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Cancer Journey/ HEALTH

Tools and Tips for Cancer Caregivers

Thank you Pfizer for sponsoring this post. Join Pfizer’s This Is Living With Cancer™ initiative by sharing your story with #InspirationLives on Facebook and Instagram to support and inspire those who have been affected by cancer, and be sure to check out the LivingWith™ mobile app available via iTunes and Google Play.

As a two-time cancer survivor, I have been the patient. I know what it is to be in deep need of others and their support. I know the importance of caregivers and how they can make a scary, horrible experience into something quite beautiful and bearable.

Being in remission for seven years has also allowed me to be the caregiver. I know what it means to show up and support a loved one while they are in the fight for their life. I know the beauty of bearing burdens and how coming alongside another in their suffering can not only help them, but also can change you and give your life moments deep meaning and beauty.

I know.

I’ve talked a lot about the brave cancer fighters I’ve met and loved. I have the unique opportunity as a survivor myself and, through this blog, to reach and meet many cancer fighters.

What I have not talked about very much is the role of caregiver.

In my fight with stage 3b breast cancer, I had the honor of watching so many precious caregivers come alongside me and show me what deep caring and giving looks like.

I have been given seven precious years to implement what I have learned to help others in their need.

I’ve learned a few things along the way, and I have also found a tool to pass on to you for when you find yourself in the role of caregiver.

LivingWith™ App

Pfizer offers This Is Living With Cancer™, a national awareness program that includes a free mobile app for anyone living with cancer called LivingWith™. It is designed to help manage some of the daily challenges faced by people living with cancer.

As a caregiver, this is a helpful tool for your loved one to utilize. It can give you both direction, clarity and a place to gather and keep all the things!

It can help your confidence that you CAN do this and do it well. It is a helpful tool that may aid you in communication both with your loved one who is fighting cancer and with those who love them because caregiving will take a team.

Keys for a Cancer Caregiver: Community, Communication & a Caring Heart

Three main things you will need when caregiving is Community, Communication & a Caring Heart

The LivingWith app can help. Let me show you.

As you can see, all three things are addressed on the dashboard of the app:

My Circle is the hub of community.

Requests and Health Notes may help with communication.

Well-Being could help you care for your loved one and may even inspire you to do some self-care, too!

Community

The app helps your loved one “assign a Proxy who can manage your account on your behalf if desired. Champions who are the people you rely on the most for daily help, and Supporters receive updates and help where and when they can.”

You can help your loved one schedule and organize support right there in the app and keep everyone up-to-date.

As a caregiver, helping build a team is so important. It allows different people to serve in their unique and gifted ways.

It also keeps one person from being overwhelmed with the caregiving and will help surround the patient with love, which is so very healing.

Communication

Good communication is so important, and sometimes it can be hard as the caregiver to know exactly what is needed and when.

As a caregiver, it informs you in a simple way about how they are doing and gives you a heads up on how to care for them.

It gives you a way to help them communicate with your loved one’s supporters, know how to organize their thoughts and needs and share them with just a touch of a button.

Battling cancer can be overwhelming for both the patient and the caregiver. This app can be a helpful way to simplify the communication process.

Notes

The app helps you keep track of important notes and questions in between appointments. As a caregiver, you are a listener, and you can encourage your loved one to put his or her cares and concerns into list form to ask his or her doctor. This may help him or her release worry.

When you attend doctors’ appointments, keep the app open and take active notes for your loved one. This can be very helpful.

What is said during doctors’ appointments can be filled with many emotions, good and bad. Being present during these precious, life-changing moments with your loved one should not be taken lightly.

Oftentimes, your loved one is going to hear test results that can take his or her breath away . . . again, both in a good and bad way. With cancer, it can go either way.

Knowing that the important things the doctor says are being tracked and gathered in one accessible place may bring peace of mind.

A Caring Heart

Cancer can reveal just how precious life is. As a caregiver, you may find your love and care for the person with cancer almost overwhelming. You want to help your loved one fight and fight well.

The app can keep track of your loved one’s steps, sleep, pain and mood.

I encourage you, as a caregiver, to be mindful of these things for yourself. You want to be your strongest self, and that means taking care of your own basic needs, too.

Make sure you are getting the rest you need. Take walks. Hydrate. Practice self-care and take care of that caring heart of yours.

You will not regret doing your best in caregiving. It may not be a role you imagined playing or even chose to play, but look for the beauty in things that are difficult, for love is why it is so hard in the first place.

It would not be hard if you didn’t care. Take care of your dear, caring heart and keep choosing love!

