Summery Citrus Spritzer (no sugar!)

 

 

This is a simple, refreshing and energizing beverage that can replace sugary drinks like soda. It’s packed with vitamin C and can help to

Summery Citrus Spritzer

Summery Citrus Spritzer

balance the blood’s pH, because lemons are alkalizing once digested in the body (disease prefers a more acidic environment in the body). The carbonation can help to ease nausea, but if you are dealing from mouth sores, be wary of the citrus!

Makes about 5 eight-ounce servings

Ingredients:

5 cups sparkling water

1 small orange

1 small lemon

1 small lime

Mint sprigs

Optional: raw honey

Directions:

Cut the orange, lemon and lime in half. Squeeze juice from one half of each fruit into a pitcher. Add the sparkling mineral water. Slice the remaining halves of orange, lemon and lime and add to pitcher. Optional: Add 1-3 tablespoons of honey for desired sweetness. Stir. Garnish each glass with a sprig of mint.

Tasty Tip: An easy way to flavor your water and keep it cool is to store sliced citrus in the freezer and add to your water or sparkling mineral water. Then you have flavored ice cubes!

This recipe is from our book Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen. For more recipes like this one, purchase your copy today!

 

8 Causes of Cravings

 

The body is amazing. It knows when to go to sleep, wake up, go to the bathroom, maintain 98.6 degrees and tighten the eyes when the cupcakelight gets bright. It knows the miracle of pregnancy and childbirth. Your heart never misses a beat. Your lungs are always breathing. The body is a super-computer, and it never makes mistakes.

 

Look at the foods, deficits and behaviors in your life that are the underlying causes of your cravings. Many people view cravings as weakness, but really they are important messages meant to assist you in maintaining balance. When you experience a craving, deconstruct it. Ask yourself, what does my body want and why?

 

The eight primary causes of cravings are:

 

1. Lack of primary food. Being dissatisfied with a relationship or having an inappropriate exercise routine (too much, too little or the wrong type), being bored, stressed, uninspired by a job, or lacking a spiritual practice may all cause emotional eating. Eating can be used as a substitute for entertainment or to fill the void of primary food.

 

2. Water. Lack of water can send the message that you are thirsty and on the verge of dehydration. Dehydration can manifest as a mild hunger, so the first thing to do when you get a craving is drink a full glass of water. Excess water can also cause cravings, so be sure that your water intake is well balanced.

 

3. Yin/yang imbalance. Certain foods have more yin qualities (expansive) while other foods have more yang qualities (contractive). Eating foods that are either extremely yin or extremely yang causes cravings in order to maintain balance. For example, eating a diet too rich in sugar (yin) may cause a craving for meat (yang). Eating too many raw foods (yin) may cause cravings for extremely cooked (dehydrated) foods or vise versa.

 

4. Inside coming out. Often times, cravings come from foods that we have recently eaten, foods eaten by our ancestors, or foods from our childhood. A clever way to satisfy these cravings is to eat a healthier version of one’s ancestral or childhood foods.

 

5. Seasonal. Often the body craves foods that balance the elements of the season. In the spring, people crave detoxifying foods like leafy greens or citrus foods. In the summer, people crave cooling foods like fruit, raw foods and ice cream, and in the fall people crave grounding foods like squash, onions and nuts. During winter, many crave hot and heat-producing foods like meat, oil and fat. Cravings can also be associated with the holidays, for foods like turkey, eggnog or sweets, etc.

6. Lack of nutrients. If the body has inadequate nutrients, it will produce odd cravings. For example, inadequate mineral levels produce salt cravings, and overall inadequate nutrition produces cravings for non-nutritional forms of energy, like caffeine.

 

7. Hormonal. When women experience menstruation, pregnancy or menopause, fluctuating testosterone and estrogen levels may cause unique cravings.

 

8. De-evolution. When things are going extremely well, sometimes a self-sabotage syndrome happens. We crave foods that throw us off, thus creating more cravings to balance ourselves. This often happens from low blood sugar and may result in strong mood swings.

 

Looking for ways to reduce your cravings and get your body back on track? Try the 14 Day Cleanse here!

 

Adapted from Integrative Nutrition

Gorgeous Goji Smoothie

 

This smoothie is a simple one to make, and tastes so delish! Smoothies are generally a great option for people undergoing chemotherapy for gorgeous goji smoothie1cancer, since experiencing nausea, mouth and throat sores are common side effects. Smoothies allow you to consume some nutrient-rich calories, they go down pretty easily, and they don’t take much time to make. Whether facing cancer, or not, this is an easy recipe that will help boost energy, support the immune system and aid in weight loss. For more smoothie recipes like this one, be sure to join our FREE 7 Day Smoothie Challenge! It starts Monday, December 8th!

