15 October, 2012

Health Change #1: Take My Vitamins Every Day

In the health and diet section of Barnes and Noble, you can find a book justifying just about any diet you could possibly think of (eating only cottage cheese, low carbs, high carbs, no meat, only meat, only grapefruit, etc.), all of which contradict each other.  I've come to believe that information on most aspects of health is this way -- saturated with conflicting theories.  I have tried to research what caused my cancer, in hope that I might be able to fix whatever was wrong, help my body reach optimum health, and prevent my cancer from ever coming back.  Not too surprisingly, I found numerous books and articles that all say something different.  But pretty much everybody agrees on some extremely basic principles.  Now I know this isn't very scientific, and I don't have any medical studies to back this up, but my super simplified theory which condenses all the things I've heard, read, and learned about cancer (or really any health issue other than things that are genetic) is that it's caused by the perfect storm of a combination of three problems:
1. not enough good stuff
2. too much bad stuff
3. not enough exercise (or sometimes too much exercise)
So the steps I am taking to get myself back to health will all address one of these problems.  I will attempt to fill my body and environment with good things, rid it of all the bad things, and make sure my body is getting the appropriate amount of exercise to keep me healthy.

My first step toward health addresses the first problem.  In order to ensure that my body gets enough of the good stuff it needs, I am going to start taking multivitamins and supplements every single day.  I took a few vitamins and supplements before I got sick, but stopped when I was diagnosed because it was just too much to add to the other fifteen or so pills I was taking every day.  Since I stopped treatment, I've gotten a new vitamin regimen and have been taking it every once in a while, but usually forget.  Now I am going to make it a priority to take them every single day.

The new vitamins I am taking are called Vitalizer by Shaklee.  As I am also trying to put as little bad stuff in my body as possible, it was really important for me to find vitamins that are all-natural instead of synthetic.  I was relieved when I found out about the Shaklee Corporation, which helped pioneer the nutritional supplement industry and has been making all natural supplements for over fifty years.  Their products are 100% guaranteed to have no dyes, artificial sweeteners, or toxic ink, all of which are unnatural and common in multivitamins.  The vitamins I am taking include 80 different nutrients, including all eight B vitamins, all seven omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics, and 26 different antioxidants.  (I sort of sound like a commercial, don't I? But that's because I really like them!)  Shaklee guarantees that if I take these vitamins every single day for thirty days, I will feel better and healthier.  So check back in a month and I'll let you know if they work.  You can check them out yourself here.
I've also accomplished a little bit of my goal to try 24 new foods this year.  For my birthday, my parents got me the ice cream maker attachment for my kitchenaid stand mixer!  So in anticipation of the impending fall, I christened it by making pumpkin ice cream.  While I have had pumpkin ice cream before, I've never had homemade pumpkin ice cream, so I'm going to count it as trying something new.  You can call it a cop-out if you want, but twenty-four is a big number!  I used the recipe that came with the ice cream maker and, while it tastes delicious, it turned out really rich and rock-hard.  If I make it again, I will definitely used a lighter cream than the suggested heavy whipping cream.  And does anybody know how to make it softer but not melty?  I had to use a steak knife to chip a few pieces off!
I also tried pecan pie for the very first time.  I've never been a fan of pecans and had avoided it in the past, but it was the first rainy day we've had in months and my friend Jared made a homemade pecan pie, so I gave in and decided to try it.  And I actually liked it!  I still don't like pecans and it definitely wouldn't be my first choice, but alas, pecan pie and I are no longer enemies.


06 October, 2012

Yesterday was my birthday -- the big two-four! Thank you so much to everyone for the birthday blessings and warm wishes!  Last night, I went out to dinner with my parents, aunt, and cousins, then went back to my house for cake and presents.
As a birthday present, my parents got me
tickets to see The Head and the Heart!
I rarely drink alcohol, but decided to
have a fruity girly drink for my birthday.
The birthday cake my aunt got me.
Thanks Aunt Paula!
I went up to visit my brother in Carpinteria last weekend.  He had gotten me a turntable as a cancer-free present, and while I was up there, we went to the record store and he bought me an amp.  So yesterday, my parents and I went on a search for a new stylus and a pair of speakers so I could complete my setup and listen to some music.  My parents can't comprehend why in the world anyone would want a record player, but they've been helping me nonetheless.  I love it because it gives me an excuse to listen to old jazzy music that I would never buy otherwise (I'm currently listening to The Mills Brothers).  Anyways, all that to say: it's a great birthday present!

As most of you know, I've had a rough year.  I've never been happier to welcome my birthday and say goodbye to a year as I was this time.  I feel so blessed to have made it to this birthday!  Having cancer made me realize that I really want to live life fully and passionately instead of wasting the time I have.  To help me do that, I've made a few resolutions for my 24th year.

1.  Complete 24 craft/diy projects:
There's just something about making stuff that makes you feel good. Nothing beats the feeling you have when you put in hours of hard work and actually end up with something tangible at the end of the process.  So I've decided to consistently make stuff!  I'm already planning a quilt as one of my first projects.  My parents gave me a gift card to Joann Fabrics for my birthday to start me off and I can't wait to get started.

2.  Watch 24 documentaries:
My best friend Katy and I love watching documentaries and discussing them together.  Even though we live more than a thousand miles away from each other, we decided not to let that hinder our discussions.  So we've started a documentary club where we will each watch a documentary and then discuss it together on skype.  I'm pretty excited about it and decided to make dedication to watching documentaries one of my resolutions.

3.  Read 24 books:
This one is self-explanatory.

4.  Read the Old Testament in 24 days
5.  Read the New Testament in 24 days
When I was in Atlanta, I was blessed to be a part of a church that truly sought to follow the Lord in every way.  A few months ago, John O., one of my friends and a pastor at that church, admitted that he had difficulty reading his Bible consistently.  So he set out to read his Bible from cover to cover.  He knew that if he prolonged his quest over a long period of time, he was likely to never finish.  So he decided to read the entire Bible in 30 days.  And it changed his life.  You can read about what he learned by clicking here, here, and here. Now I'm someone who tries to read at least one chapter in my Bible every day.  At that rate, it would take me about four years to read the entire Bible.  While I think it's good to look at the scriptures slowly and in-depth, I think it's an easy way to lose the big picture.  John O. points out that one thing we lose is the fact that the Bible is first and foremost a book about God.  As of late, my heart has really been aching to know the character of God in a deeper way.  So, inspired by John O., I decided that I too would try to read my entire Bible, but in 48 days.

6.  Try 24 new foods/drinks
I'm always up for trying something new... well, mostly.

7.  Implement 24 health changes
I've been reading a book called "Sleeping Naked is Green," by Vanessa Farquharson, in which a she decided to make one new eco-friendly change to her lifestyle each day for a year.  Many of the changes she made were also incredibly good for her personal health.  I'm ready for my body to be as healthy as absolutely possible, and decided to make my changes all focus on my health.  And if she can make 366 changes (it was a leap year), then I can at least make 24.

Putting this list on my blog is less for the benefit of letting you know what I'm up to, and more for the sense of accountability I feel after publishing something that others can see.  As the year goes on, I'll try to post on all of these things in hopes that it will actually help me to get things done.  So there you have it, folks!