Reducing Our Cancer Risk: Natural Body Care

The more I study in my nutrition course, the more my family's lives are being changed forever.  Yes, I'm doing things others may think are extreme or just plain crazy.  But I don't care what others think anymore!  Our goal is to give ourselves and our children the best chance possible at a long, happy, healthy life -- reducing our risk for cancer as much as possible.  Can anyone really "outsmart" cancer?  I'm not sure, but I do know this, there are natural products we have growing around us that can actually make us healthier -- and not just products to put on our plates! 

Have you heard this before?  Your skin is your largest organ.  That means anything you put on it is absorbed directly into your body.  I heard the best advice at a Pathways Connect meeting recently:  You shouldn't put anything on your skin you wouldn't eat.  Really?!  Wow....that really has had a big impact on me and what I buy my family. 

So what does that mean, "we're trying to reduce our cancer risk"?  What are the things we are eliminating, or in some cases adding, to our household? I'm going to spend the next few blog posts describing all of the different ways we have gone from a "typical American family" to the almost "crunchy granola" one we are today, and proud of it!  I will go through, step-by-step, the areas we are changing.  It would be far too expensive for us to throw everything in our home into the trash all at once, so we are gradually replacing our "conventional" products with more natural alternatives.  It's taking a long time, but this is definitely a more economical way!

I tried making my own laundry soap which really was cost effective, but my clothes didn't come out smelling like I wanted.  The difference?  The homemade soap doesn't leave the residue behind in your clothing that normally gives it that clean smell.  Luckily, I found a great local person who makes many of these products and tests them out on her large family!  Wendy at The Best Pink Salt is a great resource.  Her laundry soap was all natural and my clothes came out smelling great!  For only $4, I get enough liquid soap to do 100 loads, so it's definitely worth it to buy from her.

 I have already replaced our hand soap pumps with about 1 tablespoon of Dr. Bronner's peppermint soap and the rest water (fill most of the way with water first so you don't create too many suds!).  He also has an almond flavored one that smells so good! So my next step is to replace all of our body washes and shampoos, too. I will keep you posted as I find great products in this category.  However, all you need to do is check out your local health food store, or go to the organic section of your grocery store to find a few commercial options that are much better for your health.
We already have a Berkey water filter for our drinking water.  Now that we consume the filtered water, I can actually taste the chemicals in our tap water!  As I mention in the last section of this post, one of the worst chemicals many of us are consuming on a regular basis in our tap water is flouride.  Because of my research, we've chosen to add on the flouride filters to our Berkey syster.

Also, we are saving up to buy a shower filter.  At our Pathways Connect meeting, it was mentioned that when we take a shower, we are putting all those chemicals in our tap water directly onto our skin that gets absorbed! 

Ever since my children were babies, I was leery of those commercial baby sunscreens with SPF 50+ as well as the widely known as dangerous DEET bug sprays.  Something just didn't seem right when I looked at the long list of ingredients I couldn't pronounce.  So from the beginning, I've been buying Burt's Bees sunscreen.  I usually do not put sunscreen on myself unless I will be in the sun for quite some time.  If I am going to the beach or will be outside for long periods of time, I prefer to cover up, or I look for natural products.  I'm not advocating going in the sun without protection!  But you'd be amazed at how many different ways you can protect yourself and your family naturally. 

Mother Earth News is a great resource, in addition to Dr. Mercola.  I found a site that published an article detailing how to DIY your own sunscreen here.  And I wanted to publish a simple recipe in this blog post, but here's a pretty in depth method to make enough sunscreen and bug spray (all-in-one!) for the summer for your family:  Sun and Bug Lotion

This is probably the easiest switch that I believe has a very big impact.  Instead of buying all those nicely scented lotions at Bath & Body Works, I will start using Trader Joe's coconut oil!  Yep, you read that right....I am going to just put straight coconut oil directly onto my skin.  There are several benefits to coconut oil.  One is that is helps raise your "good" cholesterol, and another is that is helps in the prevention of diseases that attack the brain like dementia and Alzheimers!   Dr. Oz has done several shows about the benefits of coconut oil, including how it helps with weight loss and other health problems. 

