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Beverley Jarvis – Eat Well To Age Well

international womens day

The latest book from fabulous author Beverley Jarvis is: Eat Well To Age Well. It covers some amazing recipes with a variety of delicious ingredients, all packed with healthy nutrients. The recipes are designed to be made by anyone, no matter their culinary abilities.

Beverley has filmed some fantastic video content for us to share. Firstly 2 recipes from her book, an Asian inspired pan fried Turkey and Vegetable stir fry, secondly a Sweet Potato dish with Smoked Mackerel, Horseradish and Parsley

In her second video, Beverley shares some simple healthy food swaps that we can all make to improve our diet:

Lastly, with the amazing invention of the Air Fryer, Beverley shares a beautiful Salmon Dish, along with some fantastic home-made muffins that you can do in your Air Fryer.

Click here to buy Eat Well To Age Well, directly here on the Hammersmith Health Books Website.

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Tips for Sleeping Well from The Fatigue Book


The following is an extract from ‘The Fatigue Book’ by Lydia Rolley and looks at the importance of sleeping well in managing the effects of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

It would seem to make logical sense that, if you suffer from fatigue, at least you would beable to have a good night’s sleep, right? Well, as you have no doubt discovered by now, the fatigue does not play by the normal rules of life, and what your body is craving from a good night’s sleep is sadly often denied.

As humans, we spend approximately a third of our lives sleeping. That is quite a lot of time. Sleep is essential for our mental and physical wellbeing. Sleep contributes to the proper functioning of our body’s systems. Lack of sleep, therefore, has negative health consequences.

I have worked with many chronic fatigue sufferers who, although they sleep a lot, struggle to sleep well. From my experience, people either tend to over-think sleep issues, which can lead to increased anxiety about getting to sleep, or not to think enough about these issues,
which can lead to disordered sleep habits. Chronic fatigue sufferers who have sleep difficulties usually wake feeling unrefreshed. Some may not be waking until late morning or even into the afternoon. Often it is hard to get out of bed, as the body feels weighed down and heavy. The heavy feeling and sleepiness can continue throughout the day. Some people report feeling more alert for a few hours later on, often in the early evening. Almost a small window of hope, but this can be followed by difficulty switching off at night and not being able to get to sleep.

Changing your sleep pattern does not happen by chance. It does take a lot of patience, being intentional and very consistent. Concentrating on your sleep and developing healthy sleep hygiene habits together make the biggest difference to your overall health and ability to function and cope well. I have seen countless people transform their sleep habits and have witnessed the benefits. The change started when they chose to try something different.

Sleep difficulties can be complex and multi-faceted, but most can be solved. Ignoring sleep issues, and hoping they will go away, does not work. Trying to sleep for a few extra hours to fill the gap only tends to prolong the problems rather than solve them. When sleep is disordered, our bodies need to be retrained to know when it is time to sleep and when it is time to wake up.

What I have learnt over the years is that, even though some of these tips seem obvious, they almost need to be exaggerated, repeated and magnified in order to have an effect. Please keep that in mind as you start to put into practice the following tips, which will give you some useful starting points.

I have full confidence that you will benefit from healthier sleep habits.

Tip 21: Separate Day and Night Clearly


This is probably not your present reality and that is okay for now, but please keep this fact clearly in your mind as a goal for your future sleep pattern. The boundaries between day and night can get very blurred with disordered sleep. The more disordered your sleep becomes, the more unrefreshing will be your experience. Reintroducing clear boundaries will prevent further deconditioning.

This is the direction we are heading towards to regain a healthier sleep routine. For now, just be aware of your current day and night sleep routine by drawing a line on the chart below where you think your sleep pattern currently is.


In the weeks and months ahead, be aware of how your current line gradually changes position and consider what has contributed to that shift. If you are sleeping excessively in the daytime and want to start changing that habit, see Tip 23.

Keep a Reflective Sleep Diary

The reason for keeping a sleep diary is to understand your current sleep situation and give greater clarity to what may need to change. This sleep diary is more of a reflective diary rather than a scientific measurement of your sleep cycles (such as on a sleep app). A reflective diary can be more useful in empowering you to make some changes.

In your reflective sleep diary (see Appendix 2, page 276) consider the following questions:

  • What was I doing an hour before bedtime?
  • How was I feeling in the evening?
  • What time did I get into bed?
  • How long did it take me to fall asleep? Why? Any reasons?
  • Did I wake in the night? How often? Why? Any reasons?
  • What time did I wake up?
  • What time did I get up?
  • How did I feel?
  • How would I rate my night’s sleep out of 10? (10 being excellent.)

