Hello 2018: Let’s Do This

Intuition tells me that 2018 is going to be sensational.  It is being met with a renewed sense of self, a positive attitude and big plans.  This last year’s focus has been primarily on all the unknowns regarding metastatic breast cancer but I’ve done my homework, feel prepared and confident…Bring it on.

Sayonara 2017….We made it.  First let me say – my sister is the best.  She sent me a box full of things I giftsLOVE….a Himalayan salt lamp, a cute serving bowl, hand scrub (smells awesome), a soft comfy t-shirt and a pair earrings she caught me eyeballing on my trip to Houston.  She’s always telling me I’m a ‘hard sell’ because I can usually talk myself out of purchasing things and she is an ‘easy sell’ so she bought them for me.   Christmas Eve was a little sad knowing that our families were celebrating and we were home so to cheer myself up I watched two movies I’d never seen before, Miracle on 34th Street and Chocolat.  Both were excellent movies….a lot of valuable lessons to be learned from both.

hair3My husband and I agreed not to get each other gifts because we have everything we need, however, I did put together a small bag of cookies, candy, summer sausage and jerky for him since ‘treats’ in the house are unheard of these days.  Guilt….that’s it.  I was feeling guilty for depriving him of ‘ junk food’.  One word….ration.  I treated myself to a haircut and highlights…SOOOO needed a little pampering

 

Visit Family More Often…. Even though this past year has been difficult with a recurrent cancer diagnosis, there is really no excuse why I did not visit my family more.  This year is going to be different.  My husband and I both come from very small families, most of which all live in Texas.  Our parents are getting older, my Dad will turn 80 in June.  Time passes at an incredibly rapid speed these days so it’s important that every opportunity be taken.

positiveSurround Myself With Positive People….This year I am climbing into my positivity bubble and entry will not be granted to those who ‘harsh my mellow’.  The time has come to focus on myself, my health and my happiness.

Create An Environment That Cancer Hates….This is easier said than done but I’m ready to give it a whirl.  There is a wealth of information available so I will make it my job to educate myself and create a body that cancer finds unsuitable.

createWrite and Create More….These two are the most exciting because they encompass a broad spectrum. I definitely want start cooking more and perhaps trying some new creative things.

Less TV – Less Cell Phone….TV will not be a problem because it is rare for me to sit for long periods anyway.  I love documentaries and things that are real but have little use for the rest of it.  .

gonzoTake More Pictures….My husband and I are the worst when it comes to remembering to take photos.  This year is I am going to make it my responsibility to remember.

This does appear like a slight over-commitment but I can do it because I believe in ME.

Have a Happy New Year and may the universe bring us all abundant Blessings.  🙂

 

 

 

Make Hemp Hearts a Habit

Hemp hearts are basically shelled seeds from the hemp plant (Cannabis sativa).  They have an excellent nutritional content and are considered one of natures ‘Perfect Super-Foods’.  The flavor could be described as nutty and they can easily be added to hemp heartsanything for added benefits.  It has become my newest habit, tossing a spoonful into almost everything.  The cost is a bit high if purchased in a retail store, however, considerably less online.  My store was selling an  8 oz. for $14, however, the same product can be found for $9 online, some companies advertising even lower prices.  The company I used is Manitoba Harvest.  Hemp hearts are also available in ‘organic’ but the skeptic in me has yet to become a believer in those claims.

My research always includes looking to see whether something has estrogenic properties.  So far, I have not been able to find anything stating whether hemp poses risk to people with hormone sensitive breast cancer like myself.  As always, I will continue to investigate the estrogen factor and also run it by my oncologist next time I see her.  What I did find was this:

hemp hearts 4The gamma-linoleic acid content of hemp seed works as a hormone regulator for the thyroid and pancreas, and it can reduce many of the symptoms that come from a hormonal imbalance, including severe menopausal symptoms, mood swings, depression, and anxiety. It also can help regulate the hormones that affect weight gain and hunger. Overall, by re-balancing your hormones, your body will work at its optimal, ideal level.

