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I do not in any way claim to be an expert on food. Nor do I in any way claim to be an expert on biology or the workings of the human body. I am simply a former Army Officer struck down by a beast of a brain tumour that had grown so very slowly, undetected for 15 years after a blunt force trauma sustained during my military service. A brain tumour that has grown to such a size that it could not be shrunk, killed or cured. It was so deep into the brain that they could not remove any more than 40% of the original bulk. So I was left with a tumour the size of a tarantula spider, or a small hand, that had pushed the centre line of my brain all the way over to just above my left ear. The brain had amazingly adapted and adjusted as the tumour grew so very slowly, which was how it had remained undetected until a chance discovery 9 months after leaving the Army. That chance discovery came in the nick of the time as just 6 months after discovery the tumour jumped to a much more aggressive and faster growing beast that also triggered epilepsy. It was classed as terminal and came with a prognosis that grew shorter the more opinions I sought. Yet, while I have a further five years to wait until I can be absolutely sure, the beast that could not be shrunk, killed or cured, appears to have disappeared completely from the scans on which we had previously been monitoring it. I am completely convinced that I have beaten the beast through a process of intense medical treatment reinforced by a holistic approach to my healing. I tried the fad diets, in fact I tried just about every flavour of the month when it came to beating cancer, and tried them all so intensely that I not only needed an entire course of treatment, in order to put out the fires that I had lit within my body by shocking it so through food, but I learned a huge amount from the advice and guidance of the brilliant consultants in oncology, diet, physical health, epilepsy and psychological health working within the NHS. From that experience comes much learned wisdom that I wish to share with you to give you hope, inspiration and encouragement that you really can make the impossible possible and beat your beast. Any statements of fact come only from the three websites I found to be the best for advice and guidance on living with and beating cancer and will be attributed as such. The NHS Choices website, the MacMillan Cancer Care Website and the Cancer Research UK Website. Where it is just an understanding that I have developed from much research and experience I will prefix this with ‘My understanding is’. But the key point to remember is fundamentally that I am convinced that I have beaten the beast, but I have made many mistakes on the way that caused me much pain and discomfort. So I hope you will listen and act on this shared wisdom but stress that before you launch yourself on a strategy that you design to beat your beast, from the information that I provide in my website and these blogs, that you check with your GP or medical team first.

Lunch, ready to be devoured!
Lunch, ready to be devoured!

While I focussed my strategy on my particular brain tumour I have grown to understand through further research and reading, that my strategy to beat my beast of a brain tumour based on the 5Fs of support of Family and Friends, Eating the right Foods, Conducting regular Physical Training, having a positive Focus and having a total Faith and belief that you can be healed, is actually a strategy that will help in the prevention and curing of many types of beast, be it in the form of brain tumours, or neurological conditions such as MS or other brain related diseases such as dementia, or other diseases, conditions or ailments such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, high or low blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, obesity, failure of one or more vital organs, the loss of one or more senses, back pain or joint problems or musculoskeletal disease, circulatory problems, a muscle-wasting disease, mental health problems, growing old too quickly, or a combination of problems. We are most certainly what we eat and can be helped to heal by what we eat or certainly made very ill by what we eat or don’t eat. So what foods we eat and how much of it we eat is extremely important in seeking to maintain or improve health, or simply to beat the beast of a disease or ailment that has set already set root within us. As a result many well-meaning and very clever fads and ideas have sprouted out of a burning desire to improve health and life chances. Most of the diets and fads are brilliantly and convincingly written but fail, I think, to address the fundamental principles of the miraculous design of the human body. A body that has been designed and evolved over many millennia to function in certain physical ways, a body that has been designed to be kept healthy through physical activity combined with the food we eat, which is also essential for fuelling the healing process. We must remember that man has been designed and has evolved as an omnivore that would roam the savannahs foraging for fruit and vegetable food or driving his flocks and herds onto new pasture while also having the occasional bursts of intense physical activity as he hunts his prey for meat or fights to keep his territory. These activities provide the balance of foods needed in the diet to keep Homo Sapiens, us, healthy and fuelled while also providing the physical activity needed to pump the cleansing systems, such as the lymph system, while boosting the body’s natural and very effective defence system, the immune system. So in understanding the needs of the human body we can start to understand how to build a strategy to keep us healthy or to get us back to health when struck down with disease, sickness or just general ill or failing health. So I am going to sort the wheat from the chaff and endeavour to simmer down a hugely complex area into a simple ready reckoner on food. What, How and Why to eat it.

This chapter is focused on food. A simple subject about which there has been much study over the centuries and as a result the more one tries to learn about diet and food, the more complicated the whole sphere appears to be. I have certainly found myself down a number of rabbit holes in trying to get to the bottom of one particular area or another about diet and food, so I intend to make my learned wisdom on food and it’s integration into your holistic strategy for the maintenance of health, or the defeat of a diagnosed condition as simple and as sensible as possible. So I am going to start by busting some firmly held myths about food and the defeat of disease with a So What? After each myth busted.

MYTHS

  1. Superfoods: Blueberries, beetroot, broccoli, garlic, green tea… the list goes on. Despite thousands of websites claiming otherwise, there’s no such thing as a ‘superfood’. It’s a marketing term used to sell products and has no scientific basis. (Cancer Research UK) So What? While a lot of these “superfoods” are very useful in assisting in the defeat of disease, this confirms my understanding that a holistic approach to the defeat of disease is required and that a holistic approach to a healthy diet is required and that there is No Silver Bullet. To prevent or defeat disease we really must move more, eat better and live better according to my 5Fs.
  2. Acidic Diets: Some myths about cancer are surprisingly persistent, despite flying in the face of basic biology. One such idea is that overly ‘acidic’ diets cause your blood to become ‘too acidic’, which can increase your risk of cancer. Their proposed answer: increase your intake of healthier ‘alkaline’ foods like green vegetables and fruits (including, paradoxically, lemons).

    This is biological nonsense. True, cancer cells can’t live in an overly alkaline environment, but neither can any of the other cells in your body. (Cancer Research UK) So What? To try and defeat any disease through an acid to alkali diet is extremely bad for your health and is not going to work. This confirms my understanding that a holistic approach to the defeat of disease is required and that a holistic approach to a healthy diet is required and that there is No Silver Bullet. To prevent or defeat disease we really must move more, eat better and live better according to my 5Fs strategy as reinforcement to the brilliance of modern medical science.
  3. Sugar Feeds Cancer: Another idea we see a lot is that sugar apparently ‘feeds cancer cells’, suggesting that it should be completely banished from a patient’s diet.

    This is an unhelpful oversimplification of a highly complex area that we’re only just starting to understand.

    ‘Sugar’ is a catch-all term. It refers to a range of molecules including simple sugars found in plants, glucose and fructose. The white stuff in the bowl on your table is called sucrose and is made from glucose and fructose stuck together. All sugars are carbohydrates, commonly known as carbs – molecules made from carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Carbs – whether from cake or a carrot – get broken down in our digestive system to release glucose and fructose. These get absorbed into the bloodstream to provide energy for us to live.

    All our cells, cancerous or not, use glucose for energy. Because cancer cells are usually growing very fast compared with healthy cells, they have a particularly high demand for this fuel. There’s also evidence that they use glucose and produce energy in a different way from healthy cells. (Cancer Research UK) So What? We should not avoid fruits and vegetables on the basis that they contain sugar (glucose) and that is bad for us. Our bodies need a small amount of sugar for energy as do our brains, so eat lots of fruit and vegetables, as part of a balanced daily diet, for their whole body benefits including the small amount of sugar that they contain, and that the body and brain needs to function. However we do need to reduce dramatically the amount of sugar in our diet as it is this over consumption of sugar that is fuelling the increase in Diabetes and obesity. So avoid fizzy drinks and processed foods that are packed full of sugar and add a lot less of it to our food while we cook. So a little sugar is a necessary thing but a lot of sugar is a bad thing and risks the development of further ill health.

NEEDS

Our bodies have a need for a long list of different types of nutrients in order to work properly and stay healthy. There is a huge amount of information across the internet on diets that claim to give you the best possible chances of a long and healthy life or to actually beat disease on their own, and as we have seen from the Myths we busted earlier a number of these diets or ‘fads’ can actually be extremely bad if not dangerous for your health. Having tried many of these diets or ‘ways of life’ such as a Raw Vegan Diet and a juicing diet et al I can say from the pain of bitter experience after treatment was required to calm the pain in my body, triggered by diving headfirst into a juicing and raw vegan diet. I was convinced that this was the new way. But on reflection and with the benefit of hindsight, I am convinced that a holistic approach to food involving a balanced daily diet combined with exercise and a positive focus and outlook on life, reinforced by the brilliance of modern medicine is the only true way to prevent disease and ill health or defeat it if it strikes.

I base my feeding strategy on my understanding of the need to address the fundamental principles of the miraculous design of the human body. A body that has evolved over many millennia to function in certain physical ways. A body that has been designed to be kept healthy through physical activity combined with the food we eat which is also essential for fuelling the healing process. We must remember that man has been designed and has evolved as an omnivore that would roam the savannahs foraging for fruit and vegetable food or driving his flocks and herds onto new pasture, while also having the occasional bursts of intense physical activity as he hunts his prey for meat. These activities provide the balance of foods needed in the diet to keep Homo Sapiens, us, healthy and fuelled while also providing the physical activity needed to pump the cleansing systems such as the lymph system while boosting the body’s natural and very effective defence system, the immune system. So in understanding the needs of the human body we can start to understand how to build a strategy to keep us healthy, or to get us back to health when struck down with disease, sickness, or just general ill or failing health.

So my understanding is that our inheritance points to a need for both meat and vegetable but what types and in what quantities?

The table below lists the micro and macro nutrients that our body needs, why and what foods provide it with all the facts coming from both the Cancer Research UK and NHS Choices Website.

Nutrient (a) Why (b) Best Food Sources (c) What Quantities? (d)
Carbohydrates (sugar, starch and fibre) The main source of energy in a balanced diet. Ketosis as a result of a low carbohydrate diet can be linked, at least in the short term, to headaches, weakness, nausea, dehydration, dizziness and irritability. Potatoes, wholewheat seeded bread, wholegrain rice, wholegrain pasta, (Starch and Fibre) Fruit and vegetables (Sugar and Fibre) 2/3 of your daily food intake
Fat A small amount of fat is an essential part of a healthy, balanced diet. Fat is a source of essential fatty acids such as omega-3 – “essential” because the body can’t make it itself. Fat helps the body absorb vitamins A, D and E. These vitamins are fat soluble, meaning they can only be absorbed with the help of fats. Saturated Fat (Bad) Raises cholesterol and increases risk of heart disease or stroke.
Fatty Cuts of meat, processed meat products including sausages and pies, butter, ghee and lard, cheese, especially hard cheese, cream, soured cream and ice cream, savoury snacks and chocolate confectionery, biscuits, cakes and pastries, palm oil, coconut oil and cream.

Unsaturated Fat (Good) If you want to cut your risk of heart disease, it's best to reduce your overall fat intake and swap saturated fats for unsaturated fats. There is good evidence that replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats can help lower cholesterol.
Found in Olive oil, rapeseed oil and their spreads, avocados, almonds, brazil nuts, peanuts.
Polyunsaturated Fats (Omega-3/Omega-6) (Good) important for brain development, immune system function and blood pressure regulation. Some types of omega-3 and omega-6 fats cannot be made by the body and are therefore essential in small amounts in the diet.
Omega-6 fats are found in vegetable oils such as rapeseed, corn, sunflower and some nuts. Omega-3 fats are found flaxseed as well as in oily fish such as mackerel, kippers, herring, trout, sardines, salmon and fresh tuna.
While most of us get sufficient omega-6 in our diet, mostly from cooking oil, we're advised to eat more omega-3 by eating at least two portions of fish a week, including one of oily fish.
Vegetable sources of omega-3 fats are not thought to have the same benefits on heart health as those found in fish.
The average man should aim to have no more than 30g of saturated fat a day. The average woman should aim to have no more than 20g of saturated fat a day. Children should have less.
it's best to reduce your overall fat intake and swap saturated fats for unsaturated fats. There is good evidence that replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats can help lower cholesterol.

