• Food intolerance/ Health/ Healthy Food/ Inflammation/ Integrated Medicine/ Nutritional Medicine/ Wheat and Dairy Intolerance

    10 Food ‘Facts’ that are wrong

    Food 'Facts' that are wrong

    10 Food ‘Facts’ that are wrong –

    popular misconceptions about Food and your Health that need correcting

    1. “You need Carbs for energy”  No, you need FOOD for energy. Protein contains similar energy per gramme as Carbohydrates and Fats have around double the energy content but both with keep you from feeling hungry for far longer as they take longer to metabolise. You have all the enzymes needed to inter-convert encoded for you in your genes. If you switch from eating predominantly carbs to eating more protein or fat it takes a few hours for the body to adjust but your energy will probably increase.
    2. “The Brain needs glucose to function therefore we must eat sugar and other carbs” – No, the Brain actually runs better on ketone bodies from burning fats.
    3. “Natural Sugar is OK” No, it is still sugar whatever form it is in and if not taken in moderation with other food that includes fat and protein it will cause insulin spikes and this is bad. Processed sugar is totally empty calories as it contains no other nutrients whereas whole fruit or vegetables like sweet potato contain other nutrients. Honey, Black-strap Molasses and coconut sugar also contain some healthy nutrients although they are still sugar and should be used in small amounts and they are preferable to artificial sweeteners.
    4. “A Calorie is a Calorie, it doesn’t matter how your energy is made up only that you have the right amount of energy”  No, we can go on ridiculous diets (and I have tried some of them!) like eating nothing but yogurt and drinking black coffee or eating cabbage soup all day but any diet that cuts out nutrients will cause deficiency and then cravings for other foods and overeating.
    5. “Because fat contains twice the energy of Carbs you are more likely to gain weight on a high fat diet” No, fat is very satiating, you will not overeat on fat fat if you keep your carb intake as low as possible. You will also get the benefit of sufficient fat-soluble vitamins A, D and E and if you choose healthy fats you will also balance your Omega 3 oils to give you a more anti-inflammatory diet.
    6. “Animal fats cause Heart Disease” No evidence supports this whatsoever, only a consensus of opinion driven by anything but science.
    7. Cholesterol causes heart disease and should be lowered (Total) while HDL should be higher than LDL for heart health.”  –  No, Cholesterol does not cause heart disease. There is no evidence to support this. Atherosclerosis (hardening and thickening of the arteries) is an inflammatory/immune dysfunction, not a lipid (fat) dysfunction. If you have high cholesterol go on an anti-inflammatory diet and analyse the type of oils and fats that you are consuming that may have lead to inflammation, like high Omega 6 or Trans fats.
    8. “The best thing to do is take a ‘Balanced Diet’ ” – or “You don’t need to take Supplements if you eat a ‘Balanced Diet” No, The best thing to do for your health is to take a nutritionally complete diet from which, we as a species has evolved.
    9.  ” Wheat and other wholegrains are an important (even vital) part of the human diet” No, they are unnecessary carbs and it has been proved that many of us cannot tolerate them without immediate dysfunction. A high grain/cereal intake, even in people who think they can tolerate them, can lead to long-term inflammation, Autoimmune diseases, diabetes, fatness/obesity, heart disease, vascular disease and Alzheimer’s.
    10. ” Medical or dietetic qualifications provide a good grounding in the science of nutrition” No, so much of the science of nutrition has been disproved by more scientific methods and studies of other cultures and also by learning from our mistakes of being guided by government or Food producers over the last half century when we have seen chronic disease escalate. Functional medicine is now looking at Nutrition and the body as a whole to prevent and reverse Chronic disease caused by all these misconceptions.

    My thanks to Bart Kay Lecturer in Clinical Physiology at HE Birmingham University Sector UK for having compiled this list on a discussion topic on LinkedIn. I have modified it slightly for the form of this website but have included all his important misconceptions about food and health that need to be taken seriously if we are to improve our health and our medical treatment.

    Please feel free to comment, I would love to hear from you, or explore other Posts to gain insight into particular chronic health problems and beneficial changes you can make.

