Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My Cancer and Preventive Health Rant

So, we all know that cancer and other diseases that kill us are terrible. When a family member/close friend/etc. dies to one of these, we are hurt and we blame the disease that killed them. Some of us go the extra mile and start advocating fundraisers to help beat these cancers/diseases. We get really passionate about it and dedicate months to different cancers and so on and so forth. We donate millions of dollars to find the cure for cancer, yet don’t spend a penny to find out how we can naturally prevent cancer. Yes, it is possible. We are all born with cancer cells. It’s just a matter of what in our lifestyle will make them go out of control, producing tumours and then killing us. And believe it or not, one of the things that can cause cancer is the same thing that can heal it. That thing is food. It’s the way that our food is made that is killing us though. But I’ll get to that in a little bit. Also, even if we found the cure, the treatment for cancer is usually unaffordable and our insurance companies fail us after we spend so much of our money so that they can help us when we need them the most. How many stories have you read of people struggling to buy their medicine for whichever disease they have and then have to use all their life savings just to stay alive? And because we live in a society where money and power rule, how much longer will you live after you lose everything you own? You know, stress kills, too.

We seem to have our priorities all backwards. Instead of caring for our health before we get sick, we care for it after we get sick. We eat the crap that is sold to us and accept it as food even though we are told how bad it is for us. “It’s just how it is these days. We can’t change anything.” How sad is it that we basically are accepting slow, painful deaths, which are occurring at a much younger age? (And I’m talking about the age of your body, not the age based on your birth certificate.) Does this mean that when a close relative dies, we’re supposed to say, well it was just bound to happen because that’s just how it is these days? Have we really stooped so low? There are strengths in numbers and yet, the number of people who actually care seem to be diminishing into nothing. I know that we all have to die at some point in time – it’s the cycle of life – but I also believe that poisoning ourselves early on and in turn, shortening our life spans should not be something that we just accept. It’s the “we can’t do anything about it” mentality that has gotten us to this point. There have been countless studies saying that today’s generation will be the first to have a shorter life span than its parents because of all the crap in our environment. “Hey parents, get ready to bury your children!” is the message we are being given, basically. But it can’t happen to us, right? We always think that until it does happen to us. And why take action after a tragedy like that? Why not do something about it before it gets to that point?

Studies are showing how the hormones in our milk are linked to cancer, how ingesting artificial food colours is linked to ADHD, how our food that is full of MSG’s, trans fats, high-fructose corn syrup is linked to obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer. All the plastics (it’s not edible but we put our food/water /drinks in it) that surround us are screwing up the development of our children, among many other things. Then there’s obesogens (the three primary sources are found in plastics, pesticides, and cosmetics) and carcinogens, which are slowly getting more media attention. But you knew all of this, right? Because if we all did, why aren’t we pressuring our government to make sure that the food that is sold to us isn’t going to kill us? Where are the millions of dollars spent to make sure that the food is being made in the best and healthiest way possible? Why aren’t we spreading awareness about this the same way we spread awareness about every cancer and disease imaginable? The information is out there if you look for it, but not in the same numbers as there is information about donating money to this and that cancer/disease. And don’t even get me started about where that money is actually going because we will never really know, will we? To say there isn’t enough money for preventive health would also be a lie as we seem to have it for everything else! If we are willing to spend millions towards research for cancer, why aren’t we willing to spend the same amount to force manufacturers to practice healthier production of our food? Why aren’t we creating events and fundraisers to educate others about preventive health and the truth about how our food is made? All these events have us thinking that we’re fighting cancer and diseases, yet we don’t do anything about PREVENTING them! If you don’t want your child to fall off the bike and hurt himself, you teach him how to ride it so that you can prevent him from falling, right? Well, why aren’t we being taught how to prevent cancer? Why isn’t that information as readily available as anything else?

