Vol. 29 No.3
24 Hour Cancer Support Line (08) 9384 3544
an intention and a goal
wellness news Wellness News is published by Cancer Support WA and distributed free to members. Wellness News is dedicated entirely to publishing informative, inspiring and helpful articles related to wellness and healing. The magazine is for people with cancer and other serious health issues; for people who want to maintain their good health naturally; and for integrative and natural health professionals who are looking for a deeper understanding of wellness.
editorial & production... Editor & Design Mandy BeckerKnox firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising/Sponsorship Adam Bennett email@example.com Distribution To our dedicated volunteers – thankyou, your efforts are sincerely appreciated!
e firstname.lastname@example.org ph (08) 9384 3544 f 9384 6196 a 80 Railway St Cottesloe WA p PO Box 325 Cottesloe WA 6911
www.cancersupportwa.org.au Facebook: Cancer Support WA Twitter: CSAWA1
disclaimer The contents of this magazine do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Cancer Support WA and should not be construed as medical advice. Cancer Support WA encourages readers to be discerning with information presented and make treatment, dietary and lifestyle choices in consultation with a team of health-care professionals. © Copyright of all articles and images remains with individual contributors.
What does healing mean to you? Dear members and friends, Recently the Cancer Support WA team took to the streets of Perth CBD for our Christmas Street Appeal. Everyone from the Board, counsellors, staff and dedicated volunteers got involved to help raise the money we need to fund our cancer support services – all of which are now completely free to our members, with most support services also free to the community. It was interesting to be in the city in this capacity and observe the reactions of passersby, it certainly provided deeper insight into the psychology of giving. We live in a city of such abundance and it seemed ironic that it wasn’t the well dressed, wealthy shoppers who gave the most – even a neighbour who I know quite well walked by without a glance towards the fundraiser shaking the tin! For me it was the schoolkids, immigrants, pensioners, workers and people who have been touched by cancer themselves who emptied their purses and gave what they had. Even a young, self-confessed homeless man stopped and gave a few coins, which shows we should never make assumptions! I heard many fragments of stories that day, some were heartbreaking, such as the beautiful young woman shopping with a friend who told me she had lost her husband to cancer only two days before and was in the city to buy a dress for the funeral. Her grief was raw and tangible and a few kind words were enough to unravel her composure. She now knows about the Cancer Support WA services, such as our grief group and counselling, which could potentially help her when she is ready, and she now knows that she never need feel alone, we are here for her. Others in the team heard different stories which made an impression and affirmed for us all the importance of Cancer Support WA’s mission and the healing potential of the work we do. Healing means something different to each of us. For me, healing is not the absence of disease or having a perfect life, it is the blossoming of real gratitude and appreciation for all the experiences life has gifted us with. Healing is the unconditional acceptance of ourselves and those we share our world with, and importantly it is the unhindered capacity to give, to receive and to share love. What does healing mean for you? It is my hope that each of our readers finds their answers and discovers the essence of healing within themselves this Christmas. Please enjoy this edition of Wellness News which is our gift to you.
Mandy BeckerKnox Chief Executive Officer
please give online to our Christmas Appeal cancersupportwa.org.au
Cancer Support WA is the only cancer wellness organisation in WA which directly supports people through every stage of every type of cancer. For almost 30 years, Cancer Support WA has helped and supported thousands of West Australians with cancer to achieve wellness and healing. Cancer Support WA is a pioneer of the “wellness approach” to cancer which integrates wellbeing therapies such as nutrition, exercise and meditation with mainstream treatment.
Cancer Support WA
During 2014 major works will continue on the Wanslea site and will see many of Cancer Support WA’s core services conducted at the nearby Cottesloe Civic Centre and also our Armadale venue, Kookaburra Creek Yoga Retreat Centre.
Information & Resources • Library & Resource Centre • Cancer Wellness Handbook • Cancer Care Packs • Wellness News magazine • Moss Reports • Referral Network
• 2 hr Taking Charge of Cancer Seminar • 5 Week Wellness Courses • 1 Day Cancer Wellness Workshop • Guest Speaker Program • Inspired Living Series • Regular Classes and Sessions • 1 Day Retreats
• Support Groups – Cancer Wellness Support Group – Grief & Loss Support Group – Women’s Healing Circle • Wellness counselling for emotional wellbeing • Mentoring • 24 hour cancer support phone line • Financial counselling • Advance care planning
• Annual Concert • Healthy Habits Week • Healing and Meditation Outreach Program • You Are Beautiful Exhibition • Adventure Travel Program
healing hope Cancer in its acute stages requires intensive medical focus and care. When medical treatment ends you may be left wondering ‘what now?’ and feeling quite alone. At Cancer Support WA we know, at this time, it’s what you do for yourself that matters most and we are here to support you to self-manage cancer and restore your wellbeing and health. Our courses and programs provide you with the tools to help bring about meaningful change. After a few weeks of yoga, meditation, optimum nutrition and high quality emotional support you start to feel better. You may also notice the more you commit to your wellness lifestyle, the more you benefit. This results in three things: you get involved in your own care, you discover that your involvement gives you the power to effect change, and seeing that you can effect change gives you hope. wellness, support services and heali ng
• courses, workshops, semin ars, retreats, events • support groups, counselling , mentoring, training
24 hour cancer support line
9384 3544 • www.cancersuppor twa.org.au
at Cancer Support WA Cancer Support WA’s 2014 Program will be mailed to all of our members. From January, 2014 you can download it at www.cancersupportwa.org.au or phone our 24 hour Cancer Support Phone Line (08) 9384 3544 to have a copy posted to you. Summer 2014 WELLNESS NEWS
about mind-body healing integrative therapies inspiring personal stories inspirations lifestyle & environment nutrition & recipes current news & information Welcome to the Summer 2013 Print Edition of Wellness News. This edition is inspired by the brightness, vibrancy, energy and community of summer and the festive season. Wellness News is unique in that it is an extremely positive, uplifting, intelligent and beautiful publication focusing on wellness, healing and the environment. Wellness News is designed to offer hope and life-enhancing wellness strategies for people who may be seriously ill, and a broad spectrum of information for people interested in maintaining good health. Wellness News articles are commissioned or sourced from highly regarded journals, publications and websites and are divided into seven key areas of cancer wellness and healing: mindbody healing; integrative therapies; nutrition and recipes; inspiring personal stories; lifestyle and environment; current news & information; inspirations. Topics covered are spirituality, healing modalities, complementary therapies, integrative medicine â€“ balanced with inspirational stories, recipes and the latest nutrition and wellness trends, and also information on how the environment can impact on health and wellbeing. We place great value on personal cancer stories for their insight into how people manage in challenging circumstances. Also important to our balance of content is poetry and art for the healing potential of words and images. Visually, our magazine is designed to inspire the healing spirit. Please enjoy this edition! Please note, our articles are not intended as medical advice, and we do recommend that before you embark on any non-medical treatment options you consult with your primary medical care givers.
Cancer Support WA www.cancersupportwa.org.au
news & information Cancer Support WA membership changes . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. 6 2014 Weekly Timetable. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. 7 Emu oil helps chemo patients. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Cancer cases likely to rise 75pc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Four breast cancer types identified. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Funds bring Cancer Wellness Centre closer. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. 9 Cycling to chemo: exercise during treatment . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . 10 Optimists live longer. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . 13 Cancer Support WA announces new patron . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. 13 5 Week Wellness Courses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Free Counselling at Cancer Support WA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Cancer Support WA social pages. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64
mind-body healing Can positive thinking make you well?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . When cancer disappears. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. 10 reasons to incorporate yoga into your life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Can yoga help with cancer? . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . Good morning yoga sequence. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Gratitude: a doorway to higher consciousness. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . What to do when youâ€™re broken. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. The inner voice. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
12 26 32 34 35 39 40 46
integrative therapies Meeting the Challenge with a holistic model of cancer care . . 14 DNA is not your destiny. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 The Epigenetics revolution . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . . 24 Grounding: the overlooked benefit of going barefoot. . . . . . . . . . 42 The importance of vitamin D receptors . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . . 44
Are you ready to go raw: the raw food diet. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . Concerns about the raw food diet. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. Yummy healthy raw snacks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The 7 healthiest foods on the planet. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The healing benefits of turmeric . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
nutrition & food 48 52 54 55 60
inspirations She wakes in the morning before the sun..........................62 Manual for climbing mountains................................................67
recipes Raw christmas fruitcake. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chocolate pecan torte . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Summer detox smoothie. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Turmeric and lime juice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Quinoa, sage and mint pilaf. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Green salad with orange. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. Roast potato salad . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
55 59 59 60 61 61 61
personal stories My wife has cancer! Now what do I do?...............................36 How to be a carer during Christmas.......................................38
Taking Charge of Cancer
NEW 2 hour Cancer Wellness Seminar
FREE for public
A cancer diagnosis can create confusion, uncertainty and a whole new world with a myriad of confusing information to understand. Taking Charge of Cancer, a free 2 hour public seminar provides the essential information to help you understand the non-medical options available to help you: improve your outcome from cancer; manage and understand your treatment regime; know which questions to ask; access support services; and maintain peace of mind. Once a month at Cancer Support WA and other metro locations. Venues, session times and bookings online: www.cancersupportwa.org.au 5 Summer 2014 WELLNESS NEWS
New Cancer Support WA membership tiers From January 2014, a new membership structure will be introduced at Cancer Support WA. After more than 15 years, Cancer Support WA is increasing the membership fee by $10 a year. We outline the changes here and will also send members more details as memberships come up for renewal. We have also introduced a new Wellness Club membership for people who attend our programs and courses which represents incredible value! If you require any further information please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Standard membership is $5* per month
Wellness Club Membership is $30 per month
$30 payable 6 monthly or $60 payable annually
$30 payable monthly or $360 annually
What you get
What you get
A place on Cancer Support WA’s Meeting the Challenge 1 Day Seminar (value $100)
ALL THE BENEFITS OF STANDARD MEMBERSHIP PLUS...
Access to these support services at no charge: • counselling (value $50 per session) • home and hospital visits (value $75 per session) • phone counselling • Free 1 year subscription to the quarterly Wellness News print magazine (value $40) Cancer Support WA Library Card for borrowing 1000’s of books and resources from our library. New titles monthly. Online/postal borrowing is available for members from our website (4 week loans). 15% discount on all Cancer Support WA programmed activities and services 10% discount on all Cancer Support WA’s Wellness Shop products including juicers Access to the full series of The Moss Reports
Free attendance at all Cancer Support WA weekly classes (taichi, reiki, qigong, yoga, meditation – value $10 per session) Free attendance at Cancer Support WA’s courses** • 5 week Cancer Wellness Course (value $120) • 5 week Eating for Cancer Recovery Course (value $150) • 5 week Healing Yoga and Relaxation Course (value $60) • 5 week Introduction to Meditation Course (value $60) • 5 week Create a Healthy Home Course (value $150) • 12 week Gawler Foundation Cancer Healing & Wellbeing Course (value $400) additional 10% discount on all Cancer Support WA wellness program and services not included in the Services Package (ie 25% total discount) additional 10% discount on all Cancer Support WA Wellness Shop products including juicers (ie 20% total discount) Monthly Cancer Wellness Coaching (phone or in person)
* Free counselling sessions are limited to 1 free session per week, fee payable for additional sessions ** Free attendance at courses is limited to 1 free course at any one time
FREE for members
Meeting the Challenge
1 Day Cancer Wellness Workshop
Our powerful, informative 1 Day Cancer Wellness Workshop is the first big step on your cancer wellness journey. The workshop is suitable for anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer and their partners or carers looking for balanced, holistic information on how best to meet the challenges of cancer and integrate wellness strategies, nutrition and natural healthcare into a cancer wellness plan to get your life on track. 1st Friday of each month at Cancer Support WA, Cottesloe. 9.30am-4.30pm. Includes morning tea. Book online: www.cancersupportwa.org.au
Cancer Support WA www.cancersupportwa.org.au
Please check website before attending as venues and times may change Monday 9.30-11am Meditation 11-12pm Tai Chi 7pm-8.15pm Reiki Clinic bookings required
10am-12pm Cancer & Carers Support Group 12pm-1.30pm Reiki Clinic 1.30pm-3.30pm 5 Week Cancer Wellness Course
9.30am-4pm Counselling (Individual, Family, Group)
9.30am-4pm Counselling (Individual, Family, Group)
9.30am-4pm Counselling (Individual, Family, Group)
10am-12pm Womenâ€™s Healing Circle
1pm-3pm Grief and Loss Support Group Second and last Thursday of each month
9.30am-4.30pm 1 Day Cancer Wellness Workshop - Meeting the Challenge 1st Friday of each month
9.30am-11.30am Gentle Healing Yoga
1.30pm-3.00pm Qi Gong
4pm-6pm Sound Healing 3rd Tuesday of each month 6-8pm Special Guest Speaker 1st Tuesday of each month
Cancer Support WA 80 Railway St, Cottesloe
6-8pm Taking Charge of Cancer Seminar 4th Wednesday of each month. Check venues in Cottesloe, Armadale and Rockingham and Perth CBD.
Cottesloe Civic Centre 109 Broome St, Cottesloe
Located centrally in Cottesloe, Cancer Support WA is on the grounds of Wanslea, also housing North Cottesloe Primary School.
Located 2 minutes from Cancer Support WA, the Cottesloe Civic Centre is located in tranquil grounds overlooking the sea.
Nearest main intersection: Eric St. Nearest train station: Grant St 15 minutes from Fremantle 20 minutes from CBD (by car)
Nearest main intersection: Eric St. Nearest train station: Grant St 15 minutes from Fremantle 20 minutes from CBD (by car)
1.30pm-3.30pm 5 Week Eating for Recovery Course 4pm-5pm 5 Week Introduction to Meditation 5pm-6pm 5 Week Absolute Beginners Yoga
Gentle Healing Yoga Time to be confirmed - check website 5 Week Create a Healthy Home Time to be confirmed - check website
Kookaburra Creek Yoga Centre 210 Carradine Rd, Bedfordale
Kookaburra Creek Yoga Centre is a serene and peaceful centre in the hills outside Armadale. Nearest intersection: Albany Hwy. Nearest train station: Armadale 5 minutes from Armadale 40 minutes from Fremantle 40 minutes from CBD (by car)
Cost: all listings on the timetable including counselling are FREE for Wellness Club members. Counselling is free for Standard members. Other venues. Check 2014 program. Summer 2014 WELLNESS NEWS
in the news...
Emu oil helps chemotherapy patients The oil, which has been long used by Aborigines to treat skin wounds, was discovered to be capable of speeding the repair of the intestines and treating a variety of common bowel diseases. Researchers at Adelaide University found the oil is an effective anti-inflammatory and can accelerate the repair of the bowels by stimulating growth of intestinal “crypts”, which assist with absorbing food. Up to 60 per cent of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy receive painful intestinal ulcers but there are currently “no effective treatment options”, the researchers said.
Scientists in South Australia have found that emu oil – taken from the fat of the native flightless birds –
“We have now done sufficient studies in the laboratory to show that emu oil has potential to help reduce the debilitating symptoms of these conditions and to enhance intestinal recovery,” said Professor Gordon Howarth, the lead researcher. The study showed the oil produced greater elongation of intestinal crypts – which demonstrated enhanced recovery and repair – and reduced the severity of damage in intestines affected with ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease.
can help chemotherapy patients by
“We are now looking at further work to look at emu oil dosages, and whether the beneficial effects can be reproduced in clinical trials,” Professor Howarth said.
repairing bowel damage.
The healing powers of emu oil were recently celebrated by the Australian actress Cate Blanchett, who told Elle magazine that she uses an oil-based cream on her skin. “Being an Aussie, it’s my home secret,” she said. F
By Jonathan Pearlma. From The Daily Telegraph, 15th April 2013: www.telegraph.co.uk
Cancer cases likely to rise 75 percent Worldwide cases of cancer are likely to rise by nearly 75 percent by 2030, driven by demographic and lifestyle factors, according to a study published in the journal The Lancet Oncology. A team led by Freddie Bray of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in France said that in 2008 there were 12.7 million new cases of cancer, which would rise to 22.2 million by 2030, with 90 per cent of the rise occurring in the poorest countries. In many countries, falls in cancers linked to infection have been offset by cancers of the colon, rectum, breast and prostate, which are associated with a “westernised” diet, they said in the report published today. The study used data from GLOBOCAN, an IARC database of cancer cases in 184 countries. In 2008, breast, lung, colourectal and prostate cancers accounted for half of the tally of cancers in rich countries. In middle-income countries, cancers of the oesophagus, stomach and liver were relatively more common. Both categories of countries have seen falls in cervical and stomach cancer in recent years. In the poorest countries, cervical cancer was particularly numerous, outstripping the cases of breast and liver cancer. “If the cancer-specific and sex-specific trends estimated in this study continue, we predict an increase in the incidence of all-cancer cases from 12.7 million new cases in 2008 to 22.2 million by 2030,” said the study. “Targeted interventions can lead to a decrease in the projected increase ... through effective primary prevention strategies, alongside the implementation of vaccination, early detection and effective treatment programs.” F
From: The West Australian
Cancer Support WA www.cancersupportwa.org.au
IN THE NEWS
Four breast cancer types identified after massive gene analysis Scientists are a step closer to discovering the genetic origins of breast cancer Scientists reported Sunday that they have completed a major analysis of the genetics of breast cancer, finding four major classes of the disease. They hope their work will lead to more effective treatments, perhaps with some drugs already in use. The new finding offers hints that one type of breast cancer might be vulnerable to drugs that already work against ovarian cancer. The study, published online Sunday by the journal Nature, is the latest example of research into the biological details of tumours, rather than focusing primarily on where cancer arises in the body. The hope is that such research can reveal cancer’s genetic weaknesses for better drug targeting. “With this study, we’re one giant step closer to understanding the genetic origins of the four major subtypes of breast cancer,” Dr. Matthew Ellis of the Washington University School of Medicine said in a statement. He is a co-leader of the research. “Now we can investigate which drugs work best for patients based on the genetic profiles of their tumours,” he said. The researchers analysed DNA of breast cancer tumours from 825 patients, looking for abnormalities. Altogether, they reported, breast cancers appear to fall into four main classes when viewed in this way. One class showed similarities to ovarian cancers, suggesting it may be driven by similar biological developments. “It’s clear they are genetically more similar to ovarian tumours than to other breast cancers,” Ellis said. “Whether they can be treated the same way is an intriguing possibility that needs to be explored.” The report is the latest from the Cancer Genome Atlas, a federally funded project that has produced similar analyses for brain, colourectal, lung, and ovarian cancers. F
WA Cancer Wellness Centre president Ross Taylor, Breast Cancer WA chief executive Donna Rendell, founder and chief executive of melanoma WA Clinton Heal and Cancer Support WA chief executive Mandy Becker-Knox
Funds bring Cancer Wellness Centre closer Interior design work on the new Cancer Wellness Centre in Cottesloe can start with the presentation of $685,048 from Lotterywest this month. The latest round of funding is part of $7.5 million Lotterywest has pledged to the new centre that will house Cancer Support WA, Breast Cancer Care WA, Melanoma WA and the Brady Cancer Support Foundation at the heritage listed Wanslea. The 7430sq m former orphanage, managed by the National Trust, was built in 1905 and now comprises six buildings that contractors have been working on since last November. Cancer Wellness Centre president Ross Taylor said it would be Australia’s first cancer support centre. He said a trust left by the late Dorothy Brady would provide $120,000 a year for 10 years for rent and maintenance costs. The Cancer Support WA life member will celebrate a milestone on December 28, which will be 20 years since he was first diagnosed with melanoma and given 12 months to live. “Cancer Support WA was the first the first place I came in to, reluctantly, and it changed my life,” Mr Taylor said. F
From Western Suburbs Weekly, 19th November 2013 westernsuburbs.inmycommunity.com.au
The Associated Press, 23rd September 2013
Summer 2014 WELLNESS NEWS
Cycling to chemo: exercise during cancer treatment By Dyani Lewis When Julie Marker was undergoing cancer treatment she rode her bike to and from her chemotherapy sessions. “You would feel really seedy for a start, but then you found you actually felt better by the time you got home,” says Marker, an active member of the Cancer Voices SA cycling group.
Images by Stephanie Guy
Many people going through gruelling cancer treatments are encouraged to rest and recuperate as much as possible. But evidence suggests people with cancer benefit from more exercise, not less, even during treatment.
Marker was a fit and active 45-year old when she was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2001. Since then the cancer has returned twice, both times to her liver and both times she’s had to undergo chemotherapy and surgery. But each time, she has found exercise helped her to cope with side effects of cancer treatment, such as fatigue and nausea. “A lot of the advice in the past from clinicians – and not just clinicians, but also from your family and friends – has been like killing you with kindness,” Markers says. Associate Professor Linda Denehy, head of physiotherapy at the University of Melbourne agrees the importance of regular exercise during cancer treatment has previously been overlooked. “People, quite rightly really, are really concerned about treating the cancer, getting the tumour to reduce in size or getting rid of the tumour,” she says. However, there are now more than 80 studies looking at the effects of exercise training in patients following a cancer diagnosis. These have found not only is the exercise safe, but it can also lead to significant improvements in day-to-day functioning, intensity of symptoms, fitness, and overall health-related quality of life – a measure of how much the cancer is impacting on wellbeing. Cancer and exercise Many of us are familiar with the notion that exercise reduces your chances of developing a range of cancers. Over the past couple of decades, strong evidence has found physical activity reduces the risk of colon, prostate, lung and gastrointestinal cancer in men, and breast and endometrial cancer in women. It is also known that resuming regular exercise after cancer treatment can improve the long-term prognosis for people who have had cancer. But it’s only recently that researchers in the burgeoning field of exercise oncology have started honing in on the benefits of exercise for those currently undergoing cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery. Exercise and cancer-related fatigue The strongest evidence for the benefits of exercise during cancer treatment is for cancer-related fatigue, which is unlike that a healthy person experiences. “It’s an unremitting fatigue, and it’s not alleviated by rest,” explains Dr Catherine Granger, leader of physiotherapy research at Royal Melbourne Hospital and lecturer at the University of Melbourne. This fatigue is caused by a toxic mixture of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, as well as the weakening effects of nausea, vomiting, anaemia and hormonal fluctuations that can result from the treatments.
