Wednesday, 7 December 2011

ila Put a Spell on You

Review by Jessica Jones

I am under the spell of ila. To say that ila is a range of utterly sumptuous home spa 
products would be completely underselling the whole thing. 

From their website...

“ embracing the utmost ethical integrity that we can harness the earth’s highest natural 
vibrations: vibrations with the power to reach beyond the physical to nourish emotional and spiritual well-being too.”

Well - I’ve gotta get me some of that. 

Spiritual well-being aside, there’s nothing like a bit of luxury packaging to make me feel special. I savour the jewel-coloured boxes for a moment before ripping them open to 
get at the heavy, white glass jars nestled inside their golden cardboard linings. Following 
instructions from Denise Leicester, ila’s founder, I dump a handful of Himalayan bath salts 
with Damascena Rose Otto and Sandalwood into the tub and turn on the hot tap. Whilst 
the bathroom is steaming up I fold a fresh white towel, roll up some face flannels and place 
them neatly on the rim of the bath. Just like they do it in a real spa. Next I switch off the 
light and spark up my tuberose and rose candle. By now my tiny bathroom could be 
mistaken for  Sheherazade’s chamber. The bath is brimming so I top it off with a scattering 
of rose petals (not organic) and leave those to steep whilst I strip and rub my pale body 
down with Blissful Body Scrub - a heavenly concoction of Himalayan Salt Crystal, 
Damascena Rose Otto, Jasmine and Organic Rosehip seed oil. Then it’s simply a matter 
of sliding into the hot, scented water and lying there is a state of bliss and emotional 
nourishment for twenty minutes with a warm flannel over my eyes. Oh damn - I forgot the 
whale music. No matter, I can sing “Frosty the Snowman” and other hits from “The Phil 
Spector Christmas Collection” that Sheldon gave me last year. I mean, who is going to 
stop me?

So here is my first resolution for 2012: I’m going to be this good to myself at least once a 
week. I grant you permission to do the same.

And if you’re wondering what to buy as a Christmas treat for yourself or for a friend who is 
unwell, ponder no more.

ila Essence of Peace gift box, £74
ila Tuberose and Rose candle for inner peace, £45.94

Body Scrub for a Blissful Experience ingredients: Himalayan Salt Crystals (Sodium Chloride), Wild-Grown Argan Oil (Argania Spinosa Kernel), Almond (Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis), Rosehip Seed Oil (Rosa Canina Fruit), Sandalwood (Santalum Spicatum), Rose Otto Oil (Rosa Damascena Flower Oil), Jasmine (Jasminium Officinale), Patchouli (Pogostemon Cablin), Vitamin E Oil (Tocopherol Extract), Wild Poppy Essence, Naturally Occurring Citronellol, Geraniol.

Bath Salts for Inner Peace ingredients: Himalayan Salt Crystals (Sodium Chloride), Essential Oil Blend: Rose Otto Oil (Rosa Damascena Flower Oil), Sandalwood Oil (Santalum Spicatum), Jasmine Oil (Jasminium Officinale), Naturally Occurring Citronellol, Geraniol.

Tuberose and Rose Candle for Inner Peace ingredients: Beeswax, Jojoba Oil, Eco-soya, Essential Oils of Rose Absolut, Rose Geranium, Tuberose and Vetivert

Monday, 28 November 2011

Head BAM

Hooray! Our first contribution to the Chemo Chic Project.

BAM Bamboo Beanie - review by Sue Mercer

Since losing my hair I have tried a lot of different headwear. At first I wore 
scarves and practiced with tying different styles but I always had the nagging 
fear that the scarf would come undone and I would be unawarely walking 
around with a half-exposed bald head - not a good look. After a while I learned 
to be bald and proud and had no difficulty in walking around with a bare head  
- especially in the summer when the warmth of the sun felt particularly 
sensuous and healing. However there remained a fear of being 'caught out' 
unsuccessfully trying to conceal something deemed socially unacceptable. I 
likened it to a time in Bangladesh when I had gone out wearing a very 
modest, long pashmina, wrapped around me like a skirt, only to catch it on a 
wing mirror and end up standing in the crowded street desperately trying to 
conceal my legs amidst assorted children, cattle, amputee bands and 
rickshaw drivers whilst my teenage son accused me of turning it into a circus. 
However, I digress ... 

