I have had many readers who already have breast cancer ask me to repost all of Becky's articles on her LAFF Process. Lifestyle, Attitude, Food and Faith. These were her four pillars that she implemented once she was diagnosed with stage IV. No chemo, pills or radiation. She lived over 3 years longer than any doctor could explain, and she believed (as do I) that it was LAFF that did it.
So, while our goal at the Foundation is to "prevent" breast cancer, for those who may already have it and are not sure of your path going forward, I am reposting some of Becky's articles, recipes and other awesome tidbits here for your review. Just keep scrolling down to view all her writings. And no matter what, Never Give Up!
Becky Baker: May 24, 1958 - Easter Sunday, 2017
On December 17, 2013, my wife, Becky Baker, was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic ER+ breast cancer and given three months to live by the oncologists at Wake Forest Baptist Cancer Center. X-rays and scans showed that she had four compression-fractured vertebrae, three fractured ribs, a fractured sternum and stress fractures on her femur necks. The disease had traveled from her breast and taken over her bones, which were now brittle, like egg shells.
Becky knew she had been issued a death warrant. Few, if any, ever survive her diagnosis beyond a year or two. However, she refused to believe that the doctors’ 3-month time limit on her life, as well as their recommendation for “managing the disease.” Instead, Becky committed herself to fight this evil in her body in a natural way. After an initial radiation treatment just one week after her diagnosis, she decided to fight this disease going forward without the use of chemo, radiation therapy, or pain medication. Her healing path, she believed, was to be based on the four components of her life: Her Lifestyle, her Attitude, the Food she ate and her Faith.
So, she started LAFF2LIVE.com, hoping that her story would encourage the many other women (and men) living with this evil disease, to “take control of their body and to “Never give up.” And it did. Hundreds have been encouraged over the past three years. Becky lived 37 months beyond the three months she was given by the doctors, and up until her final few months, no one even knew she was sick. (The above picture with her love, Miss Penny, was taken 25 months after her stage IV diagnosis, and yes, that is her real hair!)
During these three extra God-given years, Becky lived with a love and passion rarely seen on earth. In addition to launching her breast cancer website, she wrote a childrens’ book, A Lucky Penny, (Amazon) that details how Miss Penny actually helped save Becky from succumbing early to the disease. She was also the Editor of The Clemmons Free Press newspaper, and was an almost-daily volunteer at The Carolina Pyr Rescue in Winston-Salem. She is, and always will be, MY HERO.
Like so many other women though, Becky waited to see her doctor until it was too late. Why? Because she feared what the results would yield. “Our life was perfect and I didn’t want to mess it up,” she told me when I asked why she waited so long. Realizing her grave error, she spent her last three years preaching, “Get your checkup, if something is off, get to a doctor now, don’t wait, do it now!”
My ultimate regret is that I didn’t see it, that small lump in her breast. If I had, I would have driven her to the doctor. Husbands, please encourage your wives to visit their doctor if you sense something is amiss. The only way to beat breast cancer is to prevent it.
Becky leaves behind her broken husband, her mother, Martha Tegeler, her brother, Dr. Charles Tegeler, her sister-in-law, Dr. Renee Tegeler and her favorite neice, Catherine Tegeler, as well as the thousands of prayer warriors around the world who had joined with her these past three years as she so bravely fought – and never gave in to – this evil. I miss you so much babe. You fought so long and so bravely. I rejoice that you are finally at peace now and home with our Lord Jesus Christ, your father, Charles, and your beloved Bob. I will see you again one day, when my time on this earth is finished. Your Rick.
(A sincere thank you to the staff at the Hospice and Palliative Care Center. Your love and compassion for my wife will never be forgotten.)
The first thing we did when we heard those terrifying words: “you’ve got cancer,” was pray. We needed God to lay His healing touch on me and we needed His guidance. We also asked for prayers from family, friends, and the many thousands of Facebook followers Rick had acquired over the years plus his half a million data base from his blogs. We had, and still have, thousands of wonderful people lifting us up in prayer every day.
