Friday, April 18, 2014

Eating To Fight Disease

I've been dancing around with becoming a vegetarian for years now.  I've known that there are many positive benefits to eating a primarily plant, nut and fruit diet, including anti-cancer benefits, for a while.  I just couldn't find a system that was easy and healthy that I liked.

Well about 2 weeks ago while at the dentist, I heard about the book "Eat To Live" by Joel Fuhrman, M.D.  It's been on the New York Times bestseller list for a while, but I had never read it or explored it until I heard about it from my dentist.

While he was poking around in my mouth he was talking to the hygienist about vegetarian recipes he was making and they sounded really delicious so when he finished, I asked him to tell me more.

He gave me a quick overview of the "Eat To Live" program and it intrigued me, so on a whim I ordered the book from Amazon that night.

The book came a few days later and I've been hooked ever since.  It makes a lot of sense to me.  The basic premise is that we should be eating:
  • Primarily nutrient-dense, natural plant foods: vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts and seeds.  
  • Few if any animal products (one or two servings a week at most)
  • No sugar and almost no foods that are empty of nutrients such as sugar, sweeteners, white flour, processed food and fast foods.

It's not really as hard as it sounds.  For me, it was simply removing meat from my diet as I already try not to eat sugar or fast foods, and have been trying as much as possible to eat fresh foods vs. processed foods anyway.  Since I've already been weaning back on meat for the last few years anyway, it wasn't a huge problem for me to remove all the meat in my diet.

The biggest change for me was how to replace dairy.  I've learned to use almond milk in my smoothies, and as a replacement for any milk that I would typically use.  I've cut out cheese almost 100% (every now and then I have a small piece of cheese if I'm craving it) and have cut out meat entirely.

With an 85-90% plant based diet your body will benefit from the protective micronutrients and phytochemicals that you get from vegetables.  There are some "power foods" which have the highest levels of these micronutrients, below.

Another change for me is that I now have at least one (and often two) smoothies each day.  One of the basics for this program is that you need to add a LOT of vegetables to your daily diet; ideally a pound of vegetables a day!  An easy way to do this is to add them to a smoothie.  I would recommend getting a Vitamix blender if you decide to add vegetables to your smoothies, otherwise you'll taste the greens (I use spinach, but you can also use kale, lettuce and carrots).  The Vitamix works so well that I only taste the delicious fruit that I add, and not the greens.

I now have one every morning for breakfast and often have another one around 3:00 if I want a snack.  Below is my current favorite which is packed full of nutrients, vegetables and fresh or frozen fruit (frozen fruit is just as healthy as fresh  fruit which is useful, given how quickly fruit goes bad).
Blueberry/Banana Smoothie (Serves 2) 
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
Directions:  Load it all into a high power blender in the order above and blend on high for 2 minutes.

I know it seems weird to put greens into a smoothie, but you don't taste them because of the intense flavor from the fruits and with a high powered blender you don't experience that gritty texture of the spinach. It's really good and really filling.  I have this for breakfast every day, and mix up the types of fruit I use.  I try to use a lot of berries which are considered to be superfoods and have so many good nutrients and are full of vitamins and phytochemicals.

For lunch I usually have a big salad, but now, instead of adding meat or cheese, I add chopped vegetables and a half cup of rinsed canned beans (red, white, black).  You can also add a couple of tablespoons of nuts which are your only source of fat on this program.

Then for dinner I make soups.  I love soup and there are a million soups you can make with vegetables that will fill you up and which taste delicious.  They're very easy to make - basically you just throw every vegetable you have in the house into a big pot and cook it for an hour and season.  It's going to taste delicious because it's all fresh.  You can also add lentils, quinoa, beans and other grains to make sure you're getting enough protein.  There are a lot of other recipes in the book and I've just started experimenting with them.  So far they're all really good if you like vegetables (as I do).

