National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October 1, 2011

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Since it was started over 27 years ago, most of us are aware that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And, if you haven’t already noticed, there are pink products popping up in retail stores everywhere to raise funds for this cause.

Over the past few years, we’ve talked a lot about breast cancer awareness and the importance of annual mammograms and monthly self exams. Today we want to take this opportunity to round up some of our previous posts on this important issue.

One of my favorite charities that has been helping to raise breast cancer awareness for almost 30 years is Susan G. Komen for the Cure.  In case you’ve never visited the site, it’s worth taking a few minutes to read the story about Susan G. Komen and how her sister, Nancy Brinker promised her that she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever.

Nancy Brinker has proven that one person can make a difference. In 1982, that promise became Komen for the Cure and a global breast cancer movement was launched.

Today, Komen for the Cure is the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists. Thanks to events like the Komen Race for the Cure, Komen for the Cure has invested more than $1.9 billion to fulfill that promise, becoming the largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer in the world.

We are now more aware that ever that early detection is the key to a higher survival rate so the single most important thing we can do as women is to have our annual mammogram. I’m writing this today as a friendly reminder to anyone who may be behind on their annual mammogram; please call and make an appointment today.


My First Green Juice!

May 22, 2011

What do you get when you mix this:

Green Juice Fruit Veg

Kale, cucumber, spinach, parsley, pears, and lime


with this:

Breville Ikon

Breville Ikon Juicer


You get this!

Green Juice

Green Juice!


My very first green juice!  I finally gave in to my desire for a juicer, and bought the Breville BJE510XL Ikon 900-Watt Variable-Speed Juice Extractor.

I’m reading Kris Carr’s book Crazy Sexy Diet right now, which I highly recommend by the way!  This is one of the juicers she suggests, and I think her opinion on the subject is pretty credible, so I went for it.

I started out slowly; juicing carrots with apples and carrots with oranges.  I knew I wanted to go green, but I also knew I couldn’t jump into the green pond right away.  You have to work up to these things!

After a couple of weeks I dove in…green juice.  Greens are full of all kinds of nutrients including vitamin A and iron, plus they have an alkalizing effect on your body.  You’ve probably heard the buzz about how diseases love an acidic environment, so maintaining a balanced pH is one thing you can do to help minimize your risk.

I bet you’re wondering how this lovely greenness tasted!  It actually wasn’t bad.  I expected a thick sludgy drink with all the personality of pureed spinach, but I was pleasantly surprised.  I did toss in a small lime and a slice of ginger to cut through some of the blandness, and I think it helped.

I’m not gonna lie and say that this was scrumptiously delicious, but I was able to get the whole drink down without making a face.  I think my palate will grow to appreciate a nice glass of green juice, and until then, I’ll just think about the good things I’m doing for my body as I’m drinking it!


February is Heart Healthy Month

February 16, 2011

Love Your Heart

We’ve been talking so much about Valentine’s goodies these last two weeks that we haven’t yet mentioned that February is Heart Healthy Month. Heart disease is still the number one cause of death in the United States and a major cause of disability.

Even though heart disease is sometimes thought of as a “man’s disease”, women make up almost 50% of heart disease deaths. This fact from the CDC is pretty alarming.

“Heart disease is often perceived as an ‘older woman’s disease’, and it is the leading cause of death among women aged 65 years and older. However, heart disease is the third leading cause of death among women aged 25–44 years and the second leading cause of death among women aged 45–64 years.”

The CDC also states that nine out of ten heart disease patients have at least one risk factor. Several conditions and lifestyle choices can put women at a higher risk, including:

  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Poor diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • Alcohol use

Most of us know that our leading weapon against heart disease is a healthy diet and routine exercise. Heart disease is rampant in my hubby’s family so cooking heart-healthy recipes is always on my mind when I plan our menus.

Last year, our physician recommended that my hubby get this book.

The DASH Diet Action Plan: Based on the National Institutes of Health Research: Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension

We did buy the book and found it to be very informative and helpful, so I would suggest it to anyone who may not know where to begin trying to lower their cholesterol and blood pressure.

And, this is an excellent cookbook from the American Heart Association.

