Saturday, 28 February 2009

A Day out With Vicky

Face Care - The Natural Way
I had a really great day yesterday. My friend and I went on a day course to Harlow Carr Gardens run by Siobhan and Rob from Pringle and Fairweather called "Face Care - The Gentle Way". It was all about making your own face creams and cleansers using natural products. It was terrific, and I made loads of potions. I made two different cleansers - one for me and one for my daughter (if she can be persuaded to try it !). I also made a facial scrub. I don't use scrubs myself, but it may come in handy for my gardening hands later this year. Then I made a green tea toner - I'm going to use it in a spray bottle for when my hot flushes overcome me in the night ! After that we broke for lunch. In the afternoon we made a moisturizer. My first attempt wasn't too successful, but my second one turned out better. Perhaps I need to be a little more accurate in my measuring, and it's just a little tricky getting the oil and water to emulsify. I learned that they both need to be at between 70 - 80 degrees, and within about 5 degrees of each other. We finished by making a lip salve. What a day!! And I got to spend it with my friend. I would definitely do it again, though I might do some research beforehand on essential oils. Being sensitive about oestrogen, and as many plants contain phyto-oestrogens, I might try to find time to check on the oils that would be most appropriate for me. ( I didn't mention my condition as some people get a bit anxious about letting you use essential oils if you mention the C word - and what is life if it doesn't smell nice !?! Some people (who should know better !) do have dire fears of the hazards of some of these oils, whilst at the same time being perfectly happy pushing toxic chemotherapy agents at you !!I think you have to be guided by your own common sense and just do a bit of research.) Let's face it, there's going to be less chemicals in the lotions and potions I made than in anything you buy in the shops. And it was fun to make them.There were glass bottles and jars and tins available to decant and package our precious elixirs in, and I came away with a bagful of goodies. They're all nestling in my fridge at the moment. Rob and Siobhan couldn't have been friendlier or more helpful . There was a wide range - and I mean wide ! - of oils and essential oils to choose from and we all came away with a recipe booklet so that we can make them again at home. I love this kind of kitchen alchemy, and feel a lot more confident having been guided through it. I now smell sweetly of lavender, ylang- ylang and frankincense

Pringle and Fairweather are a Cumbrian based company and can be found at
They sell a range of hand creams, body butters, soaps, and bath products. All produced by hand, in small batches and with healthy skin in mind. They've come to making these products from a similar angle to myself and that really reassures and resonates with me.

The day wouldn't have been the same without Vicky. We had a girly day together and managed to catch up which isn't always easy. It's difficult finding time when we are both busy.But it was really nice to share the day with a friend. As I say, it was just a great day. I hope we do it again soon. I'll have to find something else to stimulate and excite us !

It's just struck me that you might like to know what I put in my magic potions, and I may need to refer back, so below is my aide memoire :

Stimulating Milk and Honey Scrub Cleanser :
ground almonds
dried goats milk
runny honey
Sweet almond oil
Ylang-Ylang and Geranium essential oils

Avocado and Aloe Vera Cleansing Oil :
Macadamia oil
Jojoba oil
Avocado oil
sweet almond oil
vitamin E oil
Aloe Vera
Vegetable Glycerin
Geranium, Frankincense, and Lavender essential oils
(someone in the group added chamomile essential oil and the cleanser turned a lovely shade of green )

Almond Scrub :
sweet almond oil
ground almonds
cider vinegar
distilled water
lavender essential oil ( palma rosa oil was also recommended)

Green Tea Toner :
green tea
ylang-ylang essential oil

Super Hydrating Cream :
apricot kernel oil
olive oil
aloe vera juice
vitamin E oil
rosewood, lavender, and frankincense essential oils

Serum for Mature Skins :
macadamia oil
rosehip oil
evening primrose oil
jojoba oil
borage seed oil
sandalwood, carrot seed, lavender and vitamin E essential oils

