What Is YOUR Favorite Christmas Memory?

While browsing the pages of Downhome Magazine last night, I noticed the theme “Memories of Christmas Past” emerge in many of the articles. That got me to thinking about my own Christmas memories and I posed this question to myself: “What is my most pleasant memory of Christmas?” Ask yourself that question right now.   Don’t over-think it. What is the first thing that comes to your mind? You might be surprised at how some seemingly insignificant things hold a special place in your heart.

Like many of you, in response to this question, my mind was flooded with images of my childhood Christmases. Unlike today, when toy elves and angels are vying for space on store shelves alongside of skeletons and Draculas, back in the day, there was literally no sign of Christmas until…..brace yourself for this one….DECEMBER! The first inkling that Christmas was around the corner in our home was the checking of the tree lights.

Christmas post 1

 

A few weeks before Christmas each year, my parents would take out the box (yes, one box) of Christmas decorations from storage, and plug in the strings of multi-colored lights to check for burned out bulbs. It wasn’t hard to figure out if there was a burned out one in the set, since one going caused the whole set to go out. Finding the offending bulb was the problem, but we children thoroughly enjoyed watching our parents go through the painstaking task of replacing bulb after bulb until the whole set lit up. (We could almost hear the Alleluia Chorus play when they finally did light up!)

These days, it is not unusual for families to put up their perfectly decorated and themed Christmas tree in November. Back in the day, however, if someone had their tree up on December 22, they were thought to be jumping the gun on the season! In our home, the tree usually went up on the 23rd, but for many families, it was a Christmas Eve tradition. Dad would drag the freshly cut tree into the house in the afternoon and set it in the corner. Then after supper, the whole family would pitch in with the decorating, always starting with the lights, next the glass balls and hand made ornaments, followed by the glittering garland and silver tinsel, and ending with the star or angel on top. These days we buy artificial Christmas tree scent by the tin, but nothing can beat the whiff that would delight our senses when the red-hot tree lights warmed the branches of the evergreen.

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Let’s face it, for kids these days, every day is Christmas! New toys, books, and treats are things our children take for granted. Back in my day however, Christmas was such a special time because that is the ONLY time we got those things. Unlike some of the families in our small town, my four sisters and I were very fortunate to find a couple of toys each under the tree, and our stockings were always filled with treats of fruit and candy. (By stocking, I mean my father’s wool socks.) To this day when I eat a grape, I almost get the after-taste of wool, because those stocking grapes were the only ones we got for the year. In fact, in rural Newfoundland, that was perhaps the only time of year that grapes could be found in the store! I don’t know of any children these days who would consider fruit a treat (for many kids, it is more likely considered compost).

I am sure many of you as well, recall the “Little Golden Books” that we would get as gifts at Christmas, my favorite being “The Littlest Angel”.   These days, kids have literally hundreds, even thousands of books at their fingertips. In my childhood books were a rare treat, and having a story book read to us by mom on Christmas Eve, as we gathered around in our new flannel nightgowns, was another Christmas delight.

Christmas post 3

These are a few of my favorite Christmas memories, but it surprised me that neither of these was the first thing that popped into my mind when I posed the question: “What is my most pleasant memory of Christmas?”   What actually first came to mind for me was the annual school Christmas concert. Starting in early December, hordes of volunteers would stay after school, projecting images traced from Christmas coloring books onto large sheets of Bristol board, then painting them to decorate the walls of the gymnasium. On concert night, the gym would be magically transformed by images of snowmen, Christmas trees, Santa, and children skating on ponds, so that we felt as if we were in our very own winter wonderland. Parents watched with bated breaths as their little ones walked onto the stage to recite their lines. To see their proud faces, you wouldn’t know but their child was giving an Oscar winning performance (best supporting actress in the role of the third elf goes to……)! But the best part of the Christmas concert, was the very last act of the night: the Nativity scene.   To be chosen to play Mary was an honor in my small community, and the townspeople would sometimes get vocal if they were not in agreement with the Nun’s choice: “Well, of all the nerve! Trying to pass Betsy Smith off as a virgin, when my little Phoebe would have made the perfect Virgin Mary!” The boys would be decked out in their grandfather’s robes, with a tea towel draped over their heads, while the girls donned large angel wings, trimmed with silver garland and a matching halo. This is my most pleasant Christmas memory: Captivated by the Nativity, as the sweet melody of children’s voices singing “Silent Night” echoed through the room, I felt myself experience for the first time, a most pleasant feeling; a feeling that I have come to know as “The Christmas Spirit.”

