Thursday, December 31, 2009

Simple garlic soup will make you feel better (sniffle, sneeze, cough!

I promised that I would share the easy, homemade garlic soup recipe that I brought to the station to help Tammie (and a few others) feel better.
Yes, you will have "garlic dragon breath," BUT if you're home alone or you share with your friends, you're all in the same boat!
Whenever I am surrounded by sneezers or other sick people, I whip up a batch of my homemade garlic soup.
I swear by it! It soothes scratchy throats and more... just sip away!
Check out the super easy, 4 ingredients below. You can make it in minutes.
(If I have more time, I add rotisserie chicken, quinoa (high protein, easy to cook seed available at health food store) onions, carrots, celery and fresh parsley--now that's a healing meal!)

You can sip on this simple garlic soup to prevent colds or make you feel better if you're fighing one.

There's science behind the benefits of eating raw garlic.
Harvard educated, Integrative medicine guru, Dr. Andrew Weil suggests eating raw garlic everyday for its antibiotic/antiviral properties:
Garlic is a powerful natural medicine. It has abilities to lower cholesterol and reduce clotting of the blood. It can also help lower high blood pressure.

In addition, raw garlic is a potent antibiotic, especially active against fungal infections, with antibacterial and antiviral effects as well.
An effective home remedy for colds is to eat several cloves of raw garlic at the first onset of symptoms. Eating raw garlic does not appeal to everyone, but garlic loses its antibiotic properties when you cook or dry it, and commercial garlic capsules do not preserve the full activity of the fresh bulb. You can make raw garlic more palatable by chopping it fine, mixing it with food, and eating it with a meal. Or cut a clove into chunks and swallow them whole like pills. One or two cloves of garlic a day are recommended for people who suffer from chronic or recurrent infections.

Eating raw garlic by itself can be be tough... that's why I like to sip this soup.
You need only four ingredients:
-Bulb of garlic
-Organic chicken broth carton
-Organic extra virgin olive oil
-Poultry seasoning (optional)

The most laber intensive part is you have to mince an entire bulb of garlic.
Use a knife to pop each clove from its shell and then mince all of the cloves.

Next, toss minced garlic in a pot, add a tablespoon of olive oil and lightly cook for 30 seconds.
(Keep garlic as raw as possible)
Add 32 ounces of organic chicken broth to pot. Cook on medium to low heat for 7 to 10 minutes.
Strain the garlic and drink the broth.
*If it tastes too strong for you (or your kids make a horrible face) you can add more chicken broth or water.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Create your own home gym for under $100

Looking for an inexpensive way to motivate yourself to exercise at home? You can create your own home gym for under $100 dollars. If you have a TV or computer in your room, you can watch exercise videos on You Tube or cable TV programs like Fit TV.

Schedule 20 to 30 minutes, 5 times a week, to invest in your health.

You can also buy workout videos:

Click here to see how Fitness Magazine rated some of the top exercise videos

Consumer Reports suggests buying some of these exercise aids:


Cost: about $6 to $60 a pair

Lifting dumbbells will tone your muscles. Consider getting at least two sets, one that's the weight you usually use and one that's a bit more challenging.

Elastic bands or tubes

Cost: about $10 to $15 each

They provide resistance training for strengthening and toning muscles. Consider getting one that's a little tougher than the other so that you have two levels of resistance.

Stability ball

Cost: about $20 to $40

It adds variety to your core workouts. Try a 45-cm ball if you're less than 5 feet tall, a 55-cm ball if you're 5 foot 1 inch to 5 foot 7 inches, and a 65-cm if you're taller.

Workout DVDs

Cost: about $15 each

The best include strength, flexibility, and cardio routines. You can also find free exercise programs on TV.

Exercise mat

Cost: about $13 to $20 for a 2x6-foot mat

Exercising on the floor can be tough on the joints, so consider a pad for cushioning.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Check to see chemicals in your drinking water

Have you ever noticed your drinking water has a chlorine smell or taste? 
It should be no surprise that chemicals are used to disinfect the water, but government and water utility tests reveal unregulated chemicals, including toxic rocket fuel perchlorate, industrial solvent acetone, weed killer metolachlor, refrigerant Freon and even radon, a highly radioactive gas can also be found in drinking water.