  • Cancer./ Health/ Immune system - healing/ Inflammation/ Integrated Medicine/ Mineral Depletion/ Nutrition and Cancer/ Nutritional Medicine

    The Truth About Cancer – Review part 1

    Natural Cancer treatment

    The Truth About Cancer  a review of a series of 11 videos presented by Ty Bollinger. I have watched them and would like to review the information given over the next 4 Posts, not just as a Nutritionist but as someone who has been through a lot of the processes with my husband who had Sarcoma.

    If you missed all or some of them you have a few hours this weekend 11th/12th April to catch up by going to this link

    The Truth About Cancer

    The Purpose of these videos was to Educate, Expose and Eradicate and they have certainly served the purpose of educating and exposing to all who watched by providing an abundance of evidence based, less toxic treatments. Now we need to spread the word so that we can move towards eradicating cancer. Up until now anyone who chose not to go down the harsh route of surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy could feel isolated and lacking in support, even by their own relatives. Hopefully this series has started a Worldwide movement to improve the availability of information, improve cancer outcomes with or without traditional treatment and education for everyone about prevention of cancer. As stated in the series this information is only to inform and should not replace the medical advice from a physician who knows you and your condition. Some of the treatment regimes mentioned are controversial and may need further investigating.

    The series of 11 videos covered a massive amount of information on

    1. Nutrition
    2. Supplements
    3. Natural treatments and protocols
    4. Alternative Medical approaches

    They also Exposed the bad medical and nutritional advice so often given to patients – probably the most common being that you need plenty of calories from Dairy, Carbohydrates and Sugar to counteract the weight loss associated with conventional treatment. Many people on the series talked about trusting your instincts, about what feels right for you and mental positivity.

    The Truth About Cancer has to be known. With more than 1:3 people having this disease in their lifetimes we are all affected and yet much of this information has been suppressed for years but The Truth About Cancer has made an impact. With the right knowledge we all should be to be free to choose.


    First and foremost the main message was SUGAR feeds cancer and that also includes white, processed carbohydrates and alcohol. Keeping your blood sugar lower but level is key to fighting cancer.

    Getting as much nutrition into the body as possible. A nutritionally deficient body is a toxic sponge. Cancer is a disease of an already sick body whose detoxification pathways and immune system have been under pressure.

    Detoxification should target the following systems in this order

    1. Bowels
    2. Kidneys and urine
    3. Breath and skin
    4. Lymph movement
    5. Liver and blood

    1. Bowels – Raw vegetable and berry juicing with lots of fresh, organic vegetables and salads. Coconut. Probiotics. Coffee enemas.

    2. Kidney’s and urine – drink plenty of spring water and eat or juice watery fruits and vegetables like cucumber, melon, water melon, kiwi – including all the seeds. Coconut water.

    3. Breath and skin – helped by exercise, deep breathing, skin brushing, Saunas, steam rooms to detox through sweating.

    4. Lymph movement – rebounding one of the best ways, yoga inversions, massage. We have eight pints of blood that is pumped around the body but twelve pints of lymph that needs our help by movement.

    5. Liver and blood – Silymarin, Dandelion, wheat-grass. Coffee enemas to keep the liver working, especially when there is a heavy tumour load.