For the essential Omega Fats do try and eat oily fish no more than once a week and white fish at least once a week and flaxseed every day.
Proteins Essential for the body to grow and repair itself and to build a strong immune system. Meat, Fish, pulses such as beans, nuts and seeds. Eggs. Try to eat Red Meat no more than once a week, White Meat twice a week, oily fish no more than once a week, white fish at least twice a week, plant sources of protein at least once a week such as pulses, beans, nuts and seeds. Eggs are another excellent source of protein and I try to eat one a day.
Calcium Essential for the building of a strong immune system as well as strong bones and teeth, regulating muscle contractions including the heartbeat and making sure blood clots normally. A lack of calcium in the diet can lead to rickets in children and osteoporosis in later life. Milk, Cheese and other Dairy foods, green leafy vegetables such as Broccoli, Cabbage and Okra but not Spinach, Soya Beans, Tofu, Dairy Free Products with added calcium, Nuts, Bread and anything made with fortified flour, Fish in which you eat the bones such as Pilchards and Sardines. Eggs. Adults 700mg a day which you should be able to get from a good balanced diet.
Vitamin A Help the immune system to function effectively, help night vision, keeping skin and some body linings such as the inner nose healthy. Cheese, Eggs, Oily Fish, Milk and Yoghurt, Liver (a particularly rich source of Vitamin A) , yellow, red and green leafy vegetables such as Spinach, Carrots, Red Peppers and Sweet Potatoes. Yellow fruit such as Mango, Papaya and Apricots. Adults:
Men 0.7mg a day
Women 0.6mg a day
You should be able to get all the Vitamin A you need from your balanced daily diet.
Warning Averaging more than 1.5mg a day may increase your risk of Osteoporosis as you get older so go easy on the liver especially if you are pregnant as too much Vitamin A could harm your unborn baby. If you eat a balanced diet avoid vitamin supplements or cod liver oil that contain Vitamin A.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) Helps break down and release energy from food, keeps the nervous system healthy. Peas, fresh and dried fruit, Eggs, wholegrain breads, Some Fortified Breakfast Cereals, Liver Adults:
Men 1mg a day
Women 0.8mg a day
You should be able to get all the Thiamine you need from your balanced daily diet.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) Helps keep skin, eyes and the nervous system healthy, and helps the body to release energy from food. Milk, Eggs, Fortified Breakfast Cereals and Rice. Adults:
Men 1.3mg a day
Women 1.1mg a day
You should be able to get all the Riboflavin you need from your balanced daily diet.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) Helps release energy from food and keeps the nervous system healthy. Meat, fish, wheat flour, Eggs and Milk. Adults:
Men 16.5mg a day
Women 13.2mg a day
You should be able to get all the Niacin you need from your balanced daily diet
Warning Taking high doses of the type of Niacin called Nicotinic Acid in supplements can cause skin rashes and taken over a long time can lead to Liver Damage.
Pantothenic Acid Helps release energy from food Most meats and vegetables including Chicken, Beef, Potatoes, Porridge, Tomatoes, Kidney, Eggs, Broccoli, Brown Rice and Wholemeal Bread. You should be able to get all the Pantothenic Acid you need from your balanced daily diet.
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) Helps and allows the body to use and store energy from Proteins and Carbohydrates in food. Helps form Haemoglobin which is the substance in red blood cells that carries Oxygen around the body. Pork, Chicken, Turkey, Fish, Bread, Wholegrain Cereals, Brown Rice, Eggs, Vegetables, Soya Beans, Peanuts, Milk and Potatoes. Adults:
Men 1.4mg a day
Women 1.2mg a day
You should be able to get all the Vitamin B6 you need from your balanced daily diet.
Warning If you supplement your diet with Vitamin B6 or a multi-vitamin and as a result take more than 200mg of Vitamin B6 a day for a long time it can lead to a loss of feeling in the arms and legs known as peripheral neuropathy.
Vitamin B7 (Biotin) Needed in very small amounts to help the body break down fat Biotin is found in a wide range of foods but only at low levels The bacteria that live naturally in your bowel are able to make Biotin so as long as you keep the bowel healthy. You should be able to get all the Biotin you need from your balanced daily diet.
Folic Acid Helps the body form healthy red blood cells and reduces the risk of Spina Bifida in unborn babies.
A lack of Folic Acid could lead to a condition called Folate Deficiency Anaemia.
Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Liver (avoid during pregnancy due to risk of overdosing with Vitamin A causing harm to your unborn baby, see above) Spinach, Asparagus, Peas, Chickpeas. Adults need 200 mcg a day so you should be able to get all the Folic Acid you need from your balanced daily diet.
Warning
If you are pregnant the NHS recommends taking 400 mcg a day BUT SEEK ADVICE THROUGH YOUR GP.
Vitamin B12 Helps to make red blood cells and keep the nervous system healthy. Helps to release energy from food and helps the body to use Folic Acid.
A lack of Vitamin B12 could lead to Vitamin B12 Deficiency Anaemia
Meat, Salmon, Cod, Milk, Cheese, Eggs Adults need about 1.5mcg a day of Vitamin B12 so you should be able to get all the Vitamin B12 you need from your balanced daily diet.
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) Helps to protect cells and keep them healthy, Helps to maintain healthy skin, blood vessels, bones and cartilage, Helps with wound healing. Oranges and Orange Juice, Red and Green Peppers, Strawberries, Blackcurrants, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Potatoes. Adults 40mg a day of Vitamin C so you should be able to get all the Vitamin C you need from your balanced daily diet.
Warning Taking more than 1,000mg a day of Vitamin C can cause stomach pain, Diarrhoea and Flatulence
Vitamin D Helps to regulate the amount of Calcium and Phosphate in the body. These nutrients are needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy. A lack of Vitamin D can lead to bone deformities in children such as rickets ,and in adults can lead to bone pain caused by a condition called Osteomalacia. Oily fish such as Sardines, Salmon, Herring, Mackerel and Fresh Tuna, Red Meat, Liver (avoid during pregnancy due to risk of overdosing with Vitamin A causing harm to your unborn baby, see above) Eggs, Fortified Foods.
Warning Getting enough Vitamin D from food or sunlight is particularly difficult especially if working indoors or in temperate climates during winter months so a Vitamin D supplement is recommended for most people BUT ALWAYS SEEK ADVICE FROM YOUR GP.
Babies up to the age of one year need 8.5-10mcg of Vitamin D a day (This may need to be supplemented) BUT ALWAYS SEEK ADVICE FROM YOUR GP.
Children from the age of one year upwards and adults need 10mcg of Vitamin D a day. (This may need to be supplemented)
This includes pregnant and breastfeeding women and those at risk of vitamin D deficiency which is anyone who works inside and everyone in temperate climates during the winter months. BUT ALWAYS SEEK ADVICE FROM YOUR GP
Warning Taking too many vitamin D supplements over a long period of time can cause too much calcium to build up in the body (hypercalcaemia). This can weaken the bones and damage the kidneys and the heart.
If you choose to take vitamin D supplements, 10mcg a day will be enough for most people. Don't take more than 100mcg of vitamin D a day as it could be harmful. This applies to adults, including pregnant and breastfeeding women and the elderly, and children aged 11-17 years.
Vitamin E Helps to maintain healthy skin and eyes and strengthens the bodies’ natural defences against illness and infection through the immune system. Plant oils such as Soya, Corn and Olive Oil, Nuts and Seeds, Wheatgerm found in Cereals and Cereal Products. Adults:
Men 4mg a day
Women 3mg a day
You should be able to get all the Vitamin E you need from your balanced daily diet.
Vitamin K Helps blood clotting which helps wounds heal properly,
May also help to keep bones healthy
Green leafy vegetables such as Broccoli and Spinach, vegetable oils, cereal grains, as well as small amounts in meats and Dairy products. Adults need approximately 1mcg a day per kilogram of body weight so you should be able to get all the Vitamin K you need from your balanced daily diet.
Iodine Helps make thyroid hormones, which help keep cells and the metabolic rate – the speed at which chemical reactions take place in the body – healthy. Sea fish, shellfish and plant food such as cereals and wholegrains Adults need 0.14mg a day so you should be able to get all the Iodine you need from your balanced daily diet.
Iron Iron is important in making red blood cells, which carry oxygen around the body. A lack of iron can lead to iron deficiency anaemia. Liver (avoid during pregnancy due to risk of overdosing with Vitamin A causing harm to your unborn baby, see above), meat, beans, nuts, dried fruit, wholegrains, fortified foods and dark-green leafy vegetables such as Watercress and Curly Kale. Adults:
Men 8.7mg a day
Women pre-menopause 14.8mg a day
Women post-menopause 8.7mg a day
So you should be able to get all the Iron you need from your balanced daily diet. Warning Side effects of taking high doses (over 20mg) of iron include: constipation, feeling sick, vomiting and stomach pain.
Very high doses of iron can be fatal, particularly if taken by children, so always keep iron supplements out of the reach of children.
Chromium Chromium is thought to influence how the hormone insulin behaves in the body. This means chromium may affect the amount of energy we get from food. Meat, wholegrains such as wholemeal bread and whole oats, lentils, broccoli, potatoes, spices. Adults need around 25mcg a day so you should be able to get all the Chromium you need from your balanced daily diet.
Copper Copper helps produce red and white blood cells, and triggers the release of iron to form haemoglobin, the substance that carries oxygen around the body It's also thought to be important for infant growth, brain development, the immune system and strong bones. Nuts, Shellfish and Offal Adults need around 1.2mg a day so you should be able to get all the Copper you need from your balanced daily diet.
Warning Taking high doses of copper (more than 1mg in supplements) could cause: stomach pain, sickness, diarrhoea, damage to the liver and kidneys (if taken for a long time)
Magnesium Magnesium is a mineral that helps: turn the food we eat into energy, make sure the parathyroid glands, which produce hormones important for bone health, work normally. Green leafy vegetables such as Spinach, Nuts, Brown Rice, Bread (especially wholegrain), Fish, Meat, Dairy foods. Adults:
Men 300mg a day
Women 270mg a day
So you should be able to get all the Magnesium you need from your balanced daily diet.
Warning Taking high doses of magnesium (more than 400mg in supplements) for a short time can cause diarrhoea.
Manganese Manganese helps make and activate some of the enzymes in the body. Enzymes are proteins that help the body carry out chemical reactions, such as breaking down food. Tea – probably the biggest source of manganese for many people, bread, nuts, cereals, green vegetables such as Peas and Runner Beans. You should be able to get all the Manganese you need from your balanced daily diet.
Warning Taking high doses of Manganese in supplements for long periods of time might cause muscle pain, nerve damage and other symptoms, such as fatigue and depression.
Molybdenum Helps make and activate some of the proteins involved in chemical reactions (enzymes) that help with repairing and making genetic material. Foods that grow above ground tend to be higher in Molybdenum than foods that grow below the ground, such as Potatoes or Carrots.
Good sources of molybdenum include: nuts, tinned vegetables, cereals – such as Oats, Peas, leafy vegetables including Broccoli and Spinach, Cauliflower
You should be able to get all the Molybdenum you need from your balanced daily diet.
Warning There's some evidence to suggest taking Molybdenum supplements might cause joint pain.
Phosphorus Helps build strong bones and teeth, and helps release energy from food. Red meat, dairy foods, fish, poultry, bread, Brown Rice, Oats. Adults need 550mg a day so you should be able to get all the Phosphorus you need from your balanced daily diet.
Warning Taking high doses of phosphorus supplements for a short time can cause diarrhoea or stomach pain.
Taking high doses for a long time can reduce the amount of calcium in the body, which means bones are more likely to fracture.
Potassium Helps control the balance of fluids in the body, and also helps the heart muscle work properly. Fruit such as Bananas, some vegetables  such as Broccoli, Parsnips and Brussels Sprouts, pulses, nuts and seeds, fish, shellfish, beef, chicken, turkey. Adults need 3,500mg a day so you should be able to get all the Phosphorous you need from your balanced daily diet.
Warning Taking too much potassium can cause stomach pain, feeling sick and diarrhoea.
Selenium Helps the immune system work properly, as well as in reproduction. It also helps prevent damage to cells and tissues. Brazil Nuts, fish, meat and Eggs Adults:
Men 0.075mg a day
Women 0.06mg a day
So you should be able to get all the Selenium you need from your balanced daily diet.
Warning Too much selenium causes selenosis, a condition that, in its mildest form, can lead to loss of hair, skin and nails but can also increase your risk of heart disease.
Sodium Chloride (Salt) Sodium and chloride are minerals needed by the body in small amounts. Sodium helps keep the level of fluids in the body balanced and is needed for muscle and nerve activity. Chloride also helps the body digest food. Salt is found naturally at low levels in all foods, but some salt is added to many processed foods, such as: ready meals, meat products such as bacon, some breakfast cereals, cheese, some tinned vegetables, some bread and savoury snacks. Adults should have no more than 6g of salt (2.4g of sodium) a day. But, on average, people in the UK eat 8g of salt (about 3.2g of sodium) a day, which is much more than the body needs.
A few practical tips for cutting down on salt include: check food labels and choose foods with less salt, where colour-coded labels are used, try to pick products with more greens and ambers, and fewer reds, for a healthier choice, choose tinned vegetables and pulses with no added salt, choose tinned fish in spring water rather than brine, only use sauces – like soy sauce, brown sauce, ketchup and mayonnaise sparingly, as these are often high in salt, eat fewer salty snacks, such as crisps, salted nuts and salty foods such as bacon, cheese, pickles and smoked fish, add less or no salt when cooking, use herbs and spices for flavour instead, choose low-salt stock cubes, or make your own stock without added salt, taste your food first, and don't automatically add extra salt.
Warning Having too much salt is linked to high blood pressure, which raises your risk of serious problems like strokes, and heart attacks. 
Zinc Helps with: making new cells and enzymes, processing carbohydrate, fat and protein in food, wound healing. Meat, shellfish, dairy foods such as cheese, bread, cereal products such as wheatgerm. Adults:
Men 9.5mg a day
Women 7mg a day so you should be able to get all the Zinc you need from your balanced daily diet.
Warning Taking high doses of zinc reduces the amount of copper the body can absorb. This can lead to anaemia and weakening of the bones.

A BALANCED DAILY DIET

Throughout this chapter I am referring to a balanced daily diet. The big question for me at the start of my battle with the beast was what exactly is a balanced daily diet. As I said before I became fixated by and made myself very ill with an acid/alkali diet, a juicing diet and a raw vegan diet. The main lesson I took away from those very painful months was very simply, that man has been designed and has evolved as an omnivore that would roam the savannahs foraging for fruit and vegetable food, or driving his flocks and herds onto new pasture while also having the occasional bursts of intense physical activity as he hunts his prey for meat or fights to keep his territory. Therefore we need to eat as a minimum 5 portions of fruit and vegetable a day but we also need to eat some meat and some Dairy in order to remain healthy. The quantities of what fruits and vegetables and what meats were guided by NHS Choices guidance as well as the advice of the brilliant consultants in oncology, diet, physical health, epilepsy and psychological health working on my treatment team within the NHS.

