Tag Archives: Cancer

Emily’s story needs to be written

Effin Artist exists for a single reason: To elevate great stories that inspire change.

Emily Green has such a story. And we’re committed to helping her tell it for a simple reason: Her unique approach to surviving cancer represents a serious shift in healthy recovery. Her story represents a sea change in treatment paths chosen by the millions stricken with this disease. This is inspired change at the root, right where it can do the most good for the most people.

Emily is the mother of three, ages 16, 5, and 4. She is the hearbeat of a family that has endured its share of challenges and trials over the years before she learned that she had late-stage breast cancer.  Her story may sound too familiar in an age when cancer plagues so many of us, but it is utterly unique in its message of hope for those afflicted.

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Emily doesn’t view cancer as a “fight.” She’s not battling for victory and not waging a war. Instead, she has chosen to step outside of that story to find her own. It is one flavored with such tenderness, healing and grace that a temperature of warmth rises from her words. Like that time when her doctor asked her if she wanted to transfer care after Emily opted not to follow her advice.

“That doesn’t mean that we stop working together,” Emily wrote. “It means that we disagree, and that we remember that I am in this body, driving my healing, and I weigh many factors in making a decision and we continue to move together toward our common goal of my healing.”

Emily’s story was captured this week by the local news in her hometown. Her energy flows through this news report.

Emily doubts she would be alive had it not been for critical decisions she made about her treatment. Vital financial support that “allowed me to take specific healing steps that otherwise would have been out of reach,” empowered those decisions, she wrote.

Which is why we unabashedly ask you to become a champion for Emily today and help bring more healing for herself and others within reach. How?

First, a donation to Emily’s GoFundMe page provides critical help for her care. Some of you already have donated. On behalf of Mike and Emily, we can’t thank you enough. You’ve helped save her life.

Second, share this post and Emily’s GoFundMe page on social media. Invite others to become part of Emily’s reader community.

Third, Subscribe to our mailing list and we’ll send you updates of her book as we finish it. You can be part of her reader feedback. You can offer support and encouragement along the way. You’ll be honored guests at her book launch party and trust us, this is going to be a celebration of life you won’t want to miss.

So we launch this effort today, partners with Emily on her work. Soon we will rally this community to help her launch her words and support her effort to inspire badly needed change.

Just as her life was saved, this effort will help countless others heal as well.  Great stories, do in fact, inspire change.

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High energy bars loaded with healthy flavor

Like anyone who works out a lot, I love snacks. My natural inclination runs to trail mix and energy bars. Both, however, when purchased at normal stores are both expensive and pretty bad for you. The really good-for-you options are smaller companies where you have to order and those are even more expensive.

Still, choose these over the massive companies, because there are great ones out there, like Oregon-based Picky Bars, for example.

With the Test Kitchen’s recent post-holiday bent toward healthier items, we looked to make our own energy bars with carefully chosen, affordable ingredients. Because of my previously explained Cancer-phobia, I wanted these packed with free-radical fighting foods like sunflower seeds and cranberries.

We landed on a loaded creation that blew our minds with flavor, texture and nutrition. We consider this a “pre-work-out” bar because it’s high in carbs and fat that provide great fuel to burn. But unlike many bars, its absolutely loaded with protein (a whopping 25 grams).

Note: Midway through this recipe you will get concerned that they aren’t coming together. It will look like this:

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But don’t worry. If you get them too moist they become SOO dense. This lightness now will keep them manageable at the end. They are just so loaded with goodness that they compact into chewy bars once they are finished.

For a post-workout, or evening energy bar, we have an old peanut butter standby that is virtually indestructible once its made and much lower in carbs. We take it on backpacking trips to make sure we have the protein we need.  We have a quick recipe for that at the end of this one, so scan down past the nutrition data if you’re so inclined.

There… the fine print out of the way, let’s get on with them already…

This we call the “Everything Energy Bar.” Try it out for yourself! 

