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..

Friday, October 30, 2009

A HOT start to the first day of the 60 mile, Breast Cancer 3Day!

It's always tough to sleep the night before the 3Day Breast Cancer walk.
Even though this is my 5th year walking all 60 miles, I'm always ready to get going!

I absolutely love seeing so many familiar faces walking, volunteering and cheering along the way.
There is something comforting just knowing... as we face record high temperatures, strangers who really have become family, are encouraging all of us to keep moving every step of the way!

This year I am walking with my mom and aunt Jeanne, in honor of my other two aunts who are survivors.
(We walked together the first year)
We have a little Lifetime Friends/10Connects team with Reg, Mitcheal, Ane, Mark, Eileen, Jeanne and my mom.
My aunt polly embroidered ribbons with the names of survivors and others we are honoring on the leis we wear around our necks. Every time our feet hurt, we look down and remember why we're walking.

Opening ceremonies kicked off with a beautiful sunrise on Sand Key in Clearwater as breast cancer survivors stood in a circle above the crowd to remind us why we walk.

One person who will keep me motivated and moving all weekend long is Teresa Lennon from Palm Harbor.

We met before opening ceremonies and talked about how she found out she had breast cancer--3 days before her 46th birthday! She found a lump in her left breast while she was in the shower. She amazed me... not only did she insist on walking in the Breast Cancer 3Day while receiving RADIATION, but she had signed up by herself! It takes a strong person to do that.
She told me she's been through "one Hell of a journey" but God has blessed her in so many ways she never expected.
She certainly is paying it forward... each walker must raise at least $2300. Teresa raised $5500 and was kind enough to pass along donation money to other walkers who had not met their limit!

I also met a wonderful husband and wife who wanted to share their can get breast cancer too.

While it is rare, breast cancer in men is usually found at a later stage because they may not look for changes as often as women do.
I promised both of them I would remind everyone to pay attention to any changes in their body. No one knows your body better than you.

It seems as if younger and younger women are being diagnosed.
Linda Green from Clearwater told me how her nephew's wife, 24-year-old Mandy, found out she had inflammatory breast cancer.

Not too long after the diagnosis, Mandy learned she was pregnant! She was determined to carry the baby for at least 7 months.
Linda is taking part in the 3Day to honor Mandy. She ended up adopted Mandy's daughter Amanda when IBC took Mandy's life at 24!

Every walker has a connection to breast cancer. The only gift that comes out of this tragedy is that this group knows the value each day. No matter how tough it may get during the walk, there's always someone to lift you up and remind you what we're tackling at the moment is really not that big of a deal.

Thanks for the smiles from Dusty Rhodes and Jim Paxton! Their wives, Maria and Sandy, have walked in the 3Day before soooooooo, they thought it was time for the guys to join them this year!

Their husbands gladly signed up to walk this year but they admitted they were surprised to see how tough "walking" can be. I agree!

I have to admit, record heat always makes the 60 mile walk even more of a physical challenge! Last year, I breezed through (or so it seemed!) the walk.
This year, I am trying my best to not get burned (Thank you Mike at Bay-to-Bay Hardware for the SPF 30 hats!!!)
I always try to make it through Friday without any "toenail issues" or "blisters" like I've had in years past. Friday really sets the tone for the weekend.

Hmmmm, let me just say you DON'T want to see a pictures of my feet right now!
I'll hit the trail again tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I'll say "cheers" to that...

We've all heard about the health benefits of drinking red wine, but if it sometimes puts you to sleep, you need a better "party drink." A drink with a healthy twist!

How about Green Tea Mojito? Berry Good Sangria or Cherry Chiller? A friend of mine just wrote a book called "Organic, Shaken and Stirred."
I love the concept!