Whilst conducting my factual research for this chapter and by attempting to simplify it for you I have learned more than I knew before about the perfect balance of nutrients for our diet, and intend to take some of these lessons forward in to my diet but for now, having beaten my brain tumour with a strategy based on the 5Fs of support of Family and Friends, Eating the right Foods, Conducting regular Physical Training, having a positive Focus, and having a total Faith and belief that I could be healed, I am going to break down the balanced daily diet that I devised through a process of trial and error and advice in order to beat my beast of a brain tumour and stay healthy through treatment. I am going to hold that diet against the table of nutrients I have produced for you in order to test it as a healthy balanced diet in the hope that it has been, in order to encourage you all to consider starting out on a similar version, if not identical version for yourself. I do however implore you that before you do, that you take your proposed change, to your eating habits, to your GP in order to check it for its suitability for yourself. But first my balanced daily diet has been as follows:

After a brisk walk and before breakfast I ate 2 brazil nuts. (Brazil nuts replenish selenium levels in our modern diet which are too low. Selenium is said to cause apoptosis (programmed cell death) in tumour cells. The temptation is to eat a whole bag of them but please do not do so as you can make yourself ill by overdosing on Selenium! So just 2 brazil nuts after exercise and before breakfast.

Breakfast:  I sliced a banana into the bottom of my bowl then mixed a seeded, oat-based muesli (½ a cup) with an oat-based fruit and nut granola (½ a cup), to add into the bowl.  In that I added a tablespoon of ground flaxseed which can be found in most supermarkets and on top I added 40 grams (approximately 24) of blueberries.  Chemotherapy made me slightly lactose intolerant so I used either Arla’s Lactofree milk, or Koko coconut milk with the vitamin and calcium added as a dairy substitute. I then had a slice of wholegrain seeded toast with butter and marmalade followed by an apple.

Hot drinks during the day:  I had the odd decaf, almond or coconut milk, mocha as a treat during the week, but each day I would have: a mug of Horlicks light, and a mug of Pukka’s three ginger tea.  This can help with nausea and stomach upset but crucially also has turmeric root in it and I will mention more on turmeric shortly.  I also had a mug of Clipper green and lemon tea which is a great antioxidant.  Throughout the day I sipped on water with a slice of lemon in it that I change each and every day.

After a good session of physical training, a good stretch and a shower I ate 2 brazil nuts then prepared lunch.

Lunch:  Every day without fail I consumed the following fruits and vegetables and I am convinced that they have played a key part in my possible healing.  They may not be exciting but when you know that each and every mouthful has the potential to heal you, it all of a sudden tastes so much better:

Carrots 100 grams sliced into batons
Tenderstem broccoli 50 grams
Cherry tomatoes x 6 (tomatoes are said to help prevent or slow the ability of a tumour to grow)
Red Grapes x 12 (A chemical in the skin of red grapes is thought to cause apoptosis in tumour cells)
I then had a poached egg (the original superfood packed full of essential vitamins and minerals such as protein, calcium, vitamin D and B12 et al essential for a healthy balanced diet) on wholemeal seeded toast with a good handful of spinach, rocket and watercress salad on the side.

For pudding I had two squares of 85% dark chocolate.  (Again thought to cause apoptosis in tumour cells but it can be very fattening so don’t guzzle it.  Just two squares for now.)

If I was out for the day I took all this with me as a sandwich (either tuna mayonnaise or egg mayonnaise) with spinach, rocket and watercress on top and the vegetables mixed up in a veggie pick and mix bag!  I also added a Stoats flapjack as an additional carbohydrate to keep me going on a long day out.

After a brisk walk I ate a final 2 brazil nuts then prepared tea.

Tea:  No more ready-made meals.  Instead I had a really good balance of home-cooked meals made from fresh and raw ingredients.  It took time and is hard work but you can pick the meals that include a healthy balance of protein and calcium (both essential for a strong immune system), carbohydrates (essential to maintain energy levels and mood) and vegetables each day in order to further boost your immune system, general health and well-being.  Again follow the NHS Choices website advice on food.  As a result I tried to ensure that I only ate red meat once a week, white meat a couple of times a week, oily fish once a week, white fish a couple of times a week and have a vegetarian day once a week.  Once you have established a good routine for planning the meals, shopping for them and preparing them, the chore of cooking fresh starts to become a delightful handrail for health, and the joy of eating such good food with family and friends makes it well worth the effort.  I did try and add leeks where appropriate in certain recipes.  (Again thought to have anti-tumour properties)  Avoid alcohol as much as possible with the exception of a port-sized glass of organic red wine with each meal.  It is thought that the wine-making process magnifies the potency of the chemicals in the red grape skin that may cause apoptosis in tumour cells, but don’t overdo it.  1 port glass, no more.  A bottle of red with me will go off before I get to drink it all!!  Sainsbury’s do a really good organic Cabernet Sauvignon at a very reasonable price. I finished my evening meal with a turmeric supplement.  I got the ones from Healthspan which are thought to be the most potent and body useable turmeric supplement on the market. They have also added vitamin C to aid immune system and joint health.  Turmeric is very much focused on causing apoptosis in tumour cells.  I then had a yoghurt (calcium being essential for the immune system and bone health, which can suffer during chemo) with a teaspoon of ground flaxseed mixed in, followed by a tangerine and 2 squares of 85% dark chocolate.

If you start to have trouble sleeping 2 cherry tomatoes taken before bed helped as they are said to have a soporific effect while also of course helping to slow/prevent tumour growth.

It is really important that you have something to look forward to every week.  Once a week I made one of the tea meals a comfort foods meal, but kept it low on sugar content.  If you are eating as healthily as you can you deserve a treat!

So, the table below holds my balanced daily diet against our daily nutritional need according to data available through the NHS Choices Website and the World’s Healthiest Foods Website in order to ensure that the diet I eat and recommend to you is nutritionally compliant with our bodies’ needs. I colour code the results with Green for good, Amber for be aware and Red for more work required or danger be aware, and where my diet comes out poorly and appears to be deficient I will give, in the red box, the remedial action I intend to take.

Nutrients Why My Diet Compared Green Good,
Red needs Work
Carbohydrates (sugar, starch and fibre) The main source of energy in a balanced diet. Ketosis as a result of a low carbohydrate diet can be linked, at least in the short term, to headaches, weakness, nausea, dehydration, dizziness and irritability. Oat based, seeded muesli x ½ cup with oat based seeded granola x ½ cup with dried fruit and nuts mixed in every day,
Ground Flaxseed x 2 Tbsp every day,
Wholemeal seeded toast,
Banana x 1,
Apple x 1,
Blueberries x 24,
Brazil Nuts x 6,
Carrots x 100g,
Red Grapes x 12, Tenderstem Broccoli x 50g, Cherry Tomatoes x 6, potatoes or pasta and more vegetables with tea meal.
4 x squares of 85% Dark Chocolate,
With all of the above eaten through the day each day.
2/3 of my daily food intake
Fat A small amount of fat is an essential part of a healthy, balanced diet. Fat is a source of essential fatty acids such as omega-3 – “essential” because the body can’t make it itself. Fat helps the body absorb vitamins A, D and E. These vitamins are fat soluble, meaning they can only be absorbed with the help of fats. Saturated Fat (Bad)
Butter on toast 7g and occasionally sausages 9g or hard cheese 6g
4 squares of 85% Dark Chocolate 6.6g
At 13.6g of saturated fat each day I have capacity, within the recommended daily allowance for the odd sausage or grating of cheese with a tea meal but could always do with reducing it further.
Raises cholesterol and increases risk of heart disease or stroke.
Fatty Cuts of meat, processed meat products including sausages and pies, butter, ghee and lard, cheese, especially hard cheese, cream, soured cream and ice cream, savoury snacks and chocolate confectionery, biscuits, cakes and pastries, palm oil, coconut oil and cream.

Unsaturated Fat (Good) If you want to cut your risk of heart disease, it's best to reduce your overall fat intake and swap saturated fats for unsaturated fats. There is good evidence that replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats can help lower cholesterol.
Found in Olive oil, rapeseed oil and their spreads, avocados, almonds, brazil nuts, peanuts.
Polyunsaturated Fats (Omega-3/Omega-6) (Good) important for brain development, immune system function and blood pressure regulation. Some types of omega-3 and omega-6 fats cannot be made by the body and are therefore essential in small amounts in the diet.
Omega-6 fats are found in vegetable oils such as rapeseed, corn, sunflower and some nuts. Omega-3 fats are found flaxseed as well as in oily fish such as mackerel, kippers, herring, trout, sardines, salmon and fresh tuna.
While most of us get sufficient omega-6 in our diet, mostly from cooking oil, we're advised to eat more omega-3 by eating at least two portions of fish a week, including one of oily fish.
Vegetable sources of omega-3 fats are not thought to have the same benefits on heart health as those found in fish.
At 3.55g of Unsaturated fats a day I do at least guarantee some Omega 3 in my balanced daily diet but the greater balance for Omega 3
(Unsaturated/Good Fat) against Saturated Fat (Bad) comes from the eating of Lean cuts of Red Meat, Oily Fish and White Fish 4 times a week at the tea meal.
The average man should aim to have no more than 30g of saturated fat a day.
The average woman should aim to have no more than 20g of saturated fat a day. Children should have less.
It's best to reduce your overall fat intake and swap saturated fats for unsaturated fats. There is good evidence that replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats can help lower cholesterol.
For the essential Omega Fats do try and eat oily fish no more than once a week, white fish twice a week, Red Meat no more than once a week.
I have highlighted my diet as amber for fat here because the occasional sausage, hard cheese occasionally and butter on my toast and 4 squares of 85% Dark Chocolate a day , if all taken on the same day comes in at 28.6g of saturated fat. Just scraping in under the 30g maximum a day. So these foods are a source of saturated fat that I could cut out of my diet if I discover that I have a high level of cholesterol. I intend to reduce my saturated fat content in my diet to a minimum and certainly well under the 30g a day by minimising the amount of processed and take-away food I consume.
Proteins Essential for the body to grow and repair itself and to build a strong immune system. Red Meat once a week – 26.16g,
White Meat twice a week – 35.18g,
Oily Fish once a week – 33.06g,
White Fish twice a week – 21.24g,
Spinach, Rocket and Watercress Salad x a small handful every lunchtime – 5.35g,
Oat based, seeded with Pumpkin and Sunflower seeds muesli x ½ cup with oat based
seeded granola x ½ cup with dried fruit and nuts mixed in everyday – 9.75g,
Brazil Nuts x 6 every day – 9.42g,
Yoghurt x 1 everyday – 8.50g,
Egg poached x 1 everyday – 6.29g,
Milk with cereal everyday – 3.84g,
Tenderstem Broccoli everyday – 3.71g,
Cherry Tomatoes x 6 everyday – 1.58g,
Flaxseed x 2 Tbsp every day – 6.63g
This is a good strong showing for Protein in my balanced daily diet so you can get all the Protein that your body needs from your balanced daily diet.
Calcium Essential for the building of a strong immune system as well as strong bones and teeth, regulating muscle contractions including the heartbeat and making sure blood clots normally. A lack of calcium in the diet can lead to rickets in children and osteoporosis in later life. Milk with cereal each morning, 305mg,
Yoghurt at tea every day, 187mg,
Green leafy vegetables such as Tenderstem Broccoli x 50g every day, 37mg,
Brazil Nuts x 6 every day 45.4mg,
Seeded Wholemeal Bread every day 45mg,
Egg poached x 1.each and every day, 28g,
Flaxseed x 2 Tbsp every day, 51mg,
At 698.4 mg of Calcium a day my balanced daily diet when reinforced by the calcium available from the meats, fish, cheese and vegetables eaten at my tea meal each evening provides more than enough Calcium for the bodies’ daily need without supplementation.
Adults 700mg a day which you can get from a good balanced daily diet like mine.
Vitamin A Help the immune system to function effectively, help night vision, keeping skin and some body linings such as the inner nose healthy. Egg poached x 1 every day, 260IU,
Oily Fish eaten with tea meal at least once a week 50IU,
Milk with cereal every day 114.7IU,
Yoghurt x 1 every day 6.8IU,
Spinach, Rocket and Watercress Salad x a small handful every lunchtime 937.7IU,
Carrots x 100g (one medium carrot) every day 16,706IU,
IU stands for International Unit and is used for the measurement of drugs and vitamins

The mathematical formula for the conversion of IU to mg is complex but having done the maths I can confirm that while my daily diet is over the 0.7mg a day that the body needs, it is under the 1.5mg a day that is the maximum safe level.

As a result I have stopped my daily mug of Horlicks as that is also fortified with a good dose of Vitamin A
Adults:
Men 0.7mg a day
Women 0.6mg a day

You can get all the Vitamin A you need from your balanced daily diet and my research here has highlighted that I am very close to the maximum of 1.5mg of Vitamin A a day simply from eating milk with cereal, a yoghurt, a small handful of spinach and a carrot every day.

If I was to supplement with a multivitamin containing Vitamin A or indeed a vitamin A supplement I would be well over the daily safe limit of 1.5mg a day which would increase the likelihood of Osteoporosis as I get older.

