Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Cancer Post

Currently, I have four people I know suffering from cancer and I lost a friend in August from this stupid disease.  So, I have been thinking a lot about it lately and wondering, in this day and age, with all our advancements in medicine, why there isn't a cure and what is the cause.  I do believe we know how to recognize it quicker and understand what it is. Maybe in days long ago, we just didn't know it was cancer.  I also believe some people's genetics are more prone to cancer than others.  BUT I am convinced, whether scientifically true or not, that something is going on in our environment causing healthy people to 'catch' this disease.  My grandfather passed away from lung cancer in his 70's. He was a heavy smoker, but he was in his 70's lived a long life and ate mostly what he made.  This question on why my healthy, young friends are becoming victims in our area got me to do a little research.

Now, this research was just a brief look at Fountain County, IN and some surrounding areas to see what is going on.  I have heard from a few people that the doctors in Indy are saying 'we have been seeing a lot of patients from your county.'  Here's what I found (statistics from CDC)  www.statecancerprofiles.cancer.

Mortality in Fountain County, IN  (Red indicated highest levels, Tan 2nd highest, Indiana has 92 counties)
Overall Cancers Fountain County 1 out of 17 counties in Red
Colon 1/15 counties in red
Breast 1/14 counties in red
Lung 1/17 counties in tan (second highest level) but Benton, Vermillion and Warren were in red

Incidence Rates
Overall Cancer in tan (second highest level) 1/18 Vermillion in Red 1/18
Breast- 1/18 tan,  Vermillion -Red 1/18
Lung- Fountain yellow (middle), Vermillion, Benton, Warren - Red 17 counties in Red
Uterus -1/14 Red
Prostate-tan, Vermillion-Red 1/18
Breast (in situ-not sure what that is) Fountain-tan, Vermillion, Parke-Red 13 counties in Red

Vermillion County, IL
Mortality
All cancers-1/9 Red
Leukemia-1/3 Red
Stomach-1/3 Red
Colon- 1/10 Tan
Lung-1/17 Tan
Ovary-1/5 Tan
Pancreas-1/6 Tan

Incidence (Vermillion, IL)
All Cancers 1/7 Red
Leukemia 1/6 Red
Ovary 1/5 Red
Cervix 1/2 Tan
Colon 1/2 Tan
Lung 1/2 Tan
Pancreas 1/9 Tan
Prostate 1/13 Tan
Stomach 1/3 Tan

My 'unscientific conclusion' is in Fountain County colon and breast cancer are deadly and lung, a close second.  We can survive uterus. I am not going to delve into the other counties.  What prompted me to do this research was an article I read from "Better Nutrition" magazine's October, 2016 edition article called "Preventing Cancer."  The question posed was "It seems like we're not winning the war on cancer, why not?"  The answer: increasing pollution.  Guess what the top 5 most deadly cancers caused by pollution were?  Lung/bronchial, colorectal, breast, pancreatic, and prostate/ovarian cancer.

Humm....now what were the top 2 killers in Fountain County and the 2nd?  Colon and breast, lung was also the top killer in our neighbor, Vermillion County, IN.  I believe environmental factors DO play a big role in causing this disease.

What are the environmental factors?

Lung-not just your smoker's disease now.  I know this might cause some controversy, and I LOVE the farmer, respect the farmer, always thought it would be cool to live on a farm, and I understand they need to get a better yield and make a living but I can't help to think these insecticides, herbicides via crop dusting are a contributing factor. It's a chemical.  There has got to be a better way. We are smart.  There are lawsuits pending whether Round Up is cancer causing. Specifically, the ingredient glyphosate.  You can can google 'roundup and cancer' or 'monsato' and you will get differing opinions. Maybe this is the new asbestos? I fear these chemicals are leaking into our ground water also. To be fair to the farmer, there are lots of other crap flying around in the air we can't control either.

Colon-HELLO! We live in the mid-west. This is the hub of fried foods.  Foods that are high in hydrogenated oils and high fructose syrup should just be put back on the shelf.  Our local restaurants serve poor quality food. Demand healthier food and they will serve it.  I was impressed with a  local restaurant that served VERY nutritious food, but she was forced to cut back her menu because it wasn't selling.  I say, stay home, fix your own meals, eat organic, real food that you know every ingredient that goes  in your body.

Breast-excess hormones and  excess sugar are culprits.   The breast typically has excess fat which allows for excess toxin storage.  Food companies and farmers are getting better about not putting artificial hormones in our food but buyer beware, look for hormone free foods.  Also, birth control dumps excess hormones into the body.  Google 'birth control and cancer' to come to your own conclusion.  Cancer feeds on sugar. Don't fuel it.