Lip Balm / Rescue Salve :
cocoa butter
sweet almond oil
hemp seed oil
caster oil

Friday, 27 February 2009

Wheatgrass Juice

Today my wheat grass was tall enough to be juiced. I got my scissors and gave it a little haircut, fed it through the juicer, and decanted it into my best crystal liquore glass. It looked pretty - an emerald green with a pretty foam on the top edges. The taste... the taste... There are no words in the English language to describe the taste. It is truly indescribable, and not in a good way. I added carrot juice to make it a little more palatable, and two carrots later I could indeed drink it. This drink is widely reputed to have profound health giving properties. It must be true, because no one would otherwise be persuaded to regularly imbibe it. I have grown LOADS of it !! At least I will be forced to continue juicing it to get rid of the stuff ! You might say it's an acquired taste, but I doubt that. It's two years since I've been juicing cabbage and broccoli, and whilst I'm used to it, and have learnt how to soften the flavour, I can't say I now crave the stuff. However, considering how many people swear by wheat or barleygrass juices, it must indeed be very good for you. It is packed full of antioxidants and chlorophyll which is incredibly similar to the blood plasma, or so I have read. It is regularly used at The Hippocrates Institute where I believe it is viewed as a mainstay of the cancer fighting regime. It's medicine, and medicine is often unpalatable. Whats more, the health giving properties are at their best within the first 15 minutes of pressing. Consequently I am getting medicine that is of a very high calibre, and that is generally unavailable on the N.H.S. The cost and inconvenience of obtaining it would be prohibitive. It also requires a special juicing machine, though there are inexpensive hand cranked models available for anyone who would like to give it a try and include it in their strategy. Basically it is a luxury and I intend to view it as such. It would cost a great deal to go and get it at a spa which is the only place I can think of that I would be able to find it. So whether it tastes good or not is irrelevant, it's good for me and it's a luxury. The grass doesn't have to die to give me this essence, but it must hurt a bit. I am grateful for it and will honour it's medicinal qualities each morning.

The Science

This is where I remind myself why this stuff is so good for me, and why I decided I should grow LOADS of it !!?!

  • Oxygenating the Blood and Body and Cells

"When compared to a molecule of hemoglobin, the oxygen carrier in human blood, chlorophyll is almost identical. The major difference ... is that the nucleus of chlorophyll contains magnesium (Mg), whereas hemoglobin contains iron (Fe)"

The Hippocrates Diet and Health Programme by Ann Wigmore

Chlorophyll then is important in the oxygenation of the body. It has been established ( by Nobel prize winner Otto Warberg ) that cancer cells live anaerobically (in other words whereas our healthy cells are fuelled with oxygen, cancer cells, those unhealthy and confused cells, are fuelled by sugar fermentation and make no use of oxygen .) Most cancer regimes focus on re oxygenating the body through numerous methods - exercise, deep breathing, and eating oxygenating foods,wheatgrass being one of the better sources.

  • Alkalising the Body

Wheatgrass also, in common with other vegetables and fruits is alkalising, and cancer prefers, and indeed creates its own alkaline environment. A shot of wheatgrass/barleygrass quickly alkalises and de-acidifies. This is important in creating an unfriendly environment for cancer ( Encouraging it to pack it's bags and go. ). What's more, as I am on Arimidex and Zoladex treatment, known to strip your bones of calcium, (I've read somewhere - can't remember exactly where at the present - that you can lose the equivalent of 7 years worth of post menopausal bone loss in ONE year if you are taking Arimidex!) it's really important to stay as alkaline as possible. If your body is acidic it will hunt for the mineral calcium to re balance and alkalise. Calcium is what your body uses to neutralise the acid. Where does your body store large amounts of calcium ? Yep, your BONES ! That's why you lose bone density. ( Incidentally, eating protein and carbohydrate push your body toward acidity - I'll post on this another time.) So being aware of how acidic / alkaline my body is figures high on my list.

  • Maximising Nutrients

The nutrients contained in wheatgrass couldn't be obtained by eating it ( who would want to ?! ), but they are easily available and digestable in juice form.

  • Creating a healing calming environment.

I have read recently in a magazine that simply growing wheatgrass beside your bed creates an environment conducive to sleep and that it will assist you in getting a good nights uninterrupted sleep. I haven't tried that yet, but will let you know. If it works I will be festooning my windowsills with the stuff, and will have to drink it till it's coming out of my ears.

Postscript :- 7th March

I've now juiced it a few times with organic apple and this makes a tremendous difference !! It's palatable, though I don't like the smell as I juice the grass. The apple is a luxury, and it truly transforms the drink. It helps that the apples ( from Tesco's at the moment ) are quite large and are very flavourful, but they are a help in my transition period. I drink out of a crystal wine glass, so the concentration is more dilute, but I'll work towards increasing the proportion of wheatgrass as I go on.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Pat Reeves, nutritional therapist

Visiting Pat was a motivating and valuable experience. She was all I could have hoped she'd be. I didn't know what to expect when I arranged to see her. All I really knew was that she had been successfully fighting cancer herself for thirty years and I had been looking for someone who fit that kind of description since I was diagnosed myself. It is difficult to find long term survivors to speak to in person. They seem to go to ground so to speak. And the complication is that whilst there are many people who know someone who has survived, there are so many different types and stages of cancer that your own survival means different things to each cancer patient. We all want to find someone who has had the same or worse than ourselves and has lived to tell the tale. That's where I look for hope. people who defy the oncologists dire scenario's. Pat ticked my boxes. Pat is dynamite wrapped in a petite body. What's more, she was incredibly generous with her time and advice. I count myself fortunate to have found her.