I would recommend only doing this for a week or two, no more than that. That is enough time to recognise any patterns of sleep and highlight any particular areas that need concentrating on.

Every few days, respond to the following statement:



Tip 23: Set an Alarm

This tip is not always popular but it is of the utmost importance. When you are exhausted and perhaps have no particular reason to get up, it may seem sensible to rest for longer, but this is counterproductive. Staying longer in bed does not help poor quality sleep. Sufferers frequently report feeling worse for going back to sleep. Seeking balance and retraining your body to learn a sleep-wake cycle goes hand-in-hand with managing your activities, pacing and rest.


I recommend that you try the following method to create an ordered sleep-wake cycle:

  • Decide what time you would like to wake and get up, for example 8.00 am.
  • Use a simple alarm clock with a silent tick.
  • Place the clock somewhere that requires you to move to switch it off.
  • Check your reflective sleep diary and set the alarm for the average weekly time you currently wake and get up – for example, it maybe 11.30am.
  • Set your alarm at this time for a week, so that you get used to waking up with the alarm.
  • Avoid going back to sleep – open the curtains, turn the light on, sit on the edge of the bed, put your pillows on the floor, etc.
  • The following week, set your alarm for 30 minutes earlier.
  • The following week, set your alarm for another 30 minutes earlier.
  • Do this consistently for a few weeks, until you are waking and getting up at your preferred time.

If the 30-minute chunks are not successful, try 15-minute chunks of time.

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Keyboard Hands

The following was written by the author of ‘One Step Ahead of Osteoarthritis’, Frances Ive.

Attention all keyboard users. One day you could  get stiff, painful and knobbly fingers and thumbs, because of osteoarthritis, and one of the contributing factors is overuse of keyboards. No time is too soon to do regular (daily) exercises for the hands, to try to prevent building up problems for the future. Doctors have now been advised by NICE to recommend exercise to everyone when they get a diagnosis of osteoarthritis.

It’s true we use our hands too much and throughout history, those people who reached old age, would have had gnarly fingers, inflammation and pain.  In the 21st Century we are building up even more problems with kids using keyboards from a young age and throughout their lives. Originally, typists bashed their fingers down on to the keys of manual typewriters, but now computer keyboards, phones and tablets are used so much at work and at home, adding even more pressure to our hands.  And, when we use keyboards we put strain on our shoulders and arms as well and the tension radiates downwards to the hands. This results in pain and inflammation and sometimes immobility and inflexibility.

The pressure put on fingers by repetitive typing and key entry is astounding.  Someone typing at 40 words per minute (wpm) uses 12,000 keys per hour and 65,000 keys during an 8 hour day, putting up to 25 tons (25,000 kg) of force each day on their hands. Add to that, using fingers and thumbs to send texts on a phone all the time!   

Trying hand exercises may help to keep your fingers fit as you age. Stretching out the fingers, shaking our hands, squeezing a spongy ball or touching fingers to thumb are all good for keeping hands/fingers flexible and avoiding pain.

You can get osteoarthritis from 40, it is often hereditary, but also results from overuse of joints and the wearing down of cartilage (the protective surface at the end of our bones). Over 8 million people in the UK have osteoarthritis, of whom the majority are women.

Read more in One Step Ahead of Osteoarthritis, by Frances Ive

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What walking can do for people with cancer


The following was written by the author of ‘Get Your Oomph Back’, Carolyn Garritt.

‘Walk all over cancer’ is an annual month-long fundraising initiative by Cancer Research UK in which the charity challenges participants to walk 10,000 steps every day through March and to raise sponsorship and awareness of issues relating to cancer as they go. There’s information about the initiative, and how you could support it here.

Walking can be a fantastic way to improve our overall fitness and sense of wellbeing, as well as an important part of charity fundraising. What many people don’t realise though, is that walking (and physical activity in general) can also be a powerful part of treatment and recovery for those of us who have had a cancer diagnosis.

Exercise and cancer

Historically when people were undergoing cancer treatment they were advised that ‘rest is best’. It was assumed that physical activity might make patients too tired, particularly as they underwent radio and chemotherapies, which are known to cause fatigue, along with a whole host of other side effects. 

Steadily over the past twenty years or so this caution has been disproved and what has emerged is a powerful body of evidence that shows that exercising, right from the day cancer is diagnosed then through treatment and afterwards, can help cancer patients in many ways and for the rest of our lives.

Being active after a cancer diagnosis (regardless of activity levels beforehand) has been shown to reduce our risk of the cancer coming back. Some clinical studies have shown that risk of recurrence could be lowered by as much as 40%. Yep – four zero. This is significant, so much so that some studies now recommend that exercise should be considered part of the cancer treatment itself.

