Laura Bond

...empowering you with knowledge, reminding you what’s possible
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Possum Box + Food & Mood Masterclass

October 28, 2014

possum

 

My mother is a nature lover, she always has been.

Every Spring she feeds the baby magpies, ‘it’s so hard on the mothers you know’ she’ll say as she rushes outside in her jim-jams with a pinch of organic meat between her fingers.

The dogs enjoy fish for breakfast, greens (whatever doesn’t make it into the juicer) and alternative therapies; the rescue greyhound, ‘ling’ has embraced Pulsed- Electro Magnetic Field Therapy, for her post-racing arthritis.

This year she also gave money to build a ‘maternity enclosure’ for a bear-cub and his mother at a sanctuary in Romania.

So I wasn’t surprised when Mum told me she’d bought a possum box.

‘We had to drive out to the Darling ranges to pick it up and Peter (Mum’s boyfriend) spent the day attaching it to the gum-tree.’

The possum has been living in the roof of the granny flat for years, but with an expanding family coming to visit this Christmas, it was time to relocate.

But things didn’t go to plan.

After getting up at 1am to seal off the entrance, Peter and Mum awoke at 6am to find said possum bewildered and wandering around the garage entrance, like it had been evicted.

So did it eventually make its way to the new digs?

possum house3

‘It curled up in a corner of the garage amongst some bark and now… I think it’s settled in the roof of my bedroom,’ Mum said, sheepishly.

You may be wondering what this has to do with health?

Taking the time to notice and appreciate Mother-Nature’s wonders is nectar for the body and soul.

Shutting down the windows on your computer, opening the ones in your office, getting your vitamin D and flooding your body with the feel-good negative ions from the natural environment, recharges the batteries and switches off stress signals, like nothing else.

But it’s only part of the solution.

You can also eat to beat stress, lower your exposure to major stress toxins (multitasking is one of them) and boost your intake of minerals – so you don’t end up wired, overwhelmed and strangling the air like Ari Gold from Entourage.

I don’t need to tell you – my clued up readers – how important this is.

Cortisol stimulates appetite and leads to weight gain, is linked with depression and anxiety, stops you sleeping, lowers your immunity and is known as ‘the ageing hormone.’ Adrenalin – the fight or flight hormone – can even make cancer resistant to treatment.

So what can you do about it?

blueberry smoothie

On Saturday November 15th, I’m teaming up with medical doctor and mindfulness expert Dr. Barbara Mariposa to lead a workshop:

Stress Solutions: Your Food & Mood Masterclass

In just three hours (we know you don’t have all day) you will:

– Discover foods to protect your brain from stress

– Learn the recipe for the ultimate de-stress smoothie

– Stop shallow breathing and boost your brain-power

– Experience how mindfulness cuts through the stress response

– Discover the best supplements to keep you grounded

There will also be a give-away and books on sale at the event

Spaces are limited and tickets are now available through Eventbrite

I look forward to finally meeting some of you there!

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B Vitamins and Methylation

October 1, 2014

steak salad

Last week a client came to me following an abnormal pap smear. Any nutritional advice – she asked?

I suggested she consider taking folate and B12, since studies show the combination can help with the prevention of cervical cancer.

But I made sure she opted for the right B12, and the right folate.

In other words the methyl version of these vitamins – the natural form your body knows how to use.

Methyl-what?

Methylation is how your body manages to stay in balance.

When you’re blood sugar is high, you rely on the process of methylation to release insulin; when your body is burdened with toxins, you need healthy methylation to detox and methyl enzymes are essential to convert and absorb key nutrients.

‘Methylation helps the body rid itself of toxins and assures that the new cells you make everyday are exact copies of the ones that are being replaced,’ explains Dr. Garry Gordon, co-founder of the American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM).

‘Amazingly, many doctors today still know nothing about the methyl form of folic acid and why I insist on giving it along with the sublingual methyl form of B12.’

Along with getting enough B vitamins – we’ll cover that in a second – there are other factors that affect methylation.

4 Factors that Mess with Methylation 

Low stomach acid: Stomach acid is necessary to digest food and help you absorb vital nutrients including B12. Age can reduce stomach acid as well as certain health conditions and medications including antacids.

Plastics Bisphenyl A (BPA) found in plastic water bottles can disrupt the methylation process, triggering DNA changes. In one landmark study, scientist Randy Jirtle and his group of researchers exposed pregnant mice to bisphenol A and watched as more of their offspring developed into yellow, obese mice (Dolinoy et al., 2007). Start sipping from stainless steel now.

Smoking The carbon monoxide from cigarette smoke inactivates vitamin B6.

Heavy Metals Especially mercury, which binds to the amino acid methionine and interferes with methylation.

Unfortunately we’re constantly exposed to this neurotoxic metal – mercury is in mascara, your favourite sushi restaurant, in the water you drink and the air you breathe (16 per cent of airborne mercury in the UK is estimated to be from crematoria burning fillings and teeth).

So how do you protect the vital methylation processes in your body? 

Improve your stomach aid by taking digestive enzymes or increasing your intake of bitter foods like lemons, rocket and apple cider vinegar; reduce your exposure to plastics and mercury (for instance swap plastic Tupperware for Pyrex and choose low mercury fish) quit smoking and most importantly up your intake of B vitamins.

lemon and rocket

Foods rich in B vitamins include the following:

For Folate, think fibre. You need to eat plenty of dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, bok choy, parsley and mustard greens to get your dose.

Good sources of B12 include organic eggs, oily fish (preferably line caught and low in mercury) mussels, oysters and organic meat.

For B6, eat more sunflower seeds, salmon and sweet potato.

However you may still want to consider a supplement, for the following reasons:

If you are vegan it can be hard to get adequate levels of B12 through food – in fact some argue it’s impossible.

