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Updated on March 12, 2013


Regular readers of my Hubs will know that I had to fight off Cancer in 2010. If you are not aware of this there are around 200 Hubs available which track my journey from diagnosis through the dark days and effects of Chemotherapy to the light of remission in 2011 and the continuance of that state for 2 years since then.

I have no doubts at all that my recovery owes most to the tremendous care I received from my local Hospital and the excellent Oncology team that exists there. At the same time, and this view is supported by that team, I believe that my determination to present a Positive Mental Attitude throughout the ordeal also played a significant part in the process.

However, it was not until recently that I chanced on another factor that may have well been a vital element in sustaining me through the 9 months or so of Chemotherapy and also may have been of significance at other, earlier times of illness during my lifetime.

Time here for a quick biography of my times of illness. I have been fortunate that, for long periods of my life,I have been illness free but maybe unfortunate in the fact that when I did become ill, that it was generally a heavy load that was thrust upon me.

With hindsight ,my illness periods from infancy through teenage years and on to maturity all emanated from the same point of origin. They all saw me suffer from problems in eating ,processing food, and maintaining my weight. Every time I became ill the same symptoms presented themselves. As I say, with hindsight this is obvious to me now, but to those who treated me at different times things were more complex. In time terms we are talking here of periods in differing decades. The start was 1942 to 1946, the second from 1954 to 1956, the third from 1975 to 1977, the fourth from 1986 t0 1987 and then, and hopefully finally, from 2010 to 2011.

On every occasion the symptoms, as explained, were identical and the diagnosis different on each occasion. In the 1940"s it was "pernicious anaemia". In the 1950"s no diagnosis at all was made and it was put down to "growing pains". The 1950"s saw them settle on "folic acid deficiency" and then in 1980"s "celliacs disease" Maybe on each occasion they were correct in their timescale and certainly, I follow a gluten free diet strictly with the full support of the Oncology team. As can be seen, it all comes down to food in some way and intolerance to various things in the foodchain, especially wheat.


Only recently, after reading about so called "superfoods" ,did I begin to think if there was any link to my recoveries from foods themselves and, traced back my memories of what took place during the illnesses and each climb to recovery in respect of my food intakes. My search made me think very clearly ,as there was a constant thread throughout each recovery which I had not thought of previously.

I found that on each occasion, without concious effort or knowledge on my part I had been drawn to certain foods that I may not normally eat and certainly not in the level of concentration that obtained during my illness periods as I strove for recovery.


I found ,from my memory searching that on each occasion, I had been drawn to 3 certain foods, though not always as a group. Initially, as an infant beset with what was determined as pernicious aneamia, the Doctor was keen on getting me to take in iron to help build up good blood cells. As part of this he urged my mother to try to get me to eat PIG"S LIVER, cooked as lightly as possible and preferably raw. Today he would have probably been struck off. My mother, at her wits end with a sickly infant determined with no great optimism, to try and see if I would take it. To her amazement,I immediately ate all before me and became very partial to the raw liver presented with a little salt. Almost before her eyes my condition improved and I became a sturdy infant quite quickly.

Now I know that this example of a "superfood" in my vocabulary will not appeal to all, or indeed many. Yet, everytime I have had a serious illness I have found myself drawn strongly to purchasing and eating loads of it. Again, the most curious aspect of it all is that once recovered, my appetite for it diminishes rapidly and there is no reasonable explanation for that. In fact I find this to be exactly the same with my other two "drawn to" foods

My second choice is also one that many will find not to their taste or liking for various reasons. The food in question is what we, the English , call TRIPE. Essentially this is a cow stomach which is "dressed" for consumption. There are various types of tripe, but all essentially come from the extracted stomach of the cow, washed and then boiled to be sold ready for eating. Northerners like myself like our tripe cold with salt and vinegar whilst in the South it is more likely to be served hot with cooked onions. The Spanish do a version which makes a superb tapas by the way. However, for me it is plain and simple cold fodder. Again, the interesting thing here is that I was drawn to this during my teenage illness period and again recently whilst undergoing therapy. Once more on both occasions my desire for it diminished once recovery had taken place and I can offer no explanation for this, save to say that I really enjoyed it whilst the need was there.

My final food is universally regarded now as a superfood and interestingly it is one I combined with the tripe during Chemotherapy. BEETROOT, for that is what it is, may seem an odd companion for a cow"s stomach but together they jointly sat on my plate daily through Chemo. Beetrroot is now well known as a food of good and varied constituents that benefit all types of persons from professional sportsmen to those like myself at the time, battling against Cancer.

Analysis of the rich red root has shown that taken as either a solid food or a drink can provide many benefits to the consumer. Beetroot is high in Folic Acid {note the diagnosis given to me in the 1970"s}. The consumption of beetroot, which contains nitric oxide also is now thought to assist protection from Alzheimer"s and slow down the advance of Dementia as well as helping, as it did for me, in the battle against cancer. Beetroot"s key here is in Betacyanin, a powerful antioxidant which helps slow down tumour growth.All that was unknown to me at the time. Iate it because something inside told me too do so, and also, Iliked it.


PIG"S LIVER ,TRIPE and BEETROOT ! I cannot but agree that they are a most unlikely combination. I have no medical research to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that they are indeed, effective aids against illnesses. My story is howver purely factual and I cannot find any good reason why, in times of illness as described, I have been inextricably drawn to them and voluntarily and with great enjoyment consumed them almost with a passion. Nor can I explain why, on each occasion as I recovered from the illness, my fixation on them diminished. Maybe they are a barometer of wellness for me, demanding my attention only when I am in specific need of them. I cannot be alone in this, though others may well be drawn to other foods in times of such need. Are the benefits real or simply psychological ? I have no idea but wonder if others may have explanations to offer. Certainly my GP"s are not able so to do as of yet!


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