

If you are positively prune-like at the end of Dry January then I hope you feel justifiably proud of yourself. Maybe you’ve seen some health benefits too? I’ve heard people say they sleep better, feel more alert, less depressed and can see improvements in their skin and digestion. It’s a great start to the year.

But what next?  Continue reading

The ketogenic diet: why the switch is more important than the fuel

It’s three years this month since I wrote The Dissident Diet, based on my own experience of losing three stone, and a pilot study carried out with 16 people who needed to do the same. At the time it was ground-breaking, and more than a little brave, for a professional nutritionist to recommend a ketogenic diet when so many people in nutrition and medicine felt it was dangerous. Continue reading

Why your neighbour’s health may be more important than your own.

On the off-chance that I haven’t bored you enough already with the story of my latest medical escapade, I’d like to share what I learned while ‘inside’ the NHS. It’s a message that I believe affects us all, no matter how confidently healthy, no matter how cocooned with private health care, and no matter how meticulous you are about your own diet and exercise.  Continue reading

Making congruent cancer decisions

As I prepare for the first ‘Get Comfortable with Cancer’ workshop, I’m aware of a huge bubble of potential. The day already exists In my imagination and there’s a lot of work to do to translate that vision and excitement into the uplifting and inspiring day I want it to be. As well as making your more comfortable, I’d like to think that you will end the day with more confidence, and with more knowledge.

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Cancer: Game On

In 1971, president Richard Nixon declared war on cancer when he signed the National Cancer Act. At the time the scientific community was confident that we were no more than a decade away from a cure; their confidence based on a new understanding of DNA and the observation that cancer tumour cells all seemed to contain significant DNA, or gene, mutations. Continue reading

Are your insides leaking?

The idea of a leaky gut has always struck me as rather amusing, it’s such a funny name, but if you are a sufferer you won’t be laughing. Most of us go through periods of poor digestive function, often linked to stress and illness, but prolonged poor digestion will put you at risk of leaky gut, and that can have profound effects on your long term health. Continue reading