——Organicfacts.net 

Here’s a quick break down:

  • A complete plant protein
  • Contain essential fatty acids Omega 3 and Omega 6 (balanced source)
  • Great source of insoluble and soluble fiber
  • Easily digestible
  • No phytic acid (this acid blocks digestive tract absorption of calcium and iron)
  • Safe for people with food intolerances
  • Gluten Free
  • Helps absorb vitamins and minerals from greens
  • The protein in hemp hearts is effective in reducing hunger.  Increases energy to aid in weight loss.
  • The high fiber content helps keep bowel movements regular.  Soluble fiber works in the intestines to lower levels of LDL cholesterol, and insoluble fiber has been linked to lower risks of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
  • The essential fatty acids along with the complete protein found in hemp hearts promotes cellular recovery and development. Cells use protein to repair DNA damage.
  • Hemp seeds also support the transportation of oxygen to cells of the body. When oxygen is present in cell membranes it helps to block viruses and bacteria.
  • Helps to lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar and lower blood pressure

Hemps Hearts Nutrition (4 Tablespoons)

  • 15g Protein
  • hemp hearts 215g Omega 6 (11.4g) and Omega 3 (3.6g)
  • 2.5 Fiber
  • 2.7 Monounsaturated Fat
  • 2.1 Saturated Fat
  • 4.5 Carbohydrate
  • NO CHOLESTEROL
  • Vitamin A – Hair, skin, eyes, immune system
  • Vitamin B1 – Nervous system and brain development
  • Vitamin B2 – Skin and eyes
  • Vitamin B3 – Improves digestion
  • Vitamin B5 – Helps metabolize toxins in liver
  • Vitamin B6 – Formation of red blood cells
  • Vitamin D – Strengthens bones and helps with calcium absorption
  • Vitamin E – Increases metabolism/hair, nails, and skin
  • Calcium – Healthy bone development
  • Iron – Helps blood carry oxygen
  • Magnesium – Muscles function and carbohydrate metabolism
  • Manganese – Sugar metabolism
  • Phosphorus – Balances acid, helps build bones
  • Potassium – Balances sodium, helps regulate fluids
  • Zinc – Nerve/muscle function

Add Them To Anything

Salads  *  Yogurt  *  Smoothies  *  Nutrition Bars  *  Cookies  *  Breads  *  Muffins  *  Pancakes

Soups  *  Chili  *  Wraps  *  Cereals  *  Oatmeal  *  Meatballs  *  Burgers  *  Hummus  *  Dips

Sandwiches  *  Wraps  *  Rice  *  Pasta  *  Stuffing  *  Hemp Milk

I would love to hear how you use them as well.  Please send me your ideas.  

HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY 🙂

SOURCES:

Hair Care – The Magic and The Tragic

Coming from a person who lives with MBC, I can tell you….I’ve done a few bizarre hardheadthings and eaten some weird food, all in hopes of winning the war with cancer over my hair.  I travel the internet A LOT trying to discover the DO’S and DON’TS of diet, exercise, and lifestyle but mostly to find out what to do about hair loss. Curiosity says, ‘Try Me’ while Common Sense smacks me on the head and says, ‘Save your time and money’.  Well….sometimes I listen, sometimes I don’t.  Hard-headedness is hereditary from both sides of my family so there was no escaping it.

Losing one’s hair is traumatic, especially if you’re a woman.  In 2006 I went through chemo and lost all my hair so with my 2017 recurrence I assumed the same would happen and mentally prepared myself.  The only thing I did was make myself ‘mental’.  Currently I take Ibrance and Letrozole.  So far there has only been slight thinning and this is most likely from Letrozole which blocks estrogen.  I tried so many things when the thinning first started with no results.  For the past three weeks, in addition to 500mg cruciferous veggiesVitamin C and 5000mcg Biotin,  I have been using a collagen peptide supplement powder, 1 Tablespoon daily of walnut oil and eating A LOT of greens (recommended by my stylist).  In addition to greens (especially broccoli sprouts and mung bean sprouts) I have been consuming my fair share of ground flax, hemp hearts, pumpkin seeds and nuts.  The ‘shedding’ has reduced significantly which is great because West Texas winds are not ideal for wearing wigs.  Now, at the same time I was using ‘something else’ as well.

In my defense….I was in a panic.

