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Perfect Picnic Recipe from Beverley Jarvis

Author of ‘Eat Well to Age Well’ Beverley Jarvis has provided recipes from her fan-favourite cookbook that are the perfect, delicious addition to any picnic.

Minty Dressed Salad with Grapes and Melon

This makes a deliciously light starter. You could double the recipe and prepare enough for 4, but only add the dressing to half of it, packing and chilling the remainder to be used the next day. For a change, use honeydew melon rather than watermelon.

1 little gem lettuce, washed, drained and shredded
1 kiwi fruit, thinly sliced, without peeling
1 small bag pea shoots and baby leaves, from the supermarket, or 1 large handful baby spinach, washed Handful mint leaves, chopped
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
8 small broccoli florets, blanched for 2 minutes, in boiling water, then cooled in ice cold water, drained and dried on absorbent kitchen paper
2 thick slices of water melon deseeded and chopped
12 seedless red grapes, halved

For the Dijon dressing:
3 tbsp olive oil
Juice ½ lemon
1 tsp runny honey
1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To Serve:
2 tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds

You will need a chopping board and knife, salad bowl, teaspoon, tablespoon, 2 salad serving spoons, citrus juicer, small saucepan with lid, small screw-top jar and salad bowl.

Nutritional Note:
Fibre, vitamins B6 and C are provided by the kiwi fruit, as well as magnesium. Pea shoots provide valuable fibre plus vitamins A, C, E and K, and the mineral potassium. Vitamins A and C are in the tomatoes, as well as lycopene which is beneficial for prostate health. Melon provides vitamins A, C, B6 and B9 and magnesium.

1. Put the little gem lettuce leaves into in a salad bowl with the kiwi fruit slices, pea shoots and baby leaves, or the baby spinach and mint. Throw the tomatoes, broccoli, melon and grapes on top.

2. Make the dressing by putting all the dressing ingredients into a screw-top jar and shaking well.

3. When you are ready to serve the salad, pour the dressing over it, toss well to coat all the ingredients and serve immediately sprinkled with the crunchy pumpkin seeds

Experienced cookery teacher and writer Beverley Jarvis has put together this book of 75+ delicious recipes to inspire her super-ager peers to eat well, with all the nutrients that are increasingly needed as we get older, and to cook whole-foods from scratch quickly and easily so that meals are enjoyable but never a chore. To read the first chapter for free, click here.

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Spreading the word about Carers

The following blog is by Sara Challice, award-winning author of ‘Who Cares? – How to care for yourself whilst caring for a loved one.’

Have you heard of Health and Wellbeing boards? No, I hadn’t either, until I was asked to be on one a few years ago to represent carers within my borough of Richmond.

There are 153 Health and Wellbeing boards across the country, and their purpose is to establish collaborative decision making, planning and commissioning across councils and the NHS, informed by the views of patients, people who use services and other partners.

At present, I believe I am the only one on one of these boards, but we need a Carer Representative on every board – to ensure carers are represented across the UK, and are considered and supported within the various upcoming papers and proposals. Because if there is a paper on residents living with long-term health conditions, you can guarantee there will be a carer behind the scenes supporting them – but carers can often still be overlooked.

Please do get in touch with your local council and ask your Health and Wellbeing board if they have a Carer Representative.

Supporting Working Carers

Did you know 600 working carers quit every day due to the insufficient support? And inadequate support for working carers costs UK businesses £8.2bn every year.

But there is a better way.

Businesses Virgin Media O2 and Sainsburys recognise carers in their workplace need support, and I give online sessions supporting staff caring for loved ones. Often given during lunchtime hours, these invaluable sessions allow space for carers to learn self care tips, insight and psychology to help them become more resilient and regain balance, whilst juggling work with caring. These sessions can also include their line manager, so there is a learned experience for all, creating a supportive collaboration within the workplace, allowing for better communication.

Sharing Learned Experiences

Have you heard of Caregivers Burnout, the Helper’s High or Compassion Fatigue?

