Friday, 29 March 2019

Sunflower slaw - Kirsten Chick

Nutritional Therapist, Kirsten Chick, shares her delicious sunflower slaw recipe…

Sunflower slaw on a sunny day…

Sunflower slaw is another variation on coleslaw. One of my favourite foods – so I’m always coming up with new combinations. This year alone I’ve made:

  • Kohl slaw – with purple kohlrabi
  • Avo slaw – with guacamole instead of mayonnaise
  • Warm slaw – gently heated in a pan
  • Ruby slaw – with beetroot and radishes

…and now Sunflower Slaw!

The recipe

…is simple.

Grated golden beetroot and carrot with lightly toasted sunflower seeds.

Dressing: simply apple cider vinegar (with mother).

I didn’t, but you could stir a dollop of sheep’s yoghurt if you wish.

The Earth element and digestion

Sunflower slaw is perfect for nourishing your digestion.

The Chinese Earth element is represented by the colours orange and yellow. These colours, together with the natural sweetness of carrots and golden beetroot, gently soothe your stomach and spleen. Your digestive ability is said to be enhanced when you include such Earth element foods.

The “mother” in the apple cider vinegar is the ferment produced when vinegar is made. It helps top up your gut bacteria, and so supports your digestive functions as well as your immune system and general wellbeing.

The vitamin B6 and magnesium in the sunflower seeds are wonderful at soothing your adrenals and calming your nervous system. This directly impacts the health and activity of your digestive system – and your whole body.

Nourishing your Earth element often helps you to feel grounded and connected. It may also help to reduce sugar cravings, especially together with the sour flavour of the apple cider vinegar.

And it all looks very pretty on your plate!

Check out more of Kirsten’s blogs here.

Friday, 22 March 2019

Impossible is nothing - Dr Sam Watts

This week Sam Watts of Mind-Body Medical discusses how mindset can be more important than you think when it comes to cancer…
Those boxing fans out there will know that this famous statement was coined by Muhammed Ali who in turn was paraphrasing Albert Einstein. What they were both expressing was their absolute conviction that the only limiting factor in the sphere of possibility is the limitations imposed by our own thoughts and belief. In other words, if we think it is possible, it becomes so.
Nowhere is this more relevant than in the field of health and medicine and more specifically, within the field of cancer survivorship. So often the beliefs we maintain about cancer and survival act within us to make that belief become reality. Unfortunately, this is often in the negative context; a terminal cancer patient is given six months to live and predictably dies in exactly six months time. They thought it, believed it and so it happened.
The current medical paradigm is largely plagued by this problem. In the religion of academic medicine, statistics are the highest deity and are worshipped above all else. If the research states that any given cancer is progressive and irreversible, then exclusively and in all people diagnosed with that cancer, that will be the case. Such a belief system prevails only in the absence of statistical or medical anomalies. Fortunately, such anomalies are coming thick and fast.
These anomalies, the exceptional cancer patients and the research conducted on them, has documented that there are patients who have gone into either long-term survival or, in rarer cases, complete remission, despite having been diagnosed with terminal, progressive and irreversible metastatic stage 4 cancers. In other words, impossible has been clinically shown to be anything but.
It seems the flood gates are opening, and a new paradigm is taking hold. This paradigm states that nothing is impossible because the research shows that everything is possible. There is nothing to say that in the future, near or distant, a whole raft of progressive and irreversible cancers, along with other progressive degenerative disease such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, will be re-labelled as reversible.
But for that to happen there is a caveat. And that caveat is that the ability to do so won’t come from external approaches like drugs and surgery; these things may help and in fact are often mandatory but in and of themselves, they are not enough. The most crucial factors are the internal ones - namely our belief systems. A rapidly expanding field of research is showing unequivocally that the thoughts we generate can have overwhelmingly powerful impacts upon our physiology and bio-chemistry. If we think it and if we believe it, the chances are that the body will pick up those belief, run with them and turn them into physical reality.
Every month we read, in the medical press, reports and case studies of cancer patients who become exceptional. These are the people with life threatening cancers who beat the odds to overcome both their disease and the dark statistics that accompany it. Occasionally, we get the privilege of meeting and working with such a person in the flesh. This has recently happened to me and what a privilege it was. This was a person who was prepared to fight tooth and nail to regain health. This was a person who was prepared to question the status quo. A person who respected the opinions and statistics of their oncologist but refused to believe them. Instead they chose to acknowledge a different reality, a reality that said anything is possible, that they can and will overcome their disease and live a long, healthy and happy life. More crucially, they cultivated a deep and unshakeable belief in those convictions and through their own determination and will, carved their own path of treatment alongside conventional options.
This person overhauled their diet, introduced a structured routine of meditation and exercise and most crucially took control of their mind, adopting thoughts and processes to instate a true sense of belief that they would be well. They have been open to using Ayurvedic medicine as a means of boosting their immune system and helping their body be stronger and fiercer against cancer. And in this case, it paid off - a virulent, aggressive, progressive and terminal cancer was beaten into almost total remission.
Albert Einstein and Muhammed Ali, two contrasting but equally brilliant characters, shared the common conviction that impossible is nothing. The cancer survivorship model needs to hold onto this belief and let it shape every aspect of treatment without exception. This week I am thrilled to say I saw impossible become possible in the flesh. Impossible sometimes is indeed nothing.