——

For more information about Pfizer’s This Is Living With Cancer, and to download the free LivingWith mobile app, please visit www.ThisIsLivingWithCancer.com. Patients and their loved ones also can find the initiative on Facebook and Instagram.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

How-Tos/ Nutrition/ RECIPES

How To Eat More Seeds Every Day [+ A Super Seed No Recipe Recipe]

bowl of oats topped with super seeds

Last week I wrote ‘5 Reasons to Eat SuperSeeds Every Day’, and today I am going to share some ideas on HOW to eat more seeds every day.

When it comes to getting into the rhythm of doing something every day, it helps to make it as accessible as possible and as easy as possible.

 

tablespoon and seeds in a jar

My superseed no recipe recipe below is the best way I have found to make everyday seed-eating most accessible and efficient. I eat them almost mindlessly and rarely skip a day.

The glass jar I keep them in is always front and center in my refrigerator. By making a mix, you avoid having to grab different individual bags of seeds each day, but still get all the amazing benefits of eating multiple types of seeds each day.

Let’s face it, those bags can get lost in the pantry and sit lonely and unused, and an empty jar waiting to be refilled can solve that problem.

A glass jar is key. You can see what is in it, and it is easy to grab and use while making breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack.

I use a mason jar, and have been eyeing this glass jar clip and spoon that fits around the lip of a wide mouth mason jar would be perfect for scooping seeds efficiently. It’s only $3.99!

It would eliminate that one more step of searching for a spoon, and it is cute to boot. I also keep my ground coffee in mason jars, so I may have to buy 2! I just put it on my Amazon Wish List. 

 

Continue Reading…

FEATURED/ HEALTH/ Healthy Eating/ RECIPES

5 Reasons To Eat Seeds Every Day + Super Seed Mix in a Jar Recipe

Jar of layered seeds

5 Reasons To Eat Seeds Every Day

 

HIGH NUTRIENT FOOD

Eat super seeds every day! They are a high nutrient food and they are packed with healthy goodness. Seeds contain all the starting materials needed to grow into a complex plant, and because of this, they are a very alive, nutritious food.

Keeping a jar of super seed mix in the refrigerator is an easy way to have these little superfoods on hand at all times.

 

PLANT PROTEIN

Many seeds (like pumpkin seeds and hemp seeds) are a complete protein source! Seeds have more protein and minerals than nuts and less saturated fat.

 

GOOD FATS FROM A WHOLE FOOD SOURCE

Seeds are rich in ALA Omega 3 fats which feed the brain and plays a key role in metabolism and energy production.

Having a good fat in your diet is important for the absorption of nutrients, including anti-cancer phytochemicals.

 

LIGNANS

Lignans are antioxidants that may help support the immune system and can help balance hormone levels in the body.

They also have anti-estrogenic effects and can prevent naturally occurring hormones from binding to estrogen receptors and exerting their negative effects.

I am especially interested in the lignans in seeds as I am a survivor of hormone-sensitive breast cancer.

 

DISEASE PROTECTIVE

Again, as a breast cancer survivor, I am very interested in all of the health benefits of seeds.

My husband has been pre-diabetic in the past, so he also makes sure to get his seeds in every day, too!

Plant foods, in general, can be very disease protective, and so eat your seeds!

Continue Reading…

Cancer Journey/ HEALTH/ Sponsored

How My Circle of Support Changed My Journey With Breast Cancer

cell phone with cancer app, plant and coffee mug

Thank you Pfizer for sponsoring this post. Join Pfizer’s #InspirationLives initiative by sharing your story with the hashtag on Facebook and Instagram to support and inspire those who have been affected by cancer, and be sure to check out the LivingWith™ mobile app available via iTunes and Google Play!

 

Cancer Diagnosis – A Reason for a Circle of Support

Every person who has been diagnosed with cancer knows exactly where they were when they heard the words “you have cancer.” These 3 little words are so powerful that knees get weak and the wind is knocked right out of you. You lose your breath, your heart pounds, and all of a sudden your whole world becomes a fight to keep breathing.

I’ve heard these words twice in my life.

The first time, I was a young 22-year-old cosmetologist working at a hair salon. I was blow drying my favorite client and was called away for a phone call. It was my dermatologist with biopsy results from a freckle on my stomach that had turned darker and darker. I answered the phone and he said, “I’m sorry to tell you: it tested positive for melanoma. Please make an appointment to come see me right away.”

I had read enough to know that back in 1998, melanoma was very deadly if it was advanced enough to get into the bloodstream. I went back to drying my client’s hair, hoping the dryer was loud enough to block out the sound of my pounding heart. I didn’t tell her the words I had just heard, even though she was my favorite. I needed a moment to take it all in. I needed a moment to breathe.

The second time I heard the words “you have cancer,” I was 34 years old, a wife and a mom of 3 beautiful girls. It felt different: more serious. My doctor called. This time I was at home in my bedroom, my 3 girls and their friends playing downstairs. I wrote about the call in my journal:

The doctor comes on the phone, voice low and serious.

