Monday, 10 April 2017

Raw Avocado Super Cake - Nice to make for the Easter Break

This recipe comes to us courtesy of Natasha Corrett and will be used in our recipe project we are launching this year.  As Easter is nearly upon us and we fancy something a bit different, why not have a go at making this for yourself, for friends, or for the family. This cake is packed full of vitamin E and essential fatty acids, which help keep the skin looking young and feeling soft, because of the high avocado content.

Serves 12

5 very ripe avocados
2 lemons
150g agave syrup
150g coconut oil, melted
¼ tsp vanilla extract
½ tbsp rosewater
finely grated zest of ½ lemon and 1 lime, to garnish

for the base:
45g raw almonds
150g dried dates
65g raw Brazil nuts
35g raw pecans
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
53g desiccated coconut

Line a 21cm round springform cake tin with baking parchment.

To make the base, put the almonds, dates, Brazil nuts and pecans in a bowl, cover with water and allow to soak for 1 hour.

Drain the water and put the soaked nuts and fruit into a food processor along with the melted coconut oil and desiccated coconut. Whizz until you get a crumb-like texture that sticks together when you squeeze it between your fingers.

Tip the crumbs into the prepared tin and press evenly over the bottom. Pop into the freezer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the filling. Peel and stone the avocados and squeeze the juice from both lemons over them immediately; this will stop them going brown. Transfer the contents of the bowl into a high-speed blender along with the agave syrup, melted coconut oil, vanilla extract and rosewater and blend until you get an extremely smooth texture.

Take the base out of the freezer and pour this filling all over it. Pop back into the freezer for another 30 minutes, then transfer to the fridge for another hour. Keep chilled until ready to serve.

Carefully remove from the cake tin, place on a plate and garnish with lemon and lime zests.

 © Natasha Corrett.  Recipe taken from Honestly Healthy Cleanse by Natasha Corrett (Hodder & Stoughton £25)

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Nourishing Movement Recipe- Arame Seaweed Salad from Body Soul Nutrition

Liz Butler held a fascinating and practical workshop with Lizzy Davis last week, 'Nourishing Movement', which was extremely well received. They looked at how we can help ourselves heal during and after cancer treatment through exercise and diet.

We're lucky enough to be able to publish one of the recipes in our blog today, this was a real favourite of the day. Light, refreshing, delicious and nutritious.

Arame Seaweed Salad


·         25g arame seaweed
·         2 medium carrots, grated
·         1 medium beetroots, grated
·         4 tbsp sesame seeds, lightly toasted
·         3 spring onions, finely chopped
·         1 inch piece of ginger, finely grated
·         1 large handful coriander, chopped
·         8 cherry tomatoes, halved
·         Dressing – 6 tbsp olive oil, juice of 1 lime
·         Salt
Serves 2 as a complete meal or 4 as a side salad

            Soak the seaweed in cold water for 10-15 minutes and then drain.
            Place the grated carrot and beetroot in a bowl together with the seaweed.
            Add the ginger, spring onions, cherry tomatoes and sesame seeds and stir.
            Add the olive oil, lime juice, salt and coriander and give the mixture a final stir before               serving.


Monday, 20 March 2017

Wheat-Free Pecan Bread

Inspired Nutrition taught us how to make this delectable wheat-free pecan bread at a wonderful workshop that they held for us on the 11th of March in Brighton. We've absolutely loved making this versatile dish at home and we're sure you will too.


300 grams pecan nuts 
1tbsp baking powder
¼ tsp cinnamon
4 eggs
1 large ripe banana
2 tbsp olive oil


1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
2. Grind the nuts in a blender. Place in a bowl with the other dry ingredients.
3. Place the eggs, banana and oil in a blender. Blitz until smooth.
4. Pour the batter into the dry ingredients and mix well.
5. Spoon into a lined loaf pan
6. Bake for 45 minutes. Turn out and allow to cool.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Mega-Dose vitamin C, a Magic Bullet?