American Heart Association Low-Fat, Low-Cholesterol Cookbook, 4th edition: Delicious Recipes to Help Lower Your Cholesterol

Here are Life’s Simple Seven, seven heart health factors from the American Heart Association. You can get your assessment on Life’s Simple Seven simply by taking seven minutes to answer a few questions to learn the state of your heart and what you can do to live a better life.

I took the assessment and it didn’t even take five minutes. You can spare five minutes, can’t you?

LIVESTRONG Fitness 250x250 New Year Banner


Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Shop for the Cure

October 14, 2010

I’m in LOVE with these note cards!

The I Believe in Pink design, created by stationery and graphic design studio Southern Fried Paper, was inspired by Audrey Hepburn’s quote stating her love of pink and all things feminine.

20% of the retail price for all “I Believe in Pink” cards, boxed sets, and prints sold online and in participating stores during the month of October will benefit the Dallas Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

The cards are $3.25 if purchased individually, but the boxed set of 12 cards and envelopes retails for $17.95; making each card just under $1.50 each. That’s a great price for such an adorable, high quality, note card!  I love this quote so much, I think I’ll frame one to hang in my office.

It’s a nice little reminder to laugh, kiss, and be HAPPY! :-)


Breast Cancer Awareness is more than a Pink Party

October 11, 2010

Breast Cancer Awareness

I love pink more than most people, so I’m totally in my zone during the October pink frenzy in support of Breast Cancer Awareness.

I thought this article by Heather Moore titled “Beware Corporate Pinkwashing” was so on target though.  It reminds us that many companies have good intentions, but there are also companies who will take advantage of the “pinkwashing” trend, and are actually selling products that are dangerous or harmful to us.  For example, the article notes that “Earlier this year, KFC even sold its Kentucky Grilled Chicken, which is known to contain carcinogens, in pretty pink buckets.”

Besides reminding us to be aware that not all “pinkwashed” products are pretty and good for us, I think it’s really important that the article reminds us to focus on what the risk factors are for breast cancer, and how we should keep that in the front of our minds right now; as much as we love pink and love supporting the pink cause.  Here’s what Heather says:

Numerous studies have shown that women who eat mostly fruits, vegetables, and soy foods are much less likely to develop breast cancer than women who eat meat, eggs, and dairy products. National Cancer Institute researchers have found that women who eat meat every day are nearly four times more likely to get breast cancer than those who don’t.

Other leading researchers in both America and Asia concur that women who eat a typical Western diet – high in meat, fat, and sugar – face a higher risk of breast cancer than women who eat a typical Asian diet, which is high in soy and vegetables. Renowned nutrition expert Dr. Dean Ornish reports, “In Japan and other countries where the consumption of animal fat is much lower, breast cancer is rare.”

Eating fatty foods, animal protein, and heavily processed foods can boost one’s risk of breast cancer and other diseases, while eating plant-based foods can lower it. Plant-based foods are typically low in saturated fat and high in fiber and phytochemicals, which knock out carcinogens and fight inflammation. Going vegan can even help women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer beat the disease.

Studies also show that vegans are nine times less likely to be obese than meat-eaters are, and maintaining a healthy weight is key to preventing breast cancer.

What can we do?  First, go read the rest of the article.

Pink Ribbon Diet

Second, order this book: The Pink Ribbon Diet: A Revolutionary New Weight Loss Plan to Lower Your Breast Cancer Risk which focuses on a plant based olive oil  (PBOO) diet. The PBOO diet concentrates primarily on foods that can lower the risk of breast cancer or prevent its recurrence, while omitting foods associated with risks.

So, my take-away from Heather’s article is that while I adore the plethora of pinkness, I should be alert to pinkwashing.  And most importantly, I need to remember that Breast Cancer Awareness Month isn’t all about the pink as much as it is about avoiding this disease as far as it is in our power to do so!  That starts with eating a plant-based diet that is low in meat, fat, sugar and processed foods.  We can do that!

Photo credit: pfala


Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October 7, 2010

If you’ve been reading BigSisLilSis for awhile, you know that I’ve talked about the story of two sisters, Nancy G. Brinker and Susan G. Komen and why their story has always been close to my heart. What Nancy Brinker has accomplished in her life after making her sister a promise is truly amazing. I think she’s more than proven that one person can make a difference.

