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Diet and Physical Activity: What’s the Cancer Connection?

Cancer and Diet Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

How much do daily habits like diet and exercise affect your risk for cancer? More than you might think. Research has shown that poor diet and not being active are key factors that can increase a person’s cancer risk. The good news is that you can do something about this.

Besides quitting smoking, some of the most important things you can do to help reduce your cancer risk are:

  • Get to and stay at a healthy weight throughout life.
  • Be physically active on a regular basis.
  • Follow a healthy eating pattern at all ages.
  • Avoid or limit alcohol.

The evidence for this is strong. The World Cancer Research Fund estimates that at least 18% of all cancers diagnosed in the US are related to body fatness, physical inactivity, alcohol consumption, and/or poor nutrition, and thus could be prevented.

Control your weight.

Getting to and staying at a healthy weight is important to reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of several cancers, including those of the breast (in women past menopause), colon and rectum, endometrium (the lining of the uterus), esophagus, pancreas, liver, and kidney, as well as several others.

Being overweight can increase cancer risk in many ways. One of the main ways is that excess weight causes the body to make and circulate more estrogen and insulin, hormones that can stimulate cancer growth.

What’s a healthy weight?

One of the best ways to get an idea if you are at a healthy weight is to check your body mass index (BMI), a score based on the relationship between your height and weight. Use our easy online BMI calculator to find out your score.

Most people are at a normal weight if their BMI is below 25. Ask your doctor what your BMI number means and what action (if any) you should take.

If you are trying to control your weight, a good first step is to watch portion sizes, especially of foods high in calories, fat, and added sugars. Also try to limit your intake of high-calorie foods and drinks. Try writing down what and how much you eat and drink for a week, then see where you can cut down on portion sizes, cut back on some not-so-healthy foods and drinks, or both!

For those who are overweight or obese, losing even a small amount of weight has health benefits and is a good place to start.

Move more and sit less.

Watching how much you eat will help you control your weight. The other key is to be more physically active. Being active can help reduce your cancer risk by helping with weight control. It can also help improve your hormone levels and the way your immune system works.

More good news – physical activity helps you reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes, too! So grab your athletic shoes and head out the door!

The latest recommendations for adults call for 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity or 75-150 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week, or a combination of these. Getting to or exceeding the upper limit of 300 minutes is ideal. For kids, the recommendation is at least 60 minutes of moderate or vigorous intensity activity each day.

  • Moderate activities are those that make you breathe as hard as you would during a brisk walk. This includes things like walking, biking, or even housework and gardening.
  • Vigorous activities make you use large muscle groups and make your heart beat faster, make you breathe faster and deeper, and also make you sweat.

It’s also important to limit sedentary behavior such as sitting, lying down, watching TV, or looking at your phone or computer.

Being more physically active than usual, no matter what your level of activity, can have many health benefits.

Follow a healthy eating pattern.

Eating well is an important part of improving your health and reducing your cancer risk. Take a good hard look at what you typically eat each day, and try to build a healthy diet plan for yourself and your family.

A healthy eating pattern includes… 

  • Foods high in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients
  • Foods that are not high in calories, and that help you get to and stay at a healthy body weight
  • A colorful variety of vegetables – dark green, red, and orange
  • Fiber-rich beans and peas
  • A colorful variety of fruits 
  • Whole grains (in bread, pasta, etc.) and brown rice

A healthy eating pattern limits or does not include… 

  • Red meats like beef, pork, and lamb
  • Processed meats like bacon, sausage, luncheon meats, and hot dogs
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages, including soft drinks, sports drinks, and fruit drinks
  • Highly processed foods and refined grain products

Tips for a healthy eating pattern

  • Fill most of your plate with colorful vegetables and fruits, beans, and whole grains.
  • Choose fish, poultry, or beans as your main sources of protein instead of red meat or processed meats.
  • If you eat red or processed meats, eat smaller portions.

More healthy eating tips

  • Prepare meat, poultry, and fish by baking, broiling, or poaching rather than by frying or charbroiling.
  • Follow a healthy eating pattern when you eat away from home. Eat vegetables, whole fruit, and other low‐calorie foods instead of high‐calorie foods such as French fries, potato and other chips, ice cream, doughnuts, and other sweets. Restaurants often serve large portions, but you don’t have to eat it all in one sitting. Ask for a to-go box from the start, and pack up your leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day.  
  • Don’t supersize your plate—and yourself! If you enjoy some high‐calorie foods once in a while, eat smaller portions. 
  • Be a savvy consumer. Pay attention to food labels in the grocery store and on restaurant menus.
  • Limit your use of creamy sauces, dressings, and dips with vegetables and fruits.