That's according to a non-profit consumer advocacy group, Environmental Working Group. 

EWG analyzed 20 million tap water quality tests performed by water utilities between 2004 and 2009.
They found 316 chemicals contaminants in US drinking water. The Environmental Protection Agency has only set enforceable standards for 114 pollutants. 

Here's an easy way to see what's in your drinking water:
Click here to enter your zip code

Two Florida water utilities made the "Top 10 Lowest Rated Drinking Water" list. 
EWG researchers say Emerald Coast Water Utility in Pensacola had 21 chemicals that exceeded health levels versus the national average of 4. EWG says 45 pollutants were found versus the national average of 8.
Emerald Coast Water Utility says its drinking water is perfectly safe and meets all federal and state guidelines.
JEA in Jacksonville also made the "Top 10 Lowest Rated Drinking Water" list.

The consumer advocacy group wants the government to analyze national drinking water quality, establish new safety standards and tell Americans about the full range of pollutants in their water.

EWG recommends people consider buying a water filter.
Click here to see your options

Some communities have taken action.
For example, Boston had a serious water contamination problem until it installed a new water filtration system. EWG says Boston now has some of the highest-rated drinking water in the country.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Newborns and BPA: Why it's more important than ever for pregnant women to avoid synthetic estrogens

A first of its kind study suggests babies are first exposed to a controversial, synthetic chemical, Bisphenol A while developing in the womb.

Independent tests paid for by a non-profit consumer advocacy group, the Environmental Working Group, found 9 out of 10 randomly selected newborns from around the country, had the synthetic estrogen, BPA, in their umbilical cord blood.

*EWG found up to 232 toxic chemicals in newborns

The controversial plastics-hardening chemical can be found in:

-Sippy cups

-Plastic polycarbonate bottles (avoid #7)

-Lining of canned food and soda cans (canned soup and pasta had highest levels)

-Infant formula cans (Enfamil had highest levels out of 20 popular brands tested by FDA/EWG)

-Dozens of household items including CDs

Click here to see how to cut down on your exposure to BPA

Click here to see how to lower your child's exposure

BPA exposure has been linked to reproductive problems, cancer, obesity and neurological/behavioral issues.

In November, Consumers Union/Consumer Reports reported that children eating several servings of canned food could get enough BPA at levels that cause harm in animal studies.

Many groups including the American Medical Association, Consumer Reports and the Endocrine Society (14,000 medical researchers from 100 countries) are concerned that even low doses can cause problems. They want the government to lower our exposure. The FDA has maintained it is safe.

The move outraged critics who pointed out that the FDA came to that conclusion after reviewing only studies paid for by the chemical industry.

The FDA agreed to issue a new BPA evaluation November 30th 2009. I'll let you know as soon as it happens.

Meanwhile, EWG and others want congress to pass the Kid Safe Chemicals Act that would force chemical companies to prove their chemicals are safe BEFORE they are sold.

The chemical industry insists BPA is safe and
according to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has unleashed a massive public relations campaign.

Read more stories on Heather's Natural Health on

Monday, November 30, 2009

Relaxing at one of my favorite restaurants

My good friends know, I love drinking loose leaf tea. I enjoy sipping white tea all morning long (I've written about all of the incredible health benefits especially with white tea because it is not processed like other teas)

My husband Mike and I had lunch outside at one of our favorite restaurants, Restaurant BT in Hyde Park Village in South Tampa. 
BT also knows how much I appreciate the fresh ingredients she uses in all of her dishes so she surprised me with this incredible homemade tea!
She added fresh ginger, lemongrass, fresh mint, kumquats and a touch of honey--it was amazing!

It can be hard to eat fresh and healthy at restaurants... that's why I always end up at Restaurant BT. She uses mainly fresh ingredients in all of her dishes.
I WISH I could've shown you the fresh cilantro chicken sandwich, but Mike ate it before I could even pull out my cell phone!
He craves it once a week!
I always order the pumpkin soup... I'm lucky I was able to take a photo... it's hard for me to resist devouring this soup!