“Amy, I’m sorry to have to tell you that you have invasive ductal carcinoma.”

Silence . . . my breath taken, but my heart beating louder and faster.

“Do you understand what I am saying? That means you have breast cancer.”

I find myself in my closet, the phone still attached to my ear. I am having to concentrate on my breath, and I say the word “OK” 3 times. It is the only thing I can think of to say. My knees feel weird. Is this what they mean by “weak in the knees”?

With the words “you have cancer,” life instantly becomes overwhelming and everything feels different. Life feels out of control. Appointments, doctors, scans, medications, surgeries and staying alive become your new normal. There is a lost sense of stability, and you are faced with your mortality. Your entire life becomes about living, and you fight to just breathe and stay alive.

 

Breast Cancer patient collage

The Importance of Having a Circle of Support

This is a fight that must not be done alone. Some of the most beautiful life moments can happen in this unwanted new normal, and they often involve others.

In my fight, I challenged my 3 young girls to look for treasures in the midst of the hard. We had to find ourselves thankful even when life was spiraling. I knew this would make this new journey bearable, but I don’t think I realized just how much it would change it and not just make it bearable, but beautiful.

Treasures came from above through our circle of support.

We are made for relationships. We are made to give love and receive love. People fighting cancer find themselves doing a lot of the receiving, and that is okay. The key is being willing to. It can be an adjustment if you are used to being the one giving, but, oh, the beauty of receiving love! If you are a cancer fighter, learn how to receive.

My circle of support came around me and taught me so much. I’ve had a front row seat for an extended time to see how it is done. Receiving love and support from others changed my journey and made it a precious one. I now know how to better give support and love others because of how others supported me.

There are treasures to be found even in cancer, in the giving and receiving of love the most beautiful circle is formed. A circle of support.

Living with cancer app on iphone

 

An Easy Way to Reach Out and Form Your Circle of Support

You can form a circle of support through the LivingWith™ app. This app is part of Pfizer’s This is Living with Cancer™ initiative designed to help people manage their lives with cancer and stay connected to their communities. The mobile app is designed to help manage some of the daily challenges faced by people living with cancer and organize certain important information in one place.

I sure wish it was around at the time of my cancer treatment and fight. It would have been helpful to have all of my information in one place.

 

Living with cancer app

Living with cancer app

My favorite part would be using the Circle of Support on the LivingWith™ app to inform and connect with my friends and family.

The app helps you assign a proxy who can manage your account on your behalf if desired: Champions, who are the people you rely on the most for daily help, and Supporters, who receive updates and help where and when they can. You can schedule and organize your help right there in the app, staying in touch with your people and keeping everyone up to date.

coffee mug, succulent and a cell phone with a cancer app opened up on it

How My Loved Ones Supported Me During My Breast Cancer Treatment

Despite not having the app, I still had amazing support.

If you are a cancer fighter, I hope the following stories give you ideas on how to answer your loved ones when they ask “What can I do?” If you are part of a cancer fighter’s circle of support, I hope my stories give you some great ideas of how you can support your loved one.

 

FLOWERS
I had 7 surgeries in 3 years, and my recovery room at the hospital or at home was always brightened by flowers. A favorite I remember was an orchid from my sister-in-law. I also remember a simple sweet violet plant. My husband’s workplace sent a beautiful bouquet of flowers with a grocery store gift card attached to it. I loved all of them. You can never go wrong with flowers!

 

HANDMADE ART
A teacher who taught young people at our church gathered their homemade art and get-well notes and delivered them to me. Teens from the non-profit organization that my husband worked for took the time to write letters and sent them to me. These 2 art deliveries touched my heart so much!

Another amazing piece of art I received was drawn by my teenage nephew and delivered to my hospital room. It was a sketch of a warrior, and he said it was me. That image and his love helped me find my courage. It is to this day a treasured gift.

 

FUN FOR THE KIDS
My girls were 10-, 9- and 7-year-old. Seeing their mom fight cancer was hard on them, but they sure loved getting spoiled and were so well loved. One of their favorite memories was getting to go to an indoor water park called CoCo Keys. This was such a generous, thoughtful gift from a sweet friend.

 

KID DATES
My father-in-law would come on a Saturday, pick my girls up and take them to a movie. I tried so hard to be awake and ‘up’ while my girls were home, so having them gone for a few hours gave me permission to relax the tough girl exterior that I kept while my girls were around and take a nap. They remember those special Grandpa dates to this day.

 

COMFORT ITEMS
A reader of this blog sent me a homemade lap quilt. I could not get over the sweet generosity and the time I know she took to make it. I took it everywhere and it got lots of attention in the chemo room. It was a perfect size and so very beautiful. I felt so covered in love.