    Cancer fighting Foods for Optimal Nutrition

    • Berries – Vitamin C, Ellagic acid, Polyphenols are all good anti-cancer foods. Pomegranates, Raspberries, Strawberries (have special fibres that run from the outside seeds into the fruit and help bind to 90% of toxins making them easier to eliminate), blackberries, blueberries etc.
    • Fruit seeds – contain amygdalin that has been shown to have anti-cancer properties. Apples seeds have some but Apricot seeds or kernels have more. These substances have been used for many years as alternative cancer treatment  and are sometimes called B17 or Laetrile.
    • Iodine containing foods – fish and seafood, seaweeds, algae spirulina and chlorella (also contain Polysaccharides that help cellular communication and help identify rouge cells), raw garlic and pineapple. Low iodine is a cause of fibrocystic breast disease. Supplement with iodine if you are eating a large amount of raw cabbage, Brussel-sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower as these foods are antagonistic to iodine.
    • Mushrooms – many types of mushroom boost the immune system and are anti-cancer especially shittake
    • Beets and radishes – contain Anthrocyanins that can kill cancer cells. As do blackcurrants, elderberries, black olives, figs, red grapes, red plums, blueberries, red onions, red cabbage and Avocados.
    • Virgin Olive Oil contains polyphenols – anti-oxidants. as do Pecans and Walnuts.
    • Sulphur containing foods, onions, garlic, broccoli and sprouting seeds block cancer cell formation.
    • Turmeric and Green Tea contain polyphenols that are anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory.
    • Ginger, Black Pepper and Curcumin and Ayurvedic Formulas can improve synergy and healing.
    • Organic Vegetables – good source of minerals and so are alkalising – carrots, spinach, chard, kale, onions etc.
    • Zinc – one of the most important trace elements found in offal, meat, mushrooms, seeds, nuts, oysters, eggs.

    Next Post will be on Supplements for help with Cancer treatment and immune boosting.

    sign up on Hello Bar at top of page so that you don’t miss Part 2


  • Autoimmune diseases/ Immune system - healing/ Integrated Medicine/ Nutritional Medicine/ Wheat and Dairy Intolerance

    Leaky Gut – Quiz and Video

    Or to use the Medical term “Intestinal permeability” is being researched all over the world. There is a Leaky Gut Quiz and Video link on this post to help understand the condition. Leaky Gut is a condition where some of the tight junctions in your intestines become faulty and foreign particles that should have been eliminated  leak through into your body and cause an immune response,  inflammation and trigger chronic disease. The symptoms can vary depending on where the particles end up and can affect your digestive system, your skin, your nervous system and your hormonal system, Thyroid and Adrenal Glands. Leaky gut can caused or be made worse by infections like Candida, Clostridium Difficile (C Diff ) or others, Parasites or antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs like NSAID’s, Alcohol and food intolerances.

    Hippocrates is quoted as saying “that all disease begins in the gut” so that is where we are going to start, even if you do not have much in the way of gut symptoms. 30% of people with Leaky Gut do not have gut symptoms.

    As a fast and interesting way to start I would like to suggest that you try this Quiz to how likely it is that you have a Leaky Gut.

    The next post will be about how to set about healing your gut by diet, supplements and lifestyle changes so if you want help in learning how to heal yourself then follow my blog and I will do my best to help you through it and to better health by using all the best resources available.

    If you would like a more in-depth description of Leaky Gut then please click to watch this 5 min You Tube video by Dr Hugh Wegworth

    Leaky Gut

  • Adrenal Fatigue/ Arthritis/ Autoimmune diseases/ Exclusion diet/ Inflammation/ Integrated Medicine/ Leaky Gut/ Nutritional Medicine/ Wheat and Dairy Intolerance

    Autoimmune disease epidemic

    The Truth About Cancer

    We are in the midst of an Autoimmune disease epidemic. Multiple Sclerosis, Type 1 Diabetes, Dementia, Alzheimer’s, Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Thyroid disease, Lupus, Gout, Autism, ADHD, some forms of cancer and hundreds of others either confirmed as Autoimmune or highly suspected to be. The numbers of people affected now exceeds the number of people with both heart disease and Cancer combined, which is more than 50 million in the USA alone! If you are worried about your health and want to start helping yourself or your family right now then start discovering proven ways you can change your diet, feel better and end the pain and life limiting effects of chronic disease.

    It was because my Mother had Rheumatoid arthritis that I became interested in and started studying Nutrition, about 35 years ago. We always felt that there was a strong relationship with the food she ate and the progression of her disease but try as I might I was unable to get her to change her diet. I felt that milk and wheat were the possible foods causing her trouble but she would not give up milk because she felt she needed it for her bones and nothing would change her mind – she would drink at least a pint a day. She did try to go wheat free but only lasted 3 days and said that she felt ill, weak, had a constant headache and low mood – all things I now know to be withdrawal symptoms from the narcotic effects of wheat itself. The progression of her disease was relentless and in addition to the painful and disabling joint changes she developed Sjogren’s Syndrome(an auto-immune condition where the body’s immune system attacks glands that secrete fluid, such as the tears and salivary glands), heart failure and adrenal failure.

