popcorn000

Image:  cleanerplateclub.wordpress.com

I think it’s the best food finding since chocolate was declared healthy:  Three cups of popcorn have more good-for-you polyphenols than a serving of fruit.  In fruit, because it’s about 90% water, these nutrients are diluted.  But in popcorn, with only 4% water, they’re concentrated.  Just be sure to skip the butter and salt to keep your kernels in a healthy zone.  And fill your produce bin, too-you need the variety to get a range of polyphenols.

 

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Did You Know?

didyouknow

Image: midlibrary.org

Thanks to improved detection and better treatments, since its peak in 1990, the death rate from breast cancer has fallen 34%. Let’s continue to “think pink” and “live green.”

 

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“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” ~ Dalai Lama

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Photo of Roasted Cauliflower with Cranberries

Image: Eatyourbooks.com

I just came across the MOST delish cauliflower recipe.  Yum-Yum-Yum!

Truth be told, it took me a long time to appreciate cauliflower, but when I fell for it, I fell hard! When cauliflower is roasted at a high temperature with natural flavor enhancers, it becomes wonderfully charred and tasty.

Plus, there are lots of healthy benefits to eating cauliflower (yes, I’m going to list them!):

  1. Weight Loss
  2. Antioxidants
  3. Heart Health
  4. Caner Prevention
  5. Better Digestion

Ingredients

  • 2 medium heads cauliflower (1 ½ to 2 lbs. each), broken into florets
  • 1 large yellow or red onion, cut into wedges
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 1 ½ cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ tsp. freshly cracked pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place cauliflower and onion in a baking pan.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with ½ tsp. of the salt. Stir to coat.  Spread in an even layer.  Roast, uncovered, 30 minutes or until tender, stirring in cranberries halfway through.

Hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as I am!

 

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happyfaceihd

Image:  Workhoppers.com

In July 2012, the United Nations General Assembly decreed that March 20th would be International Day of Happiness!  Do you think that I could make that up?  Well, I’d like to think I could, but they happily beat me to it! It has been created as an opportunity to reflect on what a good human life looks like and why economic, political and social harmony are so incredibly important.  How is that for a shining moment?

The stated aim of UN International Day of Happiness is:

To promote happiness as a universal goal and aspiration in the lives of human beings around the world.

My favorite, guaranteed source of happiness comes from doing something for others, to bring happiness to someone else.

As Leo Tolstoy used to say, “If you want to be happy, be.”

Where/how do you find happiness?

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vitaminddilemma

Image: Konsumption.com

We all know that one dose doesn’t fit all.  Having too little Vitamin D in your blood ups your risk for heart trouble, but so does having too much.  In a large Israeli study, people with D levels below 20 ng/ml had a significantly greater risk (26% or more) of a heart-related event or death, while those with levels above 36 ng/ml carried a 13% increased risk.  It’s hard to get enough D from food, so you may well need supplements.  But before popping pills, talk to your doctor about a just-right dose.

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1 a minute movie cover

Image: moviepostershop.com

Did you know somewhere in the world, a woman dies of Breast Cancer, EVERY minute! Wow. When Namrata Singh Gujral lost two aunts to breast cancer, the young Indo-American actress realized that she might be at high risk.  But in 2008 Gujral got the phone call that every woman dreads.  You have breast cancer. Furious with the toll that cancer takes around the world, and terrified for herself and her nine year old daughter, Gujral decided to turn her harrowing journey into a positive outcome.  She launched the film “1 a Minute” while going through her third chemotherapy treatment, when a support group survivor remarked on how celebrities led charmed lives, while others got the hard road.

Narrated by Kelly McGillis (Top Gun), “1 a Minute” is an unprecedented push by global celebrity women to help raise funds for a cure, promote awareness and prevention as well as support survivors of women’s cancers.  The film follows a woman’s journey through cancer with a focus on breast cancer, the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women worldwide.  At each stage of her journey, our stars who are survivors or affected closely by cancer, jump in and recount their experiences.  The film is a hybrid between narrative structure and documentary style with interweaves throughout the picture, with stories of “Hope, Courage and Survival”!

The film stars Olivia Newton-John (Grease), Jaclyn Smith (Charlie’s Angels), Namrata Singh Gujral (Americanizing Shelly), Melissa Ethridge (An Inconvenient Truth), Diahann Carroll (Claudine), Lisa Ray (Water), Barbara Mori (Kites), Mumtaz (Hare Rama Hare Krishna), brothers Billy Baldwin (Backdraft) and Danny Baldwin (VAMPIRE$), Jasmine Cooper (whose mothers are survivors) and Priya Dutt, whose mother, the famous Bollywood star Nargis Dutt (Mother India), died of cancer.  The doc also covers the interviews with top Western Oncologists such as Dr. Dennis Slamon (Research led to Herceptin), top Eastern medicine practitioners such as Dr. Deepak Chopra as well as Nancy G. Brinker (Susan G. Komen Foundation).

For more info go the website at www.1aMinute.com

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artillustration

Image: millsartcontest.com

For those who have lived it, no words can fully convey what it feels like to receive the diagnosis of a potentially life-threatening illness.  That is why many people diagnosed with cancer have turned to art therapy to explore their experience beyond the realm of words. As a creative, artistic individual, this process led to a greater clarity about my own feelings. And understanding my emotions was essential for living well, especially during my time in Cancerville.

Perhaps you may be thinking, “Art therapy? I can’t draw.” The good news is there is no requirement to draw anything during art therapy; rather there is an invitation to connect with your natural creativity at a time when you may feel disconnected from yourself and from those around you. I actually thought of it as a “vacation from cancer” that allowed me to connect my feelings, reorganize, and refresh myself in order to cope with the challenges of my illness.