If you have been on the contraceptive pill you might want to take folate – since oral contraceptives interfere with folate metabolism. In addition, a common gene mutation means many people cannot convert food folate into the usable methyl form.

Going supplement shopping? Here’s your crib sheet:

Folate

Look for supplements that contain methyl folate ie 5-methyltetrahydrofolate or 5-MTHF. Such as Methyl-Pro5-MTHF Extrafolate-S® 5mg.

Avoid products that say ‘folic acid’ – most multivitamins contain this synthetic form, which has been linked to cancer. In the US, rates of colorectal cancer began to increase in 1996 and the same happened in Canada in 1998 following folic acid fortification of foods.

B12

Look for supplements that contain methyl cobalamin. Such as Better You Boost B12 Oral Spray.

Avoid products containing cyanocobalamin, which is found in 99 per cent of the vitamins on the market containing B12.

Not only does cyanocobalamin contain cyanide, but it is made from recovered activated sewage sludge or ‘produced through total chemical synthesis’ according to health researcher Sayer Ji from GreenMedInfo.

In addition, a study published in 1997 in the journal Blood, found that cyanocobalamin ‘antagonizes vitamin B12 in vitro and causes cell death from methionine deficiency.’

Bottom line, you’ll feel better with methyl vitamins according to a growing number of holistic physicians. Dr. Richard Moore is one of them. At his clinic in Bondi Juntion Sydney, he offers a range of intravenous nutrition including methyl B12 shots: ‘The methyl group of vitamins are necessary for serotonin production – the feel good hormone – so sometimes B12 can really help people with mood issues.’

Research is increasingly showing that diet is intimately linked with our mental health – probiotics being hailed as the new Prozac is a case in point – but it’s also true that our mental state affects our biochemistry. For instance when we’re stressed we burn through C and B vitamins as well as selenium and essential fatty acids.

That’s why as a health coach I look beyond food: sometimes I’m there to talk supplements other times it’s stress – I will work with a client to identify triggers and find strategies to help them manage fist-bighting situations better.

That in turn can help with everything from losing weight and balancing hormones, to boosting immunity and slowing hair loss.

For a short time only – until the end of this year – I have dropped my health coaching prices. If you are interested in booking a session with me, you can find out more here

Gratitude

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Aloe Vera & the Ancient Essenes

July 21, 2014

Aloe vera plantation on FurteventuraIf there’s one thing I recommend you throw in your suitcase this summer its Aloe Vera – whether it’s in the form of a gel, cream or a supplement.

The desert growing plant contains over 130 active compounds and 34 amino acids believed to benefit your skin. So when you’re lying on a sun lounger soaking up your vacay vitamin D, make sure you have aloe on hand to alleviate any burns (of course it’s better not to burn in the first place but some people – ahem the Brits – are helpless in the face of heat) or take a supplement to provide your skin with extra protection.

Aloe vera can also soothe mosquito bites and calm a dodgy stomach thanks to its powerful anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties.

Plus, since aloe acts as a prebiotic – which help healthy probiotics flourish – the juicy plant can also boost your immune system and improve your absorption of nutrients.

Live to one hundred?

The ancient Egyptians are credited with discovering the benefits of aloe vera – it was in Cleopatra’s beauty bag – and its healing properties have been documented in books and Mesopotanian clay tablets in countries around the world.

The Essenes (a spiritual sect known by the Egyptians as the ‘healers and doctors’) reportedly consumed copious amounts of aloe vera. ‘ The Essenes ate raw and living foods, smelted metals, experimented with chemistry and consumed aloe as their primary superfood…’ writes David Wolfe in his book Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future. He goes on to say that the Essenes often lived to be one hundred and twenty-five years of age, during a time when the average life span was thirty-nine years.

Wars have even been fought over aloe vera; Alexander the Great apparently conquered the island of Socotra in order to procure aloe and during campaigns it was applied to the wounds of his soldiers. It’s also been used over the centuries to treat a hair loss, skin infections, hemorrhoids, gastrointestinal pain and sinusitis.

Modern research

The latest scientific papers are giving credence to the legendary benefits of aloe vera.

In one study published in the journal Annals of Dermatology in 2009, healthy female subjects over the age of 45 were given either a low dose of aloe vera 1,200mg or a high dose 3,600 g (less than a teaspoon) for ninety days. The result? The researchers concluded that:

After aloe gel intake, the facial wrinkles improved significantly (p<0.05) in both groups, and facial elasticity improved in the lower-dose group… Aloe gel significantly improves wrinkles and elasticity in photoaged human skin.’

But the benefits of this desert succulent go way beyond the superficial with evidence suggesting it can help over 50 different conditions ranging from diabetes and ulcerative colitis to multiple sclerosis and cancer.

In one study, Dr. Paolo Lissoni, one of the top oncologists in the world, used a combination of aloe vera and raw honey on 240 patients. The study showed that the formula inhibited the proliferation of errant cells, exhibited immune-stimulating and antioxidant effects … enhanced patients’ survival time … and reduced toxicities, as proven by radiological evaluations. (In Vivo, 2009)

Growing up in Australia we’d snap off a leaf of Mum’s aloe plant at the first sign of redness from a burn or bite (I remember it working wonders on a jelly fish sting) but I’ve since learned there are many other ways to enjoy this juicy, collagen promoting plant.

Aloe Vera 5 Ways

The Smoothie: ‘Fillet’ the aloe vera by cutting a portion from the aloe leaf, removing the thorns on either side and separating the gel form the skin with your knife. Then add it into your choice of smoothie – it has an earthy, slightly bitter flavor and gels well with cucumber and pineapple. If you’re buying bottled aloe vera look for an organic, unprocessed product since processing will destroy the valuable healing polysaccharides.

The Salad: David Wolfe suggests mixing tiny cubes of raw aloe vera gel into a salsa or salad. I love this idea. I make a spicy tomato salsa with roasted peppers, tomatoes, olive oil, basil and chilli (Mum’s recipe) and am going to try a little aloe to offset the heat.