Christmas concert 3

The Christmas Spirit is more elusive to me these days, but every now and again it will fill me with its essence. It could be brought on by hearing “Snoopy’s Christmas” on the radio, smelling a real Christmas tree, baking cookies with my kids, or by drinking a glass of Purity syrup (a traditional Christmas drink in Newfoundland). When the Christmas Spirit hits, it is as if I am transported back in time to those magical Christmas days gone by.

I see so many posts on Facebook lately about the true meaning of Christmas, and there seems to be a consensus that it is all about time spent with family. Well, if that is the case, then when I was a kid, every day REALLY was Christmas! Families ate together, played board games together, went on picnics on warm summer days with 50 cousins, swam in the brook, watched Walt Disney on Sunday evenings, and sat around the woodstove to listen to their grandparents tell ghost stories and sing tragic songs with a hundred verses. Visiting with family and friends was not reserved for the Christmas season, it was an everyday thing. I guess in the same way that kids these days take new toys and candy for granted, we probably took those special family times together for granted.   So while the true meaning of Christmas in the modern sense may be time spent with family, for me, it will always be that Christmas Spirit feeling brought on by Little Golden Books, a fresh cut Christmas tree, a bowl of hard satin mix candy, new flannel nightgowns, and the Christmas concert!

Christmas post 4

 I would love to hear YOUR favorite memory of Christmas!

 

The Secret To Well-Being

I am going to switch gears in this week’s post and talk to you about someone who is near and dear to me, my 9 year old son, Ben. As many of you know, I am the single mom of three great kids, Kailtyn, who is 19 and on the Dean’s list at University. She has a very bright future, and I look forward to watching her life unfold. Donovan is 16, not as scholarly as Kailtyn, but what he lacks in work ethic, he more than makes up for with his super-loveable personality. He is a good kid, and I am sure that life has many wonderful things in store for him. Then there’s Ben.

Fam jam

Family pic, summer 2014

When Ben was born, I was over the moon with happiness! Eight pounds of beautiful, healthy baby perfection. I know you are not supposed to compare your kids, but I couldn’t help but to sneak a peek into Kaitlyn’s and Donovan’s baby books, just to see how Ben measured up. On all the important things, like rolling over and taking his first steps, he was right on par. Such a smart little boy! I remember for Ben’s first Christmas I gave him this little doctor’s kit, and I secretly hoped that he would grow up to be a doctor, like his dad.

Ben A

Ben’s birth, May 11, 2005

 

But by Ben’s second Christmas, I started to notice some peculiar behaviors. Rather than put his trucks on the floor and go “vroom, vroom” like most little boys do, he would turn them over and just spin the wheels, over and over and over. He had not spoken a single word at 2 years old, but what concerned me most was how distant and withdrawn he was. Ben never came to me looking for attention. He seemed to prefer to be on his own and do his own thing. In many ways, Ben really did appear to be “in a world of his own.”

 

So when Ben was diagnosed with autism at 3 years old, it didn’t come as a shocker to me. But still, it was devastating news. In some ways, it felt like a death. Although Ben was still physically with me, all the hopes and dreams that I had for his future were suddenly gone. I was no longer concerned with whether or not Ben might grow up to be a doctor. I had more pressing concerns now! Like, would he ever talk? Would he ever be toilet trained? Would he ever have a friend?

Ben B

Ben’s third birthday, just days after his diagnosis of autism. 

(It would be three more years before he was able to blow out his birthday candles on his own.)

