Sunday, 12 October 2014

Shedding & Shiitake Mushrooms

"You will lose your hair", my oncologist told me with absolute certainty. I didn't believe her. I thought that maybe I would get away with keeping mine, or at least most of it. Perhaps it was denial, perhaps it was hope, probably both ... but anyway I was wrong.

The hair on my head started coming out 3 weeks ago and I’ve lost most of it now. It was very upsetting of course (although I had been warned!) but I’ve just about come to terms with it. It's just part of the process, right? On Friday I went to the hairdressers and, whilst dodging various gasps and sympathetic looks from the staff and customers, had what was left of my wispy, patchy, comb-over hair cut super-short. So I think I now qualify as a skinhead for the first time in my life. I’ve assembled an eclectic collection of head wear and I’ll just wear hats and scarves and turbans (and maybe the occasional wig) until it starts growing back.

In Japan, they give chemotherapy patients medicinal mushrooms because of their cancer-fighting properties and the positive effect they have on the immune system. So here's my favourite quick and easy recipe for shiitake mushrooms (available from many of the big supermarkets).


Serves 2

2 pak choi (Chinese cabbage) - trimmed and washed
1 pack of Shiitake mushrooms - trimmed, washed and sliced
1 clove of garlic - crushed
1 lump of fresh ginger - thinly sliced (or use powdered ginger)
4 tablespoons of oyster sauce
2 tablespoons of light soy sauce
1 pack of pre-cooked, pre-marinated tofu
Enough 'Straight to Wok' medium noodles for 2 people

1. Put the pak choi over some boiling water to steam, and cover
2. Put some oil in a large non-stick pan and fry the mushrooms on high heat until half-cooked
3. Add the garlic and ginger, stirring constantly
4. After a minute, add the oyster sauce and the soy sauce
5.  When the mixture is bubbling, add the tofu and noodles and stir until piping hot
6. Combine with the pak choi and serve


  1. Steak tips? No, I don't know those, though the words are ringing a vague bell in my head.

    Sorry to read of your cancer trials - I was treated for breast cancer 5 years ago. I changed my diet radically as a result, though it's lapsed a little over time.

  2. Sorry to hear about your hair. It's hard when it falls out and it always drove me crazy when I heard things like, it's only hair... True, but also not true... I was a head-shaving hold-out for various reasons which, of course, I have blogged about and also written about in my book. I'm glad you've found some head covers that work for you. And thanks so much for the recipe.

    1. Hi Nancy, I bought your book a couple of weeks ago! It's really helpful, thank you.