I had my first "fresh" drink at The Don CeSar Hotel on St. Pete Beach.
I ordered the Beach Berry--Prairie Organic Vodka, agave nectar, muddled with fresh black berries and lemon juice.
Nothing wrong with drinking your anti-inflammatory super fruits with a serving of alcohol. Maybe they balance each other a little better? 
(Actually the idea of not having all the sugary sweetened, artificial flavors in my drink made it taste much better.)
In my friend's new book, "Organic, Shaken and Stirred"  Paul Abercrombie shows you how to make the freshest drinks using tangelos, acai and even aloe vera!
Here's one of my favorites:
Green Tea Mojito
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
4 large organic mint leaves
2 teaspoons organic sugar (or sweetener of your choice)
3 ounces brewed organic green tea at room temp.
1 ounce organic white rum
In a tall glass, muddle lime juice, mint and sugar together until mint is bruised. Fill the glass three-quarters full with ice cubes, pour in the green tea and rum, stir well. Sit back and relax!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Say so long to soda... welcome white tea!

We all have our morning rituals. Mine begins with a fresh cup of hot loose leaf white tea.

I ended up drinking white tea after trying green tea... I had read about the health benefits of green tea, but I have to admit, it made me tense for some weird reason.
Coffee makes me bounce off walls, but white tea is something I can sip all morning long.
It contains some caffeine... enough to lift the morning head fog, but not enough to make you want to squeeze a million errands into 5 minutes.

I've also written about the health benefits of white tea. The words" anti-inflammatory wrinkle fighter" certainly make it taste even better!

Researchers from Kingston University tested the health benefits of 21 herbs and plants. While most had health benefits, they say they were blown away to see how much white tea outperformed the others.

White tea is also steamed rather than fermented or roasted like green or black tea. It's not as processed as the other teas which may explain why it does well in studies.

According to researchers:
Professor Declan Naughton, from the School of Life Sciences at Kingston University in South West London, said the research showed white tea had anti-ageing potential and high levels of anti-oxidants which could prevent cancer and heart disease.
"We've carried out tests to identify plant extracts that protected the structural proteins of the skin, specifically elastin and collagen," he explained.
"Elastin supports the body's natural elasticity which helps lungs, arteries, ligaments and skin to function. It also helps body tissue to repair when you suffer wounds and stops skin from sagging." Collagen is a protein found in connective tissues in the body and is important for skin, strength and elasticity, he added.
Results showed white tea prevented the activities of the enzymes which breakdown elastin and collagen which can lead to wrinkles that accompany ageing. These enzymes, along with oxidants, are associated with inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

"We were testing very small amounts far less than you would find in a drink," Professor Naughton, one of the country's leading specialists on inflammation, said.
"The early indicators are that white tea reduces the risk of inflammation which is characteristic of rheumatoid arthritis and some cancers as well as wrinkles."

If this is your first time trying white tea, make sure you try white tea mixed with fruits or you'll ask me why it tastes a bit like a freshly mowed lawn.
You won't even need to add sweetener because you'll be able to taste the fruit.
I used to buy my loose leaf tea at Teavana/International Plaza, but they only have a small selection of organic white teas.
The reality is if I am going to drink or eat something for the health benefits (white tea is one my favorite "treats") I'd prefer not to have additional chemical pesticides.

As I searched online, I found a tea store in California that sells a large variety of loose leaf, organic teas.  Jackpot!
As a former "dessert addict,"  flavors like "Blueberry Pomegranate" or "White Goji Blossom" caught my eye.
The owner of Art of Tea, Steve Schwartz studied ayurvedic medicine so he understands the benefits of drinking teas. He even offers training courses to become a "Tea Sommelier."

White tea is my "dessert" after eating dinner at a restaurant.
It helped me conquer a self-induced, sugar addiction without feeling like I was depriving myself .
The website also has a great BLOG where Steve shows you how to make your own ice tea with loose leaf tea.

Shhhh... don't tell my parents... 
I'm actually going to give the ice tea container and naturally flavored organic teas to my dad for Christmas. I've slooooowly influenced him to put down the soda can, switch to ice tea or even Crystal Light (I know, chemical sweetener, but we're taking baby steps). I think some of the dessert white tea or fruit flavors (even if he has to add a little stevia to sweeten) may help him make the switch to a healthier drink.
I already know my mom will like it.
I think I paid about $28 for a 1/2 pound, but you only use a hearty pinch so it lasts a LONG time.
Some things, like loose leaf organic white tea are worth it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Breast Cancer Awareness Month and more

Thinking about all of the breast cancer related events happening this month...