The Skin Tonic: Aloe Vera can help with everything from psoriasis and acne to ageing and eczema. Margo Marrone, a pharmacist, homeopath and founder of The Organic Pharmacy, originally created the Ultra Dry Skin Cream to treat her son’s eczema using aloe as the main ingredient. It smells divine and I won’t go anywhere without it having seen how it transformed cracked heels and a scaly patch on my hand (in one week).

The Supplement: There are many aloe pills on the market. Look for an organic, food-based supplement made using juice taken from the inner leaf. I’m currently trying Pukka Wholistic Aloe Vera capsules – which smell reassuringly like the real thing.

The Elixer: Aloe vera is also one of the 45 key ingredients in The Super Elixer, a food based alkaline powder created by Elle Macpherson and Harley street physician Dr. Simone Laubscher. The supplement also contains organic wheatgrass, prebiotics, probiotics, Chinese herbs and medicinal mushrooms and can be consumed daily in juice or water. 

Last weekend the Sunday Times Australia published my feature about the benefits of an alkaline diet – you can read it here: 

http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/health/celebrity+profiles/why+elle+macpherson+loves+the+alkaline+diet,31865

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Beat stress and weigh less with nuts

June 21, 2014

table muesli 3

As a fledgling model living in New York, Elle Macpherson used to carry around a trail mix of nuts as she went from casting studio to casting studio, to keep hunger pangs at bay.

We tend to think of nuts as fattening, but the latest research is showing Elle – still a knockout at fifty – was onto something; that nuts might be the ideal snack.

Women who include nuts in their diet tend to weigh less than those who avoid them. That’s the message from Harvard Researchers who tracked more than 75, 000 women from 1980 to 2010. The nut-eating women also had a decreased risk of pancreatic cancer according to results from the study.

Nuts are heart healthy too. People who eat nuts more than three times a week have a reduced risk of dying from cancer AND cardiovascular disease according to one longitudinal study published in the journal BMC Medicine in 2013.

So next time you’re feeling peckish swap your usual snack – be it popcorn; crackers and cheese; hummus and carrots (or, perish the thought, a packet of crisps) – for a handful of crunchy, phytochemical-packed nuts instead. It might just be one of the best natural ways to keep cancer at bay, improve heart health and stay nourished and slim.

Here are just few benefits from some of our favourite nuts:

Walnuts: Some believe the physical characteristics of certain foods, point to their nutritional properties. Ergo, avocado is said to boost uterine health, pomegranate is good for the ovaries and walnuts – beneficial for the brain. Certainly, they are an excellent source of omega-3 fats, which are essential for normal neural function. Walnuts have also been shown to reduce cholesterol, improve cardiovascular health, and cut the risk of prostate cancer by 60 percent.

They’re great in salads (walnuts, roasted beetroot, rocket and avocado is my go-to) and might even help regulate sleep/wake cycles thanks to a form of melatonin they contain. Being exposed to computer screens disrupts our levels of melatonin – so if you’ve been up checking emails, try a handful of walnuts before bed. Higher levels of melatonin have been shown to reduce the risk for some cancers too.

Almonds: Not technically a true nut (the seed of the almond is what we eat) almonds are the only alkaline-forming nut you will find. They’re also a great choice for when you’re feeling stressed – the magnesium helps calm your nerves – plus the zinc and vitamin E give you glowing skin while the protein helps ward off hunger. They might also help with high cholesterol – according to research. Try celery sticks and almond butter for a superfood snack.

Brazil Nuts: You only need 4 of these nuts to get your daily dose of selenium, the importance of which cannot be overstated: ‘If every girl in this country took 200mcg of selenium in one generation we’d eliminate breast cancer by 82 per cent,’ says Dr Peter Glidden, a naturopathic physician and author of The MD Emperor Has No Clothes. Epidemiological research reveals people who live in areas of selenium-rich or magnesium-rich soils are indeed many times less likely to get cancer.

These rich creamy nuts are also great for skin and hair and may even offset fluoride toxicity.

This comes from one blog

Macadamia Nuts: Growing up in Sydney, macadamias were a staple recess snack. Previously, I considered them an occasional indulgence, believing the high fat content rendered them unhealthy. However it’s their unique fatty acid profile that in fact makes them a health food. Several studies have now found that a diet rich in macadamia nuts reduces total and LDL cholesterol.

Macadamias also improve the balance between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are a good source of fibre and can be soaked and blended in water to make a creamy alternative to almond milk.

Alternatively, you could try Sarah Wilson’s Macademia and coconut muffins with coconut butter.

Cashews: Boyfriend just dumped you? Two handfuls of cashews will give you a happy fix. It’s the therapeutic equivalent of a prescription dose of Prozac according to Dave Sommers from Food Matters. Cashews contains L-tryptophan which is made into serotonin in the body – known as the ‘feel good’ neurotransmitter.

Cashews also help banish dangerous bacteria responsible for acne, tooth decay, tuberculosis and pneumonia. In addition, cashews have also been shown to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes, weight gain and certain types of cancer. A good all-rounder – and oh so tasty with an organic craft ale (rebellion is good, in moderation).

Of course not all nuts are created equal.

You want to be eating organic raw nuts – free from chemicals and nasty funguses – that haven’t been roasted and salted.

And ideally, you want to activate your nuts too. In their natural state, raw nuts are hard to digest due to the enzyme inhibitors they contain – but by soaking them overnight you make them more digestible and the nutrients more bio-available.

Australia and America spearheaded the activated nut trend – I’ve spent years squirrelling 2Die4 Activated Nuts in my suitcase back to London – but thank fully they are now available at various health food stores and organic supermarkets across the globe.

My Nut-tastic Breakfast (picture at top):

I’ve been following the advice of a Melbourne nutritionist for nine years now by starting my day with a specific blend of activated nuts.