I tried a couple of beanie hats that were ok, in that they stayed on my head, 
but I always thought that they made me look vaguely like a channel swimmer 
and I am someone who can swim without getting her hair wet anyway. 
Ordinary hats were not suitable at all; my head had strangely shrunk since 
losing my hair, so the hats tended to fall down over my eyes. 

Now the BAM is cool! It's more generous than a regular beanie. It looks stylish 
and I can dress it up with a fancy pin. I would actually go so far as to say it is 
elegant - certainly not a word I would use to describe a regular beanie. Mine is 
a lovely grey colour and well made. It is double layered and stretchy. I can pull 
it down over my eyebrows if they are looking particularly werewolfy (no-one 
ever told me that when your eyebrows grow back they can grow a little curly 
and in my case with white stripes) and it still looks good. It's generous enough 
to be able to turn up the brim or pull up at a jaunty angle that I like to think 
looks very 1930s movie star. 

The hat is made in Turkey of 68% bamboo, 28% cotton and a bit of stretchy 
elastane. Bamboo is a natural fibre that does not damage the environment 
and most importantly does not add any toxic chemicals to my delicate head. It 
is very soft and warm and does not make my head feel stifled. 

Mine is a lovely grey colour. I am very pleased with my BAM beanie and will 
be keeping it to wear even when my hair comes back. 

Sue Mercer was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in December 2010.  She underwent three rounds of chemotherapy and then went on a 3 week healing retreat at Hippocrates Health Institute, Florida before having a bone marrow transplant on July 1st 2011.  She is now recovering well.

Friday, 18 November 2011

The Chemo Chic Project is Born

With the publication of my memoir The Elegant Art of Falling Apart, I feel that my personal Chemo Chic story has been told. 
It is time for Chemo Chic to take a new direction.
When I was diagnosed there was so much I did not know. I still don't know a great deal - but everything that I have learned along the way I have shared on this blog. And to me, that is the point: Chemo Chic is not about me, its about sharing what I've learned. 
Now I am asking you to do the same. 
The Chemo Chic Project has commenced and has already recruited two fantastic experts to the panel: fitness angel Melanie Metcalfe and natural beauty guru Imelda Burke. More will be joining soon. Our vision is to recreate Chemo Chic as a brilliant resource for anyone going through the trauma of cancer. If you feel you have a story that can inspire others, or just some good practical advice, then we would love your contribution.
We are looking for guest blog posts which are:
  • Useful
  • Practical
  • Positive
  • Well written
  • Well researched
You may be going through cancer yourself. You may be a partner, friend or family member of someone who is going through it. You may have had cancer in the past. You may have unique insight as a doctor, nurse, nutritionist, therapist, chef or hairdresser. Your story might be about a day in your life; any aspect of your cancer journey or your experience as a partner, friend or family member of someone going through cancer. You could include photos, illustrations, videos or links. No story is too small but it has to be yours. 
Chemo Chic is about living well in the face of cancer. We are particularly interested in posts that cover the following areas:
  • Recipes and food 
  • Natural beauty and cosmetics
  • Wigs and hair tips and stories
  • Clothing, hats and scarves
  • Fitness and exercise
  • Complementary therapies
  • Relationships with partners, family and friends
What we are not looking for:
  • Advice giving (but do relate your own experiences)
  • Medical advice (unless you have specific expertise in this field)
  • Miracle cures (unless you have genuinely experienced one yourself)
Send your proposals and submissions to Please share this with anyone who you know who you think has a great story to tell or a useful tip to share.

Many thanks and looking forward to reading your posts. Now get writing!
Jessica Jones

Monday, 24 October 2011

Attention, New Yorkers

I received this from the photographer David Jay. If you're in New York this week I urge you to go along. The Scar Project is a very moving and thoughtful body of work.

Reminder: Four days left-The SCAR Project Opening Night Gala, October 28th. Exhibition runs through November 6th, 2011. Please join us in celebrating this extraordinary project. Tickets are available online at EventBrite for our Opening Night Gala or a Gallery Walk with photographer David Jay, on October 30th and November 5th. General admission tickets are also available for the entire 10 days and evenings of the exhibition. We look forward to seeing you at 201 Mulberry St. NY, NY.
For more information on The SCAR Project, please visit our website at or our Facebook page.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Look, a Book

Bang a gong! Play that funky music white boy! Get down with the trumpets! Hit me with your rhythm stick!

