Today is day 13 in the first chemo cycle. Many of you have asked how I’ve been doing. The answer is surprisingly well. I’ve had very little nausea and as long as eat small meals frequently, I’m okay. My main symptom is exhaustion and it’s like nothing that I’ve ever felt before. Just sitting and talking with people wears me out. OUT. But the good news is that I’ve had more energy the past few days. During days 15-21, I should feel more like myself. YES!! I also had the most painful aches in my bones on days 7-8. It was the strangest feeling and nothing made it better except Tylenol. Thank heavens for Tylenol. This was likely due to the Neulasta shot that I got on day 2. This shot boosts your white blood cells since the chemo effects them. (white blood cells are produced in the bones, which I’m sure you all know, but the teacher in me…) I’m also susceptible to infection since I have low white blood cell counts and my body can’t fight off infection as well as it normally does (so if you plan to visit me and are sick, please reschedule! 🙂
I have also started losing my hair 🙁 They said it would happen around day 21, so I plan to shave it on day 20. Hopefully it will last me until my hair shaving. Which brings me to the hair shaving party. Anyone that would like to come see the new bald me and the new me with wigs, is welcome to come over next Tuesday 7/8. Feel free to bring snacks or drinks. 6:00 at our place. Be forewarned: I will cry. But it’s okay to cry. Jim and I are handling this well, but that doesn’t mean we (me) don’t get emotional at times. It’s a part of the process. He is my rock and I am his. Thank you all for support through all of this because you are making it easier on Jim and I. Last, but not least, my next chemo is scheduled for July 10th and if you’d like you can join me in wearing some pink that day! 🙂
Thank you all again. From the bottom of my heart.
We had our chemo class today and learned all about side effects, etc. My first chemo is scheduled for tomorrow from 10:30-1:30. Feel free to send out cancer killing vibes during those hours :). Chemo will be every three weeks. I expect to feel okay for the first few days after chemo and then blech on days 4-5 afterwards. The second full week I’m also not supposed to be feeling well because my blood counts will be down. Week three I should feel decent again and then it starts all over. My hair should fall out around day 21. I have plans to shave it and get a wig/scarf. Thank you all for your offers of support thus far. It makes this journey easier. I’ll keep you updated here as I know more.
The MRI came back last week and showed that the left breast was clear. Good news. They found a second tumor in the right breast – 8.5 cm. The first tumor measured 3.5 cm. The first tumor is classified as invasive ductal carcinoma and this newly discovered tumor is classified as ductal carcinoma in situ. Basically the second tumor is contained within the duct and the first tumor is invading the surrounding tissue. There was also a suspicious lymph node. The surgeon expressed concern to possibly biopsy the lymph node first which would delay chemo by up to 2 weeks. This was a concern of mine and after presenting my case to the tumor board the surgeon called tell me that the tumor board unanimously agreed to start chemo because of the aggressive nature of the cancer.
I have chemo class scheduled for Tuesday and I’m hoping to start chemo ASAP after that.
Thanks for all of your texts, calls, emails, messages, flowers, etc. I am doing okay. This is scary and effed up but I’ve got a positive attitude and the BEST support network out there.
Jennifer Tyler Lee has found something that I almost never eat; I believe I have had it once or twice. I don’t think okra is very common out here in California but I know I have seen it in some Indian dishes. It’s not that I don;t like it, but since it isn’t very common I haven’t sought it out much. Jennifer Tyler Lee recommends sautéing it with garlic or making an Okra Risotto. I love risotto, so I’m supporting this option!
- It originated in Africa and migrated to the Mediterranean.
- It is a mucilaginous veggie which some folks like and other detest.
- Good source of vitamins A, B6, C, and K, folate, niacin, riboflavin, manganese, calcium, magnesium, copper, and potassium.
- Good source of fiber.
- It contains the antioxidants beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
- Studies have shown that the seeds in okra may help reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
- In mice studies, the antioxidants helped to reverse cognitive deficits that were due to nerve damage.
- Cooking okra does not lessen the nutrient value.
- Younger okra pods are less mucilaginous.