Last year, I also mentioned that Nancy G. Brinker was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work as a cancer advocate. I was glad to find out that she’s written a book, Promise Me, about their story and how her promise to her sister launched the global breast cancer movement.

The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is an event that I participate in whenever possible and in 2008, the 25th anniversary of the Race for the Cure, I was the Team Captain of a team for the San Diego Race for the Cure. It was a great experience and one that I’ll never forget.

During the month of October, we like to feature pink products that are being offered by companies who contribute a portion of their profits to breast cancer research. Here are a few to get us started.

Look at this cute pj short set from Susan G. Komen for only $15.00

And I love this Elizabeth Hurley Lip Gloss with the pink-croc print clutch, which retails for $25.00.There are literally thousands of pink products being sold in stores and online this month to benefit a variety of breast cancer awareness charities. Stay tuned…We’ll be back with more of our favorites! :-)


Dr Oz: Eat to Prevent Alzheimers and Cancer

September 28, 2010

I talked a while back about how much I love the Dr. Oz Show, and how much I learn every time I tune in. I saw two shows recently that I thought contained amazing information, and I want to tell everyone I know about it, starting with you!

I bet we would all agree that Alzheimers and cancer are two of the most dreaded diseases we can imagine. What if your diet alone could help prevent them from attacking you and your loved ones?

According to these two episodes of Dr. Oz, there are foods that can do exactly that.  Read on!

Dr. Oz said that when autopsies are done on 40 year old women who die in car accidents, 40% are found to have microscopic breast cancer cells. By the time we’re 70, 100% of us have cancer cells in our bodies.

So, what makes those common microscopic cells grow into a menacing tumor? Blood supply. It’s called angiogenesis; when blood capillaries grow and feed the cells so they can multiply at a sometimes alarming rate.

A study conducted by Dr.William Li has shown that certain foods do have the ability to impair angiogenesis.  The anti-angiogenesis foods include:

  • Bok Choy
  • Cooked Tomatoes
  • Artichokes
  • Flounder
  • Strawberries
  • Green Tea
  • Chocolate
  • Cinnamon
  • Soybeans

Now how about Alzheimers disease?  It runs in our family, and LilSis and I will do just about anything to keep it from attacking us. Dr Oz says that we need to add these brain-boosting Alzheimers-fighting foods to our diet:

  • Lentils
  • Chia Seeds
  • Brazil Nuts
  • Coffee

I already eat most of these things, but the rest are going to be integrated into my diet (except for flounder since I’m not a critter eater).  Now…how do you cook bok choy?


Top Four Sunscreens According to Consumer Reports

June 1, 2010

Hope everyone had a relaxing, enjoyable Memorial Day weekend!

We had beautiful weather all weekend so we spent the majority of our time outside. We love being out in the sun but are never without our sunscreen. Here in California, we have to wear sunscreen year round and since HayHay surfs just about every day and SirHoney has a long history of skin cancer, we are always on the lookout for the best of the best when it comes to sunscreen.

One of my friends was just telling me about this recent article in Consumer Reports Magazine where they run down their top Top Four Sunscreens.

Top Four Sunscreens according to Consumer ReportsThey tested twelve products and found four to be slightly better than the rest. The top four include Up & Up’s Sport Continuous SPF 30, Walgreens’ Sport Continuous SPF 50, Banana Boat’s Sport Performance Continuous SPF 30, and Aveeno’s Continuous Protection SPF 50.

I’ve been pretty loyal to my Neutrogena sunscreen sprays, but maybe it’s time for a change.

I’ve never even heard of Up & Up but I will definitely be giving that one a try, as well as the Walgreens’ Sport since they made the top two.  My guys have tried the Banana Boat Sport and they didn’t like it because it ran into their eyes.

We still use these types of sprays for the rest of the body, but we’ve finally found the perfect sunblock for HayHay’s face that’s made by Vertra that doesn’t sting or run into his eyes while surfing or golfing for hours. I’ll be talking more about that product in an upcoming post.

Later this week, BigSis and I will be doing our own rundown of our Top Ten favorite essential Summer products.


