Monday, March 11, 2013

Improve Your Gut Health & Improve Your Overall Health

How to improve your gut health

March 11, 2013
This was written by Kris Carr, a health crusader and best selling author of health issues and how to heal your body. This article was taken from her March Newsletter and included permission to copy and share. You can find her at

We’ve all heard the saying, “listen to your gut.” And while that advice often refers to our intuition, it should also speak to our digestion. Your gut guides your overall well-being. Quite literally, your gut is the epicenter of your mental and physical health. Yet it’s all too common to experience lots of digestive issues that make a huge impact on our strength and vitality. If you want better immunity, efficient digestion, improved clarity and balance, focus on rebuilding your gut health.

I know it may seem like there’s always something we could be doing better. And frankly, our quest for getting well can be downright exhausting! Sometimes our health issues can feel so big and daunting. This is especially true when it comes to serious chronic diseases. I remember getting frustrated many times. I thought to myself, for gosh sake, I’m doing everything I can to heal this disease and though I’m grateful it’s still stable, why won’t the sucker just go away? I give up! Then I decided to take it down a notch and focus on healing areas of my life and my body that I actually could control. My digestion had always been really weak. I got colds every year and had a list of health problems stemming from my gut. That’s when the light bulb went off. I decided to forget about cancer and focus my energy on my digestive health instead. Finally, improvements I could see, feel and measure!

By supporting this mighty system, you’ll see chronic health issues (like fatigue, fogginess, colds, aches and pains) diminish, and you’ll feel abundant energy return. I know it sounds too good to be true, but it really isn’t. I’ve experienced these results, and I’ve seen hundreds of readers do the same. Now it’s your turn.

Today, we’re going to cover the basics of digestive health. You’ll learn what your gut does and why it’s so important to keep it healthy. Then, we’ll discuss how to care for your wonderful gut so that it continues to take care of glorious you. Let’s dive in!

What happens inside your gut?

Your gut holds trillions of bacteria that help process your food, produce nutrients, and fight disease. In fact, there are ten times more bacteria in your gut than cells in your entire body! These little guys are super important and they need your help. Since what you eat, drink and think affects the environment in your gut, your daily choices play a critical role in whether those trillion plus bacteria help or hinder your well-being.

It’s all about balance when it comes to gut health. When your gut is in tip-top shape, about 80-85 percent of bacteria are good guys and 15-20 percent are bad guys. You feel great, your body is strong and nimble, you rarely get sick, your energy is consistent, you poop like a champ, and life is good. The healthy bacteria are free to do their job with ease. They assist with digestion, produce disease-fighting antibodies, crowd out bad bacteria and produce certain hormones, vitamins and nutrients.

But when the harmful bacteria stage a revolt, all hell breaks loose. They totally gum up the works and cause painful problems like inflammation and infection, which can then lead to health issues such as constipation, Candida, allergies, arthritis, headaches, depression, autoimmune diseases and more.

Medications (especially antibiotics and antacids), environmental toxins and chemicals, stress and illness greatly affect the ratio of good to bad bacteria. When bacteria are wiped out indiscriminately, the good guys get mowed down, giving the bad guys a chance to increase their ranks. Hello, chronic health issues.

The food you eat also affects the ratio of good to bad bacteria. Everything you consume is processed and either absorbed into your body or eliminated via your gut. Your gut completes the amazing task of digesting your food and pulling the nutrients, vitamins and minerals out of the food so that they can be absorbed into your bloodstream.

And your gut’s mind-blowing capabilities don’t stop there. Your gut also identifies invaders — toxins, microbes, viruses and allergens that could harm your health — and moves them through your digestive system so that they can be excreted. Buh-bye!

The key to this system working in your favor is two-fold:

1) Lend your gut a hand by feeding your body whole, plant-based, nutrient-dense foods.

2) Consistently practice a healthy lifestyle (less stress, exercise, less exposure to environmental toxins, proper rest) that supports the good gut bacteria and keeps the harmful bacteria under control.

Your mental health affects your gut health (and vice versa).