Dr Damien Downing shares his research and findings into the use of  Vitamin C for people with cancer

Yes to Life is "the UK's integrative cancer care charity” –
integrative not alternative. Integrative medicine means using the best of every approach, because particularly with cancer there are very few “Magic Bullets”. But when your back is against the prognostic wall it is so easy to search for and grasp at treatments that might be “Magic”. I guess the favourite is currently mega-dose intravenous vitamin C. We need to curb our enthusiasm a bit here, for two reasons.

The first is that it just doesn’t make sense to be non-integrative and to put all your eggs in one basket. This is certainly true of vitamin C and it’s true generally. If a treatment is only considered to improve your prospects by 20 percent, or 30 or even 60, why would you bet on that alone? It’s not like horse-racing, there isn’t a prize for first-past-the-post. What does make sense is to stack the percentages up; 30 percent benefit from treatment A, 30 from B, 20 from a third, and so on. Vitamin C, and antioxidant therapy in general, can be a useful component of this approach. But you need to know about the pitfalls too.

The second reason is that there are difficulties – practical, financial and logistical – with mega-dose IVC. The financial problem is this; at over £250 a treatment, how often and for how long can you afford them? The logistical one depends on where you live; if it’s a 100-mile trip each way to get an IV, how often can you afford the time and energy? The top practical one is probably this; if you’ve had chemotherapy your veins are a mess, and IVC won’t help that. How many treatments will your veins tolerate?

So let’s reframe this.

The use of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in cancer is the legacy of Linus Pauling, twice Nobel Prize winner, who with Abram Hoffer invented the term orthomolecularfor therapies using  molecules that are familiar to the body. In the 1970s Pauling published, with Scottish surgeon Ewan Cameron, two studies reporting that cancer patients, who had been told that there was no further orthodox treatment for them, given 10 grams (2 teaspoons) of vitamin C per day, lived longer and had better quality of life [1,2]. It is important to note that in these studies the vitamin C (intravenous at first, then oral) was used alongside surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Of the two studies at the Mayo Clinic which have been claimed to refute the Pauling/Cameron hypothesis [3,4], one used vitamin C alone as the treatment, and the other gave it after chemotherapy had finished.

Most importantly though, both Mayo studies only gave vitamin C until there were signs of disease progression – which was an average of only 10 weeks. The principal author, Prof. Moertel, remarked; The claim that a life-extending treatment for a disease must be given until the day the patient dies is a bit unusual. This shows a profound misunderstanding of what they were dealing with – it’s not a drug, it’s food.

You can see why it mattered from the survival chart here, which I had to cobble up myself from the original Cameron & Pauling data, so apologies if it looks a bit wobbly. If you follow the 50% line across the middle you can see that in the control group the average survival of these “terminal” patients was about 40 days, or 6 weeks, and in the ascorbate group it was over 100 days, by which time the Mayo studies had stopped the ascorbate in most cases. One patient in 6 was still going at the end of the study just over a year later.

Now that’s not very long, but look at the second graph, which comes from the first analysis that Abram Hoffer made [5], of patients treated from 1976 to 1988. He tweaked the protocol by adding smallish doses of zinc and B vitamins to the vitamin C – and again it was integrative therapy; the patients also received chemo-, radio-therapy and/or surgery, in fact all of them did except one patient. And what a difference that simple and sensible tweak made; 1 in 3 still alive 9 years down the line, and the standard 5-year survival end-point increased by 800 percent.

The below image is how Pauling and Cameron summed up in 1979 [6];

, it is our view that supplemental ascorbate is of some value to all cancer patients, and can be of very great value, inducing tumor regression, in a fortunate few.

This, then is where I advise anybody with cancer to start – to be exact, this plus reforming the diet (see other blogs). At the 10 gram/day oral dose level the vitamin C can only be supporting the white blood cells of the immune system in doing their job – it can’t be killing cancer cells directly. But that’s OK; the treatment is scientifically plausible, it has been shown to be clinically effective (once you cut through the Mayo-derived confusion), and it’s cheap and easy to do.