Previously I was embarrassed about my slightly OCD-addiction to this breakfast, but in recent years research has shown I’m not so nutty. It’s certainly an upgrade on most cereals – which are nutrient-void, pesticide packed, sugar-coated delusions of fibre.

So for those of you who are interested, here is what I have every morning:

3 Brazil Nuts

5 Almonds

2-3 Walnuts

1 tsp pumpkin seeds

1 tsp sunflower seeds

1 tsp cacoa nibs

1 tsp goji berries

1 tsp of maca powder

Blueberries (if I can find affordable organic ones)

Sprinkle of Rude Health organic muesli (I’ve met the makers, been to their HQ and trust their products entirely)

All covered in creamy homemade almond milk

The combination of healthy fats, antioxidants, oxygen boosting molecules, protein and magnesium in this colourful bowl gives me all the energy I need to power on until lunch.

For those of you who prefer a smoothie in the morning you could also try Natasha Corrett’s delicious Almond Butter Milkshake – she has generously allowed me to share the recipe on my website.

Almond Butter Milkshake

What more could you need to get out of bed?

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Mighty Mushrooms

May 15, 2014

mushrooms yum

Today, we go to doctors when we’re sick; when our body is broken and we need to feel better.

But it hasn’t always been like that.

In Ancient China, doctors were employed to keep patients healthy; if they got sick, the payment stopped, according to a book written around 200 BC.

The ancients realised that prevention is better than a cure. Today, we’re just beginning to understand that. On World Cancer Day 2014, experts acknowledged that prevention has a crucial role to play in stemming the “tidal wave of cancer” that we are facing.

Recently I’ve been asked to give a number of talks on cancer prevention and I thought I’d share with you one important area I’m covering – mushrooms. I consider them to be one of five food groups we should eat every day.

Not only do mushrooms provide broad-spectrum anti-cancer benefits, they can also:

*Aid weight-loss

* Boost libido

* Provide vitamin D3

* Support the liver and kidneys

* Protect against environmental stressors

* Defend against parasites, yeasts and molds

I love button mushrooms on spelt sourdough – with a slug of balsamic and crushed garlic; I make a mean fish stir fry with shiitake mushrooms, snow peas and bean sprouts; and recently I’ve been treating myself to Natasha Corrett’s Wild Mushroom Quinoa Risotto from her new cookbook Honestly Healthy for Life.

Supplements are a good option for those who ‘aren’t so mushroom’ as the French like to say when they’d rather not eat something. I can’t vouch for every medicinal mushroom product on the market, but there are two which Mum and I take and that I recommend to clients. 

Just to be clear I do not receive any financial benefit from naming these supplements – I simply believe in the integrity of the sellers and am impressed by the research. 

Please do feel free to leave your own suggestions in the comments section at the bottom of this post.

Mushroom Medicine

Mushrooms contain beta-glucans, which stimulate our immune system to detect and destroy tumour cells.

But if you’re looking for a nutritional upgrade, I’d ditch the standard button mushrooms in favour of the following:

Shiitake: You’ll get a nice boost of vitamin D3 AND a dose of a powerful anticancer compound called AHCC (active hexose correlated compound).

What to do with them: Buy a packet of dried shiitake mushrooms, soak them for twenty minutes in warm water and add them to stir-fries, miso soup or sauté them with some Tamari sauce and serve with a grass-fed steak.

The Research: Shiitake mushrooms have been shown to help people with liver cancer live longer and now new research shows they may also help prevent cervical cancer and keep it from coming back. The latter finding was revealed at the annual Gynecological Oncology meeting in Florida this year.

shitake

Reishi: The tough woody texture means Reishi mushrooms aren’t ideal for eating – but they are packed with medicinal value.

Referred to as the ‘mushroom of immortality’ the ancient Chinese used Reishi to sharpen memory, improve mood and to boost longevity and youthfulness.

Today we also know Reishi mushrooms stimulate the production of glutathione (known as the mother of all antioxidants) have powerful anti-cancer, anti-tumour abilities and might even help with diabetes, herpes and HIV.

David Wolfe, a leading authority on nutrition, is a huge Reishi fan. He said in a recent lecture ‘ It activates a feeling of wellbeing within your heart,’ and ‘it seems to have an accumulative affect that lasts over the years.’

What to do with them: Try Reishi Spores or Reishi Triterpene Crystals.

Triterpenes are the most potent ingredient within Reishi spores, so by taking this concentrated extract you’re really reaping the benefits according to extensive research by raw food guru Matt Monarch. You can read more here.

Once again let me emphasize that I do not receive any kickbacks from Matt Monarch. I simply believe in his message and the quality of products he promotes.

Mum recently purchased the Triterpene crystals and they were shipped to Australia within four days. She has been having a quarter of a teaspoon of the powder, mixed with a glass of water, and although ‘it tastes pretty revolting’ she’s persisting. Read the research to find out why…. 

The Research on Reishi

There are plethora of studies attesting to the benefits of Reishi spores and Reishi Triterpenes – but I won’t spore you with them all. Here are just a few.

Liver and Bone Cancer: A 2002 study from China found that a form of Reishi spores inhibited tumours by 80-90%.

Breast Cancer: In a 2012 study Triterpene crystals were found to inhibit cell proliferation in human breast cancer cells.

In Malaysia, clinical trials have shown Reishi can help fight cancer and reduce the harmful side effects of radiation therapy.

Diabetes: Reishi extracts were shown to lower the blood glucose levels of the mice within a single week (Phytomedicine, May 2009).

Kidney Support: Those with diabetic kidney disease exhibited noticeably reduced markers of kidney stress, as well as lowered triglyceride and blood sugar levels following an eight week trial conducted by Peking University (Journal of Asian Natural Products Research, December 2006).

Herpes: Triterpenes showed potent inhibitory effects on Epstein Barr Virus ( a type of Herpes virus) early antigen.

