Little Breast Directory

Everything to do with Food & Nutrition

Giving Yourself the Knowledge to Make the Right Food Choices for You


There are so many health pages and nutrition gurus today that it is very easy to click, read and feel like you’re on the right path. However, it also can feel really hard to keep up with health, diet and nutrition, as it’s an ever changing anomaly. Add a breast cancer diagnosis to this and it’s even harder. The goalposts move for us as we potentially face challenges such as chemically induced menopause and all that brings without the choice of being able to take HRT. Changes in taste, sore throats and mouth ulcers due to chemotherapy. Certain foods that are off limits during times of treatment. Overwhelming fatigue that leaves us searching for carbohydrates or sugar as quickly as possible.

It is important to say that at LBD, we are not claiming to be dieticians, or nutritionists. But we have experienced how it feels pre, during and post breast cancer treatment and are passionate about sharing our findings, during our personal deep diving mission into food and nutrition. This is how we now live our lives when it comes to our daily diets and we would like to share it with you…

And please note that this is not a preach. Everyone is different and everyone has good and bad days. We love a glass of wine and a piece of cake as much as the next person. This is about giving you the knowledge to give yourself the power to make the right choices for you.

Emma Wallace is a friend and a breast cancer warrior.  She and I have mutual friends in common and recently bonded when we both attended a yoga retreat in Marrakech last year, our friendship journey brought together by our shared interests alongside our breast cancer diagnosis.

Emma’s passion for nutritional healing aligned well with my vision for The Little Breast Directory.  She doesn’t claim to be a qualified nutritionist, neither of us do, but Emma knows how eating clean wholesome food can give your body and mind the helping hand it needs to deal with all that life throws our way.

Emma's Story

My interest in nutrition and wellness started about 20 years ago when I completed a Diploma in reflexology at the Central London School of Reflexology. My plans at the time to change my career from PR and Marketing to reflexology were put on hold when I started a family and, for one reason or another, this change never came to fruition. But my interest in alternative therapies, and the health benefits of exercise, good nutrition and self care, never waned.

In 2018 I was diagnosed with breast cancer which was a shock as, ironically, I had never felt fitter and more healthy. Chemo, surgery and radiotherapy took their toll but throughout my treatment journey I tried to look after myself as best I could, researching food that would help to help heal my body and mind. I also discovered changes in my skin, so adapted my skincare routine and the products I used to compensate for this. Whilst my oncology and surgical team were amazing with the medical details, I could find little in the way of support on beauty, nutrition and wellness outside of the usual online forums from cancer charities and support groups. I didn’t want everything in my life to be labelled as ‘cancer’.

On receiving my diagnosis, I remember asking my oncologist what I could do to help my body and mind deal with the treatment I was about to start. He said three things – stay positive, keep exercising and eat well. I really took this advice to heart – it made sense to me that I should equip myself with everything I needed to help my body cope as well as it possibly could with the treatment.

Nutrition has always been very important to me, giving my body the right fuel – after all, if you put diesel in a petrol car it doesn’t work! I have never been into restrictive diets or fads as I don’t tend to stick to them, then end up feeling guilty and overeating to compensate! Instead, I try to eat a balanced diet with the usual fruit and veg, cook fresh food at home rather than relying on processed and ultra-processed foods, and understand how certain foods affect my own body. I know if I’ve eaten something that hasn’t agreed with me because I bloat or feel queasy. It may be ‘healthy’ to someone else but it’s not for me.

Also, like clothes, foods go in and out of fashion. As a child growing up in the 80s, any kind of ‘fat’ was demonised – butter, cream, full fat milk, all out. We were told that margarine and rapeseed oil were good for us. Low-fat diets were all the rage so food manufacturers jumped on the bandwagon and pulled all the fat out of processed foods, replacing it with sugar. The foods that were touted as ‘healthy’ were in fact the exact opposite.

But the tide on saturated fat is turning, with animal fats and coconut oil being pushed as good for our health. Margarine is out and butter is in. Avocados and full fat Greek yoghurt? Yes please. So how do we know what food is best for us? With so much conflicting advice it’s hard to know sometimes and can feel overwhelming.

What I have learnt through my many hours of research and through eating to stay healthy during and post cancer treatment, is that there really is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to nutrition.  All our bodies are different and respond to foods in different ways.

Take tomatoes for example.  They are full of vitamins, potassium, fibre and antioxidants but their skin and seeds are indigestible making them potentially hard on the gut if eaten in mass quantities. They also contain lectins (as do others in the nightshade family such as peppers and potatoes) which can irritate our digestive system, particularly for those with leaky gut or irritable bowel disease.  Conversely, other studies have shown evidence that tomatoes are actually good for gut health, even more so when cooked. So the answer is – see how tomatoes make you feel and whether you think your body likes them or not! There doesn’t seem to be a right or wrong answer here.