Goji berries are full of antioxidants, those handy little cancer-fighters. Antioxidants minimize free radical damage that injures cells and damages DNA, causing cells to grow abnormally (which can lead to what we know as cancer in the body). Gojis are also a great source of Vitamin A, which is not only important for good vision, but also healthy cell growth and a strong immune system. Some preliminary studies using goji berry juice have found benefits in mental well-being and calmness, athletic performance, happiness, quality of sleep, and feelings of good health.

If you take warfarin (a blood thinner), you may want to avoid goji berries in large amounts or in supplement form: There may be some possible drug interactions with gojis. Goji berries may also interact with diabetes and blood pressure drugs. If you have concerns, check with your doctor, but enjoying goji berries in moderate amounts (even a few times per week) is not likely to be a problem. And that’s a good thing, because you won’t want to miss out on this healthy, yummy treat!

Gorgeous Goji Smoothie

12 ounces cold water

1/4 cup dried goji berries

1 large very banana, preferably frozen

1 cup strawberries, frozen

2 tablespoons hempseeds

Add water and gojis to a blender and let sit for 5 minutes to soften berries. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. If the banana is not frozen, add a few cubes of ice and blend. Serve and enjoy.

Juicing or Blending?

 

I love to juice and blend for different reasons, but keep in mind, these are two different things. Both offer wonderful health benefits. Today I’m going to talk about some of the benefits of juicing. P1010477

What is raw juicing? Raw fruits and vegetables are placed into an electric juicer, removing the fibrous parts and leaving the juice, which is full of nutrients. Juicing can also be done with a blender and nut milk bag (pouring the blended mixture through the bag and drinking the juice).

What is blending? On the other hand, when you add fruit and veggies to a blender and leave the pulp in the mixture, this is called a smoothie or “complete juice.” This also has many benefits – mainly that you’re getting lots of plant-based nutrients with the fiber. While this doesn’t give your digestive system a complete break (read about the importance of this below), it is certainly a health-supportive, nourishing thing to do for your body on a regular basis.

Why juice? At The Kicking Kitchen, we encourage you to eat a real, whole, plant-based diet (finding your own variation within that description). Juicing removes part of the food, so it is not a whole food. However, it offers some amazing health benefits. Juicing gives you a blast of nutrients without the fiber. Fiber is important on a daily basis, but giving your body a break from the fiber can be supportive as well (see why in #3 below). Focusing on juicing mostly vegetables reduces the amount of naturally-occurring sugar that is found in fruits.

Juicing is something I began after receiving a cancer diagnosis several years ago, and I have continued with it, sometimes on a daily basis, sometimes much less often. It has made a tremendous difference in my health – my energy has increased, and I feel stronger, lighter, and more focused. My skin has improved and it has helped in fighting off cold and flu and in alleviating aches and pains. But don’t take my word for it – see how YOU feel!

Juicing is beneficial because it:

  1. Helps to move toxins out of the body. Detoxification must happen on a daily basis. Toxins exist in our bodies from environmental pollutants, foods and stress and need to be excreted regularly to prevent toxic buildup, which can lead to disease.
  2. Provides light energy and life-supporting nutrients. The body receives a large amount of nutrients that are absorbed quickly into the body – a very efficient way of ingesting many vitamins and minerals! Because the fiber is removed, these nutrients enter the blood stream more quickly. (For this reason, it’s better to juice mostly vegetables, as they are naturally lower in sugar than most fruits. It’s important to avoid a spike in blood-sugar, which could result from drinking fiber-free fruit juice. However, some fruit does help to sweeten juices, can make them more palatable, and add supportive vitamins and minerals.) All of these nutrients provide energy and support every last cell in the body.
  3. Gives your digestive system a break. Remember, the fiber is removed, which allows your energy to be used in other areas of your body besides working hard to break down food. This does a few things: 1) Gives you more energy. 2) Boosts your immune system. The majority of the immune system is located in the gut, so giving this system a break from doing its digesting job, allows it to work on its immune supportive functions. 3) Lets the digestive system rest, rebuild, and rebalance.
  4. Jump starts weight loss. 50% of your body’s ability to lose weight depends on how many toxins are in your body. Helping the body to remove those toxins can jump start weight loss. Juicing helps to cleanse your body of toxins.
  5. Restores balance in the body on many levels. Juicing supports the blood’s pH balance, which is (or should be) slightly alkaline. Eating too many processed, sugary and animal foods contributes to an acidic environment in the body, which can cause inflammation, imbalance and ultimately disease. Disease cannot thrive in an alkaline body.