Warning Averaging more than 1.5mg a day may increase your risk of Osteoporosis as you get older so go easy on the liver especially if you are pregnant as too much Vitamin A could harm your unborn baby. If you eat a balanced diet avoid vitamin supplements or cod liver oil that contain Vitamin A.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) Helps break down and release energy from food, keeps the nervous system healthy. Apple x 1 a day 0.03mg,
Banana x 1 a day 0.04mg,
Blueberries x 24 a day 0.04mg,
Tangerine x 1 a day 0.06mg,
Egg poached x 1 a day 0.7mg,
Wholemeal Seeded Bread x 2 slices a day, 0.4mg,

With a total daily intake of 1.27mg I easily get the bodies’ daily requirement for Thiamine.
Adults:
Men 1mg a day
Women 0.8mg a day
You should be able to get all the Thiamine you need from your balanced daily diet.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) Helps keep skin, eyes and the nervous system healthy, and helps the body to release energy from food. Milk with cereal every day - 0.21mg,
Yoghurt every day – 0.35mg,
Egg poached x 1 every day – 0.26mg,
Spinach Rocket & Watercress Salad small handful every day – 0.42mg,
Broccoli 50g every day – 0.19mg,
Red Grapes x 12 every day – 0.11mg,
Carrots x 100g every day – 0.07mg,

With a total daily intake of 1.61mg I easily get the bodies’ daily requirement for Riboflavin
Adults:
Men 1.3mg a day
Women 1.1mg a day
You should be able to get all the Riboflavin you need from your balanced daily diet.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) Helps release energy from food and keeps the nervous system healthy. Wholemeal Seeded Toast x 2 slices every day – 3.99mg,
Egg poached x 1 every day – 0.1mg,
Milk with cereal every day - 0.21mg,
Yoghurt x 1every day – 0.35mg,
Cherry Tomatoes x 6 every day – 1.07mg,
Carrots x 100g every day – 1.20mg,
Spinach, Rocket and Watercress salad x small handful every day – 0.88mg,
Tenderstem Broccoli x 50g every day – 0.86mg,
Sunflower seeds in bread, muesli and Granola every day – 2.92mg,

Although the total amount of Niacin from my daily diet is below the bodies daily need at 11.58mg, by adding meat or Fish at the rate of consumption shown below I easily obtain the bodies’ daily requirement for Niacin.

White meat eaten with tea meal twice a week – 15.55 mg,
Oily Fish eaten with tea meal once a week – 9.02mg,
Red Meat eaten with tea meal once a week – 8.05mg,
White Fish eaten with tea meal twice a week – 1.52mg,
Adults:
Men 16.5mg a day
Women 13.2mg a day
You should be able to get all the Niacin you need from your balanced daily diet
Warning Taking high doses of the type of Niacin called Nicotinic Acid in supplements can cause skin rashes and taken over a long time can lead to Liver Damage.
Pantothenic Acid Helps release energy from food Cherry Tomatoes x 6 every day – 0.16mg,
Egg Poached x 1 every day - 0.77mg,
Tenderstem Broccoli x 50g every day – 0.96mg,
Carrots x 100g every day – 0.33mg,
Tangerine x 1 every day – 0.33mg,
Spinach, Rocket and Watercress salad x small handful every day – 0.26mg,
Milk with cereal every day – 0.46mg,
Yoghurt x 1 every day – 0.95mg,
White meat eaten with tea meal twice a week – 1.09mg,
Oily Fish eaten with tea meal once a week – 0.92mg,
Red Meat eaten with tea meal once a week – 0.77 mg,
White Fish eaten with tea meal twice a week – 0.41mg,
You can get all the Pantothenic Acid you need from your balanced daily diet.
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) Helps and allows the body to use and store energy from Proteins and Carbohydrates in food. Helps form Haemoglobin which is the substance in red blood cells that carries Oxygen around the body. Banana x every day – 0.43mg,
Spinach, Rocket and Watercress salad x small handful every day – 0.44mg,
Tenderstem Broccoli x 50g every day – 0.31mg,
Carrots x 100g every day – 0.17mg,
Cherry Tomatoes x 6 every day – 0.14mg,
Sunflower Seeds in the seeded bread and cereals – 0.47mg,
Turmeric taken as a supplement every evening – 0.08mg,

At 2.04mg total from my daily diet I am above the bodies’ daily need for Pyridoxine purely from vegetable matter and the consumption of meat or fish each evening will still keep me well within the safe levels so there is no need for a vitamin supplement containing B6 if you eat a balanced daily diet.
White meat eaten with tea meal twice a week – 0.68mg ,
Oily Fish eaten with tea meal once a week – 1.18mg,
Red Meat eaten with tea meal once a week – 0.74mg,
Adults:
Men 1.4mg a day
Women 1.2mg a day
You should be able to get all the Vitamin B6 you need from your balanced daily diet.
Warning If you supplement your diet with Vitamin B6 or a multi-vitamin and as a result take more than 200mg of Vitamin B6 a day for a long time it can lead to a loss of feeling in the arms and legs known as peripheral neuropathy.
Vitamin B7 (Biotin) Needed in very small amounts to help the body break down fat Banana x 1 every day – 3.07mcg,
Oat based, seeded muesli x ½ cup with oat based seeded granola x ½ cup with dried fruit and nuts mixed in every day – 7.8mcg,
Milk with the cereal every day – 2.32mcg,
Yoghurt x 1 after tea meal every day – 3.92mcg,
Cherry Tomatoes x 6 every day - 7.20mcg,
Egg poached x 1 every day – 8.00mcg,
Carrots x 100g every day - 6.1mcg,

Oily Fish eaten with tea meal once a week – 0.54mcg,
The bacteria that live naturally in your bowel are able to make Biotin so as long as you keep the bowel healthy. You should be able to get all the Biotin you need from your balanced daily diet.
Folic Acid Helps the body form healthy red blood cells and reduces the risk of Spina Bifida in unborn babies.
A lack of Folic Acid could lead to a condition called Folate Deficiency Anaemia.
Tenderstem Broccoli x 50g every day – 168.48mcg,
Chery Tomatoes x 6 every day – 27.00mcg,
Spinach, Rocket and Watercress salad x small handful every day – 262.80mcg,
Sunflower Seeds in morning cereals and wholemeal bread – 79.45 mcg,
Tangerine x 1 with tea meal – 39.30 mcg,
Carrots x 100g every day – 23.18mcg,

At 600.21 mcg per day I am well below the safe limit of 1000 mcg of Folic Acid a day so my balanced daily diet delivers really good levels of Folic Acid without the need for supplementation.
Adults need 200 mcg a day so you can get all the Folic Acid you need from your balanced daily diet.
Warning If you are pregnant the NHS recommends taking 400 mcg a day BUT SEEK ADVICE THROUGH YOUR GP.
Taking doses of folic acid higher than 1mg can cover up the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, which can eventually damage the nervous system if it's not spotted and treated.
Vitamin B12 Helps to make red blood cells and keep the nervous system healthy. Helps to release energy from food and helps the body to use Folic Acid.
A lack of Vitamin B12 could lead to Vitamin B12 Deficiency Anaemia
White meat eaten with tea meal twice a week – 0.39mcg,
Oily Fish eaten with tea meal once a week – 5.67mcg,
Red Meat eaten with tea meal once a week – 2.51mcg,
White Fish eaten with tea meal twice a week – 2.62mcg,
Yoghurt x 1 every day – 0.91mcg,
Milk taken with cereals every day – 0.55mcg,
Egg poached x 1 every day – 0.55mcg,

At 2.01mcg every day plus the additional Vitamin B12 from meat or fish eaten at the tea meal each day my balanced daily diet delivers really good levels of vitamin B12 without the need for supplementation.
Adults need about 1.5mcg a day of Vitamin B12 so you should be able to get all the Vitamin B12 you need from your balanced daily diet.
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) Helps to protect cells and keep them healthy, Helps to maintain healthy skin, blood vessels, bones and cartilage, Helps with wound healing. Tenderstem Broccoli x 50g every day – 101.24mg,
Tangerine x 1 every day – 69.69mg,
Cherry Tomatoes x 6 every day – 24.66mg,
Spinach, Rocket and Watercress salad x small handful every day – 17.64mg,
Blueberries x 24 every morning – 14.36mg,
Carrots x 100g every day – 7.20mg,
Banana x 1 every day – 10.27mg,
Apple x 1 every day – 8.37mg,

At 253.43mg every day my balanced daily diet delivers really good levels of Vitamin C without the need for supplementation while also keeping well within the safe level of under 1,000mg a day.
Adults 40mg a day of Vitamin C so you should be able to get all the Vitamin C you need from your balanced daily diet.
Warning Taking more than 1,000mg a day of Vitamin C can cause stomach pain, Diarrhoea and Flatulence
Vitamin D Helps to regulate the amount of Calcium and Phosphate in the body. These nutrients are needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy. A lack of Vitamin D can lead to bone deformities in children such as rickets ,and in adults can lead to bone pain caused by a condition called Osteomalacia. Milk with cereals every day – 62.22 IU,
Egg poached x 1 every day – 43.50IU,
Oily Fish eaten with tea meal once a week – 511.43 IU,

IU stands for International Unit and is used for the measurement of drugs and vitamins.

The mathematical formula for the conversion of IU to mcg is complex but having done the maths I can confirm that my daily diet delivers 15.43mcg a day of Vitamin D. That is well under the 100 mcg a day that is the maximum safe level.

This is done without the need for supplementation but only on the day in which I eat some oily fish just once a week. Without the oily fish I consume only 2.63mcg of Vitamin D. This is well below the bodies’ daily need of 10mcg per day. As a result I am now going to supplement my daily diet with just 10mcg of Vitamin D which will bring me in line with my bodies’ daily need but keep me well within the safe level of 100mcg per day.

Warning
Getting enough Vitamin D from food or sunlight is particularly difficult especially if working indoors or in temperate climates during winter months so a Vitamin D supplement is recommended for most people BUT ALWAYS SEEK ADVICE FROM YOUR GP.
Babies up to the age of one year need 8.5-10mcg of Vitamin D a day (This may need to be supplemented) BUT ALWAYS SEEK ADVICE FROM YOUR GP.
Children from the age of one year upwards and adults need 10mcg of Vitamin D a day. (This may need to be supplemented)
This includes pregnant and breastfeeding women and those at risk of vitamin D deficiency which is anyone who works inside and everyone in temperate climates during the winter months. BUT ALWAYS SEEK ADVICE FROM YOUR GP
Warning Taking too many vitamin D supplements over a long period of time can cause too much calcium to build up in the body (hypercalcaemia). This can weaken the bones and damage the kidneys and the heart.
If you choose to take vitamin D supplements, 10mcg a day will be enough for most people. Don't take more than 100mcg of vitamin D a day as it could be harmful. This applies to adults, including pregnant and breastfeeding women and the elderly, and children aged 11-17 years.
Vitamin E Helps to maintain healthy skin and eyes and strengthens the bodies’ natural defences against illness and infection through the immune system. Sunflower Seeds added to muesli, granola and seeded wholemeal bread – 2.31mg,
Spinach, Rocket and Watercress salad x small handful every day – 3.74mg,
Tenderstem broccoli x 50g every day – 2.26mg,
Cherry Tomatoes x 6 every day – 0.97mg,
Carrots x 100g every day – 0.81mg,

At 10.09mg every day my balanced daily diet delivers really good levels of Vitamin E without the need for supplementation. There is no known dangerous level of Vitamin E although it is recommended by the Department of Health that one remains under 540mg of Vitamin E per day.
Adults:
Men 4mg a day
Women 3mg a day
You should be able to get all the Vitamin E you need from your balanced daily diet.
Vitamin K Helps blood clotting which helps wounds heal properly,
May also help to keep bones healthy
Spinach, Rocket and Watercress salad x small handful every day – 888.48mcg,
Tenderstem Broccoli x 50g – 220.12mcg,
Cherry Tomatoes x 6 every day – 14.22mcg,
Blueberries x 24 every day – 28.56mcg,
Red Grapes x 12 every day – 22.05mcg,
Carrots x 100g every day – 16.10mcg,

At 1,189.53 mcg every day my balanced daily diet delivers really good levels of Vitamin K without the need for supplementation. There is no known dangerous level of Vitamin K although it is recommended by the Department of Health that one remains under 1g or 1,000,000 mcgs of Vitamin K per day.
Adults need approximately 1mcg a day per kilogram of body weight so you should be able to get all the Vitamin K you need from your balanced daily diet.
Iodine Helps make thyroid hormones, which help keep cells and the metabolic rate – the speed at which chemical reactions take place in the body – healthy. Yoghurt x 1 a day - 71.05 mcg,
Milk with cereal every day – 28.06mcg,
Egg poached x 1 a day – 27.00 mcg,
Oily Fish eaten with tea meal once a week – 32.00mcg,
White Fish eaten with tea meal twice a week – 132.00mcg,

At 0.13mg every day, my balanced daily diet nearly delivers sufficient levels of Vitamin K without the need for supplementation. Oily fish and white fish eaten 3 times a week provide significantly more Iodine than the body requires three days a week. Cereals and grains are also thought to provide Iodine. As the body stores the extra Iodine in the Thyroid gland on the days each week in which I have eaten the oily or white fish or Iodine containing cereals and grains I see no need for supplementation.
Adults need 0.14mg a day so you should be able to get all the Iodine you need from your balanced daily diet.
Iron Iron is important in making red blood cells, which carry oxygen around the body. A lack of iron can lead to iron deficiency anaemia. Oat based, seeded muesli x ½ cup with oat based seeded granola x ½ cup with dried fruit and nuts mixed in every day – 2.84mg,
Ground Flaxseed x 2 Tbsp every day – 2.1mg,
Spinach, Rocket and Watercress salad x small handful every day – 6.43mg,
Tenderstem Broccoli x 50g every day – 1.05mg,
Cherry Tomatoes x 6 every day – 0.49mg,
Turmeric Supplement every day – 1.82mg,