And it’s safe, and doesn’t clash with other treatments. Despite frequent hyped-up claims to the contrary, my reading of the research is that it doesn’t interfere with chemotherapy at all. The conclusion of two systematic reviews on this in 2007 [7,8] was;

None of the trials reported evidence of significant decreases in efficacy from antioxidant supplementation during chemotherapy. Many of the studies indicated that antioxidant supplementation resulted in either increased survival times, increased tumor responses, or both, as well as fewer toxicities than controls.

There are two compounds that appear to work synergistically with vitamin C against cancer [9]. Because you/we probably don’t know how responsive your tumour is to vitamin C, it is sensible to take both. If you do have some data about tumour response, this might change.

Lipoic acid; a new, demonstrably more potent form of this, known as R-lipoic acid, is now available. In vitro (in the laboratory) this reduced the level of vitamin C needed to achieve an anti-cancer effect by about a factor of five [9]. Daily dose should be at least 400mg.

Vitamin K; has the same in vitro impact, and may also work on cancer in other ways. We therefore now recommend taking this as well. Daily dose over 300 mcg (micrograms).


1. Cameron E, Pauling L. Supplemental ascorbate in the supportive treatment of cancer: Prolongation of survival times in terminal human cancer. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1976;73(10):3685-89.

2. Cameron E, Pauling L. Supplemental ascorbate in the supportive treatment of cancer: re-evaluation of prolongation of survival times in terminal human cancer. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1978; 75 (9): 4538-42.

3. Creagan ET, Moertel CG et al., Failure of High-dose Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) Therapy to Benefit Patients with Advanced Cancer, N Engl J Med. 1979; 301: 687-90

4. Moertel CG, Fleming TR, Creagan ET, Rubin J, O'Connell MJ, Ames MM. High-dose vitamin C versus placebo in the treatment of patients with advanced cancer who have had no prior chemotherapy. A randomized double-blind comparison. N Engl J Med. 1985; 312(3): 137-141

5. Hoffer A. Antioxidant Nutrients and Cancer. J Orthomol Med 2000; 15 (4): 193-200

6. Cameron E, Pauling L, Ascorbate and Cancer, Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 1979; 123: 117-23.

7. Block KI, Koch AC, Mead MN, Tothy PK, Newman RA, Gyllenhaal C. Impact of antioxidant supplementation on chemotherapeutic efficacy: A systematic review of the evidence from randomized controlled trials. Cancer Treat Rev. 2007; 33(5): 407-18

8. Block KI, Koch AC, Mead MN, Tothy PK, Newman RA, Gyllenhaal C. Impact of antioxidant supplementation on chemotherapeutic toxicity: A systematic review of the evidence from randomized controlled trials. Int J Cancer 2008; 123(6):1227-39

9. Casciari JJ, Riordan NH, Schmidt TL, Meng XL, Jackson JA, Riordan HD. Cytotoxicity of ascorbate, lipoic acid, and other antioxidants in hollow fibre in vitro tumours. Br J Cancer 2001;84(11):1544–50. 5

I am not an oncologist and have no expertise in the treatment of cancers. I do not and cannot claim to treat cancer. I see patients, some of whom have cancers, and to those I offer adjunctive nutritional therapy, in which I do have expertise. I will not advise you on the use of chemotherapy, surgery etc. At all times my recommendation is for an integrative approach.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Soothing Mushroom Soup from Inspired Nutrition

Here is a very easy-to-make mushroom soup for you at home given to us by 
Inspired Nutrition at our Outsmart Cancer Cookery Class on Saturday.
It was absolutely
delicious, healthy and very moreish. We can't wait to make it ourselves!
Click here to find out what other workshops and events we have in store for 2017.


500 grams of mushrooms

1 large onion, peeled and diced

500ml homemade vegetable stock or broth

100ml coconut milk

1tbsp olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme


1. Saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil until soft then add the mushrooms and       thyme.

2. Fry the mushrooms until lightly browned,add the hot stock then pour the
    contents of the pan into a blender and then blend until smooth.

