July 2014 Book of the Month – AntiCancer

July’s Clean Eating book of the the month: Anticancer: A New Way of Life by David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PHD. In the wake of my Breast Cancer diagnosis in 2014, I read as many books on cancer as I could get my hands on. I’m sure I’m not alone here. Anticancer was by far my favorite.  In this *five strawberry* book, Servan-SchreibScreen Shot 2016-06-24 at 5.28.40 PMer tells readers what they can do to help keep cancer at bay, keep it from coming back, or to surpass a not-so-optimistic prognosis.

Dr. Servan-Schreiber helps to bridge the gap between what the oncologists are telling patients and what they aren’t telling patients – like what cancer patients can do to help themselves. This is what people diagnosed with a disease want desperately to hear – give them some control and power when they feel like they have no control and no power over this situation. He is an MD and a PHD and a two-time brain cancer survivor- so this isn’t quackery here!

In Anticancer, Dr. Servan-Schreiber details his cancer story (or stories, I should say), studies about patients, and several main recommendations. Those recommendations are: 1) eat a diet that includes lots of plants, high-quality meats, low in sugar, low in refined carbs, and low in poor-quality fats, 2) supporting a healthy state of mind through meditation, 3) avoiding the fear hamster wheel by attending support groups, and lastly 4) getting enough exercise.

FullSizeRender-1Servan-Schreiber tells readers that “[c]ancer lies dormant in all of us. Like all living organisms, our bodies are making defective cells all the time. That’s how tumors are born. But our bodies are also equipped with a number of mechanisms that detect and keep such cells in check.” This quote instills a bit a fear in me, knowing that cancer can be happening to all of us, all the time, BUT it also inspires hope because it empowers each of us to know that we have the power to make changes in our bodies and our futures.

A great read for anyone working to avoid cancer in their lifetime, anyone with cancer, cancer survivors, or caregivers. Anticancer gives readers the feeling of some control and power in battling this disease. Highly recommended for everyone!

 

Eleven Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep

I originally wrote this as a handout for my Nutrition Classes. I wrote up a Condition and Nutrient Report for Anxiety Disorder Management and decided to focus on Sleep for my Educational Handout. Since SLEEP is elusive for many of us AND since almost any health concern can be helped with a better night’s sleep, I thought I’d share it here on the blog. What tips help you to get a good night’s sleep?

Here it is!

It’s no secret that a good night’s sleep is good for you. It is your body’s time to repair and regenerate. But not only is sleep good for you, but it can also help with managing Anxiety Disorders.

Eleven Steps to Ensure the Best Night’s Sleep:

  1. Humans thrive on routine and having a nighttime routine can help to get your body and your brain ready to power down for uninterrupted sleep (Ramos, 2015).
  2. Reserve your bed for sleeping and making love. Avoid watching TV or working in bed because the brain will associate those things with the bed and have trouble powering down (Scott, 2010).
  3. Sleep in a room that is as dark as a cave by getting rid of lights from alarm clocks and other devices. In order to produce enough melatonin (and therefore serotonin), your body needs it to be dark. If you can’t get your bedroom pitch black, try an eye mask (Scott, 2010).
  4. Shower or take an Epsom salt bath before bed because it raises your body temperature. After, there is a slight drop in body temperature that signals your brain that it’s time for sleep (Breus, 2006). The Epsom salts contain magnesium, which is also relaxing.
  5. Noise can make falling asleep challenging. Being awoken in the middle of the night also makes it challenging to fall back to sleep. Try earplugs, a noise machine, SleepPhones with music or meditation music to help fall asleep or to fall back asleep when woken up in the middle of the night (Scott, 2010).
  6. Meditate for at least five or more minutes before bed to create a relaxed state of mind (Bauman, 2015).
  7. Keep your bedroom cool (Scott, 2010).
  8. Avoid technology (especially tablets and smart phones) for about an hour before bed. The lights emitted really disturb sleep patterns (Breus, 2006).
  9. Keep a consistent bedtime, preferably around 10pm (Scott, 2010).
  10. Try diffusing essential oils for relaxation. Lavender, Roman Chamomile, and Valerian can support relaxation and sleep (Higley, C. & Higley, A., 2013).
  11. Count backwards by threes (400, 397, 394, etc.). Dr. Breus (2006) suggests that this is challenging enough to keep your interest but boring enough to put you to sleep. I have also tried an “appreciation body scan” where I start at my feet and legs, thanking them for their hard work for the day and work my way up. I almost always fall asleep before I get to thanking my head.

Things to Avoid:

  1. Caffeine is a common sleep disruptor. Depending on the person, even caffeine consumed early in the day can disrupt sleep. It is stimulating to the body by raising cortisol and adrenaline levels and it depletes serotonin and melatonin (Scott, 2010).
  2. Alcohol often causes people to have disrupted sleep. It is best to minimize alcohol intake to improve sleep (Bauman, 2015).

Supplements to Try:

  1. Try drinking Calm – a magnesium supplement before bed. Magnesium is a natural relaxer and is stress reducing (Bauman, 2015).
  2. Tart cherry juice contains melatonin, which supports sleep (Breus, 2006).
  3. Melatonin is the precursor to serotonin, so supplementing with melatonin can help support a restful night’s sleep and less anxiety (Bauman, 2015).
  4. Vitamin B6 supplement can help to improve the quality of your sleep (Scott, 2010).

DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a Registered Dietician or Medical Doctor. As such, I do NOT provide medical nutrition services, or diagnose and treat disease. Rather, I educate people on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle to improve their quality of life. I advise people with existing medical problems to consult with medical doctors. I shared evidence-based health information, whether to class participants, wellness counseling client sessions, or on this website.

References:

Bauman, E. (6/20/15-9/30/15). Personal Communication

Breus, M. (2006). Good Night: The Sleep Doctor’s 4-Week Program to Better Sleep and Better Health. New York, NY: Penguin Group Inc.

Higley, C. & Higley, A. (2013). Quick Reference Guide for Using Essential Oils. Spanish Fork, UT: Abundant Health.

Jacobs, A. (2012). Drop Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Scott, T. (2010). The Anti-Anxiety Food Solution. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.

Ramos, M. (2015, September). Sex Food Therapy retrieved from: http://www.sexyfoodtherapy.com/