As well as reducing the risk of (primary) cancer coming back, exercise can help to slow down the development of secondary cancers. It can help alleviate many of the myriad side effects from cancer treatments and can offer some pain relief and mental and emotional support for those towards the end of life.

Increasingly cancer patients are aware of the benefits of physical activity but are often unsure how to start. I wrote my book ‘Get Your Oomph Back’ to explain just how they might, based on my work as a cancer exercise specialist and on my own experience of breast cancer.

Start with walking

For many, myself included, it starts with walking. It’s such a fundamental, functional activity, and it’s accessible and free. Walking can help our heart and lungs to recover their fitness and capacity after a period of illness or inactivity. Walking is a weight bearing activity, so it can help us to protect our bone density – which is often reduced by cancer treatments.

Walking, especially in nature, can help to calm the mind and blow away cobwebs that build up during the weeks and months of treatment. The book contains some suggestions about how we can make going for a walk more mindful, which may help us to feel a little less anxious. 

Walking uses the muscles in our buttocks and legs, which are very often weakened by a period of inactivity. As a result of their cancer treatment, many people lose muscle mass from their limbs, and at the same time they gain fat around the torso. Walking can help offset both.

Now, cancer treatment itself is rarely a walk in the park. As a trainer I often recommend people try to walk a mile a day, if they can, but some people find that their treatment, particularly chemotherapy, can be so arduous that walking becomes very difficult. I have worked with several people for whom walking to the end of their street was a challenge. It’s important that everyone feels they can start from whatever point they need to and build up their activity levels gently.

Meet Sarah

Sarah was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer in her early fifties and is one of my personal training clients. Her initial cancer treatment was tough going. Immediately after diagnosis she developed blood clots, a complication caused by the cancer, that left her without the breath or energy to move very much at all. At some points early in her chemo, she could not walk to the post box at the end of her street – in fact I remember her showing me a photo of the day she jubilantly made it there and back.

Because her cancer was stage 4, she will probably be on some form of cancer treatment for the rest of her life. She has an impressive attitude towards exercise and how she is caring for herself, that I think we can all learn from – I certainly have. She knows that she may well have to have more drugs, more chemo and she knows how tough they can be. So she is determined, to use her words, ‘to be match fit’ when that time comes. Although it hasn’t been easy, she is currently fitter than she  remembers ever being even though she’s still dealing with significant side effects from the treatment she’s had so far.

From walking just the length of her street, Sarah has steadily built up and a few months ago she walked her first parkrun. She’s currently about halfway to her first parkrun ‘milestone’ – recognition of progress once she has completed 50 of the weekly 5km events. And she’s getting faster. She has gone from post box to parkrun to PB and doesn’t appear to be stopping any time soon. 

Sarah is currently undertaking a challenge to walk a total of 100kms during March, as a fundraiser for an ovarian cancer charity. More info here:

How walking can be even better – add poles

Nordic walking (walking with poles that you use for momentum) is an incredibly useful form of exercise for everyone and has particular benefits for people who’ve had a cancer diagnosis. I teach Nordic walking at two of London’s Maggie’s Centres and it is as likeable as it is effective. Adding the poles means that we use the muscles in our top half as well as bottom, and Nordic walking has been shown to help us build strength and range of motion in our arms and shoulders – helpful after breast cancer. 

Walking with poles burns more calories than without and so it’s useful for those trying to lose weight or body fat. It works the muscles around the torso in a way that’s gentle and doesn’t bend the back or squash the bladder – which is good for those who have back problems or cancer in the bones, and after prostate cancer and/or pelvic surgery and radiotherapy. The poles can help people whose balance has been affected, and the poles can reassure those with peripheral neuropathy in the feet, a common side effect of chemo.

But over and above, Nordic walking is an enjoyable form of walking. It is often done in groups and surrounded by nature. At Maggie’s it provides an open space for people to talk – about their cancer but also about everything else – whilst exercising. Juliet is one of my regulars who walks with me on Hampstead Heath. She refers to our Nordic walks as her ‘Monday medicine’.

There’s a step-by-step guide to Nordic walking technique in my book.

Parkwalk – habit forming

Parkrun is a global movement in which volunteers host timed 5km events in designated parks on Saturday mornings. They decidedly are not a race, and participation is welcomed across the ages and across abilities. You don’t have to run them – plenty of people walk. I tend to do a bit of both.

Parkrun events are friendly and non-competitive. Last year this intention was reinforced with the introduction of ‘parkwalk’, a campaign that provides encouragement and support to anyone who is walking and ensures that everyone feels part of the parkrun community.