Why the big hullabaloo? Jessica Jones' eagerly awaited book The Elegant Art of Falling Apart is published this week by Hachette Australia.

The book tells the touching tale of a woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer and how she got through it by writing a mad blog about cancer fashion and beauty tips; with a lot of help from her wonderfully eccentric friends and with the love of her handsome Aussie boyfriend. Only... uh-oh, it turns out that he didn't love her after all and just as soon as she finished the chemo and radiotherapy, he dumped her...

Hang on a minute. Clearly this impostor has gone and rocked up at a publishing house with a story she's lifted directly from Chemo Chic. Can you credit the bare-faced impertinence of the woman!

Plagiarism aside, it looks like a pretty good read. Celebrated Australian actress Susie Porter says this:

'Jess has the amazing ability to make you feel that you are with her, every step of the way. I laughed out loud, I cried and I couldn't put The Elegant Art of Falling Apart down, couldn't stop reading until I'd completed this extraordinary journey with her.'

For those of you with Attention Deficit Disorder, here are some one-line reviews from Twitter:

'Never read such a heartrendingly funny brave book. Title sums it up perfectly.'

'An amazing inspirational woman's experience with cancer and a wanker.'

Please feel free to add your own one-line review on The Elegant Art of Falling Apart facebook page.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

The Hair-Story Continues...

On October 15th, 2009, two years ago, I had my final (I hope) chemotherapy session.

Bald as a billiard ball I progressed to five weeks of radiotherapy and, during that time, small fluffy strands of hair started to appear, like peach fuzz.

By January 2010 my heart was broken (that's a whole other story) but my hair was a centimetre long.

In March that year my friend Deidre trimmed off the ends. Loath as I was to part with the tiniest wisp of my new hair Nurse Lottie had insisted that this must be done because the first growth would be full of chemo chemicals and generally 'rubbish'.

Since then I have not had cut it at all. Not once. Now that all must change. It's time for Lily to bite the bullet and venture forth to the hairdresser. Much as I'm looking forward to hanging out with the lovely Kell Skott and his equally lovely wife Jacqui, I simply can't bear to sacrifice my hard won hair in vain. No! If it's going to be cut, it's going to be cut for a cause.

The Haven is a wonderful sanctuary for anyone with breast cancer. They helped and cared for me during my difficult year of breast cancer. Please sponsor my BIG BIANNUAL HAIRCUT by donating to the Haven. 

Click here to donate via Virgin Giving.

For illustrative purposes only - actual result may differ

Sunday, 2 October 2011


October sweeps in on a wave of insanely glorious sunshine and a tsunami of bonkers pink ribbon promotions.

If you were reading Chemo Chic this time last year, you will know that I am all in favour of raising money for breast cancer charities and being generally aware of the signs of BC to look out for. But some of the ways that companies latch onto this particular good cause to push their products is suspect, bordering on outright exploitative.

First out of the traps is Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Tampa, Florida. So if you fancy gorging on hamburgers whilst gambling away your life savings for the cause, grab a cab to Heathrow now! They are running a "limited availability Pink Sheets guest room promotion including complimentary commemorative Hard Rock pin". Should you not feel pinked out enough you may wish to pop down to the gift shop to pick up a few pink bath robes, ‘collectible’ Hard Rock Pinktober charm bracelets, t-shirts, leather vests, sleepwear, travel mugs, bandanas, and pink-hued guitar-embossed, bedding. Between 15% and 25% of your cash will be donated to breast cancer research, depending on what you buy.

Alternatively you could stay sitting in front of your computer, take a few minutes to click on a link, fill in your card details and donate directly to your favourite breast cancer charity – which will receive 100% of the money. Then snuggle up on the sofa with a pink cushion and a cup of green tea to watch Downton Abbey, as I will be doing.

Far be it from Lily to judge. If you want to support breast cancer charities by filling your home with cheap tat, please be my guest. There is no harm in it. But I draw the line when companies start pushing pink ribbon products that contain ingredients known or highly suspected to promote breast cancer. This year’s top contenders for the Pink Hypocrisy award include American breast cancer charity Susan G. Komen for the Cure for their fundraising perfume ‘Promise Me’. According to Breast Cancer Action’s ‘Think Before You Pink’ campaign the pink-ribboned scent contains: ‘Galaxolide - a synthetic musk that works as a hormone disruptor, and Toluene, a potent neurotoxicant.’ Honest injun!