Pancreatic-SUGAR is the cause. There is so much hidden SUGAR in our foods. High fructose corn syrup is like an addictive substance. Sugar is hidden under the word  "ose". Any food ingredient ending in that word, avoid! Remember, sugar feeds cancer.

Prostate/Ovarian Cancer-another hormonal cancer.  Excess hormones in our food supply plus in our environment.  The chemicals bisphenol-A and phthalates provoke hormonal changes in the body. They are in things like perfumes and plastics. Guess what, seems like everything is in plastic. BPA free plastics are OK.  Not sure how else to avoid this one. Deodorants have perfumes. Opt for all natural ones.

I mentioned these cancers because three are the most prevalent in our area and the highest environmental cancers.  Leukemia in Vermillion, county IL is the top killer, interesting.

Now, so what? Is there really anything you can do about these environmental factors? Not really. The only thing you can do is take charge of your own health, buy products/food that are not cancer causing and most important, take care of your nutrition.

I have been reading a lot about my gut.  Over and over, doctors and all-natural health professionals are saying your body must be alkaline. That an acidic body fuels many autoimmune diseases such as cancer, lupus, fibro and increases inflammation causing disease like arthritis, etc. Bodies should have a pH balance of 7-7.5. Anything under is acidic.  Now, this sounds all complicated and it is!  I have been playing around with my pH.  I bought the pH test strips tend to be in the 6ish range. To test your pH, you buy test strips at a local health food store or order online. You either pee on them or test your saliva.  I just found out you should test your 2nd pee of the day because your first pee is usually always acidic. I was happy to report my body is in  the normal range.  I did find it interesting the other day, I had a really bad tummy ache and tested my pH and it was in the 4's.  I thought about drinking some water and baking soda!

You will find controversy on whether or not having a proper pH is cancer preventing.  I say, who knows, but trying to regulate your pH is not a bad thing. It will force you to eat foods you already should be eating. I say, error on the side of pro-pH!

Because the  pH is so confusing. I want to invite you all to a challenge.  I am starting a facebook group for those interested in being proactive about changing their pH.  I figure if we all put our heads together we could figure this out, share recipes and our pH levels, discuss challenges.  This is not intended to be a diet, but a way to get our bodies in perfect pH balance (who knows, you might shed a few pounds because you will be paying attention to what you eat!).  I titled the group "The Alkaline Challenge".  Let me know if you want to join.

Disclaimer: all this information is just from what I have read.  My opinions are not scientific nor I claim to be an expert on anything!  I have not blogged very often lately but when a thought keeps coming back again and again, I feel it's the Holy Spirit prompting me.

In keeping with the theme of my blog, trying to live the simple life, cancer is complicated, pH is complicated.  However, eating simply, buying simply, and living a simple, stress free life are some of the best cancer-prevention tactics there are.

Are you up for the challenge?




Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Happy Life and Times of Simple Me: Embracing the Busy-ness

The Happy Life and Times of Simple Me: Embracing the Busy-ness: Where o where has my little blog gone.... Wow, it's been January since I've written. The only thing I can blame it on is the once ...

Embracing the Busy-ness

Where o where has my little blog gone....

Wow, it's been January since I've written. The only thing I can blame it on is the once again "stupid busy-ness".  In the last 8 months, I have had lots of blog ideas and really wanted to write but didn't happen.  It is what it is.  I do like to write and do miss it.  Maybe I should just keep a journal and be done with it, but who has time for that?

I didn't even write about my last marathon!  It's been 4 months and I am still nursing a torn meniscus in the knee.  The race went well.  I was happy with my finish time of 4:48ish. The problem is I should have taken time off and I didn't.  I ran for about a month and called it quits.  I am seeing a chiropractor now. This experience is what one calls humbleness.  I don't like not running but it is what it is...saying for the day, I guess.

The reason I feel so compelled to write today is because of an epiphany.  My blog is supposed to be about living a simple life.  I guess my reason for that particular topic is that I long for it but can't seem to achieve it.  My saying lately is "I just wanna play in my yard and can tomatoes."  This summer wasn't too hectic but still not as relaxing as I would have liked. We only camped once (as if that is relaxing), we didn't go anywhere special (except for my 16 year old who spent a month in France!). We just did the ballpark and swim club.  The hammock was a new purchase, but not used enough. We did get to be lazy at times, which is the ultimate goal of summer, right?



Wanna know the epiphany? "Jenny, you can't have a simple life, so embrace the busy-ness."

