Sunday, December 29, 2013

A New Adventure in a Healthier Life

  Will the new year bring a new me? Will I be able to implement and stick to the directives given by my doctor? Only time will fully tell that but only I can succeed or fail in the attempt. I have a family history of heart worries and cancer on my dad's side and diabetes and cancer on mom's. There is also the concerns over high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.   I am myself a cancer survivor with currently no sign of cancer but I do have concerns over my cholesterol levels going up. All of this should make it apparent that I need to take charge and take care of my health. The lifestyle that my doctor recommended will benefit all of the health history concerns.
 The worst battle is going to be against my junk food and chocolate habits. Sugar is not mine and it is not your friend. Most if not all of the articles that I have read state that cancer feeds on sugar. If you take the time to read the ingredients listing on the food products that you purchase you will find that sugar in at least one of its many forms is present. If you think that purchasing a food that is labeled "low fat" is more healthy, check that label of ingredients, it has been told often that when places reduce fat, they increase sugar content to save the flavor.
 As I begin this journey to a more healthy me, I hope to chronicle that adventure here.  My own doctor stated that as a nation we need to move from reactive to proactive care in our health. In other words, don't wait until we get sick and then seek help, work to prevent the illness to begin with. But to get there as a nation, it takes each individual to make that first step. It will not be easy as that means leaving many bad habits behind. How much easier is it to stop at a coffee shop or fast food restaurant for a quick breakfast over preparing one at home? Even though popping a single serving of healthy oatmeal in the microwave takes mere minutes and the possibly more healthier version on the stove top only a minute or two more. Top that with cinnamon and a serving of fruit and you have a win for the healthier you. How much quicker is that pastry, diet soda or micro-meal over healthier choices? Truth be told, not much actually, but our bodies have become addicted to the taste and reactions of the sugars that we tend to gravitate toward the junk quicker. I know that I do, even as I know that there are those who have corrected their diet and do follow a healthy lifestyle. That is the lifestyle that I an hoping to emulate in the coming year.
 It will take baby steps, some of which I have already began implementing in my life. I am not one to stop anywhere where I could purchase coffee and load up on any of the fancy coffees that are loaded with the ingredients that I have been told to avoid. I prefer preparing my coffee-usually instant- at home. Thing is, when I did that, I made it strong and dumped a big helping of non-dairy creamer and sugar into the cup. Since the discussion with the doctor I have almost weaned myself from the sugar and creamer in my coffee and am getting closer to drinking it black that I would have imagined possible.  In my quest for information  across the internet on this new lifestyle one of the things I found was the the drink of preference is water. Good, cold, bland, water. There are of course many ways to add flavor to water, some healthy others not so much, and some down right need to be avoided. I have a reusable water bottle that I have been taking water to work with me and was recently given an insulated mug which I will also be using. It has recommended stopping all consumption of sodas whether they are regular or diet as the chemicals in the diet can and do cause harm in different ways. Personally I could never drink the diet as the chemical taste was something I had no desire to becoming accustomed. 
  The lifestyle he suggested does not depend on diet alone. It also covers exercise, mental and emotional health. It tells you to get up and move, purchase a pedometer and keep up with how much walking you are doing daily and it does have a recommendation of 10,000 to 13,000 steps per day. It tells you to find something that will calm your mind, something that you enjoy doing and doing it. Whether it is a hobby such as painting, sewing, music...etc or meditation. It tells you to do this, and invite someone to join you as we are more likely to stick to something if we have someone that will hold us accountable.
  Where I currently work has a health assessment once a year in February. I have until then to see what difference I can make in my health and cholesterol levels. That will be my first check point with the next one being my annual physical a couple of months later. That is why I have actually already began the first steps. I will admit that I was told this on December 4th. I will also admit that Christmas Dinner and the various family who we visited I was not able to hold to the diet part. Sugar addiction is sugar addiction and we will fall and we will give in- especially when my mother's fudge, banana pudding, and pineapple upside down cake are involved. The good thing is, we can see how we stumbled, we can pick ourselves up, dust off the cake crumbs and begin again.
  As I take this journey and begin this adventure I hope that you will join me. I hope to share what I learn and the improvements in my health. I offer you, the reader, the opportunity to share what you know, what you are dealing with and how you are working to improve your own health. I admit to being a bibliophile who purchases books galore. I have a few on diet and health and several good cookbooks to follow those healthier lifestyle choices. It is my desire to find healthy foods, and healthy, simple ways to prepare meals that won't be overly expensive.  It is my hope that this grand new adventure will lead to better health and lower the possibility that  my cancer will return. It is also my hope that those who follow along and participate on your own will reap the same benefits.
    Here is to better health and a healthier lifestyle in the new year and after.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

soup for support


 When ever and as often as I am able, I research cancer, ways of fighting cancer and cancer preventive measures. One of the things that I have found is that some cancers -as well as many other diseases--are triggered by our diet.
 If you are a junk food addict, or one who simply relies on fast food to supply your on the go meals, you are putting your health at risk. If you are one who depends on 'processed' foods such as many of those frozen entrees, TV dinners, or any of the other varied frozen things, you are putting your health at risk. I'm sure that we've all read or heard just how important a wholesome meal is to our well being. The preferred choice is organic foods, grass fed beef, free range chicken, and other 'safe' foods. We've been told its best to avoid the genetically modified vegetables and the antibiotic, steroid filled beef, pork and poultry. If you cannot afford the organic, at least go for the frozen vegetables. Fresh picked vegetables are frozen quickly and retain more of the "good stuff" as in the vitamins and antioxidants that help fight disease.
 What about those who are in a financial situation where they are having to eat whatever they can get? Its been pointed out over and over that the foods that are good for you are priced much higher than the other stuff. You can purchase some TV dinners for under a dollar while a container of strawberries will run you five dollars or more. Sodas are selling for seventy-five cents while bottled water costs over a dollar. Canned pasta marketed for kids can be purchased for a dollar or less while soups are a dollar and a half and more. When one is in a financial bind and money must stretch, the food budget takes a cut as well as everything else. At times, people go hungry.
 If the person is fighting cancer (or other disease) that is not the time to be going hungry. They need all the energy and strength they can muster to fight. They need the nutrients found it good food.
  That is one of the reasons we (being the East Gaston/ Belmont Relay for Life) are conducting a canned food drive. From now until Relay in May we (the individual participants and teams) will be collecting canned foods.   This month we are looking for cans of soup. It can be any size, and brand, and flavor, all will be gratefully accepted. Each month the participant/team that brings in the most cans will earn a prize. At the end of the event someone will win the cans to donate as desired. (Here I don't recall exactly how it will be determined who- whether it will be the person who brings in the most cans or by drawing but I will find out.) I would like to be that person as I know exactly where I would want to donate the food. Half to the Stanley Relief and half to the Southern Baptist Association. All that being said..if you have any extra cans of soup to me, message me and if you need me to meet you somewhere safe I will. If you are wanting to donate but aren't local you can drop a check in the mail and I will purchase the cans to donate and post photos of the cans purchased and when they are dropped off at Relay..
 If you don't want to donate food but would like to donate to Relay to help put an end to cancer you can donate online on my Relay for Life page..

There is a link on this page that will take you to my team page Heart for a Cure.. there is also a link that will take you to the event page where you can find out more about our event.

Thank you in advance for all that you do to help finish this fight and help us celebrate more birthdays. Thank you for helping to feed the hungry.


PO Box 371
Stanley, NC 28164