Did you know you have two brains? Yup, you’re THAT smart. The central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) controls almost all voluntary and involuntary activities within your body. For example, a voluntary action would be slicing your veggies, while an involuntary action would be blinking, breathing or falling in love with Matthew Crawley’s character in Downton Abbey (kidding, not!). The involuntary actions carried out by your central nervous system are constantly at work taking care of you. Nice, right? Thank you, central nervous system; you’re a peach!

Now guess where your second brain lives. Your gut! Yup, it has a mind of its very own. Your gut’s “brain” is known as the enteric nervous system. This system is home to 100 million neurons within your intestinal wall. These cute little neurons transmit important information throughout your body. They also control digestion and send status updates to the brain, letting it know how things are going in your belly.

Your two nervous systems have an intricate relationship that’s just now being explored by scientists through the field of neurogastroenterology (that’s a mouthful!). While the enteric nervous system initiates and sustains digestion on its own, signals from the brain, such as stress and anxiety, can have dramatic effects on how well it works. In addition, the brain receives chemical messages from the gut, which can affect your mood and emotions. In fact, the vast majority of serotonin (a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, sleep, anxiety, depression and more) is actually made in your gut, not your brain! It’s all connected and sadly, few doctors ask you about your digestive health when you tell them you’re feeling too blue to cope.

Your gut is a major component of your immune system.

Did you know that about 60-70 percent of your immune system lives in your gut? Meet your GALT; also know as gut-associated lymphoid tissue. Your GALT lies just below the mucosal lining of the gut wall. It’s very thin (only one cell thick!), and most importantly — it’s integral to your immune system. The GALT contains specialized immune structures called Peyer’s patches that are filled with immune cells, such as B cells and T cells, which are responsible for recognizing and neutralizing harmful bacteria. When pathogenic bacteria visit your gut via food or your environment, the Peyer’s patches trigger your immune response to prevent them from passing through the gut wall.

Another way your gut protects you from infection and disease is through an abundance of healthy bacteria. To keep harmful bacteria from overthrowing your gut, healthy bacteria need to thrive and cover your gut wall — the only thing standing between everything inside your gut and your bloodstream. It helps to imagine that your gut wall is a parking lot. There are a limited number of “parking spots” along your gut wall. You want good bacteria parked in those spaces, so bad bacteria are crowded out. Keep those spaces filled by adopting the following gut health tips.

Now that you know how important your gut health is to your overall well-being, how can you take care of your spectacular gut?

1. Take a probiotic supplement. A daily probiotic supplement will help boost the good bacteria in your gut, keeping the bad guys under control, boosting your immune system and easing digestive issues. This is especially helpful when you’re taking a medication, such as an antibiotic that has wiped out a large amount of gut bacteria. Some recommended brands: Dr. Ohirra’s, Primal Defense, Healthforce Nutritionals (Friendly Force), and MegaFood’s Megaflora.

2. Eat probiotic whole foods. You can also eat whole foods that are fermented and contain large amounts of good bacteria. Sauerkraut, Kim chi, miso, microalgae and coconut kefir are fantastic plant-based probiotic-rich foods.

3. Eat prebiotic whole foods. Certain foods feed and support the growth of good bacteria. By eating more whole, plant-based, fiber-filled foods, you’re fueling the bacteria that support your health. Raw onions, garlic, dandelion greens, artichokes and bananas are some of the best prebiotic foods to add to your diet.

4. Eat regularly, but not constantly (and don’t eat late at night). To give your gut a chance to clean up and clear out bacteria and waste, it needs a rest from digestion. Every 90 minutes to two hours, the smooth muscle in your intestines move and groove to keep bacteria and waste truckin’ through your digestive tract. But this process is put on hold every time you eat. Can you see why snacking constantly slows down digestion and contributes to bacterial overgrowth? I’m not saying that you need to fast for long periods — eating regularly helps prevent constipation and bloating — but it’s best to take breaks between meals.

5. Stay hydrated. A good rule of thumb for staying hydrated is drinking half your bodyweight in ounces of water each day. For example, if you weigh 130 pounds, you should drink about 65 ounces of water. That’s about eight 8-ounce glasses of water. Your gut needs water to keep bacteria and waste moving through your digestive system, which will help prevent constipation and bloating. When you’re dehydrated, these issues can throw off the balance of bacteria in your gut and lead to inflammation. Give your gut a hand and drink more H2O!