So far I've been doing this for 3 full weeks and I'm not feeling like I've given anything up and I have a lot of energy, a nice side benefit that I wasn't expecting.  Plus, I've lost 3 pounds.  And if you saw how much food I'm eating you wouldn't believe that I could lose weight eating like this.  

I plan to stay 100% on the program for 6 weeks to clean out my body and then will start to add back some meat once or twice a week just so that I can still enjoy going out to restaurants although I don't miss meat in my diet at all.  

PLEASE NOTE:  I'm not telling you to follow this diet if you're not willing to give up meat, dairy and sugar as it's certainly not for everyone.  

But I would recommend that you try to incorporate some of the elements of the program into your current daily diet, specifically adding more fresh vegetables and fruits each day so that your body can absorb the important nutrients they provide.  It's amazing how many vegetables and fruits you can consume if you add them to a smoothie and by replacing just one of your normal meals with a vegetable/fruit smoothie each day, you'd be making a very big positive impact on your health.

How about you?  Have you ever considered becoming a vegetarian?  Is there anything about the "Eat To Live" program that you'd want to consider for yourself?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Dense Breasts: The Secret You Need To Know

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 I was told by the mammography radiologist that I had dense breasts.  This was the first time I had ever heard this and I'd been getting mammograms for 10 years.

© Tyler Olson -
In fact, I had never heard of dense breasts before and asked him what he meant.  He explained "Your breasts are really dense and so the mammogram isn't able to see if there are any other lumps or suspicious areas in them."  I pressed for more information and he then explained that when breast tissue is dense, it's more fibrous instead of fatty which makes it very difficult to see anything in them, even with a mammogram.

Over the years when I've had my annual mammogram, I've often had to have multiple films done or a complete 2nd set of films because the radiologist couldn't get a good read from the first set.  But no one ever told me that the reason they couldn't get a good view of my breast tissue was because I had dense breasts. I always just assumed it was the typical process to have multiple sets done, or to have to go back for 2nd sets periodically.

After the radiologist at the Imaging Center told me I had dense breasts I went online and searched for information.

What I learned was that women with dense breasts need to be aware so that they can be even more careful about doing self exams, getting annual mammograms and asking for additional options (ultrasound or MRI) if they have any suspicious or unusual mammogram results.
  • Forty percent of women have dense breast tissue
  • Mammography often misses cancer in dense breasts
  • Dense tissue is comprised of less fat and more fibrous and connective tissue and appears white on a mammogram
  • Women with dense breasts can be six times more likely to develop breast cancer
Please note: If you do have dense breasts, it doesn't mean you have or will get breast cancer.

It simply means that because dense breasts have less fatty tissue and more non-fatty tissue, it's harder for mammograms to detect breast cancer in them. is a wonderful resource that suggests that women with dense breasts develop a personal screening plan with their physician, which should include:
  • Monthly breast self exams
  • A yearly breast exam by your doctor
  • A digital mammogram every year starting at age 40 
  • You and your doctor may also decide to include an ultrasound and MRI of the breast in your annual personal screening plan if you have any unusual or suspicious mammogram results. 
There are also several other sites listed below with information about breast density; several provide downloadable brochures:  
At your next annual mammogram, please remember to ask the radiologist if you have dense breasts. It's not actually mandatory that it be noted on your mammogram report in many states, so make a point to specifically ask your radiologist, because they may not tell you (no one told me until after I was diagnosed with breast cancer).

Information is power and the more information you have the more you can be your own advocate.

Finally, if you do have dense breasts, according to there are several lifestyle choices you can make to keep your breast cancer risk as low as it can be:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise regularly
  • Limit your alcohol intake
  • Eat nutritious food
  • Don't smoke (or quit if you do smoke)

Friday, April 11, 2014

National Siblings Day

I didn't know it was National Siblings Day until I saw it on Facebook tonight, so figured I'd share a few memories.  I have 2 sisters and a brother and I happen to love them all a lot.  They're smart and funny, interesting and witty, and I immediately feel at home when I'm with them.