We have all experienced the advantages of creative expression at different points in our lives.  We often use creativity to meet practical needs – concocting new recipes, gardening, home decorating, and woodworking, for example.  In each, we combine our curious minds and the enjoyment we get from solving problems, finding meaning, and discovering new ways of doing things.

For me, creativity offered a unique tool for creating meaning and making sense of my experience.  In fact, art therapy did not require my competence; it was a bridge to my coping more competently with the day-to-day demands of my illness. It gave me internal balance allowing me to gain clarity and experience a greater feeling of ease.

The benefits of art therapy emerge from working with art materials to construct images using lines, shapes, colors, and symbols. Through the guidance of a clinically trained art therapist, you will receive skilled support to take things apart and put them back together in new ways and to explore and shape your experience.  Personally, I gained the opportunity to feel the pleasure of my personal creativity, imagination, and ability to relax into creative problem-solving. I was able to express my feelings outwardly onto the page. I played them out in photo collages and even dabbled in object sculpture, without any requirement to make something perfect. In this way, art therapy eased my distress and encouraged my physical and emotional balance.

Art therapy can be very transformational and healing for cancer survivors.  People with cancer who participated in art therapy often report improvements in cognitive and emotional functioning, greater vitality and physical functioning, and enhanced coping.

Did you know increasingly, art therapists are playing an important role in supportive care teams in cancer centers nationally? Ask your medical team about it.

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“Accept your past without regret, handle your present with confidence, and face your future without fear.” ~ Unknown

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youlookgood

Image:  Underthebutton.com

Much has been written over the years on how to graciously accept a compliment. As a society we teach our children to simply say “Thank you,” instead of automatically becoming self-deprecating (“This old thing? I’ve had it for years”) or coy (“Do you really?”) when someone says “I love your dress,” or “I love your haircut!”

Personally, I’m still waiting for the day when it’s okay to reply, “You’re right. I look hot in this dress.” But God forbid I should appear vain or conceited, so I smile and voice some oversight (“But I look better with makeup”), suggesting I left the house that morning hoping, but unsure, that I looked suitable for public viewing.

Over the years (47, if you’re counting), I’ve concluded that many of us are marginally adept at receiving compliments, but woefully abysmal at giving them. As a whole we pepper our compliments with qualifiers (“for your age“) or wide-eyed, pseudo-innocence (“Gee, I could never do what you’re doing.”) The kind of statements that you’re taught to respond to with “Thank you,” while your brain is silently replying, “Bite me.”

Assuming you’re not a total male douche and still think that “You know what would look good on you, baby? Me” is an acceptable compliment to any female, of any age, ever, or you’re a woman who thinks another woman, barely a half-dozen years older than you, loves to be told she “looks just like your mother” (in which case you’re both so lost, I can’t help you), I’m offering up the worst compliments I’ve ever personally received, in hopes of providing you a glimpse into what I’m really thinking when I say “Thank you.”

1. “You look fabulous for your age.” What does that mean?? I look great because I don’t look 47? Is 47 a bad thing to look like? If I told you I was 37, would I still look fabulous, or would you be thinking, “She’s only 37?? Damn, she looks 10 years older.” And when was the last time you told a 24-year-old that she looked fabulous for her age?

2. “Not many women your age can wear their hair that length.” There’s that pesky qualifier again. “Your age.” STOP THAT. So now I’m left wondering if you’re saying I shouldn’t either. This is the stepsister compliment to “My boyfriend or husband would never let me cut my hair that short.” What is this, 1956?? Who says “My husband or boyfriend wouldn’t let me…” anymore? I just smile and reply, “Yes, thankfully my boyfriend has a thing for human Golden Retrievers.”

3. (After telling a co-worker I was starting a new diet) “You don’t need to diet. Your boyfriend likes voluptuous women. My hubs likes thin women. But you’re lucky because you don’t have to worry about it. You used to be really skinny, now you have curves. Own them.” Ouch. There’s so much wrong with this one, I hardly know where to start. Since you not-so-subtly stated that I’m fortunate because my boyfriend prefers women with curves, we’re just going to end our Facebook friendship right now, before this escalates into a public, online brawl, WITH CAPS.

4. “Of course you can still wear a bikini. You’ve earned it. You deserve to flaunt whatever body you’ve got.” “Whatever body I’ve got??” Swell. Now I’m not going to the beach unless I’m wearing a burka. In black. At night.

5. “Older women look better a little heavier.” While this may be true, I’ve yet to meet any woman who likes to be referred to as either “older” or “heavier,” particularly in the same sentence. A double-don’t. (And for the love of God, never substitute “mature” for “older.” You’re likely to be shoved out of the car. While it’s moving.)

6. “You look great. Where do you get your work done?” Say whut?? This is the equivalent to “When are you due?” to a woman who is not pregnant. The latter suggests she’s either packing around an extra human or she’s simply fat, and the former suggests she couldn’t possibly look that good without a little surgical intervention. Either way, you better hope she’s not your Secret Santa at next year’s office Christmas party.

7. “Great dress. I admire you for still going sleeveless.” That’s okay. It’s a public service. When I raise my arms, the local meteorologist can tell the wind direction and speed by the flapping of my underarms like wind socks on a barn. You’re welcome. Now excuse me while I go get a sweater.

8. (By a saleswoman.) “You’d look great in this dress. And we have a full selection of Spanx on the second floor.” Gee thanks, but since you basically just stated that I’ll have to stuff myself into a toothpaste tube to wear the dress, I think I’ll pass.

So ladies, if we meet on the street, let’s just say “You look fabulous, dahling,” “Oh, so do you,” and leave it at that.

Until we meet again. Did I mention you look hot in that dress?

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