6. Lessen refined sugar and processed foods. When you consume processed, sugar-laden, refined foods, you’re giving bad bacteria an all-you-can-eat buffet, which increases the likelihood of all the aforementioned bull crap that weighs you down and dims your shine.

7. Lessen stress. Remember when we talked about the connection between your brain and your gut? When you experience chronic stress, your brain goes into fight or flight mode, causing your digestion and blood flow in the gut to slow down, the muscles that push along waste and bacteria to freeze up and the secretions for digestion to decrease. All of these stress responses equal a poorly functioning gut! Take care of your gut health by coping with stress through breath work, yoga, meditation, therapy, time in the outdoors and the countless other stress reduction techniques available to you.

I hope this information inspires you to love your gut back to health. Your turn to share: How will you help your gut today? And if you’ve been down this road, what has helped you recover? I’d love to know! I’m still on the path, as are many of my readers.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013



Okay, it’s fair to say that cancer sucks. It robs you of your energy, your hair, your freedom to travel at will, your ability to be around small children if you’re receiving chemotherapy, your dignity, your hopes and dreams and now – your financial comfort. Even those with insurance find themselves running out of coverage if their treatment progresses. People have had to sell their homes and other valuables just to make ends meet.

My insurance is currently covering all treatment so far, but due to my pain level, I was forced to go on disability. I haven’t driven in about 10 months and I am on pain meds which makes driving unsafe. My husband and I have always made the same income, so for me to lose mine for disability is devastating to us. Barely making ends meet at the end of every month, we’ve relied on friends providing gift certificates to food stores so that I can stay on a reasonably healthy diet while on chemotherapy, care packages with goodies inside and cheerful cards to keep my spirits up. My son and daughter are also jumping in there to help. My daughter lives in Maui and has flown out here twice over the past few months to help out with chores around the house like cleaning and yard care. The men in the house do okay, but they don’t clean in detail like a woman. These are things that I have been unable to do due to pain. Every time just before she leaves, she fills our refrigerator with wholesome organic foods from local health food stores. Back in August, she also organized a benefit in Maui with the local restaurants she works for along with some local artists and shop owner. Together, with her hard work and marketing, they raised close to $6K. This helped to catch up on bills.

My son and his girlfriend jumped in during the holidays and did all of the cooking for both Thanksgiving and Christmas so I can get the rest I need and recover from chemotherapy side effects. At Christmas, my son did all of my shopping for me since I had to stay away from public places. Chemotherapy destroys your immune system and the common cold could end up putting me in the hospital. I am so proud of my children. They are my legacy and I know that I am leaving behind two strong compassionate people with integrity to carry on.

Recently, my son and his girlfriend have moved into our apartment downstairs. This is a win win situation as they get an apartment at a discounted price with no credit checks and deposit and we get a little extra income each month to help with bills.

I have learned through this ordeal, that I have many friends out there. They do what they can within the limits of their own finances and I’m sure, at times, their assistance has put a financial burden on them also. They send food gift cards, care packages of goodies, gift cards for organic foods, healing mushrooms and other healing herbs, and cases of Ensure for my weight gain project, cheerful cards on a routine bases, emails, text messages and voicemail messages to show they care. They are true friends and I am forever grateful for having known them. They are angels in disguise.

My concern over our finances and my husband’s stress level led me to create a business that I can literally run from bed. It’s still in the beginning stages, but moving forward daily. It’s a cancer related, web based business and a service that is very close to my heart. I don’t want to say too much at this point, but hopefully it will take off and provide my family with extra income now and after I’m gone if they choose to continue to run it.  I will keep everyone posted on my business venture. For now, let me tell you that it’s called:  “The Cancer Kickin Bag Lady”.

My Stage IV Lifestyle:

I want you to know that this is unusual for me. I don’t like to dwell on my future or the things that I may be missing, but sometimes you just have to get them off your chest. Anyway, there’s always hope and I can always be the exception to the rule of how long you live being treated for metastic breast cancer. Even though the continuous treatment doesn’t fill me with joy and enthusiasm, the fact that I’m still alive does.