It is best not to drink alcohol.

Alcohol increases the risk for several types of cancer. The more alcohol you drink, the higher your cancer risk. But for some types of cancer, most notably breast cancer, consuming even small amounts of alcohol can increase risk.

People who choose to drink alcohol should limit their intake to no more than 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink per day for women. The recommended limit is lower for women because of their smaller body size and slower breakdown of alcohol.

A drink of alcohol is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits (hard liquor). In terms of cancer risk, it is the amount of alcohol, not the type of alcoholic drink that is important.

Reducing cancer risk in our communities

Adopting a healthier lifestyle is easier for people who live, work, play, or go to school in an environment that supports healthy behaviors. Working together, communities can create the type of environment where healthy choices are easy to make.

We all can be part of these changes. Let’s ask for healthier food choices at our workplaces and schools. For every junk food item in the vending machine, ask for a healthy option, too. Support restaurants that help you to eat well by offering options like smaller portions, lower-calorie items, and whole-grain products. And let’s help make our communities safer and more appealing places to walk, bike, and be active.

The bottom line

Let’s challenge ourselves to lose some extra pounds, increase our physical activity, make healthy food choices, avoid or limit alcohol, and look for ways to make our communities healthier places to live, work, and play.

To learn more, see the American Cancer Society Guideline for Diet and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention.

Source: The American Cancer Society

What illness do you have? How have you considered your diet? What has made a difference? Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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Asthma & Diet

Asthma and Diet Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

It’s no secret that a well-balanced diet keeps the body and mind strong and healthy. Eating the right foods and nutrients can give us energy to stay active throughout the day, supports our immune system and improve our health—even our lung health!

The right nutrients in your diet can help you breathe easier, and in some cases, help minimize asthma symptoms. While there’s no specific diet recommendation for asthma, there are some foods and nutrients that may help support lung function and reduce asthma symptoms.

How Does Food Relate to Breathing?

Metabolism is the process of changing food to fuel in the body. Oxygen is important in this process to help burn the food’s nutrient molecules. When sugars, fibers, fats and proteins are broken down, energy is the final product. Carbon dioxide is created as a waste product and is exhaled.

Different types of nutrients require different amounts of oxygen and produce different amounts of carbon dioxide. Carbohydrates use more oxygen and produce more carbon dioxide, whereas fats produce less carbon dioxide for the amount of oxygen consumed. “Some people with COPD feel that eating a diet with fewer carbohydrates and more healthy fats helps them breathe easier,” says Traci Gonzales, nurse practitioner and volunteer spokesperson for the American Lung Association.

What Can Help

Vitamin D: Vitamin D plays an important role in boosting immune system responses and helps to reduce airway inflammation. Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to increased risk of asthma attacks in children and adults. Research also shows adults with asthma may benefit from vitamin D supplements, such as protective effects against acute respiratory infection and reduced rate of exacerbations needing treatment with systemic corticosteroids.

Food sources of vitamin D include: fortified milk, salmon, orange juice and eggs.

Vitamin E: Vitamin E contains a chemical compound called tocopherol, which may decrease the risk of some asthma symptoms like coughing or wheezing.

Sources of vitamin E include: almonds, raw seeds, Swiss chard, mustard greens, kale, broccoli and hazelnuts.

What to Avoid

Sulfites: While some fresh fruit such as apples or bananas can be helpful in your diet, sulfites are found in many dried fruits and can cause an adverse reaction or even worsen asthma symptoms for some.

Sulfites are also found in some pickled food, shrimp, maraschino cherries, bottled lemon or lime juices and alcohol. “Not everyone knows about this connection,” says Gonzales. “I’ve seen quite a few people whose asthma can be triggered when drinking alcohol, particularly red wine.”

Foods that cause gas: Avoid foods that cause gas or bloating, which often make breathing more difficult. This may cause chest tightness and trigger asthma flare ups.
Foods to avoid include: beans, carbonated drinks, onions, garlic and fried foods.

SalicylatesSalicylates are naturally occurring chemical compounds and, although it’s rare, some people with asthma may be sensitive to salicylates found in tea, coffee, some herbs or spices and even aspirin, according to Gonzales.

People with common food allergies or sensitivities, such as dairy products, artificial ingredients, tree nuts, wheat or shellfish, may also be at risk of developing asthma.

Some asthma patients may have heard of soy isoflavone supplements as a possible remedy for symptoms. A study from the American Lung Association Airways Clinical Research Centers (ACRC) Network has found that use of a soy isoflavone supplement did not result in improved lung function or clinical outcomes, including symptoms, episodes of poor asthma control or airway inflammation.