‘Promise Me’ is joined by another of the usual suspects: Estée Lauder’s Elizabeth Hurley pink ribbon collection. I will eat one of those BHT, Octinoxate, Alumina and synthetic fragrance containing little pink sticks if anyone can tell me one constructive thing that our Liz has done to advance the cause of breast cancer prevention, other than show up at parties sponsored by Estée Lauder.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

YOU are Invited

Kiwi natural health and beauty company Comvita specialises in all things Manuka - not just honey but gorgeous beauty products, health supplements - even toothpaste. 

I'm giving a talk at their shop in Portobello Road. Please come along, have a cup of tea and hear all about Jessica Jones' Damascene conversion to clean beauty. Better than that, listen to words of wisdom from the lovely Tina Glynn of The Haven. She really knows what she is talking about. And even better than any of that, go home with a bag of Comvita goodies!

Consider yourself invited.

Please join us at Comvita Portobello on Tuesday 27th September for an afternoon of pampering for the mind and body accompanied by a delicious afternoon tea.

Hear inspirational talks from natural beauty enthusiast and breast cancer survivor Jessica Jones alongside Tina Glynn MSc, BSc, RGN, Cancer Nurse Specialist and Programme Manager at Haven Breast Cancer Care.

Enjoy our specialist range of natural health and beauty products and gain new insights into the Western herbal medicine approach to cancer support.

Entrance is £5 and includes against a goody bag that contains a jar of UMF® 5+ Manuka honey and other lovely Comvita stuff. Only limited spaces available.

Tuesday 27th September
1.30- 5pm
Comvita Portobello
212 Portobello Road,
London, W11 1LA

Nearest Tube Ladbroke Grove or Notting Hill Gate
Buses 7 and 70 to junction of Portobello Road and Westbourne Park Road

0207 985 0056

Thursday, 18 August 2011

A Scarf For All Seasons

Last week it was so hot I had to pin my hair up just to get it away from my neck. Think about that... I had to pin my hair up!

My head and me have come a long way on our Chemo Chic journey. Two summers ago we were in a state of near total baldness. I remember trying to look at the bright side: no need for washing and styling; big savings in the hair salon column of my annual budget and freedom from the August heat - except that the chemo caused such terrible hot flushes and then I was faced with a choice between wearing a hot, itchy wig or wrapping my baldy bonce in a headscarf. 

The secret is to acquire some light summer scarves in natural fibres, as advocated by this week's guest blogger Mary Ward.

Scarves for Summertime

Scarves are a winter wardrobe staple, but they often fall by the wayside as we're choosing clothes for the hot weather. There may be some days when wearing a scarf around your head just feels like it increases the already boiling temperature by 100 degrees. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn't wear these beautiful works of art during the summer. We just have to be a little more creative about it. There are lots of ways we can use scarves even during the hottest months. This is especially true when we choose silk scarves like these I found on Net-a-Porter.

Scarves made from silk and cotton blends like those are every bit as luxurious as Pashmina scarves, yet not nearly as hot for wearing around your head.

I can imagine one of these Alexander McQueen scarves looking fabulous worn with jeans or Capris. Pair it with a simple white tee and some big sunglasses and you have a perfectly put together, yet perfectly cool and comfortable summer outfit.

Skull Scarf by Alexander McQueen

Did you know that when you're in the sun, covering your head can actually make you cooler? And during the sticky days of September, anything that can make us cooler and look great at the same time is a winner in my book!

Chemotherapy patients may particularly appreciate these scarves for how stylish they are and how cool they'll be in the summer. So many women going through chemo get very stressed out about dressing up and going out when they start to lose their hair. But, with scarves as beautiful as these, you can make a fashion statement with your headwear.

In fact, I recommend getting several scarves like these for your wardrobe. Perhaps purchase one, like this one from Antik, as your "go-to" scarf for summer. It's made of cotton, so it will be especially cool, and has some little mirrored sequins that give it an extra punch of style. It will work well with nearly all of your casual outfits.

Antik Cotton Scarf

But, you may also want a couple more scarves designed to go with specific outfits. For example, can you imagine how cute this Yves St. Laurent animal print scarf would be with your favorite "little black dress"?

Yves St Laurent Silk and Muslin Scarf

Or, try this little number from Matthew Williamson to punch up one of your more neutral outfits.  I love the idea of this scarf with a grey suit or beige pants outfit.