Cancer Support WA www.cancersupportwa.org.au
IN THE NEWS
“You’d think that by exercising you’d get tired, and that’d make it worse,” says Denehy, “but it’s actually the other way around.” Resting is understandably an automatic response for many people when the fatigue sets in, but it promotes what Granger describes as a “vicious cycle” of further losses in fitness and strength, and a worsening of symptoms. But a Cochrane systematic review – the gold standard in weighing scientific evidence – concluded exercise is an effective of way of reducing cancer-related fatigue both during and after cancer therapy. Getting in shape for treatment For someone with cancer, deconditioning, which includes a loss of fitness and muscle mass, can begin before any diagnosis is made. This only becomes worse once treatments take their toll. A number of studies have shown exercise programs that get people as fit as possible before starting chemo and radiotherapy can improve how they tolerate their treatments, as well as improve fitness and day-to-day functioning after treatment. “The stronger you are, the higher the dose they can give,” says Denehy, “which is clearly going to be better for treating the cancer.” While the benefits are real, there is currently no recommendation to delay treatment for exercise. “But if there is a delay,” says Granger, “that’s certainly a great time that we could try and get people as active as possible.” Keeping treatment on track Exercise during treatment can help to prevent further deconditioning, and ensure people are well enough to continue with their treatment plans. “If you can start to recover more rapidly and you have more days of feeling ok,” says Marker, “then you can stick with the treatment.” The precise reasons why exercise is so beneficial aren’t clear, although reducing inflammation, improving metabolism, and lessening cancer-induced tissue damage and hormone fluctuations are all active avenues of research. It’s also possible that the mechanisms – and the benefits – could vary from one type of cancer to the next. Genetic factors that influence how much benefit you gain from exercise are also likely to be important. Mental health benefits As is the case with everyone, exercise also helps improve mood and mental health for people with cancer. “If you go out for a run, it releases all of these endorphins, and you feel great,” says Denehy. “That happens in cancer, but they’ve got a lot more reason to have clinical depression.” She and her colleague Granger found lower levels of both anxiety and depression in lung cancer patients who exercise.
Marker agrees: “going for a walk around the block really gets you out of that negative thinking, and relaxes you a bit”. How much exercise? The American College of Sports Medicine and the American Cancer Society have both published guidelines – endorsed by Cancer Council Australia – recommending exercise for people diagnosed with cancer. In general, the amount of physical activity recommended is the same as for the rest of us: 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise three to five times a week. (Australian guidelines recommend at least five times a week.) It’s not clear which mix of aerobic exercise – such as walking, running and cycling – and strength training using weights or resistance works best. “Currently we don’t know whether one’s better than another,” says Denehy, “but what we tend to do is do both.” Given the vast differences between cancers and their treatments, an individual approach is essential, according to Denehy. Granger agrees, and hopes to see exercise integrated into cancer therapy with qualified exercise physiologists and physiotherapists included in cancer treatment teams. For Marker, who now cycles around 80 kilometres each week on top of her daily commute to work, exercise is about far more than just the health benefits. “Exercising for me was a way of being able to get back to normal, and get my life back on track again,” she says. “It was my freedom.” F
From The Pulse, 8th August 2013: www.abc.net.au Summer 2014 WELLNESS NEWS
By Deepak Chopra Observers may have noticed recently that mainstream medicine is taking a harder line against positive thinking. Surveys of the leading research in the field conclude that recovery rates from cancer, for example, are not higher among patients who take a positive attitude about fighting their disease. Studies that show the reverse have been small and, according to their critics, flawed in serious ways. Anyone would be forgiven for throwing up their hands. This seems like another example of dueling data, where one study’s findings are contradicted by the next study, leaving the public in a state of confusion. Doctors are confused, too. It has always been part of a doctor’s kit bag to tell patients to keep their spirits up. Until a few decades ago, it was standard not to acquaint a dying patient with the gravity of his condition, which implies an unspoken agreement that hearing bad news isn’t good for patients. At the same time, doctors want to protect their profession, so few want to cross the line and support the notion that how you think can work as powerfully as “real” medicine. Let’s see if some of this confusion can be cleared up. First of all, thinking is "real" medicine, as proven by the placebo effect. When given a sugar pill in place of a prescription drug, an average of 30% of subjects will show a positive response. What causes this response isn't a physical substance but the activity of the mind-body connection. Expectations are powerful. If you think you've been given a drug that will make you better, often that is enough to make you better. This implies that a person should be able to trigger the placebo effect on himself. However, there is a psychological illusion involved. Take away the authority figure in a white coat to tell you that you are taking an effective drug, and suddenly the sugar pill is just a sugar pill. You can't fool yourself when you know what the placebo is. This can't be the whole story, however. We can't deny that the mind-body connection is powerful. So is there a placebo effect that doesn't involve fooling the patient? Can you trigger your own inner defenses by the way you think? Those who believe in positive thinking say yes. I believe the situation is more nuanced. On the plus side, the studies that debunk positive thinking deal with very sick patients struggling to recover from major diseases. They do not
Cancer Support WA www.cancersupportwa.org.au
comment on how positive thinking might prevent disease or how it might affect someone in the very early stages of illness The real point isn't to rescue a dying patient but to maintain wellness. Does positive thinking keep you well? Right now the camps are divided, because with the rise of genetics, many disorders clearly have triggers that originate in our genes. In the public's mind, being told that cancer or diabetes is genetic acts as final authority. Luckily for the positive-thinking camp, this fatalistic attitude is mistaken. Genes are dynamic, not fixed; they respond to a person's environment, behaviour and attitudes. Indeed, a now-famous study in Sweden showed that a tendency to diabetes may be strongly affected by the diet your great-grandfather ate. A whole new field is studying how much choice we have at the genetic level. The findings are not complete by any means, yet there is no harm in assuming that your mind affects your genes, because there is abundant evidence to support this attitude. Medicine hasn't proven that positivity is good prevention, but let's go a step further. To me, the problem with positive thinking is the thinking part. It takes effort to be positive all the time. The mind has to defend itself from negativity, and that is exhausting as well as unrealistic. You may succeed in calming the appearance you present to the world, but there's almost always a struggle hidden just below the surface; at the very least there is a good deal of denial. Being fanatically positive is still fanaticism. The alternative to thinking is a calm mind that is at peace with itself. I believe that such a mind delivers the benefits that positive thinking cannot, and my view is supported by studies showing a decline in high blood pressure, stress levels and other disease states among long-term meditators. Meditation is a spiritual practice, but it's also a mind-body practice. Here the results are not final, either, in part because almost the only research subjects tend to be Buddhist monks. We need expanded studies based on Western subjects; that much is clear. The upshot is that medicine cannot be definitive on how mood affects wellness. But if I wanted to enhance a state of wellness before symptoms of illness appeared, there is much to be gained and no risks involved in trying to reach the best state of mind possible. F
IN THE NEWS
Optimists live longer Optimists have a longer life-span than pessimists, researchers have concluded. They found that people with a positive outlook live, on average, 19% longer More than 1,100 patients attending the Mayo Clinic, in Minnesota, USA, between 1962 and 1965 completed a personality survey, which gave them an optimism ranking according to their views of the causes of events in their lives. By looking at the patients more than 30 years later, the researchers discovered that those who had been classified as optimists had a 19% higher chance of still being alive than the pessimists, reports the Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Optimists were less likely to suffer depression and helplessness and were less fatalistic about their health chances. Commenting on the report, Dr Martin Seligman, of the University of Pennsylvania department of psychology, said: “Now I believe we have converging and compelling evidence that optimists and pessimists differ markedly in how long they will live.” Pessimism was identifiable early and could be stabilised by therapy which changed the individual’s thinking about bad events, he said. Philip Tata, head of adult psychology at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, in London, said: “Optimism and pessimism are more complex than people think. Most people think they are opposite ends of one scale, but you can actually have high levels of both at the same time. “A lack of optimism, rather than a negative outlook, can be just as problematic. Having a reason to live rather than just seeing terrible things coming down the road at you is important.” F
Cancer Support WA announces new patron In October 2013, Cancer Support WA announced it had appointed the Hon. Michael Mischin MLC to the role of Patron. Michael Mischin is the State Attorney General and Minister for Commerce and is also involved with a number of Western Australian charities and community organisations. Chief Exeuctive Officer Mandy Becker-Knox says of the appointment, “In the past, the role of Patron has traditionally been held by the Governor of Western Australia. Given that our focus is now more directly on community service, we feel that Michael perfectly represents the values and direction of the organisation.” Mr Mischin was delighted with the appointment and says, ”I am proud to accept the role as Patron for Cancer Support WA. I have been deeply impressed by the organisation’s commitment to providing free support to people and families affected by cancer. Cancer Support WA is an unrivalled organisation that offers broad and comprehensive support to patients and their families on every stage of the cancer journey, from diagnosis to healing and recovery. I thank Cancer Support WA for all that they do for the WA community, and I look forward to a long and happy association with them.” F
the compact juicer The Cancer Support WA Wellness Shop now stocks the incredible new COMPACT JUICERS. These small juicers are slow and quiet and your juice will retain up to 60% more nutrients than conventional juicers and the valuable enzymes remain alive. The Live enzymes are what aids your digestion and helps your body absorb nutrients, boost your energy levels and immune system. Drop by during office hours or order your juicer by phone.
Members price $275 (rrp $325). Order now in time for Christmas. Phone (08) 9384 3544 or drop in to our Summer Wellness ShopNEWS 13 2014 WELLNESS
By Keith I. Block, M.D. Keith I. Block is a pioneer of integrative oncology â€“ an approach which combines western medicine with complementary therapies, exercise, nutrition and lifestyle giving each individual the opportunity to develop the inner resources required for complete recovery.
Cancer is one of the ultimate challenges any of us can face. I tell my patients that it is like being forced to climb Mt. Everest: your trek to recovery requires the same committed focus and fitness of body and mind. Many of my patients tell me this analogy not only captures how overwhelmed their illness makes them feel but also reinforces two key ideas. First, to surmount your illness, just as to climb Everest, you need know how, planning and preparedness. Second, all mountains are ascended one step at a time, and all illnesses are conquered one step at a time. Every new health-promoting behaviour you adopt is a victory. Every improvement in your symptoms, no matter how small is an important step toward the summit of health. The first point: preparedness is a key to successful cancer therapy. If I dropped you onto the summit of Everest, you would be lucky to survive a few hours in the intense cold and low-oxygen atmosphere. In the same way, unprepared cancer patients often lack the reserves to carry them through treatment. Of course, no rational person would ever let himself be plopped beneath the summit of Everest unprepared. You need training, proper equipment, and time to study the routes and learn the terrain before starting your trek. En route, you pace yourself and set up camps along the way to acclimatise yourself to the altitude. If youâ€™re smart, you also enlist an experienced guide, who helps you navigate the trickiest terrain.
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So it is with cancer Ascending Everest is analogous to the attack phase of cancer therapy – the conventional treatment for debulking, or shrinking, the primary tumour. The better and smarter the preparation, the more likely you are to complete this treatment. Don’t worry if there is only a little time between when you receive your diagnosis and when you begin treatment such as surgery: even a little preparedness can go a long way. With an experienced guide offering strategies complementary to your chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery, treatment will be less debilitating and more effective. If the attack phase is successful in shrinking or eliminating the primary tumour, you’ve achieved either a partial remission or a complete remission. This is like reaching the summit of Everest. What next? More often than not, nothing. Former medical thinking viewed successful completion of the attack phase as almost synonymous with a cure. But even with remission after surgery and chemo, some residual undetectable cancer cells likely remain. It has been estimated that approximately half of all cancer patients in remission actually have metastases, malignant cells that have broken off the original tumour, travelled through the bloodstream to far-flung sites in the body, and begun the insidious process of growing into another dangerous tumour. Just because you have achieved remission through elimination of the primary tumour does not mean you are home free. Cancer is not like an infection, where you wipe it out and move one. It is a chronic condition that needs constant vigilance. While conventional cancer treatments often remove much of the disease burden – and it is critical to remove tumour bulk from your body – that is only half the battle. Even the primary tumour is eliminated, micro-metastases may already have migrated to and seeded other parts of the body. These dormant cells can rear up and re-establish themselves. That’s why for my patients, complete remission does not mean the end of treatment. Instead it means the start of the containment or growth phase, when we focus on stopping or slowing further the growth of any residual disease (visible tumours) or invisible metastatic cancer cells. Post-treatment is a time to particularly aggressive.
First, to surmount your illness, just as to climb Everest, you need know how, planning and preparedness. Second, all mountains are ascended one step at a time, and all illnesses are conquered one step at a time.
To continue the Everest metaphor, a successful climb is not only about summiting but also about getting back down. This is where climbers often err because the potential for catastrophe – treacherous ice patches and wrong turns that send you plunging into an abyss – is so great. Similarly, for a cancer patient it is critical to look past the summit of clear scans and remission so that your preparedness carries over into the post-treatment, or remission maintenance, phase. Unfortunately, this is the most neglected phase of cancer treatment. Conventional cancer treatment does little to prevent cells from regrouping, proliferating, and forming new tumours. It also does little to help patients recover from persistent side effects and potentially life-threatening complications of attack-phase treatments. But with the right strategy, these effects can be avoided or overcome: we have tools – especially diet, nutritional therapy, and experimental and off-label drug use – that can delay or block the return of cancer. Now cancer patients part ways with mountain climbers. When mountain climbers return to base camp, their ordeal is over. They have triumphed. Not so with cancer patients who have reached the summit (achieved remission) and descended safely (kept metastatic cells in check). With cancer, you must remain attentive to self-care, taking an active role in your continued health. Rather than waiting passively for the results of your next scan or checkup, you can actively seize control of your future. This will likely entail making changes in what you eat, how you stay fit, and how you balance life’s stressors, but I can just about guarantee that the small investment will yield a huge return: not only will this new way of life decrease your risk of relapse, but it will decrease your risk of diseases other than cancer too, and make you feel better, stronger and more empowered everyday.
Summer 2014 WELLNESS NEWS
Cancer is not merely a tumour. It is an underlying condition. It is based on abnormal patterns driven by genetics and lifestyle. It reflects changes in your body all the way down to the microscopic and molecular levels, changes that began long before you had any symptoms of cancer – indeed, long before cancer was diagnosed or even detectable. It therefore makes no sense to think of cancer as a tumour. That is merely its most obvious manifestation. A whole slew of physiological processes are also out of whack – sufficient to allow malignant cells to arise, grow, and proliferate uncontrollably. Although only limited progress has been made in treating cancer, biologists have made tremendous strides in understanding its origins and development. Cancer can begin in any of several ways. Toxic chemicals from the air we breathe, the water we drink, the smoke we inhale, or the food we eat can all alter the DNA in a single one of our cells and cause a gene mutation. Or the unstable and highly reactive molecules called free radicals, generated by normal metabolism, can damage DNA, also giving rise to mutations. Alternatively, cancer can arise by chance: DNA in our cells is forever making copies of itself, and if the copy is flawed, the resulting cell can start down the path to malignancy. Normally, the body’s defense systems eliminate mutated cells by causing them to commit suicide and through other mechanisms. If mutations overwhelm the body’s defences, however, the mutated cells will proliferate uncontrolled until they are numerous enough to form a solid tumour or a blood cancer. Even more perniciously, cancer can hijack many of the body’s own mechanisms to create an environment that actually nurtures a tumour’s growth and spread. An anti-cancer strategy (such as the author’s Life Over Cancer program and the programs offered by Cancer Support WA – ed) emphasises strengthening your anti-cancer biology: unless the body’s physiological defences prevent the growth and spread of malignancies, they are likely to return sooner or later. Tumours affect the body in many devious ways. Chemicals they release can cause abnormal blood clots. They can take over and pervert the body’s metabolism of carbohydrates, fat and protein, a theft of nutrients that can lead to loss of appetite, weight loss, nutrition wasting, and fatigue. Tumours can alter the body’s hormone levels causing depression, weight gain, and the loss of lean body mass and skeletal muscle. Many complementary therapies combat these insidious side effects of cancer. If you suffer from fatigue, for instance, you may not be able to endure the arduous process of cancer treatment. If appetite loss and the erosion of lean muscle tissue lead to the wasting syndrome called cachexia, you may survive your cancer but succumb to its side effects. And if you develop depression, you are more likely to have a poor response to chemotherapy; indeed, studies estimate that one-third of cancer patients abandon chemotherapy, most of them suffering from psychological distress or physical debilitation. Little wonder, then, that depression and hopelessness seem linked to high
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rates of recurrence and premature death in patients with some types of cancer. I hope this makes clear the futility of trying to cure cancer solely by destroying tumours. Tumours are merely a manifestation of a broader condition, and painful experience has shown that far too often they reappear, with even greater resilience, if the systemic condition that nurtured them is not treated. Yes, surgery or radiation can remove the tumour, but unless you change the environment that nurtured it in the first place, malignant cells that remain behind can simply pick up where they left off. Sometimes that happens alarmingly quickly. Studies of postoperative cancer patients show that when a surgeon cuts close to tumour to remove it, growth signals associated with wound healing can sometimes be unleashed, triggering any residual malignant cells to grow and develop into a new tumour. To reduce this risk, when the location of the incision permits, the surgeon will use a wider incision to remove the tumour. The good news is that there are strategies and programs that can reduce the physiological imbalance and deprive the malignant cells of the resources they need in order to thrive thereby allowing your biochemical and physiological systems to return to health, and you to recover. F
Excerpts from the Introduction and Chapter 1 of ‘Life Over Cancer: The Block Centre Program for Integrative Cancer Treatment’ by Keith I Block, M.D. Website: www.lifeovercancer Keith I. Block, MD, is an internationally recognised expert in integrative oncology who combines cuttingedge conventional treatment with individualised and scientifically-based complementary and nutraceutical therapies. He is the author of the breakthrough book, Life Over Cancer. In 1980, he co-founded the Block Centre for Integrative Cancer Treatment in Evanston, Illinois, the first such facility in North America. Dr. Block is also Director of Integrative Medical Education at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago. He has published more than 75 scientific papers and numerous articles relevant to nutritional and integrative oncology. Dr. Block has developed the unique Block program for people at all places along the cancer continuum; for those who’ve been recently diagnosed, to those in treatment, to those who’ve concluded treatment and need to remain vigilant to prevent recurrence. His meticulously researched program is explained in easy-to-understand language that patients can implement both by themselves, as well as with the assistance of their healthcare provider. Life Over Cancer is available from amazon.com and for loan from the Cancer Support WA library.
5 Week Wellness Courses a series of courses to introduce you to a new way of living and change your life! Cancer Support WA is a pioneer of the wellness approach to cancer and has developed a comprehensive wellness program addressing the key areas of health, healing and wellbeing. Our 5 week wellness courses delve deeply into the five key areas of wellness. Each course is 1-2 hours per week for five weeks. If you are a Wellness Club member you can do all five courses over the year for only $30 a month. Please see our 2014 program or website for dates, times, cost and more details.
This course provides an overview of the key areas of the wellness approach to cancer including: how to cope with cancer; lifestyle; diet and nutrition; developing personal and practical resources; meditation and exercise; integrating natural medicine and complementary therapies. The course also goes deeply into emotional healing. Informative, practical sessions and demonstrations with notes and home practices.
healing yoga & relaxation This course guides participants through the healing practices of yoga, breathwork, relaxation and meditation. Yoga is a holistic system of wellbeing and health which restores balance, energy and wellbeing to the body and brings peace and calmness to the mind. Yoga also connects the practitioner to their higher self and awakens the bodyâ€™s innate healing potential. Course includes home practices and notes.
introduction to meditation
Meditation is potentially the single most important aspect of cancer wellness because of the profound healing benefits associated with regular practice. This course structured sessions where participants are guided in practices and taught techniques which help them concentrate better, meditate deeply, replenish energy levels, counter stress, cultivate inner peace and promote healing. Notes and home practices given.
eating for cancer recovery
We all know food is medicine, but do you know which foods and how to prepare them for maximum healing effect? This course provides a comprehensive introduction to eating for cancer recovery. Lots of information given on whole foods, raw foods, superfoods, juicing, fermenting, sprouting, organic gardening and more! Practical demonstrations and delicious tastings of juices, sprouts and foods! Recipes and notes given.
NEW create a healthy home Your home is your sanctuary! Your immediate environment is so important to your wellbeing on every level. There are many steps you can take to ensure that your home is conducive to your healing and recovery. This course shows how to create the healthiest home possible. Topics covered include: make your own chemical-free personal care and cleaning products; organic gardening and eating; feng shui; aromatherapy; water and air quality control. Practical demonstrations and notes given.
Art by Ira Mitchell-Kirk
Summer 2014 WELLNESS NEWS
your By Ethan Watters
The new science of epigenetics rewrites the rules of disease, heredity, and identity “Every time we see two things which are genetically identical, but which aren’t the same, we’re seeing epigenetics in action. This affects huge amounts of life on earth and has a big impact on human health. Epigenetics is the field looking at the amazing biology behind so much of life around us.” Nessa Carey
Back in 2000, Randy Jirtle, a professor of radiation oncology at Duke University in the US, and his postdoctoral student Robert Waterland designed a groundbreaking genetic experiment that was simplicity itself. They started with pairs of fat yellow mice known to scientists as agouti mice, so called because they carry a particular gene – the agouti gene – that in addition to making the rodents ravenous and yellow renders them prone to cancer and diabetes. Jirtle and Waterland set about to see if they could change the unfortunate genetic legacy of these little creatures. Typically, when agouti mice breed, most of the offspring are identical to the parents: just as yellow, fat as pincushions, and susceptible to life-shortening disease. The parent mice in Jirtle and Waterland’s experiment, however, produced a majority of offspring that looked altogether different. These young mice were slender and mousy brown. Moreover, they did not display their parents’ susceptibility to cancer and diabetes and lived to a spry old age. The effects of the agouti gene had been virtually erased. Remarkably, the researchers effected this transformation without altering a single letter of the mouse’s DNA. Their approach instead was radically straightforward – they changed the mothers’ diet. Starting just before conception, Jirtle and Waterland fed a test group of mother mice a diet rich in methyl donors, small chemical clusters that can attach to a gene and turn it off. These molecules are common in the environment and are found in many foods, including onions, garlic, beets, and in the food supplements often given to pregnant women. After being consumed by the mothers, the methyl donors worked their way into the
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developing embryos’ chromosomes and onto the critical agouti gene. The mothers passed along the agouti gene to their children intact, but thanks to their methylrich pregnancy diet, they had added to the gene a chemical switch that dimmed the gene’s deleterious effects. “It was a little eerie and a little scary to see how something as subtle as a nutritional change in the pregnant mother rat could have such a dramatic impact on the gene expression of the baby,” Jirtle says. “The results showed how important epigenetic changes could be.” Our DNA – specifically the 25,000 genes identified by the Human Genome Project – is now widely regarded as the instruction book for the human body. But genes themselves need instructions for what to do, and where and when to do it. A human liver cell contains the same DNA as a brain cell, yet somehow it knows to code only those proteins needed for the functioning of the liver. Those instructions are found not in the letters of the DNA itself but on it, in an array of chemical markers and switches, known collectively as the epigenome, that lie along the length of the double helix. These epigenetic switches and markers in turn help switch on or off the expression of particular genes. Think of the epigenome as a complex software code, capable of inducing the DNA hardware to manufacture an impressive variety of proteins, cell types, and individuals. In recent years, epigenetics researchers have made great strides in understanding the many molecular sequences and patterns that determine which genes can be turned on and off. Their work has made it increasingly clear that for all the popular attention devoted to genome-sequencing projects, the epigenome is just as critical as DNA to the healthy development of organisms, humans included. Jirtle and Waterland’s experiment was a benchmark demonstration that the epigenome is sensitive to cues from the environment. More and more, researchers are finding that an extra bit of a vitamin, a brief exposure to a toxin, even an added dose of mothering can tweak the epigenome – and thereby alter the software of our genes – in ways that affect an individual’s body and brain for life.
