Motivation Monday

Today is Motivation Monday. I did the motion trainer for a half an hour and then did the seated elliptical machine for a half an hour. Today’s question is related to the upcoming holiday of Thanksgiving. What foods help fight breast cancer? You should add these foods to your Thanksgiving meal this Thursday.

Thanksgiving is a holiday focused on the food, sharing the table with family, friends and the bounty of the this year’s harvests.

For many Thanksgiving can be a challenge to eat healthy, while still having a good time with your family and friends.  If you wish to avoid the typical food comas, stretchy waist pants and the stick a fork in me feeling try preparing or eating some of these foods that are beneficial to your body.

5 Breast Cancer Fighting Foods for Your Thanksgiving Table

1. Turkey

Turkey is an excellent source of lean protein.  For every 4oz verging there are 32 grams of protein.  In addition your body has to work harder to digest the protein so it will burn a few more calories along the way. If you are worried about cholesterol levels then turkey is your bird.  Turkey has less saturated fat than other more fatty meats making it an ideal addition to your dinner plate.  Turkey also has selenium which boosts thyroid and immune function as well as supporting several antioxidant functions.

Some of the best attributes about turkey are flavor and satiety.  Turkey is a richly flavored food, with a good aroma and, if cooked properly, a deliciously soft texture.  It is also a food that will make you feel fuller longer, promoting a satisfied feeling and fewer calories.

Beware the natural or seasoned broth that many turkey processors put int he bird.  I have seen turkeys with up to 12% seasoned broth (salt brine).  When possible buy organic and preservative or sodium free, this will cut down on the sodium and promote less inflammation in your body.

2. Brussel Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are part of the cruciferous family and they contain many phytochemicals that protect against cancer.  Brussels sprouts are an excellent source of dietary fiber, up to 25% DV per serving.

Brussels sprouts also are a good source of the beta-carotene antioxidant We suggest oven roasting brussels sprouts with a little extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper as a great way to maximize their nutritional benefits since beta-carotene is fat-soluble.  By cooking brussels sprouts in a small amount of extra virgin olive oil you will increase its absorption in the small intestine.

Brussel Sprouts are also excellent sources for vitamin C, vitamin K and magnesium

3. Garlic

Garlic contains Allicin, a phytochemical that is released when garlic is chopped or crushed.  Allicin is considered to be an anti-fungal and anti-bacterial defense mechanism for garlic.  Some of these benefits are passed to us as Allicin bonds with free radicals, ruinous molecules that can cause cellular damage.  Free radicals seem to be connected to several diseases including cancer.

Garlic may present anti-cancer effects by inhibiting free radical production and by acting as a catalyst for the activation of enzymes that weaken and neutralize carcinogens.  Garlic seems to induce apoptosis in certain cancer cells.  Apoptosis is our body’s normal way of ridding unneeded or abnormal cells.   Once a cell begins apoptosis it cannot be undone and the cell will die.  Since many cancer cells have mechanisms that prevent apoptosis from initiating garlic may be a an added weapon in the right circumstances.

4. Cranberries

Cranberries are a superfood.  With a surprisingly low calorie 25 calories per 1/2 cup raw serving I am thinking that a fresh cranberry sauce with herbs, oranges and some nuts might just be the healthiest thing on the table.

Cranberries contain relatively high levels of Vitamin C which traps free radicals and inhibits the formation of carcinogens.

Cranberries are also an easy source of dietary fiber.  Dietary fiber helps transport sugars where they can be digested and metabolized with the least damage to the body.  Dietary fiber also promotes colorectal health.

Cranberries ave been shown to contain powerful antioxidants.  In some studies, cranberries have been linked to a decrease in damage to DNA which might lead to cancer. Cranberries also  decrease growth and stimulate mouth, breast, colon, prostate, lung and other cancer cells to self-destruct.

5. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes have a relatively low glycemic load compared to other white and yellow potatoes.  This low glycemic load helps to minimize blood sugar levels and avoid unnecessary insulin resistance or build up.

Sweet potatoes are also another great source of beta-carotenes.  A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil as you mash them up with salt, pepper and a little parmesan cheese would be a great way to maximize the beta-carotene

As you can see there are many foods that will allow you to get the most out of your Thanksgiving.  So go forth, enjoy the feast and play some football.

Weight Wednesday

Today is Weight Wednesday. I used the foam roller, lifted four sets of ten on each of these machines: rower, lat pull down, chin ups, glute, hip abductor, and hip adductor. Plus, used a resistance band and did clamshells then went on the standardized bike for an hour.

Today’s question is related to exercise: How does regular exercise help during cancer treatment?