Everything Energy Bar

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Prepare 8×8 baking dish lightly with grapeseed oil. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix dry ingredients together
  3. In stand mixer combine peanut butter, eggs, oil, brown sugar and vanilla.
  4. Mix together the dry and wet. The batter will be crumbly.
  5. Dump in the various goodies (berries, nuts, etc…. optional coconut flakes, because I love raw coconut).
  6. Work the batter through your fingers to combine thoroughly. If necessary, use one more tablespoon of grapeseed oil. Form into a sort of dough ball.
  7. Smoosh lightly into the pan to form up, but not totally smash into the bottom of it. Go for a balance between combined but not smashed. Press the edges a bit to firm them up around the pan.
  8. Bake for… (honestly I keep forgetting to time it, but I think it was 18 minutes. You should trust me anyway… check them and when your tester comes out MOSTLY clean, your done. They’ll finish cooking in the pan.
  9. Melt chocolate and drizzle in stripes diagonally across the top of the bars.
  10. Let cool for 30 minutes. (You’ll be worried they are too airy and potentially even crumbly, but don’t fuss).
  11. Cover with cling wrap and put in fridge overnight or for a couple of hours to thoroughly cool.
  12. Take out and cut into bars, wrap individually and store in airtight container.

9 Servings – Nutrition data by sparkpeople.com! very easy to use. Try it.

Amount Per Serving
  Calories 454.2
  Total Fat 17.7 g
  Saturated Fat 3.1 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat 4.0 g
  Monounsaturated Fat 1.3 g
  Cholesterol 0.0 mg
  Sodium 213.5 mg
  Potassium 406.4 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 56.0 g
  Dietary Fiber 7.3 g
  Sugars 15.7 g
  Protein 24.9 g

OK… Our go-to, work-horse Peanut Butter energy bar revises the old Peanut Butter Smoosh Balance bar before it got all big and fancy and store bought. This is a take-off from the old-school folks who figured out the 40/30/30 (carb/protient/fat) diet is a pretty good way to go (and still is, though I hate how commercial the “Balance Diet” has become, and won’t buy their products.

Anyway, this one is simple, and I took out a bunch of the honey to keep the sugar content low. The last batch of these I made for a backpacking trip in November and finished off the last of the bag in January. They keep forever … well not like Twinkie forever, but you get my meaning.

Peanut Butter Smoosh Energy Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup Effin Artist peanut butter
  • 1 cup whey protein
  • 1/2 cup (or less, just enough to make all this stuff stick) of honey.
  • 1 tsp salt
(add dried fruit if you want as it comes together, or mix in some dark chocolate to make them even more flavorful. You can do about anything with this base mix).
Instructions:
  1. Smoosh it together until it forms a cohesive blob.
  2. Line wax paper on a 8×8 cake pan and press the bars into the pan flat.
  3. Allow to set for an hour or two.
  4. Slice into bars or transfer to a freezer bag as a whole, then you just rip off a chunk when needed.
A couple of notes about this nutrition data. I left it at nine servings so you can compare the nutrition of this bar and the one above, but frankly, you never eat that big of a serving of this bar. It’s too dense and filling. I’d say realistically its 18 servings.  But as you can see the carbs are cut in half and the balanced protein/fat/carb ratio comes through. I’ve never liked how much honey ramps up the grams of sugars, but haven’t come up with another virtually un-spoilable ingredient that can form these together. Any ideas? I’d love it because these don’t really need the honey to be good. Any way, read on and enjoy:9 Servings
Amount Per Serving
  Calories 519.8
  Total Fat 30.2 g
  Saturated Fat 5.3 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0 g
  Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
  Cholesterol 53.8 mg
  Sodium 303.1 mg
  Potassium 162.3 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 28.7 g
  Dietary Fiber 4.0 g
  Sugars 18.9 g
  Protein 30.4 g

The quest to organicanize my kitchen begins now

The Bride fears spiders. I fear cancer. My phobia seems far more realistic than hers, which pisses me off. I wish I could just Man Up, grab a flip-flop and smash cancer.