One thing I do know is that ultra-processed foods hold no nutritional value and I try to avoid them as much as possible. What is ultra-processed food? Typically, anything with over five ingredients containing chemicals or products that you wouldn’t have in your own kitchen or use in homemade food e.g. emulsifiers, preservatives, artificial colours and sweeteners. This includes items such as crisps, biscuits, cakes, some bread, sweets, chocolate etc. But then, we don’t need to know they are an UPF to know they are bad for us right?

So How Can We Learn To Eat Right?

This is from the British Heart Foundation website and helps to explain about the difference between unprocessed, processed and ultra-processed foods:

A Brief Word on Oil...

There is conflicting advice about seed oils, particularly rapeseed oil. Rapeseed is promoted as a healthy oil, as in its natural form it is a good source of Omega-3 and low in saturated fat. It is widely used as an ingredient in commercial food production and you will find it in many processed and ultra-processed foods.

However, to make it ‘safe’ to use in food, it has been genetically modified. This involves it being heavily refined, bleached and deodorised to make it ‘clean’ which alters the nutritional content, reducing vitamins and antioxidants as well as the omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. In its un-modified form it is used in the car and chemical industries and is unsafe to consume.

The fact that it is refined and heavily processed – and full of chemicals – makes it seem like an unhealthy choice to me, particularly when there are other, more healthy alternatives. Coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil are great to use in the kitchen as they are rich in monounsaturated fats and antioxidants that can help lower cholesterol, blood pressure and inflammation.
Omega 3 fatty acids also play an essential role in the functioning of all cells throughout the body. They provide the initial starting point for hormones that regulate the relaxation and contraction of artery walls and blood clotting, and also help to reduce inflammation. Get it from eating oily fish such as mackerel and sardines, and nuts & seeds such as walnuts and chia seeds.

Reading Material

Don’t just take our word for it; here’s some other things to read and digest.

If you are interested in reading more about ultra-processed foods and their effect on our health and wellbeing, I would suggest reading ‘Ultra Processed People’ by Chris Van Tullekan.

This article from The Guardian also provides some useful insights: 

The following people on Instagram have really interesting views when it comes to healthy diets. They all have something different to say and it’s important to remember that their views may not resonate with you, so have a look and see who you ‘connect’ with.

Davinia Taylor

Ex actress and supporter of biohacking. What I love about her is that she is not a qualified nutritionist but someone who has done copious amounts of research to find a healthy way of living and eating that works for her as a recovering alcoholic. She has set up a company called Willpowders which sells collagen supplements and protein powders without any of the nasties, plus MCT oil and other natural products to help with issues such as anxiety and inflammation. She has also written a book called Hack Your Hormones, with advice about how to stimulate and control your body’s natural hormone production through diet and lifestyle.

Tim Gray

Another biohacker providing advice and tips.

Nichole Andrews

Oncology Dietician.

Louise Digby

Nutritionist and women’s metabolism expert.

Healthy Recipes and Starter Ideas

Try to keep your diet as healthy as possible, particularly in the week after chemo. The main goals here are to try and support the immune system and to keep the body as healthy as possible to help it fight the cancer cells and give it the energy to cope with the treatment.

Try to eat as much fresh veg and fruit and protein at lunchtime. Smoothies also are a quick and easy go-to, to help to increase intake of veg particularly.  If possible avoid sugar and processed food as this creates peaks and troughs in blood sugars and energy levels which can make you feel worse.

Most oncologists do not recommend supplements during or directly post treatment, but a little help here and there to support a healthy diet doesn’t go amiss particularly for your immune system; Holland & Barrett – Bioglan Supergreens Plus powder and Bioglan Superberries Immune Support powder. Add a teaspoon of each of these to a smoothie.

A good boost for the immune system is manuka honey – buy the highest npa level you can buy, 15 or above is the best. Start each day with a cup of hot water with the juice of half a lemon, a teaspoon of manuka honey and grated fresh ginger root. The ginger is particularly good if the chemo is making you feel queasy and the lemon is a good cleanser for the body.

Eating oats for breakfast during treatment are a good filler and are great for slow release energy. Try porridge, homemade granola or overnight oats.

As you progress through the chemo, the fatigue definitely builds up and you may find that you need something to eat asap in the morning, up to help get the day started. Two great, quick breakfasts are overnight oats and granola.


Having a smoothie every day may help to keep energy levels up and increase the intake of veg and fruit. Kale especially (if you can take its bitterness) is an amazing superfood. The base ingredients for a smoothie:

  • Greens: Kale, Spinach, Avocado
  • Fruit: Banana or Mango
  • Berries: Fresh or frozen
  • Milk (cows or plant*) or Coconut Water

*Plenish plant based milk does not have any nasty ingredients

If you don’t have time to make it, fake it and buy Sainsburys Beetroot Blast smoothie mix which has beetroot, carrots, mango, apple, blackcurrants and acai. A handful of that in the smoothie is great and it lasts for ages in the freezer.

