FiMunro

love, light and mermaid tails


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What the Fuck Can I Eat?

For the purpose of this post I would like to define myself under three important points; 1. I am a PhD researcher with an unwavering curiosity; 2. I live with stage four ovarian cancer; 3. I LOVE food – it is quite possibly one of my favourite things. Together, these three defining factors create a woman with a passionate interest in how the food we put into our bodies affects us physically (and emotionally). However, in my search for the ‘optimal diet’ I’ve discovered that it is not as straightforward as we might like.
Let me explain.

I have a gluten allergy and chemo has left me intolerant to diary so these food groups are obviously off of the menu (for me anyway).

Meat

Extensive researching led me to the conclusion that meat is bad for you. In particular, if you have or have had cancer, there are many studies that show that the hormones in non organic meat can increase the rate at which cancer spreads. The same can be said about eating a diet high in protein. However (and it’s a big ‘however’) the’Paleo Diet’ encourages that we eat a diet close to that which would have been eaten by cave men. It advocates a diet high in vegetables, fruit, nuts, oils AND meat. So is it healthy to eat meat or not?

The confusion doesn’t end there either. Many people thriving with cancer, or seeking to reach the point where they can thrive, advocate ‘bone broth’ as a way of boosting their immune system and gut health. What is bone broth? It is, basically, animal bones boiled with vegetables and the resulting liquid is drunk as a ‘broth’. It is what our grandmothers did instinctively for years when they were making a soup or gravy.

Confused? I’m sorry to say that this is just the start in our quest for the ‘perfect’ diet.

Sugar

Let’s take a minute now to think about sugar. We all know it’s bad right? I’ve written a whole other blog post about why I don’t eat sugar and it is featured as a whole section in my book. However, what do we mean when we say ‘sugar’? Do we mean the white stuff we may add to our tea or coffee? Or does it go beyond this?  Can we eat fresh fruit? What about dried fruit? What about fruit juice? Do these negatively impact our bodies in the same way as table sugar?

Well, again, it’s not a straightforward answer. Firstly, let’s get something clear – everything you eat is converted to glucose by your body when you eat it. Yes, everything. This is not an issue. It is, of course, a natural and healthy response. However, refined sugar doesn’t need to go through this process and has no nutritional value, hence the poor health implications when we indulge. However, many sugar free diets advocate no dried fruit or dried sweet vegetables, no fruit juice and only a couple of pieces of whole fruit a day due to their high fructose content.

That seems straightforward enough, but hang on a moment. Let’s look at the raw food diet. It advocates eating a diet high in fruit and vegetables (and greens) and has a particular focus (if you are to believe raw ‘cook’ books) on raw snacks containing dried fruit and vegetables. Even if we are not to go completely raw, and instead want to add smoothies and juices to our diet, we will find that most recipients are high in fruit so that they are more palatable to someone used to a westernised, high sugar diet. So are these not as healthy as we are led to believe? Is drinking a juice or smoothie with several pieces of fruit as ‘bad’ for your body as drinking a can of fizzy juice? Well, if we were to look only at the sugar (namely the retrospective fructose and glucose contents) then the answer would be yes. These, ‘healthy’ drinks would likely have a higher sugar content. However, it can also be argued that a can of fizzy juice has no nutritional value, whereas a fruit juice or smoothie is high in nutrients. 

The list of controversies goes on.

Fat

We are often told to eat a low fat diet. Without the right information this can lead us to turn to food labelled as ‘low fat’. These, however, are extremely high in sugar. Also, nuts and oils are amongst some of the most nutritious foods we can eat and yet they also have the highest fat contents. Sweeping statements like ‘eat low fat’ fail to recognise not only the difference between different types of fat in our food but also that the fat we eat doesn’t make us fat. Yes, you read that right, fat doesn’t make us fat; sugar does.

So what the fuck can I eat?

The confusion doesn’t end here. In fact, I could probably right another book dedicated solely to food and, who knows, maybe one day I will. However, in the meantime, the brief exploration above may leave you questioning “what the fuck can I eat?” If this sums up how you feel then rest assured, you are not alone.

In the past two years since my diagnosis I have played around with my diet in my quest for the optimal diet for my body. I have gone from a high protein diet to a vegan. I have gone from a sugar junkie to avoiding the white stuff. I’ve consumed green smoothies high in fruit and I’ve also had weeks where I’ve avoided fruit altogether. I’ve gone from cooking a different meal each night to eating 100% raw for nearly two months. I’ve studied a range of diets and I’ve used myself as a test subject. I’ve also had ‘blow out’ weekends were I’ve eaten whatever I want – from meat to sugar and back to salads again.

