Ok, maybe distasteful but I think this is the most clever Halloween costume or part-time job (which ever way you want to look at it) ever.  And is he drinking a beer to boot?  You’ve got to love his creativity.

I don’t know about you but this new set of recommendations from the government advising women to now wait until age 50 to begin screening for breast cancer has me thoroughly confused and a bit frustrated.  It has taken years and years and millions and millions of dollars to pound into all of our heads that at age 40 you go and get your boobies painfully squashed between some device in order to possibly detect breast abnormalities which could be cancerous.  Also, self-examination.  How many times have you had that fun conversation with your ob/gyn where he/she asks you if you do monthly self-exams in the shower, demonstrated how to best do it and given you a shower hanger card?  Early combined with self-detection has been the catch phrase of the past 15 years at least.  

And now, after all this time and all of us dutifully following the government guidelines (imposed by congress mind you), they are retracting and telling us to wait another 10 years?  They may very well have a solid, science and fact- based argument as to why we should wait.  In fact, it seems as if they do.  I’ve heard that women from 40-49 have denser breasts which leads to more false positives, more unnecessary biopsies and more stress.  That the results are not as reliable or accurate in younger women.  That if you don’t have a family history of the disease, you’re better off waiting until age 50.  But why should we believe you this time Uncle Sam?!!  Breast cancer is still the 2nd leading cause of death in this country.   The American Cancer Society, a very well-respected organization, disagrees with this decree and is fearful of the damage it may cause leading women to just throw up their hands and give up screening all together. 

And, hey, what about the fact that now our government has even taken away the only legitimate reason women had to feel themselves up once a month!  Come on.  Where does it end?

I guess it comes down to your choice (to continue “self-examining if that’s what you want to call it” and/or get a mammogram), at least for now while the insurance companies are still covering it for women 40-49.  I just had my annual exam last week and my ob/gyn advised me to schedule my first mammogram since I will be 40 in June.  I don’t know what to do now.  Honestly, most of the people I know who have had cancer detected the lump themselves or had some sort of symptoms (if it was a different type of cancer).  I don’t know personally anyone whose cancer was found through a mammogram.  But that certainly doesn’t mean they don’t find cancer that way.

I’m curious if these new guidelines will change your mind about when you get a mammogram.  I’m curious whether these new guidelines are truly scientifically founded and in all of our best interests or motivated by money or a way to save money, ration health care expenses.  It’s kind of hard not to go there with all the controversy and debate swirling around health care.   What do you think?

Since we’re on cancer…my next post I’ll be talking the best foods to eat to prevent cancer or the “Anti-Cancer Diet” and some yummy recipes featuring those foods.  In honor of my funny friend Lou recently diagnosed, who is on the road to kicking some serious cancer booty!



Oh honey…

October 20, 2009

I will admit that before I moved to Idaho (for the most part) I was not very open-minded regarding any type of “homeopathic” treatments or remedies.  I don’t really know what my rational behind my disregard for natural remedies was but since I’ve been here in Spudsville I’ve changed.  Not drastically (see my green is good post – I still use toilet paper, etc.) but if there is some common sense, good reasoning behind it I’m kind of feeling these days that the more simple and natural, the better.  Getting closer to eating and using foods/products that more closely resemble the way nature intended them to be seems to be a worthy and attainable goal to aspire to. 

half marathonA great non-food example of this happened recently during my training for my 1st half-marathon.  Everything was going swimmingly (can you say that with regards to running?) when the wheels started falling off my 39-year old never been a serious runner before now, bod.  I ended up with a hip injury and some very painful jacked up runners toes.  If you don’t know what runners toes are, lucky you.  I had some black toenails and 4 nails that were almost completely lifted up and off of my toes.  Very painful and very gross.  Let’s just say they ooze.  It’s nasty and I guess somewhat unavoidable if you run for 10 plus miles. 

My homeopathic lovin’ friend Heidi (yep, brussel sprouts Heidi – what would I do without her?) recommended I soak my feet nightly in epsom salts and then follow by rubbing tea tree oil into the injured toenails.   I simultaneously made an appointment with a podiatrist and began to take Homeopathic Heidi’s advice.  I was desperate!  And wouldn’t you know it, I wasted $120 visiting the Dr.  After he looked at my toes, he told me to “soak your feet in epsom salts, apply tea-tree oil and get new running shoes.”  He also clipped the injured toenails which I couldn’t bring myself to do but at $120 for 15 minutes I probably could have convinced the nice ladies at Rosy Nails in Eagle to do it for a hell of a lot cheaper.  My point being, while sometimes the natural route may be the path less travelled it might actually be the path worth taking.

Honey_combFrom a food perspective, there are all kinds of foods out there that have homeopathic healing as well as nourishing properties.  One of the most versatile and multi-purpose ingredients you can (and should) keep on hand, is pure and natural honey.  I just read in Better Homes & Gardens that warm water mixed with a tablespoon of honey and vinegar can help relieve a sore throat.  The vinegar discourages bacteria growth and honey is anti-inflammatory.  And it sure tastes a lot better than just straight vinegar!  Good to know during this cold and flu season. 

