Plant Based Cures

Plant Based Cures

Article Published in The Daily Herald. by: Danielle Peterson

D. Anthony Evans watched children pulling their IVs up and down hospital hallways with smiles on their faces. He shared hospital rooms, stories and advice with those who were less than half his age. He saw children, just starting their lives, fighting for them.

Right then he decided to pursue a mission. As long as he could, he would be living proof to pediatric cancer patients that there is a chance of life after sickness if they just hold on and stay positive.

Evans, of Schaumburg, understands what they are doing through, because he was one of them. Now 38, and living with terminal cancer, he is a spokesman for the nonprofit Fresh Start For Our Youth, and will host a fundraiser May 25 at Wrigley Field, during the 1:20 p.m. Cubs vs. Nationals game.

Each tax-deductible ticket sells for $300. It includes all-you-can-eat food, unlimited beer, private indoor and outdoor seating in the Private Corporate Banquet Suite, and a VIP parking pass. To buy tickets, contact Evans at evansdejuan@gmail.com or visit www.fs4oy.org.

The event will raise funds to help feed pediatric cancer patients organic, plant-based meals and to sponsor at-risk youth in need of rehabilitation at out-of-state residential facilities.

Evans stresses the importance of a plant-based diet for pediatric cancer patients, especially children who live in Chicago's most impoverished areas.

"When a child is released from the hospital, they suffer from a condition called neutropenia, where your body doesn't produce enough white blood cells anymore," Evans said. "Unlike other regular cancer patients, (impoverished kids') foods come from a gas station, McDonald's or KFC, and when you are fighting cancer the only way to repair white blood cells is through earth-grounded food.

"You can't rebuild an immune system with synthetic or processed foods."

The plant-based meals are provided by the Meals that Heal program, part of the Fresh Start for Our Youth Foundation. The program's goal is to sponsor plant-based, immune system-building meals for as many pediatric cancer patients as possible.

Evans also stresses the importance of removing young patients from their environment and helping them secure treatment in out-of-state residential treatment centers for a new surrounding and fresh start.

"If there was an organization like Fresh Start For Our Youth (when he was young), I feel like I would have had a better start instead of getting into trouble with gangs like I did," he says.

In 1985, the 8-year-old Evans was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis. When he was 16, he lost his mother to AIDS, and since his father had never been in his life, he was essentially orphaned.

Then, in January 2012, the neurofibromatosis morphed into Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumors, which causes tumors to form on peripheral nerves anywhere in the body. From January to November 2012 he had more than 200 tumors removed, including seven 9-hour back-to-back operations. More operations followed in 2013 and 2014 and to date he's had 320 tumors removed.

At the time of his diagnosis with MPNST he was given 6 months to live. That he is still alive he credits to his decision to try a plant-based diet.

"It was a lot to wrap my mind around, but with six months to leave the Earth I started entertaining everything," he said. This included a plant-based diet, which his aunt told him about.

Meat, yeast, sugar and dairy all create an acidic environment, Evans believes. By limiting the amount of acid you ingest, cancer will have nothing to thrive on.

"The only way to limit amount of acid is through green leafy veggies, fruits and legumes," he said.

Evans, whose diet had consisted of 40 pounds of chicken a month and more than 10,000 calories a day, is now 80 weeks meat-free. He attributes his mentality, strength and physique to a plant-based diet.

Still, Evans knows he is terminal. Postoperative survival rates for MPNST are 0-5 years on record.

"The cancer is still there," he says. "I'm alive because my body's not acidic. I just don't put anything in my body that irritates it."

Evans has a goal. "It's my mission to touch 1 million people before I die," he says. "My days are numbered so this is a full-court press."

DIY Deodorant that ACTUALLY WORKS

DIY Deodorant that ACTUALLY WORKS

The struggle has been real in finding a natural deodorant that actually works. I’ve tried most of the deodorants stocked at Whole Foods, but still haven’t found one to properly do it’s job. (The fact that the natural/organic deodorants are more expensive and packed with fillers doesn’t help either.)

Why is there a need for a natural deodorant?