It all comes down to money and power. Hence why I don’t think the government will ever do much to help us. There are too many crooks involved, not to mention that they have a plan for depopulation (but that’s a whole different argument altogether). Hospitals are businesses, surprise, surprise! Doctors get paid to give you that heart transplant after a heart attack, not to tell you how to prevent getting one. Also, instead of telling you how to prevent any type of sickness through natural methods/home remedies, they will quickly give you a prescription. Pharmacies exist to sell you overpriced drugs that don’t even get to the bottom of your problem. They’re unnatural and they make you think that your pain is gone but it’s just putting a Band-Aid on top of the problem. It’s not curing anything. I mean, come on, if it actually did, you wouldn’t have to spend the rest of your life taking them! Here’s the answer to not spending the rest of your life taking meds . . . eat healthy and exercise! Time and time again, obese people who lose lots of weight also get off many of their medications, if not all. Your body is no longer suffering.

And another thing . . . Do you ever wonder how it is possible that we constantly have recalls on food, toys and other products that we use every day and that are key to our survival? We live in a tech-savvy world full of new inventions that are just out there and we can’t get something as simple as food made a healthy way or a toy that is safe for our children? I mean, really? Or are those awesome new gadgets created to distract us from the truth around us? The fact of the matter is that these aren’t all accidents. I know that people aren’t perfect and we’re going to make mistakes but it is unacceptable at the rate that we’re going. All the companies care about is how to make the most for the cheapest and then sell it for five times what it is actually worth. We are paying to kill ourselves, imagine that! If we can’t trust the food that we are sold or the items that we are sold, then what do we have left?

I agree that organic food can get expensive, but shouldn’t your health be your first priority over anything else? And what good is that extra money after you’re diagnosed with heart disease/cancer and then all your savings are being spent on medicine or even worse, you die and don’t even have time to use that money? We have put such a disgusting amount of importance towards money when health should be our first and foremost priority. Once again, what good will all that money be if you’re not even alive to spend it?

We have power in this, even if many may not think that we do. If we stopped buying this crap they’re trying to feed us, manufacturers will have to change their ways. If there’s no demand for it, they can’t sell it! If we demand to know exactly what is in our food, they’ll have to change what they put in it. (McDonald’s now has to provide nutrition facts on their food. There has also been pressure for restaurants to provide nutrition facts for their meals as well.) If we ask for safer methods of making our food, they will create them, because without us and our money, they have nothing. If we don’t accept the crap that is being fed to us, things will change! Sadly, because the majority accepts whatever they’re given, the progress we could be making is a lot slower as a result. We have power and there have been countless examples of groups of people who have changed how manufacturers make their products. It is why the organic section in your grocery store is slowly continuing to grow. If you need more proof of how people have changed the way our food is made, just watch Food, Inc. I know it’s not as popular as all the reality shows and other distractions out there, but it’s out there. Some people do care enough to make a change. I just wish more people would care about this issue.

And if you still need more convincing, just think about how tobacco industries and smoking was viewed 20-30 years ago and how it is viewed today. We can make a change, but it takes a lot of effort. The only reason these changes sound so hard to accomplish is because we are being raised in a society that is making us lazy, making us accept things for what they are, making us think that we’re powerless and can’t do anything about it. If there’s nothing else you take away from this message, at least give all these questions a second thought. Start thinking for yourself and start thinking about what surrounds you and what you are being sold. Knowledge is power and we can do wonderful things together if we just unite with one goal in mind: to create a better and healthier future for ourselves by not accepting the crap that is being fed/sold to us.

So why do I even bother ranting about this to what seems like deaf ears? Because I care and I want others to care. I think more people would care if the education/platform was available to them about these issues. I think others would change if they could afford to buy healthy food. (Gardening is hard work but it’s cheap and well worth it in the end!) But I also think that we spend way too much time making excuses for ourselves when there are none. You either care about your health and life or you don’t. It’s as simple as that. It breaks my heart that so many people just accept this unhealthy path or start caring after they’ve already done so much damage to their internal organs. I’m going to leave this off with Gandhi’s famous quote, "be the change that you wish to see in the world." I’m hoping that my passion about this can at least get some people thinking and maybe even looking further into this issue.