Keep in mind that food restrictions and allergies vary depending on the individual. Remember, no single food or vitamin will supply all the nutrients you need. A diet with a variety of vitamins and nutrients that keep our minds and bodies healthy.

It’s important to consult your doctor or a nutritionist before making any drastic changes to your diet. Learn more about nutrition and health at Nutrition.gov and find a registered dietitian nutritionist at EatRight.org.

Do you or do you know someone with asthma? What natural remedies do you use to address your asthma? What has helped the most?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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Cancer, Chronic Disease and Diet

How do you eat to support your overall health? Who helps you with your diet? Do you understand your diet needs? Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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Diet in Japan

Chicken Shack Japanese Restaurant Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

E. Welch

Mrs. Welch shares her experience with food (diet) from Japan: The pictures are from a place called Chicken Shack, an old Japanese House located in the hills converted into a restaurant. When one arrives, they sit on the floor atop of Japanese pillow at a traditional Japanese dinner table. The food was fantastic. I had the infamous chicken and gyoza (dumplings). James (husband) had a rice ball. Waterfalls run throughout and around the restaurant.

The food was very good. Definitely healthier. Their diet consist of lean meats, veggies and rice. Everything is fresh especially the veggies. They tend to frown on frozen food. They eat small portions. The rice ball is considered a full meal. Typically, they eat a rice ball, like that, a cup (4oz.) of soup. That is it! No more drinks, alcohol or tea?

Happy Birthday and thanks to Mrs. Welch for sharing her experience. What can you learn from their diet? How could you improve your diet? What about your diet is already great? Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing.

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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COVID 19 Interruptions and Excercise

exercise Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

As we often state, we believe exercise to be one of the 3 pillars of overall health. The other pillars being health (whether or not one is disease free) and diet. So, when the pandemic hit we were in our exercise grove. We felt great and exercise was contributing to our overall health. Then as we all know the pandemic hit. When the pandemic hit many things shut down and the world was forever changed. In Norfolk, VA, USA where we are, many things reopened a few months ago. But, like many others we were slow to venture out and have remained home as much as we can. Many people pivoted and simply exercised at home. Those people, organizations and companies who pivoted and pivoted fast and early were indeed smart. We wish them well as we wish everyone around the globe dealing with COVID 19 well.

We interrupted our exercising and did not exercise at home. However, we did change up our medicinal consumption. Before we were close to the path of healing but something was missing. Now that we have pivoted our medicinal consumption we feel that we are on the right track to healing. Stay tuned for updates on how the healing process progresses for us. We also made some simple changes in our diet based on our overall medical consumption strategy. We are also super happy to be back at the gym and implementing, what we feel is one of the pillars of good overall health, an exercise plan. We are back and with a partner. We both played sports, so we are excited to be exercising and getting physical again.

Despite the interruptions that COVID 19 have caused, not to mention the many illnesses and deaths, we are back stronger and healthier than ever. Did COVID 19 cause you to pivot your daily routines? What do you do at home now or in a different space than you did before COVID 19? What routines are you getting back into? Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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The Truth about Desserts

cinnamon oat cookie shidonna raven garden and cook

The truth about desserts is that you may love them. We definitely love them. Any informed organic consumer will be the first to tell you that just because it is organic does not mean it is good and nutritious for you. In other words, an organic apple is probably better for you than a bowl of organic chessy mac. Nonetheless, they are both organic. So, let us break that down for you. The process of growing foods organically is healthier for you than growing food in non organic means. The organic growing process is true or truer to nature and the natural process of growing foods. Food that is not grown organically involves chemicals and several other food production process frowned upon by even the USDA, even with its recent criticisms from true organic growers. Once one has an organic array of foods, then from there it is best to choose those foods best for you.

When considering what to eat and diet, one should have a clear understanding of their over all and holistic health. What is beneficial to one will not be beneficial to another. A person with anemia and a person with diabetes will have totally different diet needs. There are many ways to gain an understanding of one’s overall health and one’s dietary needs. Here are a couple of ways:

  • holistic doctor
  • dietitian
  • nutritionist
  • medical professional / doctor
  • Once one has a clearer picture of their dietary needs, one can make informed and educated decisions on how to best feed their bodies what it needs to perform at its best. Diet is only part of the picture. We believe that overall health and well being involves 3 pillars:
  • Health (many health professionals also include spiritual and emotional well being in this)
  • Physical Fitness – Exercise
  • Diet

Some of you are probably saying to yourselves, “I thought this article was about desserts.” You are so right! It is. So, let us get back to the good part. Our desserts are made with organic ingredients whenever possible. If not organic then natural. We select ingredients that are good for you but not necessarily “healthy” similar to organic foods (like the apple and the chessy mac). If one has to have a dessert, our desserts are an excellent choice. Of course desserts like all other things should be eaten in moderation. If given a choice, an organic salad is probably healthier for you than an organic cookie. Love them as we do, we indulge in a dessert or two. Nonetheless, when we do we make sure that they are as good for us as they can be. Refined and processed foods such as granulated sugar and flour never make it at the top of health lists. Nonetheless, we choose organic sugars and flours. So, we invite you to indulge responsibly by shopping our desserts (cookies, bars and squares).