This community building can really help anyone to make walking become a habit. Saturday becomes ‘parkrun day’. I highly recommend them to anyone who’s trying to walk more. They are usually at 9am on Saturdays and by 10 o’clock, you feel fabulous. More information here: 

Take part now

By taking part in Walk All Over Cancer, people are helping to raise funds and awareness that might ultimately benefit Sarah, Juliet and me to live and thrive as people with a cancer diagnosis, through future cancer research. 

The impact is bigger than that though. By promoting walking as a form of exercise, cancer charities and organisations like parkrun are helping people to walk more and to gain the often unrealised benefits of this utterly simple, natural form of movement. 

Happy walking, folks.

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Best practices to cope with COPD


Temperatures have plummeted as the days get shorter and the wind gets colder, and while the move from blistering sun may get some people feeling the festive cheer, for others the winter time can bring about worry and concern. People with respiratory diseases such as COPD can often find themselves shorter of breath and coughing more than usual.

To wrap up a month focused on COPD and raising awareness for the condition, we investigated some of the simple corrective exercises to help COPD patients overcome breathlessness.⁠ The following blog has excerpts from Paul Brice’s book ‘COPD: Innovative Breathing Techniques’, which you can find here.

Learning to de-slump yourself


For this exercise, you will need a high-backed chair that is firm and supportive. You will find a sofa or lounge chair will be far too soft to provide any meaningful support to your spine. A dining table chair with arms or a relatively firm office chair is what you will need. If the chair has arms, it may assist you, but if your chair has no arms you can still do the exercise. You will also need a rolled-up towel or a back support of some sort draped over the top of the backrest.

Self-Awareness Preparation

Sit on a chair as you normally would. Position a rolled-up towel or back and listen again to your breathing. Ask yourself the following questions and be more aware of what you are actually doing when you inhale and exhale:

  1. Notice where your head is in relation to your body
  2. Notice how you are holding your shoulders
  3. Think about the pace and speed of your breathing
  4. Recognise how deep your breath is going into your lungs
  5. Think about how satisfying each breath is

How to do the exercise

  1. Sit down on the firm high-backed chair, with your bottom pushed right back into the seat
  2. Ensure that the rolled-up towel or back support pad is positioned below and between your shoulder blades. The rolled-up towel or pad should be big enough for you to feel it push against your ribs, but not so big that you are being toppled forwards
  3. Now try to draw your shoulder blades backwards and downwards, whilst drawing the nape of your neck backwards. The towel or back support will act as a pivot point, allowing your ribs to open up like a fan, and artificially supporting and expanding your chest in the process
  4. When you draw your shoulders backwards and downwards, you may find that your hands will need to fall by your hips or slide back on the arms of your chair. Work with this by putting your hands on your hips if your chair has no arms, or drawing your elbows back if your chair has got arm rests

Read more about how to manage COPD in ‘COPD: Innovative Breathing Techniques’ by Paul Brice, published by Hammersmith Health Books,  and discover how The Brice Method could help you to re-learn how to breathe naturally, with ease and without having to work hard. The best course of treatment for COPD can differ for every person and what works for some may not be as effective for others, so if you are struggling with COPD, make sure to consult your GP.

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Why have I written Transforming Trauma NOW?

Blog written by Dr Heather Herington, author of ‘Transforming Trauma‘.

Honestly, I wish I had written this book years ago as, of late, the rate of trauma has increased dramatically, particularly within the vectors of teenage suicides, and human trafficking. These events join rape, war, resettlement, and so many other adverse experiences that can create chronic imbalance in our limbic system along with conscious thought processes governed by the brain’s pre-frontal cortex, sometimes leading to a lifetime of chronic anxiety.

However, I am comforted by the hope that now, following the failure of pharmaceutical companies and public health officials to manage Covid-19, more and more people will understand that drugs dispensed by the orthodox medical profession are not the categorical answer to the attainment of a healthy mental state. That ship has sailed. The opioid crisis alone has shown us that. Rather, we need to call on the full slate of natural health practitioners as well as psychologists to both balance body chemistry and provide an effective means of discovering the story hidden within, the one at the root of the traumatic event, which can lead to healing the lingering response.

Simply put, the little-known Flexner Report of 1910 (commissioned by Andrew Carnegie and John D Rockefeller, American oil barons who were eager to advance corporate interests in medical education) is to blame for the lack of knowledge of natural medicine, as my book explains. Yet nutrition, homeopathy, botanical medicine, hydrotherapy, guided visualization, and the expressive arts have so much to offer to heal a shaken mind or heart. In fact people in the 1800s with an array of doctors at their disposal ended up eschewing “heroic” medicine (bloodletting, calomel, mercury, purging) being practiced by the so-called “regulars,” the predecessors of today’s allopathic doctors, as they witnessed their loved ones dying and turned to natural medicine. Is this no different than what is happening today with drugs, lockdowns, and vaccine side effects? The one silver lining is that natural healing methods can now emerge from the shadows.