    Over the last few years my focus has been more on the cancer epidemic but then my son became ill and it took me a while but eventually we managed to come up with a diagnosis of Reiter’s Syndrome – another autoimmune disease that causes a reactive arthritis plus other symptoms of inflammation. As with my mother, Autoimmunity often involves more than one reaction in the body and he also has Celiac, Eczema, Sjogren’s syndrome(dry eyes) and Lichen Planus a non infectious skin condition.

    So I have come full circle and am back investigating autoimmune diseases again and everything else that now appears to be connected to inflammation that starts in the gut.

    Over the last few years an amazing amount of progress has been made in this field – almost all of it in America. The Americans have had Naturopathic Doctors or Medical Doctors who have taken up Functional Medicine, where Doctors look for the cause and don’t just treat the symptoms and so it has been possible for those with a more Holistic view of health to discover the total body connections more easily than those who have a more ‘body systems’ approach and an early entry into specialisation.

    I have recently completed The Detox Summit on-line and have learnt so much. My son had been dairy free for awhile but was still not as well as we would like and following the Summit we both went on a months detox diet.

    The results were quick and dramatic.

    Within the month my son lost 3lbs, had more energy, no painful joints, no more stomach pains or bowel problems and his eczema cleared up completely.

    I lost 5lbs, became free of aches and pains, more flexible and could touch my toes or the floor with ease,  no more pains in back or ankles or swelling of hands and ankles, sinus problems and mucous in throat at night disappeared, anxiety and palpitations ended, stomach bloating and pains vanished and bowel movements became normal.

    There was also an effect of mental clarity and better dream recall that I think we both felt. We then continued with a natural, fresh diet leaving out processed foods and gradually reintroduced some foods and watched for reactions. We took supplements to help heal the gut and to rebuild a good Microbiome of beneficial bacteria in the gut. More Posts will follow to help you do the same.

    • Remove foods that are causing inflammation and activating your immune system
    • Remove any hidden infection or parasites
    • Restore gut integrity and healthy microbiome
    • Re-introduce foods and improve diet and nutritional intake

    Sign up to receive free help and advice directly to your inbox and ask me questions on any specific problems.

  • Adrenal Fatigue/ Cancer./ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ Immune system - healing/ Integrated Medicine/ Supplements

    The Thymus gland and the Immune System

    The Thymus gland is situated under the breastbone at the top of the chest, just below the Thyroid Gland. It is the major gland of our immune system, responsible for many functions, including the production of T Lymphocytes – a type of white blood cell responsible for cell mediated immunity rather than antibody controlled immunity. Cell mediated immunity is extremely important in forming resistance to infection by mold-like bacteria, yeasts, fungi, parasites and viruses (including Epstein -Barr and Herpes Simplex). It is also critical in protecting us from the development of cancer and allergies.

    The Thymus gland also releases several hormones which regulate many immune functions and low levels of these are associated with depressed immunity and increased susceptibility to infection. Thymic hormones are frequently very low in the elderly, AIDS patients and cancer patients ( especially those who have undergone Radiotherapy and Chemotherapy) and high stress levels deplete them more.

    There are three main areas where you can do things to improve your Thymus function and boost your immunity.