For the next three years, I devoted myself to Ben’s therapy. I was determined to fix Ben’s autism! So I learned how to do all of his therapies: ABA therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and I started to view nearly every moment that Ben and I spent together as an opportunity for therapy. We weren’t just throwing rocks in the water, we were working on his fine and gross motor skills. We weren’t just blowing soap bubbles, we were developing his oral-motor skills in preparation for speech. I wasn’t just giving Ben a bath. I was teaching him important self-help skills. In some ways, all of my hard work paid off. Ben’s skills were slowly developing, but I couldn’t shake that feeling that if I suddenly just disappeared off the face of the planet, that Ben wouldn’t even notice.

Ben C

Throwing rocks to improve Ben’s fine and gross motor skills.

Then something happened that completely turned our worlds upside down! I was 44 and Ben was 6 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer and told that my odds of surviving for 5 years were just over 50%. As you can imagine, “fixing” Ben’s autism, was no longer at the top of my list of priorities. I was in survival mode! Over the next year, as I underwent a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation treatments, I did not have the time nor the energy to devote to Ben’s therapy. Now don’t get me wrong. We would still go for walks on the beach and throw rocks in the water, but we did it just for the sake of seeing the splash. We would still blow soap bubbles, but rather than force Ben to do it, I just let him enjoy the bubbles that I blew. And I started to see bath time as an opportunity for play, not work. I can honestly say, that for the first time since Ben was diagnosed with autism, I was truly and completely……PRESENT….with him. No hidden agendas, not trying to fix him, just present. And that, my friends, is when Ben started to come out of his world, and into mine.

Even though Ben still could not talk at 6 years old, he could read and had learned how to use a computer. While I was going through treatments for cancer, he started doing something that he had never done before. He would type up and print off these notes and bring them to me; notes with messages like “mom is sick” or “mom is hurt”. I was completely blown away! I really did not think this kid was capable of understanding how sick I was. Other times he would bring me notes with messages like, “Dear mom, you are nice,” or “Dear mom, I love you.”, and those notes let me know that not only did he understand, but he cared. And if I suddenly did disappear from the face of the planet, he WOULD notice.

Ben EBen delivers a note to cheer up his mom after a difficult chemo.

For most of my life, I had been searching for the secret to “well-being”, and peace of mind. I had read hundreds of books, enrolled in courses, and attended numerous workshops. Over the years, I had many gurus: Wayne Dyer, Thich Nhath, and Eckhart Tolle, just to name a few. Ironically, I learned more about well-being the year I battled cancer than I did from all my years of reading books and doing courses. The greatest lesson was taught to me, not by a great guru, but by a 6 year old, autistic boy. When I stopped worrying about Ben’s future and trying to fix his autism, and just enjoyed BEING with my little boy, it brought both of us a sense of well-being. When I let go of the fear and worry about my future with cancer, and focused on healing in the present moment, this also gave me a sense of well-being. With a mind that was at peace, my body was better able to do the work of healing itself.

Life with Ben still has its challenges. But the joys of being Ben’s mom far outweigh the challenges.  Although Ben may appear to be in a world of his own, his kind gestures while I was going through cancer treatments proved to me that he is very aware and very much a part of my world.  This little boy taught me one of my greatest life lessons:  that the secret to well being, lies in being present.

Ben F

Ben, being “present”.

Which Water Is Best?

Hello my peeps! It has been some time since I have posted, and I feel that I owe it to my fans (Mom and Shawn), to do at least somewhat regular postings. While the topic of water may sound “bland”, my goal in this post is to give you a new respect for this life-giving liquid, so please hear me out. But first, let me begin with a story…

gas A few years ago, we in Newfoundland were hit with an over-night huge hike in gas prices. People were out raged, and rightly so. As I was standing in line at the gas station one day, waiting to pay for my purchase, a woman in front of me was having quite the rant about this.

“Highway robbery it is! I have never seen the likes of it in my life. A dollar and forty cents for a litre of gas! What a complete rip off!”

I impatiently tapped my debit card on the counter, trying to give her the hint to hurry up.

“They should be shot, the lot of them! I mean, gas is a necessity of life, how can they be allowed to charge so much money for something we absolutely cannot do without? Oh, hold on a second”, she continued, “I need to get a bottle of water.”

She then proceeded to the cooler and took out a one litre bottle of Aquafina water.

