Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Breast Cancer Awarenss Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.   I am sure that everyone has been touched by some form of cancer in their life.  You may not have had cancer yourself but very possibly know someone who has had some form of cancer.   For women, breast cancer is second to skin cancer in being one of the most common cancers for women.  According to breast cancer statistics, about 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop a form of breast cancer in their life.  When you think about how many women you know, this is a large number of friends or acquaintances whom could be diagnosed.  The good news is that new breast cancer occurrences decreased about 2% per year from 1999 to 2006.

New research is consistently coming out to help with the cure of cancer, but we still do not know the exact cause of it.   Researchers are looking at many different factors to see what could be contributing to breast cancer.  Factors such as food, weight, hereditary, stress, environmental exposure, and  hormone replacement are always being looked at as contributing to woman developing breast cancer.  Many of these factors you can control.  You can make positive choices in you eating habits, getting enough exercise, finding ways to reduce the stress in your life. avoiding harsh chemicals in the home and workplace, talking with your doctor to decide if hormone replacement could put you at risk for breast cancer. 

Your diet can go a long way in helping to prevent breast cancer.  A body that is given the best fuel available is more likely to fight off radical cells and prevent them from developing into breast cancer.  The best diet is one that is well balanced with grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meat, and small amount of oils and sweets.   When you eat a well balanced diet, you will find that you are less likely to gain weight.  If you find that you are eating balanced and still seem to put on extra pounds, then you will want to look at you activity level.  Increasing you exercise time can help with weight gain.  It can also lower any stress you may be having.  Getting into a regular exercise routine is the best way to go.  Exposure to some chemicals over and over during our life can lead to health issues.  One example is the use of chlorine products.  When cleaning with these types of typical household products, the fumes enter your body through breathing and your skin.  A one time use does not seem that bad, but when you think about how often women use these types of cleaning products in their homes.   This is a lot of harsh chemicals for a single body to absorb.  When there are children in the home, they are also being exposed to these products.

With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, now is the perfect time to consider what you can do to help prevent cancer from striking you or someone you know. 

For additional information:  Breast Cancer

Friday, May 7, 2010

Fresh Herbs in the Kitchen

I have always like the ideal of using fresh herbs in the kitchen and found out this week that using them is much easier than you think. I had the opportunity to attend a local Herb Farm to learn more about these often forgotten home vegetable-garden plants.  With a few basic herbs growing in your yard, you can replace butter, salt, and oils to help reduce calories in your favorite recipes.  Some of the easier herbs to grow include basil, chives, mints, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and sage.  When growing herbs, make sure that you start with a sunny location with good garden soil with good drainage.  Herbs do not like to have soggy feet.  If you do not have a sunny location, you can always plant in pots on your patio or deck.  Whenever using pots, it is best to keep the containers elevated off concrete or brick surfaces.  This will help to keep the plant's root system cool.

When harvesting herbs, it is best to cut in the morning.  This will help to insure the most oil is in leaves of the plant.  It is this oil which gives you the most flavor when cooking.  If you have extra herbs and would like to dry some for later use, you can simply cut herbs and bunch together.  Place a rubber band around the stem and hang upside down to dry.  Be sure to dry in a warm non direct sun location.  Making use of a closet or pantry is a perfect location.  After your herbs have dried, remove the leaves from the stems and store in air tight containers.  If you are harvesting basil, you can make pesto and freeze in ice trays.  the pesto cubes can then be store in freezer bags until ready to use.

Some basic uses for fresh herbs:

Basil - Add 1-3 teaspoons of finely chopped basil to one stick of butter. This can be served on crackers or small bread squares.

Chives- Chop and add chives to scrambled eggs and omelets at 1 teaspoon per egg.  Minced chives can be added to any vinaigrette salad dressing.

Rosemary - Chopped leaves can be added to cubed potatoes for roasting in the oven.  Drizzle with olive oil and minced garlic and place in a roasting pan.  Cook until soft.

Breads - You can add 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh herbs per one pound loaf of fresh baked bread.

Soups - fresh herbs can be added to soups & stews about 15 to 30 minutes before completing the cooking.

Hope that these tips have inspired you to purchase a few herbs to try in your garden this year.  Once you start cooking with your own grown herbs, you will not want to use the store bought dried herbs.


Monday, February 22, 2010

WinterTime Blues

This is the time of the year when it is very easy to become depressed or to get the "wintertime blues".  If you find yourself lacking in energy or just do not feel like doing things that you normally enjoy, you may have a mild case of the blues.  If you are finding that the cold temperatures and the gray skies are affecting your outlook on the day, you will be glad to hear that there are some very simple things you can do to help you.

1.  Diet - It is very easy for us to grab sweets and high carbohydrates when feeling down.  These foods only add to the symptoms.  Instead, we need to have a well rounded diet of proteins, vegetables, and fruit.

2.  Supplements -  Make sure that you are getting enough Vitamin D.  With the cloudy skies and shorter days during the winter months, we are not getting exposure to the sun.  A good supplement can help give you the needed Vitamin D.

3.  Light - Make your surroundings as bright as possible.  Leave you blinds and drapes open to allow any winter sunlight in to your home.  Turn on more table lights if you need to.

4.  Exercise - Be sure to get plenty of exercise during the winter months.  It will lower stress and anxiety and at the same time lift your mood.   If possible, exercise outside in the fresh air. 

5.  Rest - Make sure to get your recommended 8 hours of sleep each night.  When you are tired from lack of sleep, your mood is going to be effected.

6.  Social Activity - Be sure to have contact with others.  If you live alone, make plans with others to get out of your home environment.  Spending time with friends and family outside the home settings will lift your moods.

7.  Aromatherapy - Having pleasing scents can boost your mood.  Think about burning candles, filling your home with fresh baked smells, or just purchase a new lotion to use.

Don't let the colder days of winter bring you down.  Remember, spring will be here before you know it.  If you cannot wait for spring, purchase some fresh flowers to brighten your home.