#10: Reading this Blog Series

If you've kept up with us since the very first blog post, #1: Sleeping, you've probably already experienced a boost to your health.  Simply by reading about healthy habits increases your likelihood of actually doing them.  We are products of our environment!  Surround yourself with negative thoughts, emotions, words, or people and you are sure to feel worse.  But - continue to think positively, to keep an open mind, to share your love with others, and to learn about ways you can improve your health and you are on your way to a cancer fighting lifestyle!  

We've reminded you each week that, whether or not you actually have cancer, your bodies are fighting it each and everyday.  "Healthy" bodies have cancer cells in them, it's just when our immune system is unable to get rid of those unhealthy cells when cancer becomes a real problem.  

There are so many ways we can support our immune systems so we have a fighting chance.  And there are at least 10 ways you are doing this everyday!  So relax, enjoy your life, every moment.  Learn how to nourish your mind, body, and spirit.  Focus on the abundance in your life instead of what's missing.  Simply shifting this perspective is the key to unlocking all of life's happiness and pleasures. 

Hopefully this series has brought you a little bit of peace and allowed you to pat yourself on the back for some of the simple things you're already doing to support your body against cancer.  Take some time to reflect on all the good that you've done this week whether that's through self-care, prayer, acts of kindness, or simply taking a deeper breath.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

 Want more?  Add your e-mail below to receive our next series, "10 Things You're NOT Doing to Fight Cancer" and learn how to incorporate some new habits into your cancer fighting lifestyle! 

10 Things You're NOT Doing to Fight Cancer

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#9: Praying

Mind. Body. Spirit.  We sometimes think of these as separate entities.  The opposite couldn't be more true.  What's good for the body is good for the mind.  What's stimulating to the mind is invigorating to the spirit. And what's uplifting to the spirit usually gets the body moving!  

Prayer, or meditation, is an excellent way to encourage the spirit.  Simply by slowing down the mind and body, we can connect to our higher powers.  Through continuous prayer/meditation, our faith grows stronger.  We begin to understand our strength is not in our bodies nor in our intellect.  We each have our own personal fountains of strength.  And that my friends, is our spirit.  Haven't you known or heard about someone who was 103 and could still light up a room? Or someone who has lost their limbs yet found a way to swim and paint? Or the person on their deathbed who could still manage a smile with a twinkle in their eye?  This is the closest glimpse we will have of someone's spirit here on Earth. 

By praying, we are calling on this higher power.  Our minds are recognizing there is something greater than ourselves.  Something greater than the sum of our parts.  That something that makes us feel connected to the "other".  Science hasn't been able to explain it, but there is a lot of good data and research showing the positive effects of prayer/meditation on our health. 

prayer for cancer

In an article found in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry, "Prayer/meditation has been found to produce a clinically significant reduction in blood pressure, to reduce heart rate, to alter levels of melatonin and serotonin, to boost the immune response, to decrease the levels of reactive oxygen species (meaning, decrease inflammation), to reduce stress and promote positive mood states, to reduce anxiety and pain and enhance self-esteem and to have a favorable influence on overall and spiritual quality of life in late-stage disease. "

So which is better? Prayer or meditation? In the same article, "Spiritual meditation has been found to be superior to secular meditation and relaxation in terms of decrease in anxiety and improvement in positive mood, spiritual health, spiritual experiences and tolerance to pain."  

So whether you go to church, synagogue, mosque, buddhist temple, yoga studio, or simply say your nightly prayers at home before bed, you are reducing stress, balancing hormones, boosting the immune system and increasing your quality of life.  

 

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#8: Drinking Water

Water.  Aqua.  H20.   It is essential to life.  Our own bodies are made up of over 60% water!  We need this stuff to live, and to live optimally.  So if you’re drinking water, pat yourself on the back.  You are giving your body the opportunity to stay balanced and function properly.  We couldn’t do much without water, it takes water to breathe, sweat, blink our eyes, speak, and move.  It even takes water to digest and absorb nutrients.  Water also supports our immune function by keeping our lymphatic fluid mobile and, excuse the pun, fluid.  When the body gets dehydrated the lymph fluid doesn’t move as well and as we learned in a previous post, lymph fluid contains health-supporting white blood cells that need to be circulated throughout the body to take care of toxins and abnormal cells that invade our systems.  Water also keeps our elimination system moving, so our waste products don’t stick around longer than they are welcome.  Studies have shown that the longer waste stays in the colon, the greater risk of developing colon cancer. 

