Wednesday, 23 April 2014


Water is so vital to our existence that we can only survive a few days without it before we die, yet many of us are chronically dehydrated. Up to 70% of an adult's body weight is water, making it the largest single substance in the human body. We need water for almost every bodily function: it carries nutrients into the cells, carries waste from the cells, speeds lymph flow, regulates body temperature, aids food digestion and helps to lubricate joints. Dehydration at a cellular level is the beginning of disease. Cells protect themselves against further devastating dehydration by coating themselves with cholesterol. This short term solution causes long term problems, as effective cell communication and regulation is vastly diminished.

There is no one thing you can do to improve your pH more quickly than hydrating, and yet we've learned to silence our thirst with liquids which sate our palette, but do not rehydrate us. Tea, coffee, soft drinks and bottled juices are often our first point of call when we feel thirsty, yet most of these drinks are actually diuretics (they irritate the bladder wall, creating more urgency to urinate, and in the process dehydrate rather than hydrate us). Even green tea, touted as a cancer healer due to it's high antioxident levels, falls into this category. Despite it's health giving benefits, it can actually be depleting if drunk in excess. 

Ideally adults should drink up to 2 litres of water a day (but never more than 2 pints in an hour which is dangerous as it can flood the system). Unfortunately, nowadays we must be mindful of where we source our water. Modern cities recycle tap water and much of it contains drug residues, hormones (from the birth control pill), heavy metals, toxic organic compounds (pesticides and herbicides) as well as added chemicals like chlorine and fluoride. All of these substances are toxic to the body, suppress the immune system and are potent endochrine disruptors. Bottled water may seem like a safe solution, but it's best avoided as plastics can leach xeno-oestrogens. 

There seems as yet to be no one ideal filtration system. A Reverse Osmosis unit is the most effective method (the same as is used for bottled water). It removes chlorine, fluoride, heavy metals, and (some) oestrogen (important for those of us with hormone sensitive cancer). However it strips necessary minerals, creating acidic water and a lot of wastage. Ionisers on the other hand, alkalise water (a great aid to detoxification) but are ineffective at removing heavy metals and hormones. Carbon based whole house filters remove chlorine and organic compounds but the water produced is inferior to drinking water, and is instead intended for bathing and washing. However when you learn that we absorb more chlorine though our skin than we do from drinking, the importance of a whole house filter becomes apparent. In the words of Dr Mercola "When you heat the water, in your shower, your bath, your dishwasher or your sink, you are releasing chlorine, DPBs, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), pesticides, herbicides – all of it – into the air you breathe! And onto your skin, your body's greatest tool for absorbing chemicals. It's true. By taking a seven-minute shower you are exposed to more chlorine, DPBs, and VOCs alone than by drinking a gallon of tap water" 

I've prioritised water filtration as a necessary part of my healing regime. Having recently moved, I'm relying on a colloidal silver jug filter until I can reinstall my all-singing, all-dancing filtration system (a whole house filter so that we can bathe and shower in chlorine-free water, an RO unit for clean, oestrogen-free drinking water, and an Ioniser to counter the RO unit's acidity). This combination is not without problems; the flow is incredibly slow, and we waste a lot of water. However, I've found it works for us, and gives me peace of mind. 

One important thing to remember is that water dilutes stomach acid, so try to avoid drinking (anything) for 20 minutes before a meal, and 40 minutes after.

Finally, if anyone based in the UK has found a good water technician, or system installer PLEASE let me know!!!!

Monday, 14 April 2014

New Life

Since I've moved to Lewes I really believe that I am going to survive cancer. That's not to say that in London I thought I was going to die, I never really believed that I was going to die of cancer, but believing in living is a whole different thing.

Here I feel surrounded by nature, welcomed by the generosity of new friends and comforted by like-minds. After diagnosis I had a strong desire to see the horizon, to be grounded in the vastness of nature and to feel small under a big sky. This new life fulfils those needs. To be near the sea and to sense the tides makes me feel connected again. 