This is what I’ve learned:

Guiding Principles

  • Each of our bodies are uniquely wonderful and special. There is no ‘one size fits all’ diet. Whilst there are some guiding principles, ultimately, we should learn to listen to our bodies.
  • Eat the rainbow – ensure your plate is always filled with a range of colours.

Avoid

  • Processed foods.
  • Anything labelled low in fat.Whenever you read these words, replace them with the phrase ‘chemical shit storm’. Low fat products will do you no good, ever.
  • Foods with a long list of ingredients (in particular any that you can’t pronounce).

Focus on

  • Whole foods
  • Organic foods (wherever possible)
  • Variety

Indulge In

  • Greens. Salad, kale, hard, herbs, sprouts etc are all incredibly nutritious foods and essential in your daily diet if you are seeking optimal health.
  • Vegetables

Include

  • Fruit. Favour fresh fruit and always eat more vegetables than fruit.
  • Nuts, seeds and oils.

Some things to think about

  • If you want to eat meat try to ensure that it is lean cuts and that it is organic. Also, try not to have meat every day.
  • If you want a sweet treat, favour a home made cake over a processed bar of chocolate. Also keep it as a treat, rather than a daily ritual. Ideally, learn how to make some sugar free treats.
  • Favour smoothies over juices.
  • Favour organic dairy wherever possible.
  • Reduce (or illuminate) your consumption of caffeine and alcohol.

A Parting Thought

In our quest for health it is very easy to get obsessive about the food we eat. I know, I’ve been there. However, ultimately if you eat an organic, unprocessed and varied diet then you are doing great. Don’t punish yourself if you want to eat a piece of cake one day. Simply enjoy the cake and move on. Life is far to short to punish ourselves for the food we do and don’t eat.

For me, my diet looks like this:

  • I’m mainly vegan – sometimes however I enjoy a pouched egg, fish or even (on rare occasions) a steak.
  • I’m mainly sugar free – sometimes however I indulge in a piece of cake.
  • I’m 100% gluten free (allergy)
  • I’m 100% dairy free (intolerance)
  • I’m 80% raw – I tried 100% raw and I felt great, however, my love of curry and baked potatoes (and my realisation that life is short) was too strong.
  • I eat a variety of greens daily
  • I eat at least 8 different vegetables every day
  • I eat no more than 2 pieces of whole fruit every day
  • I eat a lot of nuts, seeds and oils
  • I avoid processed foods, choosing whole foods.
  • I make food using fresh, organic ingredients.
  • I make a smoothie everyday and avoid juice. However, I also sometimes enjoy a glass of apple juice as a treat.
  • I never drink alcohol, fizzy juice or caffeine.
  • I use spices, herbs, garlic and ginger every day.

Ultimately I enjoy food and I fuel my body without punishment.

I encourage you to do the same. Stop punishing yourself and embrace your diet. Make small changes to including more nutritious food and stop judging yourself for wherever you may be in your food journey. No one is ‘perfect’. I’ve just been awarded ‘health blogger of the year 2017′ and even I like cake on occasion.

Love and light, Fi xxx

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The Innate Ability to be Kind

Today I met my Uncle for a cuppa and he gave me this beautiful teal dream catcher.

When I got back to my car I noticed that the car in front had a parking fine on their windscreen. We’ve all been there – it’s the worse feeling coming back to your car to an unexpected bill to add to the list. I felt for the person and wondered about their reaction. Whilst doing so I noted that they had not ‘just’ missed the end of their paid time by a few moments. Their parking had been up for nearly three hours!

As I sat in my own car I began to wonder why someone would be so late for their car. I knew immediately what I had to do. I reached for something in my bag, leapt out of my car and slipped one of my blue envelopes under their windscreen wiper. Inside was a random act of kindness. At least now they now have some money to help with the bill 💖

Doing these random acts of kindness never fails to brighten my day. The simple gesture of touching a stranger’s life in a beautiful way with no expectation of their reaction is one of the most beautiful things we can all do. It doesn’t have to cost a penny. A smile costs nothing and yet it can make a huge difference to someone’s life.

How lucky we are to all have this innate gift to help others.

Love and light, Fi xxx

You can read more about my random acts of kindness and where the money comes from.