When we Schmidt's get together, the room practically levitates with all the energy.  We all talk.  A lot.

My kids point that out to me whenever we get together.  

"You all talk a lot."  Implying of course, that we talk too much.  Thanks, kids.  Point taken and noted.

Can we help it if we have a lot to say to each other when we catch up during our few and far between visits (we all live in different states)?

We used to get Christmas card pictures done each year.  

My dad worked for the Singer Sewing Machine Company and my mom made all of our clothes when we were young.  

All of them.  She made those dresses up above.  And the shorts outfits below.  Egads.

Somebody thought those sunglasses were a good idea, not sure why.  Eddie was obviously trying to get away from all the estrogen.  And us girls sure don't look all that happy either.  We probably just got yelled at by my mother.  

She sewed so much that one summer when we ran out of corn on the cob (my all time favorite as a little girl) I turned to her at the kitchen table and said "Well, can't you just make some more?"  My mom said, "But we don't have anymore, Claudia."  To which I replied, "So can't you just make some more on the sewing machine?"  My parents got quite a kick out of that.

I thought everything came from the sewing machine.  She was always sewing away on it, when she wasn't doing school work for her full time job as the Chairman of the English department in Mother Seton High School.

Yes. She was a busy woman.  And on top of all that, she had Multiple Sclerosis, only never told anyone, including my father, until I was 31.  So growing up in our house was interesting, to say the least. There were a lot of secrets.

Holy moly, this looks so scary - who were these crazy people?!  And why were they wearing those odd clothes?

My father was actually very handsome, although he looks like a mass murderer in the picture above. He was very tall and we all loved it when he'd pick us up and stand us on his hand so we could touch the ceiling.

The two of them both smoked like crazy when we were young.  So weird to think of that, because of what we know now about how bad smoking is for you.  I remember my father sitting in his chair in the family room after work, smoking his cigarette while my mother and I would be making dinner and setting the table.  It was all very Mad Men-ish.

One of my favorite pictures of all of us from about 10 years ago.

We were always referred to as "The girls and Eddie" by our parents and relatives.  It was kind of "us against our parents" growing up so we all became very close as I suppose most kids did growing up in the  60's and 70's before people went to therapists or worked family stuff out.  I don't think we could have made it through intact without having each other to rely on.

It was dysfunctional and complicated and one of these days I'll write a book about it, but it sure makes for a lot of fun to talk about when the 4 of us all get together now.

There's so much common thread running through our lives, the back story of all the events that occurred when we were kids.  Whenever we get together we can't stop bringing up stories about what it was like to grow up with our parents -- Mary and Tony.  I guess every family has their own history.

I wish we lived closer to each other.  Happy National Siblings Day, Mary-Kate, Sue and Eddie.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

8 Ways I'm Going to Balance Work and Family This Spring

I haven't had time for a "real" post in the last 2 weeks because of how busy work has been but this quote really spoke to me today.

It's very true for me that when life gets too busy, it becomes barren, void of real connection and meaning.  I'm spending so much time lately just "doing things," that I'm not engaging with people.

I know that I need to find a balance but I've always found the dance between serving clients for work and taking care of my family to be a difficult one.  And then sometimes the "taking care of family" time turns out to be nothing but accomplishing chores like grocery shopping, taking the kids here and there, cooking and cleaning, so nothing of true substance is shared between all of us as we go about our daily activities.

So because I'm a list maker, here's my list of what I intend to do to shift the balance, and create some deeper meaning during these first 6 months of the year when I'm traditionally so busy with work projects.

I resolve to:
  1. Shut down the office at 5 (6:00 PM at the very latest).  I have lots of West Coast contacts for my job, so this is tough, but I'm going to be adamant with them that just because they work 'til 9:00 PM EST (6:00 PM PST), doesn't mean that I do. If I can get this under control it will make the biggest difference of all.
  2. Only go on social media early in the a.m. and late in the p.m. after all else is done so that I can focus my efforts to get work done during the day, and allow myself time to spend with the kids and hubby at night.
  3. Take a short walk with the dog each day so that I get out into the fresh air, now that spring seems to finally be coming to New Jersey (yay!).
  4. Eat healthily so that I'll have the energy I need to get everything accomplished.  Just started "Eat for Life" and am loving it.  Have wanted to be a vegetarian for a long time, this particular program is working for me really well, and pretty easily.  More about it when I have time to write a longer post about it.  
  5. Stop drinking coffee in the afternoons.  When I get tired or hit my 3:00 PM "I need a pick-me-up," I've been having coffee which then in turn makes me really hyper and anxious.  So, no coffee, just decaf or herbal teas.
  6. Go to all of my son's baseball games.  The fresh air and time with the other baseball moms will provide a good break from my craziness of work, and will let my son know how important his games are to me (even though watching a baseball game is about as exciting as watching paint dry, to me).
  7. Squeeze in time with family and friends.  This weekend I'm going into the city to see an exhibit with old friends from college.  Last weekend I went in for a college orientation with my daughter and it was great, very reassuring to see how organized and supportive her college is.
  8. Take a deep breath every time my clients change their plans.  That's the hardest for me, as I'm juggling so many things and they keep updating, shifting and changing their priorities.  But, remember that I work from home and so when this happens, I get to take a deep breath, hold the phone away from my ear for a second and remain calm.  I'm working on this one every day!

If I can stick to all of these I know that I'd really see a noticeable difference.  Let's see how I do.

How about you?  Has this spring been hectic for you?  I'm seeing a lot of comments on Facebook lately about how busy everyone is, am thinking it might be the time of year.

Friday, April 4, 2014

The First Walk Of Spring

I haven't had time to write this week because work has been really busy, so I'll leave you with a quick snippet and a gorgeous song.

I was taking Tucker for a walk on the one perfect, 60 degree spring day we had this week so far, and was entranced by the beautiful sky.  Below are some of the pictures I took on my iPhone.  Aren't these wispy clouds against the blue sky just gorgeous?

And just as I was viewing this stupendous sky, one of my favorite songs by K. D. Lang came up on my iPhone at that exact second and it was a perfect, breath-taking moment.

So, now for your listening pleasure, I present you with K. D. Lang singing Neil Young's "Helpless."  Two amazing Canadians, doing what they do best.

K. D. Lang has been one of my favorite artists ever since I first heard her album "Shadowland" in 1988."  Little known tidbit, her full name is Kathryn Dawn Lang (I always wondered where the K. D. came from).  

She sings like an angel.  

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Things You Learn When You Go To A Sex Educators Conference

I used to work on the K-Y Brand about 7 years ago but I could never share stories about any of the craziness, because it was owned by a client that I'm still working with.

Now that it's been sold to Reckitt Benckiser, the gates of hell have been opened and I can tell tales!

Ok, in case you're pretending you don't know what K-Y Brand is, here's the lowdown:  K-Y Brand is a personal lubricant.

Yeah.  You use it when you're having sex.

And if you can't figure out why, you're too young to be using it anyway, so never mind.  You'll figure it out when you're old enough.

There, now that we've got that settled, let's move on to how I helped them with the marketing of the brand. One of the methods we used was to engage key influencers hoping that they'd recommend K-Y Brand to their patients, and so we participated in various health-care conferences.

My favorite was the big sex conference.  Yes, there is such a thing in this wonderful country of ours. It's called AASECT (American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists).

Let me tell you, the AASECT conference opened up a whole new world of sexuality to me.  There are things and devices out there that I never even knew existed, and I'm not exactly a prude.  In fact, I thought I was pretty smokin' hot back in the day.  I grew up in the 80's after all.

