Living With Cancer!

I have just recently read about a lady named Kris Karr who was diagnosed in 2003 with a stage 1V cancer of which there is no treatment. To this day, she is vibrant and healthy looking.  She is choosing to monitor carefully what she eats and how she lives.  What a testimony for those living with this disease!

I, too, am living proof that one can live a relatively normal and healthy life with cancer.  I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, Stage 3, aggressive, in 2001 and decided not to take conventional treatment.  For the next 2 years, I continued to teach kindergarten.  I had never felt better as I changed my diet completely, to an almost vegan diet, and altered my lifestyle to be less stressful and include more relaxation.  A 2nd CT scan, four months later, showed that indeed my tumours were shrinking. 

Then, I retired as an elementary school teacher and we moved to B.C. from Ontario. For the next 3 years, I worked in a preschool, travelled to Israel, and enjoyed the arrival of my four grandchildren.

In 2006, I did end up taking chemotherapy.  You can read more about this in my book "TWICE Lessons, Insights and Healing from Cancer.  The point of this blog is to encourage those who are or will be diagnosed with cancer.  Cancer is not always a death sentence.  Cancer can be beaten or at the very least you can live with it.  So never give up! 



Time For Change

When you get diagnosed with cancer, your body is saying to you that "It's time to make some changes in your life!"  At least, that is what I am proposing.  The first time I had cancer I didn't do anything different.  I was just happy that it was over and all was well.   Then, several years later, cancer invaded my life again.  I can't help but wonder if I had changed things the first time around, would cancer have reappeared.  Of course, there is really no way to know.  There are so many factors involved with cancer. 

However, cancer is definitely a break down of the immune system.  Therefore, it is imperative to build it back up.  But just as important as that is, it is also important to find out what is suppressing the immune system and keeping it from doing it's job.  This is where things get complicated and where the medical system fails.  It seems that the medical system is more concerned with treating the symptoms, ie: tumours, etc. than finding out what caused the cancer in the first place. Please understand I know there are exceptions; and symptoms that are life threatening must be treated immediately.  But there is time to sit back and assess your life.  You probably still have tomorrow.  What things could be causing you 'dis-ease'?  What can you do to ease those situations?  How can you learn to cope better?

In my case, anger and control were issues that I did not handle well.  Once I realized the problem, anger was fairly easy to deal with, as it was mostly directed at myself. I had to learn to really accept and love who I was/am.  Being in control was (and still is at times) extremely difficult for me to give up; but it was a big part of my journey with cancer.  Other factors for me were diet, exercise, breathing properly, (yes, you read that right) and learning to detox the physical, emotional and spiritual areas of my life.  You can find out more about this in my book "TWICE: Lesson, Insights and Healing from Cancer."  My point is that we must take a look at the environments surrounding us both inside and out.  If changes need to be made, face them head on and if necessary get the help to do it.

Cancer does demand a life change and the key to getting well and staying well is to embrace those changes.  It's never too early or too late to begin.  Cancer does not need to be a death sentence.


Sugar and Cancer

Just recently there has been some new information regarding sugar and cancer.  It is a well known fact that cancer cells love sugar; they actually thrive on it.  Hence, cancer cells show up so clearly on a CT scan, which includes putting a type of sugary solution in your body. 

Therefore, I have always understood that we need to avoid all types of sugar, of course the kind in cookies, cakes, pies, candy, etc.; but also to avoid having too many fruits because of the sugar.  This always puzzled me because I once heard of someone who cured her cancer by juicing only the purple grapes. Also carrot juice is high in sugar and beneficial for cancer patients.

Dr. Tony Jimenez, M.D., the Medical Director of the Hope 4 Cancer Institute in Tijuana, Mexico, along with a scientist from India who works with him at his clinic have discovered that fruit of any kind, as well as carrots and beets, does not feed cancer, in spite of the sugar they contain.  This is because the fructose (one form of sugar) in these foods is a "left-spinning" molecule.  That's what the lower-case "l" in front of the fructose means.  Cancer feeds on "right-spinning" molecules of sugar -- glucose, sucrose, etc.  Dr. Jimenez says that even honey, syrup and molasses that is unadulterated is quite healthy for cancer patients.  