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Sprouting For Joy – Raw Food Day 6

Sprouting For Joy – Raw Food Day 6Wow it’s already 6 days since I started eating 100% raw and I am feeling AMAZING!

Today’s video is all about sprouts! No not the kind you avoid at Christmas but sprouted nuts, seeds and lentils and why they are a must in a raw food diet. Actually why they are a must in everyone’s diet!

These are super tasty, super healthy and, best of all, super easy to prepare!

I hope you enjoy the video and feel inspired to ‘sprout for joy’ too!

Love and light, Fi xx

New to my page? In Jan 2016 , at the age of just 30, I was diagnosed with non-genetic, stage four ovarian cancer. There is no stage five. Since then I’ve quit my job as a researcher and retrained as a yoga instructor. I’ve launched my own yoga business and spend my time teaching and practicing yoga and ensuring I have optimal nutritional, physical and emotional health. I also recently wrote a book about my journey back to wholeness.

I’ve been shortlisted for ‘The Health Blogger of the Year’.

It would be super awesome if you could head here and vote to help me win.

You don’t need to provide any details (not even your name!), you just have to tick a box!

Namaste!


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Support – Raw Food Day 5

Over the past 21 months I have received unwavering support from both friends and family, for which I am eternally grateful.

Despite my positive outlook and the fact that my cancer miraculously went into remission last year this does not mean I am ‘cured’.

In reality, statistically the chances of me dying from my cancer in the next three years are 83%* (these odds are increased further due to my lack of a spleen). This is not the odds of a recurrence, these are the odds of death.

Now, as a researcher, (and as a generally stubborn individual) the only reason I like statistics is so that I can disprove them. For this reason, many of you have witnessed me making radical (and perhaps sometimes crazy) lifestyle changes.

I am now embarking on a journey of eating 100% raw food. This is not because I think it will ‘cure’ my cancer, but rather because it is my strong, personal belief that this will give my body the best chance of surviving in spite of cancer.

So, why am I spending a Saturday morning telling you this? Simply because I need your support. I don’t expect anyone else to switch to a raw food diet (not even my lovely hubby), I love you all just as you are. However, I do need your encouragement. Whilst you can eat whatever you like in front of me (yes even steak!), please don’t offer it to me. Instead, please support my food choices. Please don’t pass judgement over what I eat either. There is nothing worse than when someone says “I feel bad that you can’t eat this.” When you make these comments what I actually hear is “I feel bad that you have stage four cancer and I don’t.”

In reality, I don’t mind not eating what you eat, ever! 

Most importantly don’t feel that we can’t go out for meals or eat together. I will always find a way of eating something raw when we are out and I LOVE food.

So, in short. Please encourage and support me as I make this change in my life. It will not always be easy for me and I really need your help. It is what I need to do for me** in order to give my body the best chance of survival. At the very least it will enable me to say “at least I tried.”

Love and light, Fi xx

*I prefer to look at it as 17% chance of surviving 💜 

**I wish to highlight that I don’t think everyone with cancer (or any disease for that matter) should switch to a similar diet, nor do I pass judgement on any one else’s diet choices. Rather, this is what I instinctively feel is right for me at this moment xxx


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Are you eating enough calories – raw food day 4

Are you eating enough calories – raw food day 4

It’s my fourth day of eating only raw food and all people keep asking me is ‘can you eat enough calories on a raw diet?”

Well, this is my take on it. If I was just eating carrot sticks then no! However, by eating a well balanced diet of a range of fruit, veg, greens, nuts and seeds then yes!

The idea behind a raw diet isn’t to cut calories…it’s to replace the calories from cooked food with calories from raw food. The most awesome part of this is you get to eat even more than before!

It may only be day four but I have loads of energy and I am feeling unstoppable. Today I’ve done an ashtanga yoga session and two walks and normally I’d spend a Friday resting after 5+hrs of teaching yoga on a Thursday. Not today!

Also, despite being told about the many ‘detox side affects’ of going raw all I have experienced is a slight headache and I’ve noticed I’m not sleeping as well but that it doesn’t matter because I don’t feel like I need as much sleep anyway. However, maybe the side affects will start tomorrow?

Happy eating.

Love and light, Fi xx

Follow me on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

⭐️I’ve been shortlisted for ‘The Health Blogger of the Year’. ⭐️

It would be super awesome if you could head here and vote to help me win.