At 14.73mg my balanced daily diet provides more than enough Iron for a male adult and with the addition of meat or fish at the tea meal each evening, more than enough iron for pre-menopausal women without the need for supplementation.
In fact supplementation could easily take my daily iron dosage over the safe level
Adults:
Men 8.7mg a day
Women pre-menopause 14.8mg a day
Women post-menopause 8.7mg a day
So you should be able to get all the Iron you need from your balanced daily diet. Warning Side effects of taking high doses (over 20mg) of iron include: constipation, feeling sick, vomiting and stomach pain.
Very high doses of iron can be fatal, particularly if taken by children, so always keep iron supplements out of the reach of children.
Chromium Chromium is thought to influence how the hormone insulin behaves in the body. This means chromium may affect the amount of energy we get from food. Oat based, seeded muesli x ½ cup with oat based seeded granola x ½ cup with dried fruit and nuts mixed in every day – 5.38mcg,
Tenderstem Broccoli x 50g every day – 18.55mcg,
Cherry Tomatoes x 6 every day – 1.26mcg,

At 25.19mcg my balanced daily diet provides all the Chromium needed without the need for supplementation.
Adults need around 25mcg a day so you should be able to get all the Chromium you need from your balanced daily diet.
Copper Copper helps produce red and white blood cells, and triggers the release of iron to form haemoglobin, the substance that carries oxygen around the body It's also thought to be important for infant growth, brain development, the immune system and strong bones. Oat based, seeded muesli x ½ cup with oat based seeded granola x ½ cup with dried fruit and nuts mixed in every day – 0.87mg,
Ground Flaxseed x 2 Tbsp every day – 0.17mg,
Wholemeal seeded toast with Butter and Marmalade every day – 0.14mg,
Banana x 1 every day – 0.09mg,
Blueberries x 24 every day – 0.08mg,
Brazil Nuts x 6 every day – 0.88mg,
Spinach, Rocket and Watercress salad x small handful every day – 0.31mg,
Carrots x 100g every day – 0.05mg,
Red Grapes x 12 every day – 0.19mg,
Tenderstem Broccoli x 50g every day – 0.10mg,
Cherry Tomatoes x 6 every day – 0.11mg,
Tangerine x 1 every day – 0.06mg,
Turmeric Supplement every day – 0.03mg,

At 2.77mg my balanced daily diet provides more than enough Copper for the bodies’ daily need without supplementation.
In fact even the smallest level of supplementation at 1mg a day could cause stomach pain, sickness, diarrhoea, damage to the liver and kidneys.
Adults need around 1.2mg a day so you should be able to get all the Copper you need from your balanced daily diet.
Warning Taking high doses of copper (more than 1mg in supplements) could cause: stomach pain, sickness, diarrhoea, damage to the liver and kidneys (if taken for a long time)
Magnesium Magnesium is a mineral that helps: turn the food we eat into energy, make sure the parathyroid glands, which produce hormones important for bone health, work normally. Oat based, seeded muesli x ½ cup with oat based seeded granola x ½ cup with dried fruit and nuts mixed in every day – 259.95 mg,
Ground Flaxseed x 2 Tbsp every day – 54.88mg,
Wholemeal seeded toast with Butter and Marmalade every day – 58.24mg,
Spinach, Rocket and Watercress salad x small handful every day – 156.60mg,
Tenderstem Broccoli x 50g every day – 32.76mg,
Cherry Tomatoes x 6 every day – 19.80mg,
Oily Fish eaten with tea meal once a week – 47.63mg,

At 582.23mg my balanced daily diet provides more than enough Magnesium for the bodies’ daily need without supplementation.
In fact any form of supplementation with Magnesium, especially high doses of 400mg, could lead to diarrhoea.
Adults:
Men 300mg a day
Women 270mg a day
So you should be able to get all the Magnesium you need from your balanced daily diet.
Warning Taking high doses of magnesium (more than 400mg in supplements) for a short time can cause diarrhoea.
Manganese Manganese helps make and activate some of the enzymes in the body. Enzymes are proteins that help the body carry out chemical reactions, such as breaking down food. Oat based, seeded muesli x ½ cup with oat based seeded granola x ½ cup with dried fruit and nuts mixed in every day – 3.39mg,
Ground Flaxseed x 2 Tbsp every day – 0.35mg,
Wholemeal seeded toast with Butter and Marmalade every day – 1.11mg,
Banana x 1 every day – 0.32mg,
Blueberries x 24 every day – 0.50mg,
Brazil Nuts x 6 every day – 0.66mg,
Spinach, Rocket and Watercress salad x small handful every day – 1.68mg,
Carrots x 100g every day – 0.17mg,
Tenderstem Broccoli x 50g every day – 0.30mg,
Cherry Tomatoes x 6 every day – 0.21mg,
Turmeric Supplement every day – 0.34mg,

At 9.03mg of Manganese every day my balanced daily diet provides more than enough Manganese for the bodies’ daily need without supplementation.
Indeed any level of supplementation on top of the balanced daily diet might lead to high doses of Manganese which when taken for long periods of time might cause muscle pain, nerve damage and other symptoms, such as fatigue and depression.
You can get all the Manganese you need from your balanced daily diet.
Warning Taking high doses of Manganese in supplements for long periods of time might cause muscle pain, nerve damage and other symptoms, such as fatigue and depression.
Molybdenum Helps make and activate some of the proteins involved in chemical reactions (enzymes) that help with repairing and making genetic material. Oat based, seeded muesli x ½ cup with oat based seeded granola x ½ cup with dried fruit and nuts mixed in everyday – 28.86mcg,
Brazil Nuts x 6 every day – 10.77mcg,
Egg poached x 1 a day – 8.50mcg,
Carrots x 100g every day – 6.10mcg,
Cherry Tomatoes x 6 every day – 9mcg,
Yoghurt x 1 a day – 11.27mcg,

At 74.5mcg of Molybdenum every day my balanced daily diet provides more than enough Molybdenum for the bodies’ daily need without the need for supplementation.
Indeed there's some evidence to suggest that taking Molybdenum supplements might cause joint pain.
You can get all the Molybdenum you need from your balanced daily diet.
Warning There's some evidence to suggest taking Molybdenum supplements might cause joint pain.
Phosphorus Helps build strong bones and teeth, and helps release energy from food. Oat based, seeded muesli x ½ cup with oat based seeded granola x ½ cup with dried fruit and nuts mixed in everyday – 203.97mg,
Ground Flaxseed x 2 Tbsp every day – 89.88mg,
Milk with cereal every day – 102.48mg,
Brazil Nuts x 6 every day – 237.20mg,
Egg poached x 1 a day – 86.00mg,
Spinach, Rocket and Watercress salad x small handful every day – 100.80mg,
Carrots x 100g every day – 42.70mg,
Tenderstem Broccoli x 50g every day – 104.52mg,
Cherry Tomatoes x 6 every day – 43.20mg,
Yoghurt x 1 a day – 232.75mg,
White meat eaten with tea meal twice a week – 258.55mg,
Oily Fish eaten with tea meal once a week – 377.62mg,
Red Meat eaten with tea meal once a week – 240.40mg,
White Fish eaten with tea meal twice a week – 391.22mg,

At 1,243.5mg of Phosphorous a day my balanced daily diet provides more than enough Phosphorous for the bodies’ daily need without supplementation.
Indeed, as the amount of Phosphorous that my daily balanced diet provides just from vegetable sources, is already high and extremely high when a portion of meat is added at the tea meal, any form of supplementation, even for a short time, when eating as I do, could cause diarrhoea or stomach pain.
Taking high doses of Phosphorous or a long time can even reduce the amount of calcium in the body, which means bones are more likely to fracture.
Adults need 550mg a day so you should be able to get all the Phosphorus you need from your balanced daily diet.
Warning Taking high doses of phosphorus supplements for a short time can cause diarrhoea or stomach pain.
Taking high doses for a long time can reduce the amount of calcium in the body, which means bones are more likely to fracture.
Potassium Helps control the balance of fluids in the body, and also helps the heart muscle work properly. Ground Flaxseed x 2 Tbsp every day – 216mg,
Banana x 1 every day – 424.44mg,
Spinach, Rocket and Watercress salad x small handful every day – 838.8mg,
Carrots x 100g every day – 390.40mg,
Tenderstem Broccoli x 50g every day – 457.08mg,
Cherry Tomatoes x 6 every day – 426.60mg,
Oily Fish eaten with tea meal once a week – 597.61mg,
White Fish eaten with tea meal twice a week – 327.72mg,
Tangerine x 1 every day – 237.11mg,
Turmeric Supplement every day – 111.10mg,

At 3,101.53mg of Potassium a day from the fruits and vegetables in my balanced daily diet each day I am marginally below the recommended 3,500mg a day but in eating additional vegetables with my freshly prepared tea meal each day as well as the consumption of fish three times a week I will easily achieve the recommended 3,500mg of Potassium each day without the need for supplementation.
Indeed supplementation of Potassium when eating as I do could lead to taking too much potassium which could cause stomach pain, feeling sick and diarrhoea.
Adults need 3,500mg a day so you should be able to get all the Phosphorous you need from your balanced daily diet.
Warning Taking too much potassium can cause stomach pain, feeling sick and diarrhoea.
Selenium Helps the immune system work properly, as well as in reproduction. It also helps prevent damage to cells and tissues. Oat based, seeded muesli x ½ cup with oat based seeded granola x ½ cup with dried fruit and nuts mixed in everyday – 18.55mcg,
Ground Flaxseed x 2 Tbsp every day – 3.56mcg,
Milk with cereal every day – 4.51mcg,
Brazil Nuts x 6 every day – 544mcg,
Egg poached x 1 a day – 15.40mcg,
Spinach, Rocket and Watercress salad x small handful every day – 2.70mcg,
Tenderstem Broccoli x 50g every day – 2.50mcg,
White meat eaten with tea meal twice a week – 34.25mcg,
Oily Fish eaten with tea meal once a week – 122.70mcg,
Red Meat eaten with tea meal once a week – 23.93mcg,
White Fish eaten with tea meal twice a week – 31.75mcg,

At 591.22mcg = 0.59mg of selenium per day from just the fruits, vegetables and brazil nuts in my balanced daily diet I am 240.22mcg (0.24mg) above the safe upper limit of 0.35mg for daily selenium intake and therefore at risk of heart disease. I reviewed the effect across the spectrum of nutritional needs of a reduction to only 2 x Brazil Nuts a day.
There is:
No effect to Carbohydrates,
Limited but acceptable effect to Unsaturated Fat,
Limited but acceptable effect to Protein levels,
This removes 30.47mg of Calcium leaving the total of Calcium from my daily diet at 680.43mg, which is just 19.57mg of Calcium short of the bodies’ daily need. This shortfall is easily replaced by the foods like sardines, cheese, cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, green beans, butternut squash, fennel, parsley, asparagus, celery, basil, garlic, oregano or leeks that are eaten in one form or another in support to every tea meal . Therefore this shortfall as made up with no need for supplementation.
No effect to the levels of Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, Pantothenic Acid, Vitamins B6, B7, Folic Acid, Vitamins B12, C, D, E, K, Iodine, Iron or Chromium.
This change removes 0.59mg of Copper from the 2.77mg of Copper leaving 2.18mg of Copper which is still well above the bodies’ daily need.
No effect to Magnesium intake,
This change removes 0.44 mg from 9.03mg of Manganese which leaves 8.59mg of Manganese which is still well above the bodies’ daily need.
This change removes 7.18mcg of Molybdenum from 74.5mcg which leaves 67.32mcg of Molybdenum which is still well above the bodies’ daily need.
This change removes 158.13mg from 1,243.5mg of Phosphorous leaving 1,085.37mg of Phosphorous which is still well above the bodies’ daily need but well below the maximum safe level of bioavailable Phosphorous at 4,000mg.
No effect to the levels of Potassium,
No effect to the levels of salt,
No effect to the levels of zinc,
THEREFORE
By reducing from 6 to 2 Brazil Nuts a day I reduce my daily selenium intake by 362.27mcg. By removing this from the total Selenium intake figure of 591.22 mcg I reduce my Selenium intake to 228.55mcg = 0.23mg which is now 0.12mg below the safe upper limit of 0.35mg as stated by the UK Department of Health. This change, after a thorough check, has had no negative effect to the daily intake of the bodies’ daily need as stated by the NHS. All remaining Nutritional needs, with the exception of Vitamin D, as previously stated above, remain within the stated Nutritional levels for the bodies daily needs without the need for supplementation. Gosh, I think that this is why they call this a balanced diet!!!
Adults:
Men 0.075mg a day
Women 0.06mg a day
So you should be able to get all the Selenium you need from your balanced daily diet.
Warning Too much selenium causes selenosis, a condition that, in its mildest form, can lead to loss of hair, skin and nails but can also increase your risk of heart disease.