Cheers!  Drinking those 8 glasses of water each day is one of the best things you can do for your health.  I always start my day with a big glass of water with a squeeze of fresh lemon which gently wakes up my digestive system and prepares my body and mind for the day. 

Purewater

But wait - it’s not all sparkling, fresh, blue, cloud dreams here.  Clean water is actually very hard to find.  Did you know there are contaminants in your tap water (and sometimes even your bottled water) that are harmful to your health? Water is such a precious resource to this planet that is often taken for granted and overlooked. 

Pure water is probably more precious than even you realize.   In this country, we know that we have more potable water than most other countries in this world.  And for that we should be grateful.  But who is defining the requirements for drinkable water? What systems are in place to ensure the proper amount of filtration and purification is used before our water makes it into our homes and out of our faucets?  Turns out, the government does the minimum amount of filtration of water before it reaches your home. 

The EPA measures quarterly the amount of these contaminants in our drinking water and posts their results on their website. https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/national-primary-drinking-water-regulations#three

Take a look at the Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) versus the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL).  The MCLG is the ideal, the ‘goal’ amount of contaminants in which there is no known or expected risk to health.  The actual level, or the MCL, is the level that is actually allowed in drinking water.  Often, these numbers are equal but in many more cases than I feel comfortable with, the actual (MCL) level is higher than the goal (MCLG) levels.  It may seem like trace amounts, but when you are talking about water that we all drink (in some cases 8 glasses per day!), bathe in, cook with, make coffee with, wash dishes with, wash our clothing in, iron clothing with, water our plants and herbs with, and sometimes even clean with, the impact of these trace amounts of contaminants starts adding up quickly. 

Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) - The level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs allow for a margin of safety and are non-enforceable public health goals.

Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) - The highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to MCLGs as feasible using the best available treatment technology and taking cost into consideration. MCLs are enforceable standards.

 Contaminant

MCLG (Goal level)

MCL (Actual level allowed)

Potential health effects from long-term exposure above MCL

Sources of Contaminant

Beta particles and photon emitters

zero 4 millirems per year Increased risk of cancer Decay of natural and manmade deposits of certain minerals

Radium 226 and Radium 228

zero 5 pCi/L Increased risk of cancer Erosion of natural deposits

Uranium

zero 10ug/L Increased risk of cancer, kidney toxicity Erosion of natural deposits

Arsenic

zero .010 Skin damage, problems with circulatory systems, may have increased risk of cancer Erosion of natural deposits

Asbestos

7 million fibers per liter 7 million fibers per liter Increased risk of developing benign intestinal polyps

Decay of asbestos cement in water

Alachlor

zero .002 Eye, liver, kidney, spleen problems, anemia, 
increased risk of cancer
Runoff from herbicide used on row crops

 Benzene

zero .005 Anemia, decrease in blood platelets, 
increased risk of cancer
Discharge from factories; leaching from gas storage tanks and landfills

Benzopyrene (PAHs)

zero .0002 Reproductive difficulties; increased risk of cancer Leaching from linings of water storage tanks and distribution lines

 Carbon tetachloride

zero .005 Liver problems; 
Increased risk of cancer
Discharge from chemical plants and other industrial activities

 Chlordane

zero .002 Liver or nervous system problems; 
Increased risk of cancer
Residue of banned termiticide 
Chlorine 4 4 Eye/nose irritation; stomach discomfort Water additive used to control microbes

1, 2-Dibromo-3-chloropropane (DBCP)

zero .0002 Reproductive difficulties; 
Increased risk of cancer
Runoff/leaching from soil fumigant used on soybeans, cotton, pineapples, and orchards