We felt a sense of peace knowing that we were covered by His grace. Although we didn’t know what the future would hold, or even how much of a future I had, we knew that God was in charge and everything would be okay.
Without this faith we may have bought into the prediction of the doctors who said I only three months to live. We knew that only God knows when we will breath our last on this earth, and although doctors have lots of knowledge, this sort of proclamation was above their pay grade.
So, You've Decided to Eat Healthy
Wow! No wonder so many people give up before they even start…
Let’s break it down to some easy steps so that it doesn’t seem so daunting. We’ll start small and let you progress at a pace that works for you. If you choose to do one step a week, several at once or jump in and do it all right now, is entirely up to you. Diet, like everything in your life, is a very personal thing. The most important thing is that you have made the decision to change the fuel that you are putting into your body.
Make a LAFF Track of what you eat for a few days. You don’t have to spend much time on this or do it for very many days. Just write things down so that you have a record of what your typical diet looks like for future reference. Don’t make this an exercise in excessive journaling. You can be as detailed as you want, but a simple list will do just fine. Be honest. Since you’re the only one who will see this list, if you cheat, you’re only cheating yourself.
Look at your LAFF Track and make some quick notes. How many times a day did you eat? Did you always eat breakfast or skip food until a midmorning snack or lunch? How many fruits and vegetables did you eat? How often did you eat out? When you’re in a hurry, what’s your go-to snack or meal? Was most of your food intake associated with meals or did you do a lot of snacking? How much of your food did you prepare from scratch? How much was from a box, can or package? How often did you eat animal protein?
Check out what you have in your kitchen. Again, write some things down on a separate LAFF Track – an entire inventory is not necessary. I think you will be surprised what you find lurking in your refrigerator and pantry. If you want a real shock, look at the list of ingredients on some of the packaged food you use on a regular basis.
Take a good look at this latest LAFF Track. Again, make some notes as you go through it. How much of your food is fresh or frozen? How much of your food storage consist of boxes, cans and packages? What kind of cooking oil do you use? Do you have butter or margarine in your fridge? Do you have lots of sugary or salty snack foods? Do you have an assortment of breakfast cereals? Do you have a large beverage section containing coffee, tea, juice or carbonated sodas? Blessings! Becky.
Is Organic Really Better For You?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently weighed in for the first time on organic food, as reported in the Wall Street Journal, suggesting that feeding kids organic fruits and veggies and organic meat just might reduce the risks of certain conditions and diseases and have some health benefits.
The President’s Cancer Panel also sounded alarm bells about chemicals and cancer, encouraging us to eat organic when we can, to reduce our exposure to pesticides and other additives being applied to our foods.
This is something I certainly didn’t do when my kids were younger, reflecting on all of the tubes of blue yogurt and packages of processed foods I’d served up.
When I first heard the term “organic” several years ago, I dismissed it. It connoted a “status” and conjured up two different images: lifestyles of the rich and famous or perhaps some alternative, hippie thing.
I was wrong.
The term “organic” actually refers to the way agricultural products are grown and produced. It legally details the permitted use (or not) of certain ingredients in these foods. When I first learned about it, I thought it was a marketing tool.
The legal details are that the U.S. Congress adopted the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) in 1990 as part of the 1990 Farm Bill which was then followed with the National Organic Program final rule published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The standards include a national list of approved synthetic and prohibited non-synthetic substances for organic production which means that organically produced foods also must be produced without the use of:
- • antibiotics
- • artificial growth hormones
- • high fructose corn syrup
- • artificial dyes (made from coal tar and petrochemicals)
- • artificial sweeteners derived from chemicals
- • synthetically created chemical pesticide and fertilizers
- • genetically engineered proteins and ingredients
- • sewage sludge
- • irradiation
Wow, who knew that conventional, non-organic food could contain these ingredients? Not many of us, since sewage sludge and artificial growth hormones aren’t on the label.
What about cloning animals or those genetically engineered salmon, hard-wired to double their weight? Those would be considered inconsistent with organic practices, too, because of the laboratory intervention required.