I have had to reduce my consumption of Brazil Nuts from 6 a day to 2 a day in order to reduce my Selenium intake to within maximum safe levels. See the Maths involved in the balancing act in column (c). This reduction was recommended by my Oncologist.
Sodium Chloride (Salt) Sodium and chloride are minerals needed by the body in small amounts. Sodium helps keep the level of fluids in the body balanced and is needed for muscle and nerve activity. Chloride also helps the body digest food. Salt is found naturally at low levels in all foods, but some salt is added to many processed foods, such as: ready meals, meat products such as bacon, some breakfast cereals, cheese, some tinned vegetables, some bread and savoury snacks.

As no readymade or processed foods are consumed in my balanced daily diet with the exception of bread and granola, (we make the muesli ourselves and add no salt) my salt consumption through granola, bread, and milk is within acceptable levels.
Adults should have no more than 6g of salt (2.4g of sodium) a day. But, on average, people in the UK eat 8g of salt (about 3.2g of sodium) a day, which is much more than the body needs.
A few practical tips for cutting down on salt include: check food labels and choose foods with less salt, where colour-coded labels are used, try to pick products with more greens and ambers, and fewer reds, for a healthier choice, choose tinned vegetables and pulses with no added salt, choose tinned fish in spring water rather than brine, only use sauces – like soy sauce, brown sauce, ketchup and mayonnaise sparingly, as these are often high in salt, eat fewer salty snacks, such as crisps, salted nuts and salty foods such as bacon, cheese, pickles and smoked fish, add less or no salt when cooking, use herbs and spices for flavour instead, choose low-salt stock cubes, or make your own stock without added salt, taste your food first, and don't automatically add extra salt.
Warning Having too much salt is linked to high blood pressure, which raises your risk of serious problems like strokes, and heart attacks.
Zinc Helps with: making new cells and enzymes, processing carbohydrate, fat and protein in food, wound healing. Oat based, seeded muesli x ½ cup with oat based seeded granola x ½ cup with dried fruit and nuts mixed in every day – 2.52mg,
Ground Flaxseed x 2 Tbsp every day – 1.65mg,
Brazil Nuts x 6 every day – 2.31mg,
Spinach, Rocket and Watercress salad x small handful every day – 1.37mg,
Tenderstem Broccoli x 50g every day – 0.70mg,
Cherry Tomatoes x 6 every day – 0.31mg,
Yoghurt x 1 every day – 1.45mg,
Red Meat eaten with tea meal once a week – 4.09mg,

At 10.03mg of Zinc every day my balanced daily diet provides more than enough Zinc for the bodies’ daily need without the need for supplementation.
Adults:
Men 9.5mg a day
Women 7mg a day so you should be able to get all the Zinc you need from your balanced daily diet.
Warning Taking high doses of zinc reduces the amount of copper the body can absorb. This can lead to anaemia and weakening of the bones.

Summary

So in summary my balanced daily diet, devised after many mistakes and lessons learned, with advice from my Oncologist, GP, Dietician, Epilepsy consultant and Psychological consultant, coupled with an awful lot of hard work and maths based on the figures available on the reputable and highly respected websites: NHS Choices and World’s Healthiest Foods, coupled with the exercise I have done in writing this post and proving the value of my balanced daily diet, has been hugely useful as a proving exercise and has revealed to me three startling facts:

Firstly that the purely fruit, vegetable, cereal, seed, nut, egg and Dairy base of my balanced daily diet provides all the nutritional needs for my bodies’ daily needs in all but 5 of the bodies nutritional requirements out of the total of 29 separate nutritional Macro and Micro Nutrients our body needs, in order to prevent and fight disease and ill health: Protein required meat and fish sources to increase protein consumption without the need for supplementation.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) required both Meat and Fish to bring my Niacin consumption up to healthy levels.
Vitamin D needed oily fish to increase the consumption of Vitamin D but with the NHS recommendation to keep consumption of oily fish to no more than once a week, and in living in a country deficient in sunshine, a Vitamin D supplement was required. Iodine required both oily and white fish to bring Iodine levels up to acceptable levels. Potassium required both oily and white fish to bring Potassium levels up to acceptable levels.

This confirms my suspicion that we were designed and evolved to eat meat and fish in small quantities to become and remain healthy but don’t eat too much. Keep your consumption at the NHS recommended levels of Red Meat no more than once a week, white meat twice a week, oily fish no more than once a week, white fish as often as you want but at least twice a week. I do like to have a purely vegetarian day once a week as well. The maths supported by the science proves the requirement for meat or fish on an almost daily basis.

Secondly that if you eat like I do, like we were designed and evolved to do, that there will be no need for any form of supplementation with the exception of Vitamin D and that is purely because we live in a temperate climate in which there is just not enough sunshine. If we have to supplement we are not eating right, and frankly, if we are supplementing while eating right, as the maths supported by the science has shown in the table above, we stand a significant risk of doing serious damage to ourselves. So keep it balanced.

Thirdly that while certain foods are known, or thought to have, certain properties or effects against certain diseases, to take more than the recommended amount of that food could seriously damage your health, as I found out to my cost when diving headfirst into certain ‘FAD’ diets, and as I found out while doing the Maths on Selenium, and the effect of eating more than the recommended 2 x Brazil Nuts a day. So do not over do it without thorough research and professional medical advice first.

So What?

I give you my balanced daily diet below. I devised it from learned wisdom and a lot of number crunching and it has helped me to Beat my Beast as part of my holistic approach to beating disease and keeping healthy. It is based purely on proven science from the NHS and the World’s Healthiest Foods Websites along with advice from UK medical experts. I have named it ‘Archie’s diet’ and know that it can set you on the road to a happier and healthier life as you defeat whichever beast you may be fighting. Even better still it will help to prevent disease from occurring in the first place be eating right and by moving more. Before you launch into it, seek advice from your GP or health professional first, and then break it into it slowly and gently, little by little, day by day, so as not to shock the body. Listen to your body and check now your supplements and seriously consider revising what you take and what you eat.

Don’t be afraid to adjust the diet slightly but do it, not because you don’t like one of the vegetables, grow to love the vegetable because every mouthful is a step closer to being well and keeping healthy. You might need to adjust the diet slightly because of an allergy or medical condition, but don’t just take something out because then you remove critical nutritional value from the balanced daily diet. Instead replace it with a similar food with which you can get on with. And don’t replace something without doing the maths. Guesswork or keeping your finger’s crossed just will not work, but with a huge amount of in depth number crunching, using the figures available on the World’s Healthiest Food Website, to truly understand the impact across the Nutritional spectrum that your body needs, you can adjust and adapt my balanced daily diet based on sound medical advice to suit your own particular condition, or to make allowance for an allergy. I know that my diet has played a part in the defeat of my brain tumour by eating it combined with physical training of the body and mind in support to the wonderful medical treatment that I was given by the NHS. So unless an allergy or particular medical condition requires a slight adjustment, eat my diet, eat all of it, every day. With my diet I have also managed to stave off some of the nasty side effects of cancer treatment. I got through brain surgery, a full course of radiotherapy and a year of chemotherapy while walking and cycling 2,808 miles in Summer and Winter involving three falls, that while causing only minor injury, I broke no bones (No Osteoperosis), the minor injuries I sustained, sprained wrists and bruised liver capsule, healed remarkably quickly. I managed to beat off the bugs that ran rampant through society and I have in fact come through remarkably unscathed except for the development of lactose intolerance caused by Chemotherapy. My brain lost much cognitive capability through treatment but again, by eating better, moving more and by continually cognitively challenging the brain I am managing to claw back those 18 years lost to treatment, and I am getting cognitively stronger again. Slowly but surely, reinforced by the power of a good diet, physical exercise, support of family and friends, a strong Faith, and in having a cognitive focus I am managing to clear the fog from my mind to see and think clearly again.

So now that I have done the Maths I give you the new and improved ‘Archie’s Balanced Daily Diet’

My New and Improved Diet

After a brisk walk I eat breakfast.
Note: 2 x Brazil Nuts removed from the diet at this point.

Breakfast:
I slice a banana into the bottom of my bowl then mix a seeded, oat-based muesli (½ a cup), with a fruit and nut oat-based granola (½ a cup), to add into the bowl.  In that I add a tablespoon of ground flaxseed which can be found in most supermarkets and on top I add 40 grams (approximately 24) of Blueberries.  I eat the cereal with Milk. Note: Due to developing Lactose intolerance, for a while I used Koko’s Coconut Milk as a Dairy alternative but on discovering the nutritional depth and strength of Dairy when compared with Dairy alternatives I have switched to Arla’s lactose free semi skimmed milk. I then have a slice of wholegrain seeded toast with butter and marmalade followed by an apple. I finish breakfast off with a glass of pure orange juice or mango and passion fruit smoothie.

Hot drinks during the day: 
Note: I have removed the mug of Horlicks as it was giving me far too much Vitamin A as well as other nutrients that were surplus to requirements, and I no longer have a decaf Almond milk Mocha as this contains selenium, which as you know is at very high levels in my diet so instead I have a cup of normal tea with a drop of milk, and one small teaspoon of sugar if I need a hot drink as a reward or need a little caffeine pick me up during the day. I also drink a mug of Pukka’s three ginger tea.  This can help with nausea and stomach upset but crucially also has turmeric root in it and I will mention more on turmeric shortly.  I also have a mug of Clipper green and lemon tea which is a great antioxidant.

Throughout the day I sip on water. I have removed the slice of lemon from the water because I found that the acid in the lemon was eroding the enamel on my teeth and making them painfully sensitive. I also get enough vitamin C from my balanced daily diet but will add the lemon to my water briefly to top up Vitamin C levels should I feel a bought of illness coming on.

I then work for 4 hours.

After a good session of physical training, a good stretch and a shower I prepare lunch.

Lunch:
Every day without fail I consume the following fruits and vegetables and I am convinced that they have played a key part in my possible healing.  They may not be exciting but when you know that each and every mouthful has the potential to heal you, it all of a sudden tastes so much better:

2 x Brazil Nuts This is now the only time that I consume Brazil Nuts throughout the day. Vitamin D Supplement of 10mg having realised that I am consuming each day, less than the recommended amount of Vitamin D.
Carrots 100 grams sliced into batons,
Tenderstem broccoli 50 grams,
Cherry tomatoes x 6 (tomatoes are said to help prevent or slow the ability of a tumour to grow),
Red Grapes x 12 (A chemical in the skin of red grapes is thought to cause apoptosis in tumour cells),
I then have a poached egg (the original superfood packed full of essential vitamins and minerals such as protein, calcium, vitamin D and B12 et al essential for a healthy balanced diet) on wholemeal seeded toast with a good handful of spinach, rocket and watercress salad on the side.

For pudding I have two squares of 85% dark chocolate.  (Again thought to cause apoptosis in tumour cells but it can be very fattening so don’t guzzle it.  Just two squares for now.)

If I am out for the day I take all this with me as a sandwich (either tuna mayonnaise, (balanced against the need to consume oily fish only once a week) or egg mayonnaise on wholemeal seeded bread) with spinach, rocket and watercress on top and the fruits and vegetables mixed up in a veggie pick and mix bag!  I also add a Stoats flapjack as an additional carbohydrate to keep me going on a long day out.

I then work for 3 hours

After a brisk walk I prepare tea. I have removed the additional 2 x Brazil nuts from after my late afternoon walk in order to keep my selenium consumption to within acceptable levels.

Tea:
No more ready-made meals or take-aways.  Instead I have a really good balance of home-cooked meals made from fresh and raw ingredients.  It takes time and is hard work until you get into the swing of it but you can pick the meals that include a healthy balance of protein and calcium (both essential for a strong immune system), carbohydrates (essential to maintain energy levels and mood) and vegetables each day in order to further boost your immune system, general health and well-being.  Again I follow the NHS Choices website advice on food.  As a result I try to ensure that I only eat red meat once a week, white meat a couple of times a week, oily fish once a week, white fish a couple of times a week and have a vegetarian day once a week.  Once you have established a good routine for planning the meals, shopping for them and preparing them, the chore of cooking fresh starts to become a delightful handrail for health, and the joy of eating such good food while sat down with family and friends makes it well worth the effort.  I do try and add leeks where appropriate in certain recipes.  (Again thought to have anti-tumour properties). I avoid alcohol as much as possible with the exception of a port-sized glass of organic red wine with each tea meal.  It is thought that the wine-making process magnifies the potency of the chemicals in the red grape skin that may cause apoptosis in tumour cells, but don’t overdo it.  1 port glass, no more.  A bottle of red with me will go off before I get to drink it all!!  Sainsbury’s do a really good organic, with no sulphites added, Cabernet Sauvignon at a very reasonable price. I finish my evening meal with a turmeric supplement.  I get the ones from Healthspan which are thought to be the most potent and body useable turmeric supplement on the market. They have also added vitamin C to aid immune system and joint health.  Turmeric is very much focused on causing apoptosis in tumour cells.  I then have a yoghurt (calcium being essential for the immune system and bone health (which can suffer during chemo)) with a teaspoon of ground flaxseed (for brain health) mixed in, followed by a tangerine (Vitamin C) and 2 squares of 85% dark chocolate.

If you are having trouble sleeping, 2 cherry tomatoes taken before bed may help as they are said to have a soporific effect, while also of course helping to slow/prevent tumour growth.

Top Tips

Lunch devoured!
Lunch devoured!

1. Something to Look Forward to While Remembering That Variety is the Spice of Life. It is really important that you have something to look forward to so once a month make one of the meals a comfort foods meal or even a night out at a restaurant followed by a show or a film, or a take away in front of a movie at home, but keep it low on sugar and salt content if you can but if you are eating as healthily as you can you deserve a treat!