“That will be two dollars and nine cents.” Said the cashier.

She smiled and handed him a $5 bill.

I was dumbfounded.

Why was I dumbfounded, you may ask? Well, just think about it. She just had a big rant because she had to pay $1.40 for a litre of gas. However, she had no issue with paying $2.09 for a litre of water….. SOMETHING WE CAN GET FOR FREE!!!! It made me wonder, if we could turn on our taps and get perfectly good gasoline for free, would we still be inclined to go to a store and pay for it by the bottle? It’s really no different when you think about it. How did we ever get brainwashed into paying for something that we can get for free, and thinking that we are doing our bodies a favor by drinking it?

bottleForget that you are throwing away your money by paying for bottled water, consider the other reasons for going to your tap. Let’s begin with the plastic itself. There is a growing body of research which links the chemical bisphenol-a (BPA), commonly found in water bottles, to a range of human health problems, including a higher risk of certain cancers, reduced fertility, birth defects and diabetes. (source: Neimark, Zandonella) You don’t know how long the water has been sitting in these bottles before it gets to you, but the longer it is in there, the more likely that these health-damaging chemicals are leaching into the water.  Not to mention, consider the impact of all of that plastic on our environment!

Now let’s take a look at the water itself. Companies would have you believe that their water comes from pristine source like this:

water 1

 

but more than likely, it comes from here:

water 2

 

Read the label on your water bottle.   In Canada at least, many of the most popular brands of water come from the municipal water supplies of Ontario or Quebec. Yes folks, that’s Ontario or Quebec TAP WATER. Sure, it goes through a filtration process, but guess what, we can filter our own water at a fraction of the cost by installing a water filter on our taps or by using a simple water filter jug, such as the Brita. If you are living a cancer prevention lifestyle you don’t want things like chlorine going into your body, but a simple charcoal filter, such as the Brita, will remove most additives and make your water taste better.

spring 2

 

I, like many people in Newfoundland, am very fortunate to live close to a natural spring. One of the best things about natural spring water is that it comes from water that flows to the surface from a clean underground water source. So you don’t have to worry about filtering out the contaminants typically found in tap water. (But make sure it has been tested by health officials!) As an added bonus, spring water contains many minerals which are beneficial to our health. Have you ever had a swig of cold spring water right from the source? If you have, you will agree that it has such a clean, refreshing taste that is unmatched by any other water. It is much easier to get your recommended 8 glasses a day when the water tastes this good! Oh, and did I mention, it is FREE!

Remember this, water is the only beverage that your body needs in order to live. One of the best things you can do for your health is to drink plenty of clean water. If you really want to add a cancer fighting kick to your water, add the juice of a half a fresh lemon to at least one of your eight glasses.     CHEERS!

 

water 4

 

 

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“Scanxiety”

Most cancer survivors are familiar with the word “scanxiety”; if not the word, then I am certain they can relate to the feelings of anxiety, terror and worry that come with each “scan”. Has the cancer returned? Has it spread?    How will I ever cope with going through chemo again? These are just a few of the questions that were going through my mind as I awaited the results of my recent bone scan.   How did it turn out? Well, they say a picture paints a thousand words, and this one was taken minutes after I got my test results:

happy flo

Happy Flo after her good report!

YES! That pesky back pain was not (as I had feared), from metastatic breast cancer, but rather the result of nothing more than some minor arthritis. Not only did my oncologist give me a clean bill of health, but she also discharged me from the cancer clinic! That’s right folks, after three and a half long years, I am no longer considered a “cancer patient”.   You know what that means, right? I am CURED! Enough of this healthy living crap, I can go back to living the way I did BEFORE I had cancer. Hello barbequed steak! Welcome back soft serve ice-cream!! Don’t even bother to re-cork that wine!!! I am CANCER FREE and there is no way that cancer can touch me now!

Well, not exactly, although I do think that some people see it that way. The reality is, I got a good report, THIS TIME. The reality is, there is still no CURE for cancer. The reality is, the very treatments that saved my life, are known to CAUSE cancer. The reality is, for the rest of my life, I will have about a 30% chance of having a cancer RECURRENCE. The reality is, the only way I will ever truly know if I SURVIVED cancer, is if I die from something else.