What foods, or more specifically vitamins and minerals, are an important part of your diet? Why? What are your health needs? Do you have a chronic illness? The bible speaks clearly to us about healing. Chronic illnesses can cause other illnesses because your body is in a state of constant disease. Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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Beginning the Journey to Healing – 2

cooked vegetables shidonna raven garden and cook

This is the continued article from the previous day about what we hope is the beginning of our journey to healing. When we began this journey we knew that diet would be an important part of the journey. We thank you for taking the Journey with us and hope that it helps to feed and enrich your lives and indeed your overall health. The turning point of our journey began a long time ago and encompasses many people as each individual contributed their own knowledge and wisdom from chefs to dietitians and medical professionals. Western medicine presents many barriers to a true and total healing. Western medicine focuses highly on managing symptoms and the medicines that the pharmaceutical industry profits profoundly from. We do not consider hormones a medicines and thus our journey to healing has begun with zero medicines. Our journey took a significant turn when we walked into a holistic pharmacy (namely, Peoples Pharmacy of Norfolk, VA who are able to help you wherever you are located) or some vitamins. We believe that these holistic doctors were able to put us on the path to health in under a month and to diagnose the issue immediately. Some of us struggled with similar issues for years and others even longer.

All of my symptoms have begun to mitigate after we address what we believe is the root of the problem. It is only about a month in on this leg of our journey but we have already begun to see the difference. In another 2 months we are told the results will be better. Stay tuned and we will keep you updated on our journey. We take vitamins, minerals, spices, foods and oils combined with a strategic diet with foods that have medicinal benefits. We pray that these articles are transformative for you. Thank you for taking this journey with us. How do you wish you could improve your health? How has your health hindered you? How has your health changed your life? How have these articles helped you? How can they help your friends and family? Post your comments below. Share the wealth of health with your family and friends by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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Beginning the Journey to Healing

Diet & Health Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Most people will tell you that at the center of good health is diet and exercise. And we would agree. Our journey however has lead us to look at health as the third pillar of over good health. While one may exercise and have an excellent diet, these do have a profound on your over all health. But health in itself can be a little more complicated than just exercise and diet. In fact many people in excellent health have reported contracting COVID 19. While COVID 19 did hit communities with preexisting conditions hardest, this does not mean that people without under lying conditions were not also hit. Indeed they want you to know that COVID 19 has impacted us all: old, young, sick and healthy.

Perhaps this was what was so confusing to us. While we were all in pretty good health, we still struggled with health conditions that impacted our health. Chef Ponder really challenged me not to accept diagnoses. One of the most impressive things about Chef Ponder is that he is not only a great cook but an excellent student of food and human begins. He talked alot about how things in our environment can impact our health. Things like temperature and available foods can impact our health. For instance, if one’s relatives are from a warm climate and they then move to a cold climate, they will eat different foods because they eat what is available. This difference in diet can impact one’s health. While one maybe eating “healthy”, the food may not be proper given the history of your family. In other words it can have an impact on your body and thus health.

Chef Ponder along with many others along this Journey have helped us to begin what we hope is a path to our healing. Read the next article to learn more. What health concerns do you have? Have you found your path to healing? How long did it take you? Who helped you?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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Diet for High Cholesterol

Some of you have reached out to us regarding high cholesterol health problems. As you guessed it, the first thing that is suggested is changing your diet and introducing exercise into your routine. What are three things you can do today to improve your cholesterol? What foods do you eat now that do not contribute to your good health with regard to cholesterol? Make a grocery list of foods that improve good cholesterol and prevent bad cholesterol. Do you know the difference? Share your comments with the community by positing them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing.

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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The Organic Vegetables Edge

Buying Organic
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Source: Consumer Reports

Making informed choices about the foods we eat also helps us partner well with health professionals regarding our over all health. Do you know the difference between Organic and Non Organic Foods? Do you think buying organic is like buying gourmet food? What is different about food today than food 40 years ago? What has changed and how do pesticides and GMOs effect your health? As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing.

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.