Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Overcoming and Preventing Cancer, Two Good Books

No one thinks it will be them that gets cancer and I certainly never thought it would be me.

I was young when I was first diagnosed and having breast cancer came as a real shock.

There was no family history, I ate well and I exercised, but I was a high school teacher and my doctors at the time felt the stress of my work was a factor.

But who doesn't face stress at some time in their life. I did leave teaching and lived as a professional artist for some years before a second breast cancer occurred.  This time I knew the drill but felt frustrated.

At the hospital I discovered the first of the books that started me thinking about what I could do to prevent this happening again. YOUR LIFE IN YOUR HANDS by PROFESSOR JANE PLANT was the first book that allowed me to face my cancer  journey in a different way.

As a scientist Jane Plant's book gives comprehensive information on many factors involved in both getting and overcoming breast cancer. She shares her own cancer journey and her break through healing moment which involved stopping using milk in her diet.

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN WESTERN AND TRADITIONAL ORIENTAL LIFESTYLES

With only five to ten percent of cancers being related to inherited genes she looks at the difference in cancer figures between people living a Western Life Style and the Traditional Oriental Lifestyle. As Westernization happens to Oriental Cultures she observes the rate of breast cancer rises. This she concludes is due to the absence of dairy products in the Traditional Oriental Diets.

ENDOCRINE CHANGING CHEMICALS

The book also gives comprehensive information on the increases in endocrine changing chemicals since World War Two and how they are impacting both our diets and lifestyles.

ORGANIC WHERE POSSIBLE

She recommends eating organic where possible.

She further recommend increasing whole foods and vegetables in the diet as protective factors.

Discussion is also given on her frustration as to how few doctors help patients understand these issues when they are diagnosed.

DIET OR STRESS

Another point she made that hit home with me was that although many Chinese women lead very stressful lives their traditional diet appears protective. She concludes the theory of the cancer prone personality that creates so much guilt in many cancer patients is disproved by this difference between  cancer rates in Western and Traditional Oriental Cultures.

In my boutique apartment I began to instigate Jane Plant's ideas into my life as much as I was able, with the exception of soy products. My doctor at the time told me how quickly estrogen levels rise with eating soy and recommended I leave soy out of my diet. I gave up milk products and went diligently to the organic markets each week.

My apartment was on the ground floor in a block of six in an affluent area. Its maintenance was the product of a continual onslaught of chemicals.The lady in the apartment adjacent to mine developed a large ovarian cyst and the man above her prostrate cancer.

 I also developed a large ovarian cyst which was removed along with my ovaries. The man in the adjacent department then died of cancer and the lady in the apartment above me developed breast cancer. Yes mine came back too, a lucky pickup they called it at my regular checkup.

All I wanted to do was to move out of that building. My apartment took ages to sell and meanwhile I discovered DAVID SERVAN_SCHREIBER'S  book ANTICANCER: A NEW WAY OF LIFE.

YOUR LIFE IN YOUR HANDS by JANE PLANT is a book with strong conclusions but ANTI CANCER A NEW WAY OF LIFE by DAVID SERVAN SCHREIBER although it also emphasizes the need for organic food, the weaknesses of the Western Diet  and the elimination of endocrine disrupting chemicals is very real about the complexity of these issues and the human psyche.

It was just the book I personally needed to read at this time as I grappled with the reality of a third cancer treatment.

David Servan Schreiber writes as both a physician and a neuroscientist who is confronting his own brain cancer as he discusses an inner and outer search for balance. Who doesn't strive for this one.

INCREASE CANCER FIGHTING FOODS

One of the things I really love about his writings is the diversity of the studies he called on to illustrate his points, for example a study that shows the body is more protected against carcinogens by increasing the number of known cancer fighting food substances.


STAY EMPOWERED

His interior study showing how a feeling of empowerment strengthens the immune system was another study which impacted me.

