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Nutrition Brought to Life
Show #267 - Date: 19 Jul 2020

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Categories: Author, Nutrition
Keywords: nutrition, nutrition for cancer, immune system, chronic illnesses, food, stress, digestive system, selfishnesses selflessness, mindful eating, cephalic phase of digestion, fear of sugar, nutrition from sunshine, good fats, gut brain connection, recipes

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Robin Daly:  Hello welcome to the Yes to Life show on the UK Health Radio. My name is Robin Daly, host on the show and founder of the UK charity Yes to Life that helps people with cancer find out about, and use integrative medicine to help them regain their health and wellbeing. My guest on the show this week is someone who has been on the show before a few time in fact, Kirsten Chick is a highly experienced nutritional therapist who specialises in supporting people with Cancer and who is about to publish Nutrition Brought to Life, a long-term project of hers. Kirsten has a wealth of knowledge, and experience to share so I was keen to get my hands on a copy and then to talk to Kirsten about it.

Kirsten it is great to have you back on the show, it has been a while.

Kirsten Chick:  It has been a while glad you’re all well and really happy to be back.

Robin Daly:  Great, so the subject for discussion today is your new book Nutrition Brought to Life. Let me start right out by saying how amazingly comprehensive it is for a compact volume, so much more than a regular Nutrition book, or Diet book, or Recipe book. In fact, it is all of those and a lot more and I think it manages to tread a line of being scientific without being heavily science dominated by which I mean, people who look to science as a reference point for personal decisions on health will be well satisfied.

But those who rely more on say intuition for their choices will not find this an off putting textbook. So let us get stuck in, we have got a lot to talk about. One thing I would ask you before we go into the detail is that while your book is aimed at everyone you yourself have a history of having had cancer and, of working for years specifically with people with cancer, how much does the book address specific cancer issue?

Kirsten Chick: Well, it creeps in quite a lot it cannot not really. I use another example and it is an accumulation of my practice and inquiry into nutrition over the last 17 years or so and my whole interest in nutrition or my serious inquiry into nutrition started as a result from having cancer myself. I studied pretty quickly afterwards and trained, and I have always had a lot of cancer patients even before I started actually being known as somebody who specializes in that area also other than seeing myself as a cancer specialist, I see myself really my specialist area as the immune system because I work with a lot of people with chronic illnesses and a lot of people who really want to prevent chronic illnesses.

What really underpins all of that is the immune system and re-strengthening that. So there is really a lot of about the immune system in the book but, it was interesting actually when we were putting the index together I like a book with an index where you can just quickly look up a word at the back, and I am just quickly flicking to the index in here because the cancer references are much longer than many of the other references. I t gets into the when I am talking about the immune system, all the way through to when I am talking about having a really nourishing relationship with food. Something that working with people with cancer has really highlighted to me is that there is a lot of fear around food or there can be lots of fear around food especially for people with cancer, and other chronic illnesses. So I would frequently get people, and still do get people coming to see me that are too scared to eat anything. So they are just eating lettuce leaves and maybe two other things and that is not nourishing and that is not healthy.

Robin Daly:All right well look you have gone straight into the first thing I wanted to talk to you about, I read that statement ‘food is meant to nourish’ right at the beginning of the book and I thought fantastic I really like it. And you make that statement in contrast to lots of other ideas about food that are unfortunately all too common today, and I just wanted you to say a bit more so you started there. Do you want to just spin it out a little bit more?

Kirsten Chick: Yes absolutely, so we sometimes lose sight of why we are eating food and because we naturally as human beings like to put things in boxes and like to understand things we have really scientifically narrowed things down over the years. To these are proteins, and these are calories and, this is various vitamins and it has all become a kind of currency. I refer to it as treating our bodies like slot machines and we are so much more complex and dynamic than that, and food needs to contain all of these things. But we also need to feel some kind of joy in eating food, some kind of satisfaction when we eat. There is no point ticking all the nutrition boxes of; I have got my salad tick. I have got my complete proteins tick. I have got all of that, but I am miserable because I am not enjoying what I am eating. The other really big thing that has become clear to me to me working with everybody over the years is that stress gets in the way of everything.