It's truly beautiful here, and gratitude plays a huge part in healing. The sense of contentment and deep happiness I feel should not be underestimated. These strong, positive emotions release endorphins, dopamine and oxytocin, which lower blood pressure, reduce cortisol and increase immune function. Conversely, feeling depressed and discontented creates dis-ease. 

Every day I am grateful. I am happy, surrounded by love and contentment. This move could possibly be my most effective healing protocol yet!

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

All healing begins in the gut

In my quest to redress my body's weaknesses, I discovered that I have Leaky Gut Syndrome. Simply put, the lining of the gut is more porous than it should be, allowing food proteins, bacteria and fungi to seep into the blood. The immune system responds by attacking. It flags these uninvited invaders as the enemy, leading to food allergies, asthma, eczema and other auto-immune diseases.

We have a delicate balance of over 1000 species of good and bad bacteria in our gastro-intestinal tract. In fact the bacteria that live within us create a 'super body' of over 100 trillion cells (a number ten times greater than the total number of human cells in the body) weighing over 2 lbs in the average adult. An imbalance in these microbial communities (known as microbial dysbiosis) has been implicated in various human diseases including obesity, diabetes, and colon cancer. This link has long been known - over 2000 years ago Hippocrates stated that "all disease begins in the gut."

Good bacteria help to break down food, and synthesise important vitamins like B and K. They also keep bad bacteria and candida in check, whilst being beneficial to the immune system.

It's worth noting that a leaky gut is no longer efficient. Eating a nutrient rich diet, and supplementing with high quality vitamins and minerals is pointless if absorption is poor. "You are what you absorb" would be a more accurate saying than "you are what you eat!"

Leaky gut can be caused by many things. Gluten and dairy are prime culprits, as are certain viruses and parasites. Sugar is a key offender as it feeds the bad bacteria at the expense of the good. Anti-biotics wipe out our good bacteria, and stress, salt, flouride and chlorine also negatively impact them.

When attempting to heal the gut, a good place to start is to consult Dr Natasha Campbell McBride's GAPS (Gut And Psychology Syndrome) diet. She devised this diet as a natural treatment for autism, ADHD, dyslexia, depression, and schizophrenia, highlighting how important a role the gut plays in our psychological health. She recommends cutting out ALL grains, sugar and potatoes, as well as other vegetables in the nightshade family which can exacerbate leaky gut due to their high lectin content. Sally Fallon's book Nourishing Traditions is another bible when it comes to learning about gut health.

Here are some things that you can do to heal the delicate lining of the gut:

  • Eliminate gluten, dairy, grains and sugar.
  • Take good quality pre-biotics and probiotics twice a day (look for a multi strain of 50 billion live cells).
  • Take digestive enzymes before each meal. This will help your gut to effectively break down food into usable molecules.
  • Eat a diet rich in natural probiotics (kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha and other fermented foods) just before every meal to repopulate the gut and aid digestion. You can even rectally implant kefir grains and probiotics. 
  • Drink linseed tea. It's fantastically hydrating, and lines the gut. (It also makes an incredibly soothing enema).
  • If you're a meat eater, bone broths are an impeccable way of re-introducing healthy flora, and GI repairing collagen into the gut. (See Sally Fallon for details)
  • Organic raw milk, butter and yoghurt contain healthy micro-organisms helpful in healing the gut, but remember to eat in moderation as they contain IGF1 (insulin-like growth factor which encourages cancer cells to grow).
  • L-glutamine is an anti-inflammatory, essential amino acid necessary for the growth and repair of the intestinal lining.
  • Coconut products are high in medium chain fatty acids, and are anti-microbial, anti-fungal and anti-viral. They target harmful bacteria in the gut without killing the beneficial ones. Try eating coconut oil, and coconut milk kefir.
Once the gut is healed (which can take months to years!) food intolerances and allergies will dissipate, the immune system will strengthen and the body will once again be able to absorb nutrients effectively.