We had already made the switch to "healthy" toothpaste without flouride.  I will admit, I was saying to myself, "But don't my kids need flouride to keep them healthy?"  Turns out the answer to that is, "No!"  Dr. Mercola said, "Fluoride is in fact a systemic POISON..."  What?!  I thought in order to keep our teeth healthy we need flouride, and that it's crucial for my children's health!  A simple search on Dr. Mercola's site about "flouride" yields these articles here.    Have you ever read the warning on your tube of toothpaste about what to do if you accidentally ingest some?  That alone should clue us in to the dangers of flouride and the other chemicals used in our "regular" toothpastes.  And did you know that "[Dentists rarely mention [flouride's] toxic potential or the few studies revealing increased tooth decay after flouride use"?  And in that same article, we learn from one study that "61,000 cancer deaths in the US result from flouridation each year."  Each year!   Does that mean you'll get cancer from using "regular toothpaste"?  Not necessarily, but we are trying to reduce our risk, so ours went into the trash and we replaced it with this: 

Want to DIY your own toothpaste?  I found a great, easy and inexpensive recipe online at this site.  This recipe is from Organic Body Care Recipes  (Storey, 2007) By Stephanie Tourles.

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, finely ground
  • 1 drop peppermint, spearmint, sweet orange, clove, or cinnamon bark essential oil
  • A few drops (distilled) water
Combine ingredients in a small bowl and mix them thoroughly with a toothbrush, your finger, or a small spoon until a smooth, thick paste forms. The paste shouldn’t be too runny; it has to stay on your toothbrush.  Dip your toothbrush into the paste and use as you would regular commercial toothpaste.  

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DISCLAIMER I am not a doctor or a nurse.  I am a nutritional consultant student.  Everything written is from my studies and gathered from other sources, and compiled according to my opinions.  Always consult your doctor for health care advice!  Also I have not been compensated for any of the products in this review.  All of the opinions of products are my own.


Ultimate Reset RESULTS!

Baked sweet potato & garlic veggies
Well, here I am, 21 days later and much happier than when I began.  I have noticed some pretty amazing changes that took place over the last three weeks.  I will wholeheartedly recommend this cleanse to anyone wishing to lose weight, lower cholesterol, lose inches, or anyone wishing to improve overall health! 

Some have mentioned I’ve eaten some strange foods and strange food combinations.  Yes, that is true.  But there hasn’t been one meal I didn’t enjoy, truly!    My taste buds have been introduced to many new foods we will be eating from now on.  I'm so blessed to have adventurous eaters for children, and a very supportive husband throughout this entire journey.

I confess, though, that first thing this morning my husband made me a cup of coffee with cream and raw sugar!   And I'm making a delicious baked berry french toast recipe (that I made early last week for the kids).  I can smell it as I type this post.......mmmmmmm......I'll post the recipe one day this week!

So you want to know my ending results, right?  Are you ready?  My cumulative results over 21 days:  I lost TEN pounds and TEN inches overall!  The biggest change was that I lost 3” off each thigh.  My BMI is now 25.9, and I believe I’m only about five to seven pounds from a healthy BMI!

Unfortunately, I have been dealing with a kidney stone yesterday (ouch!).  Other than that, I believe my health has improved drastically.  I am really proud of myself for sticking to the cleanse for the whole 21 days.  I really didn’t know if I would be able to or not.  Knowing what I’m doing for my body and overall health made the biggest difference this time.  This wasn’t just a “diet” to lose weight.  This was a chance for me to “reset” my body, and I believe I did just that.  I will begin Les Mills Body Pump hopefully tomorrow (if the kidney stone passes today).  I plan to ease into the workouts and not do the really intense ones until next week.  I have also noticed a big difference in my skin.  Some people have said that I’m “glowing” – and that was without makeup!  I’ve never heard that before, so I will take that as a wonderful result of the cleanse.

Some have asked me how much groceries have cost while on the cleanse.  First, I must explain that I fed my family the same dinners I ate.  I added toast or extra food (veggies or meat) for them, but for the most part, they ate what I did at dinnertime, just larger portions in some cases.  

