Massive Action Steps

This section focuses on massive action steps that I believe are necessary for radical wellness turnarounds. OPINION zone.

Oct 302015
 

One of the detox routines recommended by my doctor is Salt and Soda Baths. I take these baths up to twice per week, always using filtered water (for that, I recommend an Aquasana shower filter).

To do a salt and soda bath, I need two ingredients, which cost almost nothing: fine sea salt and baking soda. I use Diamond Crystal sea salt (which is cheap in grocery stores but sadly expensive on Amazon) and plain old Arm & Hammer baking soda (which does NOT contain aluminum, counter to popular misconception).

Simple Procedure, Big Benefits

I simply run water from the shower into the tub until it’s almost full, pour in a cup of sea salt and a cup of baking soda, stir it around until it’s mostly dissolved, and then soak for 25 minutes. Then I shower off. That’s it. Because 25 minutes is a long time to soak in a tub, I start off with pretty hot, but not scaldingly hot, water.

I find that I sweat a lot in the bath, and — how can I put this? — stuff comes out of my skin pores.  The combination of baking soda and sea salt pulls out toxins through the skin. Afterward, I feel refreshed, and my skin looks great. An absolutely HUGE potential benefit: detoxing from radiation exposure.

Caveats

One caveat: My doctor recommended salt and soda baths because I tend to be too acidic. If I were too alkaline, or if I had high blood pressure or cardiovascular issues, I’d probably be doing different detox routines. Also, the bath is pretty draining, especially when the water is really hot to start with, so I always stand up carefully afterward and then shower off briefly with cool water.

I like to listen to soothing music while I float in the detox bath, although sometimes soaking in silence is golden. If you’re looking for music to accompany a detox bath, my absolute favorite tunes are from Miracle of Dolphins by Paul Lloyd Warner. 

Oct 272015
 

I don’t have my “original 32” teeth. I have 31. A holistic dentist extracted the 32nd — molar number 2, to be exact — about a year after I was diagnosed.

I wish I hadn’t waited so long.

Root Cause

The tooth gave me trouble for years. The root cause (sorry, sorry) was damage inflicted by an impacted wisdom tooth growing sideways into my molar. It left a large hole and a tooth that was sensitive to touch. Still, I resisted filling it, because I was afraid I’d need a root canal.

Finally, I visited my dentist and asked him to fill the tooth if he could do it without a root canal. So he placed a large mercury filling (this was in 2000, before the move away from amalgam picked up).

The tooth never entirely calmed down. It always hurt a little when I pressed against it, and when I drank hot tea, I’d notice a metallic taste. No dentist ever agreed to extract it, though, despite my questions about whether that might be a good idea.

It Gets Worse

When the big filling eventually fell out, I had it replaced with an even bigger one. I was preparing for grad-school finals and didn’t have time to do anything else. And then a few years later, I had a crown placed, but the dentist left a small piece of the filling inside the crown, since it was so close to the nerve.

Pain exploded inside my mouth after the dentist placed the temporary crown. I took constant Advil and waited in misery for the permanent crown. A few weeks later, when my boyfriend found a lump in my breast, one of my first impulses was to finally have that tooth pulled. But I didn’t. It seemed like a lot of hassle, and I’d just gone through a procedure to save the tooth, so why pull it now?

A few months later, during the cancer diagnosis whirl, I thought again about ripping that tooth out of my mouth. It was a visceral feeling, but I felt overwhelmed with biopsy surgery and a lumpectomy and then local radiation. I also didn’t know where to find a dentist who’d agree to remove the tooth, since it wasn’t dead.

Finding a Holistic Dentist

After radiation ended, when I was experimenting with supplements and diet to help me recover, I spoke with Bill Henderson, the author of the book Cancer-Free. He said he felt that until I addressed my dental issues, I would not heal from cancer. I wasn’t sure about this, but I started researching holistic dentists.

Later that year, when I’d found my alternative doctor and his program had started working, I asked him about holistic dentists. He encouraged me to let his program finish working first, but I was eager and said I’d rather do it now. I wanted the tooth out, and I believed that only a holistic dentist would agree to extract my tooth. So he gave me the name of a nearby dentist.

