Examining your own Breasts

Monday, April 30

I had always (naively) thought that breast cancer was something that happened to people older than me, and of course people other than me.  However, recently I have treated two ladies who are younger than me and have had breast cancer. This, together with my recent health dramas summarised here, and the news that I now have a higher chance of having breast cancer in the future myself, I wanted to look at some of the facts regarding breast cancer and how we should routinely check our own breasts too.  Below are a few of the things that I found.

Guarding your Mug at Boarding School Tea Times and other Reminscences

Saturday, April 28

Two more days left of my Twinings Green tea giveaway and you guys are all being a little shy on the entering, which can you do here.

It will take 10 seconds to enter!

If  you are cold,
tea will warm you;
If you are too heated,
it will cool you;
If you are depressed,
it will cheer you;
If you are excited,
it will calm you.

William Gladstone, English statesman (1809-98)

I Love Green Tea and Free Give Away

Thursday, April 26

I mentioned here last week that I had ordered some green tea after my coffee cessation.  Well it has arrived and I am in love! Ok maybe not as in love as I was with coffee perhaps, but it is SO much more delicious than plain old green tea and it is SO good for you!

The Buts that cause the Butt

Tuesday, April 24

...so we can all have fast food

Diets have a 95% Failure Rate

Monday, April 23

Definition of a diet:  

A regulated selection of foods, as for medical reasons or cosmetic weight loss.
I think that the majority of us are motivated by the second half of that statement.And until recently I was too.

Atkins, Weight Watchers, South Beach Diet, there is always a fabulous new trendy diet that everyone is buying that promises to make you look as awesome as whatever celebrity is currently endorsing it.

Look at the Dukan diet book sales after The Wedding a year ago.  When millions of people around the world who had admired Pippa Middleton's behind found out that her and her Mother had followed the Dukan Diet, Pre the Royal Wedding, the books sales soared.

Why I Quit the Coffee

Thursday, April 19

I had begun to worry that my coffee consumption was a problem, as you can read here.

And so I made the decision to go give it up altogether, and you can read how that went here.

But let's be honest there are many far more awful things to be addicted to than coffee.

It was after I read that it was possible to be addicted to one cup a day that I became slightly concerned

But I was convinced that I had to cut out the coffee after reading this:. 

Dr Weil, from the University of Arizona says in his book, Spontaneous Happiness.

People like caffeine because it gives them temporary feelings of increased energy, alertness and focus; many can not start the day without it. 

Few understand that the energy provided by coffee, tea and cola, is not some gift from "out there". It is your own energy, stored chemically in your cells, that caffeine prods your body into releasing. 

Well I was definitely one of those that thought that the coffee gave me the energy, I thought that it was a gift from "out there" and that the caffeine was giving me the energy and alertness. Each time I thought of having coffee after this, I thought of my cells trying to hang onto my energy stores in case I needed them later in the day...only to have the energy ripped from them and used up quickly with the caffeine. I imagined that something like this was going on.

Resulting in me feeling tired during the day and especially by the end of the day when my own body had actually been making provision for this, by trying to save up some energy.

Dr Weil goes on to say:
When the coffee wears off, you are left with a depletion of stored energy and you are likely to feel fatigued and mentally dull.  As with other stimulants, if you take more caffeine at this point, you can stave off the downside of the drug's effect for a bit, but you run the risk of becoming dependent on it.  When people are addicted to coffee or other forms of caffeine, their energy is usually bunched up earlier in the day, and depleted later.

I have been thinking about this coffee business a lot recently, as you can see.

And in summary, gleaned the following:

Not everyone is physically addicted to coffee, but you can be addicted to only one cup a day.  Others can drink multiple cups and not be physically addicted.

Anyone who uses coffee when they need to feel more awake or survive the last few hours of the day at work, is doing themselves a massive disservice and depleting their own cells natural energy resources by chemically stimulating the release of stored energy.