Another reader crocheted hats for my cold noggin. A friend knitted 3 hats for my girls and one for me too, we were all pretty cute in our lovely handmade hats!

 

OFFER TO TAKE NOTES AT DOCTOR APPOINTMENTS
I have a dear friend who I knew was wired to be resolute and could keep her emotions in check even when hearing hard things. She is so loving but also tough.

She is the one I asked to come with us to our first oncology appointment. My anxiety was so strong that I had to ask for a bag while we sat in the waiting room just in case I got sick. This was before knowing if cancer had spread, and the unknown was getting the best of me.

My husband and I needed someone to focus and take notes on the hard things that were said while our minds swirled, and her strong presence was what we needed.

 

HELP WITH OVERWHELMING PROJECTS
I remember while healing that the simple act of putting my Christmas decorations away was so overwhelming. I remember my sister and mom packing it all away for me as I sat in my jammies on our couch, so relieved when all the boxes were finally put away.

A sweet group of women offered to come and help me organize and add planters to beautify our front yard for spring. I still have those planters sitting out by our front steps, all these years later, a reminder of love every time I come home.

 

PACKAGES IN THE MAIL
So many sweet packages from loved ones, but as a mom, I especially loved the packages that came for my girls. I so enjoyed seeing my worried girls delight in things. It was healing for us all. One package I vividly remember came from a loving aunt and had teddy bears and candy for my girls.

So many cards were sent and I kept all of them. One from my aunt and uncle had some money tucked inside for groceries.

 

HOUSE CLEANING
Oh goodness, what a gift. My sisters often would come and fold laundry and clean while I slept. My mother-in-law arranged for ongoing house cleaning while I was in treatment. The woman who came regularly to clean my home ended up becoming a mentor to me—talk about a full circle of support and a treasure from cancer! I have such sweet memories of being in her home and soaking in her wisdom.

——

There are many more examples I could give, specifically in the area of FOOD and PRESENCE—both were huge for creating a circle of support around me. Notice I said presence, not presents. Both are great but the former is so, so important.

I will talk about these 2 things extensively and share more stories in an upcoming post!

So what about you?

  • Do you have stories of your own circle of support?
  • Do you have a loved one that you are surrounding with support right now? If so, send them this post and tell them about the app!
  • What are specific ways or ideas you have for showing support?

 

Are you a cancer fighter that needs a circle of support? If so, get the app!

For more information and to download the LivingWith™ mobile app, please visit www.ThisIsLivingWithCancer.com. Patients and their loved ones also can find the initiative on Facebook and Instagram.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

GF, Vegan & Raw/ HEALTH/ Nutrition/ RECIPES/ Sides

Eat All Week Chopped Vegetable Detox Salad

bowl of finely chopped vegetables and a bowl of vegetable salad

 

This Chopped Detox Salad is a recipe you can make once and eat all week! It makes a BIG salad, and will put you well on your way to getting your 7 plant servings a day!

It is full of amazing nutrition, is easy to make, and had been well received by my family. It is one of those recipes that brings health and wellness, and I know I will make it for many years to come.

It’s been awhile since I have been THIS excited about a recipe. It reminds me of the excitement I felt when I discovered Chia Oats. A healthy, staple, ‘make-once-and-eat-for-days’ recipe.

 

Finely chopped vegetables in a bowl

 

Detox Salad = Lots of Nutrients

Not only are you getting your vegetable servings in, but they are ALL the colors which is so important. More colors mean more diverse nutrients! I’m always striving to eat the rainbow, and this detox salad is a great way to do it.

 

Head of cut cauliflower and a head of purple cabbage

 

2 Secrets to the Success of Detox Salad

There are 2 secrets to the success of this salad:

  1. All veggies are chopped fine with a food processor. So fine that you could eat it with a spoon– almost like a veggie couscous! Using a food processor keeps you from having to take the time to chop, chop, chop; and makes certain vegetables that can be tough and hard to chew a breeze to eat.
  2. The dressing is so fresh and delicious and was the KEY to getting my family to eat this salad.

 

Detox Salad Dressing

We have eaten this salad with store bought dressing when we were short on time and ran out of the homemade version, but I have to tell you, it is not the same!

The dressing in this recipe has such a beautiful fresh lemony taste.

There is something about mixing lemon with ginger and balancing the tang and zest with a bit of honey. Garlic and dijon round it out.

Did you notice that even the dressing contains super healthy ingredients? Lemon is full of vitamin c, ginger is cleansing is garlic and honey both have their own very specific health benefits.

I use avocado oil, as it is a healthy oil and will not harden when refrigerated, so I can make the dressing and store it separately from the salad for my family to help themselves to all week.

