Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A few of my favorite things

Some may consider me a little nuts.  I like to consider myself 'proactive'.  Like I've said before I can't control everything that my body is exposed to.  However since this is the body that I get to spend the rest of my life with, and despite the breast cancer I'm still rather fond of it, I try to be kind to it when I can.  I think I've blogged to death about my plant-based diet but my 'pro-activeness' with my health doesn't stop there.  I really do believe that many diseases are becoming more prevalent because of the standard american diet as well as the environmental toxins we are increasingly exposed to.  Thus, being the 'proactive' person I am, instead of throwing in the towel and giving up on all the crap I'm exposed to, I try to do what I can.   As the saying goes, I get to "vote" every single day for a less toxic environment by the choices and purchases I make.  Here are some of my favorite resources and a few things that (post-cancer) I can not live without.

(Note: This is not a comprehensive list and I reserve the right to add to it as I'm sure I am forgetting my absolute favorite thing and I find new favorite products/resources all the time)!

Environmental Working Group (EWG)

EWG is a non-profit organization whose mission is to use the power of public information to protect public health and the environment.  Their home page states that their team of scientists, engineers, policy experts, lawyers, and computer programmers pore over government data, legal documents, scientific studies, and their own laboratory tests to expose threats to health, the environment, and to find solutions.  They provide all sorts of useful resources such as the Skin Deep Cosmetic Database that rates the safety of thousands of personal products.  Did you know that most personal products (lotion, sunscreen, deodorant, shampoo, etc) contain parabens which is a  hormone disrupter that has been linked to breast cancer?  EWG also has a National Drinking Water Database that reveals safety concerns found in public drinking water.  EWG is the source of many of my "informative" facebook shares.  Seriously, check this stuff out!

The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook

Interestingly, my favorite cookbook is not vegan nor does it have any food porn photos, however the Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook has hundreds of whole food, plant-based recipes that are loaded with nutrition and relatively simple to prepare.  I give the recipes in this cookbook credit for my love of quinoa as well as my newfound confidence in no longer needing to follow a recipe to make a killer meal!


This book helped me figure out how to maintain a plant-based diet and get the  nutrition I need as a competitive athlete.  It also introduced me to foods like goji berries, chia seed, hemp seed, kombucha, dates, sea vegetables, etc, etc.  Following the Thrive guidelines, it is possible to be a competitive athlete AND eat a plant-based diet.  I have raced over 35 times this year, spent over 500 hours on the bike, not had a single bite of meat, and still feel great.

Vega Sport Performance Protein

As an athlete eating a plant-based diet I am frequently asked where I get my protein.  The answer is: mostly in my food. Depending on the day, I easily get 65-75 grams of protein in my food alone, however in order to ensure recovery from an intense training program, I do take a protein supplement.  Vega Sport is an all-natural, dairy free, gluten free, and soy free plant-based protein supplement.    It goes down just as easily as any (non-plant based) protein drink I've had in the past.

Hammer Nutrition Bars

I try to pack home-made or whole-food nutrition while riding, but when in a bind I grab a Hammer Bar.  100% raw, non-GMO, vegan certified, organic, kosher, gluten-free, no trans fats, no preservatives, soy free (although it is manufactured in a facility that uses soy) no additives, no refined sugars.  Perhaps as good as home-made/whole-food?  Tastes good too.  Need I say more?

Hammer Seat Saver

Typical cyclists (read: folks who have not recently undergone chemotherapy) may experience a few saddle sores a year.  The post-chemo cyclist-more like once a month!  Chemo wrecks havic on your skin making it more sensitive and as I have found, more susceptible to saddle sores.  A chamois cream is a must!  Hammer Seat Saver surprised even me when I discovered it fit my criteria of being toxin free.  Ingredients are natural and the label points out that it does not contain petroleum byproducts, mineral oil, parabens, propylene glycol, aluminum, lanolin, artificial colors, or any other toxic ingredients.  Kudos to Hammer for providing high quality products!

Coconut oil

I already mentioned the post-chemo skin changes.  Not only is my skin now more sensitive, it is also dry.  When not properly moisturized, my skin is so dry that it feels like it will split when I stretch.    I lather on coconut oil up to twice daily.  Makes my skin silky smooth and reduces the dry skin itchies that plague me.  Totally natural too!

Stainless steel water bottles and glass food storage containers

You will find no BPA infested plastic in our cupboards.  All plastics, with the exception of cycling water bottles, have been replaced with glass or stainless steel.   I honestly cringe at the thought of our pre-cancer habits of heating food in plastic containers and putting our water bottles in the dishwasher.
You can never have enough stainless steel bottles or glass containers!


Household cleaning products are full of chemicals and since we're trying to reduce the chemicals in our home we've found that white vinegar is a cost-effective and healthier substitute.  We use diluted vinegar for just about everything including cleaning windows, floors, and counters.


For all those environmental toxins I can not control, I turn to acupuncture.  I truly believe in acupuncture's ability to detoxify the body.  Additionally, along with exercise and a healthy diet, I feel that acupuncture helps combat some of the unwanted side effects of my current cancer treatment-Tamoxifen.

So that is it for now, but like I said, I reserve the right to add to my list!

Eating healthy and reducing my body's exposure to toxins is how I am kind to my body.  I am not living life scared of a recurrence, I am living life empowered by the choices I make.

Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

  1. There is lot of articles on the web about this. But I like yours more, although i found one that’s more descriptive. Vega sport performance protein