If you are curious to learn more, some good resources include:
Book: “Organic Manifesto” by Maria Rodale
Documentaries: Food, Inc and Processed People (trailers available below).
TV and website: Dr. Oz,
Website: WebMD,
And many, many more . . . you just gotta find ‘em!

Trailers for documentaries (due to my blog's width size, the videos are cut off on the side so please open them in YouTube for a better view!):

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Go to and find a way to watch this documentary.
It just might save your life!
Wake up, everyone!

If you want to learn more, another good documentary (that I personally own) is Food, Inc. Go to for more information.

If you know of more good documentaries that deal with the food industry/obesity epidemic, please share!
Remember, knowledge is power!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Exercise Isn't Just For The Unhealthy

It seems to me as if people are getting the wrong perception of exercise and who needs to be doing it. The answer is everyone! Healthy or unhealthy, fit or unfit, we all need it in our lives - now more than ever. Our ancestors had much more active lives as most of them didn't sit behind a desk all day or watch a machine do the work for them. They also didn't eat the junk, which some of us call food, that we eat today. With people moving a lot less throughout the day because of our jobs, it is vital for us and our health to keep moving when we can. Exercise provides many benefits for all and here's seven benefits, according to the Mayo Clinic:

1. Exercise improves your mood.

Need to blow off some steam after a stressful day? A workout at the gym or a brisk 30-minute walk can help you calm down.

Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed than you were before you worked out. You'll also look better and feel better when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem. Regular physical activity can even help prevent depression.

2. Exercise combats chronic diseases.

Worried about heart disease? Hoping to prevent osteoporosis? Physical activity might be the ticket.

Regular physical activity can help you prevent — or manage — high blood pressure. Your cholesterol will benefit, too. Regular physical activity boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good," cholesterol while decreasing triglycerides. This one-two punch keeps your blood flowing smoothly by lowering the buildup of plaques in your arteries.

And there's more. Regular physical activity can help you prevent type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and certain types of cancer.

3. Exercise helps you manage your weight.

Want to drop those excess pounds? Trade some couch time for walking or other physical activities.

This one's a no-brainer. When you engage in physical activity, you burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you burn — and the easier it is to keep your weight under control. You don't even need to set aside major chunks of time for working out. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk during your lunch break. Do jumping jacks during commercials. Better yet, turn off the TV and take a brisk walk. Dedicated workouts are great, but physical activity you accumulate throughout the day helps you burn calories, too.

4. Exercise boosts your energy level.

Winded by grocery shopping or household chores? Don't throw in the towel. Regular physical activity can leave you breathing easier.

Physical activity delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. In fact, regular physical activity helps your entire cardiovascular system — the circulation of blood through your heart and blood vessels — work more efficiently. Big deal? You bet! When your heart and lungs work more efficiently, you'll have more energy to do the things you enjoy.

5. Exercise promotes better sleep.

Struggling to fall asleep? Or stay asleep? It might help to boost your physical activity during the day.

A good night's sleep can improve your concentration, productivity and mood. And you guessed it — physical activity is sometimes the key to better sleep. Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep. There's a caveat, however. If you exercise too close to bedtime, you may be too energized to fall asleep. If you're having trouble sleeping, you might want to exercise earlier in the day.

6. Exercise can put the spark back into your sex life.

Are you too tired to have sex? Or feeling too out of shape to enjoy physical intimacy? Physical activity to the rescue.

Regular physical activity can leave you feeling energized and looking better, which may have a positive effect on your sex life. But there's more to it than that. Regular physical activity can lead to enhanced arousal for women, and men who exercise regularly are less likely to have problems with erectile dysfunction than are men who don't exercise — especially as they get older.

7. Exercise can be — gasp — fun!

Wondering what to do on a Saturday afternoon? Looking for an activity that suits the entire family? Get physical!