In other words, what we call “organic food,” our grandmothers would have simply called “food.” Because a lot of these new ingredients didn’t exist when we were younger, having only been created in laboratories, patented and then introduced into our foods in the last few decades.
LOOK FOR THE SEAL
Products labeled “100% Organic” and carrying the “USDA Organic” seal adhere to a strict legal standard: national organic standards require that organic growers and handlers be certified by third-party state or private agencies or other organizations that are accredited by USDA. Anyone who knowingly sells or mislabels as organic a product that was not produced and handled in accordance with the regulations can be subject to a civil penalty of up to $10,000 per violation.
WHY ORGANICS COST MORE
Admittedly, the high price of organic food can irritate anyone. But the scrutiny that these foods undergo is enormous and expensive, driving prices at the cash register and for those producing them on the farm. Why the costs? Because the cost structure on our food supply offers taxpayer-funded resources called subsidies to the farmers using genetically engineered seeds and saturating crops in insecticides and weed killers, while charging the organic farmers fees to prove that their crops are safe.
That’s like getting fined to wear your seat belt.
In other words, it’s an un-level playing field right now. And if we were all sitting down as a national family at our national dinner table, I don’t think that any of us would want to be using our resources this way. Wouldn’t we rather have the organic food be the one that we fund, making it cheaper, more affordable and more accessible to all Americans?
But right now, it’s not. So should you choose to opt out of our conventional, chemically-intensive food production system and try something organic, you’ll be joining a growing segment of the population and are not alone.
WHERE TO START?
The U.S. organic industry grew 21 percent overall in 2006 with organic foods and beverages continuing to be one of the fastest growing segments in the overall $598 billion food market.
Thankfully, organic foods are increasingly sold in mass market grocery stores like Wal-Mart, Costco, Kroger and Safeway which represent the largest single distribution channel, accounting for 38 percent of organic food sales in 2006. Large natural food chains, along with small natural food chains or independent natural groceries and health food stores, represented about 44 percent of organic food sales. About 2 percent of organic food is sold through farmer’s markets.
Maybe you rolled your eyes at this whole thing a few years ago, dismissing it as an expensive food fad. I did. But give yourself permission to change. Because as the science continues to mount, from the Presidents Cancer Panel to the American Academy of Pediatrics, nothing could be further from the truth. And while none of us can do everything, we can all do one thing. So the next time you are in your grocery store, consider purchasing something “organic”.
You can invest in your health with your shopping cart. And the best medicine you can take, might just be at the end of your fork.
You might be all fired up about healthy eating…
but what if your family’s not?
You’ve had the wake up call. You jumped on the scale and the numbers staring up at you were a little too high. Something slapped you in the face about how you are feeling (hello!), or your doctor sprung unhappy news. We can tell ourselves, I should eat healthy, I should eat healthy… but many of us need a jolt to make the shift.
What if you’ve made the shift, but your family doesn’t wanna? I’ve talked to many frustrated people in my culinary confessional who say, “My family’s giving me a hard time! They don’t want to participate.” Just because you’ve had the epiphany doesn’t mean your loved ones are ready to come along. How can you persuade them?
I recommend the back door.
Don’t ANNOUNCE there’s going to be a big food change, just start cooking GOOD food. Don’t make a big deal about it. No preaching allowed! Preparing and offering food that tastes good is the quickest way to get your loved ones to the table. It’s not about deprivation -- it’s about all the tasty things you CAN have. Taste buds don’t lie!
I wrote a lot about this in my book The Cancer Fighting Kitchen. Instead of proclaiming, “We’re cooking clean!” or “We’re going on a cleanse!” just start doing it. Less fanfare and more flavor yields more positive results. Nobody is going to turn their nose up at something that tastes good! No one will stop eating because it tastes good and they find out that it’s healthy!
I always come back to the power of YUM.
Great taste and great nutrition don’t need to sit on opposite sides of the table. Here are some STUNNER, no-fail, can’t-miss recipes to help you captivate your family with healthy yum!
