Looking for a Christmas present for a friend who has canncer ?

Have fun making up a Hamper of foods that are supposedly healthy. I say ‘supposedly’ for good reason, because NO food can be said to cure cancer – don’t believe those that say it can. However, there are some foods that doctors and researchers say good things about – and eating them (provided the patient likes the taste and the taste doesn’t conflict with drugs) can only be of benefit for one’s health – as well as being tasty.


First, try to find something to use as a hamper that can be useful afterwards. Baskets that can be used for shopping/keeping things in are always welcome. Or you might find an old box and decorate with fun symbols; or one of those smart linen baskets – have a look round your nearest department store and ideas will leap out – promise !

What goes inside ?

All these foods have had good things written about them in medical research – just DON’T make any claims. Treat this as a fun exercise – that’s what it’s supposed to be. Ginger : nurses say nice things about this – so look for ginger nuts (biscuits or cookies) ; ginger tea ; a ginger root ; cans of old-fashioned ginger beer or a bottle to take the place of the usual bottle of wine (but only if the recipient has a sense of humour !) Marmalade : researchers at the University of Arizona had nice things to say about orange and grapefruit peel Marmalade, and after all, the name supposedly came from ‘Marie malade’ given to the confiture as supplied to Mary Queen of Scots when she felt ill. Berries : Strawberries, blackberries, black currants, raspberries etc. all provide flavouring and bases for cordials, jams, tins fruit, boiled sweets, etc. Coffee : researchers are now starting to say nicer things about this ‘pick you up’. Choose a top quality Fair Trade packet. Herbs : dot the Hamper with lovely smelling cuttings of rosemary, bay leaves, sage, thyme and oregano that can be used fresh, or hung up, dried and stored to add to dishes. Chocolate : make sure this is dark and at least 70% (and a bar – not a box !) Tomato : any tomato-rich sauce, ketchup, etc. even tins of speciality tomatoes all find favour. And if someone is a ketchup freak, tell them two tablespoons equal a whole fresh tomato, and only contains around 15 calories. Garlic : pop in a clove, and not only do you scare away the devil but if your friend can tolerate the smell (don’t forget some drugs react to this) it is also a very healthy additive to cooking. Honey : I’ve mentioned this elsewhere – just make sure it is the best – organic – or manuka honey. Bottle : a Christmas Hamper always has to contain a bottle, but be creative. I’ve written about Pixley Cordials elsewhere ; not only do the bottles look festive, but the taste is really ‘fruity’. They aren’t alcoholic, but can always be the basis of a fruit punch if someone must have something with oomph, but healthy ! Fruit : and finally dot the hamper with shiny apples, perhaps an avocado, pears and any ‘hard’ long-lasting fruit.