Overall, I spent $475 on groceries for the 21 days of this cleanse (Week 1 $200, shopped at Trader Joe’s & Whole Foods; Week 2 $140, shopped at Wegman’s & Farmer’s market; Week 3 $135, shopped at Trader Joe’s & Whole Foods & went berry picking at a local farm).  This includes all food and pantry staples for my family of five!  Normally, I try to spend between $500-600 per month on food.  Approximately $100-150 of that goes to an Amish farmer who provides all of our dairy, eggs, and some meat/poultry.  I cut back a bit from the farmer this month because after week 1, there was no dairy or eggs (or meat) for me.   I can’t promise this is what it will cost for you and your family.  I am a bit of a frugal and thrifty shopper who gets creative with foods, and doesn’t buy any prepackaged snacks or meals for my children.  If you buy prepackaged foods (crackers, snacks, freezer meals, etc.) and do not  do that during the cleanse, it's possible your grocery bill goes down!  Even buying organic which is more expensive can save you money if you only feed your family fruits and veggies with some meat during this time.  I understand you are going to do the cleanse, but why not try to get your whole family eating well, too?  If you're going to do this and have long-term success, I really recommend you evaluate at all the foods you are feeding your family.

For breakfast, the kids eat some combination of the following:  milk, eggs, toast, yogurt, fruit.  For their lunches, they usually eat almond butter sandwiches with farm fresh apple butter on Nature’s Own whole grain bread with fruit and/or veggies, and sometimes a hardboiled egg.  (Find out if your Dollar Tree sells Nature’s Own bread and when they get it in during the week.  I usually stock up when I find it and store it in our freezer.)  So you can see, our breakfast and lunch meals are pretty cost effective, even though they eat whole grain bread and organic/farm fresh groceries.  My three children (ages 9, 7, 5) all enjoyed the majority of the dishes on this cleanse!  One of their favorite dinners was veggie sushi with homemade miso soup.  

Day 15:  May 7, 2012 Monday
As usual, loved the fruit for breakfast.  Just stocked up at Trader Joe’s yesterday and went strawberry picking, so I had lots of yummy foods  to choose from.  Lunch was an excellent Asian cabbage & carrot salad.   But this afternoon was probably the toughest as far as wanting to snack.  Not sure why.  I snacked on roasted sunflower seeds (more than I should have and not an “approved” snack).  I also made kale chips for my kiddos to snack on today and had a few.  I think maybe when my children ask me 25+ times per day for a snack it just starts to get to me!  Extremely sore (back is very achy) and tired this afternoon  – just want to go to bed and take a nap, but being mommy to three prevents that from happening.  Sipped some green chai tea while I made dinner:  baked sweet potato with garlic veggies.  Yum!  Went to bed by 9:30pm.

Day 16:  May 8, 2012 Tuesday
Up at 5:30am.  Made a special breakfast for the kids this morning (baked French toast) and had a big fruit salad myself.  It was a bit difficult not to taste this new recipe.  Saved the last piece for hubby.  Huge microgreen salad for lunch was tough to finish!  Love roasted sunflower seeds combined with the creamy garlic dressing I made (recipe from the cleanse).  Still feel pretty achy.  Needed a snack today, so I had an apple and some chai tea.  Had a very unique dinner:  curried cauliflower and lemon pepper kale.  Wow!  That was seriously the best cauliflower I’ve ever tasted.  It was so delicious and even tasted buttery.  Unfortunately, I used too much fresh lemon juice on the kale which made it difficult to eat.  Went to bed by 9:30pm.

Day 17:  May 9, 2012 Wednesday
Up by 6am.  Another great fruit salad for breakfast.  Kids are driving me crazy with wanting to eat every hour, which in turn makes me want to snack, too!  I’ve done so well this whole time and then today I broke down and have had several handfuls of nuts.  I know that’s not a bad snack, but I’m trying to follow this plan exactly.  The Moroccan Carrot Salad for lunch was delicious!  I can see making big batches of that for my lunches during the week.  I think hubby would like it too.  Had blueberries and an apple for my snack.  Just can’t seem to satisfy my hunger today – I’ve been craving protein like crazy.  Easy dinner tonight (roasted squash, green beans & millet).  Have to work in the church nursery tonight.  Was in bed by 10:30pm.

Day 18:  May 10, 2012 Thursday
Up by 6am.  Still struggling with hunger – and craving nuts.  Had one apple for snack.  Followed recipes exactly.  Roasted fennel bulb tasted meaty in a good sort of way! Very delicious.  Ate rice with dinner.  Enjoyed some more chai tea today.  Went to bed late.