Canadian William Osler M.D. – renowned professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins and advocate of “medicine as art” as well as scientific inquiry – voiced his criticisms of Abraham Flexner’s report. I imagine he would voice his disdain at the mess we find ourselves in today.

I believe my two-pronged approach described in Transforming Trauma is an answer to what has gone wrong from the sterilization of medical practice by the Flexner Report. It is safe, it is effective and ultimately it is fun and full of self-discovery. Balance the biochemistry first – find out what is causing oxidative stress (i.e., inflammation) through the uniqueness of the individual (possible allergies, toxins, lifestyle choices) so that blood sugar, blood pressure, tendency to addictions, can be calmed and balanced. Once this is accomplished, or concurrently, we find a way in, to center through meditation and similar mind-body techniques, as we deepen self-discovery, using the imagination, and ultimately bringing in art, music, dance/movement, singing/vocalizing, and acting.

This book transports you beyond the limits of current mental health practice and a pill for every ill to a place where one can heal without the use of pharmaceuticals, ultimately releasing the tragedy at the root of the trauma. Click here to buy now or read the first chapter for free.

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Migraine Awareness Week

migraine awareness week

From the 5th to the 10th of September is Migraine Awareness Week so it is good to be reminded of helpful approaches to migraine relief from the recent past that may be overlooked in the face of current high tech innovation. Dr John Mansfield’s focus on food intolerance and his elimination diet (I say ‘his’ but he always credited others, including Dr Theron Randolph, with developing this first) were a life changer for me as his publisher as well as for his many patients, ending my ongoing, increasingly severe nauseous headaches.

Lancet study

John’s book, The Migraine Revolution (now sadly out of print) came out after he collaborated with Dr Ellen Grant of the Migraine Clinic Charing Cross Hospital in 1978, on a study of 60 patients with severe migraine, later published in the Lancet.1

His Hammersmith Health Books book ‘The Six Secrets of Successful Weight Loss’ contains insightful information and research on migraines and you can check this book out here. He wrote:

‘We put all patients in the trial onto my elimination diet as described in chapter 5. In 85% of these 60 patients, food sensitivity was discovered which, when addressed, resulted in all 85% losing their migraines. Fifteen out of the 60 patients had high blood pressure before starting the study, and all of these 15 found that, when they avoided the foods identified, their blood pressure returned to normal.’

The commonest foods found to cause a reaction were ‘wheat (78%), orange (65%), eggs (45%), tea and coffee (40% each), chocolate and milk (37% each), and corn, cane sugar and yeast (33% each)’. However, what is of overriding important is that these intolerances are completely individual. In my case the culprit was tap water, identified on Day 10 of the Elimination diet. Without his approach I wonder if I would have ever uncovered the culprit.

Case history: Jennifer T

In Six Secrets, John wrote:

Jennifer T was 29 years old when she first attended my clinic. She had been around 16 years old when she first noticed having some headaches, but by the time she was 20 her migraines had started in earnest about once a month. Soon after she started taking the contraceptive pill the migraines had become more frequent and severe. Having tried three separate brands she reluctantly gave up the pill and the migraines improved somewhat. When she was 25 she married and by this time her headaches had worsened and she was also experiencing bouts of depression and general fatigue. She had had her first child at 27 and had developed postnatal depression, but this had responded to one month’s treatment with antidepressants. However, her fatigue and migraines had become progressively worse, so her GP had tried various antidepressants, tranquilisers and migraine preventive drugs. These treatments had only had marginal benefits. Over these few years her figure, that she had been so proud of, had increased from 9 stone (57 kg) to over 11 stone (70 kg) (her height was 5 feet 6 inches (1.68 metres)).

Discussing her worsening problems with her excellent GP, he had mentioned that he had read details of several clinical trials performed at London Teaching Hospitals which had convincingly demonstrated that most migraines were caused by everyday foodstuffs (85% of adults in several studies and 93% of children in one study). She told her GP she had already tried omitting cheese, chocolate, citrus fruits and red wine – all to no avail. He explained that commonly eaten foods such as wheat, eggs, yeast and various sugars seemed to be the more likely foods causing the problem. The foods involved vary enormously between individual patients, so he referred her to my clinic.

