Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Anti Cancer Lifestyle Choices: Part I

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© photo copyright Alan Boyko 2009
Biking with My Dogs: Great Therapy!
Woofing Wednesday is back after a brief interlude last week. A few wary commenters asked "Where's the dogs?" Their place in my Anti Cancer Lifestyle is so front-and-center that I cannot leave them out today.
I can speak from experience on the topic of avoiding cancer, as one of the lucky ones. For many people, finding cancer along with malignant cells in their lymph nodes is more than just a sobering acknowledgment of a long battle to come. It makes you take stock of your future plans, your daily activities, and their place in your priorities. It's a wake up call, loud and clear, that you need to clean up your act if you want to live to play with your grandchildren and enjoy the other pleasures of retirement.

Having experienced cancer, radiation treatment, and all the baggage that comes with it, focusing on a new and healthier diet turned out to be a positive addition to my TO DO LIST. At first I thought that changing how I eat would be hard for me, my family and my daily schedule. How would I find the time in my busy days to learn about organic foods and seek out the nutritional supplements that were right for me, much less learn to cook and shop differently?

As it turns out, I must be deadline oriented. Maybe I would have been a good newspaper writer, but hold your offers. I have no interest in working for corporate America. I love having creative control over my subject matter, even as I sometimes ramble on about my dogs or my morning bike ride. Further, those morning bike rides and the dogs have become my daily respite from the pressures of my child-rearing days, as well as the cancer worries. Tanner, Xena and Oliver are my therapists, giving unconditional love in copious amounts.

I am often asked what I changed about my eating habits when I got the big C diagnosis. I'll save that for another post (Part II) and offer today a more mainstream view: The Anti-Cancer Diet. Here's a quote of particular interest from this webpage. If you don't go to the link, at least read on...
Is it better to cook vegetables or eat them raw? Only one vegetable (and it’s technically a fruit) is a significantly stronger cancer-fighter when cooked: the tomato. Cooking makes the antioxidant lycopene more readily available, so everything from stewed tomatoes to tomato sauce is likely to offer more protection than raw tomatoes. For most vegetables, however, cooking can remove some important nutrients–unless you use the right method. Boiling leaches out most water-soluble nutrients, including the antioxidants beta-carotene and vitamin C, as well as folate. Steaming or baking are better choices because they preserve more disease-fighting substances. But if you use a recipe that calls for boiling vegetables, save the water for stock to use in a soup or sauce and you’ll take advantage of any nutrients removed from the vegetables.
What about organic versus conventional?
There are plenty of reasons to choose organic, from promoting a healthier environment to supporting local farmers. Now there’s evidence you may also get more cancer protection. In findings reported this year at the University of California at Davis, some organically grown produce was found to have higher levels of cancer-fighting antioxidants called flavonoids than the conventionally grown stuff. (Experts theorize that pesticide-free plants may produce more antioxidants to ward off pests.) The scientists looked at three foods: Organic corn had 59 percent higher levels of cancer-fighting flavonoids; marionberries were 50 percent higher; and strawberries, 19 percent. Also, organic produce has lower levels of pesticide residues. Conventional crops were six times more likely to contain residues in a recent study.

Source: Care 2 Green Living
Join me on Friday
for a few of my own regimen changes--
the big admission.
I've dreaded this post for over a year,
but I suppose it's inevitable.
Time to get on with it!

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