Cancer Fighting Foods and Spices

For many of us, we do not need the pink colors or ribbons at the market place to remind us of the devastating effects of breast cancer. October is National breast cancer awareness month and I urge all of us to pause and pray. Remember those in your life who have been affected and more importantly make a commitment. Commit to health. Commit to actively engage in life. Commit to never forget. There is no guaranteed way to avoid cancer, but research shows that an overall (that’s more than 5 days of healthy meals and a few trips to the gym) healthy lifestyle has been shown to help in prevention. Commit to health, commit to life, and commit to your loved ones today.

Cancer Fighting Foods and Spices

  • Avocados
  • Broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower
  • Carrots
  • Chili Peppers and jalapeno
  • Cruciferous vegetables
  • Figs
  • Flax
  • Garlic
  • Grapefruits
  • Grapes, red

Studies show that consumption of green and yellow leafy vegetables has been associated with lower levels of stomach cancer.

  • Kale
  • Licorice Root
  • Mushrooms
  • Oranges and Lemons
  • Papayas
  • Raspberries
  • Red Wine
  • Rosemary
  • Seaweed and other sea vegetables
  • Soy products like tofu
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Teas: Green and Black
  • Tomatoes
  • Turmeric

Consumption of fruits and vegetables has been associated with decreased risk of cancers of the colon and rectum.




Easy Recipes

Kale chips: Make sure that when you purchase your kale it is crisp and never limp. Wash Kale thoroughly and dry between paper towel sheets. Tear leafy parts into sections and drizzle 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil and season with 1 tsp sea salt and pepper to taste. Place in oven preheated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 12-14 minutes or until crisp. Enjoy!

Morning Mushroom Omelet: In a bowl mix 1 egg + 2 egg whites with 1 TBSP non fat milk. In non stick skillet (on medium heat) place 1 cup spinach and cook down, then add ½ cup prewashed, chopped mushrooms: cook for 1 minute then add egg mixture and pepper to taste. Once eggs are cooked through, top with chopped green onion and 1 TBSP hot sauce for a spicy start to your day.

Avocado Smash: Take 2 medium ripe avocados and mash them in a bowl. Add 2 heaping spoons non fat Greek yogurt, juice and zest of 1 small lemon, ½ tsp sea salt, pepper and Tabasco to taste. Stir and use as a dip for veggies or a topping for chili.

Lemon Rosemary Chicken: When dealing with chicken there are 2 things I ALWAYS do. 1) Soak chicken breasts or tenders in non fat yogurt for 2 hours. This keeps the chicken from drying out. 2) I mix it all in a large plastic bag to incorporate flavors and make sure I can easily pound it into even pieces. Place 4-6 chicken breasts into a large Ziploc bag with about ½ cup non fat yogurt, 1 lemon (zest it and juice it, then throw the whole thing in! When dealing with citrus marinades, the acids will begin to cook the chicken, so do not leave in overnight), 3 rosemary sprigs from a plant OR 2 tsp rosemary seasoning, 1 tsp sea salt, pepper, 2 bay leaves, 1 tsp oregano, and 1 tsp thyme. Close bag and mix well then allow it to settle for a couple of hours. You can either grill the breasts or broil them in the oven, cooking the meat through. Pair with a salad with light vinaigrette and some green tea for a great tasting immunity boosting meal.

Restore Energy with Regular Exercise

Hello Fit Lifers!

If you have been following the blog long, then you realize I am about much more than flat abs and numbers on the scale. This site promotes health and healing in all areas of life.

Cancer prevention, treatment and research is of great importance to me. Many who read this blog have been affected by cancer in some way. Most know that I lost my mom to cancer and that in the past 2 years we have had several loved ones diagnosed with various forms of this disease. It is my firm belief that those of us dedicated to the health and fitness field can shed more light on the quality of life during cancer treatment as well as cancer prevention.

Today I have a very special guest blogger, David Haas. David is an advocate for cancer support and awareness and has written out these wonderful tips on implementing a good fitness regimen to restore the energy that can often times be lost during cancer treatment. So, give David a warm welcome and read on as he enlightens us all to live a fit life.



Restore Energy With Regular Exercise

Fitness is an essential component to health.  Regular exercise is important for anyone regardless of their age or medical condition. Cancer patients, however, can especially benefit from any type of activity and numerous studies show a positive correlation between fitness and cancer survivorship.  Physical activity comes in a range of options and there is something for everyone. According to the National Cancer Institute, regular exercise is a critical component of energy balance. Many cancer patients suffer through treatments that drastically reduce their vitality. Exercising is a great way to remedy this issue. More than 14 million Americans have survived cancer and exercising is one way to maintain health while battling with the disease.

