Lifestyle choices

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy friend who was recently diagnosed with a very badass cancer has been using Caringbridge.org to update us on her status.

She spent some time in Mexico learning an alternative therapy involving organic vegan food and products and she has been posting about it. The site is a blog site. You can leave love, comments and encouragement.

It is awesome. She never would have had the energy to update us in any other way and I have learned so much.

There is a connection between cancer and the chemicals we use today. We know that. Moving towards an organic lifestyle is important to me but it’s not easy. There is so much to know and understand and for some items there are no easy alternatives.

I remember a sign at a corn shed where they sold “organic” corn on the cob. The sign said “you will find worms in some ears because that’s what organic means.”

By not using pesticides you have to put up with insects. That’s not a deal breaker for me because as a child we always had an “organic” garden. Our fruits and vegetables often had insect visitors who came for a meal.

Eating less meat helps too. I was never a big meat-eater. As a child I would eat a hot dog roll without the hot dog but with all the condiments and be perfectly happy — ketchup, mustard, onions, sometimes even sauerkraut or pickle relish. What’s not to like!

For me it will be a gradual weaning as I live with an old-fashioned beefeater. I can make vegetables and salads for us both and then throw a piece of meat on the grill for him. It’s possible (and probable) that I won’t ever make the transition to a complete organic person.

There is a fabulous organic store nearby which includes cleaning products and cosmetics in addition to food.

We already use vinegar as a cleaning agent and I will look into some of their other organic products.

Some things like my morning Starbucks I’m not willing to give up.

Deodorant isn’t good for you but I don’t know what to use in its place. ‘Au naturel’ is not a good scent (trust me on that one) and the one deodorant without aluminum I tried didn’t work for me.  I will keep looking for a solution. (Any suggestions that really work?)

I am trying this because it’s healthy but I am in awe of my friend. She is doing it to live. She can’t slip up.

I won’t be as strict as she is and will go off the wagon occasionally but for her it’s life or death. Her routine is stringent and involves a whole lot more than pure juices.

I am so grateful she has shared with us. She has taught me many lessons on her journey not only about an organic lifestyle but about resilience and faith. Thank you Ruth!

29 thoughts on “Lifestyle choices

  1. Best wishes to your friend for a full recovery. My Mom had cancer. She went the radiation route, but I wonder if she would have sought another treatment if it had been available.

    We try to eat healthier, mostly Mediterranean diet. We rarely have meat. All these changes – plus Juice Plus – have helped us feel much better.

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  2. I’m glad I didn’t miss this post. I like being aware of lifestyle choices that others are making. I’m very aware of the Cancer-diet connection, and I think you’re going about changes very sensibly. I really think we should have an anti-Cancer awareness lifestyle! That would mean slowing down and being more aware of how we live our lives to eliminate as much stress, or at least off-set stress with more rest and meditative practices. Lifestyle paired with dietary changes and I think our Cancer statistics would plummet. Keep up the good work, Kate. It’s serious business!

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    • Thanks for weighing in. Your comments are always thoughtful! I have signed up for beginner’s yoga for stress. I am sure there will be a post on that! Living with an anti-cancer awareness isn’t easy. There are so many contradictory articles and studies. It’s slow go and lots of reading and the reading isn’t all upbeat.

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  3. The answers to most of our health issues are all around us. Sadly this country lets pharmaceutical companies rule the roost. I do as much as I possibly can to eat organically and I am looking forward to the farmer’s markets popping up now too. I will hold your friend in a positive light for healing and strength. She is certainly an inspiration to us all!

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  4. Although we haven’t gone completely organic, my husband and I try to at least avoid buying the “dirty dozen” (apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, nectarines, grapes, sweet bell peppers, potatoes, blueberries, lettuce, and kale) non-organic. I hope as more of us buy organic, it will be easier to find and less expensive. I hope your friend does well.

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    • You make a good point. At our local store, they have discontinued regular carrots because organic carrots were the same price. They also carry more organic lettuce than regular. Some things are a little more and some are a lot more. I didn’t know potatoes were part of the bad group. Bummer!

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  5. Interesting conversation here. I have never seriously thought about going organic. I know that it might be a good good thing, but I imagine that I’d find it stressful to do it– which, of course, would not help me become healthier. Such a catch-22, eh?

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    • It’s not easy. Just came back from grocery shopping and my organic produce shared a cart with a pound of bacon. What can I say? It’s a transition. I don’t really eat much bacon at all but once in a while I find it good to chop a single slice for a big salad. However I do will be better. That’s how you have to feel about it.

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  6. We’re on the same path, Kate. And I agree with nr about stress–it’s at least as bad for us as all the environmental toxins we get (and can’t eliminate, unless society makes some radical changes in the way it thinks, which isn’t likely).