One of the areas that Pat understands is bone health, having fought cancer and osteoporosis herself. She suggested that I add exercise to my daily life, and not just any exercise, but resistance training ( with some kind of weight, even in the form of a can of beans. ) I was given a sheet with seven simple exercises that she herself started with and that should take no more than seven or eight minutes to do. I was instructed to do them two to three times a day. But the most valuable advice she gave was in how to view exercise, how to think of it in such a way that I would actually DO IT !! What was this great wisdom that Pat imparted ? Simplicity itself.

Think of exercise as you do food. You wouldn't think of eating on just Monday and Wednesday. Exercise as often as you eat.

That's it. Simple. I've not thought of it in this way before. I've always viewed it as tedious and time consuming, needing at least twenty minutes before I even start to get any benefit. So my plan is to do those exercises before breakfast and dinner. If I can also do them or something active around lunchtime so much the better. Associate exercises with food. Doesn't that make sense ? It sounds a little TOO easy ! We'll just have to see how I go on. I'll keep you posted. It's a bit like the concept of browsing as a way of eating ... little and often. I take vegetable juice and vitamin C this way( every three or four hours ), constantly replenishing my reserves. I just need to add these exercises to that routine. That is do-able! And with the days getting longer, I'll feel more enthusiastic about moving. I do seem to hibernate in the dark, cold, wet months. Roll on Spring and sunshine !!

It's just a pity that I came down with a bad cold as soon as I got home, and don't feel like doing much of anything. It's not quite as easy as it sounds !!! Still, I'm starting to pull out of it now, so as soon as I can breathe freely I'll be going for it

If you are interested, Pat's website can be found at She has a resource called ' Blessings For You ' which is really worth a read.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

The Elixir of Life

Today's recipe is for my alkalising, super nourishing, enzyme and chlorophyll rich juice. I have adapted this juice recipe over the last year or so. I have changed the recipe and refined it , and I will continue to do so. When I started I just used carrots and apples. It was a good place to start because it tasted good, and it looked nice. I then changed the eating apple to a cooking apple,( they were falling of our trees ) and it tasted better. The sharpness in the apple and the sweetness of the carrot worked well together. I also felt great using our own organic apples. ( Have you noticed that there are NO organic baking apples in the supermarkets ?!! ) But our apples don't keep for very long and again I was changing the recipe. I started including broccoli and cabbage - widely known to contain cancer busting properties. Unfortunately, the drink created is browny green in colour which doesn't look too inviting, and is an aquired taste. My most recent recipe uses spinach or cucumber to soften the flavour, though the colour is still a little muddy. It's not Gerson's recipe, but I can't get hold of the quantity or quality of produce that his therapy requires. I hope to grow more of the vegetables he recommends in the summer, but for now my juice is determined by what's in the supermarket.

I call this drink the elixir of life because it has such life enhancing properties, and because the plants have given their life essence into the juice - just for me !! That thought makes the drink more palatable, whatever it tastes of.


carrots I use 1 kg a day at present

other vegetables as available :
you get the idea

I juice all at once in the morning, and decant it into small glass bottles and keep them in the fridge to drink through the day. I make between 1 ltr. and 1 1/2 ltrs a day. This gives me a steady stream of nutrients and ensures my body moves toward an alkaline state all day long.

Get Off Your Fat Butt, Woman !!

It's a good day for a walk, but I'm tired, It's cold, and I just want to do this first. There's always a but. Do I really need to exercise ? Of course I do, and seeing as I'm taking a daily tablet of bone sapper, it's probably more important than at any time in my life. But I always have an excuse to put it off. I was thinking about it this morning and tried to figure out why, despite my knowing how important it is for my life and my body, I avoid it like the plague. Firstly, I admit it, I'm lazy. I don't like being cold, (and it is cold out there ) and I don't like being hot (and exercise and hot flushes make me hot, hot, hot, but not in a good way ! ). I think also I'm a little frightened of any exercise other than walking. What if the increased blood flow feeds the cancer ? What if the cancer makes a new blood supply ? What if the cancer spreads in the blood coursing round my body ? What if the cancer dislodges while I'm doing sit ups and flies around to somewhere else ? The only exercise I can admit to doing is walking. Walking is gentle exercise, and I don't picture anything bad happening, but it's time consuming. And I have been having a case of the guilts, tied in to my fears for the future ( I'm past the two year mark now and that's past my sell by date !! ) So the time has come to get over myself and get some kind of exercise plan together. I'm seeing someone next week who is a nutritional coach, body builder, and cancer fighter herself. I'm hoping that she will act as inspiration and guide. I suppose that is why my mind turned to why I don't exercise. Let's face it, the subject is bound to come up, and it's the biggest omission in my strategy so far. But, I find it really hard making a commitment. It's my birthday on Tuesday, so by the end of this week I will have a new strategy in place and I will be exercising. Stay tuned for my updates.