Instantly upon meeting the dentist, I felt at ease with the decision. He listened to my complaints about the prior 15 years of tooth trouble and agreed to remove the periodontal ligament along with the tooth. I decided against getting an implant, because that area of my mouth had been a problem for so long I felt it needed to relax and heal, not adjust to a titanium post in the bone.

Peace with the Decision

The procedure took place in October 2012 and took about an hour. Some of my bone had deteriorated near the tooth (which was drilled away), and my gums were deep blue from the mercury and silver leaching out of the filling.

After a few days of recovery, I felt better. I’d felt low-level pain from that tooth for so long that I’d forgotten what it was like not to feel dimly aware of it at all times. Now I felt stronger and healthier — just a general sense of well-being. When I told my regular dentist, who’d always been opposed to removing it, he said to my surprise that sometimes a bad tooth is worse than no tooth.

It was a big step for me to remove a living tooth with no implant replacement, no assurance of benefit, and a risk of possibly making things worse, but I felt deeply that it was the right choice for me. If you’re considering something similar, hopefully my story will help in that process.

Oct 202015
 

One of the cornerstones of my metabolic anti-cancer diet is 14-Grain Cereal. Originally formulated by Dr. William Donald Kelley as “Multi-Grain Porridge,” with the recipe modified later by Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez, this cereal is a combination of 14 raw grains, nuts and seeds, ground in a coffee grinder and then soaked overnight. With my metabolic type, I’m told this cereal provides almost everything I need (though I certainly eat lots of other foods as well).

The main idea is to get as many grains as possible into the cereal bowl. The recipe I follow includes an equal mix by volume of these organic whole grains, nuts and seeds:

  • Hulled barley
  • Long grain brown rice
  • Millet grain
  • Whole oat groats
  • Buckwheat groats
  • Rye grain
  • Mung beans
  • Alfalfa seeds
  • Flaxseeds
  • Hulled sesame seeds
  • Hard red winter wheat
  • Green lentils
  • Whole kernel corn
  • Raw whole almonds

Where the Heck Do I Get These Grains?

I usually buy most of these ingredients directly from Shiloh Farms or through LuckyVitamin (I’ve done both). The alfalfa seeds I’m using are from NOW Foods, also via LuckyVitamin. I couldn’t find a small bag of organic whole kernel corn, so I decided to use Shiloh Farms raw whole-kernel popcorn, but if you’re looking to stock up, Amazon has a 25-pound bag of regular corn from Great River Organic Milling. (Yes, I bought this giant bag of corn once! It was great corn and it lasted almost forever, unsurprisingly.)

To make the cereal:

  • Put about 3 tablespoons of each ingredient in a quart-size Ziploc bag, seal the bag, and then gently shake it to mix the grains.
  • Each time you want to prepare a serving of cereal, put 3 or 4 tablespoons of grain mix into a small coffee grinder (I use a no-frills $18 Mr. Coffee grinder that works brilliantly) and grind for a few seconds.
  • Pour the ground cereal into a small bowl and add enough distilled or filtered water to mix it into a thin porridge with a spoon. (Don’t worry, it will absorb some of the water during soaking!)
  • Cover the bowl and put it in the fridge to soak the grains for at least seven hours and preferably twelve.
  • Eat with organic raw honey, organic cream and/or berries.

Dr. Kelley’s Original Recipe

I think this cereal tastes great, but if you don’t like the taste, you can experiment with the mix of grains to find something you do like. Maybe you’d like to use chia seeds or pumpkin seeds, or try Dr. Kelley’s original recipe? All of the sources I can find have formatting that makes it difficult for me to read that recipe, so here’s the original list of Dr. Kelley’s organic grains:

  • Amaranth
  • Barley
  • Barley flakes
  • Buckwheat groats
  • Blue corn meal
  • Yellow corn meal
  • Kamut
  • Millet
  • Oat groats
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Long grain brown rice
  • Short grain brown rice
  • Rye berries
  • Spelt berries
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Triticale flakes
  • Hard red spring wheat
  • Soft pastry wheat

You can see that whichever mix you choose, the main point is to get a wide variety of organic grains, nuts and seeds. Dr. Kelley put it this way:

Objective: to obtain as many different nutrients as possible from as many different seed and grain gene pools as possible from as many different sources (fields) as possible.

That’s my plan and I’m sticking to it.

Oct 092015
 

To achieve extreme health, some people don’t have to do much. Others need to climb a mountain every day before breakfast.