From The 52 New Foods Challenge by Jennifer Tyler Lee and Superfoods by Tonia Reinhard.
This week’s new food is Corn. While I do love corn on the corn and am totally addicted corn tortilla chips, this is a contentious food for me for a couple of reasons.
- Most corn is genetically modified. I personally don’t trust GMO foods and try to avoid them as much as possible.
- Corn is in everything. Dextrose, corn syrup, HFCS, maltodextrin, corn starch, and more. Many foods that are highly processed and then added to processed foods are also highly allergenic foods. As a species survival mechanism, plant foods contain tiny amounts of toxins. Overconsumption of one type of food builds up the amount of toxins we are exposed to. So I recommend limiting corn consumption.
- Corn is one of the top 8 most allergenic foods.
- Ever seen whole corn kernels in your stool? MOST people don’t digest corn well.
- It’s not a nutrient dense food and crowds out room for more nutritious foods.
With all that said, I do occasionally eat corn, I usually opt for blue or purple corn because these heirloom varieties are less likely to be genetically modified. Jennifer Tyler Lee recommends a corn salsa or popping the corn while it’s still on the cobb. That sounds like fun! I DO love heirloom popcorn made on the stove with ghee and then topped with real butter. It’s my vice.
- Corn is native to Central America.
- Corn is high in vitamins A, B5, B6, C, folate, thiamine, niacin, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, manganese, riboflavin, and zinc.
- Good source of carotenoids, specifically zeaxanthin and beta-cryptoxanthin, as well as phenols.
- Carotenoids can help to lower blood pressure as well as reduce risk of breast cancer for post-menopausal women.
- Modern corn has been bred to have more sugar and is lower in phytonutrients.
- Blue corn has nearly thirty times the antioxidant values of modern white corn.
- Darker yellow corn varieties have more nutrients than white corn.
- There are other varieties as well: red, orange, purple, blue, and black. These varieties are rarely found at the store but could be grown at home.
- Frozen corn is equally nutritious as fresh corn; canned corn can also be as nutritious as fresh corn.
- Corn is not a complete source of protein alone.
- Corn contains niacin, but in whole food form, it is not bio-available. Native Americans soaked their maize in lime which allowed the niacin become available for the body.
From The 52 New Foods Challenge by Jennifer Tyler Lee, Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson, Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno, and Superfoods by Tonia Reinhard.
September’s Clean Eating Book of the Month is Gut by Giulia Enders. After Eat Dirt, Brain Maker, and Gulp, you may begin to think that I’m obsessed with the digestive system. And well, I guess I am. I am a nutrition consultant, after all.
Enders takes a unique scientific approach to teaching us about our gut. A microbiologist by trade and currently enrolled in a gastroenterology PhD program, Enders infuses humor throughout her book and her sister creates simple and enlightening illustrations like this one of how to properly use the toilet to go poop (Ender, 2015, p.19).
I hear from many people that like to debate the existence of gluten intolerances. Enders does a wonderful job of clearing up the confusion for folks. Celiac disease is what Enders terms a genetic intolerance to gluten. Here is how she explains a gluten intolerance: All grains (and all plants for that matter) have a small amount of toxins in them. These toxins exist to ensure the survival of the species. Compared to other grains, wheat produces more toxins. Because of the high level of toxins in the proteins in wheat, gluten (and gliadin), can pass through the small intestines into the bloodstream, undigested. In turn, it can weaken the junctions between the cell lining the small intestines (microvilli). When those junctions are weakened, food particles (like gluten) can pass through unregulated and cause the immune system to go on overdrive. The job of the microvilli is to keep out large (undigested) food particles and toxins, so when food particles are allowed to pass through and the immune system is on overdrive, many other health problems occur, resulting in an intolerance.
In addition to clearing up confusion around food intolerances, Enders also discusses poop, acid reflux, constipation, vomiting, the brain-gut connection, the HUGE role of bacteria in our lives, and much more. This is a fascinating
poop book. I actually did type poop there first, so I thought I should leave it. 😉 I highly recommend it for all homo sapiens. 5/5 Strawberries!