My sweet husband said yesterday (as I walked in at 9 pm after volunteering in the concession stand), "Hey, I know you!"  My response, "yeah, you're the guy I wave to on the road."  To demonstrate this insanely busy schedule here is today's sample:
Me-Go to the bank and to the school but first neglect badly needed housework so I can blog. Hopefully, I can get a shower in after my 1 hour bike ride.
Mary-a far away soccer game, leave 4 back 9ish
Daisy-after school- band, soccer, volleyball (we cancelled Tuesday piano until November)
Bernadette -after school -cross country then soccer
Josef-soccer
Fulton-finally some mommy time

Throw in homework and baths.  Since we live outta town, the trick is who is going to pick up who and when.  5:00 soccer 6:30 soccer ends 6:30 soccer begins 8 soccer ends. Oh wait a minute, Daisy doesn't have volleyball tonight that usually ends at 7:30.  And Bernadette doesn't have XC so I will have to take her up at 5 to soccer. Mary will be no help tonight with driving, which she hardly is anyway because of her activities.  So far, we haven't forgotten anybody except Bernadette last week at grandma's. Like this every. dang. day.  But I can't complain because I am super (stupid) volunteer. I should be working on the race I am race director for, researching grants and writing a proposal letter for band, and at least I found someone to teach at church so I can mark that one off my list!

Yes, yes, yes, I am venting but yesterday, the day of the epiphany, everything was put into perspective.  We put to rest a friend, age 36, who died of cancer. She left behind a loving husband and two young kids.  I remember one time she posted something along these lines on facebook "I am gonna beat this cancer because I have games to watch, homework to do, plays to see, etc."

Now, I'm humbled.

Amongst all this busyness, I force myself to make time for prayer.  Sometimes it might be in the most unusual places, but I know God listens. Today's prayer:

Thank you God, for the blessing of my busy-ness.  Help me to choose to embrace it. Help me to be thankful for the blessings of our health, for my children that are smart and athletic, my husband who is supportive of me, who I can share this life of busy-ness with, and provides for us so I can stay home, for this sanctuary of our peaceful homestead that we have created together. Give me the patience, ability to plan and organize, and faith needed to give these children a happy, holy childhood. Help me to embrace each busy day with a happy heart.  Amen.

Mother Mary, pray for me that I may always do your Son's will.

What ways can you embrace the busy-ness?






Monday, January 4, 2016

The Midwestern Vegan or the "Megan"

I am coining a new term "The Midwestern Vegan" or "The Megan" pronounced mee-gan not Megan like the name.  After my husband and I watched a documentary called "Forks Over Knives," we decided to make a change in our eating.  It's been about three weeks and so far so GREAT!  The basis of this new eating plan is to cut out meat, eggs, dairy and oils and eat plant based, whole foods. Surprisingly, the challenge has been oil and eggs! They are in EVERYTHING.  If you are interested in healthy eating, this made so much sense. The synopsis of this documentary was to show that ALL animal protein (eggs and fish included) is linked to increased cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Plant based food as medicine is their "motto." China had done a long term study to determine if food was the culprit in cancer. Basically, the answer is yes.  One doctor took patients who were on the brink of death, some had cancer, others heart disease, diabetes and did a study.  He put them on a plant based, whole food diet. Their symptoms reversed themselves.  I won't talk about it much more. It was eye opening. You can watch it or read it yourselves at forksoverknives.com.

I love to eat (who doesn't). My problem is portion control.  This new style of eating allows you to eat all you want.  You can eat an entire watermelon if you want!  The reason "Megan" came to mind is because HOW HARD IT IS TO EAT AS A VEGAN IN THE MIDWEST!  Cheese and milk is in EVERYTHING!  Cows are my neighbors. Eggs are fresh. Deer is a staple.  Because we have no religious convictions (besides no meat on Fridays) we are reserving our 'treats' to be meat and cheese! Like today at church, we had our annual Feast of the Epiphany Roast Beef Dinner. The salad had cheese and bacon, green beans had bacon, mashed potatoes butter and oils, macaroni and cheese had cheese ;),  rolls were white. If I were to follow a vegan lifestyle, I could have had water and the fruit salad.  We eat 90% of our meals at home, so that is our plan. Going out to eat, others houses or potlucks will be our treats, like chocolate cake except meat and spinach dip!

I grew up on deer, squirrel, fish and rabbit but I also grew up on a garden. My parents had a HUGE garden. My mom taught me how to can (preserve) foods.  I love seeing a seed grow to a vegetable. They did all of this more for economics. As most people did.  I do it for health reasons. I am starting to get my seed catalogs. One of my favorite things to do in winter is plan my garden. I have a new purpose now in my garden strategy.  Can't wait to experiment this year with some new produce.