Almond Butter Overnight Oats (courtesy of Deliciously Ella)

Make this in the evening and put it in the fridge so it’s ready for the morning. You can add blueberries, strawberries and seeds (sunflower, linseed, pumpkin) on the top but anything goes.

  • 60g of oats
  • 180ml almond or cows milk
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • Mix up together in a bowl, cover with cling film and put in the fridge

Pecan & Cinnamon Nut Crunch (courtesy of Deliciously Ella)

Make a big batch of this and store in an airtight container – it lasts for about two weeks. Eat with natural Greek yoghurt (excellent source of protein) topped with banana and blueberries.

  • In a bowl, mix up pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut flakes and two large handfuls of pecans (broken into pieces), cashews and almonds (or whatever nuts you like).
  • In a small saucepan melt three tablespoons of coconut oil, three tablespoons of maple syrup and three teaspoons of cinnamon. You can also add some ginger powder for added spice and a tablespoon of honey – this will make the ingredients cluster together when they cool down
  • Pour the melted mixture over the dry ingredients and mix well until it is all combined

Spread out on a baking tray or dish, sprinkle with some sea salt flakes and bake in the oven for about 20 mins, oven at 160 degrees. Turn the tray half way through cooking to ensure an even bake. Leave to cool down without stirring, so it sets in crunchy clumps

Go To Foods

Our mantra is to eat as many of the following foods over the course of a week:

  • Brown rice or rice noodles/pasta
  • All types of veg but particularly kale, spinach, broccoli, carrots and beetroot
  • Fruit – bananas, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, mango, blackcurrants, apples, peaches
  • Salmon
  • Chicken or turkey
  • Red meat once a week (but keep an eye on your red blood cell count and if this dips too much then add a little more red meat to your diet)
  • Pulses – lentils, chickpeas, black beans
  • Nuts – almonds, brazil nuts, cashews (all unsalted). A handful every day

Some Lunch Ideas – Try to Eat a Rainbow

Eating as many different colours of veg and fruit helps get a good balance of nutrients. Here are some ideas for easy lunches with lots of goodness. You can make batches of the salads to keep in the fridge to eat on subsequent days or transport in a tub if you’re going out.

Lentil & Beetroot Salad

  • Mix together ready cooked green lentils, diced beetroot, grated carrot and sliced red & green peppers with a dash of balsamic vinegar
  • Place on a bed of spinach leaves
  • Top with cubes of feta cheese and slices of cooked chicken for added protein

Salmon & Scrambled Egg with Granary Toast

  • Pretty straightforward – cook the scrambled egg and serve with slices of smoked salmon on the toast. Easy!

Rainbow Salad

  • Arrange in a bowl some spinach leaves, grated carrot, tomato, cottage cheese, avocado, sweetcorn, coleslaw, slices of orange pepper and cubes of beetroot. I also add turkey or ham if I’m feeling extra hungry and top with a seed mix (sunflower, pumpkin and sesame)
  • This salad is amazingly colourful so looks as good as it tastes!

Corn Cakes with Red Pepper Hummus and Avocado

  • If I want something really quick then this is an easy one. I buy the Kallo corn cakes but I’m sure there are lots of other brands out there to try

Simply spread the corn cakes with the red pepper hummus (much more flavour I find than plain hummus, but check ingredients as many have added rapeseed or sunflower oil) and top with slices of avocado


Who doesn’t love snacking?  It’s hard to last in between meals.  Some people actually prefer having smaller meals and eating every two or three hours than sticking to three meals a day. But this extra eating means keeping snacks as healthy as possible.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Apple slices dipped in almond butter – you can make your own but brands such as Pip & Nut are excellent as they don’t add any palm oil like some of the other bigger brands. Check ingredients to make sure there is no added sugar – it should just be nuts and salt.
  • Sweet potato wedges baked in coconut oil with a sprinkling of sea salt
  • Chickpeas tossed in extra virgin olive oil, cumin and smoked paprika, then roasted in the oven
  • Natural Greek yogurt with banana and a sprinkling of home made granola (recipe above)
  • Energy bites. I make the Deliciously Ella almond and cocoa ones which are amazing and give me a chocolate hit whilst being healthy! The recipe is on her website but it’s basically almonds, dates, coconut oil, maple syrup and almond butter whizzed up in a food processer and squashed into round balls. They keep in the fridge for about a week but mine don’t last nearly that long!
  • Date bark (medjool dates, nut butter and chocolate, kept in the freezer, absolutely delicious)
Scroll to Top