Day 19:  May 11, 2012 Friday
Up at 6:30am.  Was very emotional today.  A little sore and achy, but not bad.  Ran out of most of my fruit for breakfast, so had to sub in vegan Shakeology (1/2 scoop, water, ice, 1 kiwi).  Mediterranean carrot salad over greens was delicious for lunch!  Dinner was tempeh, coconut collard greens (love that coconut oil from Trader Joe’s!), and roasted beets.  Can’t believe I only have the weekend left.  Wonder how much I’ve lost overall.  Definitely can see a difference in my thighs.  Went to bed late again.

Stir fry, coconut collards & brown rice
Day 20:  May 12, 2012 Saturday
Up at 7:30am.  Getting my hair done this morning!  Again had to substitute Tropical Shakeology for the three cups of fresh fruit (1/2 scoop + water + ice + frozen blueberries).  Avocado Jicama salad was delicious over arugula and baby spinach.  Tonight we’re having stir fry – using the coconut oil (Trader Joe's coconut oil is delicious) in place of olive oil makes for a very unique and tasty stir fry!  No aches and pains this morning.  No headache or emotional issues either.  Can’t believe tomorrow is the last day!  Went to bed by 10pm.

Day 21:  May 13, 2012 Sunday
Carrot Seaweed Salad
Up by 6am.  Today is Mother’s Day, so my oldest made me my Shakeology (with help from hubby). Can’t believe this is the LAST day of my cleanse.  It really has gone quickly.  And the changes to my body…..pretty unbelievable!  I’ll wait until tomorrow morning to do the final weigh in & measurements.  So excited!  Unfortunately, after I woke up and got ready for the morning, I realized I’m dealing with kidney stones.  I’ve had them before so that saves a trip to the doctor.  Guess I’ll be drinking cranberry juice and water all day to get the stone to pass.  Now I wonder if this is why I was so achy in my lower back over the last few days (except yesterday).  Husband made my dinner.  His roasted veggies were the best I've ever had on the cleanse!  Went to bed by 10pm.

Now that I’ve gone through the cleanse, I would love to coach you through it too!  Please go here to purchase your starter kit:  www.myultimatereset.com/kellyabattlesEmail me (kellybstampin@yahoo.com) or post a comment below to let me know whether or not you want to be added to a Facebook Challenge Group.  This will be a group exclusively for people going through (or who have gone through) the Ultimate Reset.  It takes a lot of encouragement to get through, and as little outside distraction as possible.  If you know you have a vacation or event coming up, this is not the time to do the cleanse.  Wait until you know you have a full three weeks to commit.  Also, it really is important that you do not workout during the whole three weeks.  Trust me!  Just cutting the grass at the end of week two was too much for me.  I look forward to hearing YOUR next success story!   Consider sending me your story.  I would love to publish it on my blog for inspiration for someone else.  And don’t be like me; I didn’t take good before pictures, so I don’t have these great before/after pictures to put up here.    

I will continue to blog about keeping these ten pounds off, and I sincerely hope I will be able to announce that I am at my goal weight and a healthy BMI very, very soon!

I'm linking up to the Fight Back Friday Blog Carnival hosted by Food Renegade!


The Chicken Experiment

Our Easter Egger, Sunshine, 2 weeks old
In our quest to eat healthier, we started buying all of our dairy and eggs from an Amish farmer last summer.  I've come to realize that in order for us to eat really healthy, we need to know where our food comes from.  Conventional "everything" (dairy, eggs, meat/poultry, veggies & fruit) is just not the best you can put in your body.  There are so many chemicals and a variety of food processing techniques that alter your food and cause all sorts of problems.  Eating food you grow or harvest yourself, when you know where it came from, is the best you can give your body.  

I mentioned to my husband how fun it would be to have our own chickens so we could have our own "organic, free-range" eggs.  I'm not sure if he thought I was serious back then, and to be honest, I'm not sure I was serious either!  But the more I thought about it, the more I really liked the idea.  I researched to find out that it was legal in my county as long as our neighbors were OK with it. And after talking to the neighbors, it seemed the project was on!