The wild salmon soba is loaded with vegetables and a light way to start your day.

This is the time of year we can sit outside and really enjoy Tampa weather. Call your girlfriends and spend a nice afternoon sitting outside and enjoying December in Florida.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

5 ways to not overeat on Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you're having a great time with friends and family. I will enjoy every bite of turkey, sausage apple stuffing, roasted veggies and my favorite, PUMPKIN PIE!
Most people eat around 3,000 calories during their Thanksgiving meal.
I don't want you to miss out on some of your favorite foods (mine too!)...

Here are 5 ways to make sure you don't go overboard...
Fill up on a healthy breakfast like high fiber cereal or oatmeal.
Snack on green apples during the day--they're lower in calories and high in fiber
Drink two glasses of water before you sit down to eat
Skip the bread and butter
Use smaller plates so even if you go back for seconds, you're less likely to overeat.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Nothing better than buying fresh, locally grown organic veggies!

I just picked up my first harvest of the season from Sweetwater Organic Community Farm in Hillsborough County.

I pay the farmer a lump sum for my membership and then I stop by the farm (bring your own bag) once every two weeks to pick up 20 different vegetables and herbs.

Here's a look at some of them:

You can visit the farm on Sundays to see what it's all about. They also have local farmers selling eggs and goat's milk as well as herbs, soap and organic snacks.

Extra produce is available for purchase.

Sweetwater is also dropping off locally grown, organic vegetables at the St. Pete Farmer's Market.

Click here to see if there is an organic, community farm in your neighborhood. It is the least expensive way to eat locally grown, organic foods.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pass on movie theater popcorn

Yes, I know the smell calls your name the second you step foot in a movie theatre... "Popcorn in all its buttery glory...must eat NOW."
But did you know a medium-sized buttery popcorn and medium soda can be a nutritional nightmare?

This may have you thinking twice about dinner and a movie.
Your popcorn could count as your splurge, big meal for the day.

15 years after the food police brought to our attention that the snack packed the equivalent of three Quarter Pounders TOPPED WITH 12 pats of butter, it seems not much as changed.

Consumer advocacy group, Center for Science in the Public Interest had several servings of movie theater popcorn from the three largest chains tested at an independent lab.

Here's what they found:

Regal medium popcorn: 20 cups, 1,200 calories, 60 grams of saturated fat, and 980 milligrams of sodium (without buttery topping!) Butter flavored oil can add 200 calories, 3 grams of saturated fat per 1.5 tablespoons.

AMC medium popcorn: 9 cups, 590 calories, 33 grams of saturated fat
(before buttery flavored topping)

Cinemark medium popcorn: 14 cups, 760 calories, 3 grams of saturated fat (before buttery flavored topping)

*According to the American Heart Association, you should not eat more than 16 grams of saturated fat a day.

CSPI says Regal and AMC pop their popcorn in processed coconut oil. It has 90 percent saturated fat. Cinemark has lower levels of saturated fat because it uses canola oil.

Movie theaters say they do have healthier options available. The Motion Picture Association of American says popcorn and movie snacks are viewed as a treat and not intended to be part of a regular diet.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It's Harvest Time!

Blame it on our fast paced lifestyle... no time to make a meal... spend time with family and friends... or do much else for yourself.

The Slow Food movement puts the focus back on nutrient rich foods created to fuel your body so you feel better. It gives you a great reason to get together with friends and family and enjoy something you cooked up.

Pamela and Hank Sindlinger, owners of Gateway Organic Farm in Pinellas County are starting a Tampa Bay chapter of the Slow Food movement.

I met them a few years ago when they decided to transition a landscaping company into an organic farm in Pinellas County. They are also raising their wonderful grandkids so the farm provided the perfect place for them to balance both.

If you've always wanted to pay closer attention to your health (you are what you eat--think about what you ate this past week), swap easy recipes and learn more about locally grown, organic food, head to Gateway Organic Farm Sunday, November 22 at 4:00.