At the moment I am currently on my 6th round of chemotherapy. I am on Taxol and Herceptin for HER2+ breast cancer. When it first started, I would have 3 bad days and 4 good days after my treatment. At this point, I have 6 bad days and 1 good day which just happens to be my treatment day. Then the cycle starts all over again. I have lost my hair and almost 20 lbs which I cannot seem to be able to gain back due to nausea and vomiting. I wake up at around 7:00 am and take my first pain pill. Then go back to sleep for 4 hours until the pain wakes me up at 11:00 am when my next pill is due. I spend 95% of my time in bed on the computer due to lack of energy. Showering is difficult at best. Basically, everything most people take for granted are not easily incorporated into my daily routine. The pain in my spine stops me from getting around the house and doing normal things like cooking family dinners or even light housework.

My husband does the shopping and most of the cooking is shared between my husband and my son. My husband and/or my son take me to my doctor appointments as I haven’t been able to drive in quite a while. I just don’t feel safe behind the wheel anymore during my chemo treatments.

Going shopping or just window shopping or going out to eat is limited due to my white blood cell count being so low. Chemotherapy tends to lower your immunity and leaves you open to infection which can very easily turn life threatening. For example, on my daughter’s first visit she brought my grandson Zeke with her. Zeke is 4 years old and as cute as a button. He was at the very end of a mild cold that he had had for about a month before their visit. No one in the house caught his cold except for me. I woke up on the 3rd day of their visit with a 105 fever. I went to the hospital where they diagnosed me with pneumonia. My Oncologist’s orders from then on were to not go near any child under 12 years old.  There is also a new fear that my Oncologist put in my mind – salad. Can you believe it? I love salad. I can only eat it if I wash and prepare it myself. So, there will be no restaurant salads or ones prepared by others for me. It’s the raw food issue and bacteria.

So anyway, when I am able to walk around the house a little, I go from the bed to the couch, back to the bed. The computer is my lifeline to the outside world and sometimes I lack the energy for even that.

Chemotherapy has many side effects such as always being cold. Even going into the refrigerator for something to eat or drink is a challenge. There’s tingling in my hands and feet to the point where I can’t walk sometimes. It’s like walking on feet that have gone to sleep. The constant nausea is a real challenge and then there’s the fact that all food tastes different to me. Unfortunately, the taste of food doesn’t change for the better. There’s also shortness of breath, mouth and throat sores. Sometimes the shortness of breath is so bad that I can’t talk. Chemo brain has set in. It mimics mild dementia with short term memory loss. I do memory exercises to ward this off as long as I can and I’m also told that it’s temporary. At least now I have an excuse for forgetting things. That’s a cancer card I use a lot lately, but unfortunately, it’s true.

All of the above, to different degrees, will be my life for the long haul. Stage IV metastic breast cancer is not curable. It is treatable with different chemotherapies, but the treatment is constant and non-stop. Each chemotherapy drug will have different side effects and challenges to the body; some better than others, until there is no more treatment available. Each treatment has a positive effect for a limited amount of time. No one therapy works for years and years. When one stops, they start another one until there isn’t anything left to try. At that point there are always clinical trials, and oh yes, hope, a healthy lifestyle and the sheer will to live. Current statistics are that the average life expectancy after diagnosis of metastic cancer is 3 to 10 years. This is not predictable and there’s no way to tell how long you have, or at least I don’t think there is at the time of this writing. Each person’s cancer metastases’ differently and at different rates. It may be as simple as your insurance company’s willingness to continue paying for treatment. Who knows?

Well there it is – my venting. Like I said, I don’t like to do this. It’s not healing. But to tell you the truth – sometimes it’s just necessary. Here’s counting on at least 10 more years and being the longest living Stage IV Cancer Kicker that this disease ever came up against.  All I can say for now is….CANCER CAN KISS MY ASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for indulging me. I love you all.

Monday, October 22, 2012


The elephant in the pink room, as most of you know but some of you don’t, is Stage IV Metastic Breast Cancer. This is not caused by a late diagnosis of breast cancer, or a certain type of breast cancer, or by lack of medical treatment. The truth is that 30% of all breast cancer patients will end up with metastatic disease where the breast cancer has spread from the original location (the breast) to remote organs. These organs most commonly are the liver, lungs, brain and bones. Cancer can spread anywhere it pleases, but these are the most common locations for breast cancer to spread. It doesn’t matter whether or not you have or are receiving treatment, metastatic disease is random.