Matthew Williamson Silk Chiffon Scarf

For summer wear, stay away from the heavier scarf materials, like cashmere and wool, and choose these light and comfortable blends of silk, chiffon, cotton and muslin to keep you looking stylish and feeling cool. But, don't forget to check them out again in the autumn, when their luxurious cashmere scarves will keep you nice and cosy as the mercury starts to dip.

Mary Ward shares a passion for pretty things and appreciates the versatility and timelessness of silk scarves for summer fashions.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Shopping Made Simple

 After being diagnosed with breast cancer I was immediately inundated with a small tsunami of dietary advice. Everyone, it seemed, was keen to offer me opinions about what I should or should not eat. I read books on macrobiotics, juicing, raw food, the dangers of dairy and the importance of iodine until I felt the need to go and lie down in a darkened room with a chocolate éclair over my eyes.

I instinctively felt that eating the right things would play a very important part in my recovery. But I have to say, I did become fearful, overwhelmed and a little bit paranoid about the whole anti-cancer diet. I also felt slightly depressed at the prospect of a lifetime of lentil stew and carrot sandwiches that I envisaged stretching tediously before me.

Now, I have always prided myself on my cooking but one of my main problems was that I just didn’t know where to start, nor did I have the energy to undertake an Open University course in nutrition and naturopathy. I understood that the first step would be to actually have the right foods in my kitchen. It would be relatively simple matter to create healthy meals if my cupboards and fridge were all stocked up with healthy ingredients. But what were they?

At the time it would have been great to have had a simple shopping list to take with me to the supermarket. You may be experiencing similar confusion about what to eat and what to buy. Fear not. Lily has been there to beat a path before you. And that path has led me to the door of Barbara Cox, nutritionist, chef and proprietor of – you guessed it – Nutrichef.

So take the stress and guesswork out of food shopping. You simply can’t go wrong with Barbara’s super shopping list.

100 Star Foods For Superhealth

To facilitate the myriad of biochemical processes that go on inside us each and every day we all need a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. To get these nutrients we need to eat a wide variety of different kinds of food, but, alarmingly, many of us eat a very restricted diet in which we repeatedly choose our favourite meals. In contrast, I noted that people in Japan – where I was lucky enough to live for eight years - eat a far more varied diet, often consuming around 100 different varieties of food each week. Is it any wonder, therefore, that the United Kingdom finds itself at Number 37 in the world rankings for life expectancy, while Japan finds itself at Number 3.

So why not aim to up your intake of healthy ingredients? Here I’ve identified 100 of the best on Planet Earth, beginning with the most important group – fruit and vegetables.

Fruit and Vegetables

Although the UK Government recommends a daily intake of five portions of fruit and veg, experts say this should be the bare minimum. Nine or ten is a better figure to aim for. In fact, a recent study from the US National Cancer Institute found that women who ate ten servings of fruit and veg each day lowered their risk of having a heart attack by 40%. For each additional serving, you lower your risk of heart disease by an additional 4%. I find that a target of ten is easy to achieve if you make stir fries, stews and casseroles.

  1. Red and orange peppers Rich in disease-fighting antioxidants, they contain three times as much vitamin C as citrus fruit, and they have antibacterial qualities.
  2. Broccoli A cancer fighting veg, it’s high in Calcium, folate and antioxidants.
  3. Carrots They have cholesterol lowering properties and are rich in Vitamin A, which is good for your eyes.
  4. Sweet potatoes Rich in Fibre, vitamin C, folate, iron, copper and calcium; sweet potatoes are also bursting with Vitamin A.
  5. Watercress Packed with folate, iron and betacarotene, and good for cardiovascular and thyroid function, too.
  6. Tomatoes They’re packed with vitamin C and the antioxidant lycopene.
  7. Red cabbage Rich in fibre, vitamin C, betacarotene and disease-fighting sulphorate.
  8. Blueberries Loaded with anthocyans, vitamin C and fibre. A great source of disease-fighting antioxidants.
  9. Apples Rich in Vitamin C and soluble fibre, which is gentler on your gut than insoluble fibre.
  10. Peaches Easily digested and have a cleansing effect on your kidneys and bladder, too.
  1. Asparagus High in nutrients, especially vitamin K (important for blood clotting) and folic acid. A good liver tonic.
  2. Beansprouts Rich in vitamin B3, which keeps down cholesterol levels and regulates blood sugar. Also rich in biochemicals that aid digestion.
  3. Aubergines Full of calcium and betacarotene, aubergines are good for the cardio-vascular system
  4. Mangetout Good source of fibre and rich in vitamins A, C and K.
  5. Watermelon An ‘anti-aging’ fruit that’s rich in lycopene and immune-boosting vitamin C.
  6. Pineapple Contains bromelain, an important digestive enzyme that kills bacteria. It’s an anti-bloat food, too.
  7. Raspberries Provides around 40% of your daily dose of vitamin C as well as other powerful antioxidants.
  8. Kiwi fruit Very rich in immune-boosting vitamin C, magnesium and potassium, which are vital for healthy nerves and muscles. One kiwi contains your reference nutrient intake of vitamin C.
  9. Cranberries Rich in anti-aging antioxidants; help prevent the build-up of plaque in the arteries and may help to prevent urinary tract infections.
  10. Pomegranate Hailed as a new superfruit, thanks to high levels of Vitamins A, C and E and other antioxidants.
  11. Goji Berries These Asian fruits contain up to 21 trace minerals. They’re said to be the richest source of carotenoids, including beta-carotene, of all known foods. Available as dried fruits from healthfood shops.