After reading Grain Brain, by Dr. David Perlmutter, when Brain Maker came out, I knew that I would have to read it too. At Paleo F(x) this year, Dr. Perlmutter was the keynote speaker, promptly reminding me that I needed to read his book.
As a nutrition consultant, gut health is one of my main passions, because as Hippocrates said, “All disease begins in the gut.” A neurologist by trade, Dr. Perlmutter goes even further to discuss the links between an unhealthy gut and Autism, ADHD, allergies skin issues, elevated blood pressure, anxiety, depression, chronic fatigue, inflammation, and many, many, more.
Out of the trillions of cells that are housed in your sack of skin that we call a body, 90% of them are bacteria. You read that correctly; you are 90% bacteria. Now don’t freak out. Without all of that bacteria, you literally wouldn’t be living. Dr. Perlmutter helps us to get acquainted with those bacteria and help us see just why we need all of those friendly little buggars. He then helps us to know what factors can throw our delicate ecosystem off balance. Some of those factors include: antibiotics, nsaid use, oral contraceptives, the chemical laden agri-business food system, among others.
Dr. Perlmutter gives action steps to help preserve and maintain a thriving colony of gut bacteria. The book is also equipped with recipes that include probiotics and help to maintain the gut colony. This book is highly recommend for those interested in improving their gut health or just like to nerd out on science and healthy living.
Flax seeds are up next and I’m happy to report that I like flax seeds and I eat them regularly. They have a host of health benefits , but most people do not properly prepare them, and therefore do not get to capitalize on their health benefits. Read on for how to properly prepare flax. Jennifer Tyler Lee recommends adding ground flaxseeds to homemade granola bars or to strawberry-banana smoothies. In the food facts, I’ll add some precautions about using ground flaxseeds in these manners.
- Flax seeds are a good source of fiber.
- High in vitamin B6, thiamine, magnesium, phosphorus, folate, calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, and copper.
- They are also a good source of alpha-linolenic acid and phytoestrogens known as lignans. These have been shown to help prevent cancer and heart disease.
- Flax have been shown to protect against prostate cancer.
- Highest plant sources of omega-3 oils
- Benefits heart, arteries, skin, hair, & brain
- Great for your gut & constipation
- Antioxidant rich
- Protects against breast & colon cancers
- Create a mucilage when soaked in liquids (similar to chia seeds)
- Their densely packed nutrition cannot be accessed if not properly prepared. The body simply cannot digest, and therefore take advantage of, the nutrients housed in whole flaxseeds.
- You can grind them yourself if you have a Vitamix 32-ounce Dry Grains Container for a Vitamix Blender, or something similar. You can also buy them already ground, BUT the container should be opaque and there should be an expiration date that is fairly soon (a couple of months). They should be stored in the fridge (as with all raw nuts and seeds).
- You can also soak whole flaxseeds in liquid. This will increase their absorption. If you plan to add them to your yogurt, I suggest that you add them the night before. If you plan to add them to a smoothie, add them to whatever liquid you use in the smoothie the night before and allow them to soak overnight.
- I’m still on the fence about baking with them. Because Omega-3s are a fragile fat (heat-sensitive) I worry about baking with them. But I also know that while the oven gets fairly warm, the internal temperatures of baked goods doesn’t necessarily get to the oven temp. My current opinion is: if you bake with them, the oven temp should be 325-350 maximum and don’t eat them in baked goods all that often.
- Flaxseed oils should always be cold pressed, purchased in opaque bottles, and should be refrigerated.
- Be sure to never heat flax oil to avoid oxidation!
- Flaxseeds contain a moderate amount of oxalate, so those with a history of oxalate containing kidney stones should watch their consumption.
From Bauman College lecture notes, The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 Recipes, by Jennifer Tyler Lee, Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planet, by Tonia Reinhard, and Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno.