Drink coffee as a treat that you enjoy and not as a tool to make you feel more awake or alert to survive the day or night! 

Have a Happy Healthy Weekend

P.S Guess who just got a new drawing app on their ipad:)

One (rather traumatic) Week without a drop of Coffee

Tuesday, April 17

Pic from NewNurseblog
Following on from my post last week, could I be addicted to just one cup of coffee a day, I decided to go cold turkey on the coffee front.  It has now been one week, one day and five hours since I last had a cup of coffee.

This past week has been trying, to say the least.  

A summary of how it has gone:

7:45  It's day one on the no coffee campaign.  I stroll smugly passed the Pret coffee shop near work and think, this no coffee business will be a breeze, it's not like I NEED to drink coffee anyway.  I'm sure I will barely notice giving it up....

11:30 My patient hasn't arrived at her appointment, and now I'm feeling a little tired with a break in my busy day, especially after the four day weekend.  I consider a coffee, remember I don't NEED it.  A few minutes later, I consider maybe just a little, half a cup, and  then a quite reluctantly resign myself to pouring some hot water over a sad looking lemon and ginger tea teabag.

16:45 I am exhausted on the way home and my head feels cloudy.

How to say (and cook) Quinoa

Monday, April 16

Pic from Tesco Real Food

"It's called "Keen-Wah"
"Oh isn't that Quin oh-ah?"

So, it's not called 'Quin oh-ah', its called 'keen-wah' or 'keen oh-ah', depending on who you ask, and it has become very trendy recently.

Quinoa has long been a staple food in much of South America, and has more recently become more popular in Western countries due to its high protein and nutrient content.  It also tastes great.

Tonia Reinhard in her book Superfoods, says: Fresh Quinoa must be soaked for a few hours to remove the bitter compounds known as saponins.  The water then has to be extracted and the quinoa rinsed before cooking.   

Fortunately for us living in the Western world though, we can buy quinoa from the supermaket that is pre packaged and has already had the saponins removed.

Why is it so good for you anyway?
It is an outstanding source of vitamin B6, folate, fiber, protein, thiamine, riboflavin, managanese, magnesium, phosphorous, copper, iron and zinc, and a good source of vitamin E, potassium, and selenium.  It also contains anti oxidant polyphenols and flavonoids. 

Wow, pretty impressive credentials hey?

So what can you do with it?
Quinoa can be used for a more nutrient rich substitute for any grain dish, so substitute rice or pasta, and topping it with a tomato sauce will boost its anti-oxidant power.  Another good option is to use it as a breakfast cereal, I haven't tried this yet, but apparently it works really well topped with some cinammon.

And, its gluten-free, so it's an ideal food for anyone who feels that they may have some gluten intolerance or celiac disease.

I said a few weeks ago after my friend Beany shared her Inspiring Health Story with me that she was going to share a few of her favourite recipes with us.  And so here is the first one, and unsurprisingly, it's with Quinoa:

Could I be addicted to ONE cup of coffee a day?

Thursday, April 12

Pic from IloveCoffee.com
I can't quite pin down when the Pret Coffee Shop next to work developed such a strong magnetic pull towards me (and my purse), as I walked past on the other side of the road. And then it's the coffee shops near home over the weekend that I seem to just be going past and so 'may as well grab a coffee', or asking Pete to just 'pop past' on his way home for a take away cup of caffeine loaded brew for me.  I only ever have one a day, okay maybe two, and then there was that other day at the hairdressers after a late night when I had three...

But usually, it's just the one.  And until a few weeks ago, it really made no difference to me if I had the coffee or not.  But recently, I have been thinking about coffee A LOT and drinking it every single day.  Previously at Breakfast out on a weekend, I may have had a coffee, but usually tea.  These days, it's two Americano's for sure.

I was thinking this weekend, I had a lot of time to think as I was in London at the last minute and not South Africa as planned, why this little coffee affection has developed.