Why are Americans so fat? My answer: we are not any lazier than we have been in history. We just eat crap.  I am not an Obama fan but I do like Michelle's stance on nutrition.  Are these big food companies to blame for our obesity?  Yes, we need to take control of our health, but high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, hidden sugars, oils are in EVERYTHING! Cheese and milk are marketed as wonderful source of protein yet so many people have problems with lactose. This new way of eating is simple. Don't worry about certain vitamins or minerals, proteins, fats, carbs just eat what is good for you.  Being a runner, I was obsessed with getting enough protein. I like not having to worry about calories, carbs, fats, etc.  They don't suggest any supplements besides B12. They claim that we get all we need out of the natural foods.  Why B12? because it's found in dirt. So I say just don't wash off your garden veggies!

What then, can you eat besides salads? Well, salads if you want, all fruits and veggies of course, but instead of using meat the center of your meal, use a starch, like potatoes, rice, beans, whole grain pastas, quinoa, oats, millet (haven't tried that one, don't even know what it is), barley, corn, peas to name a few. Mush!! that's my new breakfast favorite. Nuts are a treat, so eat sparingly.

One thing I have been surprised about is that eating this way can be cheap!  The last time I bought a roast it cost $17 made with no left overs.  Buy what's in season and eat out of cans. My husband ate an entire can of lima beans for a snack. I almost finished off a can of black olives, too many helpers on that one, kids love it.  Are my kids eating this way? No. I will make food for them to try but am not pushing it.  They do, however, like all the fresh fruit that we have been buying.  One of my daughters has been awesome at trying everything and sometimes eating the 'healthy' way.

So, as with the blog theme, I really try to live my life simply. That should also include simple eating.  Really, the simpler the ingredients, the healthier the food.  God gave us everything we need in the nature to be healthy.  We feel like we have to 'doctor' up our meals.  A strawberry is perfectly tasteful picked from the ground. It shouldn't need sugar on top. The picture below describes the Midwestern Vegan.  Wholesome food in jars with a little hamburger and hot dogs on the side.

Are you eating different this year?


Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Happy Life and Times of Simple Me: Am I just a pew filler?

The Happy Life and Times of Simple Me: Am I just a pew filler?: My blog thinking has been more on the religious level lately. I guess that 's a good thing. My mind should be preoccupied with thoughts ...

Am I just a pew filler?

My blog thinking has been more on the religious level lately. I guess that 's a good thing. My mind should be preoccupied with thoughts of God.  I don't know why the phrase 'pew filler' came to my head the other day but it did so here's the pew filler blog...

Are we just pew fillers? What do we do to BE the Church?  I have heard plenty of good preaching, read many fine, inspiring books and articles but what has impacted my faith more than any of these? Seeing faith in action.  The examples of others shows me how to live the faith.  So what if I go to church?  Sure, it's a good, necessary thing for my soul. God wants us to be there on Sunday. But when I am there am I really there? Or is it just a motion I go through? I'll admit, it sometimes is for me.  But I am there. I'm hoping it counts for something!

Now that my babies are older, I don't have the cry room excuse, I have NO reason to not be fully immersed in the Mass. But I fail. I am fairly attentive during the readings and homily but the most important part of Mass I take for granted, the Eucharist.  When we receive communion, we become Jesus and it is our duty to be Him and build up His kingdom on Earth.  When we partake of his body and blood we are like little Jesuses everywhere.  He wants us to become Him. If we become Him, we should spread his message of love and peace.  How do we do this? That answer can be as simple or as complicated as we make it.  I like the simple version. "Love one another as I have loved you." Although, that is not as simple as it sounds because no one can love as Jesus has loved, but we can sure try.  So how do I love others?  I look to others that have lived before us to give us that answer. Whether it be grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, family or friends living or in heaven, those are my inspiration, also, the Saints.

We celebrated St. Andrew the other day.  He was a behind-the-scenes kinda guy.  That's how most of us are. But what is our behind the scenes role?  Our talents are ours alone. God gave each of us a unique gift. Our job is to figure that out and to use it for His purpose.  It is more than likely a very simple gift. The gift of shoveling sidewalks on an early Sunday morning, the gift of remembering birthdays and making that person feel special that day, the gift of cooking for others, the gift of organizing events, the gift of greeting others with a smile, the gift of volunteering, the gift of cleaning, the gift of speaking up, the gift of friendship, the gift of laughter, the gift of comfort, the gift of compassion, the gift of praying.