We all experience stress on a daily basis and to greater or lesser extents. Some of us are still processing well; most of us are still processing stresses and formulas and so on from years ago. Stress itself stops our digestive system from working so if we are in a stress state our digestive system has been demoted if you like. Just to use an example, if a wild cat were to jump out in front of you, digestion would be the bottom on the list of priorities. So what we put into digesting gets really demoted. It is only when we are really free from stress that we can digest and absorbs foods properly; really absorb the nutrients from them.

We can have this perfect plate of food, this kind of Instagram, where they are paid to feed in front of us. But if we are too stressed to digest and absorb it, then we might as well just be eating some fast food or something so that we have got to look at the whole picture. We have got to make sure that our food is nutritionally balanced for what we need right now in this moment, and we have got to make sure that we are relaxed and enjoying our food enough to really let it nourish us.

Robin Daly: Well, look fantastic I think that is the one thing you can say about this book that it does look at nutrition from every angle, it covers the water front. I thought that came to me was I was reading the book was what an extraordinary amount of detailed information and science there is nowadays about dance and nutrition, and I think it is fair to say the lion share of this information has come to light in very recent decades.

Kirsten Chick: Yes we have been interested in nutrition over a very longtime and people have always looked to tips and people have always had theories about nutrition, and tried and tested them in various different scenarios. But it is only in recent years that a lot of this research has been published in journals and increasingly so with BMJ now having a nutrition edition which is really great. There is so many wonderful articles in BMJ nutrition now, it is getting taken a lot more seriously and people are trying to find ways to present nutrition in a scientifically relevant way, and what I mean by that is there has been a lot of talk about evidenced based nutrition.

People like to talk about evidence-based, everything is evidence based and there is a problem with that because to make something evidence based it has to follow very precise criteria, that is quite tricky for food. I think the example I give in my book is with a carrot how would you have a randomized controlled study of munching on a raw carrot every day because the people in the control group would not know if they did not have a carrot to munch on every day. You could not provide something that was similarly enough to a carrot, so then to not know whether or not they have the carrot.

So it is really complex tying to produce this evidence base that science normally likes, that medical science normally likes. So we have had to find new criteria for that, and it is always going to be problematic. But I think people are making more of an effort or it has been taken more seriously enough now to try and find new ways to do that.

Robin Daly:Yeah Important. I mean absolutely needed the medical model for trialing foods just to buy does not work does it?
Okay I mentioned that this is a lot more than your average nutrition book and an area it is particularly strong on is the role of ideas, the mind body connection. One of the topics you go into very early on is the Selfish/Selfless Dichotomy which kind of always puts me in mind of one of the Tintin cartoons in which Tintin’s dog snowy has to make up his mind what to do and he is shown with a little winged snowy over one shoulder whispering in one ear and a horned one over the other. So many people are either in a constant battle between selfishness and selflessness, or for many others one side is completely worn out. Would you tell us why you included this topic in the book?

Kirsten Chick:Well we do need to be looking after ourselves, that is very clear that we need to look after ourselves before we can look after other people. We need to be in a strong position to do that, and we are often torn between the two we swing between base and actually again looking at recent social media, and trends we can see it can swing quite wildly in different directions, so it can swing towards being completely selfish and self-obsessed that is you know not helpful either but really clearly we have to make sure that there is room, that there is space in our lives for looking after ourselves. It is tempting to say especially, I do not think that is completely true. I think as human beings generally we do have a drive to look out for other people and to make sure that other people alright especially the people that we love.

On top of that, we do have a lot of pressure; to achieve, to perform, to meet targets and deadlines and that takes us out of that space as well. Modern life has kind of scattered our work lives through our private so instead of going to work and coming home and having clear boundaries now even when we look at social media half the time it is partly for personal pleasure for friendship reasons, and partly because there is a business on social media that we are interested in keeping up with that, or permeating, or finding out more about. So we do not separate those two particularly well. I think it is really important just to create and put it in the diary even if it is just five minutes every now and again put down in the diary me whatever that might mean for you. So it might be going for Run. It might be sitting, staring out of the window. It might be reading a book. It might whatever it is for you. It is important that you find at least five, ten minutes every now and again to do it.