The Juice Clinic provides a page with links to lots of research on the benefits of juicing HERE. Pretty amazing!

There’s still time to join our 7 Day Juicing Challenge! It started July 28th, but you can jump right in! Sign up here.

 

Secrets That Can Help You Live Longer from Dr. Mercola

Yesterday, Dr. Mercola posted a great article called, “Secrets that Can Help You Live Longer.” While the article includes some great information, secrets-longevity based on research, the one area that stood out to me is how food can help you prevent chronic disease and live longer, and it talks specifically about cancer prevention and treatment diet.

One of the areas I’ve been exploring lately is my own personal diet – I’m currently 6 months pregnant and hungry ALL THE TIME! – so exploring how many grains, fats, proteins, etc. seem to work best for me right now has been an interesting challenge. I’ve been increasing healthy fats, like avocado, coconut/coconut oil/coconut milk, nuts and seeds, olive oil, and local grass fed butter, not only for me but also for my 2 year old. Below is an excerpt from Dr. Mercola’s article about consuming more fats, eating less or ideally no refined grains and sugars, and watching your protein intake.

“Mounting research confirms that when your body becomes accustomed to burning fat instead of sugar as its primary fuel—which is what happens when you intermittently fast—you dramatically reduce your risk of chronic disease.

Becoming fat adapted may even be a KEY STRATEGY for both CANCER PREVENTION and TREATMENT, as cancer cells cannot utilize fat for fuel—they need sugar to thrive. [...]

Ideally, you’ll want to replace all forms of processed and refined sugars and grains with healthy fats such as butter, olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, grass-fed meats, and raw nuts. Many would benefit from getting as much as 50-85 percent of their daily calories from fats. [...]

Most people also eat far too much protein for optimal health. Consider reducing your protein levels to one gram per kilogram of lean body weight unless you are in competitive athletics or are pregnant. [...] The reason for this recommendation is because excessive protein intake (you do need some) can have a great impact on cancer growth…

This pathway is ancient but has only become the subject of scientific investigation in the last 20 years. Odds are very high your doctor was never taught this in medical school and isn’t even aware of it. Many new cancer drugs are actually designed to target this pathway. Other drugs using this pathway have been shown to radically extend the lifespan in animals. You don’t need a drug to make this pathway work for you, though. You can ‘biohack’ your body by restricting your protein intake and, again, replacing the decreased protein with healthy fats.”

Full article here: http://bit.ly/1kHdMCI

You might also like 7 Healthy Fat Foods

10 Healthy Ways to Invigorate Your Water

 

Adding wholesome ingredients to your water is a fun way to ensure that you stay hydrated (and if you’re dealing with nausea during cancer treatment, this can help make water more appealing). Check out more healthy tips in IIN’s Roadmap to Health & Happiness: http://bit.ly/1l0Os9b

10 Ways to Invigorate Your Water

Celebrating a Beautiful Life: Annette Ramke

 

Friends, annette headshot

Today I am sharing devastating news I never thought I would need to share. My beautiful friend and coauthor of Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen, Annette Ramke, passed peacefully in her home several days ago, after facing a recurrence for metastatic ovarian cancer.

 

The words continue to escape me in trying to describe just how special Annette was to so many people, personally and professionally – family, friends, colleagues, her local community, readers. Her uplifting spirit, kindness, determination, humor, radiance, passion in life, and thoughtfulness are just a few of the reasons why I and others loved Annette. I am honored to have been able to call her my friend and find it so very special that we were able to work together in a way that only strengthened our friendship. A mutual friend recently commented that we worked “heart to heart.” This couldn’t be more true. spark quote

 

In the midst of grief, I, along with others who knew Annette well, are also celebrating the life of an amazing woman who was able to light the darkness with a smile, a hug, or a few kinds words. Someone who made good days even better with her laughter. Someone who somehow made every person with whom she connected, feel loved and important.

 

I hope you will join me in wishing peace, healing and strength to Annette’s family, who I know are feeling this tremendous loss deep in their hearts. Thank you to all of you who have offered so many well wishes and prayers.

Kendall

[You may also wish to read Why Eat Well? and A Note from Kendall About Annette.]

Why Eat Well?