Both YOUR LIFE IN YOUR HANDS and ANTICANCER: A NEW WAY OF LIFE are books that enabled me to find ways to feel more empowered as I was undergoing the experience of concurrent or reoccurring breast cancer.

Eventually I moved from that apartment and began living in the new sustainable way shown in this blog.

An adjunct to this post. The man who brought my apartment developed and died of cancer shortly after moving there.

No studies have or will be done on that piece of prime real estate but my own feelings on the use of glyphosate and other endocrine disrupting chemicals developed from this experience and now I am writing about these issues on this blog.

I thoroughly recommend both of these book.. Both show new ways to approach life which enhance both our world and our ability to prevent or overcome cancer. Although my own journey did not take a straight path reading these books when they presented in my life empowered my ability to recover and reclaim the full joy of health.


Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Simple Ideas for a Healthier Home

WHAT IS A HEALTHY HOME


A healthy home is one which nurtures the health of those within. It is not defined by size, position or style but by aspects which enable its residents to remain healthy and well.

There are simple ideas we can all add to our homes that will make them more life giving and nurturing

These ideas are not costly but they do add to  the riches of good health in your special place.


CREATING HEALTHY INDOOR AIR

The accumulated impact of items within the home can make indoor air quality ten times more toxic than that outdoors.

How many times did your parents tell you to go outside and get some fresh air. But nowadays that is not always possible.

A simple idea to keep your indoor air healthier is the use of plants. Having a variety of indoor plants is a great way to remove common air pollutants.

Much contemporary architecture uses this concept in amazing and exciting ways but in the everyday home the simple placement of plants clears the air of  contaminants from items such as computers, televisions and all the other inevitable  paraphernalia of contemporary life.

My home finds plants all over the place even on the floor and in the bathroom.

To illustrate the paraphernalia of contemporary life let me tell you about the new vacuum cleaner I recently brought at a discount outlet. The first time I used it I felt quite ill from the off gassing  chemicals it released.

 I took it apart and left it under the house to air. But it took some time to get that new item smell out of my living area. I had no idea a simple item like that could give off so many toxic fumes. Still not sure if I will ever use it.  Keep thinking I should put it back together but it is still sitting there where the breezes blow through and I am still not ready to try it again.


RECYCLED ITEMS

Which brings me to another simple idea, buy recycled. Not only is it good for the planet but it enables you to avoid all the toxic off gassing from the multitude of contemporary components in new items.

Jane Plant in her book Your Life in Your Hands Understanding, Preventing and Overcoming Breast Cancer speaks about her relationship with cars and the many chemicals present inside  a new car. In short she avoids cars, but not many of us are able to live with that option.

Household items are of course not cars but the same concepts apply and although I will suggest further methods to keep your interior air fresh and free of endocrine disrupting chemicals why does our society value new and shiny over tested and true.

If an item still works I stick with it not just because I can't afford something new but because I work hard to keep endocrine disrupting chemicals out of my home and new items such as the vacuum cleaner mentioned above do take time before they stop off gassing and impacting the quality of life of those in the home.


USING NATURAL MATERIALS

The more natural the materials are in your home the less VOC's or Volatile Organic Compounds fill the air.

I recently had to paint my ceiling and was lucky enough to find a wonderful paint made of  chalk, titan dioxide, talcum, bees wax-soap and soya oil . Having sat for so long wondering how I was going to paint this ceiling which was desperately needing some love and care it was just wonderful to find such a healthy paint.

Healthy options are out there and all it requires is a quick google to discover these alternatives to VOC laden options.  The paint I used was easy to apply, it fact if you can call painting a ceiling such `it was a joy to use' and no more expensive than conventional paint. The same company also had a great range of eco friendly natural products including cleaning items.

So a quick google search for eco friendly options can lead to alternatives that add healing to your home instead of Volatile Organic Compounds which can impact the health of those living within your walls.

I also did a quick google when I needed a wood finish for my floor and knew I just couldn't live with the lengthy off gassing of  polyurethane.