At this point, if rattlesnake venom was said to stop hair loss I would have driven to the nearest snake farm and jumped naked into a pit of vipers.  igrowThat’s how desperate and delusional one can become over a few stands of lost hair.  Now for the best part…..drum roll please…..I bought an iGrow Hair Growth System with LED and Infrared Lighting to stimulate my sluggish hair follicles.  Not only does it appear to be signaling aliens but it looks silly. They were actually selling these at my sister’s salon but I igrow2found it online for way, way less.  I’ve actually been using it for a month now and it remains a mystery whether the shedding has ceased due to the collagen, oil greens combo or if this ‘transformer-like’ helmet has contributed.  Whatever I’m doing seems to be working. The photo was taken with the lights off so it would look more exciting.

Here is an extremely condensed version of things I have tried and my experience with them.

THUMBS UP:

  • Plantur 39 Shampoo (great for scalp stimulation 1-2 times per week)
  • LoReal Total Repair 5 Damage Erasing Balm (this stuff is awesome)
  • It’s A 10 Miracle Leave-In Plus Keratin
  • Nioxin Thickening Spray
  • Big Sexy Powder Play
  • Coconut, Almond, Walnut or Avocado Oil (works great for dry ends)
  • Apple Cider Vinegar (Pro:  Great Conditioner – Con:  Deters Husband)

THUMBS DOWN:

  • The Mane Choice Hair Oil (messy/no results)
  • Wild Growth Hair Oil (messy/odd smell/no results)
  • Doo Gro Shampoo (dried out hair)
  • Natural Honey as conditioner (colossal mess – I should have seen that coming)

The way I see it, it doesn’t hurt to try – even if WHATEVER it is fails to work – there is always the chance that it will.  My nutrition habits are evolving, a work in progress, and more and more leaning toward a mostly plant based diet.  Like I’ve said before, fish and eggs are my KEEPERS.  I feel proper nutrition plays a huge part in whether my hair decides to hang around or ride off  into the sunset.

Have a great day 🙂

 

 

 

ONJ Cancer Wellness and Research Centre

Curiosity has always been my nature so why would being curious about cancer be any different?  It’s interesting to me that cancer research and treatment options are so varied around the world.  To get right to the point, I believe that the United States values the dollar more than it values it’s people.  They ARE the drug dealers.  Unfortunately, they leave us very little choice but to submit to taking these poisons.

Ok….on to something positive.

onj2Everyone remembers the movie ‘Grease’ and the bubbly blonde played by Olivia Newton-John.  Over the past few months, I have become intrigued by her story and her journey with breast cancer.   This all started after seeing her appearance on the Dr. Oz show and hearing her speak of her battle with breast cancer.  She also spoke of the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre in Australia where she plays a very active role.  I must mention that it was very important to her that ‘Wellness’ be a part of the name because she hopes that one day there will only be a need for wellness.  I couldn’t agree more.

Navigating cancer can definitely bring a person down so staying in a positive environment, having a good support system and staying active is very important.  I visited the ONJ Cancer Wellness and Research Centre website and was really impressed by what they have to offer their patients.  Although it is a hospital and research organization, the wellness programs are what I found pretty darn awesome.  Programs support the patient’s body, mind, and spiritual needs.  These include art, cooking, music, yoga, image, massage, emotional support and intimacy support.

I must admit that I have a great medical team but sometimes I wonder why we aren’t offered everything that is possibly available to us.  Someone is ultimately making our ONJchoices for us by limiting the choices we have.  There I go ranting again….Turning back to positive.

I think it’s so awesome that Olivia dedicates so much of her life to such a wonderful cause.   The world needs more people like her.

http://www.onjcancercentre.org/

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=olivia+newton+john+wellness+center&&view=detail&mid=F97235134D4F617924D5F97235134D4F617924D5&rvsmid=302249BE68BDCBCD64C6302249BE68BDCBCD64C6&FORM=VDQVAP

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=olivia+newton+john+wellness+center&&view=detail&mid=302249BE68BDCBCD64C6302249BE68BDCBCD64C6&FORM=VRDGAR

Multivitamins – Yay or Nay?