You can old use olive oil, but it is not great for refrigerating for later use because it will harden.

 

Take Your Salad To Go

My girls have been helping themselves to this salad, and even have been packing it up and taking to school in their lunches.

It is safe to say that we are addicted. There is so much flavor, so much texture and it is BEAUTIFUL served in a glass bowl.

This salad is great for sharing with a group. It is a show stopper to look at and tastes amazing. I took this to our large family Easter dinner gathering and it was well received, even by those who were a bit skeptical of that many veggies in one salad!

 

food processor bowl with finely chopped vegetable bits in it

 

Micronutrients in Detox Salad

Detox salad is full of micronutrients. Todd and I are on a HUGE micronutrient kick, thanks to Dr. Joel Fuhrman and his amazing books we have been reading together. We love the idea of a high nutrient diet and are pursuing it actively.

From Dr. Joel Fuhrman:

What makes my dietary advice unique is that it is focused on quality, not quantity. It focuses on the type of foods you eat. Its most important nutritional concept is:

H=N/C
Health = Nutrients/Calories

For excellent health and life expectancy, concentrate on consuming foods that contain a lot of micronutrients and fewer calories.

Micronutrients are vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals; they do not contain calories, but they have vital functions in the body. Calories come from fat, protein, and carbohydrates.

You want to take in the foods that contain the most micronutrients per calorie. You want to get the most nutrient bang for each caloric buck. When you eat this way, calorie-counting no longer matters.

High micronutrient foods come straight from nature; whole plant foods, such as vegetables, fruit, seeds, nuts, and beans, should be the basis of a healthy, anti-cancer diet.

Without adequate micronutrients, food cravings, discomfort, and the demand to over-consume calories can be overwhelming and derail any effort to lose weight or eat healthfully.

It is nice to not be consumed with counting calories and focused on macronutrients like protein, fats, and carbs. I like just simply looking at my food and asking myself if it is nutrient dense food. A simple question and a simple way of eating.

As a 2-time cancer survivor, I want my body to function well and want to supply it with all of the micronutrients it needs. This salad is such an easy way to do that!

 

finely chopped vegetables in a glass bowl

 

Eat All Week Chopped Detox Salad Recipe

5 from 2 votes
finely chopped vegetables in a bowl
Chopped Detox Salad Recipe
Prep Time
20 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 

This Chopped Detox Salad is a recipe you can make once and eat all week! It makes a big salad and will put you well on your way to getting your 7 veggie servings a day. 

Recipe Type: Salad
Ingredients
Salad
  • 1 bunch of broccoli about 2 cups chopped
  • 1/3 large head of cauliflower about 2 cups chopped
  • 1/2 small head red cabbage about 2 cups chopped
  • 4 kale leaves stems (about 2 cups chopped)
  • 3 carrots peeled (about 1 cup chopped)
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • 1/3 cup almonds roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries or any dried fruit roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp. sunflower seeds
Dressing
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 tbsp. grated ginger about 1 inch
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1/4 cup oil I use avocado, can use extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Roughly chop all the veggies into bite-size pieces. This can be a fast process, let the food processor do most of the work for you!


  2. Place each veggie into the food processor and pulse until you have chopped the veggies, fine and crumbly. Do this in batches. Finely chop the parsley as well.
  3. Add the veggies into a big bowl, then add the almonds, sunflower seeds, and dried cranberries.
Dressing
  1. In a separate jar combine the garlic, ginger, lemon juice, dijon mustard, honey, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. Put the lid on and shake, or mix in a bowl and whisk until combined.
  2. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss everything together, or store separately if want the salad to last all week. It will last 2-3 days in the refrigerator with dressing added, 4-6 days in the refrigerator without. Ours has always lasted at least 6 days.
Serve and enjoy!
Makes 4-6 Servings

 

finely chopped vegetables in a bowl

 

Tips:

  • Key for the salad to last all week? Don’t add the dressing until ready to eat. Use an oil that won’t harden in the refrigerator…olive oil and coconut oil both do, so my choice is avocado oil.
  • This salad will last 4-6 days without dressing, 2-3 days with.
  • A good food processor makes this quick work. I got the Breville Sou Chef for Christmas and it is a dream to use!

Add- in ideas:

  • This recipe is so good just how it is, that I’m hesitant to suggest any add-ins, but I must as it is such a versatile salad and can be used as a base for so many other add-in flavors.
  • Top the salad with sliced hard-boiled egg.
  • Add a can of beans for more protein.
  • Could roll up in a tortilla, rice paper, or raw collard green leaf and use dressing as a dip.
  • Garnish with feta.
  • Add olives or green onions, pepperoncini peppers, or artichoke hearts.
  • Pump up the fiber by adding bulger.
  • Make your leafy lettuce salad even more healthy, sprinkle on this detox salad (pre-dressing) as a chopped veggie topping.