Since our skin is our largest organ, we need to take measures to ensure that what we put on it is as natural as possible. Here are five harmful chemicals found in deodorant that can play a part in the diminishment of our health.

1. Aluminum Compounds

Aluminum compounds are added to deodorant to block the pores from sweating. Aluminum, like other heavy metals, may interfere with the ability of estrogen receptors to correctly process the hormone and are linked to breast cancer in women, prostate cancer in men, and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s.

2. Parabens

Parabens are preservatives used in some deodorants and antiperspirants that have been shown to mimic the activity of estrogen in the body’s cells. This chemical disrupts hormonal balances and can lead to early puberty in children and hormone-related cancers in women and organ toxicity. The belief that parabens build up in breast tissue was supported by a 2004 study, which found parabens in 18 of 20 samples of tissue from human breast tumors.

3. Propylene glycol

When this chemical is paired with other chemical additives, it can be extremely dangerous. This ingredient causes damage to the central nervous system, liver and heart. Even in small concentrations (2 percent or less), propylene glycol provokes skin irritation in those with sensitive skin. Moreover, some manufacturers have made deodorants with 50 percent propylene glycol content. Believe it or not, you’re likely to find this in many “natural” deodorants.

4. Triclosan

Triclosan is classified as a pesticide according to the FDA. Although the FDA uses are not regulated under pesticide law, EPA considered these exposures in the aggregate risk  assessment. In deodorants, triclosan is used as an antibacterial agent and preservative, and reacts with tap water to create chloroform gas, a potential carcinogen. This chemical can also possess endocrine disrupting properties that has shown up in human breast milk and blood.

5. Steareths

Usually listed with a number (like steareth-15), these additives come from a cheap process that makes harsh ingredients more mild. The process (known as ethoxylation) produces carcinogenic 1,4-dioxanes during manufacturing.

FINALLY- A DEODORANT THAT WORKED FOR ME

I finally have found a simple DIY recipe that calls for basic ingredients that you most likely already have in your kitchen.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup of baking soda

1/4 cup arrowroot powder or cornstarch

20 drops of your favorite essential oil  *I like to use lemon as it has a fresh scent and also has antibacterial qualities*

6-8 tbs solid coconut oil

Directions:

Combine baking soda and arrowroot (or cornstarch) Add in a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Combine the coconut oil by the tablespoon and work it in with a fork until the mixture is firm but pliable. It should be about the same consistency as commercial deodorant; solid but easy to apply. If it’s too wet, add more arrowroot powder or cornstarch. Scoop the mixture into a small container with a lid (like a 4-ounce Mason jar, or buy empty deodorant containers off of Amazon, which is what I do.) Apply with your fingertips if in a jar, or use like regular deodorant if you buy the empty containers. I store mine in the fridge, to avoid any melting.

Loving Yourself is The Beginning of Change

Loving Yourself is The Beginning of Change

Many women face daily insecurities, thinking that they should look, feel and act different than how they really are.

Faced with constant examples in the magazines, social media and standards for the perfect “model,” women begin to think that they need to be thinner, have bigger lips,  lots of muscle mass, or have the in-season handbag.

Where are the positive influencers to tell us that we are good enough the way we are?

I am here to tell you that YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH. Every morning you need to look in the mirror and say, I AM GOOD ENOUGH.

Caring for your health has to start on the inside, and accepting our bodies, and loving our bodies, is the first step to any real change.

You must first love yourself in this exact moment, exactly the way you are, in the place that you are.

Let your motivation for change come from a place of love.

Don’t get caught up in the race of trying to look like the girls in the magazines or on social media. Let’s face it girls: body angle, salt/water manipulation and Photoshop is what you are seeing on the pages. Very rarely you see a model who isn’t touched up in some way.

Instead, look inward at WHY you want to make the changes you desire. To de-stress.  Lower cholesterol. Improve energy levels. Increase your mobility and strength. Maybe it’s just to have an overall healthier lifestyle.

Unfortunately teleportation isn’t a viable option when it comes to meeting our health and fitness goals. It’s a road that takes dedication, consistency and self-education.