New Handmade Blog Header

Tuesday, April 10

All you fabulous regular readers of this blog will (hopefully) have noticed that I have made a new page header.  I wanted something a little brighter and considering what a labour of love it became,  I've shared some evidence of the three hours worth of work here!

I made the initial letters with scooby (telephone) wire and thought that this would be the job done.  As you can see from the above photo, it wasn't quite bold enough to be effective. 


So I then wrapped more wire around each letter to make them thicker.

Blueberry and Polenta Cake

Monday, April 9

Pete and I SHOULD be in Sunny SA right now, but unfortunately my Passport is still with the UK Border Agency whilst my visa is renewed. My long weekend began with me feeling quite sorry for myself as we have had to reschedule our flights for later in the year and we are going to miss my cousin Scoot and his gorgeous fiancee Odes' Wedding next weekend.  Fortunately the weekend has progressively improved.

Yesterday we went to our lovely friends Bozz and Linds' house for a delicious late lunch and then today I went to my cousin Meg and her boyfriend Phil's house for tea.  Meg made a delicious banana and blueberry cake for tea, I will ask her for the recipe and try to post it here soon:)
This reminded me of a cake that I made a few weeks ago for tea with friends at my house, with a recipe that my aunt Heidi sent me.  It is a Blueberry and Polenta cake and other than being Delicious, it is also a whole lot healthier than usual cakes!

Heidi's Blueberry and Polenta Cake

225g Unsalted Butter, softened
225g Caster Sugar
3 Eggs
100g Plain Flour
100g Ground Almonds
100g Polenta
2 tsp Baking Powder
Zest and juice of 1 Lemon
Zest and juice of 1 Lime
200g Blueberries

Lemon Drizzle:
Juice of 1 Lemon
6og Icing Sugar

Let Food be your Medicine, and your Medicine be your Food

Monday, April 2

Hippocrates on left. Pic from Wikipedia
Hippocrates (460-370 BC), best known today for the legacy of his Hippocratic Oath, is considered the Father of Modern Medicine.

"Let Food be your Medicine, and Medicine your Food", he said, and it's a pity that over the past 2000 years we appear to have forgotten this.  The course that I am currently studying on Cancer and Nutrition through the University of Arizona, reviews the research that has been done regarding Nutrition and Cancer.

There appears to be a trend, whilst the literature is not always consistent in proving that a nutritious diet can prevent Cancer, there are benefits that are proven over and over again.

Those with better nutritional intake and who exercise regularly, can retard the growth of their cancers, have higher survival rates and fewer incidences of a recurrence of their cancer.

After tobacco, diet is considered the next biggest cause of cancer, that we can control.  Diet is difficult to define entirely though, as there is a fair ammount of research that has shown we are affected by what our Parents ate too.  Interestingly too, your dietary habits doing adolescence play a big role in your susceptibility to contracting cancer in adulthood.

Dr Abrahams, an Integrative Oncologist, from the University of Arizona recommends:

Increase your Fruit and Vegetable Intake
Aim for 5-7 fruit or vegetables a day, and 7-10 if you have had cancer.

Reduce the ammount of animal fats in your diet
This includes dairy and red meat.
Chicken should be organic, as organic chicken has been found to have higher levels of the good Omega 3 Fats.

Increase the ammount of Marine Omega 3 Fats that you eat
These are found in Deep Cold Water Fish,  including Salmon, Herring, Mackerel, Tuna, Sardines and Black Cod.

Reduce your intake of Refined Carbohydrates
Especially sugar and white flour.

Season liberally with Onions, Garlic, Ginger and Turmeric

Avoid Sugary Drinks
Remember that fruit juices without fibre in them are also considered sugary drinks! But obviously a glass of fresh orange juice is better for you than a can of coke!

Drink Green Tea and Red Wine

Make a list of what you have eaten in the past week or few days, did you have at least five of your fruit and vegetables each day?

Have a Happy Healthy Week,

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