Q. I was diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago, had chemo- and radiotherapy and have been on tamoxifen since. I don’t feel well and struggle with my weight. Can you suggest a diet that’s not too restrictive?
A. A number of women at your stage of recovery have the same problems (and some men, as 350 to 400 are diagnosed with breast cancer annually in the UK ). Firstly, I suggest reading Karen Hockney’s Breathing Out (Urbane Publications/£7.99), which covers her journey through illness and recovery and the approaches that helped her, including nutrition.
Karen introduced me to nutritional doctor Simone Laubscher, who has experience of supporting cancer patients. (She also works with Elle Macpherson on her WelleCo supplement range.) Here is her advice for someone in your situation: ‘To start feeling better you need a mild detox (mild because tamoxifen, which blocks oestrogen activity, needs to stay in your body). After that, follow an alkaline diet, which promotes good health.
‘All our body’s systems work in a delicate balance between acid and alkaline. In the early stages of imbalance, symptoms are moderate such as skin eruptions, headaches, sinus problems, allergies and a weak immune system. Disease seems to thrive in an acidic environment. Also, the more acidic our body, the more we crave junk foods and feel continually sluggish.
‘The detox involves two weeks of eating only plant-based foods and drinking lots of water. Avoid caffeine, sugar, dairy, meat and fish, gluten, alcohol and fizzy or diet drinks. Include specific nutrients, which are detailed in the box below. I also suggest booking three lymphatic drainage massages and four colonic hydrotherapy sessions (or home coffee enemas).
‘After your detox, you can include more fun foods and a daily glass of red wine. I recommend Forks Over Knives: The Cookbook by Del Sroufe (The Experiment/£12.99).
‘Stress and a lack of exercise can also make your body acidic. Practise yoga and meditation, and introduce 45-minute cardio exercise sessions, four times a week, so you eliminate toxins through perspiration’.
DAILY DIET SUPPORT
During and after detox, add the following to your meals:
• 2 tsp organic turmeric powder
• 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
• 6-8 cloves of garlic, raw or slightly cooked
Blend these in a smoothie:
• 2 tbsp Granovita Organic Milled Flaxseed Powder/£5.95
• 2 tsp Lamberts Cranberry Complex Powder/£12.50
• 2 tsp organic supergreens, such as Pukka Organic Clean Greens Powder/£25.45, all victoriahealth.com) or WelleCo The Super Elixir Alkalising Greens Trial Pack/£36, welleco.co.uk). Also, every day sip 2 cups of Birt and Tang Detox Herbal Tea, with dandelion, milk thistle and other herbs/£4.08 at victoriahealth.com).
For further advice and sample meal plans, visit mailonline.co.uk/you.
Sip Dr. Laubscher’s Rejuv Tonic first thing during the detox: to 500ml warm water add the juice of ½ a lime, a pinch each of cayenne pepper and turmeric, and fresh grated ginger to taste.
With decorative tights and leggings super-fashionable this winter, it is a good time to plan any varicose vein surgery. As well as looking unsightly, varicose veins can cause aching or tingling legs and pain while standing, according to vascular surgeon John Scurr (jscurr.com). Consult your GP as treatment may be available on the NHS. It is also the time to consider starting laser hair reduction. A course of treatment with the Ellipse Nordlys laser system usually consists of six to eight sessions for half-legs, with several weeks between each one. For more details and to find your nearest Ellipse clinic, visit ellipseuk.com.
WEBSITE OFTHE WEEK: movember.com
It is time to encourage male partners to ‘grow a mo’ in aid of the Movember Foundation, for research into male cancers and other illnesses. Moustache or not, we can all raise funds by taking the Move for Movember challenge (that is, any sponsored, fitness-related goal you want to set yourself) or hosting an event. Have fun, save lives.