Around 90% of cancers are caused by poor diet and lifestyle choices, so if you have had a cancer diagnosis and want to do something positive about your future, lifestyle medicine is an excellent place to start. Lifestyle Medicine is an emerging field that takes a science-based approach to natural health.
We tend to think that cancer can only be conquered with the strongest and most toxic medical weapons we have available, but that’s because the focus is on finding drugs that will kill the cells (without doing too much damage to the patient). Nutritional therapy doesn’t focus solely on eliminating cancer cells, it also aims to support healthy cells to fight back. The goal is to change the cellular ‘microenvironment’ and create conditions that are no longer cancer friendly. And, while the emphasis is on physical health, we won’t lose sight of the importance of psychological wellbeing in the recovery process.
The combination of nutrition and lifestyle coaching is a powerful way to improve your health. Bernie Seigel MD, the celebrated New York oncologist, used to say that he could identify survivors within the first 30 seconds of meeting them: they were the people who took an active interest in their treatment and carried a sense of personal responsibility for their future health. Supporting you to see yourself as the lynch pin in your own recovery is an important part of the way I work.
Three Steps to Health
My initial consultation package is designed to guide and support your return to health after a cancer diagnosis; to keep you on track and to help you navigate the many choices and changes you want to make. I have found that it makes sense to split the process into three meetings, or Three Steps to Health.
Step One: Diet and Lifestyle Audit and Understanding Your Personal Situation
This session is a chance for me to understand your situation in depth and for us to look at all the elements of your diet and lifestyle that may have impacted your health. Using the Functional Medicine model, we will identify your personal strengths and weakness and consider the options for gaining a deeper perspective with biochemical and genetic testing. You will leave this session with a detailed health ‘strategy’ and a better understanding of that all important question, “Why Me?” I will also make some initial diet recommendations for you to follow before our next meeting.
Step Two: Digging into Diet: All the right foods in all the right ways
Our second session will be all about diet: not just what you eat, but why you eat and when you eat. After fifteen years in clinical practice I’m well aware that knowing what to eat and actually eating it are not the same thing. The quality and timing of meals is important, and making sure you enjoy the foods on your plan is vital. Clients really enjoy this session as we create delicious meal options for every occasion and discuss ways to include the right food in your life without it becoming a chore. After this session I will add a detailed meal plan and food list to your health plan.
Step Three: Getting to Grips with Your Glitches
When it comes to cancer there is often confusion behind the diagnosis. Not only is the disease a medical mystery, but also the people it chooses contributes to a ‘random’ reputation. Indeed, most of the people who come to see me are very health conscious: most already eat a pretty good diet, and few understand why it happened. Getting to grips with the set of circumstances that may have led to your diagnosis – in order to find a better balance in future – is a core part of our work. Nutritional analysis can identify difficulties with absorption and utilisation of nutrients (despite a good diet), biochemical testing can reveal raised nutrient requirements, genetic testing can reveal difficulties in processing nutrients. All these areas are the subject of our third meeting when we put together the last section of our highly personalised supplement and lifestyle plan to support your systems to function as healthily as possible in future. (Please note that the cost of testing is not included in your consultation fee but it is not obligatory and there is plenty we can achieve without it.)
Take the First Step
When you book an initial appointment I’ll send you a comprehensive questionnaire so that I can analyse your situation before we meet. It’s best to book the meetings about four weeks apart – a gap long enough to allow us to gather any test results and to give you time to settle in to the diet and discover the areas where you need more support.
Between appointments I will research your situation (read the medical literature, discuss your test results with laboratories, talk to supplement companies, seek advice from trusted colleagues) and you can also reflect on any issues that come up for you and think about any questions you would like to ask before we meet again. I will follow each meeting with comprehensive notes which will build into a personalised diet, supplement and lifestyle report.
For every one hour appointment I spend with you, I’ll take around two hours before and after researching your situation and preparing notes to help you. You will get much more out of our time together if you do the same. Prepare your aims for each session and come with questions that you want answers to. The notes I prepare for you are packed with practical information, so make time after the session to read then carefully, to follow the links to the recipes and resources I suggest. It’s important that you have a bit of space available in your schedule to implement the diet and lifestyle suggestions we’ll discuss.
After the initial consultation package further support is available via 60 minute follow-up consultations.
Improving your nutritional status goes so much deeper than what you put into your mouth. Your lifestyle choices have a direct impact on your nutrient status and can radically affect your need for nutrients. For example, when we are stressed our requirement for magnesium soars; and the chemicals we are exposed to in daily life can impact hormones and inflammatory pathways.
Complete recovery often means addressing other areas of your life in order to find a new balance; the list below gives examples of areas that may benefit from nutrition and coaching intervention. The areas marked with asterisks may be combined with genetic or functional testing.
- Nutritional strategies for improving chemo’ and radiotherapy outcomes
- Exploring the potential of intermittent fasting
- Supporting your detox pathways and managing environmental toxins*
- Managing hormone production and elimination*
- Exploring your genes and supporting healthy expression*
- Personalised strategies for better sleep and rest*
- Managing stress and improving your stress response
- Finding new meaning and purpose in life after cancer
- Learning to prioritise self care and happiness
- Coping with the demands of personal relationships
- Western approaches to mindfulness and meditation
I particularly love working with people who want to reignite their sense of purpose after diagnosis because this is something close to my heart. Some of the biggest breakthroughs are achieved by tackling these ‘extra’ areas.
When it comes to improving your health, finding the right person to work with is an important part of the equation. That’s why I offer a free exploratory conversation so that we can test the chemistry and I can answer a few questions for you. I can also help you to decide which programme is right for you but I cannot give any personal advice about your health situation in this call.
Making an Appointment
Please make your appointments on my booking page, which also explains everything you need to know about clinic hours, meeting durations and fees. Consultations can take place face-to-face at my home in Kent, or via Skype/FaceTime. It is important that you have a clear diagnosis before we begin our work.
The only way I can give a genuine personalised service and keep abreast of the current research is to limit my client list and clinic time: at the moment I have six to eight appointment slots each week. This means that there will normally be a 4 to 10 week before a space is available. Generally speaking I’m not set up to provide advice in emergencies but if your situation feels pressing then please contact me below to provide more information.
When you’re ready, please click on this link to book a slot that suits your diary. Or drop me a line below.