“Heal yourself – your physical and spiritual bodies. Regenerate yourself with light, and then help those who have poverty of the soul. Return to the inner spirit, which we have abandoned while looking elsewhere for happiness.” – Willaru Huayta, QUECHUA NATION, PERU
The even greater surprise is the recent discovery that epigenetic signals from the environment can be passed on from one generation to the next, sometimes for several generations, without changing a single gene sequence. It’s well established, of course, that environmental effects like radiation, which alter the genetic sequences in a sex cell’s DNA, can leave a mark on subsequent generations. Likewise, it’s known that the environment in a mother’s womb can alter the development of a fetus. What’s eye-opening is a growing body of evidence suggesting that the epigenetic changes wrought by one’s diet, behaviour, or surroundings can work their way into the germ line and echo far into the future. Put simply, and as bizarre as it may sound, what you eat or smoke today could affect the health and behaviour of your great-grandchildren. All of these discoveries are shaking the modern biological and social certainties about genetics and identity. We commonly accept the notion that through our DNA we are destined to have particular body shapes, personalities, and diseases. Some scholars even contend that the genetic code predetermines intelligence and is the root cause of many social ills, including poverty, crime, and violence. “Gene as fate” has become conventional wisdom. Through the study of epigenetics, that notion at last may be proved outdated. Suddenly, for better or worse, we appear to have a measure of control over our genetic legacy. “Epigenetics is proving we have some responsibility for the integrity of our genome,” Jirtle says. “Before, genes predetermined outcomes. Now everything we do – everything we eat or smoke – can affect our gene expression and that of
Summer 2014 WELLNESS NEWS
future generations. Epigenetics introduces the concept of free will into our idea of genetics.” Scientists are still coming to understand the many ways that epigenetic changes unfold at the biochemical level. One form of epigenetic change physically blocks access to the genes by altering what is called the histone code. The DNA in every cell is tightly wound around proteins known as histones and must be unwound to be transcribed. Alterations to this packaging cause certain genes to be more or less available to the cell’s chemical machinery and so determine whether those genes are expressed or silenced. A second, well-understood form of epigenetic signaling, called DNA methylation, involves the addition of a methyl group – a carbon atom plus three hydrogen atoms – to particular bases in the DNA sequence. This interferes with the chemical signals that would put the gene into action and thus effectively silences the gene. Until recently, the pattern of an individual’s epigenome was thought to be firmly established during early fetal development. Although that is still seen as a critical period, scientists have lately discovered that the epigenome can change in response to the environment throughout an individual’s lifetime. +++ art: fixiefoo.typepad.com
“How infinitely beautiful the immune system is and how terribly vulnerable at the same time. It forges our link with life and yet can break it at any moment. The immune system knows all our secrets, all our sorrows. It knows why a mother who has lost a child can die of grief, because the immune system has died of grief first. It knows every moment a cancer patient spends in the light of life or the shadow of death, because it turns those moments into the body’s physical reality.” Deepak Chopra
“People used to think that once your epigenetic code was laid down in early development, that was it for life,” says Moshe Szyf, a pharmacologist with a bustling lab at McGill University in Montreal. “But life is changing all the time, and the epigenetic code that controls your DNA is turning out to be the mechanism through which we change along with it. Epigenetics tells us that little things in life can have an effect of great magnitude.” Szyf has been a pioneer in linking epigenetic changes to the development of diseases. He long ago championed the idea that epigenetic patterns can shift through life and that those changes are important in the establishment and spread of cancer. For 15 years, however, he had little luck convincing his colleagues. One of his papers was dismissed by a reviewer as a “misguided attempt at scientific humor.” On another occasion, a prominent scientist took him aside and told him bluntly, “Let me be clear: Cancer is genetic in origin, not epigenetic.” Despite such opposition, Szyf and other researchers have persevered. Through numerous studies, Szyf has found that common signaling pathways known to lead to cancerous tumours also activate the DNA-methylation machinery; knocking out one of the enzymes in that pathway prevents the tumours from developing. When genes that typically act to suppress tumours are methylated, the tumours metastasize. Likewise, when genes that typically promote tumour growth are demethylated – that is, the dimmer switches that are normally present are removed – those genes kick into action and cause tumours to grow. Szyf is now far from alone in the field. Other researchers have identified dozens of genes, all related to the growth and spread of cancer, that become over- or undermethylated when the disease gets under way. The bacteria Helicobacter, believed to be a cause of stomach cancer, has been shown to trigger potentially cancer-inducing epigenetic changes in gut cells. Abnormal methylation patterns have been found in many cancers of the colon, stomach, cervix, prostate, thyroid, and breast. Szyf views the link between epigenetics and cancer with a hopeful eye. Unlike genetic mutations, epigenetic changes are potentially reversible. A mutated gene is unlikely to mutate back to normal; the only recourse is to kill or cut out all the cells carrying the defective code. But a gene with a defective methylation
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pattern might very well be encouraged to re-establish a healthy pattern and continue to function. Already one epigenetic drug, 5-azacytidine, has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use against myelodysplastic syndrome, also known as preleukemia or smoldering leukemia. At least eight other epigenetic drugs are currently in different stages of development or human trials. Methylation patterns also hold promise as diagnostic tools, potentially yielding critical information about the odds that a cancer will respond to treatment. A Berlin-based company called Epigenomics, in partnership with Roche Pharmaceuticals, expects to bring an epigenetic screening test for colon cancer to market by 2008. They are working on similar diagnostic tools for breast cancer and prostate cancer. Szyf has cofounded a company, MethylGene, that so far has developed two epigenetic cancer drugs with promising results in human trials. Others have published data on animal subjects suggesting an epigenetic component to inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, neurodegenerative diseases, and diabetes. Other researchers are focusing on how people might maintain the integrity of their epigenomes through diet. Baylor College of Medicine obstetrician and geneticist Ignatia Van den Veyver suggests that once we understand the connection between our epigenome and diseases like cancer, lifelong “methylation diets” may be the trick to staying healthy. Such diets, she says, could be tailored to an individual’s genetic makeup, as well as to their exposure to toxins or cancer-causing agents. In 2003 biologist Ming Zhu Fang and her colleagues at Rutgers University published a paper in the journal Cancer Research on the epigenetic effects of green tea. In animal studies, green tea prevented the growth of cancers in several organs. Fang found that epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), the major polyphenol from green tea, can prevent deleterious methylation dimmer switches from landing on (and shutting down) certain cancerfighting genes. The researchers described the study as the first to demonstrate that a consumer product can inhibit DNA methylation. Fang and her colleagues have since gone on to show that genistein and other compounds in soy show similar epigenetic effects. Meanwhile, epigenetic researchers around the globe are rallying behind the idea of a human epigenome project, which would aim to map our entire epigenome. The Human Genome Project, which sequenced the 3 billion pairs of nucleotide bases in human DNA, was a piece of cake in comparison: Epigenetic markers and patterns are different in every tissue type in the human body and also change over time. “The epigenome project is much more difficult than the Human Genome Project,” Jirtle says. “A single individual doesn’t have one epigenome but a multitude of them.” Research centers in Japan, Europe, and the United States have all begun individual pilot studies to assess the difficulty of such a project. The early signs are encouraging. In June, the
European Human Epigenome Project released its data on epigenetic patterns of three human chromosomes. A recent flurry of conferences have forwarded the idea of creating an international epigenome project that could centralize the data, set goals for different groups, and standardize the technology for decoding epigenetic patterns. Until recently, the idea that your environment might change your heredity without changing a gene sequence was scientific heresy. Everyday influences – the weights Dad lifts to make himself muscle-bound, the diet regimen Mum follows to lose pounds – don’t produce stronger or slimmer progeny, because those changes don’t affect the germ cells involved in making children. Even after the principles of epigenetics came to light, it was believed that methylation marks and other epigenetic changes to a parent’s DNA were lost during the process of cell division that generates eggs and sperm and that only the gene sequence remained. In effect, it was thought, germ cells wiped the slate clean for the next generation. That turns out not to be the case. In 1999 biologist Emma Whitelaw, now at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Australia, demonstrated that epigenetic marks could be passed from one generation of mammals to the next. (The phenomenon had already been demonstrated in plants and yeast.) Like Jirtle and Waterland in 2003, Whitelaw focused on the agouti gene in mice, but the implications of her experiment span the animal kingdoms. “It changes the way we think about information transfer across generations,” Whitelaw says. “The mind-set at the moment is that the information we inherit from our parents is in the form of DNA. Our experiment demonstrates that it’s more than just DNA you inherit. In a sense that’s obvious, because what we inherit from our parents are chromosomes, and chromosomes are only 50 percent DNA. The other 50 percent is made up of protein molecules, and these proteins carry the epigenetic marks and information.” +++ Michael Meaney, a biologist at McGill University and a frequent collaborator with Szyf, has pursued an equally provocative notion: that some epigenetic changes can be induced after birth, through a mother’s physical behaviour toward her newborn. For years, Meaney sought to explain some curious results he had observed involving the nurturing behaviour of rats. Working with graduate student Ian Weaver, Meaney compared two types of mother rats: those that patiently licked their offspring after birth and those that neglected their newborns. The licked newborns grew up to be relatively brave and calm (for rats). The neglected newborns grew into the sort of rodents that nervously skitter into the darkest corner when placed in a new environment. Traditionally, researchers might have offered an explanation on one side or the other of the nature-versus-nurture divide.
Summer 2014 WELLNESS NEWS
Either the newborns inherited a genetic propensity to be skittish or brave (nature), or they were learning the behaviour from their mothers (nurture). Meaney and Weaver’s results didn’t fall neatly into either camp. After analysing the brain tissue of both licked and nonlicked rats, the researchers found distinct differences in the DNA methylation patterns in the hippocampus cells of each group. Remarkably, the mother’s licking activity had the effect of removing dimmer switches on a gene that shapes stress receptors in the pup’s growing brain. The well-licked rats had better-developed hippocampi and released less of the stress hormone cortisol, making them calmer when startled. In contrast, the neglected pups released much more cortisol, had less-developed hippocampi, and reacted nervously when startled or in new surroundings. Through a simple maternal behaviour, these mother rats were literally shaping the brains of their offspring. How exactly does the mother’s behaviour cause the epigenetic change in her pup? Licking and grooming release serotonin in the pup’s brain, which activates serotonin receptors in the hippocampus. These receptors send proteins called transcription factors to turn on the gene that inhibits stress responses. Meaney, Weaver, and Szyf think that the transcription factors, which normally regulate genes in passing, also carry methylation machinery that can alter gene expression permanently. In two subsequent studies, Meaney and his colleagues were even able to reverse the epigenetic signals by injecting the drug trichostatin A into the brains of adult rats. In effect, they were able to simulate the effect of good (and bad) parenting with a pharmaceutical intervention. Trichostatin, interestingly, is chemically similar to the drug valproate, which is used clinically in people as a mood stabilizer. Meaney says the link between nurturing and brain development is more than just a curious cause and effect. He suggests that making postnatal changes to an offspring’s epigenome offers an adaptive advantage. Through such tweaking, mother rats have a last chance to mold their progeny to suit the environment they were born into. “These experiments emphasize the importance of context on the development of a creature,” Meaney says. “They challenge the overriding theories of both biology and psychology. Rudimentary adaptive responses are not innate or passively emerging from the genome but are molded by the environment.” Meaney now aims to see whether similar epigenetic changes occur when human mothers caress and hold their infants. He notes that the genetic sequence silenced by attentive mother rats has a close parallel in the human genome, so he expects to find a similar epigenetic influence. “It’s just not going to make any sense if we don’t find this in humans as well. The story is going to be more complex than with the rats because we’ll have to take into account more social influences, but I’m convinced we’re going to find a connection.” In an early study, which provided circumstantial evidence, Meaney examined magnetic resonance imaging brain scans
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of adults who began life as low-birth-weight babies. Those adults who reported in a questionnaire that they had a poor relationship with their mother were found to have hippocampi that were significantly smaller than average. Those adults who reported having had a close relationship with their mother, however, showed perfectly normal size hippocampi. Meaney acknowledges the unreliability of subjects reporting on their own parental relationships; nonetheless, he strongly suspects that the quality of parenting was responsible for the different shapes of the brains of these two groups. In an effort to solidify the connection, he and other researchers have launched an ambitious five-year multimillion-dollar study to examine the effects of early nurturing on hundreds of human babies. As a test group, he’s using severely depressed mothers who often have difficulty bonding and caring for their newborns and, as a result, tend to caress their babies less than mothers who don’t experience depression or anxiety. The question is whether the babies of depressed mothers show the distinct brain shapes and patterns indicative of epigenetic differences. The science of epigenetics opens a window onto the inner workings of many human diseases. It also raises some provocative new questions. Even as we consider manipulating the human epigenome to benefit our health, some researchers are concerned that we may already be altering our epigenomes unintentionally, and perhaps not for the better. Jirtle notes that the prenatal vitamins that physicians commonly encourage pregnant women to take to reduce the incidence of birth defects in their infants include some of the same chemicals that Jirtle fed to his agouti mice. In effect, Jirtle wonders whether his mouse experiment is being carried out wholesale on American women. “On top of the prenatal vitamins, every bit of grain product that we eat in the country is now fortified with folic acid,” Jirtle notes, and folic acid is a known methyl donor. “In addition, some women take multivitamins that also have these compounds. They’re getting a triple hit.” While the prenatal supplements have an undisputed positive effect, Jirtle says, no one knows where else in the fetal genome those gene-silencing methyl donors might be landing. A methyl tag that has a positive effect on one gene might have a deleterious effect if it happens to fall somewhere else. “It’s the American way to think, ‘If a little is good, a lot is great.’ But that is not necessarily the case here. You might be overmethylating certain genes, which could potentially cause other things like autism and other negative outcomes.” Szyf shares the concern. “Fueling the methylation machinery through dietary supplements is a dangerous experiment, because there is likely to be a plethora of effects throughout a lifetime.” In the future, he believes, epidemiologists will have their hands full looking for possible epigenetic consequences of these public-health choices. “Did this change in diet increase cancer risk? Did it increase depression? Did it increase
schizophrenia? Did it increase dementia or Alzheimer’s? We don’t know yet, and it will take some time to sort it out.” +++ The implications of the epigenetic revolution are even more profound in light of recent evidence that epigenetic changes made in the parent generation can turn up not just one but several generations down the line, long after the original trigger for change has been removed. In 2004 Michael Skinner, a geneticist at Washington State University, accidentally discovered an epigenetic effect in rats that lasts at least four generations. Skinner was studying how a commonly used agricultural fungicide, when introduced to pregnant mother rats, affected the development of the testes of fetal rats. He was not surprised to discover that male rats exposed to high doses of the chemical while in utero had lower sperm counts later in life. The surprise came when he tested the male rats in subsequent generations – the grandsons of the exposed mothers. Although the pesticide had not changed one letter of their DNA, these secondgeneration offspring also had low sperm counts. The same was true of the next generation (the great-grandsons) and the next. Such results hint at a seemingly anti-Darwinian aspect of heredity. Through epigenetic alterations, our genomes retain something like a memory of the environmental signals received during the lifetimes of our parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and perhaps even more distant ancestors. So far, the definitive studies have involved only rodents. But researchers are turning up evidence suggesting that epigenetic inheritance may be at work in humans as well. In November 2005, Marcus Pembrey, a clinical geneticist at the Institute of Child Health in London, attended a conference at Duke University to present intriguing data drawn from two centuries of records on crop yields and food prices in an isolated town in northern Sweden. Pembrey and Swedish researcher Lars Olov Bygren noted that fluctuations in the towns’ food supply may have health effects spanning at least two generations. Grandfathers who lived their preteen years during times of plenty were more likely to have grandsons with diabetes – an ailment that doubled the grandsons’ risk of early death. Equally notable was that the effects were sex specific. A grandfather’s access to a plentiful food supply affected the mortality rates of his grandsons only, not those of his granddaughters, and a paternal grandmother’s experience of feast affected the mortality rates of her granddaughters, not her grandsons.
art: Chaichan Artwichai
“People used to think that once your epigenetic code was laid down in early development, that was it for life,” says Moshe Szyf, a pharmacologist with a bustling lab at McGill University in Montreal. “But life is changing all the time, and the epigenetic code that controls your DNA is turning out to be the mechanism through which we change along with it. Epigenetics tells us that little things in life can have an effect of great magnitude.”
This led Pembrey to suspect that genes on the sex-specific X and Y chromosomes were being affected by epigenetic signals. Further analysis supported his hunch and offered insight into the signaling process. It turned out that timing – the ages at which grandmothers and grandfathers experienced a food surplus – was critical to the intergenerational impact. The granddaughters most affected were those whose grandmothers experienced times of plenty while in utero or as infants, precisely the time when the grandmothers’ eggs were forming. The grandsons most affected were those whose grandfathers experienced plenitude during the so-called slow growth period, just before adolescence, which is a key stage for the development of sperm. Summer 2014 WELLNESS NEWS
...from previous page The studies by Pembrey and other epigenetics researchers suggest that our diet, behaviour, and environmental surroundings today could have a far greater impact than imagined on the health of our distant descendants. “Our study has shown a new area of research that could potentially make a major contribution to public health and have a big impact on the way we view our responsibilities toward future generations,” Pembrey says. The logic applies backward as well as forward: Some of the disease patterns prevalent today may have deep epigenetic roots. Pembrey and several other researchers, for instance, have wondered whether the current epidemic of obesity, commonly blamed on the excesses of the current generation, may partially reflect lifestyles adopted by our forebears two or more generations back. Michael Meaney, who studies the impact of nurturing, likewise wonders what the implications of epigenetics are for social policy. He notes that early child-parent bonding is made more difficult by the effects of poverty, dislocation, and social strife. Those factors can certainly affect the cognitive development of the children directly involved. Might they also affect the development of future generations through epigenetic signaling? “These ideas are likely to have profound consequences when you start to talk about how the structure of society influences cognitive development,” Meaney says. “We’re beginning to draw cause-and-effect arrows between social and economic macrovariables down to the level of the child’s brain. That connection is potentially quite powerful.” Lawrence Harper, a psychologist at the University of California at Davis, suggests that a wide array of personality traits, including temperament and intelligence, may be affected by epigenetic inheritance. “If you have a generation of poor people who suffer from bad nutrition, it may take two or three generations for that population to recover from that hardship and reach its full potential,” Harper says. “Because of epigenetic inheritance, it may take several generations to turn around the impact of poverty or war or dislocation on a population.” Historically, genetics has not meshed well with discussions of social policy; it’s all too easy to view disadvantaged groups – criminals, the poor, the ethnically marginalized – as somehow fated by DNA to their condition. The advent of epigenetics offers a new twist and perhaps an opportunity to understand with more nuance how nature and nurture combine to shape the society we live in today and hope to live in tomorrow. “Epigenetics will have a dramatic impact on how we understand history, sociology, and political science,” says Szyf. “If environment has a role to play in changing your genome, then we’ve bridged the gap between social processes and biological processes. That will change the way we look at everything.” F
From Discover magazine: discovermagazine.com, November
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The Epigenetics Revolution by Nessa Carey Reviewed by Peter Forbes Time was when scientific revolutions – the discoveries of Newton, Faraday, Darwin, Einstein, Watson and Crick – reverberated around the globe. But although we are living through the greatest discoveries about the processes of life generally, and human beings in particular, the new findings hardly rate a blip on the collective consciousness. In March 2010 Oliver Burkeman wrote for this paper on the subject of epigenetics. The article was provocatively titled: “Why everything you’ve been told about evolution is wrong.” It isn’t, but I confidently predicted to anyone within earshot that this would finally set tongues wagging. I was wrong – there was not a flicker of public interest. Discoveries that Darwin would have swooned over apparently leave a modern audience cold. But this book, subtitled: “How modern biology is rewriting our understanding of genetics, disease and inheritance”, is an attempt to put matters straight. Epigenetics is what happens when genes are actually in action: in the growth of the foetus, in responding to hormones and environmental stress, to learning, to maturation at puberty. In all of these processes genes are modified slightly and act differently from that point on. In short, epigenetics is where nature meets nurture. The grounds for excitement stem from the fact that this old and frequently sterile dichotomy is now being fleshed out with real knowledge of how genes are controlled and how they respond to life situations. When the human genome sequence was announced in 2001 the rhetoric was highly charged: this is a scroll; the book of life; a huge encyclopaedia; a sacred chain of code 3bn characters long. It is this that is misleading. The notion was that the genes were all and the cells that contained them were just off-the-peg bags. After all, in cloning, if you suck out the nucleus of a cell and replace it with the nucleus of a completely different kind of creature, it will grow into an adult dictated by the new, injected nuclear DNA. In 2010 the maverick biologist and entrepreneur Craig Venter announced that he had created life when he inserted an entirely synthesised DNA into a bacterial cell. But the fact is, he needed cells, and we still can’t synthesis them. The cell tells the DNA what to do just as much as the DNA instructs the cell: you can’t have one without the other.