    1. Prevent  Thymus damage and involution (shrinkage). The Thymus is extremely susceptible to free radical and oxidative damage caused by radiation, infection, stress, exposure to high levels of pollution or chemotherapy drugs and chronic illness. Anti-oxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, glutathione, zinc and beta-carotene, anti-oxidant herbs like Astragalus and certain mushroom extracts can all help to prevent Thymus damage and enhance cell mediated immunity.
    2. There are many nutrients that are important in the production, secretion and function of thymic hormones. Deficiencies of any one of these nutrients can result in decreased thymic hormone function and impaired immune function. Zinc is particularly effective in restoring depressed immunity and low levels of zinc usually cause a lack of sense of smell and taste. Vitamin B6 and vitamin C are also critical nutrients and because they are water soluble and not stored in the body it is vital to maintain a sufficient daily intake.
    3. Stimulation of Thymus gland activity can be by high quality thymus extracts, either by capsule supplements or by a series of injections depending on condition of the immune system. I have seen someone who had a depressed white blood cell count of 2,500-3000 for 2 years following Radiotherapy and chemotherapy (the normal range is 4,000-10,000) rise to 5,300 after one course of Thymus injections and rising to 9,400 three months later. For more information click Thymus-Therapy The immune enhancing effects of thymus extract have been can be useful in treating the following conditions:
    • Lowered resistance or susceptiblity to infection.
    • Degenerative conditions of the spine and joints, including Rheumatoid arthritis.
    • Autoimmune diseases – RA, ulcerative colitis, Chrohn’s disease etc.
    • Metabolic disturbances such as Diabetes and gout.
    • Diseases of the heart and circulation.
    • Chronic inflammatory diseases of the respiratory tract, the liver, the gallbladder, the kidneys or the prostate gland.
    • Thymus peptides can also be used as a supplementary measure in the treatment of cancer (pre- and post- operative treatment and for reduction of side effects during and after Radiation and chemotherapy)
    • Also as a prophylatic measure against precancerous conditions in people who have a hereditary predispoition to cancer.

    Other herbs which positively effect the thymus gland include liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) and European mistletoe (Viscum Album). The most well known, often taken to prevent colds, is Echinacea angustiflolia but this should be taken with care by people who have an autoimmune disease.

    If you wish to supplement with Thymus Enzyme Capsules (dirived from calf thymus) then a quality product is very important and there are many on the market. I have used products from a company called Enzymatic Therapy and they have 2 products – Thymulus and Thymuplex.

  • Integrated Medicine

    Why we need an Integrated Health Service

    Health Check

    Why we need an integrated Health Service and to put the heart and soul back into medicine.

    “The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.” Thomas Edison 1847 – 1931.

    I’m sure everyone who has been interested in Alternative and Complimentary medical therapies over the years will have heard of this quote. It was extremely popular 25-30 years ago when Alternative medical practices were gaining more recognition. The problem then was that ‘Alternative’ often came across as ‘anti’ medicine and Thomas Edison’s quote supported this with “…..will give no medicine”. Even in the 1930’s Edison knew that medicine would have to evolve, to become more holistic but maybe he should have said “…will give no medicine without interesting his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet etc.”

    Now, more than ever, we need to interest and educate people on how to look after themselves. Our surgeries and hospitals are over burdened with a population suffering chronic symptoms and diseases for which there are no quick-fix medicines. Arthritis, Asthma, Allergies, Auto-immune disease, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Diabetes, Fibromyalgia, Heart disease, Inflammatory Bowel disease, Depression, Menstrual and Menopausal symptoms and cancer are all medical problems that have increased appallingly. These problems are difficult and time-consuming for health-care services who, frequently, fail to adequately treat and therefore  the patients  end up disillusioned and with a poor quality of life. We know that the doctors are over-worked so we don’t even bother them with symptoms like constipation, diarrhoea, excess weight, swollen ankles, fatigue, lack of concentration or memory, headaches, heartburn, joint pain and muscular aches and pains, we just treat ourselves with over the counter medications that TV adverts have shown us should work, strong anti-inflammatory drugs that used to be available only on prescription that can now be bought in a supermarket or medicines that can be bought over the Internet without proper medical advice.

    46% of the UK population (apparently a high proportion of Doctors amongst them) visit Complementary or Alternative practitioners and this number has been steadily growing despite the fact that the costs can be quite high and are not often covered by the Health Service or the Insurance companies.


    • because we feel the need for a better quality of consultation and more opportunity to voice our problems and concerns.
    • because the treatment we seek needs to be more in line with our values concerning health and life.
    • because we are searching for a better solution and not just an escalating list of prescription medications.
    • because we want to be educated in how best to help ourselves.

