If you have a bucket list of things to do before passing away, how are you doing on getting through your list?
A little chocolate a day keeps the doctor at bay.
~ Marcia Carrington
While the health benefits of chocolate have been touted in recent years, the added sugar and other ingredients can turn a good thing bad.
My answer? Make my own. Then I know what I’m putting in my mouth.
I bought some food-grade cocoa butter and raw organic cacao powder, then hunted down a recipe online for making chocolate.
Before making my own, I was inspired when my friend Laura and I toured Chocolate: The Exhibition at the Cincinnati Museum Center. The displays tell the history of chocolate from the Mayans to now. It included a tasting area (on special days) with a few samples of different types of chocolate.
In the little shop at the exit area, we couldn’t resist trying out a delicious 70% dark bar of just cacao and organic cane sugar. Mmmm. I don’t know if that bar would keep a doctor at bay, but it might help me hold off a visit to a psychologist…
Thriver Soup Ingredient:
Here’s a chocolate recipe that fits the bill for me:
The recipe calls for raw honey. The many benefits of raw honey are on pg. 47 in Thriver Soup. If you believe it’s still too much in the way of carbs or simple sugars, perhaps you can experiment with other sweeteners, like xylitol or stevia, and add other flavorings.
I’m in the process of experimenting with different non-cane-sugar sweeteners and a little flavoring. So far the raw honey is smooth, pairs well with hazelnut extract, and melts quickly. I find the coconut nectar sugar makes the chocolate extra hard. The chocolate sweetened with xylitol is a little crunchy (unless you can find xylitol in a superfine variety) and pairs well with mint, almond, and vanilla flavoring. This way it tastes like a Peppermint Patty candy to me. Mmmm.
What have you tried, and how has it worked?
Marcia McMahon, in radical remission from stage 4 breast cancer, and I talked on her Peaceful Planet podcast recently.
Among our topics were Mary Magdalene, Thriver Soup’s cover art by Margaret and Keith Klein, music by Sunflower, when I had an idea my cancer was over (a dream I had), energy healing, healthy eating, and of course, how to manage emotions. We also did a brief version of the guided visualization, A Conversation with Dis-ease.
The interview starts at 7:55. Enjoy!
As much as you can eat healthy, it’s also important to remember to drink healthy too. Tea is very healing.
-Kristin Chenoweth, American actress and singer
The healing benefits of green tea are well documented for cancer patients. Do you try to have a cup each day? It would be easier to swallow without the bitter aftertaste. Yet there is a little secret about how to brew it, and other teas, to greatly enhance their flavor.
You’ll spend far less money on your tea, and get better-tasting brew at the same time with this method.
The secret is in the tea-making process, which I learned from my sister, Roselie, who learned it from some Turkish friends.
To get great-tasting tea, start with a double boiler, which is a two-layered pot. Don’t have a double boiler? You can create one with a regular 3-quart pot and a sturdy glass bowl. Place the glass bowl into the pot so it nestles inside but still sits a good inch above the bottom of the pot.
Pour half an inch of water into the bottom pot. In the top pot or bowl, add a few cups of water and enough tea for a typical single cup. Cover with a lid.
I let mine sit overnight on the stove top to begin the process. In the morning, I turn the heat on a low setting and let the water come to a slow boil. This will gradually allow the full flavor of the tea to infuse the water in the top portion.
Your reward—a few cups of delicious tea from one tea bag.
Loose-leaf teas tend to have larger leaves and produce more flavor. If you use tea bags instead, I would suggest removing the tea from its bag. Many bags contain unnatural ingredients that can be released into the tea at high temperatures. The loosened tea can be put in a tea ball or placed straight in the water. Then you can strain your tea through a sieve when pouring it.
With some herbal teas this slow-steeping method doesn’t bring out the flavor as well, so you might have to experiment. For green and black teas, I find I enjoy the flavor more, which means I’ll drink more to get the benefits.
Be tea-totaller. Sip your health-promoting brew with pleasure.
Thriver Soup Ingredient:
Loose-leaf organic green tea has been shown to inhibit metastasis, boost the immune system, reduce inflammation, detoxify the body, enhance the effectiveness of radiotherapy, and increase bone density.
“Meditation isn’t what you think. It has nothing to do with the contents of your thoughts. Meditation is where your brain waves are when you are having those thoughts. A person doesn’t need to have a calm, quiet mind to achieve the healing, regenerative, and perception-expanding benefits of meditation.”
– Tai Chi Grandmaster Vincent J. Lasorso Jr.