Starting with one of my popular creamy, cashmere soups could be a great strategy. When people taste something new that’s colorful, fresh and delicious, they’re bowled over! Our tastebuds are programmed to gravitate toward the freshest tastes, and no amount of processed foods can take that away. It’s embedded in our DNA. That’s your secret weapon!
This one’s from the new kid on the block -- my 8-year old grandson, Brandon!
He has such a discerning palate he doesn’t even like junk food. He likes vegetables, and he likes to be involved in the kitchen. From a very early age, his mother and father had him up on a stool stirring, washing, and helping assemble meals. When we shop together, we cruise the produce aisle, not the middle of the store, and I have him choose what he likes. He’s developed curiosity and confidence! He brought the broccoli recipe into second grade for show and tell and they all made it, and they all ate it! Roasting brings out the sweetness.
Here he is with his second grade teacher! They added carrots, too.
Sometimes I cook for friends or family and I’ll add an unexpected herb like mint in a dish, whether in a salad or this braised chicken. They love it! Our tastebuds LOVE surprises. They’ll ask what my secret ingredient is. You get to watch that involuntary spasm of vocal delight when your family or guests say, yummmmm!
My 8 top tips for influencing family and friends of all ages to eat healthy:
Don’t say, “Let’s eat healthy!” Go through the backdoor, and cook good food.
Nobody likes being lectured to. Taste speaks far louder than words :)
Don’t assume your kids or grandkids don’t like vegetables. Remember Brandon and the broccoli.
When you see your spouse or partner eating bad stuff, shut up! You’re not their jailor. There are things you can do, however. (See below.)
Make it taste GOOD. This should actually be #1.
Make it pretty. Food tastes better arranged beautifully on a plate, with a flower on the table and a nicely chosen piece of music. Go for it!
Keep trying. Kids may need to be exposed to a new food 8 times! If at first your don’t succeed, don’t despair. Experiment with textures and flavors, and offer a little bite here and there.
Don’t take it personally! This is hard for cooks. But if a member of your family is a super picky eater or super sensitive taster (a DNA thing), you may need to have super patience. Do your best, and remember to breathe!
Pushing doesn’t help. I encourage you: Trust that if you are cooking with intention and quality ingredients, and you’re cooking for big flavor, JUST the taste of good, home-cooked food will propel people in a healthy direction. Just do it!
The Ancient Use of OILS
Depending on whom you want to believe, there are upwards of 500 references to essential oils in the bible. The use of essential oils was one of the many wonderful things I was introduced to in my battle with breast cancer.
I use many in my daily life for various reasons. Some of my favorites are wintergreen, lavender, peppermint and thieves’ oil, but the inventory I have in my medicine cabinet is quite extensive.
I will go into my experience with them later, but rather than me writing about each one now, I looked for an easy source of information for you. When you do an Internet search on essential oils, you may find others that you find helpful, but this is one I have used: http://draxe.com/natural-remedies-category/essential-oils/
When you go to the Dr Axe site, you can sign up to receive his newsletter (no charge) and will be able to download his free eBook, “The Kings Medicine Cabinet.” This is a great way for you to start learning about essential oil uses, cures and recipes for healing.
There are many essential oil brands on the market, with a wide range of prices. If you are looking for oils for aromatherapy, you can get relatively inexpensive ones at your local health food store. For oils that are considered “therapeutic grade,” the choices are more limited. Again, you can do a search and find differing opinions on which brand is the best. I, personally, use Young Living Essential Oils, but have not tried the other top brands, so I can’t give a comparison.
LAFF2LIVE will soon have a store where you will be able to order Young Living Essential Oils and have them delivered right to your doorstep. Since these oils are not inexpensive, we are hoping to provide help for those who may not be able to afford them, by using donations from people in the LAFF Community.
More on that later, but for now, check out which essential oils may be right for you!
Where I Come From It Was Called "Pop"
Where I come from, we called it pop. At our house, we frequently asked someone if they wanted a Coke, even when we didn’t have that brand in the fridge.
We didn’t consume any kind of carbonated beverage on a regular basis. It wasn’t part of our lifestyle, and frankly, it wasn’t in the budget. I remember what a treat it was to occasionally go to A&W and enjoy a frosty mug of their sugary delight.