This invaluable insight, and much more, is shared in my sessions to support those caring for loved ones. Whilst engaging carers, I share stories and tips to help improve their health and wellbeing, and each session focusses on a particular topic, helping them gain clarity on all that is happening to and around them, whilst they take back control and find ways to enjoy their lives again – guilt free.

Of recent, carers have been asking for a session on, ‘Preparing for life after caring,’ because often, we just never know when our caring role may suddenly come to an end.

What can carers expect, and what steps can they put in place now to safeguard their own needs for when this big life event occurs? In this particular session, I share my own experience during my transitions once my caring role had come to an end, and I share insight and strategies to help carers with their transition, creating resilience whilst boosting their own health & wellbeing.

“I so could have done with this information. It would have made life so much easier!” – says Sara

Finally, Sara is giving a keynote speech in London for Carers First, a charity supporting carers over a number of counties. In sharing insight and knowledge, the event brings together trustees, staff and volunteers to collaborate, celebrate and plan for the future.

“Sara has delivered many online sessions for Carers UK, and we were delighted when she ran a series of Wisdom to Empower sessions for us, which were some of our highest attended online meet ups of the year.  The sessions were highly valued by the carers, providing them with vital support during one of the most challenging times of their lives. Sara shared lots of tips and insight to help them gain the clarity to make positive changes in their lives and maintain wellbeing – not only for themselves, but for those they care for.” – Michael Shann, Head of Membership and Volunteering, Carers UK

Read the first chapter of ‘Who Cares?’ for free here and to get in touch with Sara to learn more about her engaging sessions for carers, please email, or to learn more of her expert information, advice and support, transforming the lives of carers, go to

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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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Endometriosis Awareness Month


The following blog is by Lisa Simon RD, author of upcoming book ‘The Plant-Based Dieticians Guide to Fertility’ which will be available on the Hammersmith Health Books website and other online vendors from 27th April 2023.

I don’t think anyone who has not experienced endometriosis can truly understand just how debilitating a condition it can be. I say this because I was diagnosed in 2010 and it is one of the reasons I decided to write my book, ‘The Plant Based Dietitian’s Guide to Fertility: From pre-conception to healthy delivery’, and to dedicate a chapter to endometriosis, a condition that can reduce fertility for many individuals. I feel passionately about helping as many women and men as possible to optimise their fertility and to help those women who are now in the same position I was and who are experiencing debilitating symptoms on a monthly basis. Nutrition is a key area that can help improve our situation. Unfortunately there is so much nutrition misinformation out there which often causes confusion and even harm, so my aim was always to write a book that could be relied upon to provide only information that is backed up by a referenced evidence-base. This evidence increasingly supports a whole food, plant-based diet and I give guidance on how to get started, including some stand-by recipes that I hope you will find helpful.

How many women are affected by endometriosis?

Around 1.5 million women are living with endometriosis in the UK and around 176 million worldwide. However, it can take on average eight years to be diagnosed, meaning that many women live with chronic pain and fatigue for a long time before they are given a formal diagnosis.

What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a chronic, inflammatory, oestrogen-dependent condition that arises where cells similar to those that line a woman’s uterus are found elsewhere in the body. Most commonly they are found in the pelvic cavity, but they may also grow in the intestine, bladder, liver, kidneys and nasal cavity, on caesarean scars, and even in rare cases in the lungs and brain. These cells respond to each menstrual cycle and bleed, but unlike those in the womb which are shed as a woman’s monthly period, they have nowhere to go and so become inflamed. This results in pain and the formation of scar tissue which can then lead to pelvic pain, bowel and bladder symptoms, painful and/or heavy periods, painful intercourse and infertility.

The risk of misdiagnosis

The reason that it can take so long to get a diagnosis is that many of the symptoms of endometriosis are very similar to another chronic condition, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This means that women are often sent to see a gastroenterologist and subjected to a number of investigations before being given a diagnosis of IBS along with advice on how to manage this condition. This may or may not result in some symptom relief because often IBS and endometriosis can co-exist. However, this is then often seen as the end of the road rather than a referral also being made, or initially being made, to gynaecology, meaning that if endometriosis is present it is not detected.

What can you do to ensure you receive the correct diagnosis?