In the same article, a remedy for nasal congestion recommends mixing the juice of one clove of garlic, 1/2 tsp of honey and some aloe vera. Soak two cotton balls in the mixture and insert them loosely in your nostrils for about 5 minutes.  You might not look very attractive but you’ll probably be able to breathe a little easier after the garlic clears your sinuses, the honey works as an astringent  and antibacterial and the aloe moisturizes your sore nasal tissue. 

There’s also was also a recent study done that found using honey as a cough suppressant for children over the age of 12 months was as effective (and probably easier to get down) than over-the-counter medications.  You can read this article and find lots of great information and recipes using honey on http://www.honey.com 

I have my own home remedy using honey.  Instead of buying those expensive sugar scrubs which I love because they make your skin smell so good and feel so soft, I make my own.  I take a plastic lotion jar (I go through tubs of cetaphil – it’s pretty dry here) and add brown sugar, coarse sea salt and lots of honey.  Mix together until it’s the consistency you like and use to scrub-a-dub-dub in the shower.       

My little aspiring chef, middle daughter “L” wanted me to include one of her favorite recipes using honey from her own kids cookbook.

Sunny Honey Granola (From Gooseberry Patch Kids in the Kitchen Cookbook)lila apples
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup slivered almonds (toasted)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup raisins or dried cranberries
non-stick vegetable spray
Mix oats, almonds, seeds and coconut in mixing bowl.  Stir honey and oil together in separate bowl and then combine with oat mixture. 
Spread out on a sprayed baking sheet and bake at 300 degrees for 20–30 minutes or until golden brown.
Let cool slightly, pour into a clean bowl and stir in raisins.  Store in a airtight container

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beta-fishWe started off today on a sad note.  Super Dorothy the super-long living beta fish passed on to the great ocean in the sky this week.  Super Dorothy was my 7 -year old middle daughter’s pet who managed to live a very long (2 years) life despite being for the most part completely ignored and rarely fed.  I highly recommend beta fish as a family pet.  They must  have the market cornered on low-maintenance.  You might not be able to cuddle with them but you also don’t have to spend $50 a bag on premium dog food, make overnight doggie “spa” arrangements when you go out of town or end up with chewed up shoes, toys and underwear all over your house.  Don’t even get me started on the amount of poop a dog adds to your life.  Too much.  I promise (kind of) that I’m not bitter about our dog Rocky.  He is however very high maintenance!

So I scooped Super “D” up in a cup (she was getting pretty rank after two days a’floating in her bowl) and we sadly trudged to the canal near the bus stop so we could quickly eulogize our beloved fish.  L said some sweet words.  “Dorothy you were a great fish.  I hope you are happy swimming in heaven.  Good-bye.  Amen.”  We added the obligatory “Father, Son, Holy Spirit (we are catholic after all)” and tossed her in.  The current carried her away to a bigger and better fish bowl somewhere up there we hope.  Within a minute, the kids had forgotten all about Dead Dorothy and were running for the bus.  Amazing resilence those kids!


crotch splitter

Ok, on to what you are all (all three of you at this point) dying to hear about (come on, admit it!), the crotch splitters.  Any guesses?  I won’t keep you in suspense any longer.  I went to meet with my trainer, the slave driver Crystal, who you will be hearing a lot about.  Actually she is awesome and even though she pushes me very hard — I love her.  And I guess I am paying her to push me hard so that’s a good thing.  She seems to be under the assumption that I am some kind of studdette who can endure a constant barrage of high intensity push-ups, pull-ups, dips and yes, crazy exercises called crotch splitters.  I just couldn’t even do those without laughing although really they hurt too badly to laugh. 

 Try to visualize.  You stand on this really tall step (I am somewhat vertically challenged so anything that comes up past my belly button seems really tall to me) with a big exercise ball to the side of the step.  You put your right leg extended out onto the top of the ball and you squat down as you push the ball out with your extended leg, thus putting you in a position akin to (yes, I’m going to say it)  “splitting your crotch.”  Are you doing it right now?  Ok, now you know my pain.  And then she made me curl a medicine ball to boot.  Yikes!  All this for a tight tushy?  Hmmm…

blue-mooseFor those of you local to da’ho (Idaho, that is), The Blue Moose in Eagle, just happens to be one of my favorite places to eat.  Hubby asked me to meet him for a late lunch date (sweet) after the torturous workout.  I was nervous that I might not be able to lift my fork to my mouth but accepted his kind offer anyway.  We’ve been together so long (almost 20 years) I figured he’d still love me even if I had to lick my salad off my plate. 

Marcy, proprietor and chef extraordinaire at The Moose, has added a charming, rustic wine bar complete with bar stools to the main entry area of the cafe.  Last night kicked off the Cafe’s first official “wine” night.  Wine was flowing as was conversation with a cozy lit fireplace warming up the room.  This is going to be a regular happening going on both Thursday and Friday nights at Blue Moose, so line up your  sitter for the kids (if you have them) and high-tail it over there.  She’s going to have some great comfort food specials going on as well.  Think Yankee pot roast, beef stew in a bread bowl, chicken pot-pie and the like.  And then of course all her regular to-die-for salads (big, big fan of the Maytag and the Orange Grove) and ginormous sandwiches.  Finish it off with one of her famous frosted brownies and someone can  just roll you out the door back to your car.  Later you can find Crystal and do some crotch splitters.

Happy Weekend!!

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