This is a bear of a truth, because it’s totally unfair and there’s nothing you can do about it. Some people can smoke and eat barbecue and drink liters of alcohol with few bad effects. They may live to be 95. Genetics simply predisposes some people to be centenarians, which is awesome for them.

Most people aren’t destined to be centenarians, though, barring major biotech breakthroughs. To varying degrees, we have weak points. Our genes may be prone to errors and not repaired efficiently. We may be sensitive to chemicals in our environment. We may be prone to digestive upset or allergic reactions.

The thing to do is NOT to think about how your cousin can eat raw raccoon with no ill effects. That has no bearing on your own ability to do the same thing, and thinking about it will only make you jealous.

Own Your Baseline

Each person is different. The good news is that each person, from their own baseline, has the capability to build extreme health. Extreme health is nothing more than the sum total of a series of small decisions made every day.

It may take a few weeks, a few months, or a few years to get there, and it may be something you need to do every day for the rest of your life. A practice, like a martial art. That may feel unfair when you see your cousin enjoying his raw raccoon steak with barbecue sauce and vodka. But you are not your cousin, and pretending to be won’t get you anywhere good.

Drive Toward Health

Raymond Francis, author of Never Fear Cancer Again, uses a highway analogy that I like. Essentially, if you envision a multi-lane highway with health at one end and disease at the other, if all of the cars on the highway are driving toward health, your body will probably get healthy, driven by that momentum.

In contrast, if some of the cars are driving toward health and others are driving the other way toward disease, the momentum toward health won’t reach a critical point and you won’t get there.

The real 1% that it’s most important to be part of is the 1% of healthiest lifestyles on the planet. The Blue Zone-level lifestyles (update: I’m finally reading this book after just reading articles about it in the past!). Which way are you driving on the highway?

Oct 022015
 

I read a lot of blogs. I enjoy reading blogs by cancer survivors of all stripes, conventional and alternative.

I hate the moment when a blog slowly trails off, followed by a post from family or friends announcing the blogger’s death.

I hate that moment even though it’s worth it to read the blogger’s posts, thoughts and experiences. Fortunately, that moment doesn’t always happen. Sometimes the blogger doesn’t die but instead triumphs and writes for many years, inspiring others faced with similar challenges.

What’s the difference between the two? I’m sure there are too many factors to count, but regardless of other factors, there is one trend I don’t like to see in cancer blogs. I call it treatment-shopping: skipping from one treatment to another, seeing a series of doctors, and never sticking with one treatment and giving it time to work. Conventional or alternative, this is rarely a good sign.

Adventures in Treatment-Shopping

I totally understand the panic that can spur treatment-shopping. After I finished radiation, I did some treatment-shopping of my own.

I’d decided to build up my body using organic food and great supplements. I started off using Cellect, a nutrient powder, but almost immediately I felt like the effect was too strong for me.

I switched to the Bill Henderson protocol. Initially, it seemed like a good fit for me, but I wasn’t feeling well after a couple of months, so I made an appointment with the doctor who became my doctor. His tests identified several mineral, enzyme and hormone deficiencies, and his program was designed to address those specifically and bring my body back into balance. It felt great to have actual test results instead of guessing and attempting to apply a one-size-fits-all program to my situation.

Even during the first few months on my doctor’s program, I wasn’t sure it would work yet, so I was still treatment-shopping. I saw a well-known Chinese herbalist in New York and started taking his herbs.

Knowing When to Stop

At my first follow-up appointment with my doctor, I learned that his protocol was working extremely well — better than expected. Then I did something very good: I told him about the herbs and other supplements I was taking.

He discouraged me from taking the herbs, not because they were ineffective, but because he’d seen herbs interfere with his program in the past. He allowed me to continue taking most of my other supplements.

What do you think happened next? Did I keep treatment-shopping?

No way. I’d found something that seemed to be working, so although there might have been several other things out there that also would have worked, I stopped rushing around. I stopped taking the herbs. I stopped taking them even though I felt they were working for me. Even though I thought I could possibly choose the herbs over my doctor’s program and be okay.

Key words: Felt. Possibly.

My doctor’s program was definitely working.

I stopped treatment-shopping right there and never started again. And his program kept working for me.