HIV: Triterpenoids isolated from Reishi spores showed significantly anti-HIV activities (North American Journal of Medicinal Sciences, 2011).

Other mushrooms that deserve an honorary mention include:

Cordyceps: for virility, it’s known as the ‘Viagra of the Himalayas’

Maitake: for weight loss. In one Japanese study the fluffy, fan shaped mushroom – with a chicken like flavor- helped 30 overweight patients lose a significant amount over two months (between 11-26 pounds).

Agaricus Blazei: for a serious immune boost. In one study it increased natural killer cell activity and quality of life in those with gynecological cancer. 

Lion’s Mane: to improve cognitive health.

Recently I’ve started taking a combination mushroom tincture every day. It’s a product I recently discovered called ‘Stress Defense’ and it contains extracts of 5 organic medicinal mushrooms – Chaga, Reishi, Agaricus Blazei, Cordyceps and Maitake – along with 7 organic essential oils known for their anti-cancer benefits including wild frankincense oil and black cumin oil. You can read more here: gethealthagain.com

I dispense thirty drops under the tongue, twice a day before a tea-break.

I wouldn’t say it’s deeply enjoyable but I feel it’s doing me good.

For a more indulgent mushroom experience I head to the Wild Food Cafe in Covent Garden for their Wild Burger with shiitake, raw olives, baba ganoush and more.

Wild Burger

I go there with one of my favourite people, Jacqui Marson, author of The Curse of Lovely, who sees clients nearby. We natter away over superfood salads and cacao smoothies and we tend to walk away with big smiles (and sesame seeds in our teeth). Of course nutrition is wonderful, but a good laugh is really the ultimate stress defence.

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Fermented Foods

March 10, 2014

Every health expert on the planet might extol the values of raw food but the process of fermentation can elevate the most humble vegetable to superfood status.

‘A week-old carrot will grow limp and grey, even when stored in the refrigerator,’ says Donna Gates, author of Body Ecology and high priestess of probiotics, ‘while a fermented carrot stays crisp, crunchy and bright orange.’

Today, our appetite for cultured food is growing as quickly as the beneficial bacteria they produce. Twitter is brimming with recipes for sauerkraut and coconut yoghurt, restaurants are responding to a demand for tangy side-dishes and even Red Bull makes a drink using a kombucha culture.

I recently wrote a feature for the The Sunday Times Style Magazine looking at just how beneficial these living foods can be and thought I would share with you some snippets from it this week.

The Forgotten Food Group

Fermented foods have been an essential part of traditional diets for centuries: Genghis Khan fed fermented vegetables to his plundering hordes, Captain Cook took sauerkraut on his epic sea voyages and Hippocrates – the founder of modern medicine – was said to use apple cider vinegar to control bacterial infection.

Science is now confirming ancient wisdom about cultured foods and the beneficial bacteria they contain. We know that up to 80  per cent of the body’s immune system is located in and around the gut and studies suggest restoring our intestinal flora could help with everything from diabetes and heart disease to colon cancer and chronic anxiety.

Personally I try to consume some kind of fermented food every day (usually a good scoop of sauerkraut) and I encourage all my clients to do the same – whether they are trying to prevent urinary tract infections or sort out digestive issues.

Here are just a few ways the forgotten food group can bolster your health:

Heart Health

Fermented foods not only reduce inflammation – a key cause of heart disease according to Dr. Mark Hyman – but studies suggest they can also help lower triglycerides (British Journal of Nutrition, 2006) and cholesterol (Journal of Cardiovascular Disease Research, 2010).

Weight Loss

Heidi Klum and Halle Berry have spoken of their love of sauerkraut and studies (British Journal of Nutrition, 2013) suggest  it might be the secret tool to weight loss: ‘The probiotics in fermented vegetables aid weight loss by balancing your inner ecosystem,’ says Donna Gates.

Fermented foods can also help cut sugar cravings – after a few weeks you’ll be hankering for that sour tang instead.

Protection during Chemotherapy

If the gastrointestinal tract remains healthy and functioning, the chances of survival increase exponentially,’ says Jian-Guo Geng, associate professor at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, who has been studying a new drug which stimulates cell growth in the intestines.

Your Mind and Mood

You may have heard that probiotics are great for soothing the stomach, but did you know a daily dose could also calm your mind? A recent human study found that eating probiotics daily reduced stress and anxiety while holistic physician Dr. Kelly Brogan says that disruption of our gut ecology may be a ‘major player’ in depression.

To read the original article in the Sunday Times, click here

For those who want to learn how to make cultured foods at home I highly recommend Kevin Gianni’s E-book ‘Cultured.’

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Broccoli Sprouts

February 4, 2014

When I think of childhood dinners I think of crumbed chicken, salmon mornay and broccoli.

My siblings and I would be served a few florets with dinner almost every night – often bribed with the promise of a chocolate Freddo or given the option of dipping the ‘trees’ in ketchup, if we were looking particularly gripey.

I’m sure many of you have similar memories of being goaded to eat your greens. From childhood we learn that vegetables are good for us, but it’s only in the last few decades that science has recognized how crucial cruciferous vegetables are for our immune systems – and when it comes to anti-cancer research, broccoli is the undisputed star.

Recent research has shown broccoli can:

Take on Cancer Stem Cells: The germ cells suspected of driving tumour growth.

Provide a rich source of isothiocyanates (ITCs): compounds that can target and block the p53 gene – associated with half of all human cancers.

Activate Glutathione: Known as the ‘mother’ of all antioxidants glutathione is also ‘highly-cancer protective’ according to British nutritionist, Patrick Holford.

Fight H Pylori: A common type of bacteria believed to cause stomach cancer.

Boost Sulforaphane: This substance helps the liver break down and destroy cancer cells. In 2011, the September Oncology Report, found that sulforaphane suppressed breast cancer cell proliferation and growth.

