2/4/2014 - Caryn Hartglass, World Cancer Day
Caryn Hartglass, World Cancer Day
Today is World Cancer Day. Caryn will cover numerous topics today on It’s All About Food including what she learned during her journey with cancer. Call in with your questions or comments: 1-888-874-4888.
TRANSCRIPTION PART I:
Caryn Hartglass: Hello everybody, how are you today? I’m Caryn Hartglass, and you are listening to It’s All About Food. It’s February 4th, 2014 and a very happy World Cancer Day to you! What? Well, it may not be happy, but today is World Cancer Day and I want to talk a lot about cancer from my perspective because the purpose of World Cancer Day is to dispel myths associated with cancer, to get people talking about it, and empower people; to find out what they need to know so they can prevent it, survive it, live with it. And that’s what we are going to be doing today.
I want you to know, as always, you can always email me, either doing the show right now, or anytime during the week at info@RealMeals.org. If you would like to talk to me today, I would love to hear you. The number here at Progress Radio Network is 1-888-874-4888. I always like that there are so many eights in that number, to me, the number eight is related to ‘eat.’ The past tense of ‘eat’ is ‘ate’ and I think it is appropriate that is the phone number. Okay, I’m getting silly.
Alright, shall we talk a little bit about cancer? Why not? We are finding out more and more about cancer, especially the fact that more people are dying of it and it seems to be the top killer today in the United States and it’s increasing all around the world. Now some people would say it is because we are living longer and we need to die of something. And it’s true, no one gets out of this world alive. But I would like to think that we could all live really high quality, healthy long lives, maybe to 120 years, a 150, who knows. And then when we are done, when we are finished, when we feel satisfied with this life, we can just pass on in our sleep, comfortably, naturally. That is really what I wish for everyone. Why do we need to torture ourselves at the end? And cancer is nasty and unfortunately, those who die of it, go through a lot of pain and suffering. I think it’s very unnecessary. And there are lots of different numbers out there. Some say 30 percent of all cancers are preventable, others say 50 percent. I think those numbers are very conservative and I think we can prevent a much higher percentage of them.
Okay, so let’s have a conversation about cancer. Now as you may know, I have had cancer. Who’s had cancer? Raise your hand. It was really a shock when I was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer back in 2006. Here I was, a passionate vegan, long term vegan, a vegetarian; always looking for the best way to improve my health. And in hindsight, I realized I had been living with a problem for a very long time, starting probably as a teenager, maybe earlier, was kind of in denial about it. And fortunately, my diet kept me alive and feeling good for a really long time. Things got out of balance, and then this tumor thing was growing inside me. Now, advanced ovarian cancer is one of those cancers that has a very low survival rate and I’m happy to tell you that I’m here. It’s been seven years and I plan on being here for a lot longer. But, there were so many different things that were involved with my personal cancer treatment and I am sure other people who are involved with cancer have experienced many of these and maybe others.
So, there are these risk factors that tell us what the likelihood is of getting cancer and what the likelihood is of surviving a certain cancer once we are diagnosed with it. And I think those numbers are not really very accurate. Those numbers encompass so many things. For example, I remember when I was going through my own cancer journey, at the very beginning I thought, okay, I always like helping people with their health problems, and here I am having to address my own. Kind of a scary thing. But, I applied the same principles, my problem-solving principles, and I starting researching. And the studies that I saw, they always involved people who had a high stage of cancer, stage three or stage four, they were terminal or close to terminal, and then they would try these drugs out on them and the results were always in terms of how long they lived in months. And then they would take the percentages and say, “A certain number of people lived 50 percent longer” or something along those lines, and I kept reading. My intention is not to live for a few months longer, no, I want to get on with my life; I want to live a long time. So, those studies were very depressing. But also, I don’t think they were very truthful or I don’t think they really applied to the general public. But, a lot of numbers are very often taken from these kinds of studies and manipulated and then different people will use the numbers, especially in the medical profession, maybe not intentionally, with a bad motive, but they get taken out of context and they’re scary! And they scare us. And fear is probably one of the worst things you can have when you are dealing with a disease. You don’t want to be afraid.
Alright, sounds easier said than done, but I remember this was something I was dealing with and I knew that I had to overcome the fear. How does one do that? There are plenty of studies, you probably heard them, where they say the people who had the positive outlook and knew they were going to live, had the greater chance of survival. And I thought, this is great, but how do I get that feeling? And when you are afraid, you want the feeling, but how do you get it? Here is the answer. The answer is through meditation and positive affirmations. It worked for me. Now, I created my own meditation plan and if anyone is interested in it, I share it with whoever wants it, send me an email at info@RealMeals.org, and it’s yours. You can come up with really anything, what I recommend is positive affirmations, things you say to yourself. You can do this when you are ill, you can do this when you are well. It’s powerful. The idea is to change the voices in your head and replace them with what you want to be telling yourself. You might come up with one, two, three scripted phrases that you repeat over and over while you are sitting in a comfortable place, breathing regularly, and you say it hundreds of times to yourself; everyday, twice a day, as often as you possibly can until it’s automatic. And you may acknowledge that it is something you created and maybe not real, but it takes the place of those statements that are frightening and scary, and it makes all the difference in the world. There is plenty of evidence that shows people who meditate before surgery heal faster, and you feel better. I think the most important thing in life is to feel good and you can change the way you feel. This is related to everything, not just if you are struck with a difficult illness. This is everything in life, you feel a certain way, you do not like that feeling, there are skills and strategies you can use to change the way you feel, and that makes everything better.
I learned a lot from reading Dr. Bruce Lipton. I listened to his audio program, The Wisdom of the Cells, and this was like a lifeline for me because he described how our cells in our bodies, now we over 50 trillion, 100 trillion cells in our bodies, there is a whole universe of living beings within us, and they respond to the environment they perceive. What does that mean? Our cells respond to the environment they perceive. This is fascinating. This means if we are telling ourselves, consciously or unconsciously, that things aren’t going well, that information can go to our cells, and our cells will respond in a negative fashion. If we empower ourselves, if we empower ourselves and our cells, it can make a tremendous difference. I did my meditations and I actually have blood test results over a month’s period that show my particular residual cancer mass that was left over from my first surgery, and was not found in my second surgery, was actually shrinking over the month period before my last surgery when it was completely removed. But fascinating. The only treatment I had in the month was meditation and it was shrinking the cancer mass. Okay, it’s anecdotal some will say, yeah, but it’s my story and I’m sticking to it. The thing about anecdotes, stories that people tell, where they have survived something and they were not expected to survive, is that although the statistics are not really in their favor, there is something to their story, something worth investigating, something worth looking into. There’s magic in that outlier from all the other data, because their result, the ones who survive, are the ones we want to learn more about. Right?
Alright, I put together an article and I think it’s time I post it to my website, so I will probably do that in the next day or two. But, when people ask me about what I went through in my cancer journey and what I did, I realize I was saying the same thing over and over and over. Really, I don’t mind doing that, especially when people are interested in the information, but I thought, let’s put this all down on a piece of paper or in a Word file. And I did that. I want to go over some of the things I talk about. One of the first things I talk about is the meditation because I cannot tell you how important it is. Now, you know I am passionate about food and we are going to talk about the food portion in a moment. But, there are many people that live a long life and they are not eating what we know are the best foods. And they are doing all the things that are wrong. Now, there aren’t many of these people, but again anecdotes, outliers, from the pool of data. There is something within them, either genetically or emotionally, that is strengthening them. So, it’s worth looking into but that is why I think meditation can play a very key, important role.
Now I mentioned genetics and I am fascinated by the ‘epigenetic’ concept. That is how genes express themselves and can turn on and off based on their environment. So, a lot of people will say and think there is nothing they can do to improve their health. And I know you know that is not true, because you would not be listening to this program if you thought otherwise. Many of us know now that our genes do not determine our fate. What happens is, if we are eating a diet that isn’t healthy for us, our genes may express themselves in a negative way. But if we are in that healthy circle of boosting our immune system with wonderful foods and giving ourselves all the nutrition that we need, our genes don’t express themselves. It’s really kind of simple. So, you shouldn’t feel hopeless, you shouldn’t feel that you’re determined to die of a certain thing because everyone else in your family did. You can make those changes.
So, let’s just briefly go over some of those superfoods. I know, I hear you. Dark leafy green vegetables, that’s right. When I was first diagnosed, I realized I needed to do something. I did a lot of things, but one thing was I just increased the amount of dark leafy green vegetable in my life, in my diet. And I did it every way possible; steamed greens, blended greens in a smoothie, blended salad, juice, and I still juice every day with dark leafy green vegetables. I also incorporated green powders. I used the powder by Dr. Ben Kim, but there are many different green powders out there, many of them are good. I had a whole list of supplements I was taking during my chemo treatment. Unfortunately, this can be a tremendous expense and most insurance companies don’t cover it. But, I think if you are going through some serious treatment or if you have been diagnosed and you really want to increase your odds for wellness, it’s so important to supercharge your immune system. You do it with healthy foods. You can also do it with a number of different supplements. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been enough science, there hasn’t been enough studies to say which of these supplements are really the best. But based on what is out there, I have come up with what I believe is good. Now, a lot of this came from the Block Center, where I had my chemotherapy treatment and they are outside of Chicago. (Dr. Keith Block has written a book about cancer treatment.) And they gave me a list and then I went over this list with Dr. Joel Fuhrman, my favorite doctor, and we came up with what I should be supplementing with, and I went with that.
So, on the theme of greens, broccoli sprouts, concentrated broccoli sprouts, are a great thing to take, whether you want to prevent cancer or if you are going through some cancer journey, because broccoli sprouts have all that wonderful stuff in cruciferous vegetables in a concentrated amount; and you can take it as a supplement. If you can grow your own broccoli sprouts or buy them, great. The reason why I am talking about the supplement, broccoli sprouts and also the green powders, some people will take, is a number of things. One is, a lot of doctors will tell you if you are going through chemotherapy that your immune system is compromised, and indeed it is. You are more susceptible to catching anything and they do not want you to expose your risks. They may advise you not to eat any raw foods. Now, this is kind of crazy because raw foods are healthy and many of them boost the immune system. So, how are you going to take care of yourself if you’re concerned about the bacteria or the viruses or whatever might be on the raw food that you can’t cook and kill away? Well, if you are concerned about this, this is where these powders come in. You can take some of these green powders and blend them up in a smoothie, you can take broccoli sprout supplements, and I think they provide a lot of wonderful anti-cancer nutrition, boosting your immune system. It’s definitely something to consider.
Another supplement that I took a lot of was curcumin, which you find in the turmeric spice. I was taking 3600 mg a day (total), which is a lot. Now I just put turmeric on all my food and soups and things, because I like it as a spice and I know it’s good for me. Another powerful thing are the mushrooms. I remember talking to Ken Babel [18:15] on one of my shows a few years ago, you might look that up on the responsibleeatingandliving.com website archive. Mushrooms are, what I like to call, natural chemotherapy. There’s powerful things in concentrated mushrooms. So, there are different products out there. There is the Coriolis mushroom and there is the Reishi mushroom and Maitake. All of these are really wonderful and you can get them in capsules. The problem is? Expensive and likely not covered by your insurance company. But, if you’re interested in saving your life, I think it’s a good investment, if you’re going through a serious, serious health challenge.
Of course the sexy vitamin today is vitamin D, which comes in D3 form from animals and mushrooms, and the D2 form, which is the synthetic version. Vitamin D is linked to every health problem today and it’s important to make sure you are getting enough of it. I know I have been indoors a lot lately because of the snow and I’m not getting my sunshine, and it’s important to supplement with vitamin D. So again, if you’re interested in some of this information, I have it all in files and I’m happy to share with you some of my findings.
Now, juicing, juicing, juicing, I always talk about juicing. People get confused, I’m talking about it today and getting comments about it today in fact, and during the week, which is better, blending or juicing? What equipment should I buy? It’s very trendy these days, these high-powered blenders and these juicers. I think they are great, but I don’t really want to recommend to anybody putting the expense out on a machine they’re not going to use. So, if you are going through a health crisis and you want to increase your survival rate, increasing the greens in your diet is very important and you can do that with blending and you can do it with juicing. If you can’t afford these appliances, you can eat the greens just plain, cooked, raw, steamed, just get them in. Now, I have done a video food show, where I talk in detail about juicing, blending, and steaming and you can see that right on the front page of responsibleeatingandliving.com.
Now the interesting thing about cancer risk that I don’t think is in the numbers and is so important, more important that our genes, is a number of different things. We just talked about food. What’s also important is a strong community network, strong social network; friends, family, people you can reach out to, talk to, people who can help you through a difficult time. This really makes a tremendous difference. Sometimes, we need to learn how to ask for help or accept help, and for many of us, that is hard to do. I know, it was hard for me to do, but accepting help is a very, very valuable thing to learn. It’s also helpful if we have purposeful activity, purposeful work, something that is mentally stimulating. And living in an environment free of toxins and pollution, which is next to impossible these days. Which is why it’s so important to consume the highest quality foods we can in order to counteract all of the pollution that is around us.
But it is scary. It is a scary thing. Now I, just got an article today from a magazine I like, The Intelligent Optimist. Have you heard of it? It used to be called Ode magazine. They have an article in it today, I just got it today, it’s called, “What Doctors Didn’t Tell Angelina Jolie.” And you may remember, she was in the headlines recently because she thought because of her genetic history that she should get a double mastectomy and remove her ovaries. There are these genetic tests, the BRCA1 and BRCA2 that can determine whether you are likelier to get breast cancer or ovarian cancer. And you know, remember when I was talking about fear earlier on in the program? Well, if you get a positive result to one of these tests, you are going to be scared out of your mind. But, these tests do not mean if you have a positive result that you are going to get cancer and that is what is so confusing about these tests. I am not a proponent of genetic testing because I think whether you have a positive result or a negative result, if you want to live a long, happy, healthy life, the recipe is the same. The recipe is a health promoting, plant-based, organic diet, and a lifestyle that is, as I mentioned before, purposeful work, good mental stimulation, environment free of toxins and pollution, and exercise, of course. All these things are a recipe for longevity, and it is independent of genes and risk. I think a lot of these risk determinations with the BRCA tests, in particular, are misleading, and make it look like the risk is a lot greater than it is. Unfortunately, women are doing things to their bodies that may not increase longevity and there are also other risks involved when you have this kind of surgery. When women have a total hysterectomy and have their ovaries removed, it is a total shock to the body and your hormonal balance is completely changed. And that, depending on how you deal with it, can increase cancer risks. If you take hormone replacement therapy, for example. I have heard countless stories of people getting different medical treatments for one thing, and after it’s done, they have opened a whole can of worms to other health problems.
Now, we live in a very specialized world. On one hand, it’s nice because different people are specialized experts in certain areas and we are becoming more advanced in all areas, we can’t possibly know everything about everything, so it’s handy to have all these different specialists. The thing is, that works to a certain degree. You have to trust that the specialist really knows their field, and in some cases they do and in some cases they don’t. The other piece to that is, while it’s wonderful to have experts focusing on a very specific topic, the other thing is the integral approach. We need to look at the special area, let’s say you have ovarian cancer, for example, you want to be a specialist in ovarian cancer, but you need to look at the body as a whole. The head bones connected to the neck bones, connected to the… And our specialist, very often, don’t do that. They just look at the one thing and they don’t look at the body as a whole. The same thing with medical studies, we look at one vitamin, one chemical, one something to see what its effect is on the body in certain studies, because it is the easiest way to do it and probably the easiest way to get funding because the funders are looking for a way they can profit from a certain product, like a vitamin or a chemical for chemotherapy, for example. It’s much harder to look at the body as a whole and a variety of different things, be it, health, lifestyle, food, exercise, environment. It’s so hard to really see the impact of big picture things. But it’s important to look at both, to specialize and look at the big picture.
When you are looking to heal from an illness, when you are looking to save your life, when you’re looking to help someone else go through a health crisis, you really need to find doctors you are comfortable with, who you trust, sometimes you have to do some research on your own. Some doctors may not like that because they don’t want to have competition. It’s best to have a doctor that likes to have a back and forth dialogue, where everybody is working together for you. I remember some of the doctors I worked with, some were very nice and acknowledged that they didn’t know how well they could help me. I thanked them and went somewhere else. And then some had recommendations that I totally disagreed with and did not go with them. And, I found doctors I was really comfortable with. Unfortunately, not all doctors know everything. Now, it’s not their fault and certainly with our healthcare today that doesn’t make it any easier; doctors don’t have enough time to do examinations, they are paid to do certain things that may not be in the best interest of the patient, it’s quite complicated. So, while you are trying to heal from cancer and survive from cancer, there’s a lot of other things are involved; your insurance, your doctors, your food, your environment, your work, your family, and stress, it’s complicated. And, it can make all the difference between surviving and not surviving. I can talk about this all day, but I think right now we are going to take a little break because I need to have a little tea and let’s take a break, shall we? Okay, good. We will be right back.
Transcribed by Kimberly Guitterez 7/9/2014
TRANSCRIPTION PART II:
Hello everybody, we’re back. It’s February 4th, 2014, World Cancer Day and I’m Caryn Hartglass and you’re listening to It’s All About Food. Thank you.
I just want to continue a little bit more on World Cancer Day. I got a few comments and questions and I wanted to hit on some of them. One was about Insure. Very often in hospitals today, patients are given this liquid as nutrition. It’s called Insure and it comes in many different forms and flavors today. Insurance companies often cover the cost of Insure. People who have difficulty with eating are given this because it’s filled with calories and vitamins. I don’t think Insure is a very good thing to offer, especially to cancer patients. So, with everything that I’ve discovered, sugar feeds cancer and dairy is highly correlated with many cancers. Insure consists primarily of dairy, sugar, and a lot of vitamins that are added to the mix. Not a good thing. I never understood why you would be feeding your cancer patients with a sugary beverage that is going to feed their cancer. Now, there are different ways you can feed a person who is having a difficulty digesting or eating or sensitive to food and it really depends on how they are feeling and who they are, but you can make your own Insure replacements. Dr. Fuhrman, for example, recommends hemp seeds, Mediterranean pine seeds, pumpkin seeds blended with wild blueberry, pomegranate juice, lettuce, kale, collards, and cooked split peas. Because these are the foods that boost your immune system; these are the foods that fight cancer. There is no sugar in this mix. Blueberries are sweet, yes, but they are loaded with antioxidants and nutrition to fight cancer. It’s going to be a long while before hospitals are making and serving the food that is going to promote health in their patients, unfortunately. I think a lot of people feel they are doing a good thing but, if you are offered Ensure, I would recommend not consuming it. It’s tempting too, especially if your insurance company is paying for it. I don’t like Insure.
Now, the other question is organic food. Do people need to consume organic food, especially if they are going through a cancer experience? Well, a new study just came out with Oxford University and I’m just reading a press release that came out yesterday. It’s all about organic farms support more species. “On the average organic farms support 34% more plant, insect, and animal species than conventional farms.” says Oxford University scientists. They reviewed lots of different studies since as early as 1989 I think (I’m scanning this very quickly). It’s in the Journal of Applied Ecology. They looked at data from 94 previous studies covering 184 farm sites dating back to 1989. I’m interpreting, I’m looking into this. So if 34% more plant, insect, and animal species thrive on organic farms than on conventional farms, and I hate the word “conventional” – can we please say “industrial” farms? There is nothing conventional about these farms that are using toxic pesticides, and herbicides and are monocropping and are reducing biodiversity in the plants that they grow and are primarily growing a lot of foods to feed animals that will ultimately feed people. It’s not a good process. If the organic farms are supporting more life, couldn’t we infer that eating organic produce as a result is going to support life better and that the conventional industrial foods that are grown on conventional industrial farms because of all the toxicity that is added to the soil that isn’t supporting as much life, that the residuals that we get, the residues that we get on the resulting food products, aren’t they going to wreak havoc within us? I would think so. If you are going through a health crisis – and even if you are not – the opportunity to buy organic food – if you can do it – is better for you. Not only is it better for your health, but something that we don’t think about enough is the poor farmers, the migrant workers, the people who are working on the farms that use toxic pesticides and herbicides. There are so many heart-wrenching stories about how it affects their health, how it affects the health of their unborn children. Many, many birth defects occur in farm workers who are exposed to these toxins. Organic is the way to go, especially on World Cancer Day, when we are talking about dispelling myths and empowering people with information on how to prevent cancer and how to live through a cancer experience.
It’s also National Homemade Soup Day. I don’t know who makes these things up, but let’s make the most of them. Last week I had Mark Reinfeld on the show and we talked about his cookbook Soup’s On! and I want again to direct you to ResponsibleEatingAndLiving.com, my nonprofit website where we have hundreds of recipes and an awful lot of soup recipes. I can’t say enough about finding your kitchen and making soup. It’s a great way to prevent cancer too because you can load up those soups with all kinds of dark leafy green vegetables and beans and mushrooms and onions and they’ve all got great cancer fighting properties. Nutrition for your bodies. Eat soup. National Homemade Soup Day, yum-o.
A while back I wrote an article on my website and it was in response to having breakfast at a Hilton Hotel. I don’t write enough articles; they are very time consuming for me, but when I do it’s something that I’m passionate about. I did get a response and I wanted to give my reactions to the comments that one person made and it’s not just in response to this article, it’s just in response to those of us who are a little noisy about wanting to have food our way. What does “food our way” mean? Some people think we are being a little selfish, we’re a little snooty but, when I’m talking about getting whole organic plant foods everywhere I can possibly find them, it’s not just because I have a particular palate that likes these things. Let’s go over some of the items related to what I found at this one particular Hilton hotel and the few hotels that I’ve stayed at since, that offer breakfast. They all seem to have the same types of food. These are the hotels that offer a somewhat self-service continental kind of breakfast. Now the first thing is, they’re not free; they may be included with your room, but they’re included in the cost of the room. And, I think when the least we can do is support what we believe in with our dollars. When we’re paying for a hotel room, some of that cost goes to the hotel to purchase the food that you’re ultimately going choose to eat or not eat. If I’m a part of that equation, I want to encourage them to serve the food that is the healthiest, also delicious, and gentle on the planet. I don’t think that is particularly snooty, do you?
Let’s take, for example, one of my favorite breakfast foods: oatmeal. Now here at Responsible Eating Living Headquarters, we’ve got a lot of great oatmeal recipes. I buy organic rolled oats. I use them for so many different things. They are delicious, they’re easy, and inexpensive. When you go to a hotel, very often, they have these pre-packaged, individual servings of quick oatmeal. Sometimes they’re plain and sometimes they’re flavored. Let me give you an example of what’s in the typical plain oatmeal, in a package at a hotel: calcium carbonate, salt, guar gum, and added vitamins like vitamin A and folic acid and oh yeah, there are oats in there too. Now I have nothing against guar gum, it’s not something that I eat on a regular basis. I may get it occasionally or use it in a baked good because it gives an interesting texture and can be kind of fun to use from time-to-time, but it’s not something that is part of a normal, healthy diet. Calcium carbonate and salt, I don’t need these things in my oatmeal. When I eat oatmeal, I want oatmeal. At the very least, I don’t want added vitamins in my oatmeal. Vitamin A and folic acid have been shown to be toxic and that we shouldn’t be supplementing with Vitamin A and folic acid and if you are getting them in any of your vitamins, you should be looking for vitamins that don’t have them in them. If you’re eating a plant-based diet, you’re getting plenty of folate which is what you really need and folic acid in supplement form is supposed to take the place of that, but folate from food is what is healthy. Eating foods that are filled with carotenoids, carrots, and beta-carotene are so superior to supplementing with Vitamin A. Plain oatmeal with fresh or dried organic fruits, raw nuts and seeds, that’s how I like my oatmeal.
There is a drought going on in California and in other parts around the world and if we think about how much water goes in to make so many different food products, there’s something really simple to think about. If the food is a plant food and whole or minimally processed, then the least amount of water has gone in to manufacturing those things. But if you package something – bottled water for example, takes so much more water than what is actually in the bottle. Packaged food uses a lot of water. If I want to save water, I certainly don’t want to eat a little bag of packaged oatmeal filled with all different kinds of ingredients in it. It wastes water, it’s not as healthy, and I don’t even think it tastes that good.
There are other items that are typically served on these hotel free breakfasts like eggs. Well, I’m a vegan, I’m not going with eggs. They are loaded with cholesterol. I don’t think they are very healthy and there are a number studies that have come out recently that link eggs to cardiovascular disease and other issues related to eggs. But, If we are thinking about the compassion side, if you don’t know the chicken and where your egg is coming from and you don’t know how that chicken is treated, most likely that chicken lives the most miserable life possible. Chickens are probably the most poorly treated animals in the food world today. They are the least protected and horribly, horribly treated and I don’t want to support that, very simply. So when I see eggs in a hotel breakfast, and I know a part of my room fee has supported the purchase of those foods, I cringe. Let’s move on.
How many times have you been to one of these breakfasts and been offered soymilk? It never happens. We always get dairy milk offered or maybe one of those little packages of non-dairy creamers which is really scary stuff. The raising of dairy cows is cruel, inhumane, and devastating on the environment. Am I wrong to want the hotel to promote a clean environment for future generations? Am I wrong for not wanting to support products that cause pain and suffering for animals or serious health problems for people?
Let’s move on to coffee. Coffee is a popular item in most hotels; they serve it frequently all day long in their lobbies and also at these breakfasts. Now, there’s been lots of mixed information about coffee. There are some medical studies that say it’s healthy, some that say it’s not healthy, some say it lowers your risk of heart disease, others say all different kinds of things. I don’t want to talk about whether it’s healthy or not. I personally choose not to drink coffee. But if you’re going to drink coffee, I personally think it should be fair trade certified. Shouldn’t the people who are growing the coffee beans receive a livable wage, be able feed their children and send them to school? Isn’t that the least we should expect? Well the only way we know that for sure is if we purchase coffee that is fair trade certified and organic is nice, too. Fair trade certified and organic and I rarely see that the coffee offered is fair trade certified. Alright, so maybe hotels would say “Well, we can’t do this because it’s too expensive.” I really want to raise the bar. I really want to raise the bar for all of us who have the means to stay in a hotel, go to a restaurant. I think we should be demanding foods that are quality foods, foods that are gentle on the environment, foods that are health promoting. We should have access to these foods and pay for them. I don’t think it would be that much more expensive. I think frankly, that hotels are just going for the lower cost option and the options that are available to them. I don’t think they are really thinking about it, but they would think about it if we were talking about it more, and that’s why I’m talking about it now.
We have a few more minutes left and I want to talk about food. You may remember a year ago I spoke with Elizabeth Wholey and she’s an American but she lives in Italy. She wrote a book on sustenance and painted a really lovely picture about some of the wonderful foods that are grown in all kinds of small regions in Italy. It was really fun talking with her and reading her book and imagining all of these beautiful, beautiful places. One of the things we talked about was chestnuts and chestnut flour. I never see chestnut flour in the store, do you? She explained – and I don’t know how true it is because I haven’t looked that deeply to find it, honestly – but she said that chestnut flour doesn’t stay very long – it goes rancid – so they only offer it when it’s recently harvested and it’s best to get it fresh. She promised that she would get me some when it was in season and she did and I just got it and I made chestnut flour pancakes this morning. They were phenomenal. I made up a little recipe and I was really surprised to see how good they turned out and what the character of the flour was like. And, it’s robust. It made a flavorful light pancake with a nutty almost smoky kind of flavor to it, it was really quite good. If you want to try the recipe – if you can find chestnut flour, let me know where you got it – it’s right there on the web page of ResponsibleEatingAndLiving.com.
A few more things I wanted to mention about hotel food. They serve these little containers of jellies and peanut butter. Have you ever read the ingredients? Why do I care about these things? I personally like jellies that are made from fruit. I don’t even add sugar to my jellies. They’re just fruit. It would be one thing if the jellies were just fruit and sugar, but high fructose corn syrup – do we really need that in our jellies? And peanut butter – do we really need peanut butter with sugar and partially hydrogenated oils and salts? Well that’s what you get at these places and they don’t know any better. The people who are eating it aren’t aware enough about how these foods are not good for them. Breaks my heart sometimes. Yes, it does!
Let’s see, what have I missed so far today? I have a number of things here and I want to make sure that I cover them all and yet it’s hard sometimes because there are so many different things to talk about. Let’s wrap up with the World Cancer Day because I really wish that people would be healthy and not experience cancer. Some of the things are so essential, like sleep. We didn’t mention sleep and I really wanted to mention sleep. Sleep, food, water – really basic things – air. Sleep is so important to our health and well-being. It may seem impossible to get enough. I understand that so many people’s lives are complicated, especially if you have children in your lives and you’re struggling with one job or two jobs, it can be really rough. If there’s any way to organize your life to get the necessary sleep you need, it will make you more effective, it will make you happier. Maybe there are some things that aren’t as important that you can forgo in order to get more sleep. Take a moment to think about it. Sleep is really essential to our health, to our recovery everyday. Our bodies go through a lot of recovery when we sleep and if we don’t allow ourselves enough sleep, we are not going to efficiently regenerate the healthy cells that are necessary to thrive. There have been wonderful studies that have come out recently about sleep. Can’t say enough about the importance of getting enough sleep. Then there is water and you know how I feel about water. One of the frustrating things when you’re at a hotel is the water coming out of the tap may not be very good, may not taste very good and that’s just the beginning. You don’t know what is in the tap water. I believe thoroughly in tap water. I think it’s a wonderful invention and I think it’s great that everybody is supplied with tap water and those who aren’t, for one reason or another, it’s a great loss. Tap water is very important, but once we have it, we need to make sure that it is clean for consumption and filtration is important and I would like to see all major establishments, restaurants and hotels, filter their water to some degree. I promote water distillation and I recommend the company Aquanui – you can find out about it on my website ResponsibleEatingAndLiving.com. Because if you’re going through a health crisis for example, water is so important to flush the body all the time and you want to use clean water to do that. It’s bad enough when you make a cup of tea with bad water because it doesn’t taste good, but it’s not good for you. Water is clearly very, very important to keep it clean.
I think we just have a minute or so left and I want to say that I’m still here and I’m really glad that I am. I’ve learned a lot through a lot with my own journey with cancer and I’m continually learning. We don’t have all the answers but we do know a lot and what is sad to me is that there are people that either don’t have the information or just resist taking it in for thinking it is too difficult or they can’t do it or the food would just be so impossible for them to consume in one way or another. I don’t like to force information on people, but whenever I have an opportunity to show people that I love them and care about them, I like to plant seeds and tell them that they deserve to feel better. They deserve to feel better than they ever imagined. They deserve to live a long quality life and to do that, healthy plant based foods are an essential part and here at Responsible Eating And Living, we make that delicious, we make it possible. That’s all I want to do.
Well, thank you so much for listening today. That was fun. I want you to have the best World Cancer Day possible. Share this information with as many people as you can and let’s look forward to a day that cancer is not an everyday word. How about that? I’m Caryn Hartglass, you’ve been listening to It’s All About Food. Have a very delicious week.
Transcribed by Alysa Bushert, March 1, 2014; Edited by edited by Stephanie Hammett 7/9/2014