    So we have been going through a period of change and nearly half of the population are voting with their feet, educating themselves about their medical condition and demanding more from their health-care providers. We now need to move into an era of truly Integrated Medicine where medical treatment could involve diet, nutritional support, massage, reflexology, Acupuncture, Meditation, Hypnotherapy, Homeopathy, Herbalism, counselling etc. Evidence based methods that have been proven to promote health and well-being and tailored to each individual. This is not ‘pie in the sky stuff ‘ and these are not ‘new-age’ therapies and they are not a threat to Doctors. Hopefully, by expanding these practices both the doctors and the patients will have more support and will be empowered. Thirty years ago, in the NHS, I saw Acupuncture used for anaesthesia and to treat chronic nerve pain, many hospitals use reflexology and massage for cancer patients and hypnotherapy is used to help patients stop smoking and to treat phobias. Homeopathy is already covered within the NHS  probably because doctors  can gain the qualification on a Post graduate course.

    The idea of Functional Medicine, where the whole body is looked at and the illness not just the symptoms are treated, is now spreading throughout the World and Clinics with multiple specialities being set up. If Doctors receive little to no Nutrition training then employ a Nutritionist within the practice. There is a Course in the UK  in Bath, Somerset, for a Post Graduate Diploma in the Study of Integrated Medicine (Dip SIM). This Diploma is designed for doctors and nurses ” who wish to put the heart and soul back into Medicine.” Lets hope that it is the first of many and we see a strong move towards this new model of pro-active medicine and that it will soon become mainstream.

  • Cancer./ Integrated Medicine

    Education v Medication

    P1000204Research has shown that cancer, heart disease and many other diseases are often caused by bad diet. If you really want to be healthy and stay healthy

    Here are some quick health hints

    You know it makes sense …just do it!

    • Eat some saturated fat – meat, dairy products but no trans-fats or hydrogenated fats (read the labels)
    • Eat more unsaturated fats – essential to the functioning of every cell in our bodies. Olive oil, nuts, avocado, eggs, fish (especially oily fish -like sardines)
    • Eat minimal sugar – it feeds cancer cells and has no food value to normal cells
    • Don’t drink sodas or soft drinks with added sugar or artificial sweeteners.
    • Drink more water and herb teas
    • Limit yourself to 1 coffee and 2 units of red wine a day- max.
    • Eat more wholefoods and don’t get constipated.
    • Eat minimal white flour products, white pasta, white rice (except Basmati)
    • Snack on nuts -walnuts, pecans, almonds, brazils but not peanuts.
    • Have a little dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids or more) it is good for you.
    • Eat more than 5 fruits and vegetables a day.
    • Make your meals as colourful as possible
    • Get some exercise at whatever level you can cope with.
    • Get motivated by reading Health Blogs everyday!

    For a good food chart see links.

  • Integrated Medicine

    Do no harm while healing.

    It is so important to do no harm while healing. As stated in my profile, I have always been a bit at odds with the medical profession. In the early years of my training I could see the point of the discipline and order but not of the lack of personal involvement with the patients. The only time we got to talk with them was while giving a bed bath.( What’s that? I hear some of you say.) Now it is frequently a bowl of lukewarm water plonked on their table and the curtains pulled round.

    Patients were usually too intimidated to talk to the doctors during ward rounds unless asked a direct question. When I was training for my General nursing at Charing Cross Hospital, London, being a teaching hospital it would sometimes be difficult to get all the doctors around the bed because there were so many of them.

    I don’t want to be all negative so I will say that one good thing that used to happen was that whenever anyone was prescribed antibiotics they were always given a Vitamin B complex. It was known that antibiotics kill off the good bacteria in the gut and that this can lead to diarrhoea or a sore mouth and that this simple action can prevent those side effects. Why don’t they do this now, when antibiotics are even stronger? Vitamin B and Acidophilus protects the immune system.

    Over the years there have been some memorable, personal occasions where I have lost faith in the safety of prescribing. At one time I was feeling very unwell and my GP prescribed Premarin (an oestrogen taken from horses urine – more on this in another blog!). She said she thought I was in early menopause due to having a hysterectomy several years before. When I went back after 1 month, not feeling much better, she doubled the dose. This started to give me some bad side effects, one of which was extremely lumpy and painful breasts – for which my GP prescribed Tamoxifen (an anti-oestrgen drug). I looked at her in disbelief and then suggested that it would probably be best if I just stopped taking the oestrogen – she didn’t agree but I did it anyway.

