Sunday, May 29, 2011

Monday's health links

  1. New breast cancer screening guidelines and how women perceive them. Reuters. 
  2. Losing more than 15% of weight can help obese women significantly increase their vitamin D levels. Sacramento Bee.
  3. Doubts raised over the effectiveness of selenium against cancer. The National.
  4. The nutritional hazards of having your team make the playoffs. (Go Canucks! My downfall are Costco chicken wings with blue cheese dip. I've started piling on the vegetables along side these little honeys and washing it down with vast quantities of water instead of beer. Not as festive, for sure, but I'm also less sleepy by the middle of the third period. :-) ) CBC.
  5. Taking another look at aspartame. Daily Mail. Too many years ago, when I was a junior at university, a roommate who was a bit of a lab rat made a big impression on me when she said she would never, ever consume aspartame with any regularity - and she ate Wonder Bread.
  6. Ditching the food pyramid in favour of the dinner plate. New York Times.
  7. Dieting is easier with a little help from your friends. Huffington Post.
  8. Health Canada takes on Coca Cola - what is in that vitaminwater? Montreal Gazette.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Our garden

Spring has finally arrived in our corner of the world and we have started the garden. My lovely husband amended the soil with compost and mushroom manure, I scrubbed and refilled pots and then the boys and I set about planning this year's crops.

A trip to the nursery later and we were set with a mix of seeds and plants. The boys selected their vegetable and flower options (marigolds for Bunny, cosmos for Boomer) and we set about getting things going. Of course, the boys didn't last quite as long as me, but they were earnest and helpful.

So, between what was left from last year and what we added, here's what we're growing so far this year:
  • beets
  • blueberries
  • bush beans
  • carrots, dragon and mignon
  • herbs (3 kinds of basil, chives, cilantro, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, 2 kinds of sage, and 2 kinds of thyme)
  • kale
  • mixed mesclun greens
  • radishes
  • rainbow chard
  • sorrel
  • spinach
  • strawberries
  • sugar snap peas
  • sweet peas
  • tomatoes, 7 heirloom varieties, and
  • zucchini
I love the garden. I love the rewarding feeling you get when the harvest begins. I love taking pictures of the beautiful bowls of vegetables I bring in from the yard - yellow, green, purple and red tomatoes glistening alongside purple and orange carrots, ruffled spring greens and Easter egg-coloured radishes. I love knowing there are no pesticides on my vegetables even if it means picking the occasional bug off my plate. And I love what my garden teaches me, like how to be more productive with less, and how to let go of things that aren't working.

The boys are loving the garden, too, more and more every year. They love sowing the seeds and waiting for the first sprouts to show. They love watering, especially when the big fat earthworms ooze out of the soil to roll in the water. They love running out to the garden and bringing food back for the table. They love sneaking cherry tomatoes, warm from the sun (so does the dog). And they love repeating back for their dad or grandparents the things they are learning about plants and nutrition. They are learning other things too, like how to be responsible and how to be patient.

Gardens are amazing, aren't they? You plant a few seeds and, with a little work, you can harvest for years.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Up today on my recipe blog - rhubarb, the unlikely cancer warrior

If you like rhubarb, love rhubarb or know someone who does, lots of great recipes for this springtime vegetable. And you get to feel righteous while eating them 'cause you're also fighting cancer! Win, win. :-)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Monday's recipe links are up!

It's still Monday, right? Phew!

Go take a look...there's some yummy salads, highly rated Thai recipes and Alice Waters' roast chicken recipe - it's perfection.

Monday's health links

  1. Environmental Defence calls on Health Canada to tighten regulations on toxins in cosmetics after finding many unlisted heavy metals in cosmetics. It also calls for complete itemization of the makeup of our makeup. Why the heck doesn't this already happen? Cosmetic companies argue that many of these ingredients are naturally occurring components of listed ingredients. But when no level of lead is safe, and when no one knows what the cumulative impact is of many beauty products applied over many days, shouldn't consumers be able to see a complete itemization of what they are putting on their skin?
  2. Obesity raises men's prostate cancer risk.
  3. Teens are using sunbeds even though they know that they increase the risk of skin cancer.
  4. Prostate cancer on the rise for US servicemen.
  5. How much is enough? How much is too much? Coffee and its impact on disease, measured in cups.
  6. How about coffee and breast cancer? Consumer Reports Health reports on a study that examined coffee and its possible impact on estrogen-receptor negative breast cancer.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Angiogenesis: Is this another way we can use nutrition to fight cancer?

Earlier this week, registered dietitian Susan B. Dopart mentioned the work of cancer researcher Dr. William Li.  A while back he had been on Dr. Oz discussing angiogenesis, defined by him as being the way our body grows blood vessels. According to Dopart's article, Li says that microscopic cancers are growing in our bodies all the time and if blood vessels are not allowed to grow to feed these cells, cancer will not develop. He advocates using anti-angiogenesis therapy, the use of dietary forms of antiangiogenic substances to starve cancer cells and prevent their growth.

For me, this is exciting stuff. I am already including many of these foods and ingredients as part of my transition to a plant-based diet. This just gives additional weight to the science I have already been reading about the benefits of using nutrition as another weapon in my war on cancer.

Below is a table listing most of the dietary sources of antiangiogenic substances recommended by Dr. Li. Interestingly, Dopart adds Gouda, Jarlsberg and Edam cheeses in this group; it's nice to see some love for cheese from a nutritionist! I can't do the lavender (thank you, Brenda, for educating me on the estrogenic properties of my beloved sleepy-time essential oil), rarely eat soy and only occasionally allow myself the red wine, but most everything else is in my kitchen in some form or another. (Hold on a second...I'm just adding sea cucumber to my grocery list.Got to tell you...not a big fan.)  Dang, no joke -  by the end of today I will already have eaten more than a dozen of these.

If you are interested in more information on Dr. Li's work, here is a link to his TED Talk from 2010. When I get a quiet moment later today (shhhhh Bunny, Mommy is blogging, yes you can have a blueberry muffin) I'm going to curl up with my green tea and, yes, a blueberry muffin and watch it.

Hope you are all well.