3. Return the soup to the pan, add coconut milk and heat through.

4. Season to taste and serve in large bowls decorated with a sprig of thyme in each.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

My Work Experience at Yes To Life - Anna Jevons

Let me start by introducing myself. My name is Anna Jevons and I am a 14 year old, year 10 student from Highgate Wood Comprehensive. This week has been my much anticipated work experience week and I have been fortunate enough to have been placed with the Yes To Life charity. 

Monday morning began well, as instead of reaching for the usual school uniform I examined my wardrobe to find something that would fit the ‘smart/casual’ brief. After several changes, I was finally satisfied with my reflection in the mirror and headed for the tube. Living in London, I have been on the tube many times, but normally at weekends. This felt different. Instead of my usual 5-minute walk to school with friends, I found myself being caught up in the crowds of people, all seeming in a real rush to get where they needed to be. On exiting the tube, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many people walk with such purpose. I walked on feeling a mix of excitement and nervous anticipation.

As soon as I arrived at the office, I was warmly welcomed by Sue, the Executive Director and Jane, the Junior Executive and instantly felt the friendly atmosphere. After hearing all about the charity’s aims, including changing attitudes and making integrative cancer care readily available, I felt thoroughly passionate about bettering the care for cancer patients. The pride these ladies take in their work is truly inspiring. I absolutely love that there’s a genuine impetus and motivation behind his company, that being Bryony Daly, who died at the age of 23 after suffering from a rare and highly malignant muscle tumour. Yes To Life keeps her name alive as it strives to accommodate the health and happiness of its beneficiaries.

At once I was keen to start working on the admin tasks I had been set and found them challenging yet incredibly engaging. Sue and Jane were extremely generous in taking the time to run through everything with me. It was only day 2 and I felt like I had learned so much already. For instance I’m sure the excel skills I’ve been taught, will be useful for any future career I embark on. Perhaps the most emotional part of work so far occurred when organising past files of patients, some of whom who had sadly lost their battle against cancer. In addition to witnessing these harsh realities, reading through the files also allowed me to witness the uplifting determination of many of the charity’s beneficiaries. This charity is really making a difference to hundreds of beneficiaries’ lives!

Although my work has been predominately office based, I did get to run an errand for Sue, which took me to a hipster juice bar/bicycle shop. It ended up with me pumping up a gym ball in the street, much to the amusement of passers-by. This was all to ensure the executives kept their posture whilst working for the cause! I’d like to thank Sue and Jane for giving me this opportunity which I’ve found so rewarding and hope the charity continues to flourish and go from strength to strength.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

MindChoice Blog No.7

Mindfulness for Living Well with Cancer

Taster Workshop and 8 Week Course

I have been teaching workshops for the charity Breast Cancer Care for the last 2 years as part of their Moving Forward Course and I taught my first 8 week course in mindfulness at the Oxford Maggie Centre in 2012.  I am really excited to be hosting a workshop for Yes to Life in Oxford and a full 8 week course in Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy especially adapted for people living with cancer.

I have found that even in a 30 minute workshop participants gain an experience of the peace and calm that is possible by coming to the present moment and begin to see how they may be adding to their own suffering with their habitual reactions to pain and illness.  For example, a pain in the body after you have had a diagnosis of cancer triggers anxious thoughts; we tend to tense up “what’s happening? Is it back? How long is it going to go on for?” These quite normal reactions create a cycle of suffering.  Mindfulness helps us develop a different relationship with pain and illness by becoming aware of this cycle and replacing the tension and resistance with more helpful responses.  We learn to let go of the struggle.

We are very fortunate to have 2 hours for you to experience and explore the benefits of mindfulness so that you have a real feel of whether this is something for you.  You will experience some simple meditation practices, have some practical tips and tools to take away and use in everyday life and when things become

I see mindfulness as a life tool for transformation, not just in how we relate to the challenges of living with a chronic illness like cancer but in how we relate to our thoughts and feelings, those around us and the lives we lead. Mindfulness opens up a space, so that instead of being on the treadmill of life, we find we have a choice and are therefore better able to take responsibility for ourselves. We begin to develop a kinder, gentler attitude to ourselves and our limits and to create space for what really brings us alive.  And even without changing anything in our lives, we bring more joy by simply being present for the good things, the enjoyable things.