Having taken a history from her I told her that her experience of increasing weight, migraine and fatigue was extremely suggestive of food sensitivity as her GP had rightly suspected. I put her on my standard elimination diet as with my other patients. She was warned that when she started this diet she would suffer a withdrawal reaction if her problems were indeed food sensitivity.

When she came to see me on the seventh day of the diet she ruefully confirmed that she had indeed had a severe migraine starting at lunchtime on the first day of the diet, being particularly intense in the evening of that day and all through the second day. The headache decreased in intensity on days three and four. The fatigue was also very bad on days two and three so she spent the second day of the diet in bed. After day four there was a noticeable improvement in her fatigue, but to her surprise she found that her muscles, particularly her thighs, buttocks and lower back ached as if she had flu. These symptoms are termed ‘withdrawal myalgia’ by doctors familiar with food sensitivity. These aches disappeared late on day five. When she saw me on day seven, her eyes were sparkling and she could hardly contain her enthusiasm for the changes that had occurred in her health. She had lost 7 lb (3 kg) in the six days of the diet and in the last 48 hours she had lost the puffiness in her face and all traces of her fatigue. In addition, her mind felt clearer than it had done for years. I told her she had had a classic withdrawal reaction and that food sensitivity was certainly the root cause of her problems, including the weight gain.

As with the other patients, she then gradually reintroduced one food at a time. She reacted adversely to wheat, corn, oats, rye and malt, but no other foods were incriminated. The reactions to these foods varied slightly, but basically consisted of recurrences of all her symptoms and an increase in weight. Despite these reactions, in less than two months her weight had decreased back to 9 stone by simply avoiding these foods.

As she found these foods are difficult to avoid permanently I offered her specific desensitisation as described in Chapter 6. She continued with this desensitising treatment for two years and managed to keep her weight at around 9 stone and had no trace of the headaches, fatigue or depression she once had had. I told her that after two years’ treatment she could probably discontinue it while still eating the offending foods providing she didn’t eat them in large quantities or daily. If she did eat the problem foods again in large quantities she would be likely to re-sensitise herself.

In my case I simply avoid drinking tap water, whether straight or in hot drinks, not knowing what the actual ingredient that causes the problem is. Boiled water is not the answer. Filtered water is not always OK, which can be a disastrous discovery, first with overwhelming sleepiness and then completely debilitating headache! Worst of all are swimming pools. Bottled water continues to be the answer despite the expense.

What may the problem foods be for you?

John wrote:

‘In migraine, although wheat is the most common, oranges would be at around position three or four. Only around 2% of migraine sufferers react only to cheese, chocolate, citrus fruits and red wine, contrary to popular belief. When you do the elimination diet, you will probably find that you react only to a handful of foods, and if you are lucky, just one or two. Occasionally someone will react to something obscure like pineapple or melon.’

Of course, in Dr Mansfield’s research with Dr Grant, 15% of migraine patients did NOT have a food intolerance as the root cause. Migraines are a complex phenomenon to which many factors may contribute. However, given the simplicity and other beneficial insights from doing his elimination diet (I also rid myself of anxiety, plantar fasciitis and recent unexplained weight increase) there is much to be gained by trying it out.

  1. Grant EC. Food allergies and migraine. Lancet 1979; 1(8123):

966-969. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(79)91735-5.

Migraine Awareness Week (5th – 10th September) is an annual initiative by The Migraine Trust which aims to provide support and care to those suffering with migraines. The causes of migraines and the best course of treatment can differ for every person and what works for some may not be as effective for others, so if you are struggling with migraines, make sure to consult your GP.

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Hammersmith Health Books – As Featured in the Media

Our authors have been busy this summer and have been featured in some amazing publications, speaking about a range of interesting topics, offering expert advice and providing insightful guidance.

Here are some of the media highlights for our authors over the last few months:

Vicky Fox – ‘Back in the Flow’ in What Doctors Don’t Tell You

Vicky Fox, author of ‘The A-Z of Yoga for Cancer’ was featured in the July 2022 edition of ‘What Doctors Don’t Tell You’. In this article, Vicky spoke about the best yoga moves to improve lymphedema and to help the recovery process after surgery or cancer treatment. With step-by-step instructions and images, she demonstrated everything from warm-up exercises to moves that mobilise the small joints and many more.




Caroline Freedman – ‘Hospital backlog in UK ‘costing lives of children, medics warn’ in The Sunday Express

Caroline Freedman, author of ‘The Scoliosis Handbook’, spoke in The Sunday Express about hospital waiting lists and the effect the long waiting times have on the physical and mental wellbeing of children living with Scoliosis.

You can read the full article here.