1, 2-Dichloroethane

zero .005
Increased risk of cancer
Discharge from industrial chemical factories
Dichloromethane zero .005 Liver problems; 
Increased risk of cancer
Discharge from drug and chemical factories

 Diphthalate

zero .006 Reproductive difficulties; liver problems; 
Increased risk of cancer
Discharge from rubber and chemical factories

 Dioxin

zero .00000003 Reproductive difficulties; increased risk of cancer Emissions from waste incineration and other combustion; discharge from chemical factories
Fluoride 4 4 Bone disease; Children may get mottled teeth Water additive which promotes strong teeth; erosion of natural deposits; discharge from fertilizer and aluminum factories

 Heptachlor

zero .0004 Liver damage; 
Increased risk of cancer
Residue of banned termiticide

Hexachlorobenzene

zero .001 Liver or kidney problems; reproductive difficulties; 
Increased risk of cancer
Discharge from metal refineries and agricultural chemical factories

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

zero .0005 Skin changes; thymus gland problems; immune deficiencies; 
Increased risk of cancer
Runoff from landfills; discharge of waste chemicals

Vinyl Chloride

zero .002
Increased risk of cancer
Leaching from PVC pipes; discharge from plastic factories

 

Things like arsenic, asbestos, phthalates (endocrine disruptors), PCBs, benzenes, chloramines, run off from pesticides and herbicides, vinyl chloride, and discharge from drug and industrial chemical factories are just some of the contaminants that are NOT being filtered out of our water supply to meet the standard of the MCLG, or the level at which there is no known or expected risk to health.  I would hardly call this ‘potable’ water.  It is also clearly listed that ALL of these contaminants bring with them serious potential long-term health problems including increased risk of cancer.  

So what are we to do, left with water that has been insufficiently filtered?  I certainly wouldn’t ingest this water, none the less bathe in it, or even breathe in it's vapor while washing dishes.  Did you know chlorine vaporizes at a lower temperature than water? So even if you don’t use steaming hot water to shower in or to wash dishes in, chances are there are still chlorine vapors that are making their way into your lungs.   I don’t want to get too much into these scary scenarios so I’ll go ahead and tell you the best way to get pure, filtered, simple H2O.

You most likely already have a filtration system of some kind in your home already, on the countertop or in the fridge.  But does it really filter out some of these carcinogenic contaminants?  Popular brands usually say they will decrease the taste and odor of chlorine, but the fact of the matter is, the chlorine is still there.   The standard filter pitcher will remove copper, cadmium, mercury, and zinc. Period.  Popular faucet mounted filters will reduce or remove (not clear which one) lead, asbestos, benzene, TTHMs, parasites, atrazine, lindane, trichloroethylene, and particulates class 1.   This is better than the pitcher filter, yet still does not completely remove the contaminants listed above and doesn’t even mention chlorine, chloramines, fluoride (more toxic than lead), phthalates, vinyl chloride, VOCs, PCBs, heptachlor (possible risk of liver damage), alachlor (may increase risk of cancer), benzopyrene (may lead to reproductive difficulties), and arsenic.

To ensure you get the cleanest, more pure water right out of your faucet, and by the way, throughout your entire home, take a look at Pure Effects Entire Home Water Filtration System.  This is the system that was recommended to me by my Naturopathic Doctor because my thyroid is a little on the hypo side.  With my blood results in hand, one of his first questions to me was, "do you have a water filter at home?" Turns out, the chloramines, chlorine, and fluoride in the water attaches to the iodine receptors in the body better than iodine itself.  Looking at the thyroid, iodine is a nutrient that can provide balance but not if the chlorine and fluoride are getting to the receptors first.  They can actually block these receptors, leading to abnormal levels of thyroid hormones.  

After speaking with several specialists and plumbers in this field, I concluded that this was the best one which will remove the most contaminants.  They each actually thought they themselves had the best filtration system, in their own homes and those which they sell, but when they looked at this system they were impressed.  I believe the quote was, “I’ve been in this business a long time and this system is unlike anything I’ve seen.”

