Saturday, 20 April 2013

Cancer - what are you going to do about it?

My best friend's mum recently died of cancer. 

A family friend passed away a couple of years ago from a brain tumour. 

Another best friend had a scare with ovarian cancer a few years back.

One of my clients had leukaemia as a child.

I spent last year doing a research project on survivors of childhood cancer which really put things into perspective. Some kids are diagnosed shortly after birth - how does that even happen?!?!

It seems each week, at least one person tells me about someone they know who has cancer. Most of the time, the people affected (that I hear about) are under the age of 50. 

According to the Cancer Council, 1 in 2 people are affected by cancer. These are pretty shitty odds. 

NOTE: please read to the end of this post - lots of important info with not too much of my usual waffle. 

Last week I attended the Cancer Council's Australia's Blogger Morning Tea at the beautiful Chez Dee in Pott's Point, Sydney, with guest speakers Sarah Wilson and Barry Du Bois. 

The gorgeous guest speakers, Barry Du Bois & Sarah Wilson, being photo-bombed by a deer

Baz shared the inspirational story of his personal battle with cancer and that of his wife, who was also diagnosed with cancer. Can you even imagine?! What crappy luck! The thing is - his story is not unique. There are people all over Australia (and the world) being faced with this deadly disease. Barry also adamantly stated that:

"There is no way [our kids] will have sugar in their life"

Why would he make such a bold statement, you ask? When Barry went in for a PET scan (positron emission tomography) to see where his cancer was, they injected him with radioactive sugar (fluorodeoxyglucose). The reason why they did this was because the cancer cells would be the first to uptake the sugar, and this would light up on the scan, thus indicating where the cancerous cells were. Like such (the bright areas indicate cancer cells gobbling up the radioactive glucose):

This is common practice. Cancer cells thrive and proliferate via glycolysis (metabolism of glucose). 

Apparently it has not yet been proven that sugar causes cancer, and indeed the causes of cancer are many and varied, but I can tell you - if I was diagnosed with cancer, as a starting point, I would be getting every last little sceric of sugar out of my life to try and starve those nasty babies! Just sayin'. If you're interested in learning more about cancer and diet, Dr Colin Champ is doing (and has done) quite a substantial amount of research on ketogenic diets (high fat, low carb, low protein) and cancer. Interesting stuff. 

Anywho - as I mentioned, the risk factors for cancer are many and varied and we are still yearning to find a cure. The Cancer Council are doing a fantastic job researching all areas of cancer, with the hope that one day soon we'll find a cure. However, this is only a small part of what they do. Here is a little listicle of some of the other great work they are doing:
  • Helping to provide better care for cancer sufferers and their families
  • Providing emotional and financial support for sufferers and their families
  • Helping with transport to and from hospital (especially important for those living in rural and remote areas)
  • Organising legal aid 
  • Organising support groups and helplines
This year marks the 20th anniversary of Australia's Biggest Morning Tea - a fundraising event to provide essential funds to the Cancer Council for the activities listed above and more. 

How can you help?

With something so prevalent and deadly as cancer it can be a little overwhelming (it overwhelms me, anyway). What CAN we do? We're not doctors, or surgeons, or carers (well - some of you may be and kudos to you). But that doesn't mean we can't contribute. And the good news is contributing can be fun! How?


The I Quit Sugar team at Australia's Bloggers Morning Tea
(Steph, me & Jo - Sarah was off hanging out with the silver fox (Baz) & a rogue deer)
Why? For me (and I suspect you, too), hosting a Biggest Morning Tea checks 3 big things I am passionate about:

1. Spending time with friends/family (or work-mates)
2. Eating
3. Helping others in need

Seriously, there is nothing to lose in this situation! Get amongst it - it's our duty as human beings to come together as a community and help those less fortunate. OK, so here are the vital deets:

What: Cancer Council's Australia's Biggest Morning Tea 2013
When: Official date is Thursday, 23rd May 2013, but you can host an event any time during May (maybe you are super-keen and want todo multiple!)
Who: You and your loved ones (family, friends, colleagues, that guy you have a crush on but can't get the guts to speak to)
Where: Anywhere! Your house, work, school, uni, a cafe, a park....
Register: Sign up at or call 1300 65 65 85

Head on over to the site to learn more about it and check out all of the fantastic resources they have for hosting your own tea. 