There are two kinds of carbohydrate: complex and simple. Normally in life we’re told to keep things simple and avoid overcomplicating things; however, with carbohydrates, we should do the opposite! Simple carbohydrates are all the naughty ones like chocolates, cakes and sweets that provide us with ‘empty’ calories - calories galore with very few useful nutrients thrown in for good measure! The problem with simple carbohydrates is that their high concentration of sugar breaks down very quickly, giving you an energy ‘high’ followed quickly by an energy ‘low’.

In contrast, complex carbohydrates like oats, millet, maize, rice and wheat provide us with energy in a slow-release form, and they provide us with vitamins and minerals.

  1. Brown rice Good source of energy, as well as B Vitamins.
  2. Pearl barley Linked with lower cholesterol levels, good for the digestive tract and contains zinc, which boosts the immune system.
  3. Oats A superb energy source, rich in fibre, they reduce cholesterol and are packed with minerals and vitamin B5 – important for hair, skin and nails.
  4. Quinoa Good source of protein, vitamin E and iron, plus zinc, which is good for the immune system.
  5. Spelt A distant relative of wheat, but it’s more easily absorbed by the body.
  6. Rye Contains iron and B vitamins. Regular intakes of rye are linked with lower rates of heart disease.
  7. Buckwheat High in protein, use this gluten-free grain in flour form for bread, pancakes etc.
  8. Millet This gluten-free carb is great as an alternative to rice. Contains zinc, iron, vitamins B3 and E.
  9. Soba Noodles Usually made from buckwheat, they may have wheat flour added. Contain selenium and zinc.
  10. Couscous A source of slow release carbohydrate, it’s rich in vitamin B3, which provides energy. Also rich in minerals and vitamin B5 – important for healthy hair, skin and nails.
  11. Bulgur/cracked wheat Both good sources of slow-releasing carbs.


Protein is essential for growth and repair. As for how much to eat, a rough guide is to clench your fist and eat the same volume of protein with every meal!

  1. Walnuts A good source of omega-3’s and antioxidants.
  2. Shellfish Most varieties are high in omega-3 fatty acids and zinc.
  3. Turkey Rich source of vitamin B12, potassium, zinc and iron.
  4. Chickpeas Rich in phyto-oestrogens, which are linked with lower rates of some cancers.
  5. Eggs One egg provides a third of your Vitamin B12 needs, essential for the nervous system.
  6. Kidney Beans Great Source of fibre and are rich in complex carbs.
  7. Tofu Low-fat protein that contains some iron, zinc and B vitamins.
  8. Mackerel The richest fish source of omega-3’s.
  9. Edamame A soya bean that’s rich in cancer-fighting isoflavones.
  10. Venison Lower in saturated fats than other red meats.
  1. Mussels Provide an excellent supply of B12. Rich in selenium and iodine, which helps thyroid function.
  2. Mung Beans Most nutrititious when sprouted, they’re rich in minerals, phyto-oestrogens and vitamin C.
  3. Rabbit Lower in fat than other red meats and is rich in iron, zinc and vitamin B12.
  4. Pumpkin seeds A particularly good source of iron and zinc.
  5. Dulse (seaweed) High in vitamin B, iron and potassium.
Seasonal Produce

Local, seasonal foods will be fresher and more nutrient-rich. Here are some around in the colder months, when we’re in even more need of a healthy diet.