If I can find the time, to add a little more variety I will replace my lunch meal with a homemade soup once a month and a homecooked lunch meal once a month. I will also add a vegetable juice as an aperitif to the tea meal once a month and replace the mango and passion fruit smoothie at breakfast with a homemade fruit smoothie once a month.

2. Immune System. I have talked lots about the immune system which is a natural system in the body that fights infection and disease. The immune system has long been viewed and is increasingly becoming viewed as an essential ally in the battle with cancer and any other disease of the body. I saw the immune system as a critical component in my fight against the brain tumour, so researched it and sought out ways in which to maintain or even strengthen my immune system.

I had been warned that treatment against the brain tumour would bring me and my immune system to its knees so I ensured that, within my strategy to beat my beast I included food and activity to strengthen the immune system.

I kept my immune system strategy very simple. 3Ms: Milk, Meat and Movement. I discovered that an immune system was a very complex but capable system that needed a healthy body that was receiving its daily nutritional needs but also needed significant amounts of Calcium (Milk), Protein (Meat) and physical exercise in order to pump up the Lymph System to remove toxic waste and deliver infection fighting white blood cells to any points within the body infected with disease. A brilliant system but has no static pump. Remembering that the body was designed and evolved so brilliantly around the need for regular daily exercise and it is this exercise in the form of brisk walking or running or sport or exercise classes that pumps the lymph system, to make the immune system, fed by an omnivorous balanced daily diet, so incredibly effective as a weapon against whatever does or may ail you.

3. Fruits and Vegetables, How many Portions a day? How much is a Portion? As we know, the NHS advice for the consumption of fruits and vegetables is very simple. 5 portions of fruit and vegetable a day. This did go up to 7 portions at a certain point during my treatment, but for fear of over fazing us to the point at which we do nothing, the advice was reduced back down to 5 portions of fruit and vegetable a day by the NHS. But what is a portion? The NHS Choices ‘Live Well’ section of its website has generic advice on portion size and it varies from fruit to vegetable, but suffice to say that I have done the maths and in my balanced daily diet you will eat 9 portions of fruit and vegetables over breakfast and lunch alone. I always try to ensure that I have at least another 2 portions of vegetable in my freshly made tea meal and with a tangerine or orange at the end of the meal you will have consumed a total of 12 portions of fruit and vegetables throughout the day!

4. Which Food is the Nutritional Powerhouse. As I wrote this chapter I started to wonder a question that had never previously concerned me. Which is the world heavyweight champion of the world when it comes to Nutritional punch from the foods within my balanced daily diet? I would have placed my bets on Tenderstem Broccoli before I started to write this chapter, because I had a friend in Doune who kept his two Flat Coat Retrievers, known for short life spans due to genetic failings, going for many, many years and all on a diet reinforced by Broccoli. I didn’t believe it as I have never seen a dog eat Broccoli, nor could I ever imagine a dog, a proper carnivore, eat Broccoli until I met Ken and his dogs at a cricket match while eating my veggie pick and mix bag during the lunch break. As I pulled out the tenderstem the dogs looked lively. I looked at Ken and questioned his dog’s intentions and he assured me once again that they really do eat broccoli. ‘Try it Archie, just give it to them and watch,’ so I did and sure enough both dogs devoured my remaining few stalks of tenderstem in seconds before looking for more! Dogs are mammals, so in my simple mind, I decided that tenderstem had to be a real superfood. But now I am going to crunch the figures and reveal my balanced daily diet winner. As each food was given a nutritional figure against the same scale of mg, or mcg, or IU against each nutritional need, I am just going to very simply add up the figures against each food, against each nutritional need category. I have not weighted the figures in any way as each nutritional need is as important as the other. I excluded Carbohydrates from the Maths as nearly every food contains carbohydrate in one form or another, and did exclude saturated fat as it is bad for us. I did however include unsaturated fat as it is good for us.

So basic maths completed I can reveal that the Nutritional Powerhouse is, in reverse order:

Position Food Score No. Nutritional Needs contributed To
21 Apple 8.40 2
20 Red Grapes 22.35 3
19 Blueberries 43.54 5
18 Wholemeal Seeded Bread 108.88 6
17 Turmeric 113.37 5
16 Red Meat 307.75 9
15 White Meat 345.69 7
14 Tangerine 346.55 6
13 Flaxseed 426.41 11
12 Banana 438.66 7
11 Egg 485.07 14
10 Carrots 494.58 (17,200.58) 15
9 Yoghurt 525.3 12
8 Cherry Tomatoes 577.98 18
7 Homemade Cereal including Oats, Pumpkin and Sunflower Seeds, Walnuts, Almonds, Raisins and Cranberries 621.03 15
6 Milk 624.56 12
5 Brazil Nuts 850.64 8
4 White Fish 908.67 9
3 Tenderstem Broccoli 1152.88 20
2 Oily Fish 1899.14 5
1 Spinach, Rocket and Watercress Salad 3227.1 19

Notes!

1. Carrots were actually the winner by many thousands purely because they scored so incredibly highly, when compared against the others for Vitamin A. So this figure slewed the results by so much I decided to ignore it but acknowledge carrots as the Vitamin A powerhouse.

2. The remaining results were in some ways surprising and in some ways not. It is easy to use facts like these above to dive head first into a new diet focussing entirely on the nutritional powerhouses. But don’t do it! Remember the word ‘balanced.’ I made that very mistake when I first started to explore the healing power of food and ended up needing an entire course of treatment in order to put out the fire I had lit within my body. It was extremely painful and counterproductive. Make any changes to your diet gradually, and with the advice of your medical practitioner. My advice would be to stick to my diet unless allergy or particular medical circumstances require subtle amendments. If you make those amendments; using the figures per portion of food on the World’s Healthiest Food Website, and the minimum and maximum intake guideline figures on the NHS Choices website and my tables above, do the Maths. As I have demonstrated through discovering the need to adjust my brazil nut intake, it is very easy to get it wrong and do yourself damage without considerable care and cross referencing being done across the spectrum of nutritional needs.

3. There is clearly a question falling out of this competition with regards to my bottom 5 performers: Apples, Red Grapes, Blueberries, Wholemeal Seeded Bread and Turmeric who all scored significantly worse than the remainder. The answer lies in three parts:

  1. Wholemeal Seeded Bread does provide some nutritional value, especially from the Brown Linseed, Sunflower, Pumpkin and Poppy Seeds, Millet and Golden Linseed, but is also an additional carbohydrate and a morning’s sweet treat when spread with some Marmalade just like Paddington to give me a quick boost, while I wait for the oats to kick in from the cereal.
  2. Apples. There is a growing consensus that consuming an apple a day can help to prevent lung cancer and colon cancer. This is my understanding based from the growing consensus so as an ex-smoker I decided that an Apple a day would help me keep the doctor at bay.
  3. Apoptosis. Apoptosis is a natural process more commonly referred to as programmed cell death, or cell suicide, in which abnormal or mutated cells are in effect told to die by the body and are then removed by the bodies’ lymph system. This is all part of the immune system function which is fed and maintained by certain chemicals in food acting as Triggers. It is when this process fails, perhaps as a result of a lack of the correct nutritional balance, that diseases like cancer take hold. So to stay healthy, triggering apoptosis is clearly as important as it is when trying to fight disease. Therefore while not huge nutritional powerhouses (although they do have a role to play in the balance of the diet) my understanding is, reinforced by conversations with my oncology team, that foods like Red Grapes, Blueberries, Green Tea, Tenderstem Broccoli, Cherry Tomatoes, Turmeric and Red Wine, amongst others contribute to the triggering of apoptosis and the health of the immune system itself. Again, the temptation is to maximise on these foods, like I did with Brazil Nuts, but this may well cause further problems, so include them in your diet as I have, but make sure that you maintain the nutritional balance.
  4. Protein Types and Quantities. It is really encouraging to see so many fruits and vegetables doing so well and taking the dominant position in our balanced daily diet, but as I hope that I have demonstrated in this chapter, while we should eat meat only sparingly, we perhaps shouldn’t cut it out together. For to do so would necessitate a requirement to supplement our diet and that tells me that we were not designed to be meat free. So eat meat but only sparingly in line with the NHS guidelines, Red Meat no more than once a week, White meat twice a week, oily fish no more than once a week, white fish twice a week or more though I do try and have a vegetarian day once a week. The real temptation is to want to maximise on Number 2 in the powerhouse chart.
  5. Why Oily Fish Only Once A Week? While oily fish is delicious when cooked well and is certainly a nutritional powerhouse, the sad truth is that the pollution in our seas and waterways is so bad that the oily fish simply cannot flush it from the body. So oily fish are in effect mildly toxic. This puts us in a real quandary because in an ideal and clean world we would love to eat more oily fish but we must not. Eating it once a week allows the body to reap the health benefits but gives the body time to flush out the toxins we have consumed. White fish are able to flush out toxins, and so are a much cleaner fish and can be eaten more frequently.
  6. Dairy Foods as a source of Calcium? Calcium and lots of it is an essential nutrient in order to maintain Immune and nervous system health as well as bone and dental health. Dairy products, as can be seen from the table above are clearly a nutritional powerhouse being in the top 9 and so offer so very much more than just Calcium to our nutritionally balanced diet. I developed Lactose intolerance as a result of Chemotherapy, so switched to Coconut milk as a Dairy alternative and certainly it has similar levels of Calcium and vitamin B12 added, but these Dairy alternatives often lack the additional nutritional benefits that Dairy offers. I discovered Arla’s lactose free milk which is lactose free but also has all the nutritional benefits of traditional Dairy so have switched to this. If I was to go back to a Dairy alternative again I would need to do the maths to ensure that my diet remained nutritionally balanced. I have heard the argument for it not being natural to drink milk; that we are the only mammals that drink the milk of another mammal. I would add to that argument that we are the only mammals that process soya beans, coconuts, almonds, rice, flax, hemp and countless other foods to produce milk of a lesser nutritional value. We were designed and evolved as keepers and herders of cattle which Homo Sapiens domesticated many thousands of years ago, so I truly believe that drinking milk is perfectly natural and indeed, when held against our daily nutritional requirements, consuming small quantities of dairy as part of our daily balanced diet is how we were designed and evolved. However, if you truly cannot or do not want to consume dairy, there are alternatives so take medical advice and balance your daily diet accordingly.
  7. What is Red Meat, White Meat, Oily Fish, White Fish et al? This is most easily answered with a simple list.
    • Red Meat: as given by NHS Choices: Beef, Pork, Lamb, Veal, Venison and Goat.
    • White Meat: generally poultry as in chicken, turkey, duck and goose.
    • Oily Fish: Anchovies, Carp, Herring, Jack, Mackerel, Pilchards, Salmon, Sardines and Trout.
    • White Fish: Cod, Haddock, Plaice, Pollock, Coley, Dab, Flounder, Red Mullet, Gurnard and Tilapia.

4. Lunch for tea. One of the great things about my lunch meal in my balanced daily diet is that it is a real powerhouse for nutritional gain in my balanced diet and as such, must be eaten each and every day. It is however, really quick and easy to prepare, and by turning the poached egg on toast with the Spinach, Rocket and Watercress salad on the side into an egg mayonnaise sandwich with the salad on the top, the lunch meal becomes completely mobile as a packed lunch and can be made the night before and stored in the fridge as a time saver. While it really should be eaten every single day, there is no reason why it could not be eaten for your tea meal. So if you found yourself out for lunch at a restaurant or a friend’s house panic not. Enjoy the day off cooking, try and select the most balanced meal off of the menu and eat your lunch meal for tea. Job done!

5. Vegetable Juices and Fruit Smoothies. I made fruit smoothies and vegetable juices a huge part of my diet when I first started out on my battle with the beast and there is certainly a huge amount about juicing and smoothies, that is easily available on the internet. Many of the articles are brilliantly and convincingly written about the nutritional benefits from juicing or smoothie making converts. Certainly juicing and smoothie making does provide a significant hit of nutrients but, especially in the case of vegetable juices, they lack the key ingredient so prevalent in my balanced daily diet to help prevent digestive diseases: Fibre. I also found the production of enough juice and smoothie for a family of four prohibitively expensive. As I hope to have demonstrated to you, there is no need for vegetable juices or fruit smoothies as part of a balanced daily diet. However I do include them occasionally, about once a month, along with soups and cooked lunch meals to add a little variety to the diet. So do not discount them completely but do not fall foul of the hype as I did. If you wish to include them routinely as part of your balanced daily diet, please do so but seek advice from your medical practitioner and do the maths to maintain the balance.

6. Does it have to be organic? The answer is no, but if you can afford to try and buy organic as much as possible, please do so because, not only is it better for the wider environmental ecosystems on which our life services such as clean air, water, pollination and the growing of crops depend, but it is also much better for us. Removing Agrochemicals from our food chain can only reduce the amount of toxic stress our bodies are already under from life within a modern and polluted environment. The more unnecessary, toxic chemicals we can remove from our immediate environment and from our food chain, the greater the chance our body has to detox and concentrate on fighting disease. Remember that any fight against a disease or to remain healthy is all about stacking percentage gain in your favour. Buying and eating organic food is one such way of achieving that. If you do nothing else please ensure that you only buy the foods that are known as the dirty dozen organically. These foods soak up the agrochemicals as they grow and store it in their flesh so cannot be scrubbed clean, so if nothing else, try and buy the following organic. Apples, celery, Bell peppers, Peaches, Strawberries, Nectarines, Grapes, Spinach, Lettuce, Cucumbers, Blueberries and Potatoes which are the most toxic. If you don’t believe me try this. Plant an organic potato next to a non-organic potato and see what happens. Then you’ll be convinced!! Importantly, don’t panic if you cannot find organic food. Still buy fresh and cook from fresh because sure as eggs is eggs any takeaway or oven ready meals will not be organic either. But what you cook at home will have less salt, less sugar, and certainly have more nutritional balance. But where you can buy organic please do.