Two of my aunts are breast cancer survivors. A friend of mine was also diagnosed in her 20's. Please pay attention to any changes and get your annual mammograms (if you're younger and have "dense breasts" consider a digital mammogram).
We just wrapped up Race for the Cure in St. Petersburg. Now you can shop to support breast cancer research.

Saks Key to the Cure kicks off Oct. 15-18th with special sales and a portion of all sales to benefit breast, ovarian, uterine and cervical cancer research at Moffitt Cancer Center.

I also picked up a cute, bright pink re-usable shopping bag at Whole Foods Market in Tampa... check it out...

The pink grocery bag costs $2.00.

100% of the proceeds from the sale of the bags go to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation.

The 60 mile, Breast Cancer 3 Day walk is also coming up Halloween weekend.
My co-anchor, Reggie and I will be walking all 60 miles again.

This will be my 5th year walking. My mom and aunt are going to walk with me again (we walked together the first year) in honor of my two aunts who are breast cancer survivors.
If you're walking, volunteering or cheering on the walkers, please say hello!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Power of Pomegranate

I swear the best way to eat pomegranates is first thing in the morning... when you're still wearing your pajamas!
Yes, they can be REALLY messy, but the extra effort is worth it!

I love how the ripe, juicy seeds burst in your mouth.

Pomegranates are high in fiber, Vitamin C, niacin and disease fighting antioxidants... you would have to drink three times as much green tea or red wine to get the same benefits.

According to integrative medical doctor, Dr. Andrew Weil:
The pomegranate is an extraordinary fruit, steeped in history: the number of seeds (roughly 613) found in a single fruit were said by ancient scholars to correspond to the 613 commands of the Hebrew Torah.
Now, renowned herbalist James Duke, a former ecologist with the USDA, has published (in the April, 2008 issue of Alternative & Complementary Therapies) an exhaustive review of the scientific literature on the pomegranate. His conclusion: it is “one of the most promising of health foods” with “a dozen known anti-inflammatory phytochemicals and some 3 dozen antioxidants.”
Duke found studies that suggest pomegranate fruit and/or juice may help prevent or alleviate:

-Heart disease and atherosclerosis
-High cholesterol
-Prostate cancer
-Alzheimer's disease

There's no better time to enjoy them than now.

Here's an easier way to separate the seeds from the skin. Cut the pomegranate into pieces and place in a bowl of water. Break the sections apart and gently pop the juicy seeds out.

The seeds will sink to the bottom while the rind and other stuff you don't want to eat, will rise to the top.
Drain the water and eat a bowl full of pomegranate seeds or add the seeds to your salad, cereal or yogurt.

Monday, October 12, 2009

"Dummy" grocery list guarantees fresh, fast grocery store trip

We all know to eat fresh, whole foods, we have to grocery shop at least once a week.
I would enjoy it more if I didn't have to squeeze it in before work or when I don't really have time to shop.

If I go into a grocery store without a list, I am in deep trouble...aimlessly wondering the aisles... thinking I am inspired to try a new Thai recipe only to realize I didn't buy several main ingredients!
Without a plan, I will be tempted to grab these!

I created my "dummy" grocery list. It helps me get in and out within 45 minutes and guarantees I will have turkey tacos with homemade salsa, garlic basil chicken sausage pizza, chicken salad, steak soft tacos with radish and avocado, plus chicken salad, yogurt and cereal for breakfast, etc. It gives me a bunch of different options. My list may not work for you, but I swear if you create a master "dummy"  grocery list, you'll use it over and over again! It's a MAJOR time saver!


LIMES (4)   















Thursday, October 8, 2009

Website tells you if it's flu or SWINE FLU

Click here to read more of my stories on Heather's Natural

Ever wonder how you'll know the difference between the flu or swine flu symptoms?
A new website created by Emory University doctors makes it easy for you.

Click here to check out website

Type in your zip code (so it can determine flu and swine flu outbreak in your area) and your symptoms. Within a minute, it will tell you if you need to see your doctor or crawl back in bed and put on your best "sick puppy dog face" to get someone to make my garlic soup chicken broth! Hmmmmm!

Click here to see garlic soup recipe

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

How to lower your exposure to BPA (synthetic estrogen)

If you've seen me around town, there's a good chance I was lugging this thing in my purse...