Robin Daly:Okay thank you, another similar kind of topic that runs right through the book as a sort of theme is the relentless categorizing of food and food habits and them being either good or bad. Also in fact the relentless shuffling of things from one category to the other, that the media is so found of. So why are you so strongly against this approach and what do you favor instead?

Kirsten Chick:  Okay great question. Say there are too many reasons I am really against this. The first is because nothing is that straightforward. So rather than thinking of a particular food or nutrients or anything as good or bad, I would rather think is this appropriate for me right now in this instance because in some instances my body might require something that in other instances might be more detrimental for it. One of my favorite examples for this is oranges.

For me I am not great at eating oranges in that they give me tummy aches, they mess with my digestive system I have known that since very early childhood, that I should never drink a glass of orange juice and I am not great at eating oranges at all. So for me an orange at most times is something that you might want to put into the category of bad. But again, that is just for me for you they might be the best thing ever. However, if I was in the middle of the Sahara desert and I had been there a few days and I was completely dehydrated and somebody rescued me and they handed me an orange that would be the most hydrating, nourishing, lifesaving thing on the planet for me, right then.

So context with everything for a start and things are too complicated to put into boxes. The second reason that I feel really strongly about this is because it is a simple leap from judging the food to judging ourselves, and we do it all of the time. So if someone for example, has a bit of a crisp habit or chip habit as they say in the US  and they have been trying to avoid eating crisps but they have a day when they find that they have eaten of crisps. What that person would ordinarily say is I have been bad today; I have eaten four bags of crisps. So the judgment of the food as being bad has very quickly jumped to the judgment of self as being bad.

We are very quick to judge ourselves by what we eat, and if we are very basically categorizing what we eat into good and bad then we are going to be putting that judgment on ourselves. There is already too much judgment, too much blame, too much self-recrimination and it is another stress there is too much of this in this world already. I do not want to add to that by saying to somebody those crisps are bad; do not eat the crisp because that person and nine times out of ten are then going to put that bad judgment onto themselves. I do not want any part of that.

Robin Daly: Right very important another topic that many might think is a tad esoteric for a nutrition book is the much spoken about one of being present, particularly the things working against being present, and about being present when you eat. So you devote a lot of space to how you are when you are eating in fact, there is a whole chapter on mindful eating. So again, what made you want to include this in the book?

Kirsten Chick: Well, this is another way of trying to take the judgment out for starts. Say, if we just sit with our food and we eat it really mindfully then we are not getting caught up in these debates in our head about whether it is good or bad or, what is going on or whether I am good or bad, we just do not go there. If we are completely present with the food we can just enjoy the food. So remembering that food is there to nourish us the more we enjoy it, the more we are nourished by it and that works a number of levels. So a really key level it works on is with regards to something called the Cephalic phase of Digestion.

So Cephalic relates to the mind and this new digestion is all about when we see the food that we are about to eat, when we look at it, when we smell it, when we taste it, when we feel the textures of that food on our tongue, when we really engaged with that food all of us senses are then seconding messages to our brain. The brain then thinks okay there is food here I better wake up the digestive system up. So it actually triggers the digestive system into waking up and preparing to digest that food so the saliva will start going. That is why whenever you think about food that you really like, or that you really you start drooling a bit that is your saliva getting ready.

There is a TA, an enzyme in there as well to help start breaking that down. Your stomach acid might get stronger too; start to process things in there and also to activate protein enzymes in your stomach, and so on there are triggers that trigger further things down in the digestive tract, but the initial trigger is engaging with our food and when we engage with our food that triggers our digestive system to wake up and be able to fully digest and absorb the nutrients in the meal that we have before us.

Robin Daly:  Well, you have kind of explained that excruciating thing of smelling really great foods that you are not going to eat and just how bad that is in terms of getting everything going with no action to follow.