Maybe the herbs would have worked, too. Maybe they wouldn’t have. But it would have been a gamble, a shot in the dark, more fumbling around when I already had preliminary success and just needed PERSISTENCE at that point, not scattershot grenades.

Two Plus Two = Zero?

I know it’s hard to stop. It’s hard to think that “one more treatment” might hurt instead of helping. I like picturing treatments as being additive, so X + Y is better than just X.

But that is not necessarily how supplements and herbs work. (It’s not how medicines work either: Two antibiotics can actually hurt each other’s effectiveness, if their mechanisms of action are in conflict.)

Once I found something that was working, treatment-shopping could have harmed me far more than it helped. So whenever I read blogs that seem to be an endless stream of treatment-shopping, I get a sinking feeling in my stomach. I pray they’ll find a doctor and a treatment they can trust. I pray they’ll trust themselves enough to make a decision about which path to take. I pray they’ll be successful and have peace about their decision.

Because success with any treatment, conventional or alternative, is more like a martial arts practice than like exploring a new town. Consistency, discipline, adaptability — but never haphazardness.

Sep 252015
 

I know lots of people who juice apples and oranges along with their veggies, to make the juice taste sweeter. Most juice bars do it, too — the menus hanging over the juice bar include apples in most recipes.

I always say, “No apples, please.” Here’s why:

Fruits have more sugar than vegetables. Yes, it’s natural sugar, but by juicing the fruits, I’m concentrating that sugar in a cup. I’m also removing something super-important that slows down the body’s absorption of that sugar: fiber.

In contrast, if I eat whole fruit, the fiber helps prevent it from causing a huge insulin spike. It’s also a lot harder to eat five apples than it is to drink the juice of five apples — and it takes longer to eat them, which slows down sugar absorption even more!

(As a side note, even one apple has about 15 grams of sugar, which is at the top end of what I like to consume in one sitting. And 15 x 5 = 75, which is way more than I allowed myself to eat in any normal day at the outset.)

Now let’s switch tracks and talk about vegetables. Because they are an entirely different story.

In general, vegetables tend to contain less sugar than fruits and more cancer-fighting compounds. Even beets, which have a lot of sugar, have been shown to help the liver work better. Carrots come with boatloads of natural beta carotene, which I’d much rather have than a supplement (synthetic beta carotene can actually harm smokers, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest). Spinach, celery and lots of other greens have relatively little sugar and are even more packed with cancer-fighters. THIS is the stuff I want to concentrate in a cup.

(Another side note: My doctor advised me it was better to lightly steam cruciferous veggies like broccoli and kale, rather than juicing huge quantities of them raw, because of possible thyroid effects.)

So early on in my cancer recovery, I decided to adhere to a simple principle: Eat fruits, juice veggies.

This simple principle served me well (at least, I think it did, since I’m still here!).

After about six months, I did start including low-sugar fruit smoothies in my program. Smoothies are different from juices because they involve throwing the entire fruit in a blender and liquefying it – but it still contains all of the natural fiber. So I’d go to my neighborhood health food store and order a coconut smoothie with an entire pack of organic red raspberries. This was a delicious treat that didn’t send my blood sugar spiking upward.

There was one exception to my no-fruit-juice rule: Periodically, I’d drink a lot of apple juice in the lead-up to a liver flush, or I’d do a two-day juice fast with orange, grapefruit and lemon juice. Yes, I did liver flushes and juice fasts — and I still do them. But for the vast majority of the time — for 340 days of the year — I eat fruits and juice veggies.

What are your practices? Do you juice fruits and think it’s awesome? Do you have a favorite veggie combo? Let me know — I’m listening!

Sep 222015
 

If you have cancer, this is how I view it: You are in a monster truck rally.

You are a person, and your opponent is a STEAMROLLER.

Warning: Harsh views ahead!

If you think you’re going to take five pancreatic enzyme capsules a day and turn back the steamroller, my view is: YOU ARE SORELY MISTAKEN. If you think you’re going to do a few vitamin C IVs or eat a little less sugar and turn back the steamroller, I think THAT’S UNLIKELY. If you think a few tweaks or improvements to your lifestyle are going to turn back the steamroller, I believe THEY PROBABLY WON’T.

Harsh? Yes. But it’s less harsh than selling the myth that small lifestyle changes will produce big results.

What Is Radical?