Physical activity doesn't have to be drudgery. Take a ballroom dancing class. Check out a local climbing wall or hiking trail. Push your kids on the swings or climb with them on the jungle gym. Plan a neighborhood kickball or touch football game. Find a physical activity you enjoy, and go for it. If you get bored, try something new. If you're moving, it counts!

- - -

If the reasons above aren't enough, go here for more benefits of exercise.

Although it may be hard to get motivated to start any activity, (I know, I know, sitting in front of the TV is so much easier!) once you find something you enjoy, it becomes addictive and a part of your regular daily routine. Enough excuses already, get moving!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Many Benefits of Breastfeeding

I'm a strong supporter of breastfeeding and I don't see why any woman would choose NOT to breastfeed. At the same time, I do understand that there might be a lot of pain involved and that some are just incapable of doing it. I myself might run into problems with it when the time comes but that's another matter. I still fully support it. Not only does it benefit the baby in so many ways but it also benefits the mom! The following article in Women's Health is just one example of the benefits of breastfeeding:

Wonder-Twin Powers
You may have heard that nursing is best for a baby, but new evidence shows that it can offer major benefits for Mom too. Experts had speculated that breastfeeding might provide some protection against breast cancer, but according to a new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, its cancer-fighting power may be more potent than anyone previously imagined. Researchers found that among women with a family history of the disease, those who had breastfed were 59 percent less likely to develop breast cancer as those who had not. The reduction in risk was similar whether the women nursed for a lifetime total of just three months or for more than three years and regardless of whether they supplemented their breast milk with other foods.

Thanks to a friend of mine, who is a strong supporter of breastfeeding and a breastfeeding mother to a two year old son (yes, you can breastfeed for as long as you want!), I have found other very informative articles about breastfeeding that I'd like to share with you. The first one is about the many health benefits that mom's get from breasfeeding and you can view it here. The second one is comparing breast milk to formula. It can be found here. Very informative.

Speaking of formula, did you know that infant formula is nearly a four billion dollar industry in the U.S.? Why is this? Most likely because women aren't being educated enough about the benefits of breastfeeding and give up way too soon when it doesn't go smoothly for them right away. We are a lazy nation after all . . . Well, here to help us all is a new documentary called Formula Fed America and you can visit their website for more information. Check out the little clip at the beginning as well. (No, I'm not getting paid to advertise this. I'm simply doing it because I think it's ridiculous that so many people are resorting to formula without any thought.)

At the end of the day, no one can tell a mom what she should do with her infant or how she should feed him/her. But before you make any decision, at least inform yourself of all the options out there. Who knows, you might just learn a thing or two that will benefit you and your family in more ways than you could ever imagine.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What Your Skin Colour May Be Telling You

Attractiveness Based Partly on Skin Color
By Jeanna Bryner, Senior Writer

When it comes to an attractive face, color can make all the difference, suggests a new study.

The research focused on facial skin color among Caucasians, finding a light, yellowish complexion looks the healthiest. The skin color could indicate a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables, whose pigments are known to change the skin's hue, researchers suggest.

(The researchers predict the results would hold for other ethnicities as well.)

"Effectively health and attractiveness are pretty much the same thing," study researcher Ian Stephen of the University of Bristol in England told LiveScience. He added that past research as well as some of his forthcoming research shows as much.

Other studies have shown that shape and symmetry of a person's face are also cues of attractiveness.

"Most previous work on faces has focused on the shape of the face or the texture of the skin, but one of the most variable characteristics of the face is skin color," Stephen said.

Stephen and his colleagues asked 54 Caucasian participants to change the skin color of about 50 male and female faces on a computer screen to make them look as healthy as possible. Hands down, the participants tended to increase the rosiness, yellowness and brightness of the skin.

Here's how the researchers think the health-coloring connection works: The preference for more golden or yellow-toned skin could be related to the carotenoid pigments from fruits and veggies. These plant pigments are considered antioxidants, as they protect cells from damage caused by so-called free radicals and are also thought to be important for the immune system.