 

In light of the recent news I’ve shared about Annette, it feels a bit odd to jump back into discussing leafy greens and quinoa (or any other health-promoting food stuff) in my next blog post. And this is probably why it’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted. I’ve had a tough time trying to figure out what to say! Annette is, after all, not only my coauthor, but also a dear, dear friend.

I was asked in an interview last night on Because Hope Matters Radio (listen to the interview here) a little about how Annette’s cancer recurrence has affected us in terms of our message and support we offer through Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen and here, on our website. In other words (and this is MY own words, not how this was asked on the radio show!) what does it mean if Annette, someone who promotes eating well to fight cancer and is so healthy herself, gets cancer again? Perhaps others wonder this as well.

Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer. At least, not a simple one.

Annette has led a beautifully healthy lifestyle – diet, exercise, etc. – over the last several years since her first cancer diagnosis. [You can read about Annette’s and my cancer stories in detail in our book, but long story short – Annette was diagnosed with breast cancer and found she has the BRCA1 genetic mutation, which increases her risk for certain cancers. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer two years after her breast cancer diagnosis. She had treatment for both. A few years later (now) – ovarian cancer recurrence.]

Many studies have shown that a plant-focused diet reduces cancer mortality rates and that vegetarians live longer and have lower cancer rates [1], that lifestyle changes can actually turn cancer genes on and off [2], and that chemicals in plants protect against cancer in many ways [3]. Studies have also shown that a healthy diet helps to prevent late effects (a late effect is a health problem that occurs months or years after a disease is diagnosed or after treatment has ended. It’s caused by cancer or cancer treatment). [4] Most experts agree that some form of a plant-focused diet this is an optimal way to eat! And it is.

Eating a whole-food, plant-based diet improves quality of life on many levels, with or without cancer. This, in my opinion, is reason alone to eat in such a way. You just feel good – great, actually. Generally, you have more energy, better moods, feel stronger, and have fewer health problems. If a person is going through cancer treatment, it’s very likely that he or she would feel far better than he/she would have if eating a poor, processed, high-sugar diet. If a person who isn’t facing cancer eats a more health-sustaining diet, he/she will likely feel better. That seems logical, right?

A plant-based, whole-food diet also supports your body on many levels – immune system, digestion, blood health, heart health, mental clarity, bones, tissues, organs. The food we eat becomes us, plain and simple.

What isn’t quite so plain and simple is the formation of disease, or the environment in which disease thrives, at least not specifically. There are so many beliefs and theories, some evidence-based, some partially, and some are simply opinions. Believe me, I’ve read it all (how many of these have you heard about?) – pH levels in the body, inflammation, toxin overload, digestive health affects immunity, conventional treatment (like chemotherapy) creates a cancer-friendly environment in the body, the affects of stress, how mindset affects disease and health…and on and on. Much of this is quite credible, and more than likely, it’s a combination of several of these causes in relation to food, environment, stress management and genetics.

Along these lines, I remember reading once, “A person isn’t sick because he/she has cancer. He/she has cancer because she is sick.” I don’t remember the source – let me know if you know it! In any case, that’s an interesting way to think about it.

These are all, perhaps, pieces of the puzzle, but still not the whole thing. I’m not sure we will ever have that exact answer because every person and every cancer is so unique in many ways.

I’ve met people who healed from cancer on dietary and lifestyle improvements alone.

And there is Annette, and others like her, who have built amazing, healthy lives, yet cancer just persists. Is it genetics? Something else? A combination of many different factors? We may never know that answer, definitively.

What I do know is that neither Annette nor I have changed our minds and decided to say, “Oh forget about food. I’m going to just start eating all the sugary sweets, fried foods, fast food, processed, artificial foods I want. It just doesn’t matter.” (Ok, I’ll be honest, there have been moments that we’ve considered this. I even joked with Annette that our next book should be Screw the Kitchen. But that was also in response to some of the difficulties she’s had with eating anything with this recurrence. Cancer sucks. It makes us angry. But we also need to find some humor in things, don’t you think?)

While neither one of us has made our diets so strict that we can’t enjoy ourselves – and we’ve always allowed guilty pleasures without the guilt! – we still know that we feel our best and that our bodies thrive much more when eating well. With cancer or without. And if food is what builds and supports our bodies, and eating well makes us feel good, why would we have it any other way?