    A much more serious error occurred when my mother was prescribed Methotrexate (a chemotherapy drug) by a Consultant Rheumatologist. Folic Acid is essential for many functions within the body and it is well known that it has to be given to people who are on Methotrexate to prevent serious side effects but the Consultant omitted it from the prescription. This was not noticed by her GP or pharmacist for over a year and it certainly contributed to her death from heart failure.

    OK, we can’t always know if we have been prescribed incorrectly but we know if we are feeling worse rather than better and if this is the case we should clearly tell the doctor. If we suffer side effects we should ask if there is an alternative and not accept even more drugs to disguise the side effects.

    Always remember that the Hippocratic Oath taken by doctors states that “they should do no harm” and this should apply to all medical and health professionals.

    Confession: For three years I persuaded my mother to take Echinacea for a couple of weeks whenever she was flying over to visit. Every time she developed a severe cough and felt unwell and we thought that she easily picked up viruses on the plane. Then on one occasion it did not resolve and she was admitted to hospital in the UK with breathing difficulties. They diagnosed Pulmonary Fibrosis and a young, Chinese Junior doctor, who had taken her history pointed out that anyone with Auto-immune disease, like Rheumatoid Arthritis, should not take immune stimulants like Echinacea because it makes their condition worse. I didn’t know this and neither did any of the other doctors but I have since researched it thoroughly and found it to be true. Sorry Mum.



  • Integrated Medicine

    The Tide of Change

    The Tide of Change ….Over the last 20 years or so there has been a massive shift in the way the population views the medical profession. When I trained to be a nurse there was a hierarchy something like this:-




    MATRONS (qualified nurses top post)




    ENROLLED NURSES (2 year more practical course)



    The job of a nurse was to make sure that her patients were clean, comfortable, fed and kept hydrated. She also had to monitor temperature, pulse, breathing, blood pressure, bowel movements and urine output. Any anomalies would be reported to the head nurse who would be able to pass the information to the doctors.

    Consultants were held in very high esteem as if they were God’s right hand man – or in some cases  God himself! When a Consultant conducted a ward round everything would have to be perfect – the beds all made with precision, hospital corners, the sheet turned down by the right amount and the pillowcase opening facing away from the door. All the correct notes assembled with xrays and laboratory test results to hand. Usually only the Ward Sister and a senior Staff nurse would be allowed to accompany the doctors and all other nurses were expected to vanish somewhere but keep busy. As a student nurse you would escape to the sluice room to scrub bedpans or false teeth – preferably not with the same brush!

    Having completed my training as an Ophthalmic Nurse and then a Registered General Nurse  I got married and worked in a few different departments in general hospitals before returning to my original ophthalmic  hospital and eventually the post of Theatre Sister. I then had a 20 year break from hospital work while I stayed at home to bring up my 3 children. During this time I also ran a Community Toy library for handicapped children, nursed my mother through 3 episodes of major surgery and recovery and supported her through early widowhood and progressive Rheumatoid Arthritis. I continued my education by studying ‘A’ level geography and Nutrional Medicine.

    Suddenly my children were working or going to University and I felt the need, mentally and financially, to get back to my career. A “Return to Practice” course was required and involved several weeks of classroom attendance, homework and practical ward work – all without pay.

    The main changes, I discovered, were not in new treatments or innovative nursing practice but in the hierarchy which was now:-








    TRAINED AUXILIARY NURSES  (equivalent of Enrolled nurses)


    GOD – who was apparently only bought in when all else had failed.

    The duties of a qualified nurse had moved up the scale in terms of administration and medical practice. Nurses could now, with additional training, cannulate (put needles into veins), give intravenous drugs, prescribe and administer certain drugs and run specialist clinics. The administration involves far more communication with doctors and Consultants and between all hospital departments.

    Junior doctors still carry a huge responsibility and workload but trained nurses now work much closer with the whole medical team and have taken on far more responsibility. Unfortunately this means that much more of their time is spent behind a computer, on the phone or in the office rather than with their patients. They are having to constantly monitor the medical treatment, patient care, diet, social care, discharge planning and infection control.