Don’t get me wrong, I am over the moon with happiness about my good health. I am also overwhelmed by the show of support from my family, friends and colleagues who celebrated this good news with me.

happy flo 3

My wonderful colleagues decorated my office in celebration of my good report.

But don’t fire up the barbeque just yet. I don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but I will repeat what you have probably heard from me many times before: my best defense against cancer is still my lifestyle choices.   If only one good thing could come from me having cancer, then I hope it would be the opportunity to share this message with other survivors.

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An Unlikely Angel

For those of you who know me personally, or have read my book, it should come as no surprise that I believe in angels. Just as I am sure that there is a Divine being called God, who oversees the workings of the universe, I am equally sure that He has assigned angels to each and every one of us to watch over, guide, and help protect us. I also believe that the loving energy of the angels is sometimes manifested to us through a fellow human being, as was the case for me this morning.

Before I introduce you to my angel in human form, let me tell you about the events leading up to the encounter. About 8 weeks ago, I started to feel a nagging little pain in my middle back. The biggest fear that cancer survivors like me live with, is the fear of the cancer returning. Even though I am currently cancer free (as far as I know), for the rest of my life, I have about a 30% chance of having a recurrence. Since breast cancer commonly metastasizes to the lungs, brain or bones, this little back ache caused me serious concern, as you can imagine. It also concerned my doctor enough to send me for a bone scan.

So off I set this morning, Miraculous Medal pinned safely to my bra, in search of St. Claire’s Mercy Hospital for my bone scan. Having visited St. Claire’s a couple of times, I thought I had an idea of how to get there. Once again however, I was reminded to never, EVER trust my warped sense of direction. Before I knew it, I was in the bowels of downtown, driving around aimlessly, making wrong turns, and going up one-way streets…….the other way. A sincere thank you to the “gentleman” in the rusty red truck who was kind enough to chase after me for a quarter of a mile, waving his fist and shouting obscenities, in order to alert me of my mistake. God love him.

I eventually found the hospital, but was not so lucky in finding a place to park. After circling several lots, (and encountering what I assume to be the cousins of rusty red truck guy, judging by their fist-waving and obscenities), I finally decided to hold up illegally in a “permit only” lot. So, fingers crossed, off I dashed for the hospital, already ten minutes late for my appointment.

St. Claires

I am pretty sure the ghosts of the kind old nuns are still roaming the halls of St. Claire’s, pictured above.

One would assume that when one enters the MAIN doors of a hospital, and is standing in the MAIN lobby of said hospital, that one would be greeted by a receptionist of some kind, who could direct lost souls such as myself. Not the case with St. Claire’s. After several trips up and down the elevator, and harassing fellow patients for directions, I finally found a narrow hallway that led to, what looked to be a receptionist of some kind, sitting behind a desk.

“Can you please tell me how to get to Nuclear Medicine?” I asked.

“Take a number and have a seat,” she replied, rather Nazi-like.

“Please, I am just looking for directions,” I pleaded.

“TAKE A NUMBER AND HAVE A SEAT!” she practically shouted. “Or I will call security and have your sorry arse dragged out of here!” Well, she didn’t actually SAY that last part, but I KNOW she was thinking it. So I took my seat.

About 15 minutes later, my number was called.

“I am looking for nuclear medicine”, I timidly repeated, so as to not rouse Nazi-receptionist’s anger again.

“My ducky you are in the wrong area,” she sweetly answered. “Go to the first floor waiting area, take a number and have a seat.”

And so I did. Again.   But this time I was in the right place and before I knew it, I was injected with some radio-active crap and sent on my merry way.

On the drive home, I happened to pass a lovely super-market touting a sale on fresh produce. Since I was lost anyway, I figured there was no harm in checking it out. True to their word, it was a vegan’s paradise: Cauliflowers, 3/$5; shitake mushrooms, $1; and avacados, buy one get one free. I happily filled my cart and set off to the check out.