 

 

[1] National Institutes of Health, Vegetarian Diets linked to Lower Mortality, 2013

[2] In the foreword of our book, Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen, David Katz, MD mentions that diseases are effects, not causes. Causes of what? According to a paper published in the Journal of the American Medial Association all the way back in 1993, Dr. Katz says “Premature death and chronic disease are attributable to just 10 behaviors each of us has the capacity to control…much dominated by tobacco use, dietary pattern and physical activity level.” This same information was reevaluated and published again in 2004.

Another study Dr. Katz addresses was reported in 2008 in the Proceedings od the National Academy of Sciences: It measured the effects of intervention on genes through a whole food plant-based diet, physical activity, psychosocial support and stress management. What was found? These factors had the ability to turn on 50 cancer suppressor genes and around 500 cancer promoter genes became less active.

[3] Cancer.net, Plant-based Foods 2/2012, approved by American Society of Clinical Oncology

[4] National Cancer Institute

 

 

A Note from Kendall About Annette

 

Dear Friends,

This is a note to let you know that Annette, my dear friend and coauthor of Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen, is facing a recurrence of metastatic ovarian cancer. She has wanted to maintain her and her family’s privacy during this time, but now has asked that I let you know of her situation.

Right now, I am sitting here by my dear friend’s side while she sleeps, hoping for many things for her: For healing. Peace. Happiness. Freedom from pain. Love.

I hope you’ll join me in sending Annette wishes for these things as well. We appreciate your support and understanding during this difficult time.

If you have been in contact with Annette regarding any book/business-related issues, please email support@kickingcancerinthekitchen.com, and I will do my best to follow up with you as soon as possible.

Kendall (and Annette)

 

Using Real Food for Natural Face Masks

Real food face mask 1

When you visit the spa in an attempt to make your skin look better, one of the most common treatments you’ll get is a facial that uses a face mask. While face masks at spas are often highly effective, visiting a spa on a weekly basis may not be in your schedule, and often harsh ingredients and chemicals are used.

However, you can make your own natural face masks at home – using ingredients that you might already have in your kitchen. Homemade natural face masks are also relatively easy to make, and it is easy to double or even triple the recipe to share!

Oatmeal Face Mask

You’ve probably heard that oatmeal is good for soothing flaky itchy skin related to sunburn or other irritations, but oatmeal is also an ideal ingredient for a facial mask for people with dry or dull skin because it’s moisturizing and nourishing to the skin and pores without being oily.

Prepare an oatmeal face mask by combining 1/4 cup oat flour with 1 tablespoon heavy cream. [We at The Kicking Kitchen would also suggest substituting coconut oil or nut milk for the heavy cream.] Stir the mixture to make a thick paste and gently spread it over your face while standing over the sink.

Let the mixture rest on your skin for about 20 minutes before rinsing it off with lukewarm water. If you have very dry skin, following an oatmeal mask with a night cream or moisturizer can make an ideal evening treatment.

Avocado face maskAvocado Mask

In many parts of the United States, avocados are available pretty much year round. While the antioxidants, vitamin A and healthy fat content is good for your body when you eat it, it’s also a great ingredient for use in a topical face mask for the same reasons, and you’ll notice that your skin feels tighter and your pores look smaller after using an avocado mask.

To make an avocado face mask, combine 1/2 avocado with 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small bowl. Mash the avocado and olive oil together with the back of a teaspoon to fully combine them.

Use the mask by gently spreading the mixture over your face with a towel around your neck to keep the mask from getting messy. Let it stay on your face for about 15 minutes before rinsing with lukewarm water.

Honey Mask

Honey is antibacterial and has long been used in natural remedies for pimples and blackheads. However, honey can also be used in a face mask to help soothe inflamed skin and to restore natural moisture content to the skin.

You can make a honey face mask by simply warming a small amount of honey in the microwave or on the stovetop before gently rubbing it over your face. Just make sure it isn’t too hot before you put it on your skin! Leave the mask on for 15 to 20 minutes before thoroughly washing it off.

You can also add a small amount of another moisturizing ingredient like heavy cream for a mask that isn’t quite as sticky if you wish.

Taking a trip spa for a facial is a great way to get your skin looking its best, but for many busy people, it just isn’t in the cards on a weekly basis. For others, a spa visit is a bit too expensive to add into the monthly budget. These things should not hold you back from having the healthiest skin possible! When you just don’t have time to visit the spa or a visit seems too expensive, make your own face mask and reap the benefits of well-maintained skin – even in the comfort of your own home.

Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer from Los Angeles and has contributed to many health and beauty blogs. She loves treating herself and her daughter to a spa day and loves recreating her favorite treatments at home. Find more beauty tips and tricks on her Pinterest.

Photos: Creative Commons