I have been thinking a lot lately about what I could do for myself and my family to help prevent cancer. My mom died from cancer and it really shook me up. I know we can’t control this entirely, but there is so much information out there about steps we can take to lower our risk and I’ve been reading more about this recently. I’ve also been listening to the book The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson and while I’m only halfway through, the main gist is that every decision we make compounds over time; maybe small decisions seem insignificant on a daily basis, but they really add up. Anyway, it made me think that I often say that I want to be healthy/in shape, but every day I make a poor decision that doesn’t take me closer to my ultimate goals. So while I tell myself that I deserve a sugary latte, what harm is one little latte, I am really getting further away from my goal a little bit at a time. I don’t want to be like that anymore! I am instead beginning to make very small positive choices for our health, specifically to lower our cancer risk.
A site I visit often is the Environmental Working Group. You can research thousands of different products to see what chemicals are in them and what the risk factors are. A rating of 1 means the lowest risk. If you click here, you can type in your body wash, or baby shampoo, or whatever and take a look. (I’ve been using Honest shampoo/body wash for both kids and ThinkBaby sunscreen for A as a result). I haven’t switched everything over yet, but I’m working on it – so far I have new shampoo, self tanner, body lotion, and body wash and next up I hope to find a replacement for my deodorant and toothpaste, as well as a new kid toothpaste.
Next up is the food we are eating. There are a few things that we already do at home that I am happy about – our fruits and veggies are organic, and we do not eat any foods made with white flour. However, aside from that I have gone way off track for myself and am disappointed. When I did a Whole 30 and for almost a year afterwards, I was very mindful of eating clean, avoiding added sugar, and checking labels. Lately I have been relying on convenience foods more often, drinking nasty sugary coffee drinks, etc. So while I am still researching to find what the best foods I should be feeding my family with are, here are a few of the immediate changes I am making starting today:
- Drink coffee black and try to replace with green tea instead.
- Make a big smoothie for breakfast to include organic fruits such as cherries and green powder and share with A.
- Avoid red meat and stick with chicken/fish instead.
- No more sugary Starbucks drinks. It is simply a bad habit at this point and not something I truly enjoy anymore – stick with apples and blueberries for sweets.
- Have a veggie with every meal, such as broccoli and brussel sprouts.
Here is a link from the American Institute of Cancer Research that I enjoyed about small steps you can take to reduce your cancer risk. Here is a link to their recommendations for top foods that fight cancer.
Lastly, I’m going to continue to make sure we all get movement. Shockingly, this is an area that I am doing pretty well in. I take 2 60 minute exercise classes a week, and walk for 30-45 minutes 2 times a week. J works out at least once a day and is a great role model for us. A moves non-stop, and I am super happy with my decision to keep him away from screen time for as long as we did (he started watching 5 minute You Tube videos around 18 months, and at 2 years old I limit him to 2 20 minute shows a day, well most of the time – it isn’t the act of watching TV that I care about, but rather the playtime and exploration that is NOT happening when plopped in front of the screen for too long). I asked J to help me do some ab exercises for a few minutes at night, and I’d like to take evening walks again with the family like we used to.
I am going to make these things happen by thinking before I make a choice: is this going to take me a step closer to, or further away, from my goals? If you have any anti-cancer tidbits you want to share, let me know!