Again I found a wonderful water based wood finish which had no fumes and gave a very special finish. Everyone who came to my home commented how much they liked my floor and yes these comments were unsolicited. The floor just looked so rich, natural and to my mind beautiful.


FURTHER SIMPLE WAYS FOR CLEAN INDOOR AIR

 There are other simple ways we can keep the inside of our homes healthy.

A wise old man told me this one and it is so simple, just make sure you open your windows and let new air come in each day. Spring and pollen and other outdoor irritants may make this an unattractive option to some but my trick with this is to open the windows first thing each morning before the flowers open and the winds are up.

Fans are a further great way to get the new air circulating in your home. I couldn't live without my fans in winter or summer.

One room had a tendency to mold but keeping the air moving has put an end to that along with a light wipe with white vinegar and water.

My other very favorite is louver windows. I had these installed at the front of my house when I moved in and they enable such a great flow of air from outside.  My little house was a heat bomb before they were added and they are so great because they can be so easily left open when you go out.


IN CONCLUSION

The simple ideas mentioned here are just touching on the many ways we can create healthy homes. I do hope they have started you thinking about the ways you can be impacted by the chemicals present in your home and how you can find healthier solutions to your everyday choices.



Thursday, August 16, 2018

Roundup, Glyphosate, Cancer and You



Jurors have just given a  $289 million settlement to a man they say got cancer from Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller, and many more cases are to come.

But how you are asking does that affect me?

Well it does affect you, it affects us all and yes you can do something about it.

First some further information on glyphosate. The man in the $289 settlement Dewayne Johnson had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma which could be directly linked to glyphosate but glyphosate is an endocrine disruptor which disrupts our hormonal systems and creates many health issues  including testosterone processing, early menopause, cholesterol, obesity, onset of puberty, immune function, bone health and cardiac function and mental states.

 If you would like to understand more on the role of Roundup, and/or glyphosate and endocrine disruptors I would like to recommend the independent scientific studies of gmoseralini.org/en

The specific role of Endocrine Disruptors was something I felt was involved in my developing three separate breast cancer. Where I lived every public place and most designer gardens were obsessively sprayed with Roundup.



BUT WHAT CAN YOU DO???


1. STOP USING GLYPHOSATE

The first and most obvious thing is stop thinking you need Roundup or one of the other glyphosate infiltrated weedkillers to make your garden weed free.

Do not respond to the marketing hype. You don't need these weedkillers.

If you do need to spray something white vinegar or one of the many other natural homemade recipes on Google will do the job just as well.

Anything you use at your home adds to the glyphosate in our ground water and in the air we breath. With glyphosate now found in the urine of 93% of Americans tested the first step to stop this cancer causing build up in our bodies is to stop our personal use of products that include glyphosate.


2. EAT ORGANIC

Every time you buy organic you are supporting a farmer who is does not use glyphosate based products in the production of their crops. Sometimes this makes their food more expensive but there are always farmer's markets where you can buy directly from the farmer. 


Once you have eaten organic food other food will taste weak. There is nothing more special than the taste of a freshly picked organic tomato. 

 My local health food shop does not add profit on their organic vegetables. It makes their fresh produce on a par with the local supermarkets and supports these farmers and their efforts to create a healthier food system.

 If it is difficult to source organic food you can always grow your own.


3. GROW YOUR OWN FOOD

Growing your own food may seem overwhelming at first but it can be done anywhere. There is an amazing collection of great articles on Google which show you how to grow food in even the smallest and darkest of apartments, and then there are community gardens. For city dwellers these are inspiring places where food growing ideas and new concepts on food are shared. I was lucky enough to have one starting nearby when I moved to my sustainable house. What a lot I have discovered about food growing at this garden.


4. SAY NO TO GMO

High levels of glyphosate can be ingested when you eat GMO food. Over eighty per cent of Genetically Modified Crops are engineered specifically so they can be sprayed with glyphosate based herbicides and these crops use amazing amounts of glyphosate. These foods are  saturated with Roundup Residues.