No sooner had I loaded all 18 items onto the conveyer belt, than I glanced up to see a sign: 8 items or less. I looked to the cashier, “I am so sorry, I didn’t see the sign, it’s my first time shopping here,” I said.

“No worries,” she said, “I’ll check you in.” Just then, her evil step-sister pushed her aside and took over the cash.

“Mam, this lane is for 8 items or less”, she growled at me.

“But by the time I put it all back in the cart, you could have it checked in,” I said with a sheepish smile.

“Mam, PUT YOUR ITEMS BACK IN THE CART”, she practically shouted, “Or I will call security and have your sorry arse dragged out of here.” OK, she did not actually SAY that last part either, but I KNOW she was thinking it!

I hastily re-carted my groceries, all the while enduring Medusa like dirty looks from my fellow shoppers. Red-faced and indignant, I headed off to the next lane, followed closely behind by an elderly gentleman, who looked something like this:

old man

“Don’t mind her. She’s a real bitch, “ said elderly gentleman.

“Thanks,” I smiled, relieved to finally have found a kind soul in this mean city.

“I was going to try to sneak in there myself with ten items, but if she turned me away, I was afraid I might tell her to go shag herself!” he responded. “It’s like this. I am dying of cancer, and I don’t have time for that sort of crap. Life is just too short.”

“I am sorry to hear that, “ I said, “What kind of cancer?”

“It started in my prostate, but now it has spread to my bones,” he continued, “I don’t have a lot of time left and I am not wasting a minute of it around negative people like her.”

As our groceries were being bagged, we went on to share our stories, one survivor to another.   Before I left, he squeezed my arm and said, “Best of luck to you. I’ll say a prayer for good results.” What an angel.

Ok, I will admit, you probably would not hear the words, “bitch”, “shag” or “crap” coming from the mouth of an authentic angel. But after dealing with rusty red truck guy and his cousins, Nazi receptionist, and evil step sister cashier, that man was truly an ANGEL!

Be kind

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cha-Cha-Cha-CHIA! Week 3 of the 5 Weeks to Healthier Eating Challenge

chia 4

I know, I know….I missed a week in my five week series. It was supposed to be posted last weekend, but my week was a little crazy (I’ll tell you more about that in another post.) A sincere apology to my fans. YES, I said fans. Plural. There was a time when I had just the one fan, Mom. But last weekend, I found a second one, Elaine. (Hope your surgery went well, Elaine. Sending loving thoughts.) So, as to not disappoint my fanSSS, here is part 3 of my 5 part healthier eating challenge featuring my favorite super-foods.

Just to re-cap: Here’s the challenge: 5 weeks, 5 super-foods, and 5 ways to prepare them! We all want to eat healthier, right?   However, the secret to healthier eating is NOT to obsess about all of the foods you CAN’T eat, but rather focus on adding new, health promoting foods to your existing diet. For 5 weeks, I will be presenting one food a week for you to try….or to try in a new way.   All you have to do is try just one of the five recipes presented each week and decide….is this a food I can live with?

If you missed week 1, “Hail to the Kale”, click HERE. For week 2, “Get Keen on Quinoa”, click HERE.

Week 3: cha-cha-cha CHIA!

Chia pets have been around since the seventies: you simply moisten a terra cotta figurine and the chia seeds sprout to produce hair or fur. Here is what an early chia pet looked like:

chia pet 2

Through the process of evolution and insane marketing, this is what a modern day chia pet looks like:

chia duck

Did you know however, that chia seeds have more uses than just growing beards on Duck Dynasty dudes? They are super good for you!

First of all, let me tell you five of the benefits of eating chia seeds, taken from our book 100 Perks of Having Cancer Plus 100 Health Tips for Surviving It (thanks, Susan!)