Think about how radical chemotherapy is. Your hair usually falls out, you usually feel terrible, and almost all of your body systems are affected. Or think about radiation. You basically damage your DNA to try to kill off the cancer cells, hoping that the normal cells can survive the damage and recover. Surgery is pretty intense, too.

That’s how radical you need to be, whether you’re fighting with chemical weapons or natural ones or both. The book Radical Remission by Kelly Turner really makes this principle crystal clear: The degree of intensity required does NOT change if you opt for alternative over conventional. And that’s the biggest mistake I think people make when choosing alternatives.

There’s a great graphic that really illustrates what’s required, no matter which path to healing you choose: It has a tiny circle labeled, “Your Comfort Zone,” and then several feet away is a HUGE circle labeled, “Where the Magic Happens.” And it’s true, in almost all things in life: No magic ever happens inside your comfort zone or even near it.

If you’re not uncomfortable, if you’re not off the map beyond where you’ve gone before, chances are you’re not where you need to be.

Tough Love

I know that’s hard to hear. It’s an unpleasant message. I didn’t want to hear it when I first finished radiation. I wanted to take a few supplement pills, have a few snacks with healthy nutrient powder mixed in, and be okay. But I wasn’t feeling okay, and I made a serious mistake in trying to take my recovery lightly.

As the great herbalist Dr. Richard Schulze says (and I paraphrase), don’t try to fight a steamroller with a spray of basil oil. You need your own steamroller. For the most part, as Radical Remission shows, people who survive are the ones who take massive action – and keep taking it.

I believe you owe it to yourself to take massive action, whatever your path. What do you think?

Sep 182015
 

I’ve tried a lot of different things in my journey through the crazy world of health and wellness. It’s hard to capture all of them in my 10 Steps, so here are 10 specific things that I believe were game-changers in my success:

1. I learned how to relax and enjoy life in the least relaxing situation ever. Not easy, but until I figured this out, the rest was just slapping Band-Aids on a seeping wound. Life is risk, we’re all here to learn, and I reached out for help when I needed it. Find what works for you to neutralize emotional chaos.

2. I juice vegetables, not fruits. I want to EAT my fruits to get all the good fiber they bring to the table. Fiber also helps slow down my body’s absorption of fructose, so I can avoid insulin spikes.

In contrast, vegetables usually pack less fructose and more anti-cancer nutrients into every square centimeter, so I juice them to make that goodness even more concentrated. (Note: I only juice organic vegetables, which have less pesticide on them. Why would I want to concentrate pesticides in a cup?)

Side note: When I juice vegetables, I add beets and carrots to my green juice. I believe in a rainbow of flavors — and colors. I believe adding a beet is a huge benefit for me, because it kicks up my liver and helps it work better.

3. I eat a pack of organic red raspberries whenever I can. I used to be a pack-a-day eater. Red raspberries can shut down the type of cancer I had, so I viewed it as cheap insurance, not expensive berries.

4. I eat watercress whenever and wherever I find it. Watercress is hard to find where I live. But whenever I see it, organic or not, at a supermarket or a restaurant, I snap it up and eat it, because I believe it’s the healthiest vegetable on the entire planet.

5. I take organic dandelion root powder. I want to help my liver be the best it can be. So I take half a teaspoon of this wonderful herb daily.

6. I eat flaxseeds. They pack a punch against cancer in different ways than the other foods I eat.

7. I ate button mushrooms and drank green tea almost every day for two years. I read about this trick in Patrick Quillin’s book Beating Cancer with Nutrition. He’s a registered dietician (there are good ones out there! A few…), and he wrote that eating both foods in a single day could reduce the risk of breast cancer by about 90%. I followed this advice religiously for a long time.

8. I filter my water. I didn’t go crazy with a whole-house filter system, because I was renting a New York apartment when first diagnosed with cancer. Instead, I bought an Aquasana countertop water filter for the sink (which I installed in the bathroom since it wouldn’t fit on my kitchen sink – you do what you have to do!) and an Aquasana shower filter. I also bought a Waterwise water distiller and used it for the first year of my recovery.

Travel tip: When traveling, I use a portable filter bottle, and I drink venti green and herbal teas at Starbucks since they triple-filter their water, sometimes with reverse osmosis!