Kirsten Chick:  At the same time that is a mindfulness practice. So that is a mindfulness practice, just as much as walking mindfully, or following the breath or whatever you are doing. A mindfulness practice is something where you are really engaging in the present moment. So you are in the here and now fully in your own body. The thing about mindfulness practices is that they switch off or downplay your stress processes. So they directly activate your nervous system to kind of unravel the effects of stress one of those being downgrading your digestive system. So it helps in that way as well to switch your digestive system back on.

So rather than eating mindfully being as something that is quite nice to do alongside a good diet, actually the two are fully entrenched with each other. In order to fully digest and absorb the nutrients in your amazing meal that you have before you, you need to eat it mindfully. And in fact, even if the meal you have before you is not something that you would consider to be amazing. Maybe it is a ready meal that you have heated up, or a piece of chocolate cake or, or a bag of crisps even there are some nutrients in there somewhere and in order get those nutrients savor every mouthful if you do not have that food than savor it.

As another lovely side effect or byproduct of this we always say get used to listening to how our body feels because if we are really present with our food that we are eating then we get feedback about how it is feeling about what we are eating. So we at the same time we are practicing, listening to our body’s needs, and listening to where they are actually it wants that salad or that bag of crisps, or whatever it is or whether it wants something else. Listening to those little messages that are trying to tell us that actually it is had enough that is full up now, and so a lot of people ask me how do I learn to listen to my body and what it needs and this is the best way this eating mindfully.

Robin Daly:  Okay, another topic that many might feel is a bit off piece for a nutrition book, but that I love is it links in with what you have just been saying. I think it is trusting your body. Would you tell us a bit more about this important topic and why you wanted to write about it in the book?

Kirsten Chick: Yeah, It is a starting point our body is the only expert in itself. So my body is the only expert in my body. Your body is the only expert in your body. So we have amazing scientists’, doctors,’ consultants’, traditional therapists’, or the healthcare practitioners and there is some really amazing people out there who are really very knowledgeable and experienced and wonderful, but nobody is an expert in your body like your body is and it is so complex. I am not sure we will ever fully understand it. So the more we can learn to listen in and hear the signals that our bodies are trying to tell us all of the time and they are continually signaling us to behave in ways that are hopefully going to be helpful. So the more we learn to listen to that and tune into that, the better. It can be quite difficult also to trust our bodies if you have had some kind of a life threatening or challenging illness or events happen to you.

Especially with an illness, it can be hard to trust your body sometimes you can feel a bit betrayed by your body. It is important to know and to understand that our bodies are really only trying to do the best they can all of the time, even when they create lumps and bumps and tumors and things like that, they are just trying to contain stuff that they cannot get rid of.

So it is a case of really understanding that our bodies will not betray us but if we want our bodies to do better then we need to put in a little bit more support, and nutritional support is a no brainer really. But there are lots of other kinds of support we can put in as well like a massage for example. Mindful meditation, and walking in the woods, and hanging out with our favorite people and the things that bring us joy and make us feel relaxed. They are just as important.

Robin Daly:This kind of model of cancer as some kind of alien enemy inside people attacking them is the most unhelpful when it comes to this area of trusting your own body. Okay, so we have barely started to talk about food in terms of its more physical biochemical effects. I would expect a few listeners are wondering like wait a minute is this book about nutrition or what?

Let me assure listeners though you give a comprehensive attention to all the important systems of the body, all the nutritional building blocks, all the important nutritional dilemmas, but always within the context of the kind of issues we have already spoken about, which is really why I wanted to cover those first days kind of, to me set the context for the way you look at nutrition. Is that fair?

Kirsten Chick:  Yes, absolutely I have been teaching nutrition for a long time now probably coming up to 15 years.
And also every client so I have been giving one to one consultations as well as well for even longer. And every time I have a consultation with somebody, really that is teaching it is an education session so I have become very good at knowing what I want to say about proteins. What I want say about fats, what I want say about carbohydrates, what I want to say about all of these different things and how I want to say it and why I want to say it, why it is meaningful.