The cancer cells that have spread to remote organs in the body do not become that type of cancer. For instance, if your breast cancer has spread to the liver, you do not have liver cancer, or bone cancer if cells have spread to the bone. You still have breast cancer, but it has gone beyond the breast.


During this time of Pinktober, where retailers everywhere are offering something pink and contributing a very small percentage to breast cancer awareness, there is absolutely nothing being done to make people aware of metastatic disease. By now I think that most of us are aware of breast cancer. Spending more money on awareness just does not seem like the best allocation of funds. It’s time to start concentrating on research, cures, and of course the elephant in the pink room, metastic breast cancer.


If you want to make a difference and help find a cure, be sure that the money that you are donating or the organization that you are buying from, donates to research and to finding cures for cancer. The two best organizations that I am aware of are the American Cancer Society and Stand Up To Cancer. These two organizations raise funds for groundbreaking research that will eventually find a cure and end cancer. No awareness money wasted here. 


Breast cancer in reality is not pink and pretty. It is a disease that strikes men and women without family histories and for no rhyme or reason. There are many different types of breast cancer including HER2Positive, HER Negative, Inflammatory and more. It strikes mostly our mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, aunts and grandmothers. Early detection is not the answer. There are many women surviving Stage IV Metastic Breast Cancer whose first breast tumor was found in its very early stages – myself included. Early detection increases your options for treatment, but it does not prevent your breast cancer from progressing to Stage IV.


Stage IV Metastic Breast Cancer is incurable. There are treatments available that prolong life, but treatment is forever. This is why they call it treatable, but not curable. With treatment you can go into what is called NED (No Evidence of Disease). This can last a year, 2 years, 5 years or 10 years.  No one knows and it cannot be predicted. Each treatment available has a limit as to how long it will continue to keep you in the NED condition. When one treatment fails or stops working, you go on to the next available treatment. These treatments include hormone therapy if have hormone receptive breast cancer, or it can be chemotherapy. There are also clinical trials available. There are some women who report that they have been NED with Stage IV Metastic Breast Cancer for 15 years which is rare, but we all hope for this.


So the next time that you buy a pink anything in the month of Pinktober, or lick the lid of a yogurt cover and send it in in the name of awareness – STOP and consider where your dollars may be more useful and may actually make the difference between finding a cure and not finding a cure.


Save a life today or sometime in the future by donating to the American Cancer Society or Stand Up To Cancer and help them eliminate the Elephant in the pink room.

Monday, April 2, 2012


fruits and vegEliminating pesticides in your diet is important to living healthy. Organic fruits and vegetables can be expensive and often limited. The list  below was compiled from various sources on the internet. It contains the fruits and vegetables grown with the most pesticides, ranked from worst to bad. The clean fifteen fruits and vegetables are grown with the least amount of pesticides, ranked from best to not so good.  It's a guide. Remember, organic is best, but take this list with you to the grocery store to help you to make better choices about the foods you eat. No need to get obsessive over it. If you can't find something organic that's on the bottom of the dirty dozen list, buy it anyway. Your body will forgive  you some transgressions. Just keep it as clean as possible.

THE DIRTY DOZEN: Ranked from worst to bad. Taken from various internet sources

1.  Peach
2.  Apple
3.  Bell pepper
4.  Celery
5.  Nectarine
6.  Strawberries
7.  Cherries
8.  Kale
9.  Lettuce
10. Grapes
11. Pear

THE CLEAN FIFTEEN: Ranked from best to not so good. Taken from various internet sources.

1.  Onion
2.  Avocado
3.  Sweet corn
4.  Pineapple
5.  Mango
6.  Asparagus
7.  Sweet peas
8.  Kisi
9.  Cabbage
10. Eggplant
11. Papaya
12. Watermelon
13. Broccoli
14. Tomato
15. Sweet potato



H-KUVINGS-NS-850.jpg Kuvings Silent JuicerThe health benefits of juicing are endless. This is the one thing that you definitely need to add to your daily routine to help fight off disease, including cancer. Juicing fruits and vegetables makes nutrients immediately available in your system. No matter how big of an appetite you have, you could never eat as many vegetables whole as you could by juicing.