What is your gift to give to Jesus for his birthday this year? Your gift may not (in your eyes) be spectacular, but to God, it is.  In the words of St. Therese, the little flower, your 'little way' is not little. You are a stone, a pillar, in the church as much as the great saints.

The Saints...love the saints.  I am a convert to the Catholic faith. One secret treasure the Catholic Church has is the Saints. Saints SHOWED us how to live as Jesus. Before the 1500's it was just us Catholics. We endured a lot during those years.  It's easy to judge the mistakes of the pass but many great, holy people had to figure out what God wanted us to do. Church history is so much more than what is in the Bible.  The Bible is the instruction manual but the real work began after Jesus ascended to the Father.  It is those years after that the challenge arose.  Jesus was not here in physical form. He sent the Holy Spirit upon our ancestors and the saints to SHOW us how to live.

Pope Francis is being quoted right and left, but the Saints are just as he is.  I am constantly inspired to try to live holy as they did. Some of my favorite saints: St. Francis of Assisi, St. Therese of Liseux, St. Bernadette, St. Mother Theodore Guerin, of course St. Joseph and St. Mary!, St. Augustine, and hopefully soon to be saints; Mother Theresa and Bishop Fulton Sheen.  'We are all called to be saints.' Our saintly path will more than likely not be anything more than a simple version of who we are lived out in a very holy way.

Galatians 5:22-23 tells us "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."  These are the spiritual gifts we are to give each other to build up the kingdom of God. It is advent. The time we wait for Jesus' coming at Christmas and Jesus' coming at the end of times.  What are we doing with our lives to fill up this time? How are we giving our spiritual gifts to Jesus? Are we doing more than just setting in the pew?
















Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Transitional Seasons

While I would love to blog all the time, it seems that time is my problem. So, I am happy if I can write once a month. I figured right now, while I am inspired by this changing season of fall, would be a perfect time while the trees are in full fall firework fashion.

We just finished up a busy fall soccer/volleyball season. I think we might have a month's rest before some other sport begins. While my kids sports are winding down, I am hoping my sport of running will gear up again.  I have suffered from serious lack of motivation.  I still run, but I am down to 3 days a week.  I am going to sign up for 1/2  marathon in December. Maybe I will increase to at least 4 days.  Races are always a motivator.  I do pilates/yoga on 2 off days so I am not terribly lazy ;).

The other morning was one of those I had to force-to-lace-up mornings.  But as with all runs, I am glad I did.  The sun was shining and the golden, maroon, burnt orange array of hues were a reminder of God's beautiful creation in nature and in the human body.  My pace was not fast, but I breathed in the crisp air, my mind was clear, and I felt inhuman.  I think that might be what is described as a runner's high.

Fall and spring are short lived seasons but by far the most beautiful, in my opinion.  They are a time of transition. Kind of a metaphor of life. We are always in a state of transitioning.  Some transitions are short lived, some are lifelong.  Some good, some bad. The transition that should be lifelong for believers is that we should be constantly in the state of conversion.  

The sacraments of initiation have been on my mind lately (baptism, communion, and confirmation). Baptism and communion mainly because we started back religious education classes and that's what I have been teaching about.  Our parish only does confirmation every 4 years and this is the year for it. Sadly, with confirmation, this the last religious education a believer has.  They do not do much beyond that to grow in their faith.  So, it's no wonder many Catholics when asked the tough questions have no clue. Their faith is that of a teenager.  

I fail miserably, but I try to do spiritual and biblical readings every day. I am constantly aware of how stupid I am!  We do have a weekly bible class for adults.  With all the busy-ness with my kids, I can never make it.   (Devil is smiling-he loves us busy).  Maybe this winter I can attend.  Regardless, I do say my 'canned' prayers with my children, we pray for others and our own needs daily.  I was told it is good to do 30 minutes of spiritual reading a day.  Some days it happens, others zero.  I do believe one thing we must do daily is pray.  Prayer is a way to be constantly converted, this is a way we can deal with life's constant transitions.

If I could recommend anything, read, read, read.  Not only your Bible, but find something that speaks to your soul.  Lives of the saints, church fathers, contemporary authors... I am reading Bishop Fulton Sheen now.  Watch religious movies and documentaries. Fill your mind with all things religious so to keep out the evil temptations.  

Spring and fall are the short transitional seasons, but most of our time is spent in summer and winter. Our lives are constantly transitioning with the busy-ness of living. But, how are you going to live your seasons now as to transition your soul to our Father in Heaven?