Posts made in October, 2012

Spike Your Smoothies With Superfoods: Organic Acai & Raw Cacao Powders from Navitas Naturals

Posted on Oct 21, 2012 in Clean Eating, Health & Wellness, Nutrition, Smoothies | 0 comments

Navitas Naturals Organic Acai and Raw Cacao Powders

For many years I was fooling myself thinking I was living a healthy life. Sure, I exercised regularly, ate healthy foods and took my daily supplements by drinking a nutritional protein drink. However, it wasn’t until getting diagnosed with breast cancer in January of this year that I truly looked at how healthy I was and wasn’t. I came to the realization that I was in serious need of a diet and health regimen reboot.

I’m at the beginning of this journey, but one thing I just starting doing is upping my antioxidant intake by adding Organic Acai Powder to my morning protein drink and Organic Raw Cacao Powder to my evening protein drink, both made by Navitas Naturals.

I just started doing it this past week and was so excited about getting to taste chocolate again that I had to blog about this heavenly healthy cacao product that’s filled with antioxidants and magnesium. Two really important elements in my new cancer-fighting diet. What’s great about Navitas Naturals’ Organic Raw Cacao Powder is that it’s raw and contains no sugar!

Since sugar feeds cancer cells, I nixed all sugar from my diet back in January, but before January I was a big sweets eater. I loved eating chocolate brownies, cakes, muffins, cookies, ice cream (made with coconut or rice milk, not dairy), etc. I thought I was being “healthy” about it and would buy what I call the “healthy junk food” from the cookie, cake and ice cream sections of Whole Foods (just because it’s at Whole Foods and has organic ingredients, does not mean it’s healthy and good for you).

Also, if I was going to eat sweets then I would cut back on my caloric intake, which usually meant skipping lunch or eating a very small lunch (and I almost never ate breakfast until this year…see, thought I was healthy but I wasn’t at all because breakfast is the most important meal of the day).

In January, I started eating three meals a day and cut out all sugar and my daily morning coffee ritual. It was extremely challenging, but within a matter of two weeks the sugar cravings went away and I actually started getting hungry in the morning, which I had never been before. Once I got over that hump, I had confidence that I could survive without eating sweets. But that’s not to say I didn’t miss them a little bit, which is why I was so thrilled to discover Navitas Naturals’ Organic Acai Powder and Organic Raw Cacao Powder. Now I’m able to enjoy the taste of berry and chocolate smoothies without the cancer-feeding sugar!

Benefits of  Two Superfoods: Acai & Cacao

Navitas Naturals Organic Acai and Raw Cacao Powders

Navitas Naturals Organic Acai Powder (top left), Acai berries (bottom left), Cacao plant (top right), Navitas Naturals Organic Raw Cacao Powder (bottom right) — photos provided from Navitas Naturals’ website

Organic Raw Cacao

The reason chocolate is unhealthy is not from cacao, it’s from the processing and additives. Organic raw cacao is actually very healthy because it’s packed with antioxidants and essential minerals, including magnesium, sulfur, calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc, iron and copper. Magnesium is a very important mineral that has shown to play a role in cancer risk and prevention.

A magnesium deficiency increases cancer risk, but sufficient intake of magnesium can reduce one’s risk of cancer. A recent study indicated that magnesium may reduce colon cancer risk. Magnesium has many functions in the body, one of them is that it is required for the detoxification process and glutathione (your body’s master antioxidant) synthesis.

Of course, getting magnesium from whole foods is the best source, but you have to consume the right foods and a lot of them. With today’s dirty food supply and the nutrient deficiencies in today’s fruits and vegetable compared to the fruits and vegetables 50 years ago, supplementing is good insurance to making sure your body is getting the proper amounts of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and trace minerals.

Organic Acai

Acai (ah-SAH’-ee) is a dark berry from the Amazon rainforest and is packed with polyphenols, resveratrol, antioxidants, omega fatty acids, trace minerals and essential amino acids.

One study showed that “extracts from acai berries triggered a self-destruct response in up to 86 percent of leukemia cells tested,” according to Stephen Talcott, an assistant professor with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, who conducted the study. Of course, more studies need to be done to further validate this, but Dr. Talcott’s findings are very promising.

As with all fruits and vegetables, it’s best to eat them right after picking to reap the full nutritional benefits (grow your own or buy local when possible). But with acai, since most of us don’t live in the Amazon rainforest the next best thing is having it as a powder, such as the Organic Acai Powder from Navitas Naturals, which ensures maximum benefit through its processing procedures.