Indeed sulforaphane may be the most important compound in broccoli. But, if you’re really serious about upping your levels, you should eat broccoli sprouts.

Why Broccoli Sprouts are Better

Three-day-old broccoli sprouts contain 10-100 times higher levels of sulforaphane than a mature head of broccoli – that’s a radical leap in potency, and it can make all the difference.

Multiple studies show that broccoli sprouts and sulforaphane show promise against cancers of the prostate, bladder, liver, ovaries, colon and lungs.

But it’s not just cancer. Broccoli sprouts are also a beauty food.

They help seize toxins and usher them out of the body and promote radiant skin and luscious locks thanks to the beta-carotene, selenium, glutathione, zinc, vitamin C and folate they contain.

These little powerhouses of goodness can also alleviate:

Digestive discomfort

Aid poor vision

AND may even prevent osteoarthritis, by slowing the destruction of joint cartilage and interfering with the inflammatory process linked to condition, according to a study in the latest edition of What Doctor’s Don’t Tell You.

If that weren’t enough, recent research suggests that our stomachs ( residence to 80 percent of our immune cells) contain a ‘broccoli receptor.’

In a short video on GreenMedInfo.com Dr. Michael Greger explains that when we eat broccoli – and other cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and mustard greens – it leads to the ‘activation of our immune foot soldiers.’

While the broccoli we eat often suffers from being over-steamed and soggy, broccoli sprouts are left with their enzymes intact and their sharp mustardy flavor provides a pleasing piquance to sandwiches and salads.

But I find the best way to get a regular dose is to simply shove a handful through the juicer.

The online downside to broccoli sprouts? They are fiendishly hard to find. In my experience, Wholefoods stocks them sporadically as do local farmers markets. If you’re having trouble getting hold of them I would highly recommend broccoli sprout juice from Tonic Attack: www.tonicattack.com

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Six Life Saving Tests

January 8, 2014

January is a time when even the most relied upon party-lovers suddenly revel in the opportunity to have a night in, shun alcohol and embrace soups, salads and sushi.

Most of us renew our health vows, get the juicer humming and try to absolve the sins of the silly season through rigorous detox regimes and exercise. It’s dull, but it’s Ok, because everyone’s doing it – see the ubiquity of the following on twitter #5:2 diet #liverflush #greensmoothies.

While a few ‘Kale Mary’s’ might be enough for some, for those who have had cancer, getting on top of their health in the new year often means booking in for blood tests to see how they’re doing. Always scary, never fun, and increasingly confusing with the choice of diagnostic tools currently available.

It’s worth remembering that many routine scans come with the risk of radiation (mammograms, CAT scans, PET scans) and that conventional blood marker tests can be extremely unreliable. To give you just one example, less than twenty five percent of patients with early stage colon cancer show an elevated CEA level.

Thankfully we are living in the dawn of frontier oncology. There are now tests that can detect cancer years earlier than previously thought possible; tests that can pick up tumours at just 1-2mm in size and identify circulating tumour cells before they form a mass in the body.

One in two people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime according to current statistics. Imagine the millions of lives that might be saved if cancer was picked up in micrograms, rather than at the stage of metastasis?

I discuss these groundbreaking tests and techniques in detail in my new book Mum’s Not Having Chemo.  But for those who missed getting their hands on a copy before Christmas (in Australia demand outstripped supply) below you will find some basic details so you can take action, find out what’s really going on, and then make informed resolutions for 2014 that are right for you.


Greece: Research Genetic Cancer Centre (RGCC): At the forefront of molecular oncology, this lab picks up cancer at minute, molecular levels. More specifically RGCC offers analysis of circulating tumour cells and cancer stem cells. These high tech tests can also identify which treatments, both conventional and alternative, will work best for you. That includes a list of the most effective chemotherapy agents as well as the top natural treatments – like IV C, Artemisinin and curcumin – for your cancer. www.rgcc-genlab.com

UK: Dr Wendy Denning in London, www.thehealthdoctors.co.uk and Dr. Nicola Hembry in Bristol www.drhembry.com send patients blood for testing at RGCC in Greece.

Australia: RGCC has a branch in Melbourne which undertakes the sampling and shipping of blood to Greece. www.nutripath.com.au

USA: America Metabolic Laboratories offers sophisticated cancer profiling using a range of blood and urine markers including the PHI test and sensitive HGC test: www.Americanmetaboliclaboratories.net.

Oncoblot: This brand new test only became available in January this year. Dr. Garry Gordon, co-founder of the American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM) says: ‘Oncoblot tells anyone if they have any cancer years before CAT scans or PET scans. It gets it when it is only 1-2mm in size, when I expect nearly 100 per cent can reverse the test.’ www.oncoblotlabs.com

Germany: Biofocus Institute for Laboratory Medicine runs similar tests to RGCC in Greece including analysis of circulating tumour cells, chemo-resistance testing and ‘alternative agent’ testing: www.biofocus.de

Denmark: Humlegaarden Cancer Clinic now offers CellSearch – testing of circulating tumour cells in the blood. www.humlegaarden.com

Japan: Dr. Tsuneo Kobayashi offers early detection – through his Tumour Marker Combination Assay (TMCA) test. Kobayashi, who believes his innovative test could save ‘seven million’ people are year also offers a range of cutting edge therapies for those who travel to his centre in Tokyo. ‘He [Kobayashi] is an unrecognised hero,’ says Dr Thomas Lodi, integrative oncologist and founder of An Oasis of Healing centre in Arizona.

Nobody likes blood tests and it can be so tempting to procrastinate, postpone and jam your fingers in your ears and sing ‘la, la, la’ – rather than discover something you would rather not know.

But knowledge is power and with the smorgasbord of therapies now available to the discerning cancer patient – ozone, hyperthermia, curcumin, PEMF, all of which I discuss in my book – there’s no need to despair whatever the result.