A 3 to 1 ratio / vegetables to fruit, is recommended. Green vegetables like kale, spinach, celery, romaine, zucchini, etc. on their own can be unpalatable especially for the newbie juicer. Adding fruit like apples and pears to the vegetables drastically improves the taste. Improving the taste will ensure that you actually juice daily and then actually drink it. Start with just one juice a day and increase as you develop a knack for the art of juicing. I started out juicing carrots and apples. I would add six whole carrots to two apples. The result was delicious. I later graduated to the more advanced green juices.

There are many types of juicers on the market. They are all good and they each have their own benefits and drawbacks. The least expensive of the juicer options operate by centrifugal force. A lot of juicing snobs will tell you that these products are inferior as they don’t extract enough juice. Some say that the heat generated by the fast movement of the spinning device actually kills the nutrients. I’m not convinced of the accuracy of these statements. I use a centrifugal force juicer and find that the pulp left behind is very dry. Also, I’ve felt the juicer immediately after juicing (after the machine stops whirring) and have not felt any significant heat and my extracted juice is always cold.

Do your research on the different types of juicers and let your budget be your guide. Juicers can run anywhere from $150 to $900. Whichever way you go, a juicer is a good investment in your health.

Below are just a few juicing recipes that I’ve found. Try them, but remember to adjust to your own tastes. Add fruit if more sweetness is desired trying not to make every juice 90% fruit. You do need your green vegetables, but if you won’t drink it, it’s not helping. Don’t be afraid – it’s only kale.

If there are any avid juicers out there, please add your recipes in the comment section and I'll make sure they get posted. Let me know if you'd like to be recognized for your recipe and I'll add your name and your link if you have one. We can’t have too many juice recipes here.

My First Juice
Easing my way into the world of juicing
By Salli

6 whole carrots (organic recommended)
2 apples (red or green), stem removed

Juice above ingredients. Enjoy

Fresh Cucumber & Carrot Juice
By Salli

2 large whole carrots (washed, topped)
1 cucumber (peeled if not organic)

Juice and Enjoy

Power Punch
By Salli

2 cups kale (washed)
2 cups parsley (washed)
1 cup spinach leaves (washed)
1 apple (stem removed)
3 stalks celery (washed)
1/2 green bell pepper (washed, stem removed)

Juice and Enjoy.

Sweet Dreams
Recipe taken from Jack LaLanne's Secrets of Power Juicing

1" piece of ginger root
3 stalks celery
1/2 small head cabbage
1 green pepper
1 apple (stem removed)
Juice all of the above ingredients. Then add the juice to a blender with 1 banana and 1/2 cup of milk (substitute milk of your choise, use soy milk or nut milks for added health benefits).


Beach Body
Recipe taken from Jack LaLanne's Secrets of Power Juicing

3 carrots (washed and topped)
2 celery stalks
1/2 cucumber (peeled if not organic)
1/2 cup parsley (washed)
1 small beet
1 apple (stem removed)

Juice and Enjoy

Power Up
Recipe taken from Jack LaLanne's Secrets of Power Juicing

4 celery stalks
1/2 cucumber (peeled if not organic)
1/2 cup spinach leaves
1 apple (stem removed)
1/2 green bell pepper

Juice and Enjoy

Salad in a Glass
Recipe taken from Jack LaLanne's Secrets of Power Juicing

1 tomato
1/2 head romaine lettuce
2 stalks celery
1 carrot
1/2 red bell pepper

Juice and Enjoy.

Rainbow Surprise
Recipe taken from Jack LaLanne's Secrets of Power Juicing

1 stalk celery
4 carrots
1 cucumber (peeled if not organic)
1 yellow squash
1 zuccini
1 apple (stem removed)

Juice and Enjoy. Serve over ice.