I think that is important if people do not understand why it is meaningful then they are just not going to attain it, and not going to feel inspired to do any of it so I think it is really important that nutrition is presented in a way that is meaningful and brought to life. It just makes sense to do that. It is really clear to somebody, they understand they get it, they are going to remember, and it is really easy to take on board.

Robin Daly: Hence your title of your book Nutrition Brought to Life. Brilliant, I love putting it all in this context it does make the whole thing much more meaningful, rather than kind of some abstract diet book about what is good and bad for you.

So just to give an example of how you actually address the more straightforward biochemical side of things, you go to great lengths, for example to take the reader beyond the bonds, to build you up versus sugar foods cancer slagging competition that has been with us for far too long, two whole chapters in fact, on sugar. Do you want to say a little bit about that?

Kirsten Chick: Yeah again like everything else it is not that simple. There are so many different kinds of sugars as well, and people get so confused about it. It is something that we are still learning about more all of the time, and if I rewrite the book in ten years’ time there might end up being four chapters on it, or two different chapters on it.

But currently with what we know what we do know is that our bodies need sugar. That is the way in which sugar enters the body, the form in which sugar enters the body and how good we are at processing that sugar and dealing with it really determines whether that that sugar is beneficial or harmful.

So again it is not necessarily the sugar that is good or bad it is our relationship with it. On very kind of emotional, psychological levels our relationship with sugar really has an impact on how much of it we eat , and how we feel about it and all those sorts of things, but our physical relationship with body, how well are our insulin receptors working, is that sugar creating inflammation in our bodies?

Or is it just going towards making useful processes and substances and energy?

So yeah there is a lot about that because I think there is a lot to say, but hopefully I have written about it in a way that is not confusing or overwhelming, but in a way that makes it all clear. You tell me you have read it.

Robin Daly: Yes I think it does, I actually really liked the fact that it leads you to move beyond the superficial, a black and white story about things and to actually take them to bits and look at them in context with what you are talking about all the time. Well, you know, it is not that something is inherently bad, it is well, in one context it might be harmful, but in another it might not. Without that context it is just like some sort of dogma, which is very unhelpful to somebody trying to get well.

Kirsten Chick: Exactly and it brings the fear back in again so people get really scared of sugar and some people really go along the path of being terrified of most because they might contain some kind of sugar or they might contain something that can be converted into sugar. In which case she did end up pretty much eating nothing and so you end up with a depriving, malnourishing diet that is driven by fear which shuts down the digestive system and the immune system and everything else. It has such a detrimental effect on the body. I would rather people keep eating what one might consider being the wrong foods, but joyfully and helps them eat then eating the so called perfect diets out of fear. I think the fear does more damage.

Robin Daly:  Interesting well that is a strong statement coming from a nutritionist.

Kirsten Chick: Great it is not that controversial of book in terms of the information it kind of skates around statements that may come across as being quite controversial, but actually I have kept it really quite grounded. I think the book in general.

Robin Daly: I think you have to you even managed to bring in the sun as a source of nutrition which is broadening it out pretty well.
Do you want to say anything about that?

Kirsten Chick: Yeah, I certainly did not realize until I gave it proper thought that actually the energy that we are getting from our food comes from the sun originally. Say every time that you are sitting down to eat a meal or a snack or munch on an apple you are actually eating a bit of sunshine.
I find that really quite amazing, really quite beautiful and I wanted to describe that process and how that all works. But also there have been a lot of scientific interests in how we might all get our energy more directly from the sunshine. So like plants do using the same kind of processes, but also using electrons that are around our cell membranes which all have these things called double carbon bond sitting in the structures. In those double carbon bonds or around those double carbon bonds, there are certain kinds of electrons that can harness that would literally absorb the energy from the sunshine in the same way that double carbon bonds in substances in plants leaves for example can do exactly the same and then transfer it into something that we can use as energy. So scientists have been looking at for decades now and as a scientist, sometimes they can go or that is a bit complicated, but it is not really, it is not that far removed from what plants do and we have the same or very similar chemistry.