A queen bee is genetically identical to thousands of her hive mates and yet she is about twice their weight, has different body parts and can live 20 times longer. How? Something epigenetic – something in addition to the genetic code – is taking place. Genes don’t just issue instructions: they respond to messages coming from other genes, from hormones and from nutritional cues and learning. Much epigenetics revolves around nutrition. If we drink a lot of alcohol an enzyme that metabolises it becomes more active – “upregulated” in the jargon. And similar mechanisms apply to much of our behaviour. The methods by which genes makes these responses often involve very small chemical modifications (usually the addition of a tiny methyl group to one base of DNA). It is almost certain that memory – a classic nurture problem: we learn something and it becomes biologically encoded – involves epigenetics. Once made, epigenetic changes can be very long lasting, which is how our long-term memory is possible. One of the most charming and heartening passages in the book concerns bees. Bees clearly have phenomenal memories for such small creatures – they signal the whereabouts of good nectar sources by means of their famous waggle dance – and similar epigenetic mechanisms have been found in bees and humans. So far, this is instructive and highly promising for medical research, but epigenetics finally reaches that “everything you’ve been told is wrong” moment when it claims that some epigenetic changes are so long-lasting they cover several generations: they can be inherited. This flouts one of biology’s most cherished dogmas – taught to all students – namely that changes acquired during life cannot be passed on – the heresy of Lamarckism.
But the evidence that this can occur in some cases appears to be growing. There are lab experiments with mice and rats in which epigenetic effects on coat colour and obesity can be inherited. More suggestive evidence comes from a vast, unwitting and cruel experiment played out in the second world war. In 1944, during the last months of the war, a Nazi blockade followed by an exceedingly harsh winter led to mass starvation in Holland. This had a huge effect on babies born at the time, and the effects of poor nutrition on the foetus seem to have persisted through subsequent generations. Nessa Carey, science director for a leading epigenetics biotech company and a lecturer in genetics at Imperial College, writes brightly and humanely and is full of optimism for this exciting new dawn – both for the deep understanding of life and the potential for medical applications. She hasn’t, though, solved the problem of how to make the mind-numbing complexity of some genomic interactions and the confusing nomenclature of genes palatable to the general reader. On one page alone, we encounter H3K4, H3K27, DNMT3L, EZH2, LSD1 and DNMT3A&B. Too much genomic alphabet soup is indigestible. Nevertheless, Carey’s book is the first to set out the epigenetics stall for the general reader, and anyone seriously interested in who we are and how we function should read this book. F
Summer 2014 WELLNESS NEWS
When Cancer Disappears The Curious Phenomenon of “Unexpected Remission” By Kelly Turner, PhD We’ve all heard a story like this one. After trying all that Western medicine has to offer, a person with Stage 4 cancer is told there is nothing more the doctors can do and is sent home to receive hospice care. Five years later, that person strolls into the doctor’s office feeling great, with no further evidence of cancer. In the medical world, this kind of case is referred to as a spontaneous remission, which is defined as “the disappearance, complete or incomplete, of cancer without medical treatment or with medical treatment that is considered inadequate to produce the resulting disappearance of disease symptoms or tumour.”1 Many researchers, including myself, believe that the word spontaneous is a misnomer and should be changed to unexpected or unlikely. We feel this way because few things in life are truly spontaneous – occurring purely by accident. It is more likely that these remissions have a cause – or two or three – that science has not yet identified. We share here some stories of ‘unexpected remission’ and look at the shared traits and beliefs which may have contributed to these remarkable recoveries from cancer.
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Background Regardless of what we call them, unexpected remissions do occur, and more than one thousand cases (across all types of cancer) have been published in medical journals. Thousands more have most likely occurred but not been published, because most doctors don’t take the time to write up a report and submit it to a journal – which unfortunately is currently the only way of tracking these kinds of cases. Based on what has been published, unexpected remissions are estimated to occur in one out of every sixty thousand to one hundred thousand cancer patients; however, the true incidence rate is likely higher than that due to underreporting.2 Over the past century, there has been a steady flow of published case reports along with flashes of increased interest in this topic. For example, in the 1960s, the first two scientific books on unexpected remission were published, which led to a sharp increase in the number of case reports submitted to medical journals.3 After awhile, however, interest in the topic lulled again until the late 1980s when the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) launched the Spontaneous Remission Project, which culminated in the publication of a comprehensive bibliography of documented cases.4 Since then, approximately twenty new cases of unexpected remission are published each year, and there still has been a noticeable lack of formal research into why these remissions might occur. It’s understandable, in a way. How do you begin to research something you cannot explain? Many conventional doctors feel threatened by these “miraculous” cures and don’t wish to talk about them – much less research them – for fear that they will give “false hope” to their other patients. In fact, most of the unexpected remission survivors I have studied are thrilled to have finally found a professional who is interested in learning how they healed. They often lament, “My doctor didn’t even ask how I did it.”
The Present Research Perhaps because I am a qualitative researcher and not a medical doctor, I have always been fascinated by cases of unexpected remission. When I began studying them during my doctoral studies at the University of California at Berkeley, I was disappointed to see how little research had been done on this topic. The first problem I saw was that there was no database where I could easily find and analyse these cases. The second issue I noticed was that two groups of people had been largely ignored in the research: the survivors themselves as well as nonallopathic healers. It seemed odd that in an effort to explain unexpected remissions, we weren’t asking the opinions of the people who had actually healed. I also couldn’t understand why, when trying to explain a remission that is by definition not a result of allopathic treatment, we weren’t seeking out hypotheses from nonallopathic healers.
“...anomalies such as unexpected remissions is neither easy, nor uncontroversial, nor immediately fruitful. However, I firmly believe that such research can lead us to a new paradigm of scientific understanding, and that by rigorously investigating unexpected remissions – as opposed to simply ignoring them – we can make significant advances in the war on cancer.” Dr. Kelly Turner
As a result, my dissertation research involved collecting hypotheses from these two previously ignored groups about why unexpected remissions may occur. More specifically, I spent ten months traveling the world in search of fifty nonallopathic cancer healers. My research led me to interview healers in the United States, China, Japan, New Zealand, Thailand, India, England, Ireland, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Brazil (translators were used when necessary). When I returned from this amazing trip, I found twenty unpublished cases of unexpected remission and conducted phone interviews with the survivors. I purposely sought out unpublished cases first, in order to see if the
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underreporting issues were true – which they were. I am grateful to the American Cancer Society for providing partial funding for this study. My seventy hour-long interviews resulted in more than three thousand pages of transcripts, which I analysed multiple times to find recurring themes. I identified more than seventyfive “treatments” for cancer, six of which were “very frequent” among all seventy subjects. Underlying beliefs about cancer also emerged from the interviews, of which three were very frequent. I am happy to share these results here in an abbreviated form. Please remember that these are hypotheses only, not facts.
Belief #1: Change the Conditions under which Cancer Thrives The majority of my interviewees believed that cancer thrives under certain, suboptimal conditions in the body-mind-spirit system and that to remove cancer, those underlying conditions must change. Healer #21 from Hawaii explained it this way: The most successful recoveries seem to be strongly associated with major mental, emotional, or physical behavioural changes among the people with the illness. What is major for one person, of course, may not be the same for another . . . I know of one success where a woman left her family, took up a different religion, changed her clothing and diet, and moved to a different country. Maybe she needed all of those changes or maybe not, but overall it worked for her. I know of another person, a man, who simply stopped trying to outdo his father, and that worked for him.
Cancer thrives under certain, suboptimal conditions in the body-mind-spirit system...to remove cancer, those underlying conditions must change. Any illness – including cancer – represents a blockage or slowness somewhere in the body-mind-spirit system... health occurs when there is a state of unhindered movement or flow.
Belief #2: Illness = Blockage/Slowness; Health = Movement The majority of my interviewees also believed that any illness – including cancer – represents a blockage or slowness somewhere in the body-mind-spirit system, whereas health occurs when there is a state of unhindered movement or flow. FIELD NOTES: Healer #1 explained his theory of “bypasses,” which he described as psychological defense mechanisms that function to create a bypass around an energetic block. He said that this energetic block can be located at either the spiritual, mental, emotional, or physical level and that these bypasses become solidified over time. In his opinion, true healing only occurs when a person (1) stops bypassing and (2) releases the original blockage.
Belief #3: Body/Mind/Spirit Interaction Exists The third belief that the majority of my interviewees discussed was the idea that a bodymind-spirit interaction exists and that energy permeates all three of these levels. According to Healer #35, an American-born, Peruvian-trained shaman: You have to have mind, body, and spirit healing. Most of us who live in our physical bodies, we don’t even know about spiritual or emotional bodies. So we have to connect with all three of them. But you see, in the mountains of the Andes, [the Andean people] are already connected. In addition to these three underlying beliefs about health, there were also six treatments that the cancer survivors and healers discussed most frequently. These included physical as well as emotional, energetic, and spiritual “treatments.” They are listed below in alphabetical order.
Belief #4: Changing One’s Diet The majority of my interviewees believed it was important to change their diet to primarily whole vegetables, fruits, grains, and beans, while eliminating meat, sugar, dairy, and refined grains. Unexpected Survivor #16, who overcame liver cancer without conventional medical treatment, explains the major changes he made in his diet:
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[I healed] by just going on a basic, good, predominantly raw, vegan diet alone and supplementing it with lots of juices, like carrot juice, which of course is packed with nutrients. And the reason why the juices are so important is we have depleted basically all of our produce. That’s the reason for using juices as a supplement. All of a sudden the body says, Wow! It’s like watering the lawn when it’s dry.
Belief #5: Experiencing a Deepening of Spirituality The majority of my interviewees also discussed feeling – not just believing but actually feeling – an internal sensation of divine, loving energy. Some even had transcendent experiences, such as Unexpected Survivor #4, who healed from a Stage 3 lung cancer without conventional medical treatment: It was a ten-day, silent retreat, where you couldn’t speak, you couldn’t acknowledge other people in the room, and you just meditated for like fourteen hours a day. And I had this experience that I can’t explain. It was like all of a sudden there was a flash, and in my eyes I could see rivers of energy swirling around and at the same time felt that same thing through every cell of my body. And there’s a word for it, but I forget what the teacher said it was – but he explained that, “You felt your soul. You felt your true essence.” And I said, “Did I feel God?” And he kind of smiled and said, “Some people may call it that.”
Belief #6: Feeling Love/Joy/Happiness The majority of my interviewees also discussed the importance of increasing love and happiness in their life in order to help regain their health. FIELD NOTES: [Unexpected Survivor #5, who overcame a rare lymphoma without conventional medical treatment] said that the energy/spiritual healer that he saw flooded his lymph system with energy and that after the treatment he felt like “a teenager in love.” He felt love toward everyone and everything. He said the treatment made him realize that if he could only find a way to feel that level of unconditional love all of the time, then he would be healed from his cancer.
Belief #7: Releasing Repressed Emotions Because many of my interviewees believed that illness represents a state of blockage, they therefore believed that it was healthy to release any emotions they had been holding onto, such as fear, anger, and grief. Unexpected Survivor #19, who overcame pancreatic cancer without conventional medical treatment, explains her insight into this process: I believe that the energy stuck in my body that appeared to be a mass or a tumour, and which [my physicians] called cancer, had been caused by these patterns that I was describing to you that don’t get released, that are continually overlaid, over and over and over, wherever they are. So if it’s kidney cancer, it’s
“all of a sudden there was a flash, and in my eyes I could see rivers of energy swirling around and at the same time felt that same thing through every cell of my body.” probably excessive fears; if it’s lung cancer, it’s grief of some sort that hasn’t been resolved. I mean, I think they can be very much tracked back to patterns, thought patterns, thought forms that are not releasing, and therefore they hold in the cell memory are not being released.
Belief #8: Taking Herbs or Vitamins Many of my interviewees also took various forms of supplements, with the belief that they would help to detoxify their body or boost their immune system or both. Here is how Unexpected Survivor #8, who overcame Stage 3 colon cancer, described it: Dr. Turner: Of all the things you just told me about, what do you think was the most influential for your healing, or are they all pretty equal for you? Unexpected Survivor #8: I would say, for my body, that would be the Wholly Immune [supplement] that I got . . . It has like about fifty different things in it . . . [A friend] researched it and said, “In that Wholly Immune, you’ve got seven cancer fighters. If you were taking them on their own, it wouldn’t be as potent.” He said that because they’re in combination, it acts as a cancer destroyer. Summer 2014 WELLNESS NEWS
Belief #9: Intuititive Treatment Decisions Finally, many of my interviewees talked about the importance of using intuition to help make treatment-related decisions. For example, Unexpected Survivor #7, who overcame recurrent metastatic breast cancer after conventional medicine had failed to work, described how a healer’s intuition matched her own: [The Tibetan healer] took his finger and with a pinpoint accuracy touched every spot on my body where I had had cancer, or where I had cancer presently. It was amazing! He could see what scans couldn’t see. I had predicted my cancer four times. I had led [my doctors] to it with a pinpoint of accuracy before the scans could even pick up the collection of cells. [The Tibetan healer] could do what I could do with my own body. In addition to the six “treatments” listed above, which were common among both the healers and the unexpected survivors, there were additional treatments that were more frequent in one group than the other. For example, the following three themes were very frequent among the twenty unexpected survivors, but less so among the healers.
Belief #10: Taking Control of Health Decisions The vast majority of the unexpected survivors discussed taking a more active role in health decision-making, as opposed to passively accepting whatever their doctors told them. Unexpected Survivor #9, who overcame recurrent metastatic breast cancer after conventional medicine had failed to work, describes it this way: Once the panic and fear had subsided after the breast cancer returned for the fifth time, I felt as certain as I ever had been
that the only person who could save me was the scientist within . . . For five years, I had done everything my doctors had advised and undergone all the treatments that they had prescribed . . . [This time] I decided that instead I would look at breast cancer in a detached way, as a natural scientist, and try to understand the disease as a type of natural phenomenon.
Belief #11: Having a Strong Will to Live The vast majority of the unexpected survivors demonstrated a strong will to live. Unexpected Survivor #15, who overcame Stage 3 breast cancer without conventional medicine, demonstrates this willfulness: The doctor said to me, “After you get this surgery done and have the chemo and radiation, we can give you five more years to live.” And I thought, I want to live more than five years! So, when the doctor said that, I got mad . . . So I kind of went out with an attitude of this isn’t going to beat me. I’m going to do this.
Belief #12: Receiving Social Support Finally, the vast majority of unexpected survivors in this study described receiving positive social support during their cancer experience. Unexpected Survivor #13 describes the outpouring of love that she received: One of the things I truly learned [when I had cancer] is that I am valued. I was able to share the reality of my experience, and people resonated with that and just stepped in to do whatever was needed. It was a huge validation of the universe and that all life is valued. I wasn’t valued because I’m me, my person necessarily, but because my life has value. All life has value, and that includes mine. It’s a wonderful consequence of this disease, the outpouring of love. Well, maybe it’s the purpose.
Recommended Supplements Asian mushrooms These contain strongly cancer-protective substances. CoQ10 A natural antioxidant which has been shown to increase survival in some forms of cancer. Folic acid Can help reduce the risk of breast cancer. A vitamin B-complex Folic acid (with B12) can help prevent cancer of the colon. A balanced calcium-magnesium formula Can be an effective weapon against colon cancer. Lycopene A powerful antioxidant that is particularly good at protecting against prostate cancer. Selenium Fosters healthy cell growth and division, and discourages tumour formation. Vitamin D Reduces risk of prostate, colourectal and other forms of cancer.
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There were two themes that occurred more frequently among the healers than the unexpected survivors: (1) healing, infusing, or unblocking energy and (2) strengthening or activating the immune system. You can read more about these, as well as further analysis of all themes, in my full dissertation.
Future Directions The results from this qualitative study provide some hypotheses as to why unexpected remission may occur. What is needed now is for researchers to study these hypotheses in clinical trials that can test first for safety, then for feasibility, and finally for causality. In addition, there is an immediate need for a central database of unexpected remission case reports, ideally one that is online. I am currently working on creating such a database and website, with the hope that survivors, doctors, and healers will be able to quickly submit their case reports so that researchers like myself can verify and analyse them. Eventually, this de-identified (anonymous) database will also be searchable by the public, serving not only as a portal for researchers but also as a source of inspiration for cancer patients who are currently battling the disease. If you know anyone who has healed their cancer either (1) without conventional medicine, (2) after conventional medicine failed, or (3) who used integrative methods to outlive a dire prognosis, please encourage them to submit their case at www.UnexpectedRemission. org (currently in beta). All submitted reports will be automatically de-identified unless specifically asked not to by the survivor. In closing, I would like to say that studying anomalies such as unexpected remissions is neither easy, nor uncontroversial, nor immediately fruitful. However, I firmly believe that such research can lead us to a new paradigm of scientific understanding, and that by rigorously investigating unexpected remissions – as opposed to simply ignoring them – we can make significant advances in the war on cancer. F
Article from: Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) newsletter Issue Seventeen. IONS website: www.noetic.org. Please see original article for references and citations. Kelly Turner, PhD, is a researcher, lecturer, and consultant in the field of Integrative Oncology. Her specialized research focus is the “unexpected remission” of cancer. Her interest in complementary medicine began when she received her B.A. from Harvard University, and it later became the sole focus of her doctoral studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Her dissertation research included a year-long trip around the world, during which she traveled to ten different countries to interview 50 holistic healers and 20 “spontaneous” remission cancer survivors about their healing practices and techniques. Kelly is currently working on a book for cancer patients which summarises her research findings, as well as a website that will continue to collect cases of Unexpected Remission. While Dr. Turner’s research focuses on anomalies, she is a strong proponent of Western oncology and its integration them with complementary treatments.
“One thing I learned (when I had cancer) is that I am valued. I was able to share the reality of my experience, and people resonated with that and just stepped in to do whatever was needed. It was a huge validation of the universe and that all life is valued. I wasn’t valued because I’m me, my person necessarily, but because my life has value. All life has value, and that includes mine. It’s a wonderful consequence of this disease, the outpouring of love.”
Art featured with this article is by muralist and fine artist Alice Mason. See more of images of her beautiful work at her website: alice-mason.com
Summer 2014 WELLNESS NEWS
10 reasons to incorporate
yoga into your daily life By Andrew Pacholyk MS L.Ac Incorporating yoga into your life can be one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences you can take on your journey! A nurtured yoga practice can transcend you by creating a disciplined mind a strong and physically fit body and no matter what religion you practice, like any religion, yoga can be a bridge to enhancing your spirituality.
1. Creates Discipline
Discipline is a necessity in life. Discipline is essential for achieving any kind of success in your life! It is the secret to the most effective, efficient and well strategic plan you can give yourself! Being successful, losing weight, maintaining relationships are not tasks that come easy for most people. They are all things we must work hard on creating, keeping and maintaining!
2. Improves Circulation
Poor circulation is the cause of over 1000 diseases! From a healthy heart to a good sex life, the proper flow and circulation of blood in our arteries is one of the most important things we can do to maintain good health and push back the aging process. There is a common denominator between good arterial health and disorders such as heart attack, obesity, diabetes and high glucose levels, as well as sexual health. That common denominator is blood circulation.
3. Increases Flexibility Yoga is the way to a more pliable, flexible body. It creates a supple and more resilient muscular structure suited to react quicker to falls, accidents or in any kind of sports. As we age, the flexibility improved by doing yoga has shown to be a deterrent in injury related accidents.
Cancer Support WA www.cancersupportwa.org.au
4. Quiets the Mind
A disciplined mind is a free mind. Gain control over your thoughts and you maintain control over your life. Retrain your mind and you regain your freedom. Calming the mind is a behavioural technique used to interrupt, minimize and eliminate “psychological noise”. Obsessive, repetitive thoughts, anxiety and fears are all apart of negative, self-destructive patterns that can benefit from the power of yoga and mind quieting.
5. Improves Breathing Breath is life! Exchange of electrons. Flow of energy. Air is the primary nutrient. Survival without it is measured in minutes. It is so important that you do it without thinking. Your breathing is the voice of your spirit. It’s depth, smoothness, sound, and rate reflect your mood. If you become aware of your breath and breathe the way you do when you are calm you will become calm. Yoga helps us to practice regular, mindful breathing and can be calming and energizing. With the addition of music and it’s rhythm, the “musical breath” can even help stress-related health problems ranging from panic attacks to digestive disorders. Fall into the rhythm of the music and breathe. Focus on your breathing as you move through your yoga poses. 6. Brings Awareness Through your yoga practice, you can gain a broader
perspective in self awareness. Being able to open up your mind, allowing a free flow of thoughts and ideas can be liberating. Welcoming a new opinion or way of doing something can bring new meaning to your life. If you give up your closed thoughts and make way for a different opinion, you may be surprised at the outcome. Through your yoga practice, you learn to strive to meet difficult goals as you are pushed to stretch the horizons of what you think is impossible. You can then share the ways in which obstacles and challenges have made you stronger, and given you confidence to continue setting goals and dreams in your adventures, your business, and in your day to day life. This is conscious living.
7. Improves Nutrition The source of fuel you find to nourish you on a daily basis changes as you become a yogi. The demands for a healthier diet make your journey more important. The Ayurvedic science of food is based on incorporating the 6 flavours (pungent, salty, sweet, bitter, sour and astringent) into each meal. The Three Humours or Tri-dosa are Ayurvedic body types that tailor a diet and digestive routines that are best for you. 8. Betters Your Sex Life As mentioned earlier, a healthy heart and the proper flow and circulation of blood in our arteries is one of the most important things we can do to maintain good health and a satisfying sex life. Not only that, just think how much more limber you will be. Not to mention, stamina. 9. Improves Your Quality of Life You are now breathing better, are more flexible, have found a new sense of purpose, drive and direction in your life. Welcome change! Through this gateway, your idea of nourishment has changed. Not just what you put in your body, but what you allow or don’t allow in your life any more. Yoga is like the lotus flower. It teaches us to unfold one petal at a time in order to reveal the raw beauty underneath.