So this is good news for those of us who do like something sweet.

This information was found on Bill Henderson's website

Also, is another site that talks about eating fruit


Fantastic News!

I have some news that is just so great that you probably will wonder why I have not posted it before now.  But approximately 3 weeks ago I had a CT scan.  The results were that there is no new activity in my body.  The tumours that were there, spotted in 2013, have shrunk significantly.  This is just the best news.

In October of 2013, I had a CT scan that revealed that some small cancer tumours had returned in the lower abdomen area, in my lymph nodes.  I was going to Africa in January 2014.  I didn't tell anyone and just trusted that I would be fine.  When I returned, I began the Budwig program of cottage cheese and flax oil along with Barley Max, juicing and Beta1-3D glucan.  I cut back on meat consumption, but not entirely and of course cut out most sugar, white products, etc. I do have a sweet tooth.

And now here is the result, 2 years later.  Cancer is not a death sentence.  I feel fantastic and people tell me I look great!  (Who are they kidding?)  Seriously, though it pays to take care of yourself and put whole foods in your body.  It helps that my husband loves to garden and so I know where a lot of my produce comes from.

When I eat meat, I buy grass fed beef, organic free range chicken (and eggs) and salmon, that my husband catches.

As I mentioned, I do have a sweet tooth and will share in another post what I have just learned about sugar and fruit.



Be Active, Feel Good

Well, this has been a very busy summer for me. A trip to Ontario, hiking, biking, bowling, museum visits, our daughter's wedding and a family vacation up island, not to mention all the fun cooking and making cookies (no-bake) with grandkids has certainly caused my summer to be busy.  Being active and using up energy has even generated more energy in me and I feel good.  My body has responded with endorphins (feel-good chemicals) and I have felt truly happy. 

Now that the dust has settled and things seem to be getting back to normal around here; I am left with quiet and solitude, well almost.  My point is do I settle for that or do I continue being active and getting out.  I have discovered that for me, a cancer survivor, I need to be busy.  I need to be active and that makes me happy.  It is the satisfaction of having done something good for me and my body.  Afterwards I can bask in the satisfaction of whatever activity I have completed.

Today Chloe and I, my dog, walked for an hour this morning.  Now after completing a load of wash and hanging it on the line, I am going to read a little in my hammock and then.  Who knows? 


The Wonders of Coconut Oil

Did you know that 30 % of our daily nutritional intake should be made up of fats or oil?   Many of you probably know the benefits of olive oil; however, you should not really cook with it.  So, along comes coconut oil.  After receiving such a bad rap for years, it is now proving to be one of the healthiest oils you can consume and a very good one to cook with.  It is such a great oil to cook with because of it's high burning properties.

A while back I wrote about liking my butter; but it is high in saturated fat.  Coconut oil is also high in saturated fat.  Saturated fat is bad for you, right?  Yes and no. Current research has shown that not all saturated fats are alike.  Saturated fat is a vital ingredient for a healthy body. The saturated fat in coconut oil is good for your health; while the saturated fat in butter is not good for you and should be avoided or at the very least used in moderation.  What makes the difference?  Coconut oil is unique in its structural make-up.  It is not only the highest source of saturated  fats (92%); but, included in this,is the highest source of saturated Medium Chain Triglycerides 62%) of any naturally occurring vegan food source.  Furthermore around 50% of these MCT’s are made up of lauric acid, the most important   essential fatty acid in building and maintaining the body’s immune system.