Photo Cred: Luv Kreativ Photography
It’s no secret, I’m not a fan of raw tomatoes. I’ve never liked them. In fact, I’m the black sheep of the family in regards to my dislike of tomatoes. With that being said, I believe that one day I will love raw tomatoes [growth mindset]. I do like cooked tomatoes of all kinds (except ketchup, yuck!). I am starting to like heirloom tomatoes in a caprese salad. I think the reason I don’t really like tomatoes is because of their strong flavor – it totally changes the taste of a burger, sandwich, or salad. Jennifer Tyler Lee and I are kindred spirits in this way. 🙂 The other fact that helps me feel justified in not liking raw tomatoes is that unless it’s summer, tomatoes are either grown in greenhouses or internationally, or are grown in Florida (Florida’s “soil” is actually just sand and is void of nutrients). So unless they are garden tomatoes or farmer’s market tomatoes, they are often mealy and are picked when green. The book Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit is fascinating. Highly recommended! Anywho… Jennifer Tyler Lee recommends roasted tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato pops! I recently made a cherry tomato chutney at a Sur la Table cooking class – it was delicious!
- They are technically a fruit!
- Tomatoes belong to the nightshade family (along with potatoes, eggplant, peppers- all kinds, and some spices). Nightshades are known to be inflammatory. Nightshades are commonly removed during a 5-R Protocol to determine food intolerances.
- There are over a THOUSAND different types of tomatoes and can be a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors.
- Native to South America.
- The leaves of the tomato are toxic. It was long believed that tomatoes were poisonous because they belong to the nightshade family which houses other poisonous plants (poisonous nightshade and black henbane).
- Great source of vitamins B6, C, and K, carotenes (especially lycopene), beta-carotene, biotin, folic acid, pantothenic acid, niacin, and fiber.
- Lycopene content is FIVE times greater in cooked tomatoes because cooking causes the cell walls to burst and “free” the lycopene. Also, the redder and riper the tomato, the more lycopene content.
- Lycopene in particular has been shown to protect against cancers of the breast, colon, lung, skin, and prostate. Additionally, it has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, cataracts, and macular degeneration.
- Highest levels of vitamin C can be obtained from raw tomatoes.
- Fully ripe tomatoes cannot be shipped long distances. Therefore they are picked when underripe and then gassed with ethylene. You probably know what I’m going to say here….buy them at a local farmer’s market, CSA, or grown your own!
- Cherry tomatoes have more lycopene per ounce and are sweeter and more flavorful than their larger counterparts. Smaller is better!
From The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 Recipesby Jennifer Tyler Lee, Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Healthby Jo Robinson, Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planetby Tonia Reinhard, and Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planetby Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno.
Radishes more of a versatile vegetable than I had originally thought. Rewind to a few years back, and I only included raw radishes in salads or possibly in taco truck tacos. Nowadays I like them pickled and ROASTED! To roast radishes: simply top and tail the radishes and then cut in half (if using the cherry belle or french breakfast varieties; cut into smaller one inch cubes if using larger varieties). Add the radishes to a roasting pan with some grass-fed butter and sea salt. Bake at 350 degrees until a knife easily pierces. They taste just like POTATOES!!!!! This is perfect for those avoiding nightshades or white carbs! Jennifer Tyler Lee recommends pickling radishes or wilting the greens and flash sautéing the radishes. Radishes are also quite easy to grow and mature very quickly.
- A member of the cruciferous veggie family.
- Depending on the variety, some are very mild, while others are very spicy.
- Several varieties grow in the spring (smaller, round or oval shape, crisp white flesh, less pungent), while others grow in the summer/fall/winter (larger, more fibrous, more pungent flavor, take twice as long to grow).
- Radish greens are edible and have significantly more vitamin C than the roots and more calcium as well.
- Radishes are a good source of vitamin C.
- Red Globe radishes are a good source of molybdenum, folic acid, and potassium.
- Daikon radishes are a good source of copper and potassium.
- Believed to be cancer-protective.
- Supports healthy liver and gallbladder function and can improve digestion.
- Have been used in India as a diuretic, expectorant, laxative, and to treat gastric discomfort.
- Cooking diminishes the vitamin C content (raw is the way to go! – unless of course you have radishes coming out your ears and you’re bored with raw radishes).
From The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 Recipes by Jennifer Tyler Lee and Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno.