Natural healing, natural wellness

Archive for August, 2009

Give Yourself A Break – Work From Home

Billy’s sleeping under my desk as I work on the computer. Ginger’s snoozing at the front door. It’s a beautiful day today, cool, sunny and windy. Just perfect for kite-flying, which several people were enjoying in the field just next to my home. Two men were flying stunt kites. Boy, those things really give a good workout!

I couldn’t resist curling up on the sofa earlier on to read a book. My living room has large picture windows overlooking the river, and it’s always bright and breezy. It’s a great place for relaxing as well as entertaining, and the occasional discussion. Business meetings, however, are usually conducted at the dining table or, rather, the ‘conference’ table.

Ah, the joys of working from home. Not only do I get more rest and more time to spend with my family, my clients are also more relaxed when they visit. I can’t imagine ever slogging away at a job again.

Most employers will never hire someone who has had a serious illness like cancer, no matter how qualified you may be. When you need to earn an income, those closed doors are really discouraging. If this has been your experience, have you considered starting a home-based business? It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or capital-intensive. Thanks to the internet, all kinds of work-from-home opportunities are available now.

For instance, I’m paid to write for websites and blogs, something which I thoroughly enjoy doing. I also sell various products through several online stores, such as carcinogen-free, safe personal care products and health supplements. I don’t have to carry any inventory, which really helps keep costs down for me.

You can make a decent living working from home, and enjoy a good quality of life doing so. Why not explore your options? Don’t be surprised if you find yourself wondering why you didn’t start your own home-based business earlier!

Cancer-Fighting Asian Coleslaw

I like cabbage – it’s such a handy vegetable. You can stir-fry it, use it in soups, salads, wraps, or make it into a fermented cabbage dish for using as a topping or side-dish. There’s probably all kinds of culinary uses for cabbage that I’m not even aware of.

Cabbage belongs to the group of cruciferous vegetables which includes cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts and bok choy. Cruciferous vegetables are rich in antioxidants and recommended as part of a cancer-fighting diet. They are also packed with phyto-nutrients which help boost the body’s immunity system, detoxify and eliminate harmful toxins and hormones, block cancer-causing substances, and stimulate antibodies to fight cancer.

Both red and green cabbages are loaded with nutrients, with high levels of calcium, iron, iodine, potassium, sulphur, and phosphorus. They are also rich in vitamins A, B, C, E, K and folic acid. Because of its reddish pigmentation, red cabbage has higher nutritional content than green cabbage.

The ideal is to eat at least a cup of such vegetables daily. To help you enjoy the benefits of eating more cabbage, here’s a coleslaw recipe with an Asian twist which I just cane across in my local health tabloid. Kudos to food writer Sylvia Tan for creating such a tasty and healthy salad. The addition of shredded roasted chicken makes it a meal in itself, although the salad will still taste great without any meat in it. The roasted almonds may be replaced with almost any other kind of nuts. Almonds, however, are said to have anti-cancer properties.

Like most Asian salads, this coleslaw recipe contains no oil.

ASIAN COLESLAW
(serves four people)

Ingredients:
1/2 head small round white cabbage
1 medium-sized onion, chopped
2 stalks spring onion (also known as scallion or salad onion), chopped
2 green chillies (long, slim Asian variety), chopped
1/2 cup roasted almonds, chopped
1 roasted chicken thigh / breast meat (optional)
1/2 cup water
1 tbs fish sauce
Juice from 4 green limes
1 tbs sugar
Pinch of salt

Method:
1) Shred cabbage finely, enough to fill a salad bowl. Chop onion, spring onion and green chillies and scatter over the cabbage.
2) Lightly toast 1/2 cup almonds in a 100 deg C oven. When golden, remove from oven to cool, then chop the nuts roughly.
3) Discard any chicken skin and shred the meat.
4) Place the meat and nuts on top of the chopped and shredded vegetables.
5) Make the salad dressing. Mix the fish sauce, water, lime juice, salt and sugar in a bowl. You can adjust the seasoning to suit your taste. Add to the coleslaw and toss well.
6) Serve as a healthy main course, a side dish, or as a fresh salad to go with an Asian meal.

Breast Cancer Risk From Grapefruit

I just love fruits and vegetables. They’re good for you, right? So, the more you eat of them the healthier you should be. Not so, as we all know. Chemical residue like pesticides and fungicides used on veggies and fruits can be very harmful. This is why organic produce is better for you. So you assume that as long as you stick to organic foods you should be safe. If only this were true. How so? Grapefruit is a case in point.

grapefruitFor the past few weeks, I’ve been enjoying grapefruit in my morning fresh fruit and vegetable juice. This citrus fruit always reminds me of holiday time. It was when I first went overseas that I first tasted it, halved, segmented, and sprinkled with sugar. I’ve associated it with being on vacation ever since.

Grapefruit has a fragrant aroma and taste that is so refreshing so, when it was in abundant supply recently, I thought I would add it to my fresh juice mix for extra zest and flavor. It was certainly delicious. I enjoyed it in my juice everyday for almost 6 weeks. Then yesterday I read something which made me toss out all the grapefruits in my fridge.

A study reported in the British Journal of Cancer, July 10, 2007, found that grapefruit intake was significantly associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. The increased risk was comparable to the increased risk seen in women taking hormone substitution drugs as part of traditional hormone replacement therapy or HRT. The study was based on data collected for the Multiethnic Cohort Study that involved 50,000 postmenopausal women spanning five ethnic groups.

Researchers from the University of Southern California and the University of Hawaii found that women who ate a quarter of a grapefruit or more every day had a higher risk of breast cancer – as much as 30% – than those who did not eat the fruit at all. Previous studies showed that an enzyme called cytochrome P4503A4 (CYP3A4) is involved in breaking down and metabolising estrogen hormones. A certain compound found in grapefruit and grapefruit juice inhibits this enzyme. If estrogens are not metabolised, excessive levels can accumulate in the body. Estrogen receptor positive or estrogen dominant breast cancer is fuelled by an excessive production of estrogen.

Ironically, citrus fruits in general inhibit estrogen production so, if you have estrogen receptor positive breast cancer, citrus fruits are good for you. Grapefruit is the exception. Some people feel that more research needs to be done to confirm the link between grapefruit and increased estrogen levels. A more recent report published in the same journal found no rise in breast cancer risk with grapefruit and grapefruit juice consumption. The researchers used data from the Nurses’ Health Study , which followed 77,000 women aged 30-55 years for many years. That Study involved both post-menopausal and younger women.

I’m taking no chances. Grapefruit will never have the same magic for me ever again. Sigh!