So it is very feasible and kind of makes sense of a lot of question marks in terms of how we get the energy or how we get the amount of energy that we need for cellular activity. So I talked about that too, in our book, the different ways that we can get our energy from the sunshine, but that concept in itself just amazes me the fact that we run directly on sunshine. I think that is wonderful.

Robin Daly: It makes complete sense and it is a far cry from the sort of paranoia about the sun that predominated really until quite recently as though the sun was out there to attack us. It is a bit like the lack of trust in the natural environment is a bit of a parallel to a lack of trust in our bodies is it not?

Kirsten Chick: Exactly you know we do need some sunshine to get some bits of Mindy. So we need UV rays to meet our skin without any sunblock or anything like that in the way in order for us to do the Vitamin D conversion in our skin and if we have enough Vitamin D and other protective nutrients, then we are less likely to get sun damage.

Again if we are being a bit more present in our physical bodies and listening to our bodies a little bit more, we also get clear indications of when we should step into the shade again to stop ourselves from burning.

Robin Daly:  Yeah the common sense of the body.

So there is a ton of information in this book and a lot of it is covering in depth, the kind of main areas to do with nutrition and the body and the body systems. We are not going to do justice to all these today, there is just too much in there. I just wanted to say that some of the things it does cover the basic building blocks of nutrition and very importantly, our attitudes towards each of them and ideas about them great in depth exploration of oils. Again, the book is striving to move beyond the good and bad fats, black and white picture a lot about the microbiome, the gut brain connection which is a subject that you and I have explored on the show before.

You go into adrenal support the physical side of managing stress, addressing stress both from the practical physical standpoint, and from the point of view of the mind and the thought processes. Something I think is really so important in many health issues actually to come at it in a sort of rounded way, which acknowledges the complete interconnectivity of the mind and spirit with the physical body. So you need to look at the whole picture. The book covers all of that stuff in a lot of detail. And again, all put in the context of the way we have spoken about at the beginning of the interview. There is something in there that I think is particularly relevant to right now that I wanted to go into in a bit more detail about. You actually talk about the possibility of bacteria, encouraging us to be sociable, to live in close contact with each other to kiss, hug, hold hands, and share germs.

Kirsten Chick:  Yes incredible is it not?

Robin Daly:well you know right now we have been through this ridiculous period of enforced isolation, which is just so unnatural, but it is necessary given the circumstances, but it kind of builds lack of trust of the body, of the environment , and of other people were there bugs and all the rest of it as well. It, this sort of thing can build on the paranoia that there can be about bugs as if we are not almost entirely built up of bugs anyway. I just feel that statement contrasts so strongly with what is going on right now that if that is what we need in order to be healthy we are going to have to make a concerted effort at the end of this lockdown. Are we not?

Kirsten Chick:  Yeah, we are not just sociable in terms of what we need psychologically and emotionally we are sociable in terms of what we need physically as well. So there is so much on what we need around physical touch, we know so much about that already and how important that is for our mental health and our emotional health but also for our physical health.

This is not just because our emotions and mental health are intricately bound up with our physical health, but also because we do need to be able to share our microbiomes with each other so we might combine them. Our microbiomes are made up of lots of different microbes, lots of different bacteria, viruses, fungi, all sorts of things. And again we liked to put those in columns of good and bad and to a certain extent there is some that if there are too many of them, if they take control then that is going to be disease causing in the body so we do not want too many of those.

I quite like to compare it to a jungle where there is we need a biodiversity in the jungle. We need lots of different species, we need the beautiful bugs and the butterflies, but we also need the snakes and the spiders. So if we think of the pathogenic microbes as the snakes and the spiders we need those in our bodies, but we do not want to be overrun with snakes and spiders. But if we are just there with butterflies then the ecosystem will not work either but it is all of those things the birds, the butterflies, the snakes, and the spiders which drive our behavior and can be quite opportunistic as well. There are some and parasites as well.