Read more stories and check out recipes on Heather's Natural Health

Bring your favorite potluck dish, chair and plate. They'll talk about starting the new, Slow Food chapter and watch "Fresh, The Movie."

Every Saturday, they have an open house from 9am-12 so you can meet the farmers, check out the produce and learn more about becoming a member.

I've been a member of Sweetwater Organic Community Farm in Tampa for several years. 
It's an inexpensive, easy way to buy the freshest, organic produce that is picked the same day I bring it home.
Take a look at labels on produce in the grocery store. You might be surprised to find oranges from South Africa, tomatoes from Canada or Mexico and garlic from China.
Most of our produce travels 1500 to 2,000 miles to get here.

Trust me, locally grown organic produce makes you want to eat more veggies!

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen

I can tell you from experience, cutting out a lot of junk, processed foods and replacing them with nutrient rich whole foods has literally changed my life.
10 years ago, I was on a fast-track to diabetes, autoimmune issues and Lord knows what else, had I not figured out how to take care of myself.
You are what you eat--I spent too many years fueling my body with Twinkies, Doritos and Dr. Pepper!

Read more of my stories and check out easy recipes on Heather's Natural Health

I found a great book to give to someone (or maybe yourself) that will help make that transition easier.
"The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen" shows you how to use food as medicine. It was created for cancer patients going through treatment but I think it's good for anyone who wants to learn how to cook and eat better.
If you have a chronic disease, adding whole foods to your diet can only help.

Rebecca Katz created the cookbook--she has excellent credentials--Masters of Science degree in Health and Nutrition Education and culinary training from a school I would love to attend: New York's Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts. She also works with patients at a cancer center in California. Rebecca stopped by the TV station so I could interview her. She has seen the dramatic difference between cancer patients who eat nutrient rich foods and those who don't.
Her top 5 cancer fighting foods include: garlic, onions (anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial) Dark, leafy greens from the cabbage family including kale and broccoli and spices like turmeric, found in curry dishes (anti-inflammatory, aids in digestion).
I recently interviewed an M.D. Anderson Cancer researcher about the health benefits of turmeric/curcumin.

The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen includes 150 science based recipes designed to taste good and be good for you!

She shared some of the recipes with us:

The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen/Emerald Greens with Orange

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
6 cups stemmed, chopped Swiss chard in bite-size pieces
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon maple syrup

Heat olive oil in a large saute' pan over medium heat, then add garlic, red pepper flakes, cranberries and orange juice and saute' for 30 seconds. Add the chard, salt, zest and saute' until chard starts to darken. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the greens to a bowl, then bring the liquid in the pan to a boil. When the liquid thickens a bit, stir the greens back in, along with the maple syrup. You may want to add another pinch of salt.
You can also put pomegranate seeds over the greens just before serving.

The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen/Almond Muffin Mania 

1 1/2 cups almond meal
1/2 cup spelt flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup mashed banana
1/4 cup organic milk (or almond milk)
2 organic eggs
1/4 cup unrefined organic coconut oil
1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare mini muffin tin by oiling each cup. Combine almond meal,spelt flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk until combined. Separately, combine agave nectar, mashed banana, milk, eggs, oil, almond and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well with rubber spatula.
Spoon batter into the muffin cups, filling each about three-quarters full. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, until muffins spring back from touch. Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the edges to loosen before they pop out.
*For ginger/lemon muffins, add 1 teaspoon of ground ginger to the dry ingredients/ Omit the extracts and add 3 tablespoons chopped, peeled fresh ginger, 3 tablespoons of lemon zest and 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice to wet ingredients.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Scratchy throat or just want to prevent one? Read on...

Simple soup to make you feel better

Ok, so a good guy friend of mine, Jeff, (single--hates to cook) told me he is surrounded by sneezers and other sick people who are coming down with colds. He would love to make the "healing soup" I told you about (recipe included below in another BLOG), but he wants an easier version.

*Facebook friend, Donald Buffamanti, earns EXTRA credit for not only making the "healing soup" but also including his fantastic photo!
Donald said it was easy to make, but for those who try to avoid the grocery store at all cost, I have a 2 to 3 ingredient super simple garlic soup that will also do the trick.

