Is the answer love, food, meditation, faith or simply a surgical knife…

28th May 2015: Bound for Bali

How strange life is! I have observed people all around me suffering the effects of a virus or flu at the moment, and only four days ago, I would have placed myself in the same category. Now, the knowledge of having a Cancerous tumour growing inside of me seems to reinforce a separation between me and others. I actually had a dream comparable to a scene out of the film Inception where layers of dreams existed. Unfortunately, the dream did not have the ending desired, and my current predicament is the reasoning for this entry. Exact details are not recalled, however, I know the situation was much worse in deeper layers before I surfaced through many layers to wake up. The very first conscious thought was one of relief, knowing it was just a dream, then, the awareness followed that I was no longer dreaming, and in fact I have Cancer.

I have been attempting to discover the reasoning for the re-emergence. Was it the protein had recently, the occasional inclusion of spelt bread or products containing gluten? Alternatively, could it be something much greater, and involve a lack of love and intimacy in my life? I imagine the search and questioning could forever be endless. Thus, I need to change my focus to one of acceptance, and then devise a way of approaching the times ahead. It sounds absolutely unrealistic, but I have been saying affirmations to myself, asking for a miracle to occur whereby the next scan shows the tumour has disappeared. That very example is a reflection of the desperation felt, and in no way shows a position of acceptance. A more plausible way of thinking about the future is considering the amount of healthy cells in my body compared to the narcissistic entity currently residing in my body. My ideal situation would be to call to arms the vast array of healthy soldiers to fight this one expanding tumour, however, the question remains of how I can manage to achieve this outcome. Love, food, movement, meditation, laughter or simply a matter of a surgical knife cutting it out for ever.

Why are we so fat?

24th May 2015: Sydney

There is little wonder why Obesity levels are causing such massive concerns for many nations. The perfect example was played out in front of me as I looked on in amazement. I was at a leaving function, and the amount of unhealthy foods and drinks was astonishing. My mind was left wondering what solution exists to fix the problem as it seems so entrenched to associate a celebration with such foods and soft drinks. The only point coming to mind is ironically a matter I have been thinking about recently.

The topic is the excessive amount of food displayed on social media sites, and to be honest, I was opposed to all the healthy version of cakes or other desserts constantly on display. My reasoning stemmed from a thought of the foods not changing the behaviour of people on a wider scale. Rather, the display of cakes and sweets would lead the typical person to simply eating the same way. I must say, bearing witness to the events today definitely changed my opinion, and it seems the awareness of healthier options of these foods and availability of fruit, a now somewhat demonised item of food needs to be thoroughly distributed to the greater masses so alternative options are available for people to try and hopefully choose to eat in the future. Failure for this to happen surely signals an increase in even a fatter and unhealthier population of people.

Why are we facing an obesity epidemic?

15th May 2015: Sydney Australia

The rise of obesity within the Western world and the endless nutritional fads promoted within mainstream media are so intriguing. Surely, each factor is the byproduct of the other. For arguments sake, inclusion of movement or physical activity needs to be mentioned. Many facets of this topic arouse my curiosity, most notably, the possible confusion experienced by people resulting from the varying amount of contrasting information relating to what people should eat or how to move. In addition, it is imperative to reference the growth in market size of the broad area of health and wellbeing. A likeminded person would see the connection immediately, of course that is dependent on whether I have been able to accurately convey the intended message.

The point first stuck me whilst listening to a recent podcast, and has since been thought through. Typically, useful information is extracted from the podcast, however, on this occasion, the striking feature was the lack of knowledge the interviewees actually had. Their capacity at quoting health jargon is indisputable, and yes an overwhelming enthusiasm was evident. My quarrel related to how little content they were able to draw upon without referring to their website/blog. The seemingly lack of knowledge lead me to question the truths of the so called health industry, and importantly, I was able to recognise the similarities between the health industry and any other market. Just to note, I applaud people for seeing an opportunity to make a living from their chosen pathway, however, I believe the continual new fads in regards to nutrition and exercise are the cause of confusion for the general public. Ultimately, resulting in personal financial gain for a few people whilst also contributing to the rising rate of obesity and other health concerns for the easily influenced, and at times extremely vulnerable general public.

Obviously, I am unable to influence the market and shift patterns, however, hopefully people can learn to see the importance of seeking reputable sources of knowledge prior to deciding on what strategy they will adopt in their lives to promote their health and well-being.

What is healthy eating?

24th October 2014: Sydney Australia

I’m back basking in the land of normality, and feeling particularly positive as I’m not not weighed down with thoughts about the food eaten yesterday. All junk was avoided, replaced with the Spelt sandwich option. When looking at portion size, it would be definitely deemed as indulging, probably not the wisest decision to make post fast/cleanse. Mind you, I am thinking about the overall consumption from the day, opposite to just one meal, and I didn’t really start eating till lunch time.

The cravings discussed yesterday was unfamiliar ground, only a handful of times at the very most when the attraction to fattening foods has been so strong. It certainly made me think of fad diets often widely publicised within the media and the actual long-term benefits associated with such an approach to your eating. The two days reinforced the need to continue with a sustainable approach to eating and nutrition built upon very basic principles about eating wholesome foods without unless are added ingredients or sweeteners. I’m fairly confident of the criticism subjected to me, should certain people view my food journals, and this is solely because of the inclusion of some foods into my weekly intake. Thai food is the perfect example, initially the thought of lots of vegetables with basil and chilli can be viewed as a healthy option, and pending the place you purchase the food or your method of cooking it can be. On the other hand, the thought of plain white rice with the amount of sugar added to sweetened some of the flavours makes you question the actual benefits within the meal. Of course the type of Thai or the method to prepare each dish differs, and it is probably true that some Thai dishes are very healthy. It is just a clear example of how on first impression the guise of eating healthy can be a myth when looking at the ingredients of the dish. In summary, eating at home or opting to frequent places with healthier options is definitely the approach to be adopted.