In August 2017 I published a book about my story and how I strive to live an incredible life with ‘terminal’ cancer — Love, Light and Mermaid Tails: One Woman’s Healing Journey Back to Wholeness Through Stage Four Cancer 


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Raw Cucumber Side Salad – Raw Food Day 3

Raw Cucumber Side Salad – Raw Food Day 3 VIDEO BLOGHello!
So after my video post yesterday, a few of you have been asking for some of my recipes and I thought the easiest way would be to create a video of me making one of them…I need some practice as things get messy! Hahahaha!

For this recipe you will need:

  • A cucumber. 
  • A piece of ginger (skin on). 
  • Apple Cider Vinegar (you can also use balsamic). 
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil. 
  • Miso Paste. (Miss this out if you are strict raw). 
  • Honey. (Miss this out if you are strict vegan).
  • Seeds – I use sunflower and pumpkin seeds (unroasted!) 

I’ve said it already, but I’ll say it again. I am not a believer of following a strict and compromised diet just so I can say I am ‘raw’ or so I can say I am ‘vegan’. I am all about eating the healthiest and most nutritious food. So there is honey in this dish (not vegan) because it is super great for your health. There is also miso paste (not raw) as it has many nutritious benefits. As ever, do what is right for you and with a focus on your optimal health. 
Buy organic wherever possible.
Let me know what you think of the recipe and share your ideas with me too.
Love and light, Fi xxx

Follow me on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
⭐️I’ve been shortlisted for ‘The Health Blogger of the Year’. ⭐️

It would be super awesome if you could head here and vote to help me win.

In August 2017 I published a book about my story and how I strive to live an incredible life with stage four (‘terminal’) cancer — Love, Light and Mermaid Tails: One Woman’s Healing Journey Back to Wholeness Through Stage Four Cancer is now available to buy in UK and USA on Amazon.


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Be Prepared – Raw Food Day 2

So it’s only day two of eating raw as a means of boosting my health and getting as many lovely live nutrients into my system and I’ve already got some advice to share. Prepare, prepare, prepare!
This morning I spent about 20-30 mins creating some awesome raw dishes for my breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks that I then popped in my fridge ready to enjoy throughout the day. It was no hassle and no big deal – just 30 mins and that it, job done! No food prep needed later tonight.

This was especially important today as, like many days, I’m out and about teaching lots of yoga classes and tonight I’m going to my mid week evening yoga class as a participant. Namaste! The last thing I want when I get home late after class is to be starving and wondering what to eat. Instead I just need to open my fridge and serve it up. Delicious!

One thing that’s being brought to my attention is the misconception that ‘going raw’ is just about eating carrot sticks. Eh no!

There are now so many raw gourmet chefs out there and it is incredible what you can now make and eat raw!

Today I made rawslaw, ‘pickled’ cucumber, courgetti and pink beetroot humous. Ok, I know humous isn’t raw as chickpeas are pre cooked, however I am more about optimal health than following a strict or pressured diet that is bad for my emotional health!

Apparently this is known as being a ‘nutritarian’ – someone who picks the most nutritious food available to them at any given time. 

I also discovered that black beans can be used to make a DELICIOUS chocolate spread that’s sugar free, and vegan. Even my hubby, ever the sceptic, was impressed! (Recipe in my video).

So, all in all, I’m loving learning new recipes, exploring food and learning how to to ‘uncook’. Here’s to what food discoveries tomorrow will bring!

Happy eating!

Love and light, Fi xx

Follow me on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

⭐️I’ve been shortlisted for ‘The Health Blogger of the Year’. ⭐️

It would be super awesome if you could head here and vote to help me win.

You don’t need to provide any details (not even your name!), you just have to tick a box!

The winner receives a prize of £600 and if I win then I pledge to use it all for my random act of kindness to help spread more joy and raise awareness for ovarian cancer!

With your help I can reach more people and help to spread awareness of ovarian cancer; living with stage four cancer; invisible disabilities and so much more! 💜

In August 2017 I published a book about my story and how I strive to live an incredible life with ‘terminal’ cancer — Love, Light and Mermaid Tails: One Woman’s Healing Journey Back to Wholeness Through Stage Four Cancer 

New to my page? In Jan 2016 , at the age of just 30, I was diagnosed with non-genetic, stage four ovarian cancer. There is no stage five. Since then I’ve been campaigning to raise awareness of ovarian cancer in the hope that my diagnosis will help save lives. I have been handing out random acts of kindness to strangers as envelopes containing £20 and a card with the symptoms of ovarian cancer. I do this in the hope of spreading kindness and joy whilst also helping to get people to take about ovarian cancer! 🌈