Did you know that to be effective a vitamin must dissolve in a timely manner, however, vitamins foodmost tablet vitamin supplements pass through the body half dissolved.  There is a simple way to test your vitamin using white vinegar.  For detailed instructions and which vitamins this test applies to CLICK HERE.  These products are expensive so you would assume they have already been tested.  The fact is, manufacturers and distributors, not the FDA, are responsible for evaluating the safety and labeling of their products as well as meeting FDA standards. For more information visit the FDA Website.   It is important to read the label and look for sugar, corn syrup, binders, fillers, artificial colors and preservatives such as BHA and BHT.  Binders such as wood pulp will leave a residue when dissolved.  Wax coatings make swallowing tablets easier but dissolving more difficult.

I stopped taking a multivitamin a while back, however, I still had them.  In the one hour test time a little over half of the tablet was dissolved leaving filler floating on the top AND settled on the bottom.  I will say that I expected better results from a major brand vitamin.  After researching this topic it was determined that gel vitamins provide the most benefits.  It is best to obtain the majority of vitamins and nutrients from diet and supplement only when necessary.

Here are some additional resources:  There is a ton of information out there so I would suggest poking around a bit to make sure you are getting quality vitamins. 

Vitamins:  How to Tell Natural from Synthetic (CLICK HERE)

Nutrition and Healthy Eating (CLICK HERE)

Multivitamin Reviews (CLICK HERE )

Have a fabulous day 🙂

 

 

Holiday Poem

CHRISTMAS
A simple Christmas
My husband, myself
No stockings, no lights
Just elf on a shelf
Today families gather
Share laughter and love
Watched over by angels
That look from above
The end of December
Will ring the new year
Vowed resolutions
Champagne and beer

For us that is …..

Happy Holidays to Everyone xoxo 🙂

Broccoli Sprouts are like Tiny Miracles

thYQCFB7CQSprouting is my new favorite thing to do.  Not only are sprouts super healthy but it’s so much fun watching them grow.

It is well-known that broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables are good for us but sprouts are even better.  The health benefits of this food comes from sulforaphane and broccoli sprouts are the main source.   The best thing I read was that sulforaphane does not concentrate on any particular organ – it fights at a cellular level and protects against all forms of cancer.  How awesome is that.

Growing sprouts at home from organic seeds was my only option really because they can no longer be found in supermarkets due to past problems with e coli and salmonella.  Broccoli sprouts came first since they seem to have the most cancer fighting benefits.  I ordered the seeds from True Leaf Market .  Super simple and in 5 days I had a beautiful jar of fresh broccoli sprouts.  They have a similar flavor to radishes.  First batch is rinsed and in the frig – second batch already started.

bob rossMung beans and wheatgrass are next.  And…. for my inner artist, a Bob Ross chia pet if I can find one – apparently they are selling like hotcakes this Christmas.  🙂

The Nutrition of Broccoli Sprouts  is a great read if you would like some general easy to understand information.

Have a great day 🙂

 

 

Mung Bean Burger

Eliminating red meat, pork and chicken was easy; eggs, dairy and fish are staying.  My reason for keeping certain foods is to ensure that I get enough protein which has always been a challenge.  This past year has been crazy confusing with my breast cancer recurrence and all.  Luckily I am enrolled in college working toward my Associated in Applied Science.   This keeps me busy and for that I am thankful.  Last semester I elected to take a nutrition course which was an in-depth study of how the body processes food and how the different systems actually work.  It’s all pretty amazing – they should REALLY be teaching this to children.

Yesterday it rained ALL DAY and I was stuck indoors so I made a big POT-O-BEANS (mung beans-my favorite) and cuddled up with a book.  When I announced, ‘bean burgers’ for dinner my husband was not thrilled and declined my offering.  He missed out.

  • 2 cups cooked mung beans
  • 2 packages instant oatmeal (plain of course)
  • 1 egg
  • Spices (I used a little salt, pepper and cumin)
  • Small amount of olive oil for frying

Have a great day 🙂

SUGARCIDE: Death By Sugar

sugarOh gosh….Where do I begin?

My initial query was….Is Sugar Feeding My Cancer?  Researching this topic yielded varied opinions.  In the end I determined that avoiding sugar would be best for someone living with cancer.