The American Cancer Society has the answer to this question:

  • Keep or improve your physical abilities (how well you can use your body to do things)
  • Improve balance, lower risk of falls and broken bones
  • Keep muscles from wasting due to inactivity
  • Lower the risk of heart disease
  • Lessen the risk of osteoporosis (weak bones that are more likely to break)
  • Improve blood flow to your legs and lower the risk of blood clots
  • Make you less dependent on others for help with normal activities of daily living
  • Improve your self-esteem
  • Lower the risk of being anxious and depressed
  • Lessen nausea
  • Improve your ability to keep social contacts
  • Lessen symptoms of tiredness (fatigue)
  • Help you control your weight
  • Improve your quality of life

We still don’t know a lot about how exercise and physical activity affect your recovery from cancer, or their effects on the immune system. But regular moderate exercise has been found to have health benefits for the person with cancer.

Goals of an exercise program during treatment:

There are many reasons for being physically active during cancer treatment, but each person’s exercise program should be based on what’s safe and what works best for them. It should also be something you like doing. Your exercise plan should take into account any exercise program you already follow, what you can do now, and any physical problems or limits you have.

Certain things affect your ability to exercise, for instance:

  • The type and stage of cancer you have
  • Your cancer treatment
  • Your stamina (endurance), strength, and fitness level

If you exercised before treatment, you might need to exercise less than usual or at a lower intensity during treatment. The goal is to stay as active and fit as possible. People who were very sedentary (inactive) before cancer treatment may need to start with short, low-intensity activity, such as short slow walks. For older people, those with cancer that has spread to the bones or osteoporosis (bone thinning), or problems like arthritis or peripheral neuropathy (numbness in hands or feet), safety and balance are important to reduce the risk of falls and injuries. They may need a caregiver or health professional with them during exercise.

Some people can safely begin or maintain their own exercise program, but many will have better results with the help of an exercise specialist, physical therapist, or exercise physiologist. Be sure to get your doctor’s OK first, and be sure that the person working with you knows about your cancer diagnosis and any limitations you have. These specially trained professionals can help you find the type of exercise that’s right and safe for you. They can also help you figure out how often and how long you should exercise.

Whether you’re just starting exercise or continuing it, your doctor should have input on tailoring an exercise program to meet your interests and needs. Keep your cancer team informed on how you’re doing in regards to your activity level and exercise throughout your treatment.

Motivation Monday

Today is Motivation Monday. I did a half an hour on the rower and an hour on the standardized bike. The rain and pressure is hurting my left foot a bit so I wanted to not push it today at the gym so I can run on Saturday. Today’s question since it is raining out is: Does the weather cause northerners to get more prostate cancer?

Cold, dry weather has been linked to an increased incidence of prostate cancer. Researchers writing in BioMed Central’s open access International Journal of Health Geographics suggest that meteorological effects on persistent organic pollutants, such as some pesticides and industrial by-products, may be to blame.

A researcher worked with a team of researchers from Idaho State University, USA, to study the correlation between various weather parameters and the incidence of prostate cancer at the County-level across the US. She said, “We found that colder weather, and low rainfall, were strongly correlated with prostate cancer. Although we can’t say exactly why this correlation exists, the trends are consistent with what we would expect given the effects of climate on the deposition, absorption, and degradation of persistent organic pollutants including pesticides.”

Approximately one in six men will develop prostate cancer in their life-time and across the northern hemisphere, it has been reported that incidences are higher in the north than the south. It is known that some persistent organic pollutants cause cancer and researchers believe that cold weather slows their degradation, while also causing them to precipitate towards the ground. Rain and humidity also play important roles in their absorption and degradation.

According to the researcher, “This study provides an additional hypothesis for the north-south distribution of prostate cancer, which builds on the existing supposition that individuals at northern latitudes may be deficient in Vitamin D due to low exposure to UV radiation during the winter months. Our study suggests that in addition to vitamin D deficiency associated with exposure to UV radiation, other meteorological conditions may also significantly affect the incidence of prostate cancer.”

Fit Friday

Today is Fit Friday. I stretched out this morning for a half an hour at the gym using resistance bands, then I used the foam roller to stretch out my legs for ten minutes, then I used the rower for a half an hour, and then I used the standardized bike for an hour.

Today’s question is related to stretching: Does stretching for thirty minutes a day help reduce your risk for certain types of cancer?

The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has the answer to this question:

Studies have shown that exercising as little as 30 minutes a day can decrease your risk for certain types of cancer.

Warm up

Before starting to exercise, take five to 10 minutes to allow your body to warm up. You will want to perform light activities, such as walking at a slow, easy pace. Once your body is warmed up, it’s time to stretch.


Why is stretching important?

Improves flexibility

Helps prevent and treat injuries

Reduces muscle soreness and tension

Loosens tight muscles

Enhances range of motion

Helps make exercising more comfortable and natural

Hold each stretch for 10-30 seconds. You should not feel pain when you are stretching. Stretching should be done gently and should feel comfortable.

Breathe naturally while you stretch; try not to hold your breath. As you go into the stretch, relax and exhale.

Cool down

After exercise, it’s important to take the time to cool down your body. Avoid stopping abruptly unless you are having an adverse event. In this case, stop and seek immediate medical attention.

At the end of your workout, gradually slow down the pace or decrease the intensity of the exercise to allow your body to recover.

Your goals during a cool-down are to:

Actively slow your heartbeat to a normal rate

Regain a natural, regular breathing pattern

Reduce any risk of dizziness and lightheadedness

Relax your muscles

Avoid muscle stiffness and soreness by stretching

Remember to talk to your doctor before beginning an exercise program.

First DFMC Meeting of the Season

Tonight’s first team meeting was amazing! I found out that 54% of the team are first-timers on the team and 46% of the team are veterans. It was a great experience seeing familiar faces and meeting new people. Cannot wait until the next team meeting!

Here is a picture of the team members who came to the meeting:


DFMC Mentor

I got the below e-mail yesterday asking if I would be interested in becoming a DFMC mentor for a first-time runner. I certainly would do this! In the past week, I reached out to two first-time runners who live near me asking if they would be interested in going for a run with me. I feel so honored.


Hi Everyone!

I hope you’re all doing well on the eve of our first 2015 DFMC Team Meeting!!

As you’ll see tomorrow, the running staff have selected a great group of first year runners to add to our community!  The board has been very active calling and welcoming each new runner to the team, and the response has been tremendous.

We want to be sure each new runner is given the best chance to succeed in their fundraising efforts, and has an incredible first experience running for Dana Farber.  To do this, we need your help.  I remember my first year on the team, and the thought of raising money AND training to run 26.2 miles was daunting, to say the least.  Each of you have been selected as potential mentors to our new runners based on your commitment to DFMC, and your passion for fundraising.

Over the past two years, we have assigned veteran running mentors to approximately 70 first-year DFMC runners, and we would like to offer this same opportunity this year.

Please consider volunteering as a mentor this year.

If you are passionate about helping others, have had success fundraising in the past, and want to help others succeed in their efforts, this is for you!!  The time required is minimal.  A few phone calls, emails, and check-ins with your assigned first-year runner is all we ask for.  I was a mentor last year, and can tell you first-hand how great it was to talk to other runners, and see their success and appreciation for the support.

Please reply via email if you are interested.  I’ll be at the meeting tomorrow, and am happy to answer any questions you may have.  It’s important that our new runners have a great experience and feel supported to succeed – please consider volunteering!

Thanks and see you tomorrow!


Your Webpage is Great!

A few days ago, I got this e-mail from the DFMC Running Staff letting me know that my fundraising page will be shown as an example at tonight’s meeting. I hope my fundraising website inspires some people on the team.

Hi Jessica,

The Running Programs staff is inspired by your DFMC ’15 participation. Thank you for joining the team again!

We’re putting the finishing touches on materials for the team meeting this Wednesday evening. We’ve noticed the nice ways in which you’ve customized your personal page on the team website, and I want to let you know that your page will likely be featured during some examples at the meeting—didn’t want you to be taken by surprise.

Look forward to seeing you!

The Running Staff

Thank You to All of My Donors Since October 7, 2014

Thank you to all of my donors since October 7, 2014. I have raised $2,699 out of my fundraising goal of $15,000.  100% of the money raised goes to the Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Basic Cancer Research.

Nancy and Herb Hoffman

Avner Fink

Stephanie Connolly

Bernice and Herb Wolk

Bob and Lyn Silverstein

Faye and Rich Soll

Mitchell Zuckoff

Pat Dolan

Allison Hoyt

Ryan Strong

Daniel Sullivan

Jessica and Mike Newman

Tamar Naor

Iris Meltzer

Iris Meltzer

Irene Solomon

Rich Sowalsky and Stephanie Sievel

Emily and David Kieval

Laura Dunn and Matt Gabso

Will Lannon

Mitzi and Stu Perlmutter

Srikanth Vedalacham

Marilyn and les Tager

Maria Cruz Lopez and Marc Siegel

Katie and Paul Shaeffer

Joel Sowalsky and Jan Glassman

Josh Sowalsky and Suzanne Chipkin

Rachel and Scott Lyke

Cynthia and Sheldon Fine

Garland Waller

Jen Williams

Shelia and Norman Brody

Tim Lynch

Jennifer Burg

Neal and Margaret Greenberg

Tobe Berkovitz

Heather Daley

Carl Nehm and Ashley Mealey

Eddy Chen

Carolyn Greenberg

Maegan Greenberg and Jaime Raijman

Rebecca Evans