Purposeful meditation has killed cancer, healed tumors, cut holes in the clouds, and transmuted the toxic chemicals in water and air, according to Tai Chi Grandmaster Vincent Lasorso of Cincinnati. “It has lowered the crime in Cincinnati and cities around the world. It has prevented wars.”
According to the medical staff of the Mayo Clinic, medical research has demonstrated that regular meditation has improved the following conditions:
- Chronic pain
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
“Above it all, meditation provides inner peace while you practice, which continues long after the practice is over,” Lasorso said. A combined study of Yale, Harvard and MIT universities demonstrated that regular meditation actually develops new brain neurons and functioning. This new generation may occur in as little as twelve weeks.
Meditation is a skill anyone can learn
Our common conception of meditation is monks sitting quietly contemplating a calm, still mind. These monks are to meditation as Beckham is to soccer: gifted professionals, Lasorso said. The rest of us just have fun knocking the ball of consciousness around, getting some great exercise.
“You don’t have to become a monk to get fantastic benefits from meditation. But you do have to be better than just randomly knocking the ball around hoping you’ll get good at it. Meditation, like any exercise, takes practice and coaching to know what to do.”
Meditation is a naturally occurring state of mind
Every day you move in and out of the brain-wave states called meditation. In fact, your sleep technically is meditation. What makes meditation different from sleep is lucidity, clearness of mind, and the ever-presence of self, he said.
“Let’s say you’re sitting in a classroom and you begin to daydream about walking in a park. As long as you are aware that you are sitting in the classroom and not in the park, and you are observing the park and your actions, you are meditating. Your body is relaxing, regenerating, and healing. The second you forget where you are, who you are, stop observing, and begin to participate, then you are asleep.”
The secrets of meditation are to relax and pay attention
Your brain is moving you into meditative states several times each day, he said. But while that’s happening, you are usually lost in a daydream or some other distracting stimulation, not paying attention to your body or the world around you. You’re poised for relaxation but forget to do it.
“The difference between being lucid and asleep, in both life and meditation, is not getting absorbed by the distractions. You have to pay attention to yourself and your body or you will lose them both. You have to learn to stay awake, and that is what meditation training is about.”
Meditation is easier than you think
Although the concept of daily meditation may seem daunting and unobtainable to you, the immediate reduction in stress, pain, and improved peace of mind are reason enough to try. And you might even kill off some cancer with some practice.
Thriver Soup Ingredient:
Seek out a meditation class or practice in your area. Try a mind/body integration meditation (Mindfulness), Qigong meditation (using breath, sound, and movement), progressive relaxation and visualization practice, or moving meditation through Tai Chi. For more information, contact the White Willow School of Tai Chi, 7433 Montgomery Road, Cincinnati, OH 45236, 513-791-9428, http://www.whitewillowtaichi.com
By Lauren Cadman, PT, with Heidi Bright
Editor’s note: I went to see Lauren after breaking two fingers in three places this past fall. Physical therapy could not address the excess scar tissue in the affected joints. After eight myofascial release treatments, I now have full use of my fingers again. I am grateful for this healing modality and want to share it with you.
Do you have pain left over from a cancer procedure that physical therapy has not helped reduce? Do your scar tissues and the areas around them still hurt? It might be time to consider myofascial release.
“Myo” means muscle and “fascia” means connective tissue.
This safe and effective hands-on technique involves applying gentle, sustained pressure into areas of the body that are restricted, dense, and tight. This process decreases the tightness to alleviate pain, reduces the thickness of scar tissue, and helps restore normal sensation and motion.
Myofascial restrictions can be caused not only by surgeries to remove cancerous tissue, but also by chemotherapy and radiation.
Breast cancer patients, for example, undergo lumpectomies or mastectomies that leave behind scar tissue. Even without surgery, these patients may develop fibrotic tissue as a direct result of chemotherapy or radiation.
Scars also can grow inside the body like vines, reaching into other regions of the body, like the respiratory diaphragm and into the neck and shoulders. Patients may experience pain in the neck, shoulders, and upper back after treatment for breast cancer. Patients who have been treated for cancer in other areas may experience pelvic, back, and leg pain.
This tissue resembles what I like to describe as “a wet sponge drying out to a dry sponge.” The tissue feels thick, tight, and gristly when palpated or touched.
The trauma and inflammatory responses in the body create myofascial restrictions with tensile pressures of about 2,000 pounds per square inch on pain-sensitive structures. That’s a lot of pressure.
These restrictions do not show up in many standard tests (including x-rays, myelograms, CAT scans, or electromyography). Instead, they are detected using palpation, or touch.
Once scar tissue has formed, myofascial release techniques applied below and above the scar region can be helpful in eliminating the pain and softening the scar. It can be extremely helpful in improving tissue mobility, pliability, and hydration.