I would always advise you take a pain and symptom diary and a written list of all your day time and nocturnal symptoms with you to your initial GP appointment. This ensures that you are giving as much information as possible so that the chance of you being referred to the correct specialist is increased. So for at least a week before your appointment write down when you experience pain, where it is in your menstrual cycle, and how you would rate it on a scale of 0-10 (where 0 is no pain and 10 is the most pain you could ever experience). If symptoms get worse in line with your menstrual cycle, this should ring alarm bells for your doctor.

How did endometriosis affect me?

I first experienced the pain of endometriosis shortly before my 30th birthday when I was studying to be a dietitian. I was walking to a lecture when suddenly I was immobilised by excruciating pain on the left side of my abdomen; it literally took my breath away and it was terrifying because I had no idea what it was. The only thing I could do was to wait for it to be manageable enough for me to drive myself home. This recurred often  over the next few months and I began to notice the pain was roughly at the same time each month, although I did sometimes experience pain outside of these times. I couldn’t tell if it was around the time of my period because I was experiencing a pretty much absent cycle but I had suspicions it was gynaecological rather than IBS pain (I had been diagnosed with IBS in my late teens).

I saw my GP who referred me to gynaecology but the waiting list was long and all I could do was put up with chronic pain which significantly impacted my life. I missed several weeks in total of university, and missed out on spending time with friends and family because the pain was such that all I could do was lie curled up in a ball on the sofa with a hot water bottle in a desperate attempt to reduce it. Perhaps this sounds familiar to you?

Eventually I could not cope with it any longer and saw a gynaecologist privately with a subsequent laparoscopy, a surgical procedure where a camera is inserted through a cut by the belly button and if endometriosis is seen it is removed. I ended up having two of these operations because the cells grew back a few years after the initial surgery. I experienced post-surgical complications after the second surgery which resulted in a longer hospital stay.

I also experienced secondary infertility. When my husband and I started trying for a baby I assumed I would fall pregnant pretty quickly as I already have a seven year old son at that time. However, after failing to conceive for two years and given our ages (I was 36 and he was 41) we decided to go down the IVF route. All the routine tests were performed and we were diagnosed with unexplained infertility. However, I knew that endometriosis was likely playing a part.

Everything changed for me when I adopted a whole food, plant-based diet and really looked at other areas of my life where I could make positive changes.  I am happy to say that these days I do not experience pain during my monthly periods (which have now returned) and I attribute much of that to my revised dietary pattern and lifestyle. There is a growing evidence-base supporting the benefits of adopting a plant-based diet and also for the role of exercise in helping to manage conditions that involve inflammatory processes, like endometriosis.

I am thankful that our IVF treatment was successful and I am now the mother of two lovely children. My experience with infertility and IVF treatment, and the physical and emotional impact means that I fully understand what each of my patients goes through and I feel empathy with each and every one.

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Preparing for a Vegan Christmas


Blog written by Sandra Hood, author of ‘Feeding Your Vegan Child’

Christmas always takes me by surprise. I think I’m organised and then I find I have less than a week to finish my shopping and write Christmas cards. So, this year I have started planning who I am sending cards and letters to and to whom I am giving gifts. Even if you do not celebrate Christmas, it is the perfect time to spend with loved ones away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The majority of shops are closed, there is less traffic on the roads and it is generally quieter. Make the most of it!

Lots of my friends and family are feeling the pinch this year. I have, therefore, decided to give homemade Christmas hampers containing ‘useful’ gifts. The hampers are made from empty boxes covered with an assortment of old Christmas and birthday cards and glazed with glue. In completing this task it made me realise how many cards have pictures of animals and nature, and how humans get great pleasure from the natural world. Children’s Christmas gifts, whether they are games or toys, are often in the image of some animal or other. Why is it that many people still don’t make the link between loving animals and eating them? Anyway, I’m going off on a tangent. This is what I am going to include in the hamper:

Home-made crackers – you always need something noisy for Christmas. These are quite quick and simple to make and can be a lovely gift if you put something particularly special inside. There are lots of great videos around on how to make crackers.