 Research shows that cooking with coconut oil generally creates a more favorable HDL/LDL ratio.  This oil has antiviral, antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antiprotozoal properties  and, like all whole foods, contains nutrients for a healthy body.  Apart from coconut oil, the only other source of lauric acid found in such high concentrations is in mother’s milk.  Tropical oils and mother’s milk are by far the richest food sources of medium chain fatty acids.  The closest other source of these vital building blocks for our immune  system would be milk fat and coconut-butter comprising around 3% of its content. Any other vegetable oil is completely deficient in these medium chain fatty acids.  It should also be remembered that the negative research done on coconut oil in the past was the result of one study conducted four decades ago, using  hydrogenated oil (which has been processed and altered from its original form), not on virgin coconut oil.  Research shows that some saturated fat is in fact necessary for human health and modern research shows that the medium chain fatty acids help to increase metabolism and are more easily  digested than fats found in other oils. This is because they are processed directly in the liver and immediately converted into energy. There is therefore less strain on the liver, pancreas and digestive system and these MCFA provide the body with a wonderful, quick source of energy.  This wonder oil is truly the healthiest oil you  can consume. Being rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, coconut oil is  also classified as “functional food” because it provides many health benefits beyond its nutritional content.  Some of its uses are for cosmetics and skin treatment.  Virgin  coconut oil is a natural healing oil and doesn’t remain in the blood  stream as other fats do‚ instead, it goes directly to the liver where it  is converted into energy.  It also enhances the boy's absorption of calcium and magnesium, elements that are crucial to healthy bones.

 It has no trans-fat that it helps to  promote normal platelet function and is very much recommended for those  who have heart disease. To keep our bones healthy and strong, we must ensure adequate nutrients  are absorbed within our bodies. Medium chain fatty acids assist the body with this process.   Virgin coconut oil contains fat, but has fewer calories than other fats  and does not cause the related weight gain that others do. The potential for weight gain from the consumption of virgin coconut oil is equivalent to that of  protein‚ something we consume regularly with no repercussions. Virgin coconut oil is a natural healing oil and doesn’t remain in the blood  stream as other fats do‚ instead, it goes directly to the liver where it  is converted into energy.

In fact, I have a jar in my bathroom as well as in my kitchen.  Why do I keep some in my bathroom?  Well, it is a wonderfully rich skin care oil that is readily  absorbed into the skin.  It helps to  reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Coconut oil will aid in exfoliating the outer layer of dead skin cells, making the skin  smoother.  Let me say from experience that you should use just a small amount.  A little goes a long way; besides if I put on too much, Chloe will lick it off. She loves the stuff and actually, it's good for her too!

Now, coconut oil does add a different flavour to foods.  In my opinion it is very good for cooking pancakes.  It is also delicious dribbled over popcorn and adding cinnamon.  Yum!  I have to admit Wynn doesn't like it, although my daughter, Tricia, does.  So give it a try; you might just like it. :)

I hope this post has not been too wordy for you.  I found it fascinating when I read about it. 

By the way, you can buy unflavoured coconut oil.


A Vegan Lifestyle?

Well, yes, maybe!  I am considering being a vegan again.  Just recently, I found out that my cholesterol is high.  I have a fair to good range of HDL but my LDL is too high for the doctor's liking.  Apparently, because of family history, I am considered high risk for a heart attack or stroke.  It doesn't help that both of my carotid arteries are slightly clogged.  What's a girl to do? 

"Let's get you started on Lipitor." is my doctor's advice.  As you can imagine, if you know me, it was not received with much enthusiasm to say the least.  I did agree to try Niacin.  I am starting out small and have still not experienced any niacin flushes.  Thank goodness!

But, of course that is not enough.   I need to do something.  The first step is to exercise more.  I have been saying that I am going to do this for a very long time.  I start; but I am not faithful.  I need motivation; so I joined the gym, just around the corner from me.  Today, I worked on a machine similar to a stair stepper, only a little easier, she told me.  I lasted for 30 min, with a break every 10 min.  My knees were not happy;  but it was a start.

The 2nd step is, of course, my diet.  I think I eat pretty well; however, I do indulge more than not.  So, I am eating my last piece of pizza as I write this.  Then, I am going to try eating only vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds for a while.  I am thinking my body will thank me; if only I can wrap my mind around it!


Epsom Salts

I found the following article by Melissa Breyer, Care 2 to be most interesting!

Most of us know about the importance of iron and calcium for our bodies, but what about magnesium? It is the second most abundant element in human cells and the fourth most important positively charged ion in the body. It helps the body regulate over 325 enzymes and plays an important role in organizing many bodily functions, like muscle control, electrical impulses, energy production and the elimination of harmful toxins.