According to its website it says that “due to the delicate nature of the berry, the fruit is transported immediately after harvest where it is hand-inspected for quality. The whole berries are then freeze-dried and low temperature milled to ensure maximum nutrient content, resulting in a powder that is both nutrient-rich and easily integrated into your favorite recipes.”

If you’re looking to up your antioxidant intake, give Navitas Naturals’ Organic Acai Powder, Organic Raw Cacao Powder or one of their other fantastic products a try.

Read More

Breast Cancer Awareness Month — Hello Cancer!

Posted on Oct 1, 2012 in Breast Cancer, Cancer | 3 comments

Today marks the first day of October and Breast Cancer Awareness month. This year I will experience Breast Cancer Awareness month in a new light. For years I’ve been “aware” of breast cancer. I mean, how can you not be aware?! Every October it’s a sea of “pinkwashing” with all the fundraising and brands putting pink ribbons everywhere. But the sad reality is that “awareness” is where it stopped for me.

breast cancer pink ribbon

I had never had anyone super close to me who had breast cancer so I’ve never walked the journey with someone with breast cancer and no one in my family (bloodline) ever had cancer of any kind. Up until recently, I had only known three people who had breast cancer, but I knew nothing else of their situation other than I heard they were treated for breast cancer. My “awareness” of breast cancer was simply that, I was aware of it. I got my annual mammograms, which always came back fine and I went on with life. I’m embarrassed to say that I was one of those people who thought it would never happen to me. Well, it did.

Hello Breast Cancer! In January of this year I was diagnosed with Stage 1b breast cancer. Invasive lobular carcinoma to be exact, which I learned is not the most common type. Ductal is the most common type, which includes invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) and ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). My diagnosis turned my world upside down and knocked me on my ass!

It all started the day after Thanksgiving 2011 when I found a small lump on my chest. It was just on the upper inner edge of my breast. It was so high up that I wasn’t even sure if it was related to my breast so I wasn’t really thinking it was breast cancer. But I was concerned so I immediately got in to see my doctor on that Monday following Thanksgiving.

In December of 2011, I had a needle biopsy that came back as pre-cancerous (atypical lobular hyperplasia, bordering on lobular carcinoma in situ). The beginning of January of this year, I had surgery to remove what I thought was pre-cancerous tissue. The pathology on it came back as cancer because needle biopsies only take a small sample so once all the tissue was examined some of it was cancer. When my breast surgeon walked in and said those three frightening words you never want to hear, “you have cancer,” I went numb. I didn’t hear a thing she said after that. To this day, it’s still a blur. (TIP: Always bring someone with you to your appointments to take notes so you don’t miss any information and/or record it.)

However, the days and weeks that followed are crystal clear. January 2012 was the worst month of my life. It was filled with fear, lack of sleep, weight loss (from the fear, stress and no appetite), MRI, CT scans, more surgery, etc. Almost every week of this year I have had doctor’s appointments, scans, blood draws, physical therapy (for some lymphedema that I had and has since been resolved), etc. Let’s just say it’s been an exhausting year and the worst year of my life. But just like all of my life’s challenges there are always silver linings.

The silver lining for me has been that cancer has shifted my being in positive ways. I see the world differently. I appreciate and enjoy every day and no longer take any day for granted. It has also put me on this new journey to live more green and eat as clean as I can because everything you put in and on your body affects every cell in your body.

My new journey is the reason I’m starting this blog. We live in a corrupt and polluted environment and to live and eat clean is not an easy task, but I’m determined to do whatever it takes to help my body heal and to make my body an inhospitable place for cancer. I’m a wellness warrior on a mission to kick cancer’s ass and to live the best life possible in the process — a life filled with strength, hope, love and lots of green smoothies and green juices!

Whether you have cancer, or had cancer and are working to prevent a recurrence or new cancer, or you have never had cancer and want to keep it that way, it’s my hope that what I share on this blog might help you in your own wellness journey. Reading other people’s blogs and books has certainly helped me on my journey. Their stories have helped me to stop fearing cancer and have taught me to learn to live a more abundant and purposeful life.

It’s my intention to keep my blog posts on a positive and educational note, but that’s not to say every once in awhile I may blog about some of the things that irk me, like pinkwashing or doctors who don’t believe in integrative methods. I think the next step in Breast Cancer Awareness Month should be to educate people on the reality of where most of the millions of dollars raised really go and that “standard of care” is not the only option. I’d like to see the conversation move from building awareness of getting an annual mammogram and doing monthly self-exams (which is still important) to letting people know that if diagnosed there are choices that go beyond cut (surgery), burn (radiation) and poison (chemo).

Read More