In high school, I was introduced to “diet” pop. Back in the day, the only choice was Tab. While that definitely dates me, it also lets you know that I certainly wasn’t drinking it for the flavor…
Tab was new and, therefore, it was cool to drink it. I’ve never been one to follow trends, but, unfortunately, I made this one a habit.
I switched flavors and brands over the years, but rarely did I stop drinking my beloved diet pop. It had become an integral part of my lifestyle. Rather than craving some sort of comfort food when I got stressed, I reached for a Diet Coke. Sort of counterintuitive, don’t you think?
This became a real issue for me several years ago, after I experienced a traumatic series of events in my life. I practically lived on Diet Coke. I knew I needed to cut back. I had read the warnings, and any studies I hadn’t seen were forwarded my way by concerned friends and family.
I did cut back. I even quit cold turkey once, only to slide back into my old, comfortable habit. Fast forward to December 2013. I went from thinking my pain was from once again throwing out my back, to being admitted to the cancer ward after an MRI showed something else. And, what was my first thought when I found out I’d be there over night? That Rick would have to bring me a Diet Coke first thing in the morning. How sad is that?
Needless to say, I left the hospital days later not really craving anything. Especially not a Diet Coke. I still drank one occasionally over the next few months, but am proud to say that I no longer want, or even like, Diet Coke. Praise the Lord!
Now, I’m not saying that the reason I got cancer was my obsession with a particular beverage, but it certainly wasn’t a healthy choice on my part. I’ll let you come to your own conclusion.
Ny times article
One of the simple pleasures Rick and I indulge in, is getting a newspaper, such as the New York Times, and reading in from cover to cover. We are old school, in that we still like to actually hold a paper and get ink on our fingers. It’s not that we don’t get news from the Internet, how could we not, but there’s just something magical about having a hard copy to look at and fold, even if the stories may be “old” by today’s standards.
We did that this morning with the Saturday issue of the NYT. (I have to get this so I can challenge/frustrate myself with the Saturday crossword.) My eye was immediately drawn to a picture of cute little piglets on the front of the Business Day section.
The accompanying article tells about new guidelines that allow the use the phrase “produced without ractopamine” on packages of meat. I won’t get into details, since you can get those from the article, but basically, ractopamine is used to make animals gain weight at a high rate before slaughter.
Here is a quote from the article:
“For that export market, Smithfield Foods, Tyson and other major meat companies have for several years produced meats from animals raised without the drug, and in 2013, the U.S.D.A. came up with the Never Fed Beta-Agonists Program to certify such meat as ractopamine-free. That program was for only the export market, however, and those companies have continued to use ractopamine in raising animals for meat for the domestic market.”
My question would have to be, why? Are we in America less deserving of knowing what we are eating? I won’t even comment on the fact that many other nations won’t even allow the import of this meat, regardless of the labeling.
Take a few minutes and read the whole article. Being uninformed is unacceptable.
No Quick Fix For Healthy Living
There is no quick fix that will make you healthy. You can’t take a magic pill to achieve health. You can’t pay someone to do it for you. You can’t wish your way to being healthy either. Being healthy is a lifestyle. It is a process of making choices that affect your body, mind and soul in a positive way.
While you may think that is a bit harsh and it sounds all but impossible to do, you really just have to take one step; the first one. Make the decision that you’re going to choose health!
It doesn’t have to be a complete change of your current lifestyle all at once. Start with something small, like taking a few minutes, even 15-20, to do something you find relaxing. It can be walking in the park, reading a book, listening to music, playing with your dog, planting some flowers, or just sitting quietly doing nothing. It’s just a few minutes away from the hustle and bustle of your busy life. A time to decompress and let yourself just “be.”
You may think you don’t have time for such nonsense, but you will find that even a mini-break like this will refresh you and allow you to deal more easily with the normal craziness of your life.
Welcome to the LAFF path to a healthier you! A simple start – with more easy changes ahead.