Hannah Purdy – ‘Insulin Resistance: The Facts’ in The Diabetes Plan

Hannah Purdy, author of ‘Could it be Insulin Resistance?’ was featured in an amazing article in The Diabetes Plan where she explained what insulin resistance is, what causes it and what lifestyle changes can be made to avoid Type 2 Diabetes.




Lynn Crilly – ‘Mark Dolan Meets’ on GB News

Lynn Crilly, author of the ‘Hope With’ range spoke with Mark Dolan on GB News about mental health conditions and the effects they can have on those living with it and the people caring for them. While discussing her short film depicting life with OCD and eating disorders, Lynn Crilly offers expert advice and support on coping with mental health conditions.

You can check out the full interview here



Carolyn Garritt – ‘Get Your Oomph Back After Cancer’ in That’s Life! Magazine

Carolyn Garritt, author of ‘Get Your Oomph Back’ was featured in That’s Life! Magazine, where she spoke all about the benefits of exercising after a cancer diagnosis and during treatment. Opening up about her own experiences, Carolyn Garritt offers readers support and advice on how you can bounce back after a cancer diagnosis.




Rohini Bajekal – ‘Ten Minutes with Rohini Bajekal’ in Plant Based Magazine

Rohini Bajekal, co-author of ‘Living PCOS Free’ was featured in Plant Based Magazine where she spoke all about her vegan lifestyle and offered top tips for anyone looking to transition from vegetarianism to veganism.

It’s always great to see our authors providing expert advice on the topics they are so knowledgeable in. You can buy their books via our main page here:

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5 benefits of homemade smoothies

Blog written by Rohini Bajekal, co-author of ‘Living PCOS Free‘.

1. Easy way to increase fruit and vegetable intake

Smoothies are so versatile. Got leftover fruit or veg? it’s the perfect way to use up half a banana, strawberry tops or wilted spinach 🍓 If you have bought too much fruit or veg, just freeze it for later. Rotate your greens and add in fresh herbs – mint is my favourite.

2. Great vehicle for protein and fats

Do not replace smoothies with meals when they are nutritionally inadequate! Smoothies should be more than just vegetables, fruit and water. Healthy fats such as plant milks, avocado, soy yoghurt, ground flaxseed, chia seeds and nuts are all great additions 🥑 These boost the protein content but you can also use silken tofu or organic vegan protein powder (if you’re especially active). Drizzle nut butter on top and add some homemade granola for crunch or fresh fruit/seeds.

3.  Easy to digest

If you want something that’s easy on your digestion, a fruit/vegetable smoothie with plant milk could help. When you blend ingredients, you break down plant cell walls, which makes many nutrients even more digestible. However, it’s important to “chew” your smoothie rather than gulp it down – this helps activate the first phase of the digestive process. Chewing actually helps you absorb nutrients. Using less liquid and making a smoothie bowl  as well as eating with a spoon helps ensure you take your time 🥄

4. Can be helpful if you feel nauseous/for morning sickness

Smoothies can help quell nausea and may help with morning sickness if you’re finding it hard to keep food down. Iced smoothies with frozen fruit and veg can be especially helpful. Add in ginger which studies show can reduce nausea and vomiting and a frozen banana for energy 🍌

5. Good for small appetites

For those with small appetites or anyone who is underweight, smoothies can be a healthful snack in addition to meals. They are also a great way to add some greens into children’s diets 👧🏽 You can hardly taste spinach in a banana, soy milk, peanut butter and spinach smoothie.

If you’re making a homemade smoothie this week, why not tag us in your creations on social and we’ll reshare!

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Be aware of allergies as the root cause of many problems including fatigue


Blog written by Sarah Myhill, author of Diagnosis and Treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Ecological Medicine, and The PK Cookbook

Allergy is the inflammation which results from response to substances (called antigens) from outside the body. Some of these present no threat to the body. Examples include pollen, house dust mites, animal dander and foods. Some antigens do pose a threat in high doses, such as metals (lead, mercury, arsenic, nickel), toxic chemicals (pesticides, solvents) or electromagnetic radiation (wi-fi, mobile phones, cordless phones etc).

Allergy has been known about for centuries. For example, 5-10 per cent of people with asthma are also allergic to sulphites. Pliny the Elder wrote of this when he reported the case of an asthmatic patient (rare for his times) who died from a bronchospasm in 79 AD after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The patient had lived a ‘normal life’ but for this ‘one incident’.