Cookies – I’ve been saving my jam jars and will fill these with mini ginger cookies*. These always go down a treat and I wish I had included this quick and easy recipe in my book.

Candles – A must if we get the power cuts predicted! I’ve managed to pick up all different shapes and sizes from charity shops.

Dried apple rings – I’ve got a dehydrator and it has come into its own this year as I have managed to get lots of free apples from friends and family. When you dehydrate fruit and vegetables the flavours are concentrated, they seem like a different food. Tomatoes and apples are particular favourites of mine.

And last but not least I will pop in a copy of my book – if they haven’t had the wisdom to have bought a copy! I’m not very good at blowing my own trumpet but it is Christmas after all. I’ve had lovely feedback from vegan families who liked the fact that my book was a small handy guide and not overwhelming. They have also commented that it is a useful guide for adults as a practical overview to check they were meeting their nutritional requirements too.

Finally, please bear in mind my book isn’t just for Christmas! Happy Christmas and I wish you all a very happy and healthy 2023.


*Recipe for ginger cookies

  • 115 g (4 oz) margarine
  • 85 g (3 oz) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup
  • 115 g (4 oz) self-raising flour
  • 115 g (4 oz) oats
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp dried ginger
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  1. Cream margarine, sugar and syrup together.
  2. Add all the other ingredients and mix evenly.
  3. Roll into 12 balls.
  4. Place on a greased baking tray.
  5. Press each ball flat with a fork.
  6. Bake at 175oC/350oF/Gas 4 for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
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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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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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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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How and why I came to write ‘Yoga for Cancer’


Blog written by Vicky Fox, author of ‘Yoga for Cancer’

Where it all began

I trained as a yoga teacher in 2008 and felt so lucky to be doing something that not only I enjoyed but I felt huge benefit in. I was always fascinated by the therapeutic application of yoga and how yoga could support people and in 2013 Laura Kupperman came over from Colorado to teach her “Yoga For Survivors” training which focused on how to support people diagnosed with cancer.

I had started studying with her when one of my best friends was involved in a tragic accident which meant that whilst learning how to adapt practices for side effects of surgery and treatment for cancer I also learnt how to hold space, be present with pain and not to be able to fix it. I think this was a huge learning for me just being fully present with someone with all that they were experiencing and with no judgement but just to be. This made my first few classes of yoga for cancer less frightening, remembering that these were just wonderful people coming into the room to have some space where they were nurtured and protected, practice yoga and maybe start to get connected to their bodies again.

What inspired me to write the book

The yoga classes gave them chance to switch from being a patient to being a co-crafter of their well-being and I started to meet the most fabulous people who shared with me what they were going through and I learnt to adapt so that everyone could participate in every bit of the class no matter what they were bringing with them on that particular day.

I volunteered to teach at Paul’s Cancer Support Centre which was a fantastic charity offering support for people living with cancer. The room I taught the yoga in was a shared space room that was used for other activities and it was not uncommon to go into the room, move furniture around and pick up the odd crisp that had escaped under a table. I loved teaching there but I also wanted to give my students the chance to experience what I felt when I went to triyoga, my local studio for a class. A dedicated space just for yoga with all the props you could possibly need and not a crisp in sight.

At the same time one of my friends worked for a company that had a charitable trust and they were thinking of sponsoring me to teach a free class for people impacted by cancer. As a result I approached Jonathan Sattin the owner of triyoga with this idea. We were negotiating room rates when I found out that the trust had voted for a different charity and so I had to contact Jonathan to tell him that I couldn’t teach the class as I didn’t have the funds for the room. He immediately responded that I could have the room for free and I agreed to teach the class for free and there we had it, the free class of yoga for anyone living with cancer started in April 2014. The “free” aspect was really crucial to both myself and Jonathan. It can be expensive being diagnosed with cancer. You might need child care, you might not be able to work, you might need to take taxi’s or have overnight stays in hotels. All this costs money and I wanted the classes to be as inclusive as they possibly could and being able to make them free meant we could do that.