The choices that people make daily are causing obesity and a decline in the overall health of the population. Convenience has taken priority over making health conscience decisions. In my opinion, the majority of society has become lazy and people find it much easier to pull into a fast food restaurant, purchase pre-packaged meals, ready-made condiments and beverages rather than taking a little extra time to prepare these at home from fresh ingredients. Most of these items are loaded with sugars, especially soda and condiments.
A couple of years ago I really starting paying attention to labels and using the ShopWell App on my phone.  I was unaware of how much sugar I was adding to my diet just in condiments alone. Although personally I do not consume soda on a regular basis, I was shocked to learn that one regular soda contains approximately 10 teaspoons of sugar, if not more. There is a VIDEO on YouTube that shows the reduction process of soda and it was shocking. I am 50 years old and reflecting back to my childhood, it was a rare occasion when we were allowed to have a soda, sweets or fast food – MAYBE Burger King once a month if we begged. I was lucky that my Mama prepared all our meals at home, instilled the value of eating well and taught me to cook at a young age.
Times have changed, and the foods of convenience are a major contributor to the sugar we consume. It is saddening to see young children being fed continuous diets of processed foods high in sugar. Even more saddening is the fact that the control over their meals lies in the hands of parents and schools. Seriously, it does not require that much effort to pack a nutritious lunch for a child or for yourself. It is not a secret that these foods are unhealthy but some people refuse to give in when it comes to convenience and/or unwilling to alter their budget in order to make better decisions when it comes to what they put into their own body and the bodies of their family.
In urban areas, there are more available options and people are able to make healthier purchasing decisions. However, in rural communities lie mine, shopping for groceries can at times be challenging. I am in no way saying that it is impossible but there is the time consuming task of driving from one store to another to locate and gather healthy ingredients. In addition to being hard to find, these items are usually more expensive. I can see how this could be a struggle for families that must adhere to a budget and who lack the knowledge of how to shop and make sensible decisions. However, I am quite certain that if families were educated in nutrition, reading labels and given a certain amount to spend on food for one week they would find that choosing healthy foods would actually yield more food for amount spent.
Sugar is a major problem that is endangering our health with serious, life-threatening diseases which affect the heart, liver and other organs not neglecting to mention the dental problems that can arise. Sugar is also responsible for yeast overgrowth (candida) as well which can produce a wide variety of symptoms. The sugar issue needs to be aggressively addressed by both consumers and manufacturers. I believe that it has become an addiction itself and requires self-discipline and a little extra effort to make effective long-term changes. I also believe that products such as sodas and products high in added sugar should absolutely be taxed at a higher rate. This tax should include fruit juices with added sugar that fall into the same category because some of them contain the same amount of sugar as soda.
After viewing the videos and written resources it has become apparent that the sugar crisis is more serious that I thought and drastic programs must be implemented in order to solve it. Parents, schools, manufacturers and workplaces must unite together to make the changes necessary to ensure that future generations have a lesser risk of health conditions that are sugar related but ultimately it is up to each individual to become aware, educated, proactive and take responsibility for their own health.

There are many resources on this topic, both scientific and opinion based.  Here are two I found interesting and informative. 

Sugar and Cancer – Eat Right Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Does Sugar Feed Cancer – Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Have a great day 🙂

Field Roast Vegetarian Sausage

field roast sausageLately, I’ve been thinking about eliminating meat from my diet with the exception of fish.  If it’s possible to be semi-vegetarian then that’s what I am at this point.  It is going to take some creative experimentation to prepare flavorful foods.  We live in a small town where selections are very limited.  Last week, while in Houston, I took full advantage of resources and stocked up on specialty items and new products to try.  One of the items I purchased was Field Roast Grain and Vegetable Sausage – Apple and Sage.  The appearance of these links is not great but they are packed with 20 grams of protein.   They are also available in Italian and Chipotle (I bought Italian too).  The texture is a bit different than regular meat sausage but the flavor is good considering it’s vegetarian.  I did notice they smelled oddly familiar and eventually it came to me – Apple mini field roast spinach quicheFlavored Horse Treats.   Fortunately I like the way they smell.  I would definitely recommend giving them a whirl.

Looking for an idea?  Make a mini quiche.

  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup frozen spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 Field Roast sausage link, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 Tablespoon shredded mozzarella

Spray dish with cooking spray.  Mix first four ingredients, pour into dish, top with cheese and microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Voila!!!!

Have a wonderful day 🙂