I’ve recently installed the under sink mounted filtration system for our kitchen sink and the shower head filter in our master bathroom.  This was the most cost effective way for us to limit the toxins we were being exposed to through drinking water, shower water and vapors.  Now, we can drink those 8 glasses of water worry-free, completely relishing in our 100% pure H2O.  We also don’t have to worry about chlorine vapor from those hot steamy showers we love so much.  And forget about the fluoride and other contaminants that we were absorbing through the skin!  Did you know you absorb about 60% of what is applied to the skin?  We can’t wait to take a hot steam shower and throw some organic eucalyptus essential oil on the walls to breathe in all that pure goodness!

gift for cancer patient

The entire home filtration system was just out of our price range, for now.  In the future we plan to add the entire home filtration system to ensure our water for washing dishes, cleaning clothes, and for our guests to bathe in will also be pure. 

Go ahead and treat yourself to a steamy eucalyptus shower with 100% pure water!  Click the link below to learn more about PureEffect and their amazing filtration systems...

http://www.pureeffectfilters.com/#a_aid=cornucopiabox

Full disclosure:  By using the link above to make a purchase, we will be sent a small affiliate commission.  As a young company, we have to be creative in how we sustain our business and we also want to share with you all the good things we are doing at home so you can benefit and improve your own health too!

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#7: Walking

We are all familiar with the benefits of regular exercise.  However, in the days of power yoga and Crossfit, we may be over-doing it.   Studies show that a consistent regimen of light to moderate exercise is the best way to improve immune function.  Strenuous exercise like running and weight lifting have their merits too, for the cardiovascular system and weight loss.  But simply going for a stroll around the park can offer a quick boost to the immune system leaving you in a better position to fight off those nasty cancer cells.  

In a 2013 study, it was reported that postmenopausal women who walked for 7 hours or more each week were at a 14% lower risk of developing breast cancer.  This held true across the board, without differences among women with higher BMI, higher estrogen levels, weight gain, or whether or not they were on a regimen of post menopausal hormone replacement therapy. 

Postmenopausal or not, we can all benefit from taking a few more steps each day.  Walking can lower blood pressure, improve cardiovascular function, boost the immune system, and lower stress.  

walking man

We all live in a time when our smart devices are on average no further than 3 feet away from us at all times thorughout the day.  Not great for our stress levels, but these devices can make it so very easy to track our steps.  The analog pedometer is a thing of the distant past.  As long as you carry a smart phone, chances are it is already calculating your steps each and every day for you.  Take a look into your applications, and maybe you even already have an app that encourages you to take more steps and compares your steps to friends, family, and others nearby.   

A cancer survivor in Los Angeles describes how she used a wearable fitness tracker during her treatment, "I was able to be more active as the medications took effect, and I got a better handle on the pain".  Not only did the walking seem to lessen her pain, but it became a way in which she was able to track her overall health.  "When the device showed that I could manage 1,000 steps a day, I challenged myself to walk a little further".  Now, she is back to doing longer hikes and averaging 10,000 steps per day.  

So what is the golden number you should shoot for each day?  In "How Not to Die" by Michael Greger, "walking for only 60 minutes a week only drops your mortality rate about 3 percent.  But walking 300 minutes a week drops your mortality rate by 14 percent.  And an hour long walk each day may reduce mortality by 24 percent!"  

Like eating healthy, the more you do it the more benefits you will reap.  Now go sign up for the fitness app and start tracking your steps today!  

 

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24097200

http://www.curetoday.com/publications/cure/2017/summer-2017/can-fitness-trackers-improve-health-in-cancer-survivors

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#6: Human Connection

Human connection.  I’m talking about real, authentic, intimate conversation and connection with other human beings.  In this digital age we are more isolated than ever.  But those of you out there who are still interacting with other humans, face-to-face, are benefitting from an emotional connection that will help you to live longer!