Dinner suggestions:

  • Serve with a piece of grilled salmon or some shredded rotisserie chicken mixed in for a quick dinner salad.
  • Could chop less fine and keep on hand to use for quick stir-frys. I often have leftover cabbage, cauliflower, and carrots, so I chop them up while I have the food processor out, but make them less fine and use in stir-frys.
  • I’ve even justified a pizza dinner by serving this salad as a side. Ha!

 


What about you? Are you wanting to consume more nutrient-dense foods?

Do you think you and your family would like this salad?

Did you make this recipe? Snap a picture and tag @Amy_NewNostalgia on Instagram or share it using #amynewnostalgia –I LOVE seeing your NN creations!~

Emotional Health/ HEALTH/ Nutrition

How Technology is Helping Me Reach My Wellness Goals in 2018

Thank you Nokia for sponsoring this post. Visit the Nokia Body+ site for more info and start the new year off right!

I am constantly looking for ways to integrate health and technology into my daily rhythms.  I want the pursuit of health and wellness to become second nature to me. I’ve found that using technology is a great way to create healthy habits that stick!

I am a 2-time cancer survivor, and I have shared several ways I pursue continued health, but I have not told you how simple technology makes it possible for me to move forward toward my health goals.

One of my goals is to create seamless daily systems that are as natural to me as brushing my teeth. Things I do without much thought; decisions so second nature that I make them automatically.

It might sound too good to be true, but this is where technology comes in. Technology keeps it simple, makes it possible and keeps it fun.

Using Technology To Reach Wellness Goals

Energy to pursue wellness goals is often dependent on a good night sleep. Good sleep is important for good health!

I read right before bed. Reading every day is good for the mind and soul!  I’m amazed that thanks to technology, I can have my whole library at my fingertips on my Kindle Fire tablet.  I make sure it is set on Blue Shade, as this blocks blue light which makes it easier to fall asleep after nighttime screen reading.

I also use my Kindle Fire to set my alarm to wake up in the morning. I love this alarm because when I set it, it tells me (in hours and minutes) exactly how many hours and minutes I have before the alarm will go off. I like the automatic awareness of how many hours of sleep I’m getting each night. I aim for 7 hours of sleep and most nights reach that goal.

When I wake up I do a quick morning yoga flow to get my joints working and blood flowing. I use the Yoga Studio App on my iPhone, or sometimes I grab my laptop and find great ‘good morning’ asanas on YouTube.

I then fill my water bottle with crushed ice with the press of a button–the technology of our refrigerator has been key to get me to drink my water each day. I am a crushed ice lover! My goal is to fill my 24 oz water bottle at least twice a day.

I then quickly set my Instant Pot up, and with another few pushes of buttons, make One-Minute Quinoa. This has been my go-to favorite breakfast for a while now, as it is so satisfying and full of great plant protein. Read about 3 of my favorite ways to eat quinoa for breakfast here.

I grab my cup of coffee that has been brewed automatically for me. I have learned to drink it black in the morning which steers me clear of starting the day out with sugar-laden creamers. Speaking of coffee, have you seen the new intelligent coffee mugs at Starbucks? They use technology to keep your coffee at the perfect temperature. I drool…and digress.

I then take my coffee up to my favorite nesting chair in my bedroom, and this is where technology really comes into play for me.

Using Technology for Emotional Health

I’m going to be dramatic here and say I do not know where my emotional health would be without technology. There are so many apps on my phone that are part of my daily routine that keeps my heart, mind, and soul healthy.

After I make my coffee I sit, sip and open up a Prayer App where I can keep track of my own requests (and those of my loved ones) every morning. I also use an app called Calm to meditate for about 10 minutes and then open up the Bible App — which has been life transforming.  I use Notes on my iPhone to keep track of all my daily affirmations and favorite Scriptures, and sometimes use them as prompts to journal my 3 pages a day.

These routines are a part of my everyday morning routine, and I feel “off” all day if I don’t wake up early enough to do them! They are all ways I reach my emotional health goals.

Using Technology for Physical Health

I continue to use technology as I get ready for my day. I step on my Nokia Body+ smart scale and take note of all the information it gives me in just those few seconds of standing on it. It gives the most accurate body composition readings, measuring weight trends, BMI, fat mass, muscle mass, water and bone mass–it even lets me know the weather! I love this thing.

 

 

The Nokia Body+ is amazing and beautiful–it comes in white or black and has a sleek, simple, timeless design. This is one scale I do not mind leaving out for all to see.