Dr. Garry Gordon, believes sophisticated tests are key: ‘It’s only when people fail a test that they’re going to spend money, change their diet, give up the sugar, start to walk, stop the smoking – nobody is going to do these things until they have a problem.’

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Are you holding your breath while emailing?

December 11, 2013

A little while ago, I made the decision not to look at my inbox until 9 am.

I now try and meditate for ten minutes, exercise (even if it’s just 20 minutes bouncing on the mini tramp) have breakfast and jot down any ideas I have before I hit the emails.

This simple rule has made such a difference to the way I feel and how much I can get done. It gives my body a chance to relax and digest, and my mind the opportunity to roam free, before my thoughts are hijacked by the inbox.

I always assumed it was the distraction of the messages themselves that put paid to productivity, but new research suggests that the act of emailing can literally take your breath away, robbing the brain of the vital oxygen it needs to function properly.

In fact, 80 per cent of people are thought to suffer from ‘email apnoea,’ a phrase coined by Linda Stone, a writer for the Huffington Post.

Apnoea is usually associated with sleeping and is characterized by a sudden pause in breathing – and snoring.

This common condition not only wreaks havoc on your sleep (and possibly relationships) but on your health too.

Shallow breathing, shorter life?

In one recent Spanish study, researchers found that people with severe sleep apnoea had a 65 percent (almost two-thirds) greater risk of developing various types of cancer.

They discovered the missing link was oxygen.

After following 5,200 people for seven years they found that the more oxygen depletion participants experienced at night, the more likely a patient would be diagnosed with cancer during the study.

The link between cancer and low oxygen levels has been known for over 80 years.

The theory was first put forth by the Nobel Prize-winning physician Dr Otto Warburg in the 1930s.  He believed that cancer cells are normal cells that have been forced to adjust to a low oxygen environment in order to survive.

Instead of being aerobic, they become partially aneorobic and become dependent on glucose (sugar) for energy production.

It’s for this reason that so many leading cancer experts recommend oxidative therapies – like intravenous ozone, hydrogen peroxide and rectal ozone – which work at the cellular level to encourage better uptake of oxygen.

Oxidative therapies are real game-changes for cancer patients, and there is barely a week that goes by when I don’t receive a message from someone letting me know how crucial these treatments have been for their recovery.

Just yesterday a lady from Melbourne posted a comment underneath one of my articles, mentioning how she had used ozone therapy, vitamin C and heat therapy to successfully overcome tongue cancer.

In my book Mum’s Not Having Chemo I share how other survivors have benefitted from oxidative therapies and provide the names of practitioners and clinics – around the world – who offer them.

But there are also simple ways you can boost the body’s intake of oxygen -without booking an appointment. You will find a list below…

Top 5 Ways to Oxygenate your Body:

Start humming: Walking and humming dramatically increases oxygen intake, according to Marcus Freudenmann producer of Cancer is Curable NOW: ‘The vibrations from humming soothe the nerves while helping to increase the flow of oxygen through the body,’ he says. There’s even a clinic in Denmark where patients walk through the garden humming and singing twice a day.

Drink your greens: Green vegetable juice has become more ubiquitous than skinny jeans – but it’s more than just a fad. Drinking a potent green cocktail floods the body with vital enzymes, antioxidants and chlorophyll – which improves oxygen transport throughout the body.

Ditch stress: ‘Stress will cause you to take shallow breaths,’ explains New York-based cancer researcher Dr Kelly Turner. ‘After ten years of intense stress, you’ve got cells that have been starved of oxygen enough that their mitochondria might be damaged.’ Dr Turner thinks we can learn a lot from babies: ‘They take these beautiful belly breaths – they sleep a lot, they take naps, they’re not working all day and they’re moving,’ she says.

*Download the APP: Breath Pacer, an iPhone application monitors breathing and displays optimal breathing rates. Slower deeper breathing not only switches on the parasympathic nervous system (think rest and digest) it can also help alkalize the body.

Exercise: ‘One of the best ways to oxygenate the body is by exercising,’ says integrative oncologist Dr Thomas Lodi. Going for a run, doing a few downward dogs or jumping on a mini tramp not only floods your body with oxygen but it also stimulates your lymphatic system – vital for removing toxins from the body – an helps de-clutter your mind, giving it a chance to re-set before it’s reloaded.

Ploughing through emails often feels like a chore, but this week it’s been pure pleasure.

Thanks to a feature in the Sunday Telegraph in Sydney, I have received a slew of messages from alternative health aficionados, natural cancer survivors… and even my old Montessori kindergarten.

I appreciate you taking the time to get in touch and I wish all my new subscribers a very warm welcome.  Many of you have asked where to purchase the book so I’ve created a list below of key stockists.

AUSTRALIA: Dymocks, Collins and The Book Depository. Amazon does not have an Australian warehouse so the shipping costs are very expensive.

UK: Waterstones, WH Smith and Dubray as well as Amazon.co.uk.

AMERICA: The book will be re-released in America by Red Wheel, but for now you can purchase it online at amazon.com

In the meantime I hope you all enjoy the festive season – remember to keep breathing (a few deep breaths before bed might even help the hangover) – and I’ll see you in the New Year!

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‘Science helped me say no to chemo’

November 28, 2013

Some say that mainstream media is going the way of dinosaurs. I tend to disagree.

Although the internet and new media have revolutionized our relationship with news, it’s very easy to get lost in the vortex; and while google and #hashtags might be useful highway guides, there is no satnav for searching, and no direct postcode to help connect those looking for a kindred spirit.

A newspaper or magazine article on the other hand can draw, with magnetic force, thousands of like-minded people together.

Knowing this, I was hugely grateful to those editors who defied the usual blanket silence on alternative cancer therapies and mentioned my book in their pages last month. As a result, I received a flurry of emails from people who, like Mum, had overcome their cancer naturally.