There was a conference floor where all of the participating sponsors and exhibitors had booths showcasing their wares.  My first year, there were about 50 other companies with booths which consisted of sex devices, sex toys, sex paraphernalia and general whoopy makin' products.

I vividly remember my first day on the exhibitor's floor of my first AASECT conference.  One of the smaller booths on the side was the one that was generating most of the buzz.  

This particular booth was manned by a very conservative and sweet looking couple.  She was wearing a modest skirt that went to the floor, long sleeve top and had long hair tied back in a braid.  He was wearing khakis and a chambray shirt and if I had to guess, I would have figured they were both school teachers.

Then my eyes went to the device they were selling.  Holy smokes.

From across the room, their product looked like it was some type of furniture, a chair or an ottoman.  I couldn't figure it out but as I got closer, my eyes got really big.  It was the wildest thing I'd ever seen.

I can't really remember the name for sure (and I'm terrified of what will show up in my computer if I google it so I'm not going to) but I'm thinking it was called The Monkey Rocker.  I kid you not.

The Monkey Rocker was this crazy ass piece of furniture that looked like an ottoman or a saddle on top of a rocking chair chassis.  There was a one and a two person version.  Each version had two (yes two as if one wasn't going to be enough) sex toys on them, so you can just use your imagination to figure out how they were used.

No.  I'm not going to explain it in a lot more detail than that because I have two teenagers and I'm pretty sure they read this blog periodically and I do not plan to explain this type of thing to them.  As much as I'm all for sex-ed and giving your kids all the information they need to know about sex so that they don't make mistakes in life and can be safe and healthy and all that jazz, I just really don't feel the need to explain sex devices like this to them, sorry.  Call me crazy.

If you're still not sure what I'm talking about, rent the movie "Burn After Reading" with George Clooney and John Malkovich.  The Monkey Rocker looked a whole lot like the thing that George Clooney's character in the movie had hand-made which he was keeping hidden in his closet at home.

I was at the booth with 2 women from the company and boy did the three of us bond during that conference. I'd never met them before and afterwards we were like best friends.  You sure learn a lot about people when you're sitting at a sex conference for 8 hours a day looking at every single type of sexual device known to man (or woman).

The K-Y was a big hit.  People were mad for our samples and we actually had to lock up the full size products we had for display because they'd mysteriously "disappear" at night if we didn't keep them hidden or locked.

One of the nights leading up to the conference, I emptied the contents of my pockets onto the kitchen counter after a meeting without even thinking about what it was (K-Y Warming samples).  My husband came in a little while later and when he spotted what was on the counter, he gave me this very happy look and said "What's that?" with this optimistic little smile.

I wasn't paying attention and said "Oh God, that nutty K-Y brand.  I have so much to do for that conference, I had some of the samples in my pocket, can you believe they make a warming gel now?"  

Then I stopped and realized he was actually thinking I had brought the K-Y home for the two of us and that now he was terrifically bummed that I hadn't.  So I tried to quickly regroup but by then he wasn't convinced.

Later that week we went out for date night (the kids were still young then) and I delivered on the implications of the K-Y I had placed on the kitchen counter.  And yes, I will tell you that the stuff is pretty fabulous.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

All For the Love Of Baseball

It's Spring and that means it's baseball season.  I happen to have a love/hate relationship with the game of baseball.

Which is kind of tricky because every spring and summer for the past 12 years my life has been consumed with this sport.  My husband started my son out in T-Ball when he was about 4 years old and we have spent approximately 50 million hours at various baseball fields since then.  And, my husband has been his team coach for most of that time.

So, for any of the moms reading this with kids who are starting out in Little League, here are some of my musings on life as the mom of a baseball player and wife of a Little League baseball coach, gleaned from my gazillion hours of experience.