Some of the food on offer at Chez Dee for the event.
On the bottom - Sarah Wilson's Bacon & egg cupcakes from her book, I Quit Sugar- delish!
If you aren't able to host your own tea, the website lists many other ways you can contribute. Or, if none of their suggestions are doable, you can help by simply spreading the word - share this blog post and with anyone and everyone who will accept it. Post it on Facebook, Tweet it, Instagram it, mail it to your grandma, stick it on the fridge at your work....just do SOMETHING.

Now go forth and spread the word my friends...

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Perfect Pork Prep - Are you doing it right?

Happy post-Easter all! I hope you all had a fantastic weekend and indulged in a little healthy chocolate!

Just a quick post on pork today - yes, delicious pork! Are you preparing it properly for perfect health and tastiness? Or are you just wacking it on the barbie willy-nilly? By the way, sorry to those of you who either do not like pork or do not eat it for religious reasons - you can probably stop reading now unless you simply like to read my waffle. 

Tasty pork ribs, marinated in the same way I did the pork shoulder (recipe below)
What is the preparation I speak of and is it really necessary? Well what I learned recently, both from my friend Soulla and from my own readings of some research done by the Weston A Price Foundation, is that if improperly prepared, pork can actually do some pretty gnarly things to your body! Like what? Like lead to a shorter blood coagulation time. A what now? This basically means it makes your blood more sticky, less fluid - making it harder to flow smoothly around your body delivering oxygen to where it is needed. So what? Summarised dot points will ease your reading and learning on why this coagulation is gnarly (haven't used that word since about 1996 so I thought I should make the most of it in the one paragraph):
  • It can increase systemic inflammation, which is widely acknowledged to be at the root of all disease
  • Increases likelihood of blood clot formation (hello stroke and heart attack)
  • Increases risk of chronic disease such as cardiovascular disease and cancer
Takeaway message: sticky blood is no good! 

A little history

Back in the day, before refrigeration and modern processing methods were available, peeps had to figure out a way to preserve their meats in order to extend their "shelf-life" ("cave-life"???). You see, meat for them might only come about once in a while, and it wasn't delivered in individual portion sizes wrapped in cling wrap. For them it would be the whole animal - and that is what they would eat - nose to tail! The muscle meat was often an afterthought as all of the other parts (liver, kidneys, skin etc) were the more nutritious, bang-for-your-buck bits. Don't look so surprised - I talk about this in almost every post and at least 3 times a week on my Instagram (shameless plug: follow me on Instagram - kate_callaghan). 

A story from yesteryear on food preservation (may or may not be an accurate depiction of how things went down):

One day Heman and Shera (remember them) were hanging out around the campfire with their friends feasting on the pig that they had caught that day. 

Heman & Shera. Image via
After they got through all of the nutrient-dense organ meats, Heman said to Shera "I'm pretty stuffed! What are we going to do with all of this muscle meat?" to which Shera (the brains of the two) replied "we'll preserve it, silly!". And the conversation went on and basically they came to the conclusion that in order to preserve said meat, they would marinade it in an acidic medium for at least 24hrs. And lo and behold - a bottle of Bragg's Organic Apple Cider Vinegar happened to be sitting in their cave-cupboard. Perfect!

OK but seriously now, you should marinate your pork for 12-24 hours before you cook it to avoid some of these adverse health effects. And if you think this is all a load of bollocks (what, you don't think my story was an accurate depiction??!!), at least acknowledge that marinating the meat tenderises it, making for a much more delightful culinary experience. 

So I guess you'd like a recipe, huh? 

Slow-roasted pork shoulder with sautéed apples

I made this recipe for Az for his birthday dinner. 


1 pork shoulder (bone in)
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (Bragg's)
2 tsp sea salt
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Drizzle maple syrup 

1 red onion, chopped
2-3 carrots, chopped

Extra sea salt

2 red apples, cored and chopped
2 T coconut oil
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
1 tsp cinnamon


  • Place pork in a stainless steel bowl and cover with all other ingredients. Allow to marinade in the fridge for 12-24hrs, turning the pork once. 
  • Line the base of your slow-cooker with the onion and carrot. Throw pork and other marinading ingredients into slow cooker. Cook on low for 10-12hrs. 
  • Once the pork is about an hour away from being done, slide the fat layer off the meat (this should come off quite easily). Lay it on a baking tray and cover it with sea salt. Blast it in the oven at high heat until nice and crispy. Enjoy as an appetiser.
  • For the apples: add everything to a pan over medium heat and stir until apples slightly soft. 
P.S: bacon is all good! No need for marinating - just make sure it's soy, sugar and gluten-free and preferably from pastured and humanely raised animals

For more on the study done by Weston A Price, go HERE