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

Happy Birthday Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen!

A and K Toasting with Joyce

HAPPY BIRTHDAY Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen!!! One year ago today our book was published, and since then we have had such an amazing response and huge buzz about KCITK. We’ve met so many wonderful people who have shared their stories, supported us and allowed us to support them. Today we want to say thank you to all of you and have some fun stuff in-store. Check it out below!

 

** Facebook Giveaway (Oct 2-4)! Visit our Facebook Giveaway page and read the instructions there to enter to win a big bunch of goodies, including our book, two other books (Helping to Heal and Square Foot Gardening), healthy treats, sea veggies, up-cycled bejeweled kitchen utensils and more!

 

Girlfriend's Cookbook& Guide: Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen ** A special gift when you purchase a copy of Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen Wednesday and Thursday ONLY (October 2nd  and 3rd)! You will receive our 7 Day Juicing Challenge ($69 value) complete with juicing and whole food recipes, detox audio class, and grocery list. You will ALSO be entered to win a FREE one-hour coaching call with Kendall or Annette!

Already have a copy of KCITK? Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen makes a perfect gift for someone facing cancer or anyone trying to eat and live more healthfully! 

—->>>Here’s what you do:

  1. Purchase your copy of Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or any local bookstore on October 2nd and 3rd.
  2. Come back here and enter your information, including receipt number, in the form below.
  3. You will be sent a confirmation email. Follow the instructions to confirm and you will be sent your 7 Day Juicing Challenge!
  4. Be sure to add support@kickingcancerinthekitchen.com to your contacts or check your Junk Mail so you don’t miss it! Your name will also be entered in a random drawing for a FREE coaching call with Kendall or Annette. The winner will be notified by email on Friday October 4th! (THIS HAS ENDED.)

**All rules subject to change. One winner will be randomly chosen for the coaching call with either Annette or Kendall. Winner will not be able to choose their coach – depends on availability.

Super Simple Overnight Oatmeal

 

Today we have a guest post from our friend Kirsten Scarcelli of Nourish Yourself Now, our Portland, Maine affiliate who offers plant-based cooking classes and much more! Read on for her simple breakfast recipe and give it a try! This one requires almost no time or effort. :)

Super Simple Overnight Oatmeal

As fall quickly approaches, and we are getting back into busier work and school schedules, do you find yourself needing to get out the door fast in  the morning? No time to make a healthy breakfast? Here is a tasty, super quick recipe that you can prepare the night before (this also works well, if you travel a lot!). I found the original recipe in Dr.McDougall’s “Starch Solution”. I adapted it slightly. Give it a try. It has lots of protein, soluble fiber, and no cholesterol and is a good source of iron and manganese. And best of all, it tastes yummy and will keep you full all morning.

SUPER SIMPLE OVERNIGHT OATMEAL

Serves 1

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup plant milk or water
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
Sliced banana, berries or other fruit (optional)

Stir together oats and cinnamon, and then add plant milk (or water) in a bowl or air tight container. Make sure everything is well coated.
Cover and refrigerate overnight, if using plant milk. If using water, you can leave bowl out on the counter, if room temperature is preferred.
In the morning eat cold or reheat on stovetop for a few minutes. You might need to add extra liquid.
Top with fruit and enjoy.

Tip:  I like my oatmeal very thick, so I pour boiling water over the mixture and stir. I wait until cooled, and then cover it up and leave bowl out on the counter overnight. Yummy!

Recipe adapted from: The Starch Solution, John A. McDougall, MD and Mary McDougall

***If you would like more support with food and your health, with a holistic (or whole-body) approach, try out a complimentary health consultation via phone with one of our health coaches. You will also find lots of support, information and plenty of delicious recipes in our book, Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen.

Juicing for Life

 

Mean Green Smoothie

Mean Green. By Michelle Reaves.Chellereaves / Wikimedia Commons

Are you considering jumping on the juicing bandwagon? There’s no denying the juicing movement that’s sweeping the nation. Food and health blogs post creative concoctions, touting the health benefits of juice and its tastiness. It’s easy to get swept along in a sea of vibrant oranges, deep green kale, and bright yellow lemons.

Due to the recent rise in popularity, grocery stores are flooded with “natural” and “fresh” juices in the grab-and-go aisles. With so many easy choices, why bother with juicing at home? These neatly packaged bottles are a much faster option, and much easier than having to buy the produce, spend the time juicing, and then cleaning up afterwards.

Homemade juices are worth the effort. First of all, you have control over what goes into your juice. If you don’t like kale, but do like blueberries, you can easily make a spinach blueberry juice instead of having to stick with predesigned flavor combinations. Also, when you are making the juice yourself, you know exactly what goes into it. You can’t say the same for store bought ones. Naked juices have long marketed its line of juices as “all natural”—and recently the claims have been found to be false advertising (to the tune of $9 million).

Here are a few more reasons why fresh juice made at home is better than pre-packaged varieties found in a store.

Pasteurization. Almost all commercially produced juices are pasteurized to prolong the shelf life. Pasteurization involves heating the juice to 160 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit, and then cooling it down quickly. The heating process kills all the microbes that can cause spoilage or food borne illnesses, but it also destroys any heat-sensitive vitamins, enzymes, and antioxidants.

Since juices are supposed to be packed full of nutrients, manufacturers often add the vitamins back in after the pasteurization process. However, the vitamins and minerals added after processing may not be as readily absorbed by the body as naturally occurring ones. Making fresh juice when you want to drink it ensures that your drink retains all its nutrients.