9. I take a great probiotic. After much research, I settled on Garden of Life RAW Probiotics. I love that they use a wild kefir culture to provide a huge variety of different probiotic strains. These probiotics require refrigeration, so I’m careful about where I buy them.

10. I rebound for exercise. I bought a Pure Fun rebounder from Amazon for about $38 and started bouncing. I love trying to touch the ceiling as I jump, but you don’t have to be an acrobat to use this type of mini-trampoline. When I first started, I did “the health bounce,” which just involves standing on the trampoline on the balls of your feet, with feet shoulder width apart, and bouncing without leaving the surface. Why is rebounding so great? It increases lymphatic flow and gets your whole body moving — much like swimming!

What are your personal game-changers for wellness? I’d love to hear about it- send me a message!

Sep 152015
 

Do you know one of my least favorite words on the planet? DIET.

Why? Because DIET screams UNSUSTAINABLE. It screams TEMPORARY. And a good way of eating is neither.

Sorry for the caps overload. But I feel pretty strongly about this. Sure, extreme diets can produce results fast — but as the unsustainable nature of the diet becomes unavoidable, you can lose many or all of the results you gained.

That’s demoralizing and can create a perception of “dieting” as doomed to fail.

If you went from eating bacon five times a week to drinking nothing but green juice, how long do you think you could keep that up?

Taking massive action to change your lifestyle doesn’t have to mean going on a shock-and-awe diet. What I think is truly super-important is “overdosing on nutrition,” as Chris Wark of ChrisBeatCancer.com puts it. And that can be done in a healthy, sustainable way.

A Gradual Shift

Yes, I did go cold turkey on certain things when I started my food and supplement program — things like refined sugar, cold cuts and factory-farmed meat and dairy. But other than that, a gradual shift helped a lot. Week after week, step by step, I switched to organic, grass-fed animal products and lower-pesticide, organic fruits and vegetables. I ate more vegetables and less protein. I started taking more supplements, doing more exercise, and meditating and giving thanks.

But did I go from slouch to superstar overnight? I certainly didn’t.

It was important for me to accept my mistakes and not let them derail my entire lifestyle by making me feel like a failure. If I messed up, I just had to pick myself up and start eating and living well again the next day. As the great herbalist Dr. Richard Schulze says, “Tomorrow is what you believe and do today!”

To live that mantra is to create a new way of being.

Finding a Sustainable Lifestyle

In my own gradual phase shift, I didn’t go on a crazy 60-day green juice fast; in fact, my test results showed I needed some animal protein to stay alert and strong over the long term. With the exception of short two-day juice fasts, I kept eating fish, eggs and yogurt, though I cut out red meat and poultry.

It was so important for me to view this as a process and find a lifestyle that worked for me – one turned up loud enough to be effective but still containing foods and activities I loved.

One great way to do this was to eat MORE of the healthy foods I already adored.

Some examples: I love avocados, so I made a lot of homemade guacamole with garlic, tomato and Himalayan sea salt. I love nuts, so I ate a lot of almonds, brazil nuts and macadamia nuts. I love berries – good thing they’re super healthy! I ate a pack a day. I love Thai food so I ate fresh-made coconut curry with brown rice and vegetables (There was a takeout restaurant nearby that made homemade coconut curry and used organic ingredients. I got lucky with that!).

Zero Binging Through Abundance

By eating foods I loved, I didn’t binge at all for a year and a half. 18 months of no binging. Zero. When I craved empty calories, I ate something I loved. Because it was a sustainable lifestyle, it didn’t leave me desperate for something enjoyable.

Instead, as I felt better and better, my lifestyle itself became enjoyable. I loved rebounding because it gave me energy and I got to rock out to my favorite songs while soaring through the air. I loved eating well and juicing because I felt amazing. I loved detox baths because my skin looked great. I loved my lifestyle because it made my LIFE more awesome.

That’s not a diet. That’s a massive-action sea change, and it can last for decades.

Decades are what I want. How about you?

Sep 112015
 

Something I called an “Hour of Power” was key to my cancer recovery in the first couple of years.

The reason why is that when I started my alternative program with my great doctor-ally, I was working full-time in an office, so time at home was limited. And my morning schedule was peppered with to-dos: take supplements; eat a giant breakfast; do qigong; exercise; do skin brushing; breathe deeply. Add to that the usual routine like showering and getting dressed, and I was overwhelmed.