So there is some really kind of remarkable stories that you can hear about parasites that make animals behave in a certain way that helps the parasite to grow and develop and so on. Sometimes it can sound a bit like a Sci-Fi movie and it is those kinds of microbes as well that will encourage us to hug each other, and kiss, and hold hands and things like that. So it does work both ways actually we need that there is no judgment in it. I do not think it is necessarily again, a good or a bad thing. It is just the way it is. It is microbes’ one task to touch each other.

Some of those microbes will have a beneficial impact, and some of those microbes might not, but the impact it will have will depend on the immune system and the internal environment of the other person that you touch. It comes back to how can I give my body the support it needs so I have a really diverse microbiome. This means if I get a couple of extra spiders and snakes coming in they are welcome, and they are happy, and they do not tip the balance.

Just the one little carver that I want to put in there is that we all come from different backgrounds. I have seen a lot being said around well if you look after your immune system you will be okay. Actually not everybody has that luxury; some people are just born with such a poor hand of cards, really that it will take several lifetimes for them to get their immune systems to a really strong position where they have an enormous amount of biodiversity.

So we all need to kind of be kind and aware of each other but yeah, absolutely we need that physical contact for a lot of different contexts and I think without it long term it is not going to be a great thing in balance.

Robin Daly: So yeah, we got to have the guts at the other end of this lockdown to actually start to get intimate with each other again.

Kirsten Chick: yeah the transitions are always the trickiest bits and when we transitioned into different phases during lockdown, it is the fear kicking in and that is fair. It is there to help us look out for threats that actually want to make sure that it does not stop us from behaving in ways that are useful and nourishing and essential for survival.

Robin Daly:Yeah it is interesting of course human beings are largely unaware of the things that drive them. But I must admit I have not been thinking about myself being prompted to kiss somebody because by my bacteria.

Kirsten Chick:I mean it is not that we have definitely highlighted microbes that do that, but sometimes it is really looking at that and maybe that is a strongly held theory in some quarters if that is what is going on.

Robin Daly:Interesting. Well, you know I often think about this kind of thing because people are paranoid about bugs and yet they go and kiss somebody which is like if you are paranoid about bugs, you would not do that. Yes, that is right they take the cat to bed and all the rest of it and let them lick their face and everything extraordinary. It is actually all good stuff in the main, is it not and I often think about the fact that I have lived with the same person for nearly 50 years and we must have a shared microbiome at this point I imagine.

Kirsten Chick: Absolutely, you have influenced each other’s micro-biome enormously and that is what so beautiful we are not just what we eat Robin. We are who we hang out with as well, some of who we spend time with we are influenced by them in ways that we cannot even begin to imagine.

Robin Daly: Yeah that is really interesting. So a few other things I did not mention the book covers; it covers tissue repair, and health, there is a lot about the liver, about balancing hormones. Basically, anything anybody wants to know about nutrition you have something to say about it. In a lot of cases you have had a lot to say about it and in some details so that is really great. I wanted to hone in on the fact that you have got at the end of each chapter a reflection time and an action plan.

Also you have got links through to the section we have not even mentioned yet, which is a whole section of recipes at the back of the book do you want to say a bit about all that?

Kirsten Chick: Yeah i just wanted to give people a little prompt which can be totally ignored if that is not what you want to do if you just want to read the book that is fine. But there are regular little prompts to actually reflect on what that information in that chapter means to you, or how you can put some of that information to use any little changes you can make in your diet or your relationship to food just at the end of every chapter. It is just an opportunity to pause for thought to see how you can relate that to your own life.

Because if we have those little pauses for thought all the way through, it is less overwhelming as well. Instead of thinking I have to read this book and then take on all this information and then do it all that is stressful in itself so rather than that, I just wanted to give people little opportunities throughout to just reflect, make little changes maybe.

There is a chapter at the end that talks about again, ways that you might pull this information together if you are wanting to so rather than being overwhelmed by it or how to maybe work with two, three, four aspects and then move on. So yeah it is just a few words about how you might want to pull that together.
So it is a guide on how to bring the information from the book together into your own personal action plan and you can use that to work on whatever you want. But not everybody will have to. Some of the people that are reading this hopefully will be nutrition students, and nutrition practitioners, and other practitioners who may not be using it for their own self development.