Added sugars. Pasteurization also mutes the flavor of fresh juice, so many companies add in sugar to improve the taste. Making your juice reduces the need to add sugar; or, if you do find the need to sweeten your recipe, you can add in sweeter fruits, or a sweetener of your choice. Manufacturers are likely to rely on corn syrups or artificial sweeteners, neither of which is healthy. Drinking fresh juice rather than bottled juice ensures that you don’t end up consuming empty calories.

Fiber. Some bottled juices are processed in ways where almost all of the insoluble fiber is stripped away, and some of the soluble fiber is removed as well. Fiber helps slow down the absorption of sugar in the body, reducing insulin spikes—which over time could lead to insulin resistance and diabetes. Fiber also has a host of other health benefits like lowering cholesterol levels to keeping you regular. Most home juicers allow you to keep at least some of the fiber from the fruits and vegetables.

When it comes to juicing, try to buy organic since you’ll be using most of them whole, especially if you use a juicer. Be sure to wash the fruit and vegetables prior to using them—a quick and inexpensive produce cleaner is to dilute a little bit of vinegar with water and spray on the produce before rinsing. If you use cherries, plums, peaches or other fruits with large seeds, pit them prior to tossing them in the juicer.

Here are a few simple and nutritious juice recipes to get you started on your juicing habit.

Mean Green. The original “Mean Green” juice featured in the movie Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead kicked off the current juicing craze. Packed with leafy green vegetables, the Mean Green is a great way to sneak in some extra heart-healthy fiber into your daily diet. It’s also highly versatile, as you can swap ingredients for others as needed.

Serves one. Juice the following ingredients together and serve immediately over ice.

6 kale leaves (try baby kale for a less fibrous final product)

1 cucumber

4 celery stalks

2 green apples

1/2 lemon

1 piece of ginger

Orange You Glad to See Me. This juice is packed with vitamin C from oranges and

Mango Kiwi Juice. Image courtesy of Alexandre Duret-Lutz / Flickr.com

Mango Kiwi Juice. Image courtesy of Alexandre Duret-Lutz / Flickr.com

lemon to boost your immune system and beta-carotene from the carrots to help keep your eyes healthy. Ginger helps with digestion, and gives the juice a spicy kick!

Serves one. You can opt to use a manual citrus squeezer for the oranges and lemon, before switching over to a electric juicer for the carrots and ginger.

8 carrots

2 oranges

1 Meyer lemon (try to find Meyer lemon instead of regular lemon as it imparts a smoother, sweeter flavor)

1 small piece ginger

Juicing is a great way to increase your vegetable and fruit intake—rather than slowly chewing through eight carrots, you can juice them with some lemons and oranges for a delicious afternoon drink. Making them at home may take a little longer than just grabbing a bottle from the store, but the health benefits are worth the effort.

 

 

Virginia Cunningham is a freelance health and wellness writer from Los Angeles. She is a big fan of juicing and always tries to have a pitcher of some fresh concoction in the fridge!

Be Your Own Best Advocate

 

For some of us, receiving a cancer diagnosis was the first time, aside from routine doctors’ appointments, that we became intimate with the medical establishment. For others, the road to our diagnosis has been paved with weeks, months or sometimes years of not knowing, going from physician to physician, test after test, trying to figure out what is going on with our health and our bodies.

In either case Cancer World is a place in which most of us, as grateful as we are for our doctors and hospitals, spend too much time in waiting rooms, testing areas, chemo chairs, being poked and prodded by medical professionals.

We are cancer patients in their world and it sometimes feels as if a piece of our personal identity, and sometimes our humanity, is taken with that term.

Many of us were brought up to not question authority, or at least not too much. We were taught to smile, be agreeable and compliant and not cause a ruckus.

All of that translates into a cancer patient who shows up for her appointments, takes her medicine and follows doctor’s orders. This means we get the tests and treatments we need and have a better chance of kicking cancer.

It also might mean that we don’t speak up, don’t share our concerns, questions and frustrations as we should with those overseeing our medical care. We may have questions or concerns that are dismissed as unimportant or silly, or we might let ourselves be talked to by physicians and other medical staff in ways that aren’t appropriate – whether rude, condescending, impatient or patronizing. Kendall was once named “pukey girl” by a nurse because her pain medication after surgery was causing her to vomit. Annette had a doctor rudely argue with her that she hadn’t had a very painful procedure performed, twice – when she had – just because he saw it as unsuccessful. No, we’re not kidding!

In this Cancer World, which is so overwhelming and distressing, we learn, sooner or later, that we either speak up and speak back, or we take the hit and wait until we get to a private space and then punch a pillow or cry. We’ve both had instances where, rather than speaking up in the moment, we go home, consider what happened and wish we had stood up for ourselves.

Being our own best advocate becomes necessary if we are to persevere. We need to empower each other and ourselves to ask questions, demand fair and kind treatment and have our wishes and humanness respected. We must strengthen our voices and not be afraid to speak our truth and let doctors, nurses, and technicians know when they are lacking in respect and care.

Sometimes, though, we just don’t have the energy or spirit to do so. In these times it is invaluable to bring an advocate with us to appointments and tests. Someone who will listen, speak and act according to our wishes on our behalf when we need some support. A friend, neighbor or family member can be an advocate for us.

Cancer requires a lot from us. And this also includes strengthening our voice and being empowered around all aspects of our care and treatment.

As Billy Joel always says: “Don’t take any shit from anybody!”

Have you experienced this sort of treatment from a health care provider? How did you handle it?