Exercising Right
There are several things to consider before exercising. Sedentary people should start slow although experts recommend 30 minutes of exercise every day for five days each week. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are links between regular exercise and reduced risks of prostate, lung and endometrial cancer. Exercising is easy and there are plenty of activities for everyone.

Benefits of Regular Exercise
Exercising on a regular basis offers numerous benefits. Physical exertion makes the heart work harder and improves circulation throughout the body. Regular exercise ensures that there are plenty of nutrients available for all of the body’s needs. In addition, fitness makes the heart stronger. This makes it more efficient and reduces a number of health risks.  Exercising improves the overall energy balance because a number of hormones and neurotransmitters are released during exertion.  These hormones are responsible for feelings of harmony and they also boost moods.

Studies and Cancer Survivorship
The CDC and other organizations have conducted a number of studies on cancer survivorship. Research confirms that physical activity can be beneficial. Fitness improves quality of life and reduces fatigue. One particular study confirmed that women who walked three to five hours per week had higher survivor rates.  A discussion by the American College of Sports Medicine noted that exercise was safe for most survivors, but there are some things to be wary of. Certain treatments can reduce bone density and heart muscle tone. Patients should be sure to consult their physician and refrain from overly strenuous activities.  Walking is an ideal exercise because it is fairly low-intensity and can be done for any length of time.

Walking is one physical activity that offers lots of benefits. It is an easy exercise that requires no specialized equipment. The lengths can vary and beginners can

start with a five-minute walk and work up from there. Ideally, walking should last for 30 minutes and occur five days a week. Speed can also be changed to raise the heart rate and get a more vigorous workout. The CDC recommends walking at a pace of three miles per hour, which burns 3.5 to 7 calories per minute.  According to the CDC, skating, bicycling, yoga and stair climbers are similar to walking in their intensity.

Activity and Weight Gain
Many cancer patients lose weight.  The treatments are severe and nausea is a common side effects. Physical activity is a great way gain weight. Exercise adds to the body’s weight by increasing muscle tone. The body gets stronger by quickly responds to increased demands during physical activity. Fitness levels are also associated with increased bone density due to increased muscle mass.

Exercising on a regular basis provides a number of health benefits. Fitness levels are closely associated with health and working out is a great way to boost natural energy levels.  Engaging in moderately intense activities is recommended, but it is essential to consult a physician first. Some treatments for lung, ovarian and mesothelioma cancer can affect bone density and heart health. There are plenty of great activities, find one that is fit for you.

Sugar Free Day 1 Update

Since we’re going sugar-free in May, I figured it would be nice to give a little update :)

So, far, so good! although it’s only day #2! LOL My kids are enjoying it and learning quite a bit about added sugar in foods. Instead of the regular honey or natural syrup on the waffles (whole grain, no sugar) and french toast, I am making our very own sweetener. I bought frozen strawberries (make SURE you check the label for added sugars) and place a few of them in a small sauce pan with just about 1 tablespoon of water, a sprinkle of Stevia, and a dash of vanilla extract. I bring it to a boil and let it simmer down from there. The kids love it! I reminded them yesterday that the most important things about this month is to approach it with an open mind. One of the best things you can do for yourself is be willing to fail, especially in the kitchen.

So, if you’re taking the sugar-free challenge, how’s it going for you? What have you noticed about your eating habits?

It’s amazing what you learn by trying new things! Stay tuned tomorrow for a little DVD information. Look closely, I think you’ll recognize somebody!

Stay healthy, stay fit!


Going Sugar FREE

Hey guys!

As promised, I’m going to let you in on what’s going on around here. Starting in May, the Carlson clan will be going sugar-free! Now, just to be clear, fake sugars are far worse than real sugar so when I say Sugar Free I am speaking of ditching any and all added sugars for 1 full month. Before you get a headache from rolling your eyes, let me explain something:

CANCER feeds off of sugar. This is not a speculation of yours truly, this is founded science. Don’t believe me? M.D. Anderson, leading the way in cancer research and treatment, has an entire nutrition department established to help cancer patients ditch the sweet stuff and eat diets full of whole foods. So, for those of you thinking I’m only doing this for weight loss, the fam doesn’t need that. It’s for health. In the course of 1 year, 3 grandparents were diagnosed with various types of cancer. This disease is not selective as to your weight when it attacks (unlike most cases of heart disease and type 2 diabetes). Cancer cells are present in all of us, it’s just the fact that when they mutate and go crazy, that’s when we find tumors and illness.