But may be reading the book, because they want to take some of these ideas and work with their clients with them, or incorporate it into how they work. So it is really optional these pauses for reflection, but again I think it is helpful just so that you do not get too stuck in your head with this information as well.
And again to try and make it meaningful as well and of course, at the end of each chapter as well, there is some references to some of the recipes at the end of the book that and relevant to that chapter.

So there were 50 recipes at the back of the book as that are tried and tested. So all of these recipes have actually been made many of them have been made many of times by me. I am not a chef, but I am a bit of a whiz in the kitchen. I never used to be. I used to be a rubbish cook. I learned to cook when I went through a phrase so it was after I had cancer and I had a number of years where I was vegan, sugar free, everything free. Basically I just had a very clean in diet and I did not know how to cook and if I was not half-life I was going to end up just not really eating very much so I learned to cook. I got really creative and I had lots of disasters, but over the years I became a really good cook.

If I can do it, anybody can do it. So I shared another thing that the recipes I developed in the back most of them are vegan. A couple of them are vegetarian. They have got little beads if they are not, not vegan but they can, but if you eat meat and fish they are all adaptable.

And that the other thing all of the recipes are adaptable because I do not actually follow recipes when I cook. I just see what is in the cupboard and throw something together. So you can also use them as inspiration. So if you are the kind of cook that likes to follow the recipe step by step, you can do that. If you just want to look at it and think, oh that is a good idea but I have got these and play with them you can work with all of them in that way. So they are there to really inspire people to be creative and to help you pull out and also because people need a hand with new ideas if you are trying to eat in a slightly different way than your go to recipes may not work and that can be a stress in itself. So I just wanted to make it as easy as possible.

Robin Daly: Fantastic so when is the book out?

Kirsten Chick: Well I am having a virtual launch party on the 19th of August and that the day that the book can be purchased directly from the publisher and we are launching a special edition, so it is a special first edition and it will have a numbered plate in the front that I signed.

That is available from the 19th of August you can pre-order it now, but it will not get sent out to the 19th of August and then it will be in all the other bookstores from I think towards the end of September depending on where you are in the world. I think in America it is October the 15th. So yes, late summer autumn is when it is coming out.

Robin Daly: It has been long time in the making, I understand. Well, you can tell it is a lot of love and care going into this virtual launch party, if people want to be at that can anybody go to it?

Kirsten Chick: Yes so you just have to email me for the zoom link so you can email me at information If you email me there and let me know that you would like to come along. Virtual launch parties are great because you can sit in a really comfy chair and you can think what you like, you can make your own canapé if you like. Just treat it however you like to sit there and enjoy it.

I am going to do a little bit of a book reading, and I will answer some questions. I am very much hoping that I will have a physical copy of the book in my hand so I can show you how beautiful it is because actually it is not just informative, It is beautiful.

Robin Daly: Yeah it is.

Kirsten Chick:  So even if you don’t want to read the book you can look at it.

Robin Daly:All right, we are going to have to end it there we are out of time. I just want to say that your new book is a really fantastic addition to the bookshelves of certainly anyone with cancer and in fact, really anyone else. Above all, I think it is practical, it is helpful, and it is going to go right up there amongst the front runners in books that I would recommend to people looking to embrace lifestyle and integrative medicine.

Kirsten Chick:Lovely that is so wonderful to hear I really appreciate that thank you Robin.

Robin Daly: Okay thank you for talking today, Kirsten Bye.

It is quite a challenge to come up with a new offering in a field as crowded as nutrition that genuinely has something new to offer, but I would say Kirsten has pulled it off take a look for yourself though.

Thank you so much for listening today, I will be back again next week with another interview for you. So I hope you can listen again to the Yes to Life show here on UK Health Radio Goodbye.



Radio show transcript edited by Jade Higgins, Literary Transcript Editor