sprouted seeds

I have decided to try making wheat grass juice. I vaguely remember being somewhere where they sold it some time in the dim and distant past - some trendy place I really can't remember. It was trendy some years ago and I wanted to know what it was all about. All I can remember is that it tasted awful !! Anyway, since my memory is so hazy and since I have been reading compelling reasons to juice it, I have decided to give it a go. I bought two packets of sprouting seeds and soaked them overnight in a jam jar of water, and then drained and rinsed them well. I then left them in my little seed sprouter - a plastic box with drainage holes - for another night or two, and then sprinkled them over compost two days ago and covered them with a black seed tray to exclude light. I've unveiled them this morning and exposed them to the light and a little fresh air. They're now sitting on my windowsill all ready to grow on. They're at that furry stage at the moment. I wonder how long it will take them to grow long enough to cut. It's surprising how maternal you can feel over a few sprouted seeds. I have cabbage and beet sprouting in a dark cupboard in my kitchen as well, and I find myself talking to the beets, who are not sprouting yet. The cabbage are showing tiny specks of life. It's very satisfying to have brought some dried up seeds to life. I also started off some radish and spicy fenugreek yesterday. What I'm having trouble with is knowing what quantities to grow. I dare say I'll learn.

Why have I only just started sprouting seeds? I actually was sprouting seeds when I finished the chemotherapy and got a little strength back. But I read that Max Gerson (of The Gerson Therapy) believed that sprouted seeds had an immature enzyme that could be harmful to cancer patients. I also read that alfalfa (if I remember correctly ) was particularly bad. So I stopped sprouting. But as I'm feeling stronger and I'm also not seeing any change in my condition I think it's time to step my nutrition up a notch. And as sprouted seeds are powerhouses just chock full of nutrients I am going to start eating them again. It's also gardening for the winter months !! It just needs a little organisation and the capacity to remember to rinse the little darlings every morning and every night. Routine is the key for me. If I can just include it in my morning routine - Essiac tea, water seedlings, make juice, make porridge. Sounds easy doesn't it !

Sunday, 8 February 2009

What's for Breakfast ?

Today , like every day, my journey begins to a healthier life. I have done enough reading to know that there are many many benefits to eating a largely raw diet. There's the vitamins, the minerals, the enzymes, and maybe there's a magic in it too. Something not yet identified under the microscope, something of life's energy. I don't feel a need to know all the specifics, but clearly a largely raw vegan diet will create an alkaline, well nourished, and oxygenated environment for my body as well as flooding it with cancer busting enzymes. I have read that having cancer is an indication that my body was/is acidic, that it was poorly nourished, and that somewhere along the way I may also have had less than optimum levels of oxygen in my body's cells. That's got to change, and has changed over the last two years. But !! There's still lots of room for iimprovement. I will be going into a little detail about all these factors in later posts. Today let's just get onto my first recipe.


2 TBSP. OATS (raw if you can find them )


1 tsp. CINNAMON ( or nutmeg, cardamom, cloves, etc. )

1 APPLE chopped



NUTS (almonds or walnuts )

Apricot kernals , ground


Soak the porridge overnight in the fridge ( if using raw oats) , otherwise use hot water in the morning. I like the creamy consistency and warm comfort of hot porridge, but nutritionally, raw is better.

Grind the flax seeds and the apricot kernals together in a coffee grinder. I found a nifty little one at lakeland plastic. I give it ten pulses and I'm done !

I mix in the cinnamon, or cloves, or nutmeg, whatever spices I'm using into the porridge. They give taste, aroma, and some contain vitamin B17, and some have anti-parasitic properties.

If using raw, cold porridge the ground seeds can be mixed in at this stage. If the porridge is hot scatter the diced/chopped apple over the top. Follow this with a sprinkling of seeds and nuts, and then sprinkle over the groound seeds.

A word about heat:

Raw food (vegetables, fruits, seeds, grains ) contains enzymes. Enzymes are also created in our bodies and are used to help break down and digest food. One reason for eating as much raw food as you can is to bring in to the body enzymes from the foods we eat. This assists the body by supplementing it's own supply. Heat destroys enzymes at temperatures exceeding 104 degrees F. So cooking above these temperatures ( and all my cooking is at much higher temperatures ! ) destroys these substances. You can see these enzymes at work in your kitchen laboratory. Try marinating fish in lemon juice. The lemon "cooks" the fish. Try pineapple on meat. Pineapple contains the enzyme bromelain which breaks down protein. Pineapple popularly goes well with cheese, again a protein.