I use the Health Mate App that sinks automatically with Body+ and provides encouragement and tips on how to best achieve goals. It is so handy and convenient. Automatic syncing is my new crush and any smart item I buy that does this for me is always a fav.

The Health Mate App has the ability to sync with other apps (like one of my favorites that my doctor recommended–the My Fitness Pal App) and lets you view a complete history of your health data, including sleep, activity, weight and more. You can track progress and see your improvement over time. I love being able to check out my health stats at any time using my phone. Usually, for me, it is when I’m lying in bed at the end of the day.

Keeping track of my weight and health stats is super important as a cancer survivor. It is also important (as one that takes 2 medications: one to keep cancer away and one for generalized anxiety) that I keep an eye on my weight. Both medications can cause weight gain, which is not fun, but I feel that both have saved my life in their unique way, so I am very thankful for them.

Keeping an eye on my weight is something my Oncologist tells me to do regularly and she wants me to report any sudden weight changes. It can be a sign that something is off. The stage of cancer I had gives me a high chance of recurrence, so we keep a close eye on these things! I love having a scale that is easy to use daily, has such high accuracy, is so detailed and reliable. It can also track up to 8 users which makes it very family friendly.

Technology For a Healthy Flow to My Day

After stepping off my Nokia Body+ scale (weighing at the same time daily is recommended) I then get ready for my day. Technology helps me here, too. I use wireless headphones that connect by Bluetooth to my phone and allow me to listen to podcasts while I put on my makeup and do my hair.

I used to dread this part of my day, but now I look forward to it because I feel productive while I am getting ready. If I’m not listening to a podcast or music, I will hit record on my Voxer App and talk to my dearest friends, walkie-talkie style, leaving my heart and soul recorded right there on the app for them to listen to whenever they have time. Connection with loved ones, especially when they are across the miles, is so good for my health!

By this time my morning routine is almost over, and I glance at my 30/30 App to see the morning routine I set up for myself there. I look through the things I have already accomplished and glance at what else needs to be done.

The app has shown me how technology really is helping me reach my daily wellness goals in an almost automatic way. Most of the morning routines that I’ve listed in the app, I now do without even needing to look at the app. They are all habits that bring a healthy flow to my day and help me reach my goals.

Wellness is holistic, and an organized flow to the day with systems and routines put into place make me feel productive but peaceful at the same time. Integrating technology has been a key player when it comes pursuing my health goals, and I hope I gave you some good ideas and inspiration for using technology to reach your goals, too!

Get 10% off at the Nokia Health store through December 1, 2018 here with this code: NEWYOU-T0T-R02


How do you use technology to reach your health goals?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

 

Beauty/ Cancer Journey/ HEALTH/ Natural Products

My Every Day Health Decisions As A Cancer Survivor With Tom’s of Maine

My Everyday Health Decisions as A Cancer Survivor

Thank you Tom’s of Maine for sponsoring this post.

I am a cancer survivor. This is the 7th year that I can say those words and every year I grow more and more amazed at what a gift life is. I work hard at not taking it for granted.  Life is so precious!

Because I know life is precious, there are decisions I make every day to help me live a healthy lifestyle.

Whether it’s using my favorite yoga app, switching my deodorant to Tom’s of Maine Natural Deodorant, or taking turmeric capsules, I am passionate about making decisions to live my best life!

I am not in control of what my future holds and whether or not my cancer will ever come back, but I do know it makes a difference in my everyday life to pursue wholeness and health in different areas, and boy does it make a difference in how I feel every day!

 

Here Are 5 Of My Everyday Health Decisions I Make As A Cancer Survivor

Move My Body

I am not an exercise fanatic, but I have learned that it is important to keep my body moving. I’ve read over and over that getting exercise every day is a great way to stay healthy and cut my chances of recurrence.

I keep it pretty low-key and walk or do yoga every day. When the weather is nice, I will walk our neighborhood or around my favorite local lake. When it is cold, I’m a bit of a wimp and use our treadmill instead. Lately, I have been multitasking and answering email while walking on the treadmill–I really like how productive that feels!

I also love how yoga makes me feel. It has been super important to keep my body stretched and flexible, as the ongoing cancer medications I am on cause joint pain. Yoga makes a huge difference and I feel amazing when I am done, especially my back, neck, and joints! I use the Yoga Studio app on my phone and I LOVE it!

My Everyday Health Decisions as A Cancer Survivor

Supplements

I’ve taken several types of supplements throughout my survivor years, but the main ones I will not budge on are a Multi-Vitamin, Vitamin D, Turmeric, Fish Oil & Magnesium.

I take a Multi-Vitamin not to make up for a poor diet (because I eat quite healthy) but just as reassurance that I have covered all bases.