So, if we already have the cells and sugar makes them extremely hyper (AKA: the road to mutation) why are we willingly ingesting it? Because it tastes good! DUH! However, that sweetness on the lips only lasts for a brief time and the consequences of overloading on sugar are dire.

On my side of the family, cancer has claimed the life of at least 1 person from each generation, with my mom being the last and my Dad being diagnosed last year. That alone makes me more cautious. Sugar offsets your hormones, so it is extremely toxic if a hormonally charged form of cancer is prevalent in the bloodline. And this leads us up to our sugar-free May.

How does one go sugar-free?

I’ll be honest, it’s not as easy as you might think! I’ve been going through research and it turns out that the body will not have any hormonal fluctuations if the sugar intake per meal is below 5 grams. Have you looked at your sugar intake lately? It is snuck into a LOT of foods, including breads, chips, crackers, oatmeal, etc. So, the first step is to become aware of your labels. In al reality, you should KNOW what you’re putting into your body anyways, but I’ll repeat: READ YOUR LABELS.

Fruit is still totally allowed and my husband and kids might explode if they don’t get their milk (which contains sugar), but I’ll bend on that! All processed foods are scratched and jelly will be replaced with fresh fruit. We’ll forgo our beloved protein bars and I’ll even be nixing the occasional glass of wine. Water will go up, as will veggies. Our meals will basically stay the same, with convenience stops for foods (oh no! I forgot to make dinner!) and eating out will not happen during May. There isn’t a fast food joint around that does not put sugar in the food, so stop kidding yourself.

The average American eats 165 pounds of sugar per year. UM, that’s more than I weigh! That’s like eating a person’s weight in sugar. INSANITY!!!!

My daughter tends to get obsessed when there’s sugar in the house. You know what I’m talking about. “Can I have a piece of chocolate?” escapes her lips every 10 seconds or so. This is another big reason we are embarking on this journey. Children can develop extremely unhealthy attachments to foods, especially sweets, and it causes problems later on. Mind you, I’m not talking about weight. Food attachment is a very real disorder that can lead to all kinds of self-esteem issues. Nip it.

My challenge to you is to join us! I mean, why not? If you live off of a lot of processed foods, going sugar-free can help speed up weight loss. If you suffer from acne and/or joint aches, a lack of sugar in the diet greatly decreases inflammatory issues (I’m really excited about this!). So, give it a try! Not ready for a whole month? No worries! Try it for a week, or even just 1 day. Every time you CHOOSE to eat healthy and fill your body with nutrition, you give your body a fighting chance at warding off disease and prolong your life.

Here’s to the FIT and HEALTHY life!


The BEST Medicine

There is a growing trend in the United States that many have gotten on board with far too quickly. It’s skirting. Yes, I said skirting. What is that? That’s where there is a predominant issue that people skirt around instead of attacking it head on. There are far too many people who don’t want conflict and FAR too many parents and guardians who just don’t want to put up a fight. Now, before I dive in to what could possibly be the most informative blog I’ve written thus far (wow, strong promise) I need to tell you that these truths are not limited to those struggling with obesity. When I speak of nutrition, I am talking about the health and wellness of every age, size, shape, and sex. OK, ready for some serious eye-opening? Let’s jump in….

1. Did you know that food is medicine? This is not some new age drama ok, that is real. I have come to the realization that on the day we go over how the digestive system works, we skip all the important stuff and most people were seemingly sleeping. You see, in grade school (and all the way up really) we are taught about the body “systems” right? All separate, all functioning independently. So, when we end up disease ridden, it gets confusing! What, when, how, how much and how well you eat effects your entire body. I had NO idea until I became a nutritionist. I thought of food the same way most of you do: it’s just food. What does it matter? Oh, it matters all right. Scientists are studying the affects of certain foods EVERYDAY and have made some amazing discoveries. Shall we

* Of course, most of us know that good old-fashioned oatmeal (not instant) was the first food to receive a superfood status due to its ability to lower cholesterol. This is due to the fact that oatmeal has large amounts of fiber (both soluble and insoluble) that help grab on to the “leftovers” that tend to pile up in the internal organs, specifically the small and large intestine. Did you learn that in school? Didn’t think so. We’re taught that food goes in one end and out the other. PLEASE! We are far more complex creations and it’s time we learn that! Oatmeal has also been praised for its prevention (note that prevention is based on studies denoting the diet and lifestyle of individuals who avoid disease) of certain cancers, namely colon, rectal, colorectal, and stomach. Gives oatmeal a more favorable lighting right? I enjoy mine every morning.