In America more than ninety per cent of all soybean, and corn acreage is genetically modified. Canola is another common GMO crop.

Personally I don't eat soy, or corn and definitely do not use Canola Oil, but I would suggest you check that foods are labelled GMO free before you purchase. Restaurants of course are difficult because you do not know what you are getting, although I have a selection of eat out venues where I live that do not use GMO food and I stick with these.


5. AVOID WHEAT

You don't  need to be gluten intolerant to avoid wheat. It is now a common practice for nonorganic farmers to spray their wheat with glyphosate just days before harvest to dry off the crop for processing. The use of these pesticides so close to harvesting makes their presence in your wheat products stronger. Wheat products today are not the foods that were eaten by our parents or grandparents.


6, CREATE HEALTHY SOIL

Learning about healthy soil was one of the first lessons taught at my community garden. When the soil is strong and healthy the brix index in the plants is high and they are able to withstand predators.

Building healthy soil is a sustainable solution to eradicating weed killers such as Roundup. With strong food grown in healthy soils you do not need to use the quick fix spray and strong food builds strong bodies.


7. BE PROACTIVE

The more individuals stand up against the use of unnecessary and life threatening chemicals such as glyphosate the sooner they will be eliminated.

Petition your local school or council against the use of glyphosate.  We now know it is not safe in our environment.  

No one wants someone to have to fight a tough court battle while they are dying but what a courageous man to fight for a ruling that will alleviate the suffering of so many.

As I said before where I live the council is contracted to spray all public spaces with Roundup. Someone is making money from the suffering of others. Young men are still out there spraying without protection, people are still wondering why they are suffering from cancer.

This special court ruling is raising voices against this situation. I hope it will end soon.


8.  BECOME FURTHER INFORMED

I hope the concepts mentioned here are starting points for you gaining further knowledge on how to eliminate glyphosate from your life and the lives of those around you.

 This product  has already caused pain and suffering for too many people around the world. It is now time to look at new ways to farm living, healthy food.





Long-time Reuters journalist Carey Gillam’s new book about Monsanto’s deception about the safety of its Roundup weedkiller, Whitewash: The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer, and the Corruption of Science, goes to the heart of the debate over the use of toxic chemicals in our foods.

 

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Plastic Bag Ban and Other Ways to Stop Plastic Pollution


We live in a world of plastic pollution, overflowing plastic that can take over six hundred years to break down. Finally we are beginning to realize our world is polluted with plastic waste. It is everywhere and dramatic images are emerging of its impact on our oceans and aquatic creatures.

The endocrine disrupting BPA or bisphenol A is found in the plastics we use each day and leaches from these items at room temperatures and above. BPA  enters our soil and groundwater through landfill and the more plastic breaks down the more BPA is released.

One issue with BPA is it does not leave our body easily and as an Endocrine Disruptor it mimics hormones and binds to  hormone receptors. This binding to estrogen receptors is related to the development of estrogen sensitive breast cancer.

My personal interest in eliminating plastics started ten years ago after a third breast cancer when in my quest to eliminate endocrine disrupting chemicals from my life I began eliminating plastics.  

The disruption of our hormonal systems by  Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals is also linked to other health issues  including testosterone processing, early menopause, cholesterol, obesity, onset of puberty, immune function, bone health and cardiac function and mental states.

Clearly an excess of plastic in our daily lives and environment is not good and unless each of us does our part the problem will only get worse.

Here are some ways I personally use to avoid plastics in my daily life. I hope these ways will also be useful to you.


1. PLASTIC BAG BAN

Love what is happening with taking your own bags to supermarkets. Yes they are banning the plastic shopping bags at my local supermarkets.

I personally find it a an exciting challenge and keep my own shopping bag in the boot of my car. Even if I forget to take it into the store I can bring things back in the trolley provided and put them into my bag when I get back to the car.

What a blessing for our planet without all those endless throwaway bags.