So instead of pining for a chiseled six pack right off the bat, let’s start at the foundation for now, and build from a place of love and acceptance.

YOU ARE ENOUGH

The Posture Problem of the 21st Century

 The Posture Problem of the 21st Century

Technology brings information right to our fingertips, at any given point in time. Trivia night is no longer fun at the local bar, as any answer can be found out in less than 2 seconds with a smart phone.

As our heads drop deep into our phones and our thumbs move quickly typing out work emails or messages to friends. texting is adding extra unnecessary stress to our bodies.

The downsides, expressed by Experience Life Magazine, are something to consider, and to be more conscious about the next time you go to text back your friend.

Excessive texting can result in pain in the outer thumb and wrist. This is called “texting thumb” and it’s from the way we hold our phone which constricts our flexor tendon.

Another hand injury that can result is carpal tunnel and tendinitis from gripping the phone with fingers, called “text claw”. The repetitive daily clenching can cause added stress and ultimate lead to injury.

If you have an aching sore neck or back, it could be to your habitual head-down posture exerting extra pressure on your spine. According to Kenneth Hansraj, an orthopedic surgeon, as we tilt our head forward, it exerts up to 60 pounds of extra pressure at a 60 degree angle. The normal human head weighs about 10-12 pounds. That’s a lot of extra weight.

The first time that I noticed pain in my hand related to texting was after I spent two months in Costa Rica, smart phone FREE. It was when I got back to the States, the texts came flowing in and my thumb got right to work. In one day my thumb was in extreme pain from constant texting. That really opened my eyes to the added stress that is put on your hand from this habit.

I’ve now turned into an avid user of voice recognition texting and have also began to raise my phone to ear level when I read any texts or emails from my phone. I don’t care if it looks silly, I’d rather save stress from my body.

A Dose of Dani

A Dose of Dani

A lot of you have been asking what I use in my daily regimen for vitamins or supplements. I don’t do a multi-vitamin because I get all the good nutrients and vitamins I need from eating nutrient-dense fruits and veggies :)

But here are some items that I like to add into my daily routine.

 Maca Powder- This nutrient dense whole food grown in the mountains of Peru is packed with vitamins, essential minerals and amino acids. Studies have identified four alkaloids in maca which are known to nourish the endocrine system. Its adaptogenic properties are commonly used to increase stamina, boost libido and combat fatigue. I like to add the maca powder to my protein shakes and green shakes.

Complete Omega- This Complete Omega offers omega-3s from fish oil, omega-6 GLA from borage oil and omega-9 oleic acids. This balanced blend promotes heart health, brain function, positive mood and offers support for healthy joints and skin. I like this brand Nordic Naturals because it is tested by a third-party certified lab for environmental toxins, including heavy metals.

Organic Acai Powder- This superfood native to South America is a complex blend of antioxidants including vitamins A and C , iron calcium and dietary fiber.   The acai berry fights inflammation and is notably rich in minerals and amino acids. This nutrient dense fruit also has omega-3 essential fatty acids which help with maintenance of mental and visual function. I like to add this in to my protein or green shakes.

Raw Probiotics-  I use the WOMEN brand that they have that is specifically designed to meet the unique needs of women, supporting vaginal health and overall digestive function. It offers 32 “original” probiotics, minerals, prebiotics as well as dairy-digesting enzymes to help break down lactose and casein.

  • It supports colon health, bowel regularity and overall digestive function
  • supports gut-related immune system function and overall immune system health.
  • supports healthy microbial balance by promoting healthy bacteria in the gut
  • Supports healthy nutrient absorption
  • Supports vaginal health and thyroid function

Super Daily D3- I have this in liquid form and this vitamin supported healthy immune system function, a healthy cardiovascular system, muscle health, calcium absorption and teeth and bone health.

What do you use for your daily health fix?

Love Your Skin

Love Your Skin

As much as I stress the importance of fueling your body with quality, whole foods, I have also been on a personal mission to apply this mentality throughout all aspects of my life.

Yes, it’s important what we put IN our body. But what about all of the products used daily that we put ON our body?