Vitamin D is something that most Americans are low in, and it is the one supplement my Oncologist was adamant that I take.

Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory and is a miracle worker for keeping my joint pain to a minimum. Fish Oil is to make sure I get all those good Omega’s, and Magnesium is the calming mineral, which is a great way to keep any of my worries and anxiety at bay.

My Everyday Health Decisions as A Cancer Survivor

Slow Living

If you follow my Instagram & Instastory, you know I am big into slow living. I often snap my favorite slow parts of the day. Life is busy, but it IS possible to slow, even if it means just slowing your mindset.

Stress can be so hard on the body, and if I’m going ‘a mile a minute”, then I miss out on this precious life I have been gifted with. I find a lot of ways to slow down.

I meditate using the Calm App, I journal, pray, read, & listen to calming music. I light my favorite candle. I deep breathe during yoga and work hard at being aware and present in life moments.

I just started a daily journaling habit. It is called Morning Pages, and I simply put on some soothing music and write 3 pages in my journal. It can be absolutely anything, whatever is on my mind from deep thoughts to lists of things I want to get done. The key is not to censor and just write. I’m loving this practice so far!

I also make sure I get plenty of sleep. It is amazing with all that my body went through while fighting cancer–chemo, radiation, and multiple reconstructive surgeries; plus ongoing medications and treatments that I use to keep cancer away–that I still have so much energy. I believe this is largely due to the amount of good rest I get. I use essential oils (hello lavender!) and melatonin to quiet my body down at night, and I sleep like a baby most nights!

My Everyday Health Decisions as A Cancer Survivor with Tom's Of Maine

Natural Products

I have been quite thoughtful about using products that are part of a healthy lifestyle and have ingredients that I can feel good about putting on my body. As a cancer survivor, I am especially aware of this when it comes to products I use every day.

How often do you look at what is inside products you use every day? Is the ingredient list simple and do you know what the ingredients are and what their purpose is? It is important to ask these questions.

Examples of everyday products I use for a healthy lifestyle are Tom’s of Maine Natural Toothpaste, organic coconut oil as a body moisturizer, organic makeup foundation and Tom’s of Maine Long Lasting Natural Deodorant.

Let’s talk natural deodorant for a minute. I’ve made the switch to Tom’s of Maine Natural Deodorant. It is the #1 natural deodorant brand with a number of award-winning products among its deodorant portfolio–which contains 15 deodorants–in some of my favorite scents, including fresh apricot, wild lavender & tea tree.

Tom’s of Maine Natural Deodorant provides odor control in their aluminum-free formulas. That “aluminum free” part is why I love and am passionate about using a natural deodorant as a cancer survivor. I personally prefer not to have any aluminum in my deodorant.

There is controversy when it comes to what aluminum can do to your health, and I choose to stay way away from it.

My Everyday Health Decisions as A Cancer Survivor

A Note About Natural Deodorants

Staying away from aluminum means staying away from antiperspirants because FDA guidelines state that an antiperspirant must include a form of aluminum as an active ingredient.

Deodorants are not antiperspirants and do not provide the same wetness protection as antiperspirants. I’m fine with that and my body has adjusted to it.

If you are switching from a conventional deodorant to a natural deodorant, it will take some time for your body chemistry to adjust.

Trying the deodorant for at least 7 days, including testing out different scents (or unscented), can help you figure out what is the best fit for your body’s unique chemistry.

Tom’s of Maine Long Lasting Natural Deodorant uses the power of nature and fights odor using hops and natural fragrances, along with a blend of oils, organic aloe leaf juice, and other plant-based ingredients. It is free of petrochemicals, artificial fragrances, parabens, and preservatives.

I love and use the tea tree oil scent. I had a hard time deciding between the tea tree oil scent and the apricot scent–both smell so good. I often use tea tree oil in my everyday life for its antimicrobial properties. Bacteria on the skin can cause body odor, so I chose tea tree oil scent. It smells super fresh and clean.

My Everyday Health Decisions as A Cancer Survivor

Nourishment

Last but not least, I focus on nourishing my body every day. I drink lots of water & green tea. I focus on eating plant foods in all colors of the rainbow (especially berries & greens) and snack on nuts & seeds.

I use a visual food journal app called YouAte App, an easy way to keep me on track and visually see how colorful my food is. I stay away from fake foods or overly processed foods & excess sugar, especially when eating at home.

My Everyday Health Decisions as A Cancer Survivor

{FOR YOUR PINNING PLEASURE}

Are you a cancer survivor? What do you do every day for your health and what would you like to add to your health habits? Do you know someone who is a cancer survivor? Consider sharing this post with them.

Have you thought about the ingredients in the products you use every day? Is the ingredient list simple and do you know what the ingredients are and what their purpose is?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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