2.  GLASS CONTAINERS

Wherever possible I use glass. I refuse to buy items unless they come in glass. I search out glass containers in supermarkets. If everyone did this supermarkets would soon have to reduce items they sell  which come in plastic containers.

I find items packaged in glass are not more expensive but do tend to be made from companies with ethical concerns and these I do want to support. How can you produce a theoretically healthy food product and then package it in cheap plastic that leaches BPA. The two concepts are not compatible.

 I always recycle my glass containers or use them for storage. I remember as a child searching the sand hills near my home to find glass bottles. We were paid for returns and this money was much valued.


3.  BROWN PAPER BAGS

Fresh food items in supermarkets are an unending source of plastic wraps and containers. The logic of buying fresh healthy produce tightly packaged in BPA excreting plastics is far beyond me. However my personal motivation to avoid endocrine disrupting chemicals needed a solution and I found it beside the loose white mushrooms, the pile of brown paper bags for mushroom packaging.  Armed with a small collection of these I only buy loose produce and put them into these brown paper bags, problem solved.

The brown paper bags can be recycled and used for a multitude of purposes including packing lunches. Who needs a plastic lunchbox when you have a brown paper bag.  Which brings me to wax paper. 


4. WAX PAPER

When I was a school girl we did not have cling wrap but we did have rolls of wax paper. This useful product was used to wrap our lunches and seal food items. It is even more useful than cling wrap as it can also line baking trays. Safe, clean and functional it really is a great, easy use product.


5.  CLAY

I needed a rice cooker but did not fancy the idea of BPA wih the steamed rice. Then I discovered clay rice cookers.

Not expensive they do all the things a plastic rice cooker can do except add endocrine disrupting chemicals.  


6. REFILLABLE WATER BOTTLES

Plastic water bottles are one of the worst polluters of our oceans but refillable water bottles are available in all good health food stores. You can find them in glass and metal but whichever you use you will be are saving the planet from pollution and yourself from yet another BPA source.


7. NO PLASTIC KITCHEN UTENSILS

I don't know about you but when I watch a cooking show and see someone using a plastic spoon I feel like screaming wooden spoon, wooden spoon. How do people in such public roles not know the advantage of wooden or metal utensils over plastic. This plastic issue is everywhere. Recently I needed to purchase a steamer, an indignant store attendant told me they only stocked plastic steamers and said she was unaware of any others. I gave her a short explanation of why I would not use such a steamer. I do hope she is now stocking other options.

Heat, cooking and plastic do not mix. Sometimes it feels almost impossible to avoid food and BPA exposures in our current environment. But let's change that, it has to change, we can create a healthier world.


8. METAL OR GLASS JUGS

So obvious but somehow so easy to overlook. Boiling water in plastic is just not good. Heat plus plastic creates BPA seepage. There is a rang of glass and metal jugs out there but do check the insides as even many of these jugs have cheap plastic parts that will be immersed in your boiling water.

It can be hard work to find the right jug or kettle but they are out there and the more people demand them the more the manufacturers will need to change their products. 


9. A PERSONAL MUG

A new trend emerging in inner city coffee bars is the buyer bringing their own personal mug.

What a great concept to avoid those take away plastic lined takeaway cups, another landfill curse.

I was recently at an event where ceramic cups were available but rather than load the dishwasher  takeaway cups were being used. Yes I did have my say and my cuppa was served in a ceramic cup. It really takes effort to get this planet to change.



10. PAPER STRAWS

Yes another goodie. Plastic straws are being fazed out and paper straws are back. So pleased about this one. Too many marine species have been damaged and hurt by these straws polluting our waterways. So good to be using straws that break down to compost.


IN CONCLUSION

I do hope these ten ideas are a starting point for you to stop the use of plastic and endocrine chemical in your life.

I know there are a lot of other creative ideas out there to help save our planet and eliminate plastic usage.