Facing Breast Cancer With A Positive Attitude
You have just been given a diagnosis of breast cancer and your world has been turned upside down. You are in shock. You don’t know what to think or what to say or what to do. You are turning over your life to a team of medical professionals, many of whom you have never met before. Fear has taken over as you have no idea what you are about to face. Your life will never be the same but you have no idea what that means. So now what?
There are so many things over which you will have no control. There will be many doctor’s appointments and various tests. You will be given a diagnosis along with the recommendations of your medical team members. More than likely you will proceed with surgery and a regimen of follow-up treatment based upon the advice of these professionals and their experience with your particular type of cancer. You feel as though your life and future is in the control of those who are handling your medical treatment and at the moment, that is your life. Or so you believe unless you care to take a look at all of the rest of your life outside of the medical aspects.
You are in control of your life as long as you are willing to either keep or assume that control. You have the ability to face your breast cancer treatment with the attitude of your choice. Should you choose to do so with a positive outlook, you have already made the biggest decision for yourself in influencing everything. You have today to enjoy and to live and to give the best that you have. No cancer diagnosis should ever take that away from you.
Nor should any breast cancer diagnosis take away your plans and dreams for the future. You may have made plans for places that you want to go and people that you want to see and things you want to accomplish and there is no need to change your focus. There may be some adjustments that you might need to make in your timelines in order to receive the treatments that you need but you hopefully will continue to focus on your hopes and dreams. No one or nothing should take that away from you.
It is interesting how that works in our minds. Even when going through surgery and treatment and recovery, we can choose to think about the future and what and how we are going to do something that we want to do rather than focusing on the momentary pain or discomfort that we might be experiencing. By focusing on positive thinking and exhibiting positive behavior, we can actually influence our healing. Rather than worrying about an outcome when we have no ability to see the future, we can enjoy this day and those that we choose to have around us. Of course there will be times when we just might not feel like being positive and that is to be expected but if we can learn to limit the amount of time we spend on the downside, we will ultimately be so much happier.
When all else fails when you are trying to stay positive, put a smile on your face and work to keep it there. It is impossible to feel anything but good feelings when there is a smile involved. Surround yourself with others to whom you have given an understanding that just because you have cancer doesn’t mean that they should treat you any differently or live their lives any differently. Focusing on the positive and dealing with any negative that may come along is the absolutely best way to deal with cancer and if you don’t believe that then I say that you should just give it a try. You will be glad that you did. (Written by Barbara Jacoby, follower her on Twitter: www.twitter.com/LetLifeHappen.
Is Microwaving Bad For Cancer Patients?
Reaching for a frozen entrée from your freezer, reading the simple directions on the back, and popping it into the microwave oven can lead to a meal that took a total of three minutes. And it's a modern convenience utilized in many American households. According to The Southwest Museum of Engineering, Communication and Computation (SMECC), more than 95 percent of American homes own a microwave oven because it is seen as “almost impossible/pretty difficult” to do without.
Here's the rub: while your frozen meal may consist of Lean Cuisine-type products with healthy ingredients and low calories, the way you cook your food directly affects the amount of nutrients your body consumes. This common household appliance can significantly zap the nutritional value of your food and your health, leaving you susceptible to developing health complications due to continuous microwave use, and begging the question: is convenience worth sacrificing your health?
Microwaves Zap Food Nutrition
Heating your food in the microwave can strip away its original nutrients. What may have started as a nutritious plate of food has now evolved into “dead food” due to the dielectric heating of microwaves. “They bounce around the inside of your [microwave] oven and are absorbed by the food you put in it,” writes Dr. Joseph M. Mercola, licensed physician and surgeon. The water molecules rotate rapidly in the microwave and in the food in high frequencies which creates molecular friction and heats up your food. This causes the molecular structure in your food to change, and as a result diminishes the nutrient content in the food.
Microwaves Destroy Breast Milk And Vitamin B-12
The health benefits of vitamin B-12 are instantly negated once heated in a microwave. In a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers decided to examine the effects of microwave heating on the loss of vitamin B-12 in foods like raw beef, pork, and milk. The results of the study show there was a 30 to 40 percent loss of the vitamin when the foods received microwave exposure. The shift of vitamin B-12 to an inactive form of the vitamin was found in foods during the microwave heating process.