Most of us are deficient in magnesium, so I’m going to put on my wise-granny hat here and tell you this: soaking in a bath with Epsom salt, which is high in magnesium, is one of the easiest ways to get a boost.

According to the National Academy of Sciences, American’s magnesium deficiency helps to account for high rates of heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, arthritis and joint pain, digestive maladies, stress-related illnesses, chronic fatigue and a number of other ailments. Who knew?!

Our magnesium levels have dropped by half in the last century due to changes in agriculture and diet. Industrial farming has depleted magnesium from soil and the typical American diet contains much less magnesium than that of our forefathers. And in fact, the modern American diet with its fat, sugar, salt and protein actually works to speed up the depletion of magnesium from our bodies.

Another factor in decreased magnesium levels has been our focus on getting enough calcium. It’s a delicate dance–calcium depletes magnesium yet calcium functions best when enough magnesium is present. Studies indicate that taking a calcium supplement without enough magnesium can increase the shortage of both nutrients. Researchers have found that many Americans have five times as much calcium as magnesium in their bodies, although the proper ratio for optimum absorption of both minerals is two to one.

With such widespread magnesium deficiency one might think that magnesium supplements would be called upon, but studies show that magnesium is not easily absorbed through the digestive tract. The presence of specific foods or drugs, certain medical conditions, and the chemistry of a person’s stomach acid can render magnesium supplements ineffective.

This brings us to Epsom salt. Known scientifically as hydrated magnesium sulfate, Epsom salt is rich in both magnesium and sulfate. While both magnesium and sulfate can be poorly absorbed through the stomach, studies show increased magnesium levels from soaking in a bath enriched with Epsom salt! Magnesium and sulfate are both easily absorbed through the skin. Sulfates play an important role in the formation of brain tissue, joint proteins and the proteins that line the walls of the digestive tract. They stimulate the pancreas to generate digestive enzymes and are thought to help detoxify the body of medicines and environmental contaminants.

Researchers and physicians suggest these health benefits from proper magnesium and sulfate levels, as listed on the web site of the Epsom Salt Industry Council:

  • Improved heart and circulatory health, reducing irregular heartbeats, preventing hardening of the arteries, reducing blood clots and lowering blood pressure.
  • Improved ability for the body to use insulin, reducing the incidence or severity of diabetes.
  • Flushed toxins and heavy metals from the cells, easing muscle pain and helping the body to eliminate harmful substances.
  • Improved nerve function by electrolyte regulation. Also, calcium is the main conductor for electrical current in the body, and magnesium is necessary to maintain proper calcium levels in the blood.
  • Relieved stress. Excess adrenaline and stress are believed to drain magnesium, a natural stress reliever, from the body. Magnesium is necessary for the body to bind adequate amounts of serotonin, a mood-elevating chemical within the brain that creates a feeling of well being and relaxation.
  • Reduced inflammation to relieve pain and muscle cramps.
  • Improved oxygen use.
  • Improved absorption of nutrients.
  • Improved formation of joint proteins, brain tissue and mucin proteins.
  • Prevention or easing of migraine headaches.

All this from a bath? Hurray! While there are many different brands of Epsom salt, they are all the same product chemically, and can be found at most drug stores. Add two cups of Epsom salt and soak for at least 12 minutes. Do this three times weekly.

If you are pregnant or have any health concerns, please check with your doctor before using Epsom salts.

Cooking With Fats!

Do you know what are the best fats to cook with?  It is very important that the fat you use has a very high "smoking point".  The smoking point is the point at which the fat turns rancid.  The higher the smoking point, the better.  When you heat a fat, that has a low smoking point, it turns into trans-fats. I don't know about you but I don't want trans-fats making up the fat around my cells.

With that in mind, let's take a look at some of the fats that we cook with beginning with the three worst fats to use for cooking.  I am sure that the first one is no surprise and that is margarine.  The second one is extra virgin olive oil.  This, frankly, was a surprise to me, when I first read it.  But it turns out that as it's from the first press of the olives, it's "smoking point" is extremely low.  It is best used in salads.  The third fat is vegetable oils.  Besides being highly processed, they are also high in omega 6 fats, which most people already have enough of.  This is significant to know because too much omega 6 in the cell membrane creates inflammation.  Research has shown that chronic inflammation is linked to many diseases, such as heart disease and cancer for example.