If you have any of these ideas please share them in the comments.  Lets work together to start creating a renewed and healthy planet.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Permaculture Perennials Tough Foods for Climate Change

The soft leaves of the Moringa Trees are so beautiful and graceful it seems wrong to eat them but their nutritional content is exceptional and they are seen by many as a new superfood

Sometimes the Moringa tree is called the “miracle” tree because of its exceptional  vitamin and mineral content. and just a few leaves or a tablespoon of moringa powder each day adds a nutritional boost to any diet.

They are also one of plants that will help us through climate change as they are so easy to grow in the toughest of conditions and give so much return.

This tree at the bottom of my garden provides a continuous supply of leaves which I eat raw in salads or with my evening vegetables, and it is also a delicious addition to cooked dishes.

What is more it is the tree that keeps on giving  as it is so easy to grow from the seed pods.

My friends and myself now have trees from my original mother plant.


Another tough permacultue plant that flourishes under all conditions is the Pigeon Pea.

I always have a few Pigeon Pea plants in my garden which is easy as they self seed.

The peas are nutritious and in the African Pigeon Pea which I prefer large.

With a few of these bushes in your garden you will never lack for protein.

Green  Pigeon Peas steamed or raw  are delicious and nutritious.

 Aa well as their protein they are also a good fiber source and contain vitamin C, several members of the B vitamin family including folate and thiamin and essential minerals including iron, manganese, potassium, and phosphorus.

In many cultures these peas are dried and used to make exciting dahl dishes but I am so busy eating them green I don't get round to that.

For future climate conditions this hardy food can provide a great protein source in its many formats.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Healthy Plants Healthy Soil

 
Healthy plants abound in healthy soil at my friend Rebecca's garden.

Her branches bend with bountiful fruit all year round and her open garden provides  inspiration for all who pass by or visit.

She is always renewing her soil whether it be with bales of organic sugar cane mulch, horse manure or her amazing compost created from everything compost able from her home or garden.  Nothing is ever wasted.

This concept of ongoing renewal is reflected in the strength and vigor of her food.

As we walked around her garden we were both surprised to fine a small bounty of early guava fruit. 

The Bush lemon tree on the left below and and the conventional lemon tree are also full of tasty fruits.

Yet Rebecca does not water. She relies on a deep layer of mulch to keep her strong soil moist.

She really has inspired me to work further on my own soil and she was even generous enough to send me home with two bales of organic sugar cane mulch which I will put on my soil to conserve water and enrich the soil. 

Walking around her garden and absorbing the many innovations she has added is one of the treats of visiting this special friend.

Mint is grown in a raised bed to stop it spreading.

Small chrysanthemums provide nurture for bees and pest management.

A recycled play pool provides a generous and delight bounty of nasturtiums.

 All flowers grown are great additions to a nutritious meal.

Thank you Rebecca for being a trail blazer who is showing us all we can live in a way that both honors and renews our earth. 




Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Trees Bring Life and Healing


My trees give life. They produce oxygen, store carbon and protect my soil and wildlife.

I love to sit in my living area with my louver windows open absorbing their peace and beauty.

No matter my mood a few moments alone with my trees makes me feel restored and ready to face the world again.

I did not realize when I went on my planting frenzy when I first got my land I was in fact creating a space that would be so healing.

Many of the trees like the mango above I have grown myself from seed. It is exciting to see this year it has its first blossoms.

At first I lost trees because I put them where I wanted them to go. Gradually I learned to watch how they responded in different settings and many were replanted to met their needs..

Learning their water needs was also so important in how they grew.

One of my biggest surprises was how the fruit trees thrived under the larger trees at the bottom of my garden.  It felt like they were all working together to grow.

My research has now shown me that trees do communicate with each other through fungi in the soil and will even give out sugars to help smaller trees grow beneath them.

However this all works planting so closely together seems to have created stronger not weaker trees in this garden.

And Snappy, my Butcher Bird the unofficial king of the garden will agree with that. He loves his territory and will defend it fiercely.