I have a daily routine of using soaps, body lotions, face makeup, shampoo and perfume. Most of these products are all chemical ridden, and unfortunately tested on animals.

Your skin is your largest organ and absorbs up to 60 percent of what you put on it.

With the average woman putting between 12-20 chemicals on her body due to beauty products, it’s worth it to me and my well-being to dig a little deeper into the ingredients in my beauty products.

Change doesn’t happen overnight, and it’s hard to just throw away your whole collection of lotions and perfumes you have collected and spent money on over the years, but I have made a conscious decision to buy beauty products that are chemical free and NOT tested on animals.

The best thing we can do as consumers is read ingredient lists carefully in order to avoid chemicals that are known to be harmful, even though they continue to be widely used.

There is an app I found called The Think Dirty App, that helps consumers identify potentially toxic chemicals in your favorite beauty products, all by the scan of a barcode, and suggesting similar products that are cleaner.

This can help with making more conscious decisions of what we put on our bodies AND down the drains.

Over the past 3 months I have cleaned out my lotion and makeup drawer and have incorporated new products into my routine.

Kirkland’s Organic Coconut Oil– I buy this in bulk at Costco and it’s organic! Kirkland signature organic Coconut Oil is cold pressed and never chemically treated during production. Beside cooking with it as an olive oil and butter substitute, I use it as body lotion and makeup remover. It is easily absorbed into the skin and has a sweet coconut aroma. I couldn’t believe the first time I used it as makeup remover to take off my mascara, and how well it works.

Taspen’s Organics-  I have three products that I have been using from this family-owned business based out of Colorado. What I love about this company is they are passionate about safe, chemical free, organic products. Each of their products is made with high quality certified organic herbs, oils and pure essential oils. They do not contain GMO’s, gluten, parabens, petroleum, chemicals, preservatives, fragrances, synthetic or artificial ingredients and are not tested on animals.

  1.  Facial Moisturizing Cream- I use this product daily, both in the morning and night. I love that it contains high antioxidant and natural SPF containing oils.  I have the citrus scent, which is really refreshing and soothing. I am really in love with the way this makes my skin feel so hydrated.
  2. Water Resistant Sun Cream- I am a sunscreen junkie, as I’m scared to death of wrinkles. However, with the amount of sunscreen that I use, i know that I needed to find another alternative because sunscreen is FILLED with harmful chemicals. This sun cream has an equivalent to SPF 30 and needs to be reapplied every two hours.
  3. Restore and Revive Remedy Stick-  This is is my go to for scrapes, burns, cuts, dry/irritated skin and even works on my psoriasis. Basically an all natural neosporin!

Taspen’s Web site offers other products such as a facial toner, eye cream, body wash, insect repellant, diaper rash salve and baby powder among many other products.

Support local! Support organic! Support your body!

I’ve Been Prescribed The Ocean

I’ve Been Prescribed The Ocean

I wake up and am immediately drawn to the ocean. I cross the railroad tracks, hike up the hill and stand against the railing that overlooks Beacons Beach in Encinitas, California.

I walk down to the ocean, find a big rock to sit on and stare dreamily out into the water watching the sunrise surfers hang ten.

I sit in a trance listening to the swooshing sound of the waves break against the shore, up onto the rocks and get pulled out again. I hear the seagulls in the distance, and I can pick up on the sound of a pelican swooping into the water for his breakfast.

The waves have me in a meditative state, and energy fills me to my core. I can’t help but smile, and not think of anything else but the present moment. I feel completely full, and the thoughts of everything else wash away. Meditating never seemed easier!

There’s something about being by the water that just makes me happier, and I’m a pretty darn happy person even away from it.

A popular belief is that salty air, which is filled with negatively charged ions, can help decrease blood pressure and elevate mood. Ocean visits were once a prescribed “cure all” for most illnesses in the 18th and 19th centuries.

There’s no doubt in my mind that the ocean has healing properties. The way I feel around water is unlike anything else. But how silly would it be if we went to the doctor in the 21st century and were prescribed a walk on the beach, a swim in the ocean or to sit underneath a waterfall?