So what are the best fats to cook with?   Coconut oil is, in my opinion, the best fat to cook with because it has a very high smoking point. "Pure" olive oil is second best, if you don't like the flavour of the coconut oil, which my husband doesn't particularly care for.  Pure olive oil has a medium to high smoking point.  As it is from the 3rd and sometimes 4th press, it is a much more stable fat and doesn't break down as fast or easy as extra virgin olive oil.  Be sure to keep the cooking temperature at a medium range.  The third best fat is organic butter which has a medium smoking point.  If the butter is from grassfed cows, you get a lot of healthy omega 3's as well as an essential fat called CLA.  All three of these cooking fats support healthy cells.

The above information has been gleaned from books and articles that I have read on my journey to good health.

Bon appetit!




6 Ingredients You May Not Want In Your Food

6 Ingredients You May Not Want In Your Food

By: Food Republic, Huffington Post

Garden burgers. Power bars. Protein brownies. Bottled water that makes you thin, young and smart. And we used to wonder what they put in Pop Rocks...

These days it's hard for even die-hard foodies to know what they're eating or drinking. That's because food has changed from something that didn't need a modifier -- if it walked, swam, flew or grew out of the ground, it was food -- to something that stopped off at Mr. Burns' nuclear plant on the way to your plate.

Let's call it "foodiness." Like Stephen Colbert's truthiness, which wasn't about truth, we're not consuming food as much as we're consuming an edible manufactured doppelganger designed to look and taste like food, but isn't actually food: like veggie puffs with no vegetables; fruit bars with no fruit; like goldfish crackers with no goldfish.

And now, below, a look at some typical foodiness ingredients that are packaged, flavored and presented as food.

1. TBHQ, A.K.A: Butane

  Turns out butane isn't just for lighters anymore - it's also an artificial antioxidant that they put it in chicken nuggets to keep them "fresh" tasting. So instead of your chicken nuggets being fresh, butane keeps them "fresh." Eating butane probably wasn't what you had in mind last time you lit up, got the munchies, and ordered those nuggets. Try homemade chicken wings instead, for fuel-free food. 

Found in:
Frozen, packaged or pre-made processed foods with long shelf lives such as frozen meals, crackers, chips, cereal bars and fast food.

2. Estrogen

  Regular milk is full of hormones used by the milk industry to keep the cows knocked up and lactating all year round. Sound gross? It is. So when you drink regular milk you take a shot of hormones with it. And all you wanted was a bowl of cereal. 

Found in:
All non-organic dairy, so organic is recommended.

3. Spinach Dust

 Think that green sheen on your veggie snacks is giving you your daily serving of vegetables? Think again. That's just powdered spinach dust, which is spinach that has been dehydrated and sucked dry of its nutritional value. So the upshot is that green sheen is about as nutritious as actual dust.

Found in: "Healthier" vegetable flavored snack foods.

4. Propylene Glycol, A.K.A: antifreeze 

Antifreeze is used in cars, pills, cosmetics, deodorant, moisturizer... And, in a way, food! It keeps your car from freezing over, your moisturizer moist, and your fat-free cookie dough ice cream creamy, smooth and juicy. If it's good enough for your SUV it's good enough to eat, right? Right?? Right???

Found in: Cake mix, salad dressings, low-fat ice creams and dog food.

5. Wood Pulp: Vanillin 

Vanillin, which is a byproduct of the pulp industry, is used as an artificial vanilla flavor. Ester of wood resin, which comes from pine stumps, is in citrus-flavored sodas to keep the citrus flavor evenly distributed through the can

Found in: Artificially flavored yogurt, baked goods, candy and sodas

6. Castoreum

Castoreum comes out of a beaver's behind - it's extracted from their anal glands and is used to make artificial raspberry flavoring. Try not to think about that next time you order the diet raspberry tea.

Found in: Artificially raspberry flavored products such as cheap ice cream, Jell-O, candy, fruit-flavored drinks, teas and yogurts.