I felt like Ben Stiller from Dodgeball…

23rd October 2014: Sydney Australia

I spent the entirety of yesterday afternoon till the very early hours of this morning wondering why I opted to eliminate solid food from my diet for two days. As noted in the previous entry, fairly positive changes were noticed when commencing, however, it appeared I was extremely naive in what was to follow, especially considering the events last night from whereby I remained crouched in a position, holding my stomach resulting from the hours of nausea endured.

It is now almost midday, and I’m still feeling the effects. The degree of discomfort has most definitely decreased, however, my stomach is still not completely settled nor am I feeling like I have a normal level of functioning. When summarising the feelings experienced yesterday, I can only describe a constant hunger, a feeling of a slight anger at myself for putting myself through this, limited concentration, and an overall unease throughout my body and mind. In addition, there were no noticeable toxins discharged from my body. Furthermore, I am now craving for a burger and chips, some deep fried chicken wings, a can of coke, anything of the type! Very reminiscent of Ben Stiller from Dodgeball feasting on pizza and all sorts of junk lying in a bed of filth. I obviously won’t be opting for any of the above options, however, will be buying a quality cut of leg ham and making myself some sandwiches on spelt bread. Unusual for my typical approach to eating as bread will feature, however, it seems like a more favourable option than feasting on deep fried chicken wings, burgers and chips. All decisions would ultimately undermine the very reason for trailing for fast.

The account is completely personal, and I am still of the opinion a fast/cleanse may be suitable for some people. I would now recommend others seek advice and possibly attend a supervised retreat throughout the period. In regards to my personal, circumstances, consideration of the effects of the chemotherapy, bearing in mind the action it has on blocking the capacity of my body to now create Cortisol needs to mentioned. Furthermore, I had previously known a lack of food caused havoc on my system. I just did not anticipate the removal of solids would have such a profound impact. In conclusion, I may decide to attempt another fast/cleanse in the future, but will most definitely wait till my treatment is over before exploring available options.

Elimination of food commences

21st October 2014: Sydney Australia

My two day elimination of solid food has commenced. In honesty, I am feeling refreshed and overall fantastic. I have been mindful of my output, focusing on a day of rest, including the practising of a gentle/floor based form of yoga, have meditated, had a book prepared to read, and scheduled a bath into my day. All these points had been planned in advance to maximise the restorative benefits from the day.
In regards to my diet, I started the day with a banana smoothie mixed with almonds, chia seeds, flax seeds, strawberries, oats and almond milk; at lunch a bowl of home made pea soup was eaten; another banana smoothie with spinach, almonds, honey, LSA mix, dates and almond milk was consumed in the afternoon and plan to have another home made pea soup for dinner. In addition, two cups of herbal tea was had during the morning period when I usually snack on nuts or fruit. Just to note, my intake of water was consistent throughout the day.

I have noticed some recognisable changes though, including a definite disparity in my energy levels this far, and the mental capacity. Plus, behaviour wise, I still routining wonder into the kitchen to snack, however, recognise it has helped me to show it is just to snack rather than an essential meal. I still have a few hours left in the day so am planning to continue with rest. It must be noted that I acknowledge it’s not comparable to the fasts undertaken by the colleagues I had in London during the period of Ramadan or other recommended fasts, and I am still having sufficient food for a day.

Personally, it is still a substantial change in my daily eating regiment, and as noted I feel there has been a positive effect on my body. One such noticeable change is my stomach feeling settled without a churning, a gentle reminder of how my body once functioned prior to the growth of tumour. I am interested to review my progress and state of mind when writing tomorrow. Till then, a movie will be switched on and I’ll be relaxing for the night.

Preparation for my fast/cleanse

19th October 2014: Sydney Australia

Plans have been made to commence the two day cleanse/fast on Tuesday. I don’t know whether it would actually be deemed a fast as I don’t foresee actually getting hungry. A combinations of soups, smoothies and juices will suffice be consumed over the two period. Plus, it is only two days!

My parents and close friends have been made aware of my intentions in advance to eliminate any food stressors within this period and to give everyone notice I will not be attending any social events over this period. The plan consists off having a smoothie in the morning, followed by soup at dinner and lunch. If required, a juice or smoothie will be slotted into afternoon or post dinner. The particular method will ensure my body receives the necessary nutrients whilst giving my body the opportunity to not worry about breaking down any food. Therefore, attention can be directed completely to repairing and restoring. I found it essential in explaining my reasoning to my parents and how I was to approach the two days as their support is vital to a successful period of no stress. In addition, an approach was needed whereby I was not going to experience hunger or deprived myself from the necessary nutrients my body requires. My reasoning is specifically related to my personal experiences and has been learned over the period of having my chemotherapy. I’m not certain whether it has been covered in previous sections, however, failure to eat or allowing a level of hunger to have an effect on my body sends me on a fast downward spiral. So the idea of just replacing solids out of my eating approach for two days does not seem like it will have a detrimental impact on my functioning whilst allowing my body the chance to not have to direct energy to breaking down solid foods. To conclude, I must stress the importance of having my mum on board who has prepared batches of homemade fresh soup ready for both lunch and dinner times over the two days.