    What I use for deodorant: I mix 1/2 cup cornstarch with 3/4 cup baking soda and shake it up with a cinnamon stick, a few cloves and a bay leaf. I leaf all that in a sealed jar for a day or two before I start using it. (I’m super-sensitive to everything and have discovered that I dare not put anything on my skin that I wouldn’t eat–it all gets into the blood stream). I shake the powder out of the jar into a recycled bath powder box, (leaving the spices in the jar) then use a powder puff to apply a bit of the stuff, three times a day (in the morning, after my workout/shower; before bed). You could also add organic lavender or rose petals or chamomile if you have them.

    It took about 2 weeks for my system to detox after I stopped using the deodorant, and the withdrawal caused a slight but weird kind of b.o. during that time. I’ve been doing the natural thing for a couple of years now, and I never have the rank smell I used to get when perspired, now when I just smell salty when I sweat.

    Like the Native Americans, I bathe daily, sometimes twice a day. Old World b.o. came from poor hygiene. American Indians didn’t use deodorant but they bathed every day; and they didn’t stink like the Europeans did. I think a lot of our modern b.o. comes from toxins in our system–I found that the more I detoxified my life, the less “off” my odor became.

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    • I wasn’t “allowed” to wear deodorant for 2 weeks when I had cancer treatments 11 years ago. They didn’t want me using anything so I could always smell something. However, I think it was stress BO which is the absolute worst. It smells like Campbell’s vegetable soup in your armpit. This is worth a try and I’d love the rose petal stuff. I just love the way roses smell.

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      • Yes, stress BO is the worst. Sometimes it smells like when my grandfather spilled whey in the trunk of our plymouth (he borrowed it to haul his milk cans to the cheese makers). Sickening; and it never went away.

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  7. I had a dear friend who found she had late-stage cancer. She was given less than a year to live, but she extended it by nine years by following an alternative therapy similar to what your friend is doing. I hope your friend will do even better.

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    • That is such great news. Our neighbor’s 40-ish year old son was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer many years ago. They sent him to Sweden for alternative treatments which eked out another 5 years, most of which had great quality. Here in the US our regs are so stringent and sometimes it’s hard to get into clinical trials. I am hoping for the best. This woman is strong and very spiritual. If anyone can do it, she can.

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  8. I have been slowly changing my eating habits. When I mess up I don’t beat myself up I just take up where I left off. I am still losing and gaining the same 10 pounds over and over. But I do do feel better when I pay attention to what I eat. As for cleaning products…I don’t clean that often…so no stress there.

    Sorry about your friend. She sounds like a warrior…

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  9. My heart opens for your friend, and I know many people who got well doing what she’s doing. I don’t eat meat, so that’s not an issue for me, and like you, not giving up my morning coffee. My biggest bad habit would have to be dairy and sweets, as I have a lollipop in my mouth at this very moment. I love the top photo…may go out and buy some blueberries they look so good. I’ll pray for her.

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  10. Caringbridge.org is an outstanding site. I used it extensively when I was sick (some would say I gave a little too much information) and that’s what eventually became my book.

    I can’t drive myself nuts worrying about every single chemical, but I’ve been vegetarian for nearly 20 years, and our yard is crabgrass because we refuse to use anything on it. And for the last 15 years we have tried not to buy any products (cosmetics, shampoo, household cleaners) from companies that test on animals. It’s not easy and we can’t hit it every time, but it seems to me that what’s good for us coincides with what is better for animals (like using vinegar instead of major consumer goods).

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    • That’s sounds like a reasonable approach and I’m all about reasonable. I try not to use cosmetics tested on animals because, well, I know my cats wouldn’t like chemicals put in their eyes so I can only imagine that bunnies don’t either. Besides in the day and age there are other ways to test. I have been on edge of trying less meat or even meatless than I already do and will continue to cut back. However, I live with someone who isn’t quite there with me so there will be adjustments and negotiations along the way. I have always been surprised at how many people (including bloggers) who are vegetarian.

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  11. I admire your friend, Kate. Many people in her situation wouldn’t investigate other alternatives…good for her!
    I’m with you on the deodorant. I’ve tried the brands free of aluminum…they just don’t work.
    I agree with Nancy, avoiding stress is one of the best things we can do for our bodies.

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    • Bad news on the deodorant! One thing I learned from retirement. I was better able to manage stress on the job. I learned early that it wasn’t personal and it was work. Now any stress I have is from family, friends or inane worry which is much harder to control.

      My friend is awesome. The flight was difficult for her because of pain and her flight back got canceled so she slept in O’Hare airport. She is resilient!

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