7. Water. We are hugely fortunate in the UK that our water is clean and very portable. However my understanding is, quite reasonably, that a certain amount of heavy metal is absorbed by the water as it makes its way through the pipes and plumbing to come out of our taps. These heavy metals we absorb through drinking and through breathing in steam from the bath, shower, cooking or kettle. As a result, after significant research, I realised that I could not afford to have effective filters plumbed into the house, but I did invest in a purchase of a Berkey Water Filter. I found this to be of quite a size and slightly awkward to use at first, but once I got the hang of it, I enjoyed the peace of mind that I and my family were drinking heavy metal free water. This was not an NHS driven decision but one purely made on an understanding based on detailed research and reasoned argument. Certainly I no longer use the filter and am not convinced, in hindsight, that I needed it, but I have kept it just in case. The most important thing with water is that you sip away at it continually throughout the day to consume about 1.2 litres a day minimum. Even in winter, because it lubricates all the processes in our body that makes us healthy. Without water, we deteriorate rapidly. You will wee more, but that is flushing out waste, so is a good thing.

8. Preparation cooking and shopping tips and cook books. When I left the Army after 20 years service I had never had to cook for myself beyond emergency scrambled eggs on toast as a boy or ration packs in the field in the Army. My mother doted on and looked after us well, and as a qualified chef cooked the most amazing food for us all. Boarding School fed me and the Army fed me so I never needed to cook for myself before leaving the Army and becoming Daddy day care to my wonderful children. I started to learn to cook and went for the good old basics such as beans on toast or chicken nuggets with sweet corn et al. Anything quick and easy until 9 months after leaving, at which point, I was diagnosed with a brain tumour that came with a stark prognosis. I was once again in a fight for survival and this time directly in the line of fire. I had to fight back to survive and knew that I had to do so with physical exercise and food. I knew that the way I was eating just wasn’t cutting the mustard. I had to get better. So I opened up the first cook book I could lay my hands on and started to learn to cook. I still don’t really know how to cook but did discover that by following the recipe to the letter, I can produce great tasting and wonderfully healthy food that the children loved to eat. I quickly realised that I needed to find a number of recipes that were to take 30 minutes or less in order to be able to find the time to do it, because if I tried to cook one of Jamie Oliver’s 15 minute meals it would take me 45 minutes to prepare and cook, or if I tried one of his 30 minute meals it would take me 90 minutes to prepare and cook but without fail, always tasted great and were packed full of carbohydrates, protein, vegetable and herbs and spices, so providing significant nutritional enhancement and variety to the balanced daily diet. Then I tried to cook Mexican, then Thai, then Mediterranean, then vegetarian and just kept looking for and trying new things that were relatively quick and easy. Slowly but surely I learned to cook and while I still cannot claim to be a good cook, I can and do follow pretty much any recipe, and make a really good show of producing good tasting and healthy food that I and the children (usually) enjoy. The intent is for me to try and produce some cooking programmes in order to demonstrate how an untrained cook like myself can produce wonderful, tasty and healthy food in the most basic of kitchens, with the most basic of equipment, and do it nearly every single night, simply by following a recipe. I lost my driving licence to the Epilepsy I developed as a result of the brain tumour so had to find a way to be able to source the ingredients I need, buy it and deliver it to the home, but it was not and is not at all complicated. It is in fact a simple process. Living out in a small rural village and having realised that you cannot fit more than 3 days food for a family of four into a rucksack to be carried by me on a bicycle I turned to the internet. There are many different internet supermarket shopping providers and it is up to you to decide which one you use. I made my selection on the availability or organic produce against cost, and have since changed it when my original selection declined in the organic offering along with the level of freshness that they delivered. So my tips for cooking wonderful nutritionally good food from planning to eating are as follows:

  1. Research and log all 30 minute Recipes. You want to eat as well as you can but do not want to spend all night every night doing it, so go through your cook books and select and log into a list or spreadsheet all the recipes that you have that can be cooked in 30 minutes. While doing that log elsewhere any soup recipes or quick lunch ideas for the monthly soup or cooked lunch meal.
  2. Plan on a 3 day cycle. It is unrealistic to be able to order an entire weeks food shop and expect it to still be fresh and useable 5 days after it has been delivered. So I order for 3 days worth of eating at each order.
  3. Save money. The advantage of the 3 day cycle is that by planning carefully what you plan to cook and eat, including of course breakfast and lunch against types of food needed, and quantities required, for each food type over the three days, I was able to reduce food waste to nearly nil. I even designed an excel spreadsheet to help my foggy brain, but many are more than capable of planning at such detail for 3 days’ worth of eating, by ready reckoning with a piece of paper and a pen. This way you do not buy more than you need and the food won’t go off before you use it.
  4. Insist on Freshness. The fresher the food the better the nutritional value so insist on freshness. The supermarkets will routinely guarantee you 3 days shelf life where at all reasonable on fresh produce. So check carefully the delivery when it arrives. If they deliver below par, which has happened occasionally, make the call and get the money back.
  5. Store it properly. By planning and shopping on a 3 day cycle there should always be room in your fridge to store the food that needs to be kept cool for freshness.
  6. Before cooking read the recipe through thoroughly. The first time you cook a new recipe take 5 minutes to read it through and understand it and ensure that you have all the equipment that you need ready to be used.
  7. Prepare Ingredients. It takes time but will save you time in the long run and more likely lead to a successful cook if you switch on the radio, and take your time to find and prepare, in accordance with the recipes instructions, all of your ingredients. I lay them out on plates or in ramekins in order of use as I follow through the recipe. This removes any stress from the coking process and with a few classics from your favourite generation of music to sing along to, actually starts to make the whole process relaxing and enjoyable.
  8. Start cooking. It will take a few turns of the screw before you truly understand temperatures on your cooker. There may be a few near disasters on the way but as long as you focus on the cooking, rather than trying to do two things at once, you will be able to avert any disasters before they happen. Start cautiously with temperature and go Mediterranean, which is to cook for longer but at a lower temperature if you can. Experiment in line with the recipes instructions and let your creative juices flow. Most importantly enjoy the process.
  9. Relax with family and friends and eat. The evening tea meal is a perfect time to enjoy great food cooked by you in the company of family and or friends along with a port glass of organic red wine with no sulphites added. It doesn’t have to take forever but do take the opportunity to relax enjoy it and recover after a long and rewarding day while planning for the days ahead.
  10. Example Recipes. I went through the cookbooks and cook magazines that I had available in the house and compiled all the recipes that I could find that would take me approximately 30 minutes to cook, and that had enough balance to achieve the red meat once a week, white meat twice a week, oily fish once a week, white fish twice a week and vegetarian once a week balance, before then entering them all into an excel spreadsheet or list to aid meal planning. I also tried to ensure that each recipe had an additional two portions of fruit or vegetables in it. If they didn’t I would just add a ½ handful of Spinach, rocket and watercress salad on the side.:

Red Meat - Asian Crispy Beef Brown Rice Noodles and Loadsa Salad (Everyday Superfoods Jamie Oliver)
White Meat - Chicken and Avocado Wraps (Mexican)
Oily Fish - Salmon with Mango Salsa (Top 100 Recipes for Happy Kids)
White Meat - Basil Chicken Stir-Fry (Thai Cookery Secrets)
White Fish - Crabmeat Omelette (Step by Step Chinese Cooking)
Vegetarian - Black and Kidney Bean Chilli (Deliciously Ella)
White Fish - Asian Sea Bass (Jamies Fifteen Minute Meals)

Finally, I also compiled a list of healthy recipes that could be cooked when time was short. It wasn’t the longest list in the world so Mum helped out and gave me a great bunch of simple, flavoursome recipes that I could use when time was short and that I give to you below:

Chef Archie!
Chef Archie!

9. Don’t Panic. Life will often not run to a routine no matter how much you want it to but as long as you try and eat a balanced daily diet each and every day, if life just doesn’t go to plan and you have to resort to the occasional takeaway or fast food restaurant or oven ready meal don’t panic, and don’t try and catch up what you have missed. Just keep calm and carry on! Don’t however use change or lack of time as an excuse for abandoning healthy eating. Remember lunch is highly portable and what you eat should be a high priority in daily life because our health is directly affected by what we do and do not eat.

10. Finally. There are many types of beasts that statistics dictate may come and consume you in a life changing way. Very few people manage to get through life without having to confront a beast of some description. So when brain tumours, neurological conditions such as MS or other brain related diseases such as dementia, or other diseases, conditions or ailments such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, high or low blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, obesity, failure of one or more vital organs, the loss of one or more senses, back pain or joint problems or musculoskeletal disease, circulatory problems, a muscle-wasting disease, mental health problems, growing old too quickly, or a combination of problems becomes the beast you have to fight in order to have life; whether disease, sickness, or just general ill or failing health, what you eat is going to be an essential ally in your drive to beat the beast, or to prevent the onset of ill health in the first place. If indeed you have been unlucky enough to have been diagnosed with a disease or illness, food will be a critical weapon in your battle to beat the beast of a disease, sickness or ailment. To beat the beast of a disease, or to try and beat the statistics and remain healthy, you are going to have to become transformational in the way you structure, lead and live your life. It is going to take serious determination and you will find that you will become obsessive about how much you exercise, how much you eat and what you eat, how much you rest, and what you do on a day to day basis. In order to have life, a much, much, much better life, you are going to have to change your life because, as I have said before, when talking about ill health, its prevention and its healing, you will quickly understand that we are talking about percentages. Every percent in your favour that you can muster by the actions that you take, will quickly add up and, done over time, start to stack up to a massive percentage advantage in your favour. I can’t help you to beat your beast. I can only advise, inspire and encourage you. Your medical team can treat you, but only you can help yourself to beat your beast and only if you take action. Don’t just talk about it. You must do it. Design your strategy and check it for its suitability with your medical team or GP. Then get going. But you will need to be transformational in your approach. Don’t dilly dally. You are going to have to completely change aspects of your life in order to have life, a much, much, much better life.

You will hit dark days during which you may appear to be on the losing side. You will hit days in which you appear to be going backwards, not forwards. You will hit days in which the enormity of the beast you are trying to beat appears to be insurmountable. You will hit days in which every fibre of your being is screaming at you to stop, to give up. Pervasive, very persuasive and all powerful arguments and excuses for giving up and going back to your old ways, will at times permeate your every waking moment. You may even find yourself bumping along on the bottom of the deep dark river of despair, but having a strong cohort of family and friends who are all informed and all involved, will provide for you the hope, inspiration and encouragement needed to get you to lift your head out of the river, take a deep breath of clean air, and clamber out of the river to take further giant strides towards a new and much, much better future with your beast beaten, and well and truly back in its box. Eating better takes time and effort but very quickly becomes and must become a part of your daily routine.

BUT THERE IS NO SILVER BULLET. You cannot do one thing and not the other. You cannot pick the bits you like and ignore the bits you don’t. You have to take a holistic approach and embrace this fleeting opportunity for a chance of healing or staying healthy. So once you have garnered the support of your family and friends, design your strategy to eat better and move more, check it with your medical practitioner and get started, and when you do, the tired old battle cry of the three musketeers rings true. For by getting started you become the sole source of inspiration to your family and friends to encourage some of them to start a transformation, ‘ONE FOR ALL’ and while you fight your beast, by involving your family and friends who can and want to help you, will find that they will join forces and become an all-encompassing body of ‘ALL FOR ONE’.

By being holistic in your approach and involving your family and friends as you eat better and start to move more you truly can make the impossible possible, so go for it.

I have been talking about the importance of physical training in order to improve one’s chances of beating a beast or staying healthy, so this will be my next chapter. In the meantime I give you a quick snapshot of how I move more to beat my beast.

  1. Seek the advice of your medical practitioner before you start to take regular physical exercise.
  2. Start at a very simple level that you can manage without assistance.
  3. If you require assistance, as I did after having my inner ear removed and losing all sense of balance as a result, then seek it. Your friends and family will be more than happy to help where they can.
  4. If you require apparatus such as sticks or a frame to help you to walk then use them and select routes that will allow you to do so but again do it.
  5. Regular exercise is the key. I structure my daily exercise around a 20 to 30 minute brisk walk first thing in the morning, proper physical training just before lunch be it a run or swim or strength training, and finally a brisk 20 to 30 minute walk in the evening just before cooking tea.
  6. Three sessions a day gets the body working as it was designed and gets the bodies’ immune system and lymph systems working to get or keep you healthy and can be structured around your working life.
  7. Use your imagination for ways in which to fit the exercise in. Take the bike to work or to the station or walk half the way to work before getting on the bus. Seize any opportunity to take physical exercise, even if it is just taking the stairs rather than the lift, it all helps to get the body working as it should.

There will be a lot more detail on Physical Training in the next chapter but this info has been given to you to help in getting you started.

Work hard, be determined, be obsessive, be true to yourself and Deo Juvante, together, with your family and friends, by eating better and moving more we can beat the beast!
Yours aye

Archie

For more information on diet got to the following websites:

NHS: www.nhs.uk

Cancer Research UK: www.cancerresearchuk.org

MacMillan Cancer Support: www.macmillan.org.uk

World’s Healthiest Foods: www.whfoods.com