You can sip on this garlic soup to prevent colds or make you feel better if you're fighing one.

There's science behind the benefits of eating raw garlic.
Harvard educated, Integrative medicine guru, Dr. Andrew Weil suggests eating raw garlic everyday for its antibiotic/antiviral properties.

Garlic is a powerful natural medicine. It has abilities to lower cholesterol and reduce clotting of the blood. It can also help lower high blood pressure. 
In addition, raw garlic is a potent antibiotic, especially active against fungal infections, with antibacterial and antiviral effects as well. An effective home remedy for colds is to eat several cloves of raw garlic at the first onset of symptoms. Eating raw garlic does not appeal to everyone, but garlic loses its antibiotic properties when you cook or dry it, and commercial garlic capsules do not preserve the full activity of the fresh bulb. You can make raw garlic more palatable by chopping it fine, mixing it with food, and eating it with a meal. Or cut a clove into chunks and swallow them whole like pills. One or two cloves of garlic a day are recommended for people who suffer from chronic or recurrent infections.

Eating raw garlic by itself can be be tough... that's why I like to sip this soup.
You only need three ingredients:
-Bulb of garlic
-Organic chicken broth
-Organic extra virgin olive oil

The most laber intensive part is you have to mince an entire bulb of garlic.
Use a knife to pop each clove from its shell and then mince all of the cloves.

Next, toss minced garlic in a pot, add a tablespoon of olive oil and lightly cook for 30 seconds.
(Keep garlic as raw as possible)
Add 32 ounces of organic chicken broth to pot and heat only until warm.

Strain the garlic and drink the broth.
*If it tastes too strong for you (or your kids make a horrible face) you can add more chicken broth  or water.

It won't fill you up like the "healing soup" but it will make you feel better and it takes only 5 minutes to make!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cancer researcher answers YOUR questions about health benefits of spice

Cancer researchers from around the country are taking a closer look at the health benefits of an ancient spice found in curry.
Researchers including Dr. Bharat Aggarwal from the Department of Experimental Therapeutics at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Texas have found that a substance in turmeric called curcumin is a natural anti-inflammatory powerhouse.
Dr. Aggarwal says preliminary, human trials from M.D. Anderson, John Hopkins and UCLA suggest curcumin supplements may become an inexpensive, non-toxic anti-cancer agent some day.

Dr. Aggarwal was kind enough to answer these viewer questions about turmeric and curcumin supplements:
#1) My dad has 3A Multiple Myeloma and has been taking 500mg of Tumeric for a year and a half. Should he be eating the actual spice along with taking the capsule form of Tumeric?
#2) Which human trial with curcumin has impressed you the most? How much curcumin was given?
#3) Is there a recommended preventative supplement dose? What should I look for on the label?
#4) What diseases do you think can be improved with this spice or supplement?
#5) How can I enroll in an upcoming trial?
#6) Is there a specific food I should eat with the spice or supplement to improve absorption?
#7) How have your cancer patients felt after taking high doses of curcumin supplement?
#8) I've hear turmeric is in mustard. Would I have to eat a lot to get a benefit?
#9) Who should take curcumin or eat the spice?
#10) What are your recommendations for people who want to take curcumin? Are there are conflicts with certain medications or potential issues I should tell my doctor?
I was recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer stage IIIC and currently undergoing chemo treatments after having a total hysterectomy, colon re-resection and debulking in July.
#11) Is it safe to take curcumin supplements during chemo treatments (Taxol and Cisplatin)? I will be undergoing my fifth of six rounds of chemo this week - my CA125 was 35 after surgery, 18 after my first round of chemo and 8 after my second and third rounds. 
#12) How much should I take to help prevent cancer re-occurrence?
#13) Are there any concerns I should have by taking Turmeric supplements?
#14) What have the results been with your patients taking Turmeric?

Friday, November 6, 2009

M.D. Anderson researcher changed the way I eat...

