What an honour it was to be asked by Chris Woollams, author of The Rainbow Diet, to create the recipes for the follow-up book, Rainbow Recipes.
While my passion for healthy eating began during a nine-year stay in Japan, Chris's journey has been more poignant and focused. When his daughter, Catherine, was diagnosed with a brain tumour and told she wouldn't live longer than six months, Chris did all he could to help her. Frustrated by the limited treatments offered by the National Health Service in the UK, Chris, who'd studied biochemistry at Oxford University, and Catherine hurriedly began researching the variety of approaches to combating cancer espoused by doctors, nutritionists, healers and anthropologists around the globe.
The hard work paid off, for Catherine responded well to a multi-stranded treatment plan, a key component of which was a 'Mediterranean Diet' rich in vegetables and healthy protein sources such as fish, nuts, seeds and beans.
Upon my return to the UK I founded Nutrichef, a healthy meal deal delivery company, which I ran for 11 years. During this time I wrote a number of articles for Integrated Cancer and Oncology News (ICON), the monthly publication of CANCERactive, the charity that Chris set up to inform people about developments in cancer research and to explain the options available to people diagnosed with the disease.
Chris wrote The Rainbow Diet to share the mounting evidence of the importance of eating a wide variety of different coloured fruit and vegetables. Variety is essential because each different fruit or vegetable provides us with different amounts of essential nutrients, especially vitamins and minerals. Colour is key because the pigments that give fruit and vegetables their characteristic hues are actually antioxidants - vital, disease-fighting biochemicals that neutralise harmful by-products of all the many biological processes that happen inside us each and every day.
In Rainbow Recipes I describe how to make over 70 delicious, nutritious meals and snacks, and I go into detail about which antioxidant pigments we get from different fruits and vegetables. Without getting too technical I explain how these biochemicals help in the fight against cancer, arming us against the disease in the first place or reducing its impact after it's been diagnosed. I also describe how other nutrients in the recipes play a vital role in maintaining the health of different body systems such as the heart and blood vessels, muscles and bones, nerves and the brain - all areas prone to disease if we don't follow the principles that Chris and I advocate so passionately.