    On top of this everything has been speeded up tenfold. The patient turnover has had to increase dramatically, especially following surgery where someone who  had been in hospital for 10-14 days may be discharged within hours and the onus of care is on family, GP and District Nurse.

    So this is a small insight into some of the changes to the medical model in the UK over the past 2-3 decades and it indicates how and why the workload and stresses have changed. These changes have come about mainly because we have an increasing large, aging and unhealthy population and the stresses on the healthcare system are near breaking point with not enough man-power or other resources.

    I also sympathize with doctors who have experienced a paradigm shift in peoples perception of what they can provide. This has led to more specialization and more drug reliance and less holistic care. I have found and seen doctors react aggressively when patients have suggested possible alternatives to treatment that they may have heard or read about but why should they feel threatened by Homeopaths, Chiropractics, Nutritionists, Herbalists, Chinese medicine etc.? These are all specialists in different fields with exactly the same aims -to keep us fit or help make us better. Complimentary medical practitioners have gained in reputation because they still look at their patients holistically and do not resort to a quick diagnostic check and a drug prescription.

    Private Medicine can lead us even further down the path of drugs or surgery as insurance companies don’t normally pay out unless there is an end treatment, therefore a consultation that involves a long chat about aspects of diet, exercise or lifestyle changes would not prove at all lucrative for the doctor or clinic. Only the other day I popped into a clinic to ask if they could do a mole check on my particular private medical insurance. Unfortunately they couldn’t but suggested that I might like their special offer on varicose vein treatment! Great – if I had varicose veins!

    In Spain much of the medical provision is private and affordable (as long as you are under 60 and without any pre-existing condition). Even when you have insurance you frequently have to pay for your drugs and these can be very expensive. As an example, 2 of the most commonly prescribed drugs to lower blood pressure can cost 60 euros a month – quite a good incentive to find a better way to lower you blood pressure. Also chemists in Spain are very quick to offer advice and herbal, homeopathic or natural remedy before drugs. Each chemists has a huge display of low cost herbal remedies clearly marked with the condition they are helpful for, such as cystitis, hay-fever or insomnia.

    In the UK people who have to pay the full prescription charge are usually reluctant to have anything other than the essentials but those with free prescriptions often hoard drugs and abuse the system. Every nurse is aware of the patient that arrives with a carrier bag full of medicines or the number of elderly patients that come for assessment with 3-4 pages of repeat prescriptions. I have often seen patients on ten or more regular medications. Polypharmia is the name given to the condition of taking more than 3 or 4 drugs at any one time, more than this and it becomes impossible to know how they will interact in the body. Doctors are continually seduced by drug companies, their education and courses funded by them (with incentives, free gifts and lunch thrown in). Is it any wonder that the pen is poised over the prescription pad the minute you present a symptom? Especially if he/she is running late with the clinic and has 10 home visits to do after a 5 minute lunch break.

    OK. Who is to blame?

    I could say the doctors; the drug companies; the government; the system but we are the end user and we are also to blame. We do a lot of complaining about it but the only way it will all change if we take more responsibility for our own health.

    Over 100 years ago Thomas Edison said ” The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.” I am just one among thousands that believe we desperately need to put more resource into prevention and not drugs that frequently treat symptoms rather than cure the underlying problems.

    Supposing that your cholesterol has tested high as well as your blood pressure and the doctor starts writing a prescription for blood pressure lowering pills, diuretics(water) pills and statins but you say “No thanks, I will try diet and exercise and some relaxation first and see how I do.” Or in another case you have been diagnosed with  a rare cancer which has been removed by surgery and you say “No thanks, I don’t want chemotherapy because in my case it carries less than a 7% chance of killing my cancer but 100% chance of destroying my immune system and my quality of life.”

    If that seems an enormous step to take…….then follow my website and learn how to be confident, ask questions and make informed choices with your own body and health.

    P.S. Now, in 2016, we have a massive move to Functional Medicine and The Evolution of Medicine check out what is changing.