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Physical fitness is increasingly being viewed as a highly effective way to improve the quality of life of cancer patients. Regardless of whether you have just been diagnosed, are undergoing treatment, or are in remission, increasing your level of physical fitness will bring multiple positive benefits into your life. Exercise improves brain function, mood, energy levels and even sleep quality.

If you are not currently in good physical shape in terms of your fitness, it is one of the best things you can do for your body, especially now that you have been diagnosed with cancer. Even tough cancers like mesothelioma are easier to fight when you have more energy, sleep better, and have an immune system that works properly.

People who exercise tend to have more energy throughout the day. When you are undergoing treatment, you may often have feelings of extreme fatigue that prevent you from getting things done, spending time with family and friends, and just enjoying life. Physical exercise will boost your energy levels. It does this by raising your metabolic level- the rate at which you burn energy. This leads to fat loss, a trimmer figure, and more energy to fight the cancer.

Physical exercise such as resistance training has another benefit: it increases muscle mass. Increasing muscle mass allows you to burn more energy, even at rest. Fat just sits there on your body. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolic rate will be, even when you aren't working out.

Increasing your fitness level through exercise will also improve your quality of sleep. When you work your body, it requires rest to repair itself. Although you may feel fatigued from your cancer treatments that is not the same as fatigue from work. You may sleep fitfully, and you may not reach the deeper levels of REM sleep necessary for deep, repairing sleep.

A recent survey in the Mental Health and Physical Activity journal found that men and women who got 150 minutes of vigorous exercise weekly saw a 65 percent improvement in their quality of sleep. Similar results were discovered for leg cramps during sleep and difficulty concentrating while fatigued.  

Yet another positive benefit you will experience from starting an exercise routine is a mood boost. That's because exercise increases levels of chemicals called endorphins. These chemicals are the natural "feel good" drugs of the body. Vigorous exercise releases them into your body, dampening feelings of pain and soreness and leaving you with a calm feeling.

If you decide to take up exercise, be sure to consult with your doctor to find a type of exercise you can perform at an intensity that is appropriate for your current condition.

Written by Guest Author, David Haas

exerciseExercising and Pain

We all know how important regular exercise is to staying healthy and fit. We especially need to stay fit when we’re fighting cancer. Regular exercise will keep our immune system functioning and will give us the edge we need in our fight against cancer. If your cancer has spread to your bones, regular exercise may be challenging, if not impossible due to pain. You may think that exercising cannot be part of your routine anymore. Nothing could be farther from the truth. You may actually hinder your healing by not exercising on a regular basis.

Before starting any type of exercise program, it is important to consult with your doctor to make sure that these suggested exercises are right for you and that no damage will result by performing these simple exercise routines. Every diagnosis, situation and pain level is different and may affect everyone differently. So ask your doctor first to keep yourself safe.

For me, my breast cancer has spread to my spine causing me severe pain. It hinders my ability to run and even to walk any distance. Daily chores are just that – a chore and sometimes impossible to do. There are days where I can’t even get up off the couch, but this doesn’t stop me from getting my 15 minutes of exercise daily.

First, buy yourself a set of 5 lb. weights (or heavier if you can handle it). Sit on the couch and do simple weight lifting with your arms.

Exercise 1:  Put a 5 lb weight in each hand and extend over your head in a series of 5, then rest. Continue with another set of 5, then rest. Continue doing this for as long as you can. Don’t overdo it your first time. Remember, a little bit of exercise is better than no exercise at all.

Exercise 2: Put a 5 lb weight in each hand and extend outward in front of you. This may be a little more difficult so pace yourself. Do a group of 5 followed by a short resting period. Do as many groups of 5 as you can handle remembering not to overdo your first time. You can gradually increase the number of repetitions as you become stronger.

Exercise 3: Put a 5 lb weight in each hand and bend your arms upward keeping your elbows at your side. As in the above exercises, do as many groups of 5 as you can and remember to rest in between each set.

Exercise 4: Leg lifts: Lie on your back or in your favorite recliner and lift your legs upward as high as you can in repetitions of 5 on one leg, then 5 on the other leg. Rest, then repeat as many times as you comfortably can. Increase the number of repetitions as you get stronger.