  1. Artichoke Rich in fibre, vitamin c, potassium and magnesium, they’re good for digestion.
  2. Acorn squash Packed with nutrients that benefit your eyes, blood pressure and immunity.
  3. Celeriac Contains potassium, phosphorus, vitamin C and fibre.
  4. Beetroot High in vitamin C, betacarotene, magnesium, iron and folic acid.
  5. Red onion Rich in cancer-fighting quercetin.
  6. Brussels sprouts Loaded with folic acid and suphotaphane, thought to be a potent anti-carcinogen.
  7. Passion fruit A good source of vitamins A and C, passion fruit is thought to aid sleep.
  8. Satsumas Excellent source of vitamin C and folate.
  9. Kale Full of iron and folic acid, and easy to use in stir-fries.
Fats and Oils

Healthy Fats are important for your metabolism and absorption of vitamins A, D, E and K, for brain development and feelings of satiety. Aim for no more than 70g (about 3 tablespoons) a day.

  1. Flaxseed oil Rich in fatty acids thought to prevent heart disease.
  2. Rapeseed oil A healthy cooking oil and a source of omega-3’s.
  3. Avocado Contains vitamin E, so it’s great for your skin.
  4. Olive oil Rich in oleic acid, which helps you absorb omega-3’s.
  5. Hazelnut oil High in omega-9’s and contains vitamin E.
Herbs and Spices

These provide trace elements, have medicinal properties and help create different flavours and textures, enabling you to experiment with a wider variety of foods.

  1. Ginger Good for digestion and is also anti-inflammatory.
  2. Garlic This has antibacterial, antiviral and antiseptic qualities.
  3. Mint Contains vitamin C, calcium and iron.
  4. Turmeric Containing curcumin, it has anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting effects.
  5. Cinnamon A warming spice useful for treating colds, stomach pains and poor circulation.
  6. Bay leaves They provide traces of iron and phosphorus, and are good for digestion.
  7. Rosemary A good stimulant for your immune system and a powerful antioxidant.
  8. Chives They contain compounds that may help to lower blood cholesterol levels.
  9. Coriander Good tonic for your stomach, heart and urinary tract.
  10. Dill Antibacterial herb that’s a good source of calcium.
  11. Fennel Known for its diuretic effects, traditionally used to relieve intestinal cramps.
  12. Parsley Contains vitamin C, folic acid and betacarotene.
  13. Sage is an anti-inflammatory and is good for digestion.
  14. Thyme Known best for its antioxidant properties.

  1. Sunflower and pumpkin seeds These help beat inflammation.
  2. Porridge its slow-release energy may help control sugar cravings.
  3. Bananas Contain serotonin, which boosts mood, and their potassium may help beat fluid retention, too.
  4. Lentils Loaded with magnesium – low levels of magnesium may cause cramps.
  5. Wholegrains Rich in vitamin B6 and B1, which help beat cramps.
  6. Celery Contains phytochecmicals that may help calm nerves.
  7. Spinach Rich in folate – low levels of which have been linked to depression. 
  1. Green tea Rich in catechin polyphenols, which slow the signs of aging
  2. Pink grapefruit Contains lycopene, which mops up free radicals.
  3. Salmon Contains dimethylaminoe-thanol, a powerful antioxidant.
  1. Basil Used by herbalists for its antidepressant properties.
  2. Strawberries Rich in antioxidants that are said to aid concentration.
  3. Yeast extract Filled with brain-boosting B vitamins.
  4. Sardines Bursting with omega-3 fatty acids. 
  1. Fig This fibrous fruit contains sleep-inducing tryptophan.
  2. Wild lettuce Leafy greens that contain the sedative lactucarium.
  3. Sesame seeds Their omega-6s support healthy sleep patterns. 
  1. Nettles are used in herbal teas and have purifying properties.
  2. Physalis is high in vitamin C.
  3. Daikon radishes are rich in iron and high in antioxidants
  4. Acai berries are antibacterial.
  5. Papaya aids digestion.
  6. Okra is a good veg source of calcium.
  7. Miso paste is rich in phyto-oestrogens.
  8. Guavas are high in vitamin C
 © Nutrichef 2004-2010