  1. They make you feel full, which may aid in weight loss. When left in juice or water for about 15 minutes, they absorb the liquid and thicken the consistency (great for smoothies!).
  2. They are high in Omega 3 fatty acids. If you want to learn more about Omega 3 vs. Omega 6 fatty acids, you can read pages 49 to 53 in our book. I don’t want to go all technical on you, but here is my understanding: Omega 6 is bad, Omega 3 is good. Omega 6 increases the inflammatory response, which is the root cause of all evil in the body, such as cancer and heart disease. Omega 3 creates an ANTI-inflammatory response. Many people take fish oil capsules to increase their daily ratio of Omega 3 fatty acids. However, just one tablespoon of chia seeds contains the Omega 3 equivalent of FIVE fish oil capsules!
  3. One ounce of chia seeds provided 18% of your recommended daily dose (RDA) of calcium, once again dispelling the myth that only dairy contains calcium.
  4. While you can get 30% of your RDA for calcium from a cup of milk, you get ZERO fiber from milk…or from any other animal based product for that matter. Chia seeds on the other hand are a good source of calcium AND fiber, giving you 42% of your RDA. Fiber is not just good to get your bowels moving, it also has anti-cancer properties by helping to move toxins out of the body. And did I mention that fiber helps you to feel full, which really helps when you are trying to lose weight.
  5. One ounce of chia seeds contains 4 grams of protein. Used in a smoothie or sprinkled on your morning cereal, it is a great way to get in a dose of protein early in your day.

Now for five ways to eat these delightful little seeds:

1. Sprinkle Them Everywhere

You can add a tablespoon of chia seeds to pretty much anything you are eating! While sitting around the staffroom table at lunch time yesterday, the topic of chia seeds came up. (We are a very health conscious staff!)   One woman said that she “hides” chia seeds in many foods that she makes for her kids, such as pancakes, burgers, pizza, and muffins.   Chia seeds are also great sprinkled on your cereal, and will give your smoothie a rich, thick consistency, helping you to feel full longer.

2. Create Your Own Smoothie

smoothie post

Smoothies are a great way to start your day with a cancer-fighting punch! There are many possible ingredients for smoothies, and since the possibilities are endless, I have created this generic recipe for you to follow.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk (or cow’s milk if your body really needs that added fat and cholesterol. Regular cow’s milk contains 8 grams of fat and 30 mg of cholesterol per serving, whereas the same amount of almond milk contains only 3 grams of fat, and ZERO cholesterol. Both almond milk and cow’s milk contain the exact same amount of calcium, 30%)
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen fruit, if using fresh, throw in a handful of ice cubes to cool the mix
  • 1 cup greens, try spinich, kale, lettuce or other greens of choice, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup frozen berries, remember, when it comes to cancer prevention, the darker the berry, the more anti-oxidents
  • 1 tablespoon nuts, such as cashews, almonds or walnuts, optional, but gives it an extra boost of protein

Directions

Always look for organic produce. Throw all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth! Here is where you can use your imagination to create your own unique smoothie recipe. Try combining anti-oxidant powerhouse berries (such as blueberries or blackberries) with fruit, such as a banana or frozen mango. If your smoothie is a little tart, try adding a teaspoon full of natural sweetener such as agave, pure maple syrup or honey, or some fruit juice.   If it is too thick, just add more liquid to get the desired consistency.

3. Chia Seed Chocolate Pudding

choc pudd

Using very little sugar and all wholesome whole ingredients, you can make this chocolaty dessert that just happens to provide a boatload of Omega 3 fatty acids.

Ingredients

  • 1 banana very ripe
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2-3 tablespoons pure powdered cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut sugar or 10 drops stevia or 1 tablespoon honey (if you don’t have healthier alternative to sugar, I guess you can use 1-2 teaspoons of sugar),
  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds

Directions

In a blender or processor, blend water and banana until very thin. Add other ingredients except chia seeds and blend very well. Stir in seeds with a spoon. Let it sit 1 hour, stirring occasionally while it thickens up. Pour into 2 or 3 small dessert dishes, garnish with berries (optional) and refrigerate for about 15 minutes. Enjoy!

 

4. Strawberry (OR Blueberry) Chia Seed Jam

Jam

Simple and fun and you’re turning jam into an Omega-3 powerhouse! Magic!  (Now I know what I will do with all of those wild blueberries my mom picked for me!)

 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound strawberries (or any berries) washed, hulled and chopped into quarters
  • 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup (or less if you don’t want it sweet)
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds

Directions

If using blueberries or raspberries you do not need to chop, just wash.