Can an ancient spice prevent and treat cancer? That's the question researchers are trying to answer.
Turmeric is known as a golden gift from God, a sacred spice that has been used for centuries in Indian Ayurvedic and Asian medicine to treat fevers, stomach aches and cuts.
Indians sprinkle the powder on cuts to help them heal, gargle with it to soothe sore throats and mix it with warm milk for sick kids to sip.

Madhu Sharma, owner of the Green Chili Indian Bistro in St. Petersburg uses turmeric in almost all of her dishes.
She says it's also an important ingredient in other aspects of Indian culture.
"We use turmeric when the baby is born. We use turmeric when we get married. We use turmeric when we cook everyday
and we use turmeric to worship God and offer to God," says Sharma.
People in India eat turmeric everyday in curry dishes. They cook with fresh turmeric root (a bright yellow herb from the ginger family) or they use the dry powder, adding about one teaspoon to every meal.

Daily turmeric consumption is one of the reasons cancer researchers suspect India's rate for breast, colon, prostate and lung cancer is 10 to 50 times lower than in people in the United States.
Dr. Bharat Aggarwal, Ph.D, Professor of the Department of Experimental Therapeautics, Division of Cancer Medicine at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Texas has been studying the spice for several decades.
"It has enormous potential. It is very safe. It has been around for a long, long, time and for the first time, I think we have evidence that it may be working as well," he says.
Hundreds of laboratory and animal studies have shown that a substance in turmeric, called curcumin, kills a wide variety of cancer cells including colon, breast, prostate, pancreatic, brain and melanoma and slows tumor growth.
The preclinical research has taken the spice from the lab to the clinic.
"We have shown that a wide variety of tumor cells can be selectively killed by curcumin and it does not kill the normal cells but will kill only cancer cells. There are no known side effects in people," he says.
Dr. Aggarwal says he has gradually given cancer patients up to 8 grams of curcumin supplements (500 mg each) a day without any side effects. He says in addition to eating turmeric in his food, he also takes 500 mg a day.
While phase I and plase II clinical trials involving people have been small, 40 have been completed and 40 more are ongoing, Dr. Aggarwal says the spice has a promising future as an inexpensive, non-toxic cancer preventative agent and treatment.
"We are of the opinion that inflammation causes cancer and if you can inhibit inflammation you can prevent or even treat cancer. We found that spices are some of the best anti-inflammatory agents available" says Dr. Aggarwal.
Dr. Aggarwal and researchers at John Hopkins, UCLA School of Medicine and other cancer centers that have studied curcumin, suspect it fights disease including cancer, alzheimers, arthritis and heart disease by shutting down a powerful protein that promotes chronic inflammation in the body.
Chronic inflammation can be triggered by sugary, processed foods, cigarettes, stress and alcohol.

But critics say the human trials are too small and don't last long enough. They wonder how much is actually absorbed by the body. Dr. Aggarwal agrees, more research is needed.
Dr. Aggarwal says funding for large, randomized double-blinded studies may be tough to find because curcumin can't be patented on a broad scale. He doubts it will attract the interest and funding from pharmaceutical companies. A kilo sells for about $20.00. 90 Curcumin capsules sell at the health food store for $18.00.
In the meantime, Dr. Aggarwal suggests adding more turmeric to your food. Make sure you add a healthy oil (fat) and black pepper. He says your body will absorb turmeric better.
People, like Madhu Sharma, won't wait for 21st century labs to prove the power of something that's been handed down from generation to generation.
"It's been an essential ingredient in all aspects of our lives for thousands and thousands of years."
Please submit any questions for Dr. Aggarwal to:
Additional articles:

Heather Van Nest

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Wrapping up the last leg of the 3 Day

It's finally here... the last leg of the 60 mile walk!

Cloud cover greeted us first thing in the morning and lingered long enough to get us through the mid morning sun (Yay! You have NO IDEA how much we appreciated that).

My mom and aunt Jeanne are in great shape this morning and ready to go! They are proof it pays to stick to the training program (maybe that's why I have toe troubles!).
I really valued the time I got to spend with them.