As for skin color, Stephen notes that if someone were to eat just carrots for a stint, the person's skin color would certainly turn orange-ish. He doesn't recommend such a diet, of course.

And rosy coloring can be the result of skin flushed with blood and oxygen, suggesting a strong heart and lungs, the researchers say. For instance, smokers and diabetics and those with heart disease have fewer blood vessels in their skin, and so their skin would appear less rosy.

If you think you can ditch the rabbit-like meals and just head to a tanning bed, think again. The researchers found lighter skin was better.

"In the West we often think that sun tanning is the best way to improve the color of your skin," Stephen said. "But our research suggests that living a healthy lifestyle with a good diet might actually be better."

Another tip: Eating only fruits and veggies won't work either, so forget about nibbling your way to an attractive face.

"If you're starving yourself then you'll look unhealthy for other reasons," Stephen said. "I wouldn't suggest you eat nothing but salads, because you won't be getting enough calories and [would] lose a lot of weight, and that in itself doesn't look good. If you end up anemic you won't have the red component in your face."

The results would likely hold for other ethnicities as well, Stephen said. For instance, his past research has shown black South Africans tend to judge rosier faces as healthier. And forthcoming research suggests the same may hold for yellowness and lightness of facial skin.

The study, which will be published in the December issue of the International Journal of Primatology, was funded by the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the Economic and Social Research Council, and Unilever Research.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Keep Those Toilet Lids Down!

I found a short article in my favourite magazine, Women's Health, that I wanted to share with everyone. Habits are hard to break, I understand, but once you read how disgusting this really is, you'll change this habit fast!

There are more than 3 million bacteria per square inch inside the average toilet bowl. When you flush, those bad boys get ejected into the air and land on everything in the room, including that innocent bystander otherwise known as your toothbrush. Can you say "ick"? Always close the lid before flushing, and store your toothbrush in a drawer, advises Donna M. Duberg, M.S., assistant professor of clinical laboratory science at St. Louis University.

There's also this article that I found about putting down the toilet seat before flushing which includes a more scientific viewpoint. It's a bit long but very informative!

So, think you can do something as simple as putting the toilet seat down before flushing? Oh and you can also apologize to your "nagging" girlfriend/wife/mother/etc. for always telling you to do so in the first place! Looks like they had a point, after all.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Health TV Shows

I rarely watch TV. I like to use my brain for better things, such as reading books/online or listening to music. Living with my sister, who is an avid TV viewer, has changed some things around. Whether it's for the best or not is another case. Reality TV anyone? Although it would be very me to watch The Biggest Loser for reality TV. Heh. As well, House happens to be my favourite show. Can one possibly fit anymore health into their life? Why yes, yes they can. With health TV shows! I have recently become addicted to two of them, which conveniently run one after the other for me . . . I live in Toronto but pick up Buffalo stations. Don't ask me how it works, it just does.

The first show is The Dr. Oz Show. His elf-like ears may be distracting at first but the crazy amount of knowledge this guy has to share with everyone is pretty amazing. He covers all the topics of health that you can imagine. My favourite part is when people ask him questions. There's always a random tidbit of information that you learn from those. As if I need to give my friends anymore random health knowledge . . . This show can be seen on CTV at 5 p.m for the Canadian folks. As for the U.S. viewers, click here to see local listings of the show.

The second show is The Doctors. If not for any other reason, you need to see this show for dreamy Dr. Travis Stork! He makes it hard to pay attention but this is another show full of health information about all sorts of topics under the sun. I've noticed that the format is very similar to Dr. Oz's show. So, who copied who? Not important. They both give very valuable information. Click here for local listings.

Also, make sure to check both of their websites for more information about some of the topics they have covered in the past. If you miss an important episode, you'll be sure to find some of the highlights in video on both of their websites so there's no excuse not to watch it!

Educate yourself and others! =)