Ten in 10 Healthy Challenge Update: Top Ten Healthy Snacks

March 6, 2010

We’ve had company since Monday so it’s been a CRAZY week! My top priority this week was to spend some quality time with Meem, TallGuy, and LittleOne so I ended up cutting myself a little slack on the extra workouts so we had more time to visit. :-)

We had a few splurges but overall we managed to eat mostly healthy meals and went for some nice, long walks. (Pushing a stroller uphill with a 25 lb. toddler in it is great exercise that I’m not used to anymore!)

When things are crazy busy, the one thing that saves me from grabbing the cheese and crackers or the chips and dip is making sure that I have healthy snacks on hand. I’ve talked about these before, but I thought this might be a good time to recap my list of Top Ten Favorite Snacks.

  • Mott’s Healthy Harvest Granny Smith Applesauce (mid-morning snack) (1 cup; 50 calories, 0 fat)
  • Boiled or scrambled egg with Frank’s Red Hot Sauce  (mid-morning snack) (1 large egg, 70 calories, 4.5 g. fat)
  • Trader Joe’s Multi-Grain Pretzel Nuggets with Sesame Seeds  (22 pretzel nuggets; 110 calories, 1 gram fat)
  • The Laughing Cow Light Creamy Swiss Wedges or Cheese Bites  (1 wedge or 5 cheese bites; 35 calories, 2 grams fat)
  • Weight Watchers Natural Light String Cheese (1 stick; 50 calories, 2.5 g. fat)
  • Shelled Edamame (1/2 c. serving; 110 calories, 3.5 g. fat)
  • Trader Joe’s Everything Pretzel Slims (23 slims; 110 calories, 1/2 g. fat)
  • The Laughing Cow Mini Babybel Light (1 piece; 50 calories, 3 g. fat)
  • Trader Joe’s Parmesan Garlic Pita Chips (1 oz.; 130 calories, 4 g. fat)
  • Trader Joe’s Roasted Garlic Hummus (2 T.; 50 calories, 3.5 g. fat)

Next week is officially the last week of the Ten in 10 Healthy Challenge but since I was out of town for a week last month and had house guests this week that got me off track a little bit, I’m going to continue this challenge until the end of March. I probably won’t post another update until I reach my goal, which at that point, is going to be reason for a celebration.

Thanks again to Lori of The Recipe Girl for starting the Ten Weeks to Healthy in 2010 Challenge. It has really helped me stay motivated and focused on making 2010 a healthier year!

I hope everyone that started this Challenge on January 2, 2010 has managed to hang in there and stay motivated! Whether you’re still going strong or have had some stumbling blocks along the way, I’d love to hear how you’re doing!


Ten in 10 Challenge: Week Eight

February 27, 2010

I’ve just finished week eight in the Ten in 10 Healthy Challenge. I knew this was going to be a hard week, but it was even harder than I had anticipated. It was a weird week.

Since Bry left on Monday, I’ve been very preoccupied with thinking about him and wondering how everything is going for him. At the same time, I was trying to focus and finish up a couple of big projects that need to be done before Meem, TallGuy and LittleOne come to visit us next week. Since I didn’t make my weekly shopping trip on Sunday and was trying to utilize my time wisely during the work week while HayHay was at school, I slipped up on my meal planning.

So, unfortunately, this darn thing didn’t budge this week. I had a Dr.’s appointment. on Friday morning and, as usual, their scale was three pounds higher than mine, but I write that off as my shoes and clothes.

That being said, I refuse to obsess about it or get discouraged. I know where I slipped up and I’ll just have to do better next week.

My biggest problem this past week was not having a stocked frig. I didn’t have what I normally like to eat for lunch so I ended up not eating enough which caused me to end up hungry before dinner and that’s when I start in on the snacking.

I don’t know whether it was the salted peanut butter pretzels or the one night of indulgence in sharp cheddar cheese, the KFC night or possibly the night we split a bottle of champagne, but probably a combination of all of those things contributed to me not shedding an ounce this week.

Luckily, I still managed to get up early and get in a good workout every morning. If I hadn’t, I’m sure I would have gained a little.

Since we’re having company next week, it’s going to be a little tricky for me to not allow myself to be on “vacation rules”. I’m going to have to plan our meals ahead and make sure I have healthy choices for myself.

If you’re participating in this challenge or if you set some goals for yourself for a healthier 2010, I’d love to hear how you’re doing and how you’re staying motivated.

Have a great weekend! :-)