The powerful bacteria-fighting agents in breast milk are also destroyed by microwave heating. Findingspublished in the journal Pediatrics examined the common practice of using a microwave to heat frozen human milk for convenience in intensive care nurseries. Researchers tested 22 freshly frozen human milk samples to test them for lysozyme activity and antibodies by heating the samples for 30 seconds on either a low or high power setting. Breast milk microwaved at high temperatures was found to have greater E coli growth — 18 more times than the control (unmicrowaved) breast milk. Microwaving at low temperatures also dramatically decreased lysozyme activity and also promoted the growth of harmful bacteria for babies.
Microwaves Create Carcinogens In Food
When you head foods that are wrapped in plastic in the microwave, you can create carcinogens in the food. Based on Russian research and German studies, the Russian government issued a warning about the health hazards microwave ovens can have on the human body and the environment. The assembling of microwavable foods are found to contain toxic chemicals such as BPA, polyethylene terpthalate (PET), benzene, toluene, and xylene says Foodbabe.com. The plastic containers used to heat these microwave meals have been found to release the carcinogens along with other harmful toxins into your food which is then absorbed by your body.
Microwaves Can Change the Makeup of Your Blood
In a Swiss clinical study, researchers found that blood changes in individuals who consumed microwaved milk and vegetables. The eight participants in the study ate a series of food prepared in different ways, including food heated in the microwave. The results of the study showed red blood cells decreased while white cell levels increased, along with cholesterol levels. The non-ionizing radiation of the microwave can affect changes in your blood and your heart rate.
Microwaves Can Change Your Heart Rate
Microwaves can produce effects on your body instantly due to the 2.4 GHz radiation — the frequency of radiation emitted by microwave ovens. A study conducted by Dr. Magda Havas of Trent University found the levels of radiation emitted by a microwave affect both heart rate and heart rate variability. These levels are within federal safety guidelines but tend to cause immediate and dramatic changes in heart rate. If you experience irregular heart beat or any chest pain and regularly eat microwaved food, it might be best to discontinue use.
Diet and Physical Activity: What’s the Cancer Connection?
How much do daily habits like diet and exercise affect your risk for cancer? Much more than you might think. Research has shown that poor diet and not being active are 2 key factors that can increase a person’s cancer risk. The good news is that you do something about this.
Besides quitting smoking, some of the most important things you can do to help reduce your cancer risk are:
- Get to and stay at a healthy weight throughout life.
- Be physically active on a regular basis.
- Make healthy food choices with a focus on plant-based foods.
The evidence for this is strong. The World Cancer Research Fund estimates that about 20% of all cancers diagnosed in the US are related to body fatness, physical inactivity, excess alcohol consumption, and/or poor nutrition, and thus could be prevented.
Control your weight.
Getting to and staying at a healthy weight is important to reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of several cancers, including those of the breast (in women past menopause), colon and rectum, endometrium (the lining of the uterus), esophagus, pancreas, and kidney, among others.
Being overweight can increase cancer risk in many ways. One of the main ways is that excess weight causes the body to produce and circulate more estrogen and insulin, hormones that can stimulate cancer growth.
What’s a healthy weight?
One of the best ways to get an idea if you are at a healthy weight is to check your Body Mass Index (BMI), a score based on the relationship between your height and weight. Use our easy online BMI calculator to find out your score.
To reduce cancer risk, most people need to keep their BMIs below 25. Ask your doctor what your BMI number means and what action (if any) you should take.
If you are trying to control your weight, a good first step is to watch portion sizes, especially of foods high in calories, fat, and added sugars. Also try to limit your intake of high-calorie foods and drinks. Try writing down what and how much you eat and drink for a week, then see where you can cut down on portion sizes, cut back on some not-so-healthy foods and drinks, or both!
For those who are overweight or obese, losing even a small amount of weight has health benefits and is a good place to start.
Be more active.