I’d take that prescription over our “pill nation” agenda any day.

What are negative ions?

An ion is an atom or molecule that has either gained or lost an electron. They are created in nature as air molecules break apart due to sunlight, radiation, moving air and water. Nature provides both negative and positive ions, and it’s the negative ions that give us that feel good energy.

Negative ions are known to enhance mood, stimulate senses, provide relief from allergies and migranes, help promote alpha brain waves, help absorb oxygen into blood cells and balance serotonin.

The best generator for negative ions is lightening, ocean waves and waterfalls. They are also abundant in mountains and forests. (I knew I was meant to live in the Tropics…)

All of these areas have a higher concentration of negative ions than positive. The normal ion count in fresh country air is 2,000 to 4,000 negative ions per cubic centimeter. At a large waterfall there is over 100,000. On the other hand, in a polluted city you will see levels below 100 per cubic centimeter.

It makes sense to me why I feel more alert, stable and energized when I’m surfing, climbing waterfalls and swimming in the ocean.

How does the ocean make you feel?

Letting Excuses Rule

Letting Excuses Rule

“I work too much.”

“I’m exhausted.”

“I swear…I have no time.”

People have really mastered the art of making excuses for themselves. It’s more common than you think to trick your mind and body into premeditated defeat by letting excuses rule over your mind.

Maybe it’s the comfort of being in a routine (or lack thereof ) or the fear of change.
There can be excuses of all sorts, and when your excuses set the pace and take control of your life, you are setting yourself up to fail.

You alone have the power to decide and create what you want out of life. You make time for what you prioritize and make excuses for what you don’t.

Find your motivation
What is important to you? Why are you pursuing a healthier lifestyle? Considering you are reading this blog post, health and fitness is a part of your life, or you have goals to work toward a healthier version of YOU. Everyone has their reasons of what motivates them. It could be to manage stress, to get toned or to feel better all around. Either way, you need to focus on what motivates you and make this a priority. Light the fire, and don’t let your excuses blow it out!

Pencil In Your Priorities
Would you ever think about just not showing up to a meeting at work? You are expected to be there and have made it a priority. When you change your thinking to make health just as important as a work meeting, you will find the time to fit it into your life. Make a commitment and make sure you have it penciled in. By taking a look at what you have planned for the week, both for work and your personal life, you can make sure you don’t skip a beat. Stay proactive. If you know you will be in meetings late followed by a work dinner, make sure you get your workout in before you head into work for the day.

Little Lifestyle Changes Go a Long Way
If you are finding yourself rambling excuses all the time, maybe its time to reflect on your daily habits in order for YOU to begin to rule over your excuses, instead of the other way around. I hear this one all the time: “I worked all day and came home and was too exhausted to workout.” Well, it sounds like you need to make a lifestyle change. It really is THAT simple. Making small lifestyle changes can end up having a large impact on your life. Maybe it’s waking up one hour earlier in order to fit in a morning workout or turning off all electronics by 8:30 so you can start to unwind and try to be in bed earlier. Maybe instead of hitting the snooze button ten times you can get up on the first alarm. Don’t let your work, daily activites or exhaustion get in the way of a good workout. Look at the reasons of why you are failing now, and tweak your habits to make sure you set yourself up for success!

Just DO It!
Don’t think about it— just do it! Make it a goal to work on these small changes for 21 days straight. Get up on that first snooze alarm. Wake up an hour earlier. Reflect on your daily habits and what you can do in order to see the changes and results you want. Commit to 21 days and see how it makes you feel, both physically and emotionally.

Tips:
1. Write down your motivation for a healthier lifestyle
2. Set goal(s) for yourself
3. Look at your week ahead for any roadblocks
4. Write down your workouts and pencil them in like you would a business meeting. Set yourself up with a visual schedule
5. Take a look at your lifestyle habits and make little tweaks to your daily routines in order to break bad habits or create good ones
6. Stay consistent. It’s easy to fall off the bandwagon but even harder to get back on. Don’t miss more than two workout days in a row
7. Commit for 21 days with your “No Excuses” plan