Friday, 15 March 2019

The lack of action is killing us - Chris Lewis

This week Chris of Chris’ Cancer Community shares his views on how big charities just aren’t cutting it in the cancer world…

My working life has changed dramatically since the start of 2019, and it is all incredibly positive! SimPal is now serving families across the entire UK and we are working with some incredible partners, which is making life a lot easier. As things in the charity world continue to evolve, we are being contacted by national companies who are disillusioned by giant charities, and can see the impact we are having in the community. Being small we are restricted what we can take on due to limited finance, but we are open and honest with people. Our work is innovative, and we are very agile, due to the way we work in a fast moving sector. The projects I do personally are getting more high profile, and I am working with some of the largest names in cancer today. Attempting to improve the communication between clinicians and patients, removing politics and making time of the essence! 

I have been involved with the cancer sector for approximately ten years now, and I have become totally bored with most things I see and hear in the UK. We have moved on from booklets to flashy internet communication which is a lot more user-friendly and convenient. The information is up to date and appropriate, and we have created groups on social-media where like minds can discuss and share as much as they like. But what of substance has actually improved in that time? 

Recently, I have attended meetings from local to national level and still the issues discussed remain the same as ten years ago. The inequality of life for people affected by cancer. How poorer people have become once they get cancer. The lack of job opportunities for people affected by cancer. Hospital parking charges, not enough money given to certain cancers, the lack of progress in specific tumour types and staffing numbers decreasing. The same questions coming up time after time, year after year. Just this week there was a meeting of minds from Macmillan Cancer Support and Cancer Research to talk about many of these issues, and they were proud when they talked about COLLABORATION, wow! These two organisations can’t stop massaging their egos over what incredible work they do. Everywhere you looked were adverts about them, and of course the obligatory ‘patient story’ to make everyone feel better about what they do! 

This is not a collaboration but a cartel, which was also attended by ex-employees now plying their trade in the NHS! These are the organisations that are supposedly there for us when we need them most. But what are they doing? We know they are successful in the advertising world, where you certainly have to be wealthy to exist. Most people know their brands of course, but I suggest not for anything they have done for them? More about being drip fed by constant advertising on tv, social media, and public transport etc. It is obviously working as they are financially the two largest cancer charities in this country. What impact are they having in the cancer community? Their opinions are the first we ever hear when cancer makes the news. It is as if what we are seeing is not official unless they have had their comments. Cancer research and cancer support are two of the broadest terms used in the sector. So, who can argue with them? Trying to get specific answers though, is like asking questions to MI5. 

With our country in such a political mess, we are seeing absolutely no action at all in healthcare, but who is challenging the Government? I see a lot of money in their accounts for ‘lobbying and campaigns’ but what is the result? Everyone concerned seems very happy with the status-quo, all drawing healthy salaries, being rewarded well for failure. The same names and faces travelling on the cancer roundabout. Some of the worst communicators I have ever met. No private business would be run like this, with a ‘jobs for the boys’ approach. 

Meanwhile cancer continues to take lives on a daily basis, as the number of people affected increases. My belief is that it is the ‘modern day plague.’ Everyone is affected so why is there such a lack of urgency? The system is totally broken, if there was one in the first place. Silo working is as apparent now as it was when I started my work. Everyone is only interested in their own empire with no one responsible for looking at the bigger picture. Unfortunately, the facts are very stark, that we cannot rely on the people who tell us they are there to help us. Nothing will change unless we make it happen. Of course, it is difficult enough to cope with the disease, let alone fight for what we need, but this is the state of affairs we find ourselves in. Things will not change within this current system.

This issue is not only about money it is about desire to make change happen, and I don’t see that from any leadership in the cancer sector. It is stale and washed up, and certainly doesn’t reflect the people it is there to represent. This is becoming a national disgrace! 

As always these are my own opinions based on my own experiences. Please feel free to share your own below.

Read more posts from Chris here.