How and when the book started to take shape

When we went into lockdown in March 2020 it was imperative that I got these classes online as soon as I could because I knew that community was a hugely important part of the class and suddenly we were all being told to stay at home and I knew this would be so challenging for some of my students. Triyoga immediately put a class on their online platform, on a Sunday, which quickly grew and I taught more classes from my home. If you knew anyone who was considered “vulnerable” during the first wave of covid you will know why the support of a community was so incredibly valuable. Some students were told if they caught covid they would not be able to be treated for cancer and other students had trials they were on cancelled as a result of covid. This online community became hugely important because students were unable to see physiotherapists or to get advice on certain side effects and so they started being discussed more widely in class.

The more I taught online the more I got to know my students, the more they asked for yoga poses that might help with a side effect. I wonder if it was that people felt more able to open up in this online format or whether it was just that they didn’t have as much choice. Students that only came once a week to class now were showing up to every class and I realised that what everyone needed support with was not cancer but the side effects of treatment for cancer.

I started creating little, short videos which I either put on Instagram or on my website with some ideas on poses that might help with cording, lymphoedema, scar tissue, peripheral neuropathy and other side effects that people needed support with. I had already started writing a book on yoga for cancer but teaching online helped me find more focus for the book and the idea of A-Z of side effects for treatment for cancer started to take more shape.

What I am most grateful for

I could not have done this book without the sharing and honesty of my students who have emailed me, spoken to me, opened up to me about what they are experiencing and asking what might help. They have trusted me and I am hugely grateful to them for this. My students really need all the credit for this book because it wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for them.

Anybody who is fortunate to work in a job where you contribute and others benefit will know how much purpose this gives you in life. I am so lucky to be able to do what I do and meet the most amazing people that I meet. By being forced into online teaching (which is now in a hybrid format of live studio and livestream) it enabled me to reach out to more people and where I had been unable to teach people that lived on the other side of London to me, I was now able to teach people anywhere in the UK or even abroad.

What I hope to achieve with my book

I hope this book will be an extension of these classes and empower anyone impacted by cancer that although you can’t control life you are able to control your response.

Remember, you can read the first chapter for free!

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What Survivors of Major Illness can Teach us

Blog post written by Dr Jerry Thompson, author of newly released Curing the Incurable: Beyond the Limits of Medicine.

Could we have underestimated our ability to heal ourselves from even the most serious of diseases? Could our innate powers of recovery be far greater than we realise?

This book examines healing from an unusual angle: it looks at those remarkable people who have recovered against the odds? I believe they have something absolutely crucial to tell us. Whether we have a serious illness or we just want to keep illness at bay they have information that can make a profound difference.

But how did they succeed? What did they do after their doctors told them they had an incurable disease?

I have been fascinated by these people that I call “survivors” for years. This book explores their stories and what they did. Recovering from a life-threatening illness is no small feat and you can be sure they did not get better by chance. They achieved it by following certain fundamental principles of health. And it is these fundamental principles of health that this book explores.

They used four main strategies, typically in combination. The book covers each one.

Few will be surprised that one of those principles, eating healing foods and avoiding harmful ones, was a popular and successful strategy amongst survivors. Combining information from case studies, research on the effects of food extracts on cancer cells and population studies this section gives us a useful guide on using food to heal.

Many know that our minds can powerfully impact on health but can mind power cure a life-threatening illness? In fact it can and there are many examples using many methods. We can use our mind to up-regulate our immunity, to go into healing mode or to create health. The case histories in this section are some of the most extraordinary in the book. The methods may surprise you and many are simple to use.

Mainstream medicine largely ignores toxicity but survivors cannot afford this luxury. How many carcinogens and neurotoxins do we meet in an average day and where do they come from? Which are the most dangerous? How can we reduce our and how can we excrete our accumulated chemical load. All this is covered in the book.

Changes in our energy field precede disease. They also precede healing. So understanding energy makes sense.

Again the stories could surprise: cancers the power of groups to bring about extraordinary healing, how lethal cancer can be cured from thousands of miles away, cancers disintegrating in minutes, and energetic blocks to healing that could prevent a good treatment working.

What emerges from these many remarkable accounts of recovery from major disease are basic and powerful principles of health and healing. Using them can make the difference between health and disease and many of are surprisingly easy to put into practice.