Allergy is the great mimic and can produce almost any symptom. Furthermore, one can be allergic to anything under the sun, including the sun! Allergy is also common – at least 30 per cent of the population are allergic to some foods. However, by the time allergy has produced fatigue (the major focus of my work as a doctor) it has usually caused other problems beforehand. Suspect an allergy problem if any, or a combination, of the following are present:

* The onset of fatigue is pre-dated by, and/or there is a long history of:

* asthma, sinusitis, rhinitis, eczema or urticaria

* irritable bowel syndrome with wind, gas, bloating, abdominal pain, alternating constipation and diarrhoea

* migraine or headaches

* joint (arthritis) and muscle pain

* mood swings, depression, anxiety, PMT

* almost any unexplained, recurring, episodic symptom.

  • Childhood problems – This would include being a sickly child with recurrent ‘infections’, such as tonsillitis (actually probably allergy). Indeed, a colleague who is a consultant paediatrician considers it medical negligence to surgically remove tonsils without first doing a dairy-free diet. Rhinitis, sinusitis, catarrh and colic are typical dairy allergy symptoms.
  • Symptoms change with time – Often the allergen is the same, but the symptom changes through life. Allergy to dairy products typically starts with colic and projectile vomiting as a baby, followed by toddler diarrhoea, catarrh and glue ear, recurrent infections (tonsillitis, croup, middle ear infections) and ‘growing pains’. Teenagers develop headaches, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, PMT and asthma. In adult life, muscle, tendon and joint pain (arthritis). Any of the above may be accompanied by fatigue.
  • There is a positive family history – I have yet to find a patient who is dairy allergic who does not have a first-degree relative (parent, sibling, child) who also has symptoms suggestive of allergy to dairy products. Allergy to gluten grains also runs in families.
  • There is a tendency to go for a particular food – One of the interesting aspects of allergy is that sufferers often crave the very food to which they are allergic. This was illustrated by one patient who told me that when he died he wished to take a cow to heaven with him. It was dairy which was his main problem! If wheat appears with every meal, then allergy to such is likely.
  • There are symptoms of fermenting gut – Microbes from the gut are minuscule and easily spill over into the bloodstream. This is called ‘bacterial translocation’. These bacteria do not cause septicaemia (blood poisoning), but they may cause allergy reactions at distal sites. I suspect many clinical pictures can be explained by this, including irritable bladder, interstitial cystitis, intrinsic asthma, chronic urticaria, chronic venous ulcers, polymyalgia rheumatica and arthritis (osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and so on).

How to identify your personal food allergies

I never do tests for food allergy because they are unreliable. False negatives are common – so, for example, many people who are intolerant of gluten will test negative for coeliac disease. Often, when the test is negative, they are told by their doctor that it is safe to eat that food – not so! There are many tests for food allergy on the market, but again I find positive results can be misleading, not least because the patient believes absolutely in the accuracy of tests and ends up avoiding foods unnecessarily or eating foods which are causing them symptoms.

The only reliable way to diagnose food allergy is by an elimination diet. The key is to cut out those foods that one is consuming daily. The reason that reactions may be prolonged or delayed is that daily consumption masks the link between exposure and symptom. Western diets include daily consumption of grains, dairy products and often yeast. If in addition one is eating other foods, such as potato, soya or tomato, or drinking regular tea, coffee or whatever on a daily basis then this too should be excluded. One should stay on this diet for at least one month before reintroducing foods to the diet – this should be done cautiously since reactions can be severe. Dr John Mansfield developed a practical, easy-to-follow elimination diet that is described in his last book, Six Secrets of Successful Weight Loss.

The Stone-Age or Paleo diet is a ‘best guess’ diet and a useful starting place, hence my recommendation of the PK (Paleo-Ketogenic) diet as explained in our book Paleo-Ketogenic: the Why and the How. If it transpires that there are multiple allergies, then these days I do not put people on a more restricted diet – that is because some people get completely stuck on two or three foods and are unable to bring in new foods because of the above severe reactions. Instead, I put in place the interventions I recommend for a general approach to inflammation together with specific desensitisation techniques to switch off allergy (see our book Ecological Medicine).

Increasingly I am finding that one does not have to be perfect to reduce allergy and allergy symptoms. Simply reducing the total load is helpful – attention to the general approach is as important as specific desensitisation. However, the key steps are:

  • The PK diet
  • Extinguishing the inflammatory fire with my Groundhog Chronic regime (see any of our books) including antioxidants, especially vitamin C
  • Identifying possible causes, not forgetting micro-organims in the upper gut that should not be there, and eliminating or avoiding them
  • Detoxing to reduce the factors that cause inflammation
  • Reprogramming the immune system with probiotics, micro-immunotherapy, enzyme potentiated desensitisation (EPD) and neutralisation – all explained in detail in Ecological Medicine.