I fill up this stainless steel jug with filtered, reverse osmosis water from my house just about every day.
(I have a few of them so I can rotate and wash them--$20 bucks, Whole Foods)

I used to keep a 6 pack of plastic water bottles at my desk to make sure I would drink water throughout the day.
Not only did the water TASTE like plastic, but it was literally LEACHING plastic chemicals into my body which can mimic estrogen. Researchers warn extra estrogen has been linked to breast cancer, prostate cancer and other reproductive disorders. Plus, I doubt guys even want to hear how extra estrogen can contribute to some "interesting" physical changes in their bodies.

(Check out earlier article I told you about regarding a Harvard study that found BPA (bisphenol A) leaching from hard, plastic bottles into water. More stories and recipes are on Heather's Natural ).

A new study  suggests pregnant women need to be extra cautious when it comes to exposure to controversial chemicals in plastic including BPA.
The study found pregnant moms with high BPA levels were more likely to give birth to more aggressive girls.
Researchers believe the study suggests exposing a developing baby to extra estrogen can distrupt hormones.
The study tracked the girls around two years of age, but researchers want to see what happens as the girls grow.

Read the study here on Heather's Natural

If you'd like to learn how to lower your exposure to BPA, here are a few things you can do:
Say goodbye to plastic drinking glasses and plastic  food containers.

I stick to glass or stainless steel products.

Also, most food companies and soda companies line the inside of their cans with an epoxy resin that contains BPA. (Great, right?)

Try to buy fresh, or frozen vegetables instead of canned.
At least one company, Eden Organics, uses a BPA free lining for its cans which is recommended by consumer advocacy group, Center for Science in the Public Interest.

If you're a die-hard soda drinker, it's really too bad that it is hard to find those old fashioned, glass bottles.
Unfortunately, many children's products contain BPA, so avoid hard, plastic sippy cups (you can find stainless steel or BPA free) and look for BPA free infant formula bottles and teethers.

Other countries have banned BPA in children's products for kids under the age of 3. We'll see what happens in this country.
In the meantime, you can vote with your wallet for the best products.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

6 warning signs of breast cancer

October is breast cancer awareness month. It's always good to know the 6 breast cancer warning signs.

Keep in mind, women AND men should look for any changes. I've interviewed men who have also had breast cancer. Some waited to be diagnosed because they didn't think it was anything worth worrying about.
More than 200,000 people will be diagnosed this year...
Early detection is the key to saving lives.

While personal and family medical history can influence your risk, so can lifestyle including what you eat and don't eat, environmental exposure to chemicals and even how you handle stress can all impact your breast cancer risk.
No one knows your body better than you.You KNOW when something is not right. I urge you to pay attention to any changes in your body. If you've 40, make sure you get your annual mammogram.

The National Cancer Institute suggests keeping an eye out for the following signs:

A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm area

A change in the size or shape of the breast

Nipple discharge or tenderness

An inverted nipple

Ridges or pitting on the breast (resembling an orange peel)

A change in the look or feel of the breast, areola or nipple (such as temperature, swelling, redness or a scaly feel)

Please see your doctor right away if you notice any of these changes.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Introducing a few guys to a "healthy restaurant"

I had a GREAT time at Race for the Cure this past weekend.

There's something special that happens when a group of people who have all been impacted by cancer get together...

we all know the value and gift of each day. Just getting together with 12,000 people in Vinoy Park recharged my batteries!

I really appreciate a couple of guys from the TV station who got up EXTRA early Saturday to help Reg and me cheer on the walkers and runners.

It means a lot to me! I figured the least I could do is take them to lunch.

Of course they tried to get me to take them to Five Guys...ohhhhh as much as I LOVED burgers and fries back in the day, I just couldn't do it.

So I dragged them to one of my favorite places to eat outside in St. Pete on Central Ave... Organic Cafe.
Baked sweet potatoe french fries, whole grain, flaxseed oatmeal cookies, unsweetened white tea... clearly I was in Heaven! While I was tempted to suggest the vegetarian shepherd's pie, I played it safe with this crowd! :) Sandwich wraps and salads are always great.

Thanks again Beau, Mike and Mitchell!  I've got the photo to prove you guys ate healthy stuff! I will add it as soon as I get it!