* Cabbage is the most recent food to join in the fight against cancer. Although scientists are still uncovering the reasons (high vitamin content being one, probiotic probabilities being another) cabbage has been proven to prevent certain cancers including colon, colorectal, rectal, breast, thyroid and even skin cancer. Cabbage has also shown signs of aiding in cancer treatment for those with cancer of the intestines, colon, etc. especially when the cabbage is fermented (sounds gross, but it’s just like pickled cabbage). So, cancer prevention and treatment makes that cole slaw a little more appealing right?

* Yogurt. I’m talking plain, Greek yogurt here people. You start adding problems with the flavors. The probiotic in yogurt helps aid in digestion and eases many of the symptoms of digestive system discomforts such as bloating, sensitivity to foods, and even water retention. Though the scientists are still out on the effects yogurt has on certain diseases, it is a great food to add to a healthy diet.

2. If food can be medicine, it can also be poison. Since we are taught that food simply goes in and out (you couldn’t be farther from the truth!) we tend to just eat whatever is handy. And thanks to generations before us making life “easier” we have eased our way into a diseased culture wondering what went wrong. Diets high in processed foods and low in healthy, natural foods rule in our nation and have caused outbreaks of type 2 diabetes, cancers, and intestinal disease. Why? Because we just want to shovel food in and get on with life. We are busy people! And when we go see a trainer to combat that extra fat in our midsection, they tell us it’s a simple equation of calories in = calories out. WRONG! They must have attended the same grade school we did….

* Scientists have found a direct link between SUGAR and CANCER. Read that again please. Now, let’s break that down. Scientists have PROVEN that CANCER cells FEED off of SUGAR. The scary thing is that this is not new news. This was proven over a decade ago yet we all still march around eating our candy and drinking our cokes. By the way, those who turn your nose up and say, “Well, I’m more of a salty person” check your treats. Processed foods, especially the salty ones, are packed and packaged with man-made sugars. What’s worse is we give this loaded gun to our kids almost DAILY. It’s like playing russian roulette with their health and it’s sickening.

The important thing to note here is that we all HAVE cancerous cells floating around in our bodies. Yep, totally true. The issue with prevention is that we’re trying to prevent them from mutating (and not the cool way like Spiderman). So, if cancer feeds off of sugar and we already have cancer cells in the body…..STOP GIVING THEM FOOD! Sheesh. By the way, I’m talking about man-made SUGAR. That’s table sugar and anything ending in OSE on the label that you should certainly be reading. Fruit has natural sugars and is a different post entirely. Oh, and those with your nose turned up because you are far better than others since you drink Diet Coke are headed down a one way path to metabolism and hormone failure so think twice. Fake sugars go in and DON’T come out, which is even worse…

* The fats to look out for are trans fats and saturated fats. PLEASE do not go fat-free, it’s bad for both your brain and your mood. Trans fats are man-made fats that came into existence in the 60′s. Hey, what else was popular then? ;) Maybe that’s where they thought them up… Anyways, they are put into food to make it, once again, easier. Ditch them to prevent cancer and other obesity related diseases.

WOW! So much info, such a long post. Why? Because I am watching people die from the fact that they were never fully told about these things and it makes me sick! We are beautifully created human beings that must take care of this creation. And if you have kids, you are responsible for setting them up with a lifetime of health. Does that mean you can never have a candy bar? Of course not! We are human after all. it means that you must start thinking about what you ingest. You don’t drink gasoline do you? But you might chug a soda…there’s no difference once it hits the internal organs. Think!

By the way, did you know that nutrition is an elective for doctors? Oncologists are not required to have it. Neither are cardiologists or even endocrinologist. Interesting…..

Food for thought: make 1 dietary change per week. Just one. Don’t be in a rush since every change you make will help you live a healthier life. Get the kids involved! Let them pick out some items for the grocery list. Allow them to pick new things to try to clean up favorite dishes. Children are sponges with this stuff and it is better to teach them young than for them to have to fight a battle with a disease they never should have had! Take responsibility and move forward!