“Your life is a sacred journey. It is about change, growth, discovery, movement, transformation, continuously expanding your vision of what is possible, stretching your soul, learning to see clearly and deeply, listening to your intuition, taking courageous challenges at every step along the way. You are on the path… exactly where you are meant to be right now… And from here, you can only go forward, shaping your life story into a magnificent tale of triumph, of healing, of courage, of beauty, of wisdom, of power, of dignity, and of love.” ~ Caroline Adams
10. Brings You Closer to Nature/Spirit
Finding spirit and a higher sense of purpose comes to you as you evolve in your yoga practice. It can show us what is truly important in life. Allowing all those things that monopolize our time, to begin to have less value and stress inducing effects on us. Especially as you grow as a yogi. F
From OmTimes, September 2013: www.omtimes.com. To find out more about Andrew Pacholyk see his website at: www.peacefulmind.com
Summer 2014 WELLNESS NEWS
Can yoga help with cancer? By Julie Friedeberger Yoga has been an unfailing source of sustenance and spiritual nourishment in the 33 years I have practised and taught it. When I had breast cancer in 1993, yoga helped me through the stressful period of diagnosis and mastectomy surgery; and in the longer term it has played the key role in my healing. My experience has shown me that yoga has a great deal to offer people with cancer.
How can yoga help people with cancer? Yoga is a holistic healing system for creating harmony and balance on all levels: body, mind, emotions and spirit. When this balance has been disturbed by serious illness, practising yoga can help in a number of ways to restore it. Yoga encourages the development of the inner resources that help in dealing with a life-changing illness, the unfolding of the qualities of self-awareness, resilience, stability, faith and trust that enable us to meet all of life’s challenges and to use them as opportunities for growth and change.
Breast Cancer Yoga dvds, cds and yoga resources for women recovering from breast cancer: www.breastcanceryoga.com
Cancer is a broad complex of illnesses in which a weakened immune system cannot cope with the proliferation of damaged cells. Of course yoga is not a “cure” for cancer but it can help to strengthen the immune system and encourage our inner healing forces. It works in various ways: • relaxation – calms the nervous system and alleviates the stress and anxiety which lower immune functioning and hinder healing breathing exercises • improves respiration, releases tension and restores balance and calm • meditation – develops the detachment and clarity that enables us to acknowledge and accept the realities of our situation and cope with our fears. • physical posture – clears toxins, increases energy levels and enhances the functioning of our internal organs and systems The simplest of yoga breathing, relaxation and meditation techniques can also help us to deal with the overwhelming emotions that come with the diagnosis of a life-changing illness: shock, anger, fear, guilt to name the most obvious ones. And they can be of help in managing the stress, anxiety and pain of cancer surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Yoga offers practical tools with which you can help yourself and mobilise your own inner resources. Yoga is empowering because you are doing something for yourself: no-one is doing it for you.
Relaxation helps undo the stress that is so detrimental to the immune system. It is an especially vital element in healing. In relaxation, muscular and mental tension are released, breathing slows down, heart rate and blood pressure are lowered and anxiety diminishes. Body and mind “let go” and surrender themselves to inner stillness and peace. These are conditions conducive to the repair of cells, conditions in which healing can take place. In relaxation we actively co-operate with our immune system and encourage our inner healing forces to work for us.
Breathing exercises release tension, replenish energy and calm the mind and the emotions. Our emotions affect our breathing: when we are anxious, angry or frightened, our breath
Cancer Support WA www.cancersupportwa.org.au
Shallow, restricted breathing contributes to tiredness, depression and physical illness. Relaxed, rhythmic breathing which fully utilises the lungs can help us to avoid and overcome illness. The simple breathing and stretching exercises of yoga are calming, uplifting and energising. They improve the elasticity and efficiency of the breathing muscles (the diaphragm and intercostal muscles) and replace poor breathing habits with more healthy, life enhancing ones.
This is a 10-15 minute morning sequence designed to wake up the body and target all of the places that might need a little extra space and life breathed into them after a night of sleep.
Meditation gives us the opportunity to allow our thoughts and emotions to surface so that we can look at them instead of burying them. The simple meditation practice of breath awareness develops the mental focus, detachment and clarity which enables us to look steadily at the realities of our situation. Once weâ€™ve looked at them, we can acknowledge and accept them, work with them and move on. Repressing emotions traps energy and increases stress; acknowledging and accepting them liberates energy and reduces stress. Meditation is a therapeutic process that allows the contents of our personality to surface and become integrated into consciousness. It is healing in the fullest sense of the word.
Yoga postures work on our internal organs and systems, including the nervous system, as well as on our joints, muscles and ligaments. They influence our breathing, circulation, digestion and elimination, our mental and emotional balance and our energy levels; as well as our physical posture, strength, stamina and flexibility. A lifetime of yoga has taught me to regard lifeâ€™s big challenges as opportunities for growth and change. My experience of cancer left me with a deeper trust in the power of yoga to help us face our challenges and heal ourselves and a stronger commitment to teaching it. F
From www.anac.org.uk. Julie Friedeberger is a yoga instructor at the Yoga Therapy Academy, London.
Yoga Sequence by Jennifer Jarrett. www.mindbodygreen.com Summer 2014 WELLNESS NEWS
responds to our emotional state and becomes shallow and erratic. The reverse is true too: the way that we breathe affects our emotional state. By becoming more aware of our breathing pattern and consciously, gradually changing it, we calm the sympathetic nervous system so that anxiety recedes and calm and balance are restored.
By Gerald Saluti Me: “How did the surgery go?” Doctor: “Your wife has cancer. She is in the recovery room, do you want to tell her or shall I do it? Me: “I will tell her.” I saw my beautiful wife, eyes closed like an angel, asleep in the recovery room at the hospital. We were exactly five minutes into her battle with cancer and already I had taken on the role as her caregiver. I kissed her gently and as her big brown eyes opened she asked me how the surgery went. “Babe, you have breast cancer.” I didn’t sugar coat it and I am not going to lie it was a horrible thing to have to tell her. She looked up at me, shed a single tear and retorted “Really…” So began a roller coaster ride of emotion, stress, fear and uncertainty. For anyone who has been thrust into the roll of caregiver here are the pearls of wisdom I learned that helped me survive what I can only describe as the greatest challenge of my life:
Educate yourself as quickly as possible. When the doctor told me my wife had cancer it was extremely scary news to digest. The first thing I decided to do was to completely educate myself about her cancer. There were many important decisions that we needed to make quickly and by educating myself immediately I felt like I was taking control of the situation. My wife was so shocked and distraught I knew the majority of the decisions regarding her care would have to come from me. Knowledge is power. Without knowledge, fear can literally cripple the caregiver. We are not afforded the luxury of burying our heads in the sand.
No matter what, we must stay positive I think it is universally true that anyone diagnosed with cancer will at least initially be paralysed by fear. I know my wife was so overwhelmed by the news all she could imagine was dying. I am generally a positive thinker, but this situation really tested me. The initial thoughts of death were very real and so strong. I used prayer and meditation to keep a positive attitude. These are the crutches I used. If they are a part of your life already, I strongly recommend you practice them every day. If they are not a part of your life, I suggest appealing to a power greater than yourself for help. We, as caregivers, must stay positive in our thinking, so that our loved one will feel safe. Even as my wife’s hair fell out and chemo and steroids ravaged her body I told her everyday how beautiful she was and how deeply I loved her.
Cancer Support WA www.cancersupportwa.org.au
My wife and I have a loving extended family and many friends. One warning I must extend to the caregivers revolves around friends and family. A cataclysmic event like a cancer diagnosis will quickly polarize friends and family. Some will exceed your expectations and some will bitterly disappoint. Remember, everyone deals with bad news differently and I suggest non-judgment as the best course of action. If for example, a family member or friend does not want to be a part of the battle, as shocking and upsetting as this reaction may be, we must harbor no resentment. Some people just don’t know how to handle such a situation. It’s not their fault and no blame should be placed. If we blame and resent we lose sight of our role and our loved one will suffer as a result.
Carve out time for each of your kids and make sure you are diligent about keeping any promise you make to them. Their little lives were turned upside down by no fault of theirs and they need stability.
How to deal with doctors As you will quickly become aware, a person diagnosed with cancer will require a tremendous number of doctor visits. I personally believe it is necessary for the caregiver to attend as many of the appointments as possible. At each appointment, chemo or radiation session, the doctors impart massive amounts of information. Trust me, your loved one will be numb to the information and it is imperative that either you or someone you trust attends each visit. Remember, knowledge is power.
What do I tell the children?
Take care of yourself
Children pose a unique problem. My wife and I have six children between the ages of 18 and 4. We chose to be truthful with our kids, even the little ones. Children can sense when something is wrong and we felt it best not to keep secrets from them. Instead, we educated them as best we could and had open and honest discussions with them every step of the way.
The most important lesson I learned as my wife’s caregiver was to take care of myself, both mentally and physically. The stress associated with marshaling my wife through her struggle was at times overwhelming.
For example, before my wife’s beautiful long hair fell out, she cut it very short so that when it fell out from chemo the change would not be so drastic. We dyed her short hair crazy colours and the kids thought it was so fun and cool. I can tell you however, every day, I was challenged to make sure each child felt special. As the caregiver, it was my responsibility to keep the family together and moving forward. My wife was dealing with her own demons and the chemo and radiation rendered her so tired most days she was bed ridden.
I was lucky enough to start my journey with some important tools already in place. For example, I am an avid yoga practitioner and relied heavily upon my practice to combat stress. Exercise is the best cure for stress. If you don’t practice yoga, find some form of exercise to keep yourself healthy. F
From: www.rebellesociety.com. Gerald Saluti is the father of six children and husband to Yulady Saluti. He is an avid yogi, rock climber and extreme health fanatic. Gerald spends his days as a criminal defense lawyer and his nights and free time juggling, exercising, parenting, and taking care of his sick wife. He has educated himself in eastern philosophy, yoga, mathematics and healthy living. Yulady Saluti is a yoga teacher.
A gentle, healing class with a therapeutic focus for people with cancer and carers led by our experienced teachers. These classes emphasise relaxation, breath awareness, gentle movement and meditation. Kookaburra CreekWednesdays 9.30am-11.00am 210 Carradine Rd, Bedfordale (during school terms) Cancer Support WA (time to be confirmed) Cost $8.50/$10. Free for Wellness Club members.
Summer 2014 WELLNESS NEWS
Properly handling family and friends
When my wife's oncologist informed her she would be in-patient at the hospital during what was for her the “happiest time of the year,” I witnessed her spirit utterly deflate. As a caregiver, I believe that a patient’s optimistic state of mind is essential in combating the physiological and psychological assault caused by the chemical cocktail that courses through one’s body in an effort to save their life.
As a carer, there are many ways to make your loved one’s Christmas memorable – even if they’re in the hospital this year. Rob Harris shares the story about when he surprised his wife with a winter wonderland in her hospital room, and his tips on how to be a carer during Christmas.
The holiday season can be an incredibly emotional and traumatic time for many, especially those who are not feeling well enough to enjoy it due to illness. If allowed to fester, gloom and dejection are inevitable. Is pessimism unavoidable? That’s difficult to say, but one Christmas, when my wife had to stay at the hospital longer than expected because the chemo was taking a long time to clear from her system, I knew that I had to find a way to lift her spirits up.
Get Creative While we all have our preconceived notions as to what proper hospital decorum should be, I had already gained a reputation on the oncology floor as being somewhat of a prankster, and at the very least, unpredictable. So with the deadly chemicals coursing through her body, my wife fell into a deep, sound sleep. Without her knowledge, I went shopping at the local Target store. For the next three hours while she slept, I decorated our room from top-to-bottom. I began by decorating the door to our hospital room in Christmas wrapping paper – I even included a ribbon and a large bow. Then I turned her Intravenous pole into a makeshift Christmas tree and hung colourful, blinking lights along the walls and ceiling. When she awoke, the expression on her face was priceless. She had a grin that could not be removed, even when suffering from the debilitating effects of the chemotherapy. As she smiled and laughed, the sadness that engulfed her magically disappeared. What began as an emotionally distressing event turned into one of the most memorable and enjoyable holidays we had spent together.
Prepare for Positivity Suffering from a significant illness during the festive holiday season can lead to depression for both the patient and the caregiver if you let it. However, with a little creative thinking and a willingness to make compromises, the experience can turn into a truly enjoyable time of year. If you're at home, consider the following in order to best prepare for, and enjoy, Christmas: • • • • • •
Solicit family and friends to assist you with your planning and preparation activities. Shop for the list of gifts that your loved one wishes to give to family members and friends. Clean the house, do the cooking and entertain guests. Decorate the house (inside and out). Have everyone you know send Christmas cards and place in a very visible location. Schedule visits from all those family members and friends that can add to the occasion.
While it will be difficult to replicate past holiday celebrations, every effort made to create a joyful and celebratory ambience at home or in the hospital will assist in improving or maintaining a positive mindset during Christmas. F
From www.ihadcancer.com. Rob Harris was thrown into the role as caregiver twenty-two years ago and has now written a powerful book which is poignant story of love interweaving seventy vital caregiving tips. His book, We’re In This Together: A Caregiver’s Story is available from amazon.com
Cancer Support WA www.cancersupportwa.org.au
Gratitude is something all of us understand. For instance, saying “thank you” when we receive a gift takes hardly any thought or effort. It just seems to come forth naturally. In the same way, when someone thanks us for something we did for them, this too feels natural and welcome. In fact, giving and receiving gratitude is so familiar that we can easily overlook some of its deeper significance.
image: Michael Leunig
However, gratitude is not just an expression of good manners; it’s a doorway to higher consciousness. This is because gratitude is closely connected to several other key dynamics also associated with higher states of beings:
How gratitude relates to love
When we show gratitude for something, we are expressing appreciation. We are signifying that this is something we value. By valuing and appreciating something, we are also expressing love towards it. For part of loving something is to esteem it highly. Therefore, when we express genuine gratitude we are also expressing love. Love always raises our vibration and consciousness. Because of its relationship to love, gratitude does the same.
How gratitude relates to higher truth
The deepest truths of our being are elegant and compelling, and they automatically evoke gratitude once we begin opening to them. At root we are all expressions of infinite potential, unlimited abundance, and unconditional love. Because our true reality is so wonderful – even awesome – we naturally feel gratitude as we catch even a glimpse of it. But it works the other way as well. Expressing gratitude for the higher truths that are revealed to us opens us even further to those truths. For example, repeatedly thanking the universe for the fact that we are infinitely abundant awakens us even more to the experience of that abundance. In this way, the practice of gratitude can help foster greater experience of the higher truths that emerge within us.
How gratitude relates to the consciousness of oneness
Because of the oneness underlying the universe, whenever we give something out, we will also receive something back. When we give something of value to another person and then receive their gratitude in return, this is a manifestation of the dynamic oneness of the universe at work in our experience, reflecting a portion of our own giving back to us. As we learn to recognize acts of gratitude as expressions of universal oneness, our consciousness of the underlying unity of all things becomes more pronounced.
How gratitude relates to the consciousness of perfection
Though we most often express gratitude for things we perceive and interpret as positive, we can also apply gratitude for things we don’t. Extending gratitude even to the darker areas of our life will cause these dark spots to be transformed. They will eventually show forth blessings in some way or another, blessings that were completely hidden before our gratitude was given to them. This process of extending gratitude to all things and circumstances will open our awareness to the inherent perfection in all experiences. The absolute perfection underlying all reality justifies our attitude of gratitude in all situations. Likewise, our extension of gratitude to all things will open us more completely to the actual experience of that perfection. In this way the practice of gratitude fuses with the consciousness of perfection and brings us to an expanded state of awareness. F
Summer 2014 WELLNESS NEWS
a doorway to higher consciousness
By Mark Nepo
Though no one likes it, each of us will find ourselves broken at some point in our journey. When we find ourselves there, what do we do? I’ve been broken many times – through illness, through the loss of a job, through the derailment of a dream and most recently, through the death of my father. For all of this, I can offer a mysterious truth that life has given me: that we are stronger, gentler, more resilient and more beautiful than we imagine, and that the resource we call life is never far away. I know this because every time my heart has been shattered, I have felt certain that it could never be put back together. And every time, without exception, not only has my heart mended but it has become larger, stronger and more loving for the breaking. The mysterious and unfailing journey of how this happens is the ordinary art of staying awake. It involves the deep and continuous act of being present in all ways, in all directions. Being present in this way is the practice of holding nothing back. Feeling broken can be debilitating and hard to move through. A few steps we can take to refind our wholeness include the effort to:
1. Accept the Weather Realizing that we will be broken is not a pessimistic view, but a wholehearted acceptance of the unfolding nature of life. Being tossed and turned by circumstances is part of life’s weather. You may trip on obstacles, hurting someone you love. You may find yourself alone, without the person with whom you thought you’d spend the rest of your life. You may become ill.
Cancer Support WA www.cancersupportwa.org.au
How do we meet these challenges? For me, I try to remember, when breaking, that every crack is an opening. No matter how harsh the experience, something is always opened within us; and what is opened is always more important than what breaks us. We might experience cruelty or unfairness or indifference or the brutality of chance – all of which are difficult and lifechanging. And while cruelty and injustice are never excusable and need to be rectified, we must not get stuck in our list of legitimate grievances, or we will never be able to enter the depth that becomes available for being open.
2. Lean Into the Tender Place Very quickly, when broken open, we are exhausted of our differences. We don’t try so hard to keep up needless boundaries and are forced to realize we are all the same, and this allows us to touch and be touched more directly. Things we thought that mattered don’t. I know once my heart is opened, I can find the courage to lean into the place where I am broken, to lean into that opening, letting life rush in and touch me there, even though that place is incredibly tender. I’ve discovered over time that the rush of life into the tender place where we are broken is the beginning of resilience.
3. Ask Yourself, “What Kind of Part Am I in What Kind of Whole?” Beyond all our good intentions and hard work, not getting what we want and working with what we’re given can lead us to realise and inhabit a larger geography of being. Despite our resistance, we are led to accept that we are a living part in a greater Living Whole. Now we can begin a deeper part of our journey by asking, “What is my relationship to the Living Whole?”
It’s hard to keep this deeper understanding of life in view when in pain, when in fear, when confused and worried. But this is the nature of being broken. It limits our view, for the moment. One of the purposes of love is to help each other not stay limited in our view of life. Like a surfer who, when catching a wave, is for the moment at one with the swell of the ocean, when helping each other move beyond our limited view of life, we are, for the moment, at one with the unity of life, which lifts us back into a feeling of health.
4. Look Beyond the Broken In my recent conversation with Oprah on “Super Soul Sunday,” I found myself saying, “To be broken is no reason to see all things as broken.” This notion has been a profound teacher for me in meeting difficulty. Though it’s understandable to be consumed with what we’re going through, it’s essential to remember that all of life is not where we are. In fact, this is when we need the aliveness and vitality of everything that is not us. When closed, we need to open. When fearful, we need to trust again. When feeling lost, we need to remember that we are in the stream of life, which is never lost. I’ve come to believe that we were all broken from the same nameless heart, and every living thing wakes with a piece of that original heart aching its way into being. Along the way, we are broken open like seeds that bear fruit, so we can meet each other and be touched by each other; so we can remember and inhabit the one precious life we’re given. And when broken of all that gets in the way, we suddenly know each other below our strangeness. This is why when we fall, we lift each other; or when in pain, we hold each other; why when sudden with joy, we dance together. Life is the many pieces of that great heart loving itself back together. F
From: www.oprah.com. Mark Nepo is the author of 14 books and eight audio projects. His new book of poetry is called Reduced to Joy. His other books include the #1 New York Times best-seller The Book of Awakening. Mark devotes his writings and teachings to the journey of inner transformation and the life of relationship. To learn more, please visit MarkNepo.com and ThreeIntentions.com.
free cancer counselling Cancer Support WA’s professional counselling service is for people with cancer, carers, children and families dealing with any aspect of cancer.
Adults, Kids & Family Counselling Counselling sessions with a caring, compassionate professional could help you deal more effectively with the many issues, fears and emotions which arise on the cancer journey; gain clarity to make treatment decisions; give you the insight to grow from your experiences; and the peace of mind and heart needed to heal. Sessions are available at our Cottesloe centre, your home or hospital. Sessions for adults, couples, families and children with fully qualified Counsellors by appointment.
Our professional counselling at our premises or yours is now free for Cancer Support WA members and families. Counselling Fee Rates Counselling session (one hour duration) Home/hospital visit
$50 members $75 public + $25 travel fee
Counselling sessions are available free to Cancer Support WA members and Wellness Club members. Free counselling sessions are limited to one session (1 hour) a week per family. Additional sessions can be booked at the rates advertised above.
24hr phone (08) 9384 3544 Summer 2014 WELLNESS NEWS
By Dr. Joseph Mercola The technique of grounding, also known as earthing, is simple: you walk barefoot to "ground" with the Earth. The scientific theory behind the health benefits seen from this simple practice is that your body absorbs negative electrons from the Earth through the soles of your feet. The Earth is negatively charged, so when you ground, you're connecting your body to a negatively charged supply of energy. Since the Earth has a greater negative charge than your body, you end up absorbing electrons from it. The grounding effect is, in my understanding, one of the most potent antioxidants we know of and may have an anti-inflammatory effect on your body. "It is well established, though not widely known, that the surface of the earth possesses a limitless and continuously renewed supply of free or mobile electrons as a consequence of a global atmospheric electron circuit. Wearing shoes with insulating soles and/or sleeping in beds that are isolated from the electrical ground plane of the earth have disconnected most people from the earth's electrical rhythms and free electrons. â€Ś A previous study demonstrated that connecting the human body to the earth during sleep (earthing) normalizes the daily cortisol rhythm and improves sleep. A variety of other benefits were reported, including reductions in pain and inflammation. Subsequent studies have confirmed these earlier findings and documented virtually immediate physiologic and clinical effects of grounding or earthing the body." ~ Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Exercising barefoot outdoors is one of the most wonderful, inexpensive and powerful ways of incorporating Earthing into your daily life and will also help speed up tissue repair, as well as easing the muscle pain you sometimes get from strenuous exercise. A review of the available research, published January 2012 in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health, agrees with the concept of reaping health benefits when connecting to the earth. According to the authors: "Mounting evidence suggests that the Earth's negative potential can create a stable internal bioelectrical environment for the normal functioning of all body systems. Moreover, oscillations
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of the intensity of the Earth's potential may be important for setting the biological clocks regulating diurnal body rhythms, such as cortisol secretion. It is also well established that electrons from antioxidant molecules neutralize reactive oxygen species (ROS, or in popular terms, free radicals) involved in the body's immune and inflammatory responses. The National Library of Medicine's online resource PubMed lists 7021 studies and 522 review articles from a search of 'antioxidant + electron + free radical. It is assumed that the influx of free electrons absorbed into the body through direct contact with the Earth likely neutralise ROS and thereby reduce acute and chronic inflammation. Throughout history, humans mostly walked barefoot or with footwear made of animal skins. They slept on the ground or on skins. Through direct contact or through perspiration-moistened animal skins used as footwear or sleeping mats, the ground's abundant free electrons were able to enter the body, which is electrically conductive. Through this mechanism, every part of the body could equilibrate with the electrical potential of the Earth, thereby stabilising the electrical environment of all organs, tissues, and cells. Modern lifestyle has increasingly separated humans from the primordial flow of Earth's electrons. For example, since the 1960s, we have increasingly worn insulating rubber or plastic soled shoes, instead of the traditional leather fashioned from hides. Rossi has lamented that the use of insulating materials in post-World War II shoes has separated us from the Earth's energy field. Obviously, we no longer sleep on the ground as we did in times past. During recent decades, chronic illness, immune disorders, and inflammatory diseases have increased dramatically, and some researchers have cited environmental factors as the cause. However, the possibility of modern disconnection with the Earth's surface as a cause has not been considered. Much of the research reviewed in this paper points in that direction. F
From: fitness.mercola.com, June 2013. Dr Mercola is an author and a leading expert on natural health. His website mercola.com has millions of subscribers.
LIFESTYLE & ENVIRONMENT
Walk for Wellness: Walk for Wellness: Great Wall of China Great Wall of China ChallenGe 2014 ChallenGe 2014 Your Steps Can Save Lives 2nd-13th May 2014
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ights of the Great Wall, and gaze out across the vast expanse of China, knowing that with every ke you are improving your own health and wellness, and empowering West Australians dealing Scale the heightswith of the Great andtheirs. gaze out across the vast cancer toWall improve
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• Immerse yourself in the history, rugged beauty, and sheer grandeur of the Great Wall as you trek for five days on different sections, some restored, others rambling and overgrown. • Discover the contrasts of ancient and modern Beijing: from the grand imperial architecture of the Forbidden City to the vibrant 798 Art District; from cycling the ancient hutongs to feasting on Peking Duck. • Improve your own health and wellness, and raise funds for Cancer Support WA’s vital support services and wellness programs. Registration fee: $770. Fundraising target: $3,000. Travel cost: $3,990 including taxes (can be fundraised)
More details online: www.cancersupportwa.org.au
Summer 2014 WELLNESS NEWS
By Logan Bronwell Unless your body is at optimal levels of Vitamin D, you are opening the door to a host of disorders, ranging from heart disease and Alzheimer’s to weak bones, cancer and diabetes.2,3 In fact, even if you have normal blood sugar today, a vitamin D deficiency makes you 91% more likely to progress to insulin resistance, or “pre-diabetes,” and it more than doubles your risk for progressing to active, type II diabetes.4 Unfortunately, vitamin D deficiency is a global epidemic. An estimated 1 billion people do not have adequate vitamin D levels.5 The results of this deficiency are catastrophic. Studies have now shown that vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased risk of a long list of diseases that span all systems in the body. In fact, low levels of vitamin D increase the risk of non-Alzheimer’s dementia almost 20 times! 7
Just a few years ago, vitamin D was simply known as the “bone vitamin.” Thanks to the hard work of many scientists, especially Michael Holick, MD, a pioneer in vitamin D research, the data show that nearly every tissue and cell type in the body has receptors for vitamin D. As a result of this discovery, much higher doses are required for optimal functioning. This discovery has radically changed how we understand the role of vitamin D in the body.
While checking for vitamin D levels is still not standard of care for many physicians, you will realise from reading this article that assessing vitamin D status is one of the most important health-protecting steps you can take. Fortunately, achieving optimal levels of vitamin D is easy, inexpensive, and highly protective against a range of lethal diseases.
WHY VITAMIN D IS SO VITAL While humans can make some vitamin D in their bodies, most of us require additional amounts from our diet, the sun, or from supplements in order to maintain adequate levels. Once vitamin D has been ingested in the diet or produced in the skin, the liver and kidneys convert it to its active form, called 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, or vitamin D3.8,9 Virtually every tissue type in your body has receptors for vitamin D, meaning that they all require vitamin D for adequate functioning.8,9 The very presence of specific receptors define vitamin D as a hormone, rather than a vitamin.8 It interacts with receptors throughout the body and has a number of different effects. It’s becoming evident that higher doses of vitamin D are required to support its other activities in tissues such as heart muscle, brain cells, and fat tissue, to name just a few. Additionally, vitamin D regulates genes that control cell growth and development, immune function, and metabolic control. 5,8 Studies have now shown that vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased risk of numerous chronic disorders, including type II diabetes, cancer, infections, and cardiovascular, autoimmune, and neurological diseases.8,9
THE GLOBAL VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY The problem is that most of us are simply not getting enough vitamin D to allow our bodies to work optimally at all of the functions that vitamin D supports. An estimated 1 billion people (that’s about a seventh of the global population) have inadequate vitamin D supplies in their bodies.5
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People who are considered vitamin D “sufficient” have blood levels of at least 30 ng/mL. However, optimal vitamin D status is achieved with a minimum of 50 ng/mL. Those considered “insufficient” (meaning their bodies aren’t at optimal vitamin D capacity) have levels between 21 and 29 ng/mL. Those who are “deficient” are defined as having levels at or below 20 ng/mL.8
VITAMIN D BLOCKS CANCER Low levels of vitamin D in the blood are strongly associated with elevated cancer risk. Compared to people with higher vitamin D levels, those with low levels have an 83 to 150% increased risk of developing cancer.53-55 This strong correlation is due to vitamin D receptors, which regulate a number of signaling pathways involved in inflammation, tumour growth, and immune system surveillance for cancer – especially in the epithelial cells of the skin, breast, prostate, and colon (tissues that are prone to cancer development).56-58 The problem is that in cancer cells, the vitamin D receptor is dramatically decreased, leaving cells unregulated and prone to reproduce in an out-of-control fashion.57 Treating cancer cells in culture with vitamin D, however, produces a number of actions that help fight against cancer: it decreases tumour cell proliferation, quells inflammation, reduces invasiveness, and increases tumour cell death (apoptosis).57,59,60 The benefits of these actions are especially seen in cancers of the breast, prostate, and colon.
Breast Cancer In animals with experimentally induced breast cancer, for example, these effects of vitamin D reduced the incidence, number, and size of tumours, particularly when vitamin D was combined with EPA and DHA from fish oil.59,61 In vivo studies have shown that activated vitamin D3 has some benefits specific to estrogen-dependent breast cancer. It reduces overall tumour-promoting estrogen effects by decreasing the expression of the aromatase enzyme that makes estrogen in breast tissue and by decreasing the expression of the alpha form of estrogen receptor that aggravates certain malignancies.60 Human studies are now pointing in a similar direction. In the large Women’s Health Initiative study, even a low dose of 400 IU/day of vitamin D combined with calcium was associated with an up to 20 percent decrease in breast cancer in women who had not taken supplements previously.62,63
Prostate Cancer Cancers of the prostate also respond to vitamin D, as shown by a study in which men with early prostate cancer received 4,000 IU/day for a year.64 Fifty-five percent of supplemented subjects
showed a decrease in tumour-positive biopsies or a decrease in the Gleason tumour score, while an additional 11% showed no change (meaning the cancer had not progressed). Since prostate cancer is often such a slow-growing malignancy, it is ideal for prevention with vitamin D.65
Colourectal Cancer Cancers of the colon and rectum usually start as benign polyps (or adenomas), which progress to malignancy as a result of chronic inflammation. Colourectal adenoma patients who took 800 IU/day of vitamin D3 experienced a significant 77 percent decrease in inflammatory markers that can promote cancer development.56 In a similar group of patients, 800 IU/ day of vitamin D3 produced marked decreases in levels of the tumour promoter beta-catenin, with an increase in the tumour suppressor known as APC.66
THE VITAMIN D SOLUTION With over 1 billion people worldwide faced with insufficient levels of vitamin D, it’s easy to see why so many of these lifethreatening diseases are skyrocketing to epidemic proportions. Fortunately, the solution is straightforward. Start by taking a high quality vitamin D3 supplement of at least 2,000 IU daily8,9 Next, get your vitamin D level checked as soon as possible. Be sure the lab tests for “25-hydroxyvitamin D,” which is the best measure of vitamin D status.8 So if your level comes in at a low 20 ng/mL, you’ll need to take an additional 3,000 IU (100 IU x 30 ng/mL) to get yourself up to 50 ng/mL. Recheck the level in 2 to 3 months. Once you are in the sufficient range, you might be able to maintain that level by taking 2,000 IU daily, though most people nowadays are taking doses of 5,000 IU and higher. Many people, especially those with pre-existing chronic illness, find they need more to boost their levels adequately.76,77 Remember to take your vitamin D with the meal of the day that contains the most fat, as this greatly enhances vitamin D absorption.
SUMMARY Despite reams of evidence to the contrary, mainstream medicine continues to mainly regard vitamin D as essential only for healthy bone maintenance. But the discovery that the vitamin D receptor is found in virtually all human tissues has suggested to many that the vitamin (actually a hormone) is vital for most human functions. Frighteningly, though, the majority of us have insufficient vitamin D levels to support good health, resulting in an increase in a host of chronic diseases. F
From: Life Extension Magazine, August 2013. Article with full references and diagrams is published at:/www.lef.org/magazine/ mag2013/mag2013_08.htm Summer 2014 WELLNESS NEWS
According to mainstream medical standards, there are three levels of vitamin D status: sufficient, insufficient, and deficient.
the inner By Kathleen Kanavos Have you ever had a gut instinct that disagreed with scientific facts, and then found that you were correct and the facts wrong? You have inner guidance and when you have a life threatening illness intuition can play an important part in diagnosis and survival. Crisis is humbling. It is guaranteed to knock you down with its series of emotional and physical trauma, beginning with discovery and continuing through treatment, often with no end in sight. Upon hearing a cancer diagnosis, many people feel devastated, confused and alone. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Here are seven lessons to help you survive life-crisis.
validation. Listen first, then validate! Your inner voice may save your life, relationships, and financial future.
The first and most important one is: Even in your darkest hour – you are never alone!
But, do you believe the answer you hear in your prayers, meditations and dreams? Watch for the validation in everyday life. Validation is indisputable information.
I know because I am a three-time, thirteen year breast cancer survivor who found out the hard way that not all cancers are discovered by conventional medical tests.
How often do you pray but miss the answers in your dreams? Your dreams are the way your Higher Power helps during crisis and always answers!
Intuition is defined as instinctively knowing without conscious reasoning. Take care of your spirit and it will take care of you.
What I seek to achieve by writing this article is an alternative to ignoring our intuition in favour of science or ignoring science in favour of inner guidance. The best way to survive any health crisis is to mix intuition and science and then cross-check them against each other for answers that are indisputably correct. Be a part of your health and life team because no one knows you better than you know yourself. Listen to yourself.
Have you ever wished you had listened to yourself rather than to someone else?
Our bodies have been speaking to us since the beginning of humanity.
No matter what stage of treatment or life crisis someone is in, they and their families should listen to their innate intuition even if doesn’t affirm the expert’s advice. It’s important to let your inner voice guide you, then use modern evaluations for
Your body uses signs, symbols and symptoms to communicate. Dreams, meditations and prayers are the phone lines to inner-information. Both Freud and Jung used the universal archetypes in dreams to treat patients because they understood
Intuition can play an important part in diagnosis and survival.
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the importance of connecting with the inner-self during times of crisis. If you ask for guidance you will get it. If you have cancer, it is most likely time to rediscover your inner-guidance– your life may even depend on it. In order to work toward the goal of survival you need to use everything available to you. By searching within yourself through dreams, meditation or prayer, you will find your own set of answers to any challenge. Become bi-lingual. Learn your personal dream language for a more fulfilled life. The first time I was diagnosed, I did not believe the test results that came back “negative for cancer,” suggesting that the lump I had discovered months earlier in my breast was just in my head. I summoned the courage to use everything available in this world and the next to save my life. The physicians and tests had missed the 2.1cm tumour that was Stage-Two cancer – aggressive invasive ductal carcinoma – that had already infected one lymph node. Five years later they missed the second breast cancer that was stage-four invasive lobular carcinoma and a year later the beginning of another lobular cancer in the other breast. Finding the life-saving information in dreams was as lucky as winning the lottery three times in a row. Luck had little to do with it. Divine Intervention did. My crisis was a wake-up call to change my life, and trust in a Higher Power. Science goes so far and then comes God. Another challenge was deciding whom to trust – my doctors or my Guardian Angels. I listened to both and cross-checked them against each other. That information came to bear on me in ways I never imagined as I ran the race of life against time. I remember my exact moment of dream validation… “Pathology didn’t like what they saw when they cut the tumour open,” my surgeon said after closing the privacy curtain behind him. Fear replaced my nausea. “So, is it cancer?” I asked, while holding fast to the hospital gurney; bracing myself for the answer I already suspected and feared. “Yes, I’m sorry. I’ll refer you to someone else now, a specialist.” Thus began my Alice in Wonderland’s steady decent down the dark rabbit hole of Cancerland! So my dreams had been right. With my surgeon’s words, the first shot of my ensuing battle had been fired, and it was not a warning across my bow. It was point-blank into my breast. I glanced down at my painful wound and wept with grief and joy. God was with me. F
Kathleen (Kat) O’Keefe-Kanavos is an author, inspirational speaker, Radio Host, and three-time breast cancer survivor who penned SURVIVING CANCERLAND: The Intuitive Aspects of Healing (www.survivingcancerland.com). She is represented by Steve Allen Media and is part of WakeUpWomen www.wakeupwomen.com
As a Cancer Phone Counsellor, Question and Answer Columnist and a three time cancer survivor, I have learned seven important lessons to overcome any crisis. 1. You are not alone! You are born with inner-guidance but like any innate skill, such as language, it must be perfected. Practice makes perfect. Perfect your dream language and inner-communication skills. 2. Believe but validate. Inner-guidance does not want you to “blindly believe.” Validation will present itself; more proof that you are not alone. 3. Ask and you will receive. (Whiners get nothing.) Remember to also give thanks. 4. Crisis is a wake-up call. So Wake Up! Make changes. Live a more fulfilled and joyful life. What life-lesson did you learn from your life-crisis? Don’t waste this blessing in disguise. It is a golden opportunity to grow with spiritual guidance. 5. We all have a Life Purpose. Despite what may have happened in the back seat of that old Chevy, no one is an accident. Accidently is really “accidently on purpose.” If you are alive you are on the path (Life Destiny) to fulfill your Life Purpose. What “guided” you to read this article? 6. Life is full of crisis within circles of crisis. Embrace them as lessons for life. Dance in the rain and sing in the wind with your Inner Guide and Guardian Angel. Nothing is permanent, including crisis, so enjoy the storm. You will turn negative power into positive outcome. The storm will leave you in a fresher world. 7. Out of crisis comes order. Dreams, prayers and meditation can lead us through the dark tunnel of crisis and into the light of inner-order and prosperity. F
From SURVIVING CANCERLAND: The Intuitive Aspects of Healing
Summer 2014 WELLNESS NEWS
By Richard Haigh Are you wondering about the raw food diet? Raw food is the next step in the trend toward vegetarianism and veganism, as well as organic concerns. This diet has been embraced by many health-conscious individuals around the world. Is the raw food diet a passing trend or is this a sustainable diet to seriously consider for optimum health and wellbeing? We take an indepth look at the benefits of the raw food diet and guidelines for ‘going raw’.
What is the raw food diet? Are you wondering about the raw food diet? Raw food is the next step in the trend toward vegetarianism and veganism, as well as organic concerns. This diet has been embraced by many health-conscious individuals around the world. There are now many raw food recipe books available, as well as support groups and message boards galore for raw foodists – people who eat a raw food based diet. Many find the raw food diet compelling due to dramatic weight loss stories, as well as a belief in a healthier lifestyle and body, but this is not just your average diet. It is a lifestyle change. Raw foodists point out that this is not necessarily a new diet, but that many cultures a long time ago ate most of their food raw, including paleolithic man, and eskimos (eskimo means eater of raw food). The raw food diet is a diet consisting mostly of raw vegan food, which includes raw fruits, raw vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Many raw foodists think that the more their diet is made up of raw food, the healthier their diet is, and the healthier they will become. This can also be true for pets – cats and dogs have been found to benefit from raw food diets, although cats and dogs have very different digestive systems than people, so obviously their diets should be very different from a diet meant for human consumption. The raw food movement is in itself divided up into groups of people. Some will eat cooked food for a small percentage of their diet. Many of these people are combinations of the following groups: Living foodists: these people follow a diet in which their food is made up of plant food in which the plant’s enzymes are still active, such as sprouted seeds and nuts. Juicarians: all of their food is in the form of home made juice, wheat grass, for instance. Some raw foodists will eat unpasteurised milk and some raw meats, but this can be a concern as cooking is often necessary to kill any unwanted bacteria. Temperatures need to be very high or very low to kill these bacteria, and eating food raw is an infection risk. Pasteurising is a method of preserving milk, and unpasteurised milk needs to be very fresh to be safe.
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A small group of raw foodists will not eat food that has been processed by a machine at all, including juicers, dehydrators, blenders, and/or food processors. They believe in eating food in the most natural state possible.
What are living foods? By some definitions, raw foodist are also life foodists, but a more specific definition implies that in living foods, the enzymes are active, and are therefore considered living. It is the difference between sprouted and unsprouted seeds or nuts (sprouted seeds or nuts are living). Some people will only or mostly eat living foods, believing in the health benefits of greater enzyme activity.
What foods do you eat on the raw food diet? On the raw food diet, you should eat foods in their uncooked state. Raw foodists avoid cooking, freezing, and anything involving chemical preservatives. Most raw foodists will use kitchen appliances such as a juicer that do not change the chemical makeup of the food. Some raw foodists will not do anything more than cut their foods, believing they should eat food in its most natural state. You need to decide for yourself where on the spectrum you are. Some examples of foods you might eat include: wheat grass,fruits, vegetables, nuts, sprouts, seeds, aloe vera, and different types of seaweed. These foods contain a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, and with care, it is possible to get all of the essential amino acids (amino acids are what make up proteins). It may be necessary to take a nutritional supplement (aloe vera) in order to be sure to get all the essential nutrients. You need to make sure you get at least 2000 calories a day from your food and drinks, just for basic energy needs. If you eat less than 900 calories in a day, your body will go into starvation mode, which is not an efficient way to lose weight. Your body will want to hold onto its energy stores, as well as protect your brain (which is mostly made up of fat), by breaking down muscle tissues instead of fat tissues. These numbers vary from person to person depending on weight, but it is important to aim for about 2000 calories per day. What people drink on a raw food diet: On a raw food diet, drinks should also be raw. Raw foodists will drink purified water, freshly made juices straight from the juicer, aloe vera and coconut milk. Coconut milk comes from young coconuts, which you can often buy during the right season at a produce stand. Soda, juice, and other drinks purchased in stores have often been processed in some way, and thus are not raw. Juice made from the juicer can be made from a variety of fruits or vegetables, such as apples, carrots, lemons,wheatgrass and mangos. You can experiment with your own combination, or pick up a book on juicing. Be sure to clean the juicer very well in between, or it will quickly become an unpleasant mess. Tea leaves from stores have often been dried at high temperatures, and so are not considered raw. Tea leaves can be made at home by growing your own herbs and laying them in the sun to dry. The tea made with these leaves is often called Sun Tea. Do not immediately follow this by putting your new tea leaves in boiling water, as that would not be considered raw by some. Use warm water that is below 100 degrees, and you should be fine.
The greatest value of the raw food diet is its transformative value. To a great extent, when you take up the raw food diet, you become a different and better person – you don’t just stay the old person, only a little healthier – you become, to a great extent, a new being with new interests, a new philosophy and outlook on life, new goals and desires. You become more of your essence, your true and natural self. You become a person who is more a part of the Life of Nature and less of the confused human world. You become less “of the world” and more “of the Earth”. ~Joe Alexander
Mint leaves can make nice teas if you are thinking about growing your own, or experiment with different herbs. Some honey can be an easy addition if you like your drinks to be sweet, or add a lemon for extra flavour.
How to start on the raw food diet When starting a raw food diet, people should begin gradually, with one meal a day, and slowly building up to about 70-90% raw. Start by having a typical Summer 2014 WELLNESS NEWS
dinner such as a salad with a cooked vegetable side dish such as potatoes or yams, and gradually decrease the amount of times per week you allow yourself cooked vegetables or baked grains (or cooked meats, if you eat meat). Be sure your diet is simple for you to do, as an extremely complicated plan is not likely to be followed for very long. Something you should look out for is that going on a raw food diet can be compared to a detoxification effect, and as your body adjust to this new diet and the new things happening in your digestion and the change in available nutrients and fats, there may be some side effects. You may experience slight headaches, sensations of nausea, and/or depression in a mild form. You should consult a doctor or nutritionist if these symptoms or other side effects continue. If these effects start, you may wish to slow down you change to the raw food diet, to allow your body more time to adjust.
Raw food is the ultimate fast food. Many of us say that we don’t have the time or money to eat better or it simply too incovenient. Nothing could be easier than taking a piece of fresh fruit from the fridge. Even the fussiest of children will eat healthy raw foods if unhealthy processed options are not constantly put before them.
To start a raw food diet, an important first step is meal planning. You will need to carefully plan your meals to include foods which will cover all your dietary needs. Remember that if you plan all your meals carefully to meet your body’s needs, you should not have to be concerned about cravings. Our bodies naturally crave salt and/or sugars, because they cannot make them themselves. But a variety of foods can provide your body with everything it needs. If you cannot get enough of a variety, you may want to consider a supplement like aloe vera gel. After all, the whole point of going on any diet is to improve your health, not to cause a nutritional deficiency or a health risk. You will need to have a few basic things in your kitchen (it’s no longer the oven, the stove, and the microwave), such as: a juicer (also called a juice extractor) a blender, sharp knives (or just a sharp knife. A butcher’s steel is also useful) large containers for sprouting sprouts (more than one would be handy) dehydrator (some raw foodists will not use these, as the high temperature implies cooking) You may already own these kitchen tools and appliances, otherwise, you may want to invest in them. You might find yourself in need of them as time goes on. A juicer can make it much easier for you to ingest your raw food, especially at the beginning of your diet. A blender will help you to create different recipes and flavours, while a dehydrator will allow you to make simple breads and flavourful treats. While these methods do not allow you to enjoy food in its completely natural state, it does allow you to try out different flavours and textures, which can make the raw food diet easier and faster for a lot of people.
How to prepare food There are many easy recipes available, in books and on the internet, for raw food meals, snacks, and desserts. A raw food diet can be a lot of work; so fortunately, there are many restaurants that cater to raw food enthusiasts which will allow you to take a break. You can combine fruits and vegetables with various sprouted grains in order to have breads, crackers, and desserts, so you will not feel deprived. It can be difficult to be eating differently from everyone around you, so a variety of fun and different foods can make this easier for you. When you begin a raw food diet, it may feel time consuming to spend a lot of time preparing food. It does take a lot of time. One way to make it more efficient is to prepare as much in advance or on the weekend as possible. As you get more used to your diet, it will become more efficient. (Be sure not to juice your juice in advance though – juice fresh from the juicer tastes much better, and many home made juices and smoothies will ferment if left to their own devices). Most raw foods are easy to prepare, although they take time and planning ahead. You simply cut a fruit or vegetable up and eat it. For some sprouts and seeds, you need to soak the seeds in water overnight to eat them in the morning. If you have a juicer, many combinations of fresh fruits and vegetables can be delicious while still being raw. On a raw food diet, you can still make breads and crackers using a dehydrator. You need wheat or rye grains, which you will sprout overnight, and then you can add ingredients to the grains such as peppers, dates, carrot juice, or other flavours. You then put the mixture in the dehydrator and allow your bread or cracker to dehydrate until it
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reaches a texture that you like. Or you can make a fruit crisp without cooking by slicing up apples and using sprouted oats as a topping. To this you could add cinnamon for a bit of a familiar flavour. A raw food diet can be very creative in ways of mixing flavours to provide pleasing tastes and textures. For more recipe ideas, there are many online message boards for raw foodists. You can also make many delicious smoothies by mixing water or juice with berries and fruit for a breakfast or dessert smoothie, or by mixing carrot juice with tomatoes and some green vegetables for a healthy lunch. There are many recipes for this and other foods such as sushi rolls and various dips available online and in books. It can take a lot longer to prepare food when done this way, and you may find at the beginning that most of your time is spent making yourself food, but remember that it is still important to eat a variety of foods, not just what is easiest. For a lunch, making your own bread and packing a salad can be an easy way to take lunch to work, or you can order a simple salad with no dressing at a restaurant.
Organic and raw food
Have you ever wondered what the difference is between regular and organic produce? Organic foods are foods which have been grown and prepared without using chemical pesticides or fungicides, but rather eco-friendly alternatives. Organic foods have been growing in popularity because many shoppers no longer see chemicals as useful “miracle” cures for people’s problems, but rather as ways for people to damage the environment and kill animals and birds as well as the insect pests they target. Organic foods are now in every section of the grocery store, not just fruits and vegetables, but consumers now have organic cookies and cakes available to them, as well as organic dairy products. Organic foods are available in many sections of your local grocery store, as well as in new grocery store chains which are opening, featuring all organic and earth friendly foods. These stores and foods can be more expensive than “regular” fruits and vegetables. This is because it can be harder to grow organic fruit which is still appealing to the consumer, and it can be difficult to protect a large crop against insect pests and animals. Organically grown crops are therefore usually smaller, which brings up prices. However, this can be a worthwhile investment in your family’s health and in the environment. Because of
this, organic foods are rising in popularity, which should allow companies and farms to invest more in producing an even greater variety of organic foods for your enjoyment. One concern many people have with organic food is the inconvenience of finding organic foods, but there are now companies in many larger cities which will deliver boxes of organic food to your doorstep once a week. This can make organic produce even more convenient than regular produce, as well as encouraging you to eat a variety of organic food. Organic foods are a natural choice for raw foodists, as raw foodists often want to avoid unnecessary chemicals in any form, not just chemical preservatives. Thus, organic foods fit well into a raw food lifestyle, allowing raw foodists to be sure that at every step of the way, their food has been free of chemicals and of processing. Not all raw food you eat must be organic, as it can be difficult to find organic options in everything, especially grains. Raw foods are not the same as organic foods, as many people who buy organic foods will eat cooked, frozen, and processed foods – they are simply avoiding chemical pesticides and fungicides. However, it can be advantageous for a raw foodist to eat primarily organic produce. Regardless of whether the produce you buy is organic or not organic, all produce should be carefully washed before being consumed. Organic foods are not the same as raw food, although organic foods often arrive at the store raw and are thus an easy choice for raw foodists.
How to find food for the raw food diet
One difficulty with the raw food diet may be in finding the raw foods so that you can prepare them for yourself. Most food available in grocery stores has been frozen, cooked, or processed in some way. It’s easy to find certain raw foods at your local grocery store. Almost all grocery stores have fresh produce available, as well as bulk or bagged nuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and other foods for you to try. Some areas will have organic grocery stores, where you can be sure that none of your foods have been treated with pesticides. In other areas, it can be harder to find organic produce, and it may be easier to grow it yourself in your own garden. Look around your area for a farmer’s market. Buying food directly from the farmer can give you more confidence in the freshness of the food. You could also consider going to different produce stands, as a way to get more variety and new things to try in your raw food journey. If you live in a city with aa Asian market, for example, many different fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts are available. Raw grains may be harder to find. If you have an alternative food store in your area which caters to raw foods, or a bulk section in your local health food store, you can often find raw grains. If not, you may need to order them from an online store or hunt farther afield.
Summer 2014 WELLNESS NEWS
Raw oats may be relatively easier to find, as they often come in large bags as cereal. One advantage you may find with a raw food diet is in price. While prices for organic foods may be higher, you are still saving money by not buying prepackaged foods or processed foods from the freezer aisles. Any diet which cuts out meat is less expensive already than a regular diet. With the growing popularity of raw food, veganism, and vegetarianism, there is a greater variety of food for you to try, even while on a restrictive diet. Another option for a raw foodist to easily obtain raw food is to grow their own food. Sunflowers, tomatoes, carrots and strawberries can easily be grown with a minimum of work. Also, many herbs can be grown, and many flowers are actually edible. Edible flowers can be researched in many books and on the internet. A word of warning about plants and seeds. Many raw foodists eat seeds and other parts of plants. Be careful while doing this, as it can be dangerous to become experimental about what you eat. Some parts of plants (even plants that are edible) are poisonous and will make you sick. For example, while tomatoes are edible, other parts of the tomato plant may make people sick. Only eat the parts of plants that you know to be edible.
Using a backyard garden Many raw foodists also believe in organic foods, as organic foods are better for the environment and can be better for you. Avoid pesticides and other chemicals harmful to yourself and to animals by buying organic fruits and nuts, and you could try growing your own food in a backyard garden. If you don’t have a backyard, you can try container gardening for some smaller plants, such as herbs for tea. In choosing what to plant, you first have to consider what will grow in your area. Also, and this should be fairly obvious, plant things you will want to eat and be able to eat raw. Many people plant things because they are easy to grow – zucchini comes to mind here – and then end up with so much that they cannot give it all away. Nice things to grow might include carrots, a zucchini plant, a few tomato plants, and some berry bushes. Strawberries are easy to grow in a pot and can be fun for kids. And there is nothing nicer than walking outside and snapping a few peapods of your pea vines and eating them right of the vine. Plant in early spring, after you are sure the final frost has finished. Before planting, prepare the soil with a layer of compost or manure. Let it sit for a few days before beginning
Concerns about the Raw Food Diet An important part of any diet is variety. Humans need a lot of different foods in their diet in order to provide all the essential nutrients we require. Many doctors and nutritionists have criticized raw food diet as being too restrictive. While a raw diet is high in many nutrients, as well as fibre, and tends to be low in fat, it can be difficult to eat the required amounts of other nutrients. A raw food diet can require a lot of work and research in order for the raw foodist to ensure that they are receiving all the recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals, and not all people are able to do this research. While in the short term, this can be harmless, a diet missing important nutrients can be harmful to health. In a raw food diet, careful attention should be paid to getting enough protein and the right variety of protein, as well as certain vitamins that people normally intake in meat and dairy products. Because vegetables do not have the complete spectrum of the 13 essential amino acids, care should be taken to be certain all essential amino acids (proteins) are included in the diet. Many raw food advocates say that are body will produce the missing amino acids from the proteins that we do have, and while our bodies can produce some amino acids, the reason certain amino acids are called essential is because these are the amino acids that cannot be produced by people. A nutritionist can be consulted and will inform you of what foods to eat to make sure you have all 13 amino acids in sufficient quantities. Another concern is vitamin B12, so you should ask about that, too. Raw Foodists can be very focused
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on the health benefits of enzymes from raw foods, without realising that each enzyme has a specific task and a specific reaction that it catalyses, so just having more active enzymes will not actually help. It is also necessary for raw foodists to remember that our digestive system will break down any enzyme into its component parts, and thus active enzymes are not always necessary. Nutritionists’ opinions: Nutritionists and dieticians have pointed out many benefits and drawbacks to a raw food diet. The raw food diet can help reduce the risk of heart disease and some types of cancer, because it is high in nutrients while having very low levels of saturated fats. The raw diet is also fibre rich, low in salt and high in potassium. There are some drawbacks pointed out by nutrition scientists: a raw diet is very limited in variety and does not include meat, potatoes, and cooked grains. This can lead to mineral and other nutritional deficiencies by limiting the amount of nutrients a raw foodist will intake. Research also disagrees with one of raw foodist’s basic ideas, that fruit and vegetables should be eaten raw because cooking destroys nutrients. It has actually been shown that some nutrients are more easily digested into the body after the fruit or vegetable has been cooked. Benefits that the raw food diet shows can also be found in other diets, as many diets are commonly low in trans fats, high in fibre, and heavily encourage fruit and vegetable consumption. Other diets, however, allow meat, potatoes, and cooked grains, which are considered by many to be an essential part of a diet. F
your garden. Each package of seeds will have instructions as to when and where to plant the seeds. After the planting, water the soil with a generous amount of water. Be careful to leave tags to show where you have planted your rows, so that when the plants begin sprouting, you do not mistake them for weeds. To keep pests away in an organic fashion, spray the leaves of your plants with soap and water if you see aphids( Aloe Vera soap is very good for this purpose). Some insects are your friends, though – ladybugs will eat aphids, for example. If you are container gardening, either because you don’t have a backyard or you just want more garden space, make sure your container has proper drainage. If water stays in the soil, the roots can rot. If your container does not have proper drainage, try putting a layer of pebbles at the bottom, where water can sit. This way the water drains out of the soil, and can later be reabsorbed by the soil if needed, but your plants’ roots are not sitting in wet dirt all the time. Be careful not to over water. In your container, plant plants that do not need a lot of space. Small herbs are often good choices, as they can then be easily tended. Tomato plants or cherry tomato plants will work well in an outdoor container, with some sort of stick, wall, or other support for when they grow taller. You would be surprised at the number of things you can grow in your own backyard: an Aloe Vera plants grows very well in pots and is very useful for that odd burn, but also will look nice in your garden.
Why you should try it...
A raw food diet may seem like a lot of work for benefits that can be obtained with other diets, but there are many reasons why raw foodists eat raw foods. Believers in the raw or living food diets follow their diet because they believe it causes: • improved health – lower risk of heart disease, probably due to the raw food diet’s lack of trans fats • weight loss – in some people, weight loss has been dramatic • improved digestion – in any diet with a high fibre content, you should see improved digestion • improvements in appearance of skin – this is different in everybody, but a diet low in fats and oils may produce better skin appearance • increases in energy levels – again, this is different in different individuals, many individuals will feel increased energy levels when pursuing any health benefit It is also believed that cooking, freezing or processing foods destroys vitamins and minerals and causes food to become harder to digest. Some have said that partially digested fats, proteins, and carbohydrates clog up the digestive system and arteries, and while this may cause images of partially digested food stuck in various vessels of our bodies, it is important to remember that while cholesterol can build up in our bodies and end up stored in our arteries if too much HDL is present, it is also essential for our nervous system.
Raw Foodists focus their diet on raw fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, sea vegetables, berries, herbs, sprouts, flowers and wild greens. Food can be eaten as it is naturally grown, or used in recipes to create anything from a simple salad to a beautiful lasagne or crackers and cheese. Common tools people use are knives and cutting boards, juicers, food processors, blenders and dehydrators. Often preparing raw food takes less time than conventional. Like any new skill it takes time to learn, but once you do you reap so many benefits. Increased levels of energy are just the beginning. A peacefulness from living in harmony with nature follows as you realise that you are doing the best for yourself that you possibly can.
Some fat is necessary, and it is possible to get that fat in a variety of ways. Undigested proteins and carbohydrates simply pass through our body. If they are digested and unused, they convert to stored energy as fat tissues. However, raw foods may be an advantage, especially in weight loss, because it is rare for a raw foodist to eat more calories than they can use, and so there are no extra Summer 2014 WELLNESS NEWS
proteins and carbohydrates going into the body to be converted into fat rather than to be used as proteins. Raw foodists also believe that raw foods contain enzymes which act as catalysts to the digestion of food, and processing the food by cooking or freezing the food destroys the enzymes. Raw food contains bacteria which also aids the digestive system, while stimulating the nervous system. Raw food is thought to be less toxic and more easily digested. It is also believed that raw food contains more vitamins and minerals than cooked, frozen, or canned foods. Raw food living is also better for the environment, as no animal products are consumed and less electricity is used if you donâ€™t cook or freeze your food. Many raw foodists also eat primarily organic foods, which use no pesticides and are therefore better for the environment.
Where do you get protein from? People need a balanced diet, and one of the major things that people need is protein. While there are some types of amino acids we produce ourselves, there are a number of amino acids that we cannot produce in our bodies. These are the 13 essential amino acids. A healthy diet needs to include about 25-35 grams of protein daily, depending on your weight. Many people, including many raw foodists, believe that our bodies will simply produce all the amino acids that our body needs, so long as we get enough protein. Raw food advocates often say that our body has a â€œpoolâ€? of amino acids that it can pull amino acids from, so long as we take in enough protein in our diet. The actual important point is to ingest the variety of amino acids needed. A plant may contain some amino acids, and may contain the required amount of protein that is needed, but it will not contain the whole set.
It is important to eat a variety of vegetables and legumes in order to guarantee that you are getting all the required amino acids. If you go on a raw food diet, you may need to consult a nutritionist who knows about raw food diets to ensure you are getting what you need. A nutritionist can tell you what foods to add to your diet in order to fill any gaps in proteins or other nutrients, and might suggest a dietary supplement. A protein deficiency or other nutritional deficiency can take time to have any effects, but by the time the effects show, you may have already caused a great deal of harm to your body. It is better to check first. An example of how this might work is that certain plants, such as corn, contain many of the essential amino acids, but not all of them. The holes left by corn could be filled by certain types of beans or peas, which also contain many different amino acids, including the ones that corn is missing. This can allow you to take advantage of the overlap in amino acids provided. On the raw food diet, it can be difficult to eat corn, but corn can be dried. (Maybe even dried, ground up in the food processor, and added to a smoothie). Some raw foodists eat raw meat and dairy products, such as unpasteurized milk, and thus will have less concern about proteins and vitamin B12. This can be risky with the growing concerns about salmonella and ecoli, not to mention staph infections and other bacteria that can be picked up. These bacteria are normally killed in either the cooking or the freezing process. Some restaurants serve raw fish, but these chefs have been specially trained, and the raw fish will have been frozen at some point in time. F
From: www.aloeveraexpress.com. Information in this article is intended for informational purposes only. Before modifying your diet seek the advice of a health professional.
Yummy Healthy Raw Snacks! Snack correctly to maintain energy, health and feel great all day Almonds. These are awesome for brainpower. Avocados. These are filling, but save you from bloating up after a big lunch and are delicious either on their own, with sea salt on top, or with your salad. And there are so many varieties to choose from that they are in season year round. Carrots. Snacking on one cup of chopped carrots per day will give you six times your recommended daily value of Vitamin A. They improve your eyesight too, and are also known cancer fighters. Figs. These help you to maintain high energy levels while keeping your appetite away. Whether you find fresh figs or a pack of dried fruit, you will enjoy its natural sweetness. Flax seeds. If you've been working hard all day, have some flax seeds. They are great for your eyes to stop them feeling a little dried out, and allowing you to feel fresh even after a hard day. Grind them up and sprinkle on foods.
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Ginger. Great for beating nausea and stomach gas. Have it as ginger tea, ginger in your stomach or as low fat ginger cookies. Also helps ease stomach muscles. Goji Berries. Truly raw, organic, sun-dried Goji Berries are high in antioxidants, a full spectrum of amino acids and one of the highest sources of vitamin c known on the planet. Green tea. Full of antioxidants and strengthens your immune system. A widely recognised cancer fighter. Olives. These are anti-inflammatory and they reduce symptoms to arthritis, asthma and menopause. Papaya. The colourful fruit helps protect you against the potential damages of second-hand smoke, rheumatoid arthritis, and even the common cold. Pears. They taste good, they're cool in the mouth and they are hypo-allergenic. Peppermint. If you have a stomach bug or just need to perk up a bit, have a peppermint drink. It's a great muscle relaxant and helps you clean up your nasal passages and breathe easily. Raisins. These are a great source of energy. Grab a pack of raisins. They are high in energy and antioxidants, and low in fat and calories. Raspberries. These beautiful fruits are a great source of antioxidants which are great to neutralise free radicals which can affect your cells. Strawberries. As with carrots and flax seeds, strawberries surprisingly aid in better eye sight. Eating strawberries has also been linked to preventing cancer. Sunflower seeds. A popular way to beat fatigue. Chew properly as it can take some time. Walnuts. These are full of omega 3 fatty acids that will help you to think more clearly and keep you focused. Excellent source of protein, but be sure to chew them well. Watermelon. There is nothing like cool, red sweet watermelon that gives you great energy and nutrients without any calories. It's a great energy booster and is so refreshing. Water. Nothing beats clean water, the healthiest drink on the planet. It speeds up your metabolism, flushes out any nasties and keeps you hydrated. Drink it all day every day as your main source of fluid intake.
Raw Christmas Fruitcake A sweet, dense, fruit and nut based cake spiced with citrus, ginger, and almond extract. It’s best frosted with a thick layer of coconut whipped cream and garnished with pecans and dried cherries. Make individual mini cakes, or a large cake and slice into pieces. Cake Dough 1 cup almonds 1 cup shredded coconut 1/2 cup cashews 3/4 cup packed dates 1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 orange, juiced 1 tablespoon lemon zest 1 tablespoon orange zest 2 teaspoon almond extract 1 “ ginger, minced 2 tablespoons maple syrup
Grind the almonds, coconut, and cashews in a food processor. Set aside. Blend all the remaining ingredients in the food processor until blended. Add the dry mixture back in and process to combine into a dough. Fold in the fruit and nuts (below). Press the dough in a cake mold of your choice. I like to use a spring form pan with a cup in the middle to make a bunt looking cake. Or use 4” spring form pans and make a hole in the center. Chill. Fruit and Nuts I like to use a combination of dried cherries, raisins, mulberries, goji berries, and pineapple. Chop any bigger fruits like pineapple or mango, and use unsulfured fruit whenever you can. The original recipe included making candied nuts in the dehydrator but after making it a few times, I discovered that it’s just as tasty to add plain nuts and cuts down on time. 3/4 cup dried fruit 1/4-1/2 cup fresh fruit juice 2/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans Toss the fruit and juice together and marinate for hour or longer. Whipped Cream Topping 1 cup full fat coconut milk 3/4 cup cashews 3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice 1 teaspoon vanilla 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
Blend all but the coconut oil until smooth and a high speed blender (important for the cashews to be completely broken down for proper thickening). Add the oil and blend to incorporate. Pour into a large shallow pan and chill in the fridge for 12 hours (if you want to speed up the firming, freeze for 1 hour and then put back into the fridge).
From: www.sweetlyraw.com Summer 2014 WELLNESS NEWS
The 7 healthiest foods on the planet
By Dr. Paul Haider
If you could only have one healthy food what would it be? There are many great healing foods around…here are our top seven!
Kale Kale is full of lots of nutrients found in green leafy veggies that will alkalize your body… and it’s full of Vitamins, A (more than 500% of your RDA of Vitamin A), C (More than 200%), and B6 and K (About 700%) and also calcium, manganese, and potassium. Kale also contains iron for building up your red blood cells and preventing anemia and boosting your vitality. Plus it has lots of lutein and zeaxanthin that are great for preventing macular degeneration. And Kale boosts your immune system, promotes healthy blood clot formation, and Kale is also loaded with beta-carotene helping to prevent cancer and other diseases… and it’s also anti-inflammatory too! And Kale is part of the cabbage family… which contain colon cancer preventing nutrients, plus Kale Juice boosts your metabolism and helps you lose weight.
Broccolini Broccolini is full of lots of Vitamins C and A (one serving provides 1/2 your daily needs) and these two great vitamins are important antioxidants that help rid the body of free radicals thus slowing the aging process. Plus live B vitamins from live foods are important for metabolism, mood enhancement, and for preventing birth defects.
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disease and also gives you the nutrition you need during stressful situations. And studies show that Spirulina may even prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Broccolini also contains Vitamin K… that keeps your blood moving freely preventing platelets from sticking together and forming clots that create strokes and heart attacks. It also contains lots of lutein and zeaxanthin which is important for eye health and for preventing macular degeneration.
Spirulina improves concentration, memory, and even helps you focus so you can get your work done more effectively. Some people call it a superfood because it also helps with brain development, helps with anxiety and depression, and improves sleep.
Broccoli is a good anti-inflammatory agents and helps in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, strokes, arthritis, and cancer.
And studies show that Spirulina can lower blood pressure and cholesterol, lower blood glucose and help with insulin resistance, also help with anemia, fight off cancer, and even help those suffering from fibromyalgia, asthma, bronchitis, allergies, and even headaches.
Spirulina might be a very cost effective way to feed the masses of hungry people on this planet.
Spirulina is wonderful for helping the liver to detoxify and regenerate, plus heal chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis of the liver.
Lots of people love nuts and Almonds are one of the best. Almonds help lower cholesterol especially LDL or bad cholesterol and thus help to reduce heart attacks and strokes. They also help to prevent atherosclerosis and alkalize the body thus helping to prevent debilitating disease from taking over your life. At the same time almonds are good brain food, helping you to keep mentally on top of your game. And Almonds are good for the nervous system in general and they also help lower blood glucose levels… and thus help with diabetes. And Almonds contain phosphorus for strong bones, and a 1/2 cup Almonds contains more protein than 2 eggs, thus they’re great for building strong muscles. And Almonds are good source of manganese creating enzymes and helping with free radicals, Vitamin E for cardiovascular health, magnesium for preventing diabetes and osteoporosis, tryptophan for a good nights rest, copper for anemia, and B Vitamins for more energy and vitality.
Spirulina Spirulina like Chlorella boosts up your immune system and keeps all of your various systems working. Studies show that Spirulina helps your body produce special NK cells to repair areas damaged by free radicals. Plus it stimulates the body to produce stem cells thus helping the body to regenerate, recover, and fight off flus and colds. Spirulina is important for stress, helping to prevent stress related
Lentils and Brown Rice One third of the calories in Lentils comes from protein, protein that does the body good creating lean muscle mass and at the same time helping with hormone production. In fact as far as legumes nuts go only hemp and soybeans have more protein than Lentils. Plus Lentils have lots of fibre that help to stabilize blood sugar levels… and because Lentils contain iron they help with anemia and boost metabolism and energy levels. Lentils are also a low glycemic index food helping to slowly releases energy into the body and stabilize blood sugar. Because they contain fibre they give long lasting energy that sustain you all day long. In studies those who consume fibre from lentils and other legumes can lower their bad cholesterol by over 12 percent.
Summer 2014 WELLNESS NEWS
FOOD & NUTRITION
This great tasting veggie has lots of important trace minerals such as calcium for strong bones and muscles, potassium for cardiovascular health and water regulation, zinc for preventing colds and flues, selenium for enzyme reactions and for relaxing, magnesium for lowering blood sugar, and iron and copper for preventing anemia.
Sweet Potatoes Sweet Potatoes are full of B-6 Vitamins which is great for helping reduce inflammation and which also helps reduce arthritis, cardiovascular problems, and also strokes. Sweet Potatoes are also filled with a good amount of iron that helps your blood transport more oxygen and powers up your muscles, boosts your immune system, and also helps with stress. And most people don’t get enough magnesium which helps you feel relaxed and is important in the integrity of your blood vessels, heart, nerves, and your bones. One cup of Lentils contains 230 calories so they are good weight loss food. And because Lentils contain lots of fibre (both soluble and insoluble fibre, 1/4 being soluble) they also help with IBS and diverticulosis. The soluble fibre becomes a gel that combines with cholesterol and also helps with colon health. Lentils lower cholesterol and lower your risk of heart disease and strokes, and like oats they also keep vessels clean of all those heart clogging fats. In fact the George Mateljan Foundation, –a non profit organisation that promotes healthy foods rates Lentils as one of the healthiest foods in the world. If you add brown rice to Lentils you have a complete food with every protein you need.
Chlorella Chlorella contains zinc, copper, selenium, manganese, iron, calcium and even B, C, E and K Vitamins, and 8 essential proteins and 10 non essential proteins you will not get many other places. That’s why they call Chlorella green super food, and that’s why you see so many nutrient pack drinks on the market containing Chlorella. Almost 100% of the nutrients in Chlorella can be absorbed into your body… compared to around 20% with vitamin and mineral supplements… thus you get more nutrients helping your body. Chlorella has more than 60 vitamins, lots of protein (up to 75% protein, one of the highest protein foods around… much more than beef or even fish. Protein is important for healthy muscles, skin, hair, and nails), great enzymes, and minerals that are essential for health. Be sure to use broken cell Chlorella so it can be digested.
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And potassium is great for anyone with electrolyte problems and irregular heart beats–you will find a lot of potassium in Sweet Potatoes. And you can get Vitamin D from Sweet Potatoes which is great for enhancing your mood and giving you a boost of energy, and building a strong and vital organ system. Sweet Potatoes are full of beta carotene which is a great antioxidant that helps with those nasty free radicals… and what I like most about Sweet Potatoes is that they break down into glucose much slower than other starches thus making them great for diabetics. Bake them, mash them, grill them, make long strings out of them with a peeler and make Sweet Potato pasta–it’s great! F
From: Om Times magazine, Sept 2013. omtimes.com. Dr. Paul Haider is a Master Herbalist and Spiritual Teacher for over 20 years, helping people to recover and feel healthy. You can also find Dr. Haider on facebook under Dr. Paul Haider and at www.paulhaider.com.
Chocolate Pecan Torte
Your Raw, Vegan Christmas Treat! Yes, this is ultra-decadent, but at least here you get all of the raw phytonutrients, vibrant antioxidants, and natural vitamins. Chocolate Pecan Base 1 cup pecans 1 cup walnuts 12 pitted dates ¼ tsp sea salt ¼ cup raw cacao powder ¼ cup coconut oil 2 tbsp coconut nectar Chocolate Torte 2 Cups soaked cashews (overnight) 1 cup raw cacao powder (pre-mix with 1 tsp water) 1 cup coconut nectar ½ cup melted cacao butter ¼ tsp salt 1 tbsp vanilla powder Topping (optional) 1-2 tbsp raw nut butter 1 tbsp shredded coconut 1. In food processor, chop pecans and walnuts until fine. Add remaining ingredients and process until dough-like. Press into pan and place in freezer. 2. Process all torte ingredients until smooth. Smooth over base layer and freeze for about 1 hour. 3. Once firm, remove cake, cover with nut butter, and sprinkle with coconut. Freeze for an additional 30 minutes. Slice, serve, and enjoy!
Summer detox smoothie Summer is the perfect time to eat fresh, nutrient rich raw greens. Smoothie and juices are a great way of incorporating a tremendous amounts of greens into your diet. Just one serving of this smoothie contains over 3 cups of dark leafy green vegetables, which is more than what most people get in a week. With more valuable nutrients than any other food group on the planet, greens are not only cleansing and detoxifying, but with their high-quality, easyassimilated amino acids, they also build the protein needed to support our health and muscle tone. 11/2-2 cups (360-480 ml) water 340 g organic Cos lettuce, rough chopped, about 1 head 1/2 head large bunch or 3/4 small bunch organic spinach 3-4 organic celery stalks, halved 1 organic apple, cored, seeded, quartered 1 organic pear, cored, seeded, quartered 1 organic banana, peeled 1/2 fresh organic lemon, peeled, seeded 1/3 bunch organic coriander with stems (optional) 1/3 bunch organic parsley with stems (optional) Place water, romaine, spinach, celery, and optional ingredients, if using, into the blender in the order listed. Blend for 30 seconds or until smooth. Add apple, pear, banana and lemon in the order listed and secure lid. Slowly increase speed to High. Blend for 30 seconds or until desired consistency is reached. Strain through a nut bag to remove pulp if required.
This smoothie is a variation of Kimberley Snyder’s Glowing Green Smoothie
From: project-raw.tumblr.com. See video: vimeo.com/72505930
Summer 2014 WELLNESS NEWS
The Healing Benefits of Turmeric
Turmeric and Lime Juice If you have been to Bali you may have seen ‘jamu’ featured on the menus at wellness resorts and healing centres. You may even have been brave enough to try one of the thick, garish yellow coloured turmeric drinks sweetened with copious amounts of cane sugar syrup! Jamu is Balinese herbal medicine and has been popularised through the burgeoning wellness and health tourism industry in Bali. While a local Balinese may pay their local traditional healer a few hundred rupiah for a consult and herbs, many tourists are willing to pay hundreds of dollars (1 million rupiah+) at spas, wellness centres and ‘traditional’ healers for token sessions making you feel good in the moment. As with all systems of traditional medicine consistency, routine and a balanced approach to life are the key to sustaining the effectiveness of treatment. Turmeric is one of the star ingredients of jamu. I was surprised that in Bali more than 5 different varieties of turmeric grow on the island, each of them with quite different and specific medicinal effects including powerful antiinflammatory properties and the treatment of early stages of various cancers.
The healing benefits of turmeric If you’re looking for a simple and delicious way to enhance your mind-body health, the beautiful yellow spice known as turmeric is a pharmacy unto itself. A wealth of scientific studies has demonstrated the health benefits of turmeric on the digestive,cardiovascular, rheumatic, and immune systems. As recent research shows: • Turmeric has a protective effect on the liver and can help reduce elevated blood cholesterol levels. • In the treatment of arthritis, turmeric, when used alone or in combination with other herbs, can reduce pain and stiffness. • Several studies in animals have demonstrated that turmeric can prevent or inhibit the development of certain cancer cells. • Turmeric has a soothing effect on the digestive system and can help reduce the risk of ulcers due to stress or medication. • As a natural antibiotic agent, turmeric can inhibit the growth of bacteria, yeast, and viruses.
Many studies have been done on curcumin, the active chemical compound in turmeric, which has been shown to be effective in inhibiting the spread of cancer and even altering the regulation of DNA and killing cancer cells. While you are able to buy turmeric supplements in capsule or tablet form, you need to take a fair few of them at reasonable expense to attain the desired effect. It is far more effective to include healing foods such as turmeric as part of a balanced diet. You can simply add turmeric to food, either grated or powdered. Turmeric is not the most palatable of flavours though and is usually blended with other spices in Indian and Asian dishes giving them a fresh, vibrant colour. We bought a punnet of organic turmeric on the weekend and I thought I’d try to make my own ‘jamu’ or turmeric juice. The first attempt was a little strong, but the second was perfect with lime, mint and honey balancing the strong taste of the turmeric. It’s easy to make, ridiculously healthy and exceptionally refreshing on a hot summer’s day…
Turmeric and Lime Juice
1 small turmeric root finely choopped 1 small piece of ginger root (1/cm radius is plenty) 1 lime 2 large mint leaves Honey to taste Filtered water Handful of ice Blend on high until it’s light and fluffy looking. Strain through a nut milk bag. Add more ice. Garnish with slice of lime and sprig of mint. * To enhance the medicinal properties of this drink you could add a tiny bit of ghee as the medicinal compounds in turmeric are fat soluble.
All recipes and photos by Mandy BeckerKnox, Wellness News Editor and CEO of Cancer Support WA. For more recipes , please see her blog: mandybk.tumblr.com
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Vegan Family Lunch
Quinoa, Sage and Mint Pilaf
1 cup of quinoa (blend white, red and black grains to add visual interest) Onion Coriander (powder) Cumin (powder) Paprika (powder) Dried sage Half lemon Vegetable Stock Pine Nuts Fresh Mint Saute onion gently in olive oil. Add stock to keep bottom of pan moist. Add quinoa and roast grains slightly. Add 4 cups of boiling water. Stir through. Add 3 tablespoon powdered coriander. Add smaller amount of paprika, cumin. Add half lemon (whole). Rub sage between your fingers to release the fragrant oils and add to pan. Simmer for approx 20 minutes until grains sprout and soften. Add more stock as liquid evaporates. With stove off, steam for 10 minutes. Dry roast Pine Nuts in pan. Stir through freshly chopped mint before serving Can be served hot as a main or serve cold as a salad (you can add tomatoes, cucumber and spinach leaves)
Green Salad with Orange Lettuce Rocket Endive Baby spinach fresh coriander leaves Whatever other greens you fancy! Orange Chardonnay white wine vinegar Nasturtiam flowers Combine washed greens. Add grated orange rind (about a tablespoon) Cut orange flesh into cubes and add to salad. Add nasturtiam petals. Toss through vinegar.
eighty20 For more recipes and well being articles go to Mandy’s blog at mandybk. tumblr.com
Green Salad with Orange
Roast Potato Salad Ingredients 8 thoroughly washed potatoes 2 sweet potato Coriander powder Olive Oil Red capsicum Pitted black olives Basil Chives Soy Mayonnaise (dilute slightly with water) Method Roughly chop potatoes – leave the skin on. Roughly chop peeled sweet potato. Toss lightly in olive oil and coriander. Place potato in baking dish in warm oven (don’t cook any plant foods at very high temperatures as it will destroy the natural enzymes and goodness of the food). Once half-cooked toss through sweet potato (these don’t take as long as potato and will go mushy if overcooked). Once roasted, allow to cool. Toss through red capsicum, olives, basil, chives. Coat lightly with soy mayonnaise.
Summer 2014 WELLNESS NEWS
L-R Quinoa Pilaf, Potato Salad, Green Salad
It’s always hard to cater for a family lunch when everyone has such different likes, dislikes and requirements – but by taking a creative approach it is possible to come up with something that will please everyone. My approach is to have a few vegan dishes which can be mains for the vegetarians and sides for the meat eaters. If am preparing meat for guests, I keep it simple and outside – strictly on the bbq and also as healthy as possible – for example these vegan dishes complement fresh salmon wrapped in foil with fennel and lime wrapped in tinfoil and cooked on the barbie!
By Bronwyn Petry She makes tea and writes for a while, then when her dog comes to find her, she puts on her layers, leashes up and they head outside. Beyond the front door, the air is dandelion puffs from her mouth and the trees are shedding leaves like paper fire. They walk together, the girl and her dog, down streets where their footsteps echo and then, on grass that is licked with frost. The air is still, cold glass. Sometimes, the dog comes up and buries her head in the girl’s side: this makes the girl smile. When they head back to the house, the sun is as strong as it will ever be. The girl dresses quickly and then ties her scarf tightly around her neck and she gets on her bike. There are eight hours in an office. The girl answers the phone and types out emails and talks with people she runs into. Eventually, she packs up and bikes home. Her dog comes to the front door and they go outside. This time it is dark and the dog is like two kinds of shadows woven together. The girl is not scared about losing her; the dog never lets her out of her sight. They walk for a while and then turn back. There is more tea, more words and then a bed with soft blankets and purring cats. And she sleeps until the next day when it starts again. Sometimes she wonders where it is all going. At the beginning of the week, she thinks it is a long time before the next weekend, then all of a sudden it is Wednesday and then it is Friday and five minutes ago she was in high school. There are friends and there is yoga, a family dinner – a week passes, then one more and this is a life, she thinks. This is her life. There is the novel that she still wants to write: she scribbles down ideas and character notes, but she can’t seem to sit still long enough. There is the wandering she would do, except that wandering costs more money than she has. But she has postcards and dreams and she is happy. She wonders about things like the end of her life and whether she will be lucky enough to look back on what she was lucky enough to live. She hopes that she thinks there was someone who laughed a lot, who cried a lot, who loved a lot. There was someone who travelled and told bawdy jokes. She hopes she gets to do everything she wants to. She is quieter now. She is far away from previous versions of herself: the daredevil, the party girl, the bookworm. She thinks about how serious she
Cancer Support WA www.cancersupportwa.org.au
If she could, she would go back and say: stay soft. Your life won’t go the way you expect it to. You will know what loss is, you will see the versions of your life separate like an earthquake. You will mourn like a tornado and you will learn that if you don’t bend you will break. Things will happen that you never thought possible and you will survive them only because you let yourself fall. She wonders whether, if she had started soft, it would have turned out differently. She lost her mother and she did not handle that well; she did everything she could think of to get away. She drank and she partied; she took some money and went south, coming back sun-kissed and lonely. She lost herself in men and the words that came out of her twisted like winter branches. All of that running away eventually made her too exhausted to move. Doctors tried to help, but she could never quite explain what was happening: how the sadness was corroding her. Things change. Over time, and with a lot of luck and determination, she surprises herself by stumbling into healthy: healthy love, healthy home, healthy body. She re-learns things like love and comes home to be closer to family, whatever that may be. Her days are softer now, infused with gold light. She can feel every year before this one inside her body, it cracks open wider to contain everything. She thinks: yes, this life is not what was planned. There are people missing and people who were unexpected; she is living proof of a checkered path leading into a sunny field. A life doesn’t promise anything except possibility and she is grateful that she survived to see it through this far. She wakes up before the sun and makes tea and sits in her chair and writes. Then her dog gets up and then they go outside together, to explore the world before anyone gets up. They see how it changes leaf by leaf, week to week. This is how she makes sense of everything; this is how she breathes. This is how she builds moments: quietly. This is how she lives. F From: Elephant Journal, November 2013. Bronwyn Petry is a writer and yoga student who likes to run. Her work has previously appeared in journals and anthologies. She lives in Toronto with her partner and pets.
Lotterywest Brady Cancer Support Foundation Town of Cottesloe NorthSide Nissan Iprint Plus Panther Graphics Brookfield Central Park City of Perth Robbie Merritt Perth Heat Pro Football Training Razzed Communications Danza Loca Prestige Catering Venues West Managing Movement Carolina Obara Yoga Modified Strongman Prima Villas, Bali Solomons Café Janet Craig Photograghy Agile Hypnosis Stan Perron Charitable Foundation Christmas Island Charities Association The following businesses have contributed towards this edition of Wellness News Bellcrest investments Collins Booksellers Corp Tax Solutions Bathroom International Mr Stephen Algie
Summer 2014 WELLNESS NEWS
used to be about staying tough; she was all combat pants, whisky and cigarettes.
A week to give up your 4 unhealthiest habits, replace them with 4 super-healthy habits and raise money for Cancer Support WA.
Healthy Habits Week was launched at Scarborough Beach by the Hon. Liza Harvey MLA and the Perth Heat with our Fundraising Manager Adam Bennett.
Cancer Support WA hosted many events leading up to and during our inaugural Healthy Habits Week including school and workplace programs, zumba, yoga and massage at Central Park, Healthy Habits Week activities at Scarborough Beach, a baseball game at Barbagallo Stadium and more. What a fantastic week!
Events Manager Katie Payne promoting Cancer Support WA at the Perth Heat baseball game.
Healthy Habits Week Ambassador Carolina Obara leading a free yoga session at Scarborough Beach.
Adam Bennett with Gary Shannon, our MC for the night.
Our ambassador Joey Wong from the Perth Heat
Matt Donelly conducting a live auction at the Perth Heat Baseball Game. The team at Pro Football Training got behind Healthy Habits Week speaking to over 1000 kids about the importance of healthy habits.
Cancer Support WA www.cancersupportwa.org.au
IN THE NEWS
Over 350 North Cottesloe primary school children took part in a Healthy Habits Day joining in Zumba, Yoga and Soccer Activities.
75 guests enjoyed High Tea at the Hyatt with proceeds going to Cancer Support WA
Yoga at Northbridge Piazza during Healthy Habits Week
40 staff and volunteers took part in our Street Appeal in the Perth CBD on the 29th November. Together, we raised more than $8,000 on the day thanks to the incredible efforts of our team.
There are so many creative ways to fundraise! If you would like to get involved as a volunteer or host your own fundraising event please contact Katie at email@example.com or (08) 9384 3544. Help us to support WA families with cancer.
In loving memory of those who have shared part of their precious life journey with us... David Richardson Francesca Nelson Christine Gale Carine Murphy
Patricia Keegan Carol Brearley Charmaine Elsum Cole Lane
when my voice is silenced in death, my song will speak in your living heart
Summer 2014 WELLNESS NEWS ~Rabindranath Tagore
Cancer Support WAâ€™s You Are Beautiful Exhibition Opening at Central Park
You Are Beautiful was officially opened by Cancer Support WAâ€™s patron the Hon. Michael Mischin MLC, with addresses by Ross Taylor OAM, and Mandy BeckerKnox. We thank our venue sponsors Central Park and Brookfield and event partners Robbie Merritt and Panther Graphics. The campaign raised $165,000 for cancer support services.
Cancer Support WA www.cancersupportwa.org.au
Author of The Alchemist Paulo Coehlo inspires us to face obstacles without fear, to go further, climb higher and realise our dreams! A. Choose the mountain you want to climb: don’t pay attention to what other people say, such as “that one’s more beautiful” or “this one’s easier”. You’ll be spending lots of energy and enthusiasm to reach your objective, so you’re the only one responsible and you should be sure of what you’re doing. B. Know how to get close to it: mountains are often seen from far off – beautiful, interesting, full of challenges. But what happens when we try to draw closer? Roads run all around them, flowers grow between you and your objective, what seemed so clear on the map is tough in real life. So try all the paths and all the tracks until eventually one day you’re standing in front of the top that you yearn to reach. C. Learn from someone who has already been up there: no matter how unique you feel, there is always someone who has had the same dream before you and ended up leaving marks that can make your journey easier; places to hang the rope, trails, broken branches to make the walking easier. The climb is yours, so is the responsibility, but don’t forget that the experience of others can help a lot. D. When seen up close, dangers are controllable: when you begin to climb the mountain of your dreams, pay attention to the surroundings. There are cliffs, of course. There are almost imperceptible cracks in the mountain rock. There are stones so polished by storms that they have become as slippery as ice. But if you know where you are placing each footstep, you will notice the traps and how to get around them. E. The landscape changes, so enjoy it: of course, you have to have an objective in mind – to reach the top. But as you are going up, more things can be seen, and it’s no bother to stop now and again and enjoy the panorama around you. At every meter conquered, you can see a little further, so use this to discover things that you still had not noticed. F. Respect your body: you can only climb a mountain if you give your body the attention it deserves. You have all the time that life grants you, as long as you walk without demanding what can’t be granted. If you go too fast you will grow tired and give up half way there. If you go too slow, night will fall and you will be lost. Enjoy the scenery, take delight in the cool spring water and the fruit that nature generously offers you, but keep on walking. G. Respect your soul: don’t keep repeating “I’m going to make it”. Your soul already knows that, what it needs is to use the long journey to be able to grow, stretch along the horizon, touch the sky. An obsession does not help you at all to reach your objective, and even ends up taking the pleasure out of the climb. But pay attention: also, don’t keep saying “it’s harder than I thought”, because that will make you lose your inner strength. H. Be prepared to climb one kilometre more: the way up to the top of the mountain is always longer than you think. Don’t fool yourself, the moment will arrive when what seemed so near is still very far. But since you were prepared to go beyond, this is not really a problem. I. Be happy when you reach the top: cry, clap your hands, shout to the four winds that you did it, let the wind – the wind is always blowing up there – purify your mind, refresh your tired and sweaty feet, open your eyes, clean the dust from your heart. It feels so good, what was just a dream before, a distant vision, is now part of your life, you did it! J. Make a promise: now that you have discovered a force that you were not even aware of, tell yourself that from now on you will use this force for the rest of your days. Preferably, also promise to discover another mountain, and set off on another adventure. K. Tell your story: yes, tell your story! Give your example. Tell everyone that it’s possible, and other people will then have the courage to face their own mountains. F Summer 2014 WELLNESS NEWS
We are here for you, even when our centre is closed. Western Australian individuals and families with cancer are invited to call the 24 Hour Cancer Support Phone Line for practical and emotional support from a qualified and specialised cancer counsellor at any time the need arises. Our website is also a source of information and support.
Cancer Support WA www.cancersupportwa.org.au