I will always remember a wonderful young man who was dying of cancer and was in that first group at the Oxford Maggie Centre alongside his fiancĂ©e. They had both dreamed of their lives ahead.  He was understandably full of anger at his prognosis but at the same time wanted to enjoy the time he had left.  Thich Nhat Hanh, the Zen Buddhist Master wrote a book called The Miracle of Mindfulness. To this courageous young man mindfulness was a miracle.  From the very first practice he did there was a great sense of relief.  He described how he had been completely stuck in his head with angry thoughts about his illness and that it was the first time in months that he had really been present and alive to what was happening during the meditation.  To him this was revelatory.

Between stimulus and response there is a space.
In that space is our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our freedom. 
Victor Frankl

Peace is in the Present Moment

Just think for a moment, when you are stressed or can’t sleep what is happening, where is your mind? 

Yes, it is either ruminating about the past or worrying about the future. These thoughts affect our mood and behaviour. Yet, often we are unaware that our minds are even doing this – we are on automatic pilot.  We live on automatic pilot a lot of the time whether we are showering, eating, driving or walking we are frequently unaware of the experience of what we are doing – we are lost in our heads.  The risk of this, and if we talk specifically about living with cancer, is that we may be worrying about the future, stirring up anxiety and tension in the body and increasing any pain in the process.  But we also miss the enjoyable moments of our lives – being with our children or friends, listening to a concert or being in the beautiful countryside.

Looking at the diagram above, it is easy to see how we could give our nervous systems a break by allowing ourselves some time each day to be in the present moment.  We have the breath and/or the body to use as anchors to the present moment.  By focusing the attention on the sensations of breathing or the feel of the body sitting in a chair, the weight held by the chair, the feeling of the feet on the floor we come into the here and now – rather than in the virtual reality of our minds. Thoughts will soon come in again but we train ourselves to notice them and, without any judgement, guide the attention back to the breath or body.

There are numerous studies showing the benefits of mindfulness for people living with cancer. They show reduction of stress symptoms, enhanced coping and well-being, improved immune function and improved quality of life.  There is also something very powerful that comes from the shared experience of being in the group.  Furthermore, studies have shown that personal growth and healing is possible once we get below the surface of fear, anxiety and depression. Mindfulness is a vital practice for living with a chronic illness like cancer and coming to terms with loss and one’s own mortality.

If after the Workshop you feel inspired to take it further, then please see below for more information about the 8 week course.  The course dates are: -

Tuesdays 2.00 – 4.00 pm
Starting: 2nd May 2017
Ending: 27th June 2017
No session during half term 30th May
Full practice day Saturday 17th June

Course Structure

The course is taught in eight 2 hours sessions and a day of silent practice, and includes: -

         guided instruction in mindfulness meditation practices and mindful movement
         an opportunity to explore your experiences with these practices through group dialogue, to support learning and understanding
         a short breathing practice to use in times of stress
         theoretical teaching
         home practice of meditations and weekly suggestions for ways of integrating mindfulness into daily life
         CDs with guided meditation for home practice and weekly handouts to support learning

Participation is always at your own level of comfort

About the Home Practice

         Mindfulness is more a way of being than a technique and it is the regular daily practice (30 minutes) that increases the likelihood of being able to use mindfulness when times are particularly tough.

By committing to the daily practice, at least for the duration of the course, you give yourself the best opportunity to experience a difference in how you relate to what is happening in your life. You may be surprised!

To register call Yes to Life on 0203 222 0587 or email  They will send you a registration form to fill in and send back.  Following this, they will arrange a time for you to speak with me.  This is an opportunity to talk about yourself and the particular challenges you may be facing at the moment and to learn more about mindfulness and how it may help.  You will be able to chat about any concerns you may have which may help in deciding if it’s the right course for you or the right time to be embarking on it.  It is a challenging but at the same time life-enhancing course.

I look forward to practising and learning with you.

Clare McLusky