Friday, October 28, 2011

Ways to Fight Cancer by our first guest blogger, Liz Davies

I was recent contacted by Liz Davies regarding being a guest blogger on  As a Health and Wellness website, it's important to be aware of health concerns across the board.  The information she provides here is great and I am happy to relay the article she has written. If you are interested in contacting her, please feel free to contact me to get her email address for more information. (I am not posting her email address her due to those nasty spambots that could find her!) 

Presenting:  Nanfit's first guest blogger!!!

Ways to Fight Cancer

Everyone wants to avoid cancer or if they are already suffering, do everything possible to diminish the effects of the cancer treatment and prevent any further progression or re-occurrence of the cancer. In addition to the medical treatment plan, regular exercise can help aid in fighting cancer, as well as help to prevent cancer. Additionally, exercise can help reduce the side effects of some cancer-fighting drugs and improve the patient's overall state of mind. This is true for people with various types of cancer ranging from people with low-survival-rate cancers like pleural mesothelioma and peritoneal mesothelioma to people with higher-survival-rate cancers like testicular cancer and prostate cancer.

Below are several ideas for exercise to prevent cancer and help lessen side effects from cancer treatment.

Take a brisk walk. Walking is a low-impact exercise with many health benefits. Studies show that walking 20 to 30 minutes, 4 to 5 times per week can greatly improve overall mental and physical health. Walking works to strengthen virtually every muscle group in the body. Stronger muscles, especially in the core, help with energy levels and overall health in the body. If possible, walk outside for further benefits. Being outdoors for 15 to 30 minutes per day allows your skin to absorb essential vitamins from the sun, such as vitamin D and K. Walking, especially outdoors, boosts moods and burns fat cells. Cancer tends to grow in fatty cells in the body, so walking works to protect the body from cancer.

Try Yoga. Yoga works to bring peace and health to the mind, body and spirit. Yoga helps improve flexibility and strength. Yoga is also a great stress reliever. Stress can break down the body's immune system and leave the body weak and more prone to illnesses such as cancer. There are many Yoga videos on the internet. Just doing a simple search on "yoga" will provide hundreds of Yoga videos and exercises. For face to face instruction, try joining a yoga class. This interaction with others is also good for overall mental health as well.

Take a swim. Swimming is an excellent form of exercise because it works virtually every muscle group while remaining 'weightless'. The water is a great place for anyone with any sort of chronic pain or fatigue to exercise. Because the water carries the body weight, swimming is not at all hard on joints or areas of the body that might have pain. Many people cannot feel the pain they have while they are in the water. Swimming is an excellent way to strengthen the heart as well. Swimming 20 to 30 minutes, 4 to 5 times per week will build muscle, relax the mind and provide an overall strength to the body and mind.

In conclusion, there are many ways to use exercise to improve overall mental and physical health to both prevent and deal with cancer.

Liz Davies is a recent college graduate and aspiring writer especially interested in health and wellness. She wants to make a difference in people’s lives because she sees how cancer has devastated so many people in this world. Liz also likes running, playing lacrosse, reading and playing with her dog, April.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Olfactory sensations and food relations

Sometime last week I had to go out to my parent's house for a quick visit.  Okay, the truth is I am scheduled for jury duty but I start a new job tomorrow, so I had to go beg the judge to release me from jury duty.  This took a matter of minutes because he was already aware of the situation as my dad used to be an elected official and he had already spoken with the judge about the matter.  I just had to go into the courthouse and bring my summons to make things official.  As I was leaving the courthouse, a building I practically grew up in, I smelled something familiar.  It was a cross between cedar and lavender that I only smell at that building.  I mentioned this to my mom and she said it was the cleaning product they use.  Whatever the product it is, this matter has heightened my awareness of my sense of smell, memory, and the correlation of both to my weight and my memories. 

I have many food memories, as my mother owned a food company.  The smell of gumbo roux flour browning in the ovens of the old factory, the spices in the air when Ms. Janet would mix the products, granted this occurred during the day while I was at school, but those days that I was not in school on a weekday, you'd better believe I was next door at my granny's house playing, watching As the World Turns, baking cookies or waiting for stuffed bell peppers to come out of the oven so I could eat only the stuffing from them.  To this day, I can not stand to eat the actual green bell pepper, nor do I like cooked pineapple, mostly because of the smell it gave the house when granny made her favorite cake: pineapple upside down cake. 

Tonight, as I was reading a research article on post-bariatric patient care, or the lack thereof currently in the bariatric community, there were a few bits and pieces that brought back the olfactory sensory issues with regard to food.  Just this morning, I was telling myself, "If they made candles that smelled like Earl Grey Tea, I would burn them all the time."  I pondered this for a long while, realizing that some food smells trigger positive reinforcement of good food behaviors.  Others, not so much.  I know smelling cake baking will trigger a ravenous reaction to want to find sugary goodness, so I don't buy Birthday Cake scented candles.  Fruity Mango scented candles make me want to drink my weight in margaritas, but interestingly enough, lavender, verbena, lemongrass, or cedar candles seem to calm my desires to binge eat.  

I doubt there is any clinical research yet on the specifics of our sense of smell to passify our eating behaviors, if so I'm sure it must be limited.  But I know a cup of Earl Grey tea with a light touch of cream will calm my appetite in the morning.  I wonder if an Earl Grey candle would stimulate my brain in a similar way at night when it's the toughest not to ruin a full day of hard work making sure I don't eat the wrong things or ruin an hour at the gym in ten minutes by delving into a bowl of ice cream. 

Anyway, this entry is really just about my wondering if I'm the only one out there who finds lighting certain scents stimulates the brain away from food and centers the attention elsewhere.  It is a topic I would like to dig into deeper and I would love to hear what triggers everyone's food memories or what pleasant smells can curb your appetite....