Exercise 5: Leg Bends: Lie on your back or in your favorite recliner with legs outstretched. Bend your legs towards you at the knees in repetitions of 5 resting in between each repetition. To make it a little easier at first, do one leg at a time. Make sure that your spine is strong enough to handle this type of exercise as this exercise will put pressure on your lower back. Always check with your doctor first before beginning any kind of an exercise routine with bone metastasis.

A good cardio exercise that also strengthens the legs is bike riding. Riding a bike does not put as much pressure on the spine as running or even walking and will definitely get the heart pumping. Investing in a good stationery bike is an ideal way to accomplish this.

Look for a low impact Yoga class. Yoga is an exceptional way to stay fit and flexible. Remember to inform the instructor of your condition and to do the routine at your own pace and level. Never overdo. You will end up doing more damage to yourself than good. Pace yourself and be patient. Work up to a more advanced workout.

Here is a link to a Yoga DVD that is cancer patient oriented. This may be more suited to someone who does not want to attend a Yoga class outside the home.

 In time you’ll see that you are feeling better and that you have more energy. The more you sit around and do nothing, the more fatigue and depression set in.  Force yourself to do at least one of these exercises daily. Even on the days where you don’t feel like getting out of bed, do your leg lifts.  Without realizing it, you’ll get a burst of energy that will get you out of bed ready to take on the day.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


We all know the benefits to the skin of dry brushing. Exfoliating improves skin texture making your skin smooth and silky. New research is showing that dry brushing can also improve your overall health by increasing circulation and strengthening the immune system along with a host of other benefits.

The skin is the largest organ of the body. It is responsible for eliminating waste and toxins from your body and is sometimes called the third kidney due to its role in toxin elimination. The skin plays a more important role in our health than most people realize. This is why it is important to take care of your skin and allow it to do its job to the best of its ability. Below are some of the benefits of dry brushing.


1)  Removes dead skin and unclogs the pores.
2)  Cleanses the lymphatic system
3)  Strengthens the immune system
4)  Stimulates oil producing glands
5)  Stimulates circulation
6)  Improves the nervous system
7) Aids in digestion
8) Makes skin feel smooth and silky.


1) A natural bristle brush preferably one with a long handle
2) A natural body oil like coconut, apricot, grapeseed or a combination. Make sure that the oils you use do not contain any preservatives or paraben. You can find good body oils at any health food store. Just make sure that they are pure and natural without artificial ingredients. Organic oils are even better.
3) An extra 10 minutes total in the morning
4) That's it!!!

All of these benefits for the cost of a natural bristle brush and some natural oils. The whole process only adds about 10 minutes to your daily morning routine. It's a great way to start your day. You feel invigorated and alive and ready to face the day after a dry brushing.  Results can be felt almost immediately, but the healing affects of dry brushing will take a while longer. The best time to dry brush your skin is in the morning before your shower.


Start with the feet and legs. Use one long sweeping motion upwards towards your heart. Start at the bottom of the feet and move up the leg from back to front one leg at a time. Then do the hands and arms in the same manner, always brushing upwards towards the heart with a long sweeping motion. Next do the stomach and the hips in a horizontal movement from side to side. The neck and chest is next in a downward motion, again towards the heart. On your back, use long sweeping motions downward towards the small of your back.

Immediately after dry brushing, jump in the shower. Some references say to fluctuate between hot and cold water if you can stand it. The object is to rinse off the dead skin cells and open up the pores, so do whatever you can stand. Shower as usual with a pure natural soap. Towel dry, then apply the oil to your body in the same motion as you did your dry brushing. Movements should always be upwards towards your heart. You don't have to use a lot as you don't want that oily feeling all day long.

It's important not to forget your face. Dry brushing is too harsh for the face, so use a stiff washcloth either dry or with hot water (as hot as you can stand without burning yourself) and use short even motions outward towards your hairline. Never stroke towards the middle of your face. Then proceed with your normal daily facial routine.


Once you start implementing skin brushing into your morning routine, you won't be able to stop. It just feels so good and the benefits can be seen and felt almost immediately. The hardest part will be finding the 10 minutes in the morning. Do whatever you need to do to add this routine to your morning schedule. Set your alarm 10 minutes early if you have to. JUST DO IT....I GUARANTEE YOU'LL LOVE IT.