So I developed the “Hour of Power.” When I woke up, I started my day with an affirmation. I’d look out the window and yell, “It’s GREAT to be alive!”

Right after that, I’d take pancreatic enzyme supplements and then spend the next 60 minutes before breakfast doing everything I could think of that was healthy. I crammed it in like a student studying for finals.

Exercise, Tea and Hydrotherapy

First I’d do a 15-minute qigong routine while staring out my window at the sky and the trees below in the courtyard. This routine learned from my tai chi teacher consisted of eight different positions that I held for about 2 minutes each while breathing deeply.

Then I’d hop on my mini-trampoline and rebound for another 10 minutes to get my lymphatic system moving.

After that I’d boil water for tea and brew a pot of Chinese Sencha (it was still too hot to drink, but I wanted to make sure it would be cool enough to drink when I was ready to drink it!).

I’d use a natural bristle-brush on my skin as a quick lymphatic massage and then hop in the shower. After showering for 15 minutes with alternating hot and cold water (hydrotherapy!), I’d get dressed, cook the rest of breakfast, and pack my supplements for the day.

The Breakfast Scramble

At the end of the Hour of Power was the Half Hour of Frantic Eating. I’d wolf down as much breakfast as possible (I couldn’t always finish everything!). If I wasn’t in a serious rush to make it to a meeting, I’d catch up on news and email while eating. If I was in a rush, I’d eat standing at my breakfast bar, inhaling 14-Grain cereal, yogurt mixed with flax oil, a soft-boiled egg, an apple, and raw almonds.

Lastly, I’d take all of my breakfast supplements, from liver powder to vitamin C, and then rush out the door: well fed, well exercised, and ready to heal another day.

My point in describing this routine is that YOU CAN DO IT. Even if your time is limited, even if you work a full-time job, one hour a day doing good-for-you things can have huge benefits in your life.

What would your own Hour of Power look like? How would you design it for maximum benefit?

Sep 082015
 

I’m lazy. Juicing, to me, sounded like a major hassle: washing vegetables, chopping them up, feeding them piece by piece into the juicer, and cleaning the juicer. Doing it multiple times a day sounded awful.

I did buy a juicer when I began my recovery period, after traditional treatment (surgery and radiation) ended. It was a Champion juicer, and I fully endorse it. It’s an awesome juicer.

But I’m lazy. I didn’t like the juicing process.

Profit Calculations

I did some quick calculations in my head. Organic health food stores near me would juice fresh vegetables on-the-spot for approximately $5 to $6 per 12 ounces. On the diet prescribed by my doctor, I was supposed to drink 24 ounces of juice per day.

Buying the vegetables and then juicing them myself would cost less than simply buying juice in the store — but not that much less.

Based on the prices at the store, I calculated I’d save about $1 to $2 per juice by buying vegetables and juicing them. But I’d also spend at least 20 minutes, twice a day, on food preparation and juicer cleanup.

It was a no-brainer. I bought the juice.

The Routine

Every day, for years, I bought two juices from organic health food stores scattered around NYC. Sometimes beet-carrot-ginger, sometimes beet-carrot-celery, sometimes green juice with a beet added, sometimes celery juice for a little bit of a change. It was all organic, freshly made and not that expensive. It was part of my routine, something I’d do while walking between meetings or home from the subway.

(Note: This was before the huge popularity of cold-pressed, bottled juice that’s shipped from a processing plant and stored in a refrigerator case. That type of juice often costs $8 or more. Now several of the organic stores where I bought juice have gone out of business — this makes me sad.)

I still buy fresh-made juice whenever possible (though with traveling, it’s harder to do it every day). If I can’t get fresh-made juice, I’ll buy bottled juice, but I prefer the taste of fresh-made juice. Occasionally, I break out the Champion juicer, but it’s a rare event.

Defeating Guilt

At first, I felt guilty about buying all my juice instead of making it — like I was not a “real” juicing superstar, or not really committed to my health.

Then I realized IT DOESN’T MATTER.

What the heck is a juicing superstar anyway? I got well buying juice at the health food store, and that’s as legitimate as getting well by juicing at home.

I did what worked for me and my lifestyle, and that’s my philosophy: Do what works for you. It doesn’t matter how you do it — just DO it. Get it done and move on and kick ass.