One of them was Cliff Russell, a 6 foot 6 police officer with three science-based degrees who also said ‘no’ to chemo.

Here is his story, in his own words….

Cliff Russell, 46, London

‘I had a particularly bad stage 2 colon cancer with a poor prognosis and I was strongly ‘encouraged’ to undergo chemotherapy.  But, having done my research I knew that chemotherapy wasn’t going to increase my chances of being around in a few years – I actually ended up getting the head oncologist to admit that chemo might ‘theoretically’ only add an extra 2-3% to my 5 year survival chances! I remember thinking at the time that just drinking the odd cup of green tea would probably outperform that statistic.

The point I would like to highlight is that for me, not having chemo was not actually a brave choice, it was actually the most logical and rational choice to make. The real tragedy is that when I asked my oncologist how many patients had rejected his advice to undergo chemotherapy, he said I was the first.

What alternative treatments have you tried since your diagnosis?

I’ve tried a wide range of self-treatments over the last 3.5 years – unfortunately I’ve not really had the money to treat myself any other way.

The constants have been; The love of my wife and family, organic food, a quality multivitamin/mineral, iodine, high dose selenium, high daily doses of Vitamin C and D, trace minerals, as much sunshine as possible, a very low carbohydrate diet, green and white tea, coffee enemas, green vegetable juices and smoothies and about 5mg of melatonin every night.

Along the way I have also dipped in and out of other treatments, including; Raw milk, meditation, visualisation exercises, binaural beats, Far Infra Red Saunas, structured water, ionized water, a grounding sleeping mat, Tai Chi, the Budwig Diet, growing and juicing my own wheatgrass, chlorella, spirulina, St John’s Wort, NAC, glutathione, Beta Glucan, Vitamin B-17, turmeric, fish oil, colloidal silver….you name it, I’ve tried it! I’m also pretty much a teetotaller nowadays.

Which alternative treatments do you think have worked best for you?

I’ve felt that I’ve needed different things at different times. However, the number one thing for me is always maintaining a low carb/sugar (mainly organic) diet – Otto Warburg didn’t win that Nobel Prize for nothing!

I was also lucky to be diagnosed in the Spring, and it was a warm one in 2010, so for 5 months (until I had to go back to work) I spent every spare minute with my shirt off sunbathing – put it down to Vitamin D or celestial photons, whatever it was, the sun really made me feel better, and it has done ever since.

When I’m not sunbathing I take a minimum of 10,000 units of Vitamin D a day, and between 5 to 10 g of vitamin C. Of all the other ‘interventions’ the green juices and smoothies always make me feel great (being a typically ungrateful bloke I have christened them ‘Green B@@tards’) And of course the treatment that dare not speak it’s name…the coffee enema, I feel has been an amazing support. I have some affectionate names for this procedure too…

Were there any surprising benefits from the treatments? For instance some people reach for the coffee enema kit when they feel a headache coming on…

I feel like my immune system is hard as nails now – I’m never ill with colds or flu. Another more profound by-product of my illness has been the ability, most of the time, to put things in perspective. I feel like I have been to the edge, had a quick peek into the abyss, and nothing is going to phase me now.

You mention that you really related to the chapter in my book about the ‘cancer personality.’ Which parts resonated with you?

I’m not sure if everyone who knows me would necessarily agree, but I think I’m the type of person who always wanted to be liked, and by everyone, and all the time. I think the pressure of wanting to be constantly perceived as a ‘nice person’ can take its toll – I now think it’s beneficial to be a selfish git occasionally.

It hasn’t escaped my attention that psychopaths and Nazi war criminals seem to live quite routinely into their 90’s – go figure. What have I done about it? Well, it’s a work in progress, but I do generally spend less time worrying if people like me or not, and I’m much more likely to be honest about my opinions with people.

How have your changed your diet and environment? (i.e. have you got rid of anything in your house that might have hindered your recovery?)

We now cook with titanium-coated cookware- no nasties leaking into our food any more. We also try to only cook with organic coconut oil – but my wife still uses other oils when she thinks I’m not looking. My wife has also chucked out nearly all the household cleaning products and we now clean with ‘Enjo’ microfibre cloths and water. I’ve also learned how to make my own natural soap (for shaving and washing) and deodorant, and I use a chemical free shampoo.

I’ve cut down on my fluoride exposure through a whole house water filter, fluoride-free toothpaste, and a reverse-osmosis drinking water filter. I’ve also recently got a water alkalising machine, as I realised that the RO water comes out very acidic.

I’m still learning about electro-smog issues, but have already ditched our cordless phone for an old-fashioned corded one. The wifi is next on my hit list, but for the time being we always switch it off at night.

What do you believe is the most important factor for healing?

For me everything flows from your attitude. Having a loving family around you helps too. It’s easy to crumble after the initial shock of the diagnosis, I certainly did. I was numb for days.

Luckily my spirit managed to kick back in again, and just in time to make some pretty important decisions. The default pathway for shell-shocked patients would appear to be doing exactly what they are told by their doctors – which isn’t necessarily always the best thing for them. As for chemotherapy? I have realised, certainly for colon cancer, that what is constantly being hailed as a life-saving wonder intervention, is in fact largely a redundant pile of pants (and a very lucrative one at that).

This shattered illusion has naturally led me to take a fresh look at the rest of the world around me, and ask what other pant-like rubbish we are being peddled. How about Quantitative Easing, SSRI’s, Statins, low-fat diets, vaccines, the apparent need for constant wars..

My daughter was a little over 12 months old at the time of my diagnosis, and the thought of her growing up without her dad chilled me to the bone. At a certain point I made a commitment to myself that I would do absolutely anything to maximise my chances of survival, and I haven’t looked back since. So no more carbohydrates, ‘green b@@tards’ for breakfast, some coffee ‘where the sun don’t shine’, bring it on.

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