Watching how much you eat will help you control your weight. The other key is to be more physically active. Being active helps reduce your cancer risk by helping with weight control. It can also help improve your hormone levels and the way your immune system works.
More good news – physical activity helps you reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes, too! So grab your athletic shoes and head out the door!
The latest recommendations for adults call for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week, or an equivalent combination, preferably spread throughout the week. This is over and above usual daily activities like using the stairs instead of the elevator at your office or doing housework. For kids, the recommendation is at least 60 minutes of moderate or vigorous intensity activity each day, with vigorous intensity activity occurring at least 3 days each week.
Moderate activities are those that make you breathe as hard as you would during a brisk walk. This includes things like walking, biking, even housework and gardening. Vigorous activities make you use large muscle groups and make your heart beat faster, make you breathe faster and deeper, and also make you sweat.
It’s also important to limit sedentary behavior such as sitting, lying down, watching television, or other forms of screen-based entertainment.
Being more physically active than usual, no matter what your level of activity, can have many health benefits.
Eat healthy foods.
Eating well is an important part of improving your health and reducing your cancer risk. Take a good hard look at what you typically eat each day and try these tips to build a healthy diet plan for yourself and your family:
Choose foods and drinks in amounts that help you get to and maintain a healthy weight.
- Read food labels to become more aware of portion sizes and calories. Be aware that “low-fat” or “non-fat” does not necessarily mean “low-calorie.”
- Eat smaller portions when eating high-calorie foods.
- Choose vegetables, whole fruit, legumes such as peas and beans, and other low-calorie foods instead of calorie-dense foods such as French fries, potato and other chips, ice cream, donuts, and other sweets.
- Limit your intake of sugar-sweetened beverages such as soft drinks, sports drinks, and fruit-flavored drinks.
- When you eat away from home, be especially mindful to choose food low in calories, fat, and added sugar, and avoid eating large portion sizes.
Limit how much processed meat and red meat you eat.
- Minimize your intake of processed meats such as bacon, sausage, lunch meats, and hot dogs.
- Choose fish, poultry, or beans instead of red meat (beef, pork, and lamb).
- If you eat red meat, choose lean cuts and eat smaller portions.
- Prepare meat, poultry, and fish by baking, broiling, or poaching rather than by frying or charbroiling.
Eat at least 2½ cups of vegetables and fruits each day.
- Include vegetables and fruits at every meal and snack.
- Eat a variety of vegetables and fruits each day.
- Emphasize whole fruits and vegetables; choose 100% juice if you drink vegetable or fruit juices.
- Limit your use of creamy sauces, dressings, and dips with fruits and vegetables.
Choose whole grains instead of refined grain products.
- Choose whole-grain breads, pasta, and cereals (such as barley and oats) instead of breads, cereals, and pasta made from refined grains, and brown rice instead of white rice.
- Limit your intake of refined carbohydrate foods, including pastries, candy, sugar-sweetened breakfast cereals, and other high-sugar foods.
If you drink alcohol, limit how much
People who drink alcohol should limit their intake to no more than 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink per day for women. The recommended limit is lower for women because of their smaller body size and slower breakdown of alcohol.
A drink of alcohol is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits (hard liquor). In terms of cancer risk, it is the amount of alcohol, not the type of alcoholic drink that is important.
These daily limits do not mean it’s safe to drink larger amounts on fewer days of the week, since this can lead to health, social, and other problems.
Reducing cancer risk in our communities
Adopting a healthier lifestyle is easier for people who live, work, play, or go to school in an environment that supports healthy behaviors. Working together, communities can create the type of environment where healthy choices are easy to make.
We all can be part of these changes: Let’s ask for healthier food choices at our workplaces and schools. For every junk food item in the vending machine, ask for a healthy option, too. Support restaurants that help you to eat well by offering options like smaller portions, lower-calorie items, and whole-grain products. And let’s help make our communities safer and more appealing places to walk, bike, and be active.
The bottom line
Let’s challenge ourselves to lose some extra pounds, increase our physical activity, make healthy food choices, limit alcohol, and look for ways to make our communities healthier places to live, work, and play.