I like to think I’m going to live to be 120 or so, still snowboarding at 95 and jogging my codger-like shuffle when I’m 110. My heart is good (If I could, I would frame my blood-pressure test of two years ago of 108/52, but that was after I cut off all coffee and sodium for a month, neither of which I’ll likely do again.) I’m pretty fit. I’m convinced that radical anti-aging discoveries in biology will reverse the decay of telomeres and allow people to naturally extend life.

But the big C, well that’s the deal breaker. It pops up anywhere on anyone, no matter how healthy. Consider Australia. Now there’s a pretty fit country with an active lifestyle and a healthy food culture. But guess what’s killing them off? Yep, the big C. It’s a bad-luck-kind-of gotcha illness. If it doesn’t straight kill you, the treatment alone nearly does. Scares me to no end.

Rather than obsessively worry or fixate like The Bride does with spiders, I put a fair degree of time into removing toxins from my life. First we tackled the meat we eat, a monster culprit for ingesting cancer-causing materials. In addition to our steer, we have booked a pig for June and will soon add organic local chickens to our freezer.

Gardening our vegetables will bolster what we can get from our vibrant farmers’ market community, all of which keeps untold pesticides from our kitchen. Certain foods, like all vegetables in plastic packaging for example, are banished from the kitchen. The Bride has even begun experimenting with DIY beauty products to make sure we’re not rubbing toxins on our skin.

But despite all this, it hit me the other day as I overheard a webinar The Bride listened to from her school (she’s studying contemporary holistic medicine). The presenter talked at some length about the types of kitchen tools we use. My reaction was pretty much the same as when The Bride saw a spider in the tub, only my scream was on the inside.

It dawned on me that I was virtually ignorant about the types of products I was using to cook the food I had tried to be so careful in choosing. This feeling could best be described as a pot of cold water tossed over my head during a hot shower.

I woke up, I’ll tell you that.

So in the weeks to come, I’m going to completely dive into the facts — not the hype or my paranoia-induced theories –about making my kitchen as organic and pesticide-free as my food. I’m going to consider every tool I use and get past the hype to find out what has to go and what can stay.

The hype factor is no small thing, because in case you haven’t noticed, getting reliable information these days is not so easy. The Super Highway of the Internet is a virtual L.A. traffic jam of misinformation, hype, conspiracy theory, fad-of-the-day “facts,” political spin and plain ole fashioned bullshit.  You look across the landscape of information and you feel a bit like…

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Sifting through the morass to find legitimate facts and useful, realistic solutions isn’t easy, which I suspect has contributed to my ignorance. I just didn’t want to get stuck in this particular traffic.

Also, the solutions can’t be so expensive only the uber-elite can afford them. It’s no coincidence the poor are more susceptible to illness and death. They get the full brunt of society’s harmful products.

This rich/poor chasm is a big reason why I don’t subscribe to the lefty lib-dem elitist political agenda that has it roots dug deep in my beloved San Francisco. At the core I share the same values, but like the wonderful Slo-food movement and so much localvore eating and so many other trendy healthy movements, they are often disconnected from the realities of surviving on a lower class income. If you haven’t gone to a grocery story and agonized about the extra dollar for the organic milk you really shouldn’t be spouting off about the food choices of the poor. If you’ve never had to shop at Wal-Mart because it was your only hope of not spending the last few dollars in your account, you’re not paying attention to the real issues at hand.

So with the goal of realistic inclusion I begin my investigation. I will report the findings here. I am going to delve into a whole array of hoof-to-head health, like best kitchen utensils, essential choices when buying ingredients holding the cost and the health factors in balance, and even gardening to maximize inexpensive food alternatives.

I’ll file these under a new category, called Organicanize to make it easy to reference in the future.

Some of you have expertise on these subjects, so please comment below and feel free to point me in respected directions. I appreciate all the guidance you can offer.

I want to kick the Big C out of my life as best I can, knowing I can never fully win. It still feels better taking a healthy swipe with the flip-flop than just sitting around being scared.