Add fruit along with sweetener to a saucepan and heat over medium heat.

Once the berries heat up, carefully smash them with a fork or masher until you get the consistency you like.

Allow the fruit to come to a boil and allow to gently boil for about 5 minutes until it forms a sauce.

You can taste it here to see if you’d like to adjust the sweetener.

Stir in 2 tablespoons chia seeds and stir allowing to cook for one more minute.

Remove from heat

Wait until the jam thickens about 10-15 minutes. It will thicken as it cools. If it’s thin, add another teaspoon or two and stir well and allow to sit.

When it’s cooled to room temp, you can eat.

Keep in airtight jar in fridge for up to 2 weeks.

 

5. Almond Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding

chia3

This light and fruity dessert also makes a great breakfast food or snack.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1 (16 ounce) package fresh strawberries hulled
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Puree almond milk and strawberries in a blender until smooth; pour into a bowl. Stir chia seeds, honey, and vanilla extract into the strawberry puree.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, about 4 hours.

So, there you have it folks, 5 good reasons to eat chia seeds and 5 delicious ways to prepare them. If you are serious about eating for cancer prevention, I encourage you to sign up for our FREE 4 day Cancer Plan 4 Life Kickstart program, (click the button below) where you can access these plus hundreds of other delicious, cancer-fighting recipes. Survive and Thrive!

4-day button copy

 

 

 

 

Healthy & Powerfully Feminine‏

Hi everyone!  I noticed a few people have come on board with the “Healthier Eating Challenge”.  In case you missed it, you can find my post (and recipes) on kale HERE, and my quinoa post HERE, with 3 more super-foods to feature in the coming weeks.

But, let’s take a break from that.  I have recently cyber-met a lovely lady who is taking on a fabulous project to help cancer survivors everywhere.  In this post, she tells us about her project and links us to her site, where you can find more information.  So please take a few minutes to read Mireille’s post:

M

Mireille Parker is a transformational life coach who works with female entrepreneurs to incorporate their femininity into their business for more ease, flow and fun in their lives. After going through a health crisis with breast cancer, Mireille knows the importance of empowering our bodies to heal, developing our feminine essence and balancing it with our masculine to work smarter, not harder, and putting the structures and boundaries in place that support our well-being. Originally from Australia, she is now living an active life in Switzerland and has recently completed her first novel, Wonderlust. She is also a dancer and yoga-fan, who balances green juice with champagne, prioritises weekly massages and loves being in nature. 

What does it mean to be a healthy and powerfully feminine woman?

 

How would it feel to have a healthy relationship with your body, to be in communication with her, to be proud of your imperfections, to cultivate gratitude and tend to your mind, conscious of what you’re putting in to it just as you are with your body?

 

Imagine being pleasureful, playful, fun and full of joy and passion, sensual and present, lit up from the inside, appreciating your beauty, pampering yourself and being in a loving, supportive community.

 

This is who you are. This is your female essence. You are vibrant like the trees and the sky. You are alive like water and sunlight. You are feminine, powerful and healthy.

 

It’s a gift to be a woman.

 

For years we’ve tried to keep up, we’ve pushed to get ahead and become disconnected to our bodies.  But this is a new era. It’s the age of the healthy and powerfully feminine woman.

 

In the Healthy and Powerfully Feminine Interview Series, starting September 22nd, we’ll be going deep about not only physical/external health, but also how to be healthy on an emotional and spiritual level.

 

I’ll be interviewing ten incredible women from around the world, including…

Women who have healed menstrual and digestive issues, precancerous conditions & endometriosis.

Your very own Susan Gonzales, stage III cancer survivor and advocate for holistic healing.

Plus, mentors on feminine leadership, women’s empowerment, health & nutrition, lifestyle design for moms and wellness and weight-loss through pleasure & sensuality.

We’re talking about how to empower our bodies to heal and be healthy, how to create more flow, ease and fun in our lives, developing intuition and guidance, the importance of beauty, how to deal with our emotions and cultivating our feminine power while being successful in our careers.

 

For more information, come join us at www.healthyandpowerfullyfeminine.com

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