In January, we decided to finally take the plunge and order one chick per family member.  We went through My Pet Chicken.  Each of us carefully selected the breed we wanted and sent our order in with two other local friends.  We even paid extra to make sure we got all hens, plus we paid to have them vaccinated.  We paid about $40 for five chicks, including shipping:  2 Rhode Island Reds, 2 Silkies, and 1 Easter Egger.

In preparation of their arrival, I built a chick brooder.  The supplies I purchased and assembled include a large plastic tub with lid, wire mesh, fasteners, bird perch, bedding (we use pine shavings), thermometer, heat lamp & red bulb, chick feed & grit, and a feeder & waterer.  I cut out the inside of the lid and attached the wire mesh with some fasteners.  I lined the bottom with paper towels and bedding and set up the lamp.  Altogether we paid approximately $65 total.  Luckily, I found a hen house on ebay and even had some paypal credit, so our coop cost $300, shipped.  It arrived pretty quickly and was relatively easy to assemble.

Live chicks in the mail!
When the chicks arrived toward the end of March, my friend and I were surprised to learn that the hatchery included two extra silkies, and that the two we originally ordered weren't available, so they included Easter Eggers in place of the two we ordered.  We went home with six chicks that day:  two Rhode Island Reds, two Silkies, and two Easter Eggers.

Needless to say, my husband was shocked to learn we had an extra.  But one of our silkies was not guaranteed to be a hen (it was from a "straight run" that didn't get "sexed" before sending).  We promptly set about naming them:  Scarlett & Rainbow are the Rhode Island Reds, Sugar & Cinnamon are the Silkies, and Pepper & Sunshine are the Easter Eggers.

After a week or so, Cinnamon died.  We're not sure what happened.  We saw no signs of her health declining.  We were all so very sad, and even had a funeral for her.  She will forever be remembered by a rock our kids placed above her gravesite in our yard; poor little chick was so little we buried her in my iphone box.  Another friend who had hatched more than 20 chicks from eggs ten days after ours were born, offered to bring us one of her chicks to replace the one we lost.  And that's how we got our Barred Plymouth Rock, Spice.  So we were back to six chicks again!

Our Silkie named Sugar, 2 weeks old
 We kept them in their brooder and started letting them outside in the coop when the weather finally warmed up.  Once they were six  weeks old and had most of their feathers, they were certainly too large for the brooder and ready for the coop full-time.  It was a hectic first few days, worrying about them constantly!  We actually locked them into their hen house for the first two days (we'd read this helps them to know where their home is).  And on that third day they were just in the hen house at night and in their run during the day.  It took two nights for them to put themselves to bed, and now they do so every night by 8pm!
Ivy, about 5 weeks old
The same friend who brought us Spice had to start finding homes for their chicks since their HOA doesn't allow coops, and her three girls were sad to give them all up.  We offered to care for their two smallest bantams (a Silkie named Egglina, or Lina for short, and Violet who we think is a cross between a Silkie and a Polish bantam), as well as another chick we have yet to determine what her breed is.  She's a gorgeous grey (possibly "lavender") chicken that resembles the Americauna breed, named Ivy.

Introducing three new chickens into our flock wasn't easy.  Poor little Ivy was picked on quite a lot the first two days.  We actually brought her and Violet back into the brooder the first night we had them.  Then we just carefully watched them and made sure they didn't get injured by our big bullies.  Now they have been fully accepted into the flock.  Ivy still has be to careful she doesn't get in the way of the "top hens" (Sunshine, Pepper, or Scarlett), but for the most part they all get along.

So that's how we ended up with nine pet chickens in our backyard!  I must say, I really enjoy letting the "ladies" out in the morning from their hen house into the run, and then letting them free range in our backyard for one to two hours each afternoon.  The best part is when they take a dust bath in the mulch -- what a funny sight!  I was afraid they would be difficult to catch after letting them free-range, but usually after an hour or two, they start going back into the run on their own.  If they don't, we just grab one or two of the "top hens" and the rest will follow.  At night, it's so sweet as all nine waddle up the ladder into the coop for the night.

Scarlett, Rainbow & Sunshine, top hens of the coop
Some of my friends and family think we've lost our minds.  But I am really impressed at what great pets chickens make!  Since ours have been handled since they were only a couple days old, they are very friendly.  Each one seems to have a personality, too.  They are require very little work now that they're in the coop full-time.  And in a few months, they'll start "earning" their keep by providing us with fresh eggs!

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