As human beings we all need this kind of connection with others, it’s what makes us human.  It’s when we are isolated and start to have feelings of loneliness that things go wrong.  And you don’t actually have to be physically isolated to feel this.  Plenty of people are surrounded by others on a daily basis yet they will tell you how truly lonely they feel.  
In an article by Psychology Today, “The health consequences of feeling lonely are dramatic. The researchers found that feeling isolated from others can: disrupt sleep, elevate blood pressure, increase morning rises in the stress hormone cortisol, alter gene expression in immune cells [think; cancer], increase depression, and lower overall subjective well-being.” 

Connecting with others and being kind just comes naturally to those living in the Blue Zones, which is why they tend to live to 100.  The Blue Zones include places such as the Barbara region of Sardinia, Ikaria, Greece, Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica; the Seventh Day Adventists in Loma Linda, CA; and Okinawa, Japan.   There are nine factors that each of these places have in common.  Medical researchers, anthropologists, demographers, and epidemiologists have all studied these areas and have come up with what they are calling the “Power 9” factors.   One of those factors is TRIBE.  

“The social networks of long-lived people have favorably shaped their health behaviors”.  By choosing a ‘tribe’ of like-minded, positive, and health conscious friends you are increasing the likelihood you will live to 100.  


The good news is, you’re already doing this!  Most likely you live with another human being that you enjoy spending time with.  And if you don’t, you probably have some good close friends just a phone call away.  And a phone call is a much better way to connect, instead of merely texting.  Next time you find yourself spending time with another soul, try cutting out the small talk and get right down to the good stuff.  Connect.  Share.  Open your heart.  It goes both ways, by you sharing your own thoughts and feelings you’re getting stuff off your chest leaving you lighter and ready to tackle whatever life throws at you.  And if your close friend needs to unload on you, go ahead and let them!  You are there so they can work out all the things they’ve been holding onto.  You don’t have to absorb what they’re putting out there, you just let it roll right off you, and be there to give a big hug once they’re done.  Guess what?  You’ll feel better too that you could support a friend in need. 

The same goes for acts of kindness.  Studies have shown that acts of kindness can decrease anxiety for those performing the act, for those receiving the act, AND for those witnessing that same act of kindness!  Amazing! 

 

 

“A deep sense of love and belonging is an irresistible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don't function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.” - Brene Brown, Professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work

Looking for a new tribe that you can connect with?  Try a local meet-up group in your area (links below).  Also, follow us on social media.  There are so many wonderful people on Instagram sharing their stories and experiences fighting cancer, it is such an honor to be a part of it.  

When I started this company, I was a bit worried about having to revisit cancer each day but now that I am nearly 3 months into it, the effect has been so positive and inspiring.  It has taught me to love my body.  There are those who have shared their experiences of cancer treatment, surgeries, side effects, and more yet they are so grateful for what their bodies have done for them and will continue to do.   Complaining about a little cellulite seems so trivial now.  By following this group of survivors, I have come to truly understand and internalize the phrase, "It's not what's on the outside, but what's on the inside that counts".  

The goal of this blog series is not to focus on the negative - or what not to do.  I started this series because I wanted to explain what positive actions you are already taking that you can feel great about!  Let's reframe our thinking.  Don't focus on the negative, or what to take out of your diet/lifestyle, i.e. decrease stress, decrease depression, decrease anxiety.  Because then you're just left in that negative space.  Let's start focusing on the positive side.  Focus on what you can add to your diet/lifestyle that will increase connections with others, open your heart, boost your immune system and uplift your spirit!

Connect with us!
facebook.com/cornucopiabox
instagram.com/cornucopiabox
twitter.com/cornucopiacare

Are you located in San Diego? Here's some upcoming events we will be attending in 2017...

August 8th - ACS Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Kickoff Breakfast

September 23rd - MAX LOVE Farm to Fork Dinner • Come out to have a delicious dinner, some fun dancing and for your chance to win a Cornucopia gift basket!  A portion of each sale from cornucopiabox.com benefits the MAX LOVE Project.  

October 14th - Susan G. Komen Row for the Cure • Stop by and check out our packages and products, we will have a vendor stand set up!  

Connect with others!
meetup.com

The Healing Power of Hugs
Cuddle Therapy
Connect to Thrive Article from Psychology Today

Missed #1-5? Start here...

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