I realize how fortunate I am that we had this time together to build memories. Each moment matters when you see the names of mothers, daughters, friends and others stolen too soon by an unpredictable disease that makes no promises about tomorrow.

It takes a special group of people to take part in the 3Day. People who have been touched by breast cancer (or any cancer) have a different perspective on life... each day truly is a gift. That's what makes this 60 mile walk, an incredibly uplifting experience. Strangers encourage each others to take it one step at a time.

The one word I would use to describe what I gained from this event is appreciation.

From the gorgeous views of the beautiful place we call home...

to the teammates,

 walkers and volunteers who encouraged,

fed,  and treated our "frankenfeet"

I am forever grateful! You learn to appreciate simple things... how about a hot bath or clean clothes?
But this walk is also about hope...

Unfortunately, we all know someone who has breast cancer. Seeing a sea of pink survivors from 16 to 70, also gives those who have recently been diagnosed, a vision of what a survivors look like.

Amy Moore was diagnosed at 33-years-old.

Her boyfriend, Ryan Lynch signed up to walk for her. He's one of about 170 men taking part in the 3Day.
Amy says talking to women who are 25 year survivors helps her see a bright future and a full life without breast cancer. She says she's been given a second chance to live life to its fullest.

This walk is a reminder to me and many others, of the importance to do the same.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The HEAT is on the second day of the 60 mile, Breast Cancer 3 Day

Part of the 3Day experience involves sleeping in these little pink tents for two nights.
If you're lucky, it won't rain (remember 2005? I can still feel the rain dripping through my tent and soaking my sleeping bag!)

If you're thinking about walking in the 3Day, you really should stay in the tents and enjoy all camp has to offer. It makes you even more thankful for little luxuries--like a hot bath at home!

This is my 5th year walking in the 3Day.
I've stayed in the tents two years and stayed at home the past three. (They had to keep the showers open late for me because after I walked, I had to log on to an unreliable laptop to file my stories from camp before I could go to bed. Now I head home because it's easier to write at my desk using my "dehydrated brain"--walkers, you KNOW exactly what I mean.

There's nothing like catching the morning sunrise as you set out to start the day!

Reg and I always walk all 60 miles, but I have to admit, even after 5 years, you would THINK I would know how to prevent blisters! It's not for lack of effort! I have some heel blisters that keep growing! I'm blaming it on the heat!

This is the first time I've ever seen Reg struggle. He's never had problems with his feet... until this year.
We may be smiling in these photos, but trust me, our "piggies are swollen!"
Voluteers, safety crew members and I thought this might be the first year his body forces him to stop...not Reg!
We both completed the second day of the walk.
That's the beauty of this walk. When our feet are throbbing, our toenails our hitting the front of our shoes and we're not sure what exactly is aching because it ALL HURTS, you meet people like the Pink Dragon Ladies.

These breast cancer survivors have been cheering on the 3Day walkers for 3 years. This all survivor group gives out hugs, thank you's and whatever you need to find the energy to keep going!

Strangers instantly become friends. These three walkers were so much fun, they made sure Reg completed the walk, one block at a time! Thank you!

It doesn't stop there...


co-workers (thank you 10 Connects!)

and firefighters like Mark Spoeneman at Fire Station 29

and Jeff and Tim at Fire Station 24 in Treasure Island

encouraged all of us to fight the heat, blisters, troubled toenails and aches and pains.

Many made us laugh through any pain with their creative costumes.

You go through every emotion during this walk. No matter how much everything hurts, you talk to the next person in front of you and quickly remember why we walk.

I saw Glenn Permuy from Tampa, carrying a tall sign in the distance.

As I walked closer, I could see the photo of his mother Arlene.
This is his first year walking. It's something he wanted to do with his sister, Jennifer, to lift his mom's spirits.
She has been battling an aggressive form of breast cancer. She looked forward to cheering for them along the route--she even bought pink pom pons!

Once again, breast cancer has taken someone from us far too soon.
Unfortunately, she past away last Saturday.
But Glenn and Jennifer said they know she would appreciate "Team Arlene" taking part.

Blisters? What blisters? I've got to keep on walking..