The time element in MFR treatment is vital. It is essential that the practitioner apply sustained pressure to the tissue for a minimum of 90 seconds. This low-load gentle pressure applied slowly will allow the connective tissue to soften and elongate.
Being free of pain and being able to move more freely can help provide emotional benefits for those treated for cancer.
Cancer treatment should not end with interventions to treat the cancer. Too often patients are left with residual problems, some of which can be addressed with MFR to help them return to more optimal health.
If you or someone you know has been down this road, consider adding myofascial work to the health care plan.
Balance the soft tissue, decompress the joints, alleviate the residual pain, and restore your energy.
Lauren Cadman, PT, Premier Wellness and Myofascial Release
Roast fowl to him that’s sated will seem less
Upon the board than leaves of garden cress.
— Saadi Shirazi, Persian poet
Garden cress might not be filling, but it adds a peppery spiciness and lots of nutrients to your meal. It’s been cultivated for thousands of years and enjoyed by royalty.
I got my first-ever taste a few weeks ago through my community-supported agriculture program, Earth-Shares CSA. I had heard of watercress sandwiches, so I rooted around and found a simple solution: toast with butter and cress.
I tried it. What a fun new taste—and even my college-aged son loved it. We have a new summer fave. Especially because garden cress has as much anti-cancer potential as cabbage, kohlrabi, and Chinese broccoli. And apparently it even has more vitamin C than oranges.
If you know someone with cataracts or age-related macular degeneration, maybe gift them some potted cress.
Other goodies in these greens include Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin K, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper, and Manganese.
Another benefit is this annual is supposedly easy to grow in the house, so you can get a fresh dose anytime, and enjoy it like royalty.
Thriver Soup Ingredient:
Here are some cress recipes to try: https://cressinfo.com/recipes/
Here we go ’round the mulberry bush, The mulberry bush, The mulberry bush. Here we go ’round the mulberry bush so early in the morning.
English nursery rhyme
I grew up hearing this song and assumed mulberries grew on bushes, like raspberries and blueberries.
Nope. They grow on trees. My sister and I discovered this two summers ago on Long Island, where we saw a man picking what looked like long raspberries off a tree. A tree? What was he eating?
Oh, we crammed our mouths with their luscious juiciness until we couldn’t reach any more. So sweet, so ripe, and no exterior seeds.
This past week my friend Laura and I took a walk and she identified a mulberry tree. I didn’t know they grew in the Cincinnati area. We filled a bag with what we could reach.
When we met again, she arrived holding a bag filled with fresh, ripe mulberries she had picked. What a treat! And then we found more. I’m in mulberry heaven.
Fortunately, mulberries have great nutritional value. According to https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/mulberries.html, they can improve digestion, reduce cholesterol, aid in weight loss, increase circulation, build bone tissues, boost the immune system, prevent certain cancers, slow down the aging process, decrease blood pressure, protect eyes, and improve metabolism.
That’s a pretty nice list of benefits. Makes me want to go ‘round a mulberry tree and pick more. Just need a ladder to catch those ones up high…
Thriver Soup Ingredient:
To find mulberries, check your local farmers’ markets or look for dried varieties in stores.
https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/mulberries.html includes nutrition facts.
Research on “Composition of anthocyanins in mulberry and their antioxidant activity”
Look up effects of mulberry extracts before considering using them.
Jacqui Roell, RN, BSN, who believes Thriver Soup saved her life, earned a 2018 Unsung Hero Award from Cancer Family Care.
A registered nurse for more than 25 years, Jacqui became the patient during 2017 with a breast cancer diagnosis. During her chemotherapy and radiation treatments, she used many alternative therapies, which she said allowed her to recover quickly.
She calls herself a living testament to how complementary therapies can benefit cancer patients before, during, and after medical treatments. “They can actually decrease, and in some cases remove, the need for many medications by allowing your body to heal itself and maintain its healthy balance naturally.”
Jacqui is an aromatherapist, a reflexologist, and a Reiki practitioner. She is adding healing touch, crystal therapy, and herbal supplementation to her business. She also is active in several cancer care and advocacy groups, including Pink Ribbon Girls and Cancer Family Care.
Jacqui was nominated for the award by her mother, Marilyn Seilkop, a fellow cancer survivor. Marilyn wrote, “She is a passionate advocate for patients and their families. In addition to interviews on local TV stations, Jackie is a frequent speaker at cancer care events she is a mentor for cancer patients and a hero to all who meet her.”
Jacqui’s Holistic Soul Wellness website is https://holisticsoulwellness.com/
What is your favorite complementary form of treatment?