1.  Most important thing.  Bring a very, very comfy chair.  You'll be sitting.  For a long time.
If the field DOES have bleachers, they'll probably be metal, rusty, crooked and hard so bring a soft cushioned stadium seat with a back; you can get one at Walmart for about $10 bucks.  If they don't have bleachers bring one of those chairs you can sling over your shoulder with a place to hold a water bottle or coffee, 'cause you're going to be sitting for a LONG time.

2.  Bring lots of snacks.  
There's rarely anything good to eat at a Little League baseball field, and having been one of the mom's manning the snack shack I can tell you, you don't want to eat the food they make in there, it's pretty scary.

One of the snack shacks we used to man in the early years didn't even have hot water.  And don't get me started on the hot dogs that are sitting in that boiling water on the stove for the ENTIRE GAME which lasts as I mentioned, on average 3 hours, and that's not counting the fact that there are double hitters so those hot dogs could potentially be boiling in that pot for over 5 hours on any given game day!

3.  Now here's an important point and it's very tricky to manage so pay attention.
You're going to want to bring lots of water and coffee, because you'll be there a long time and you'll need to stay hydrated.  Plus you'll need the coffee to keep you awake during the especially long games that start at 8:00 a.m. on a freezing cold April morning when they're about 5 years old and the game is for sure going to last about 3 hours ('cause they're only 5, so the games take FOREVER since none of them really know what they're doing and every single inning takes at least 30 minutes).

But the tricky part is that under NO CIRCUMSTANCES do you ever want to use the bathroom at a baseball game.  

Because there's NEVER a decent bathroom on a baseball field.  Most of them have port-a-john's and believe me, those things are nasty.  

And they never have toilet paper.  

And they usually sit waaaaaay across the field about a 15 minutes trek away from the stands over in the darkest, dankest corner of the parking lot among a puddle of suspiciously muddy water.

So you don't want to drink so much water and coffee that you have to, God forbid, actually use the bathroom.  Of course this can get awfully tricky what with all the water you're going to need to stay hydrated and all the coffee you're going to drink to stay awake.  

But you're a mom, so you'll figure it out.

4.  Bring Tylenol or Motrin.
There's nothin' worse than getting a headache during a 3 hour long baseball game, and until the kids are about 12 years old the games drag on for hours with all the fouls and walks since none of them can pitch or catch or hit very well yet (as I believe I've mentioned several times already).  And then with all the crappy food, and holding in your pee for 3+ hours, you just may find yourself with a hell of a headache.  So bring your drug of choice for that.

5.  Bring blankets and wear lots of layers.  
In the early spring season, the temperature can careen from 40 degrees to 70 degrees in the span of one game (remember, they start really early in the morning and then as I've said can last for about 3 hours).  So it's important to layer up -- bring gloves, a hat, several thermal layers and a nice thick warm blanket.

6.  Bring a canvas portable tent in the summer.
Remember what I said about the cold weather in the early spring?  Well, fast forward a couple of months and think about what it's like in the dead of the summer when you're playing at 2:00 in the afternoon on a nice hot, New Jersey summer day with the heat rising into the high 90's and the humidity at about 95%.  Oh yeah.  

You need to get yourself one of those $150 portable canvas tents to set up over the bleachers to block the direct rays of the sun so that you don't die from heat exhaustion.  

But on a positive note, at least you won't have to use the port-a-john 'cause you'll be sweating all the water and coffee out from the humidity.

And now here's the part where I'm going to get all maudlin on you.  So be forewarned.

7.  And then, there are the times when your team wins the Little League championship.
And your husband (the coach) is the proudest man in the world and you're the proudest mom/wife in the world because of what that freakin' adorable team of 10 and 11 year old boys and your husband have accomplished.  And you and all the other moms are jumping up and down, screaming your bloody heads off because your team actually won the Championships and you're amazed and stunned and so damn happy and excited!

And you're thinking how lucky you are to have a husband who will spend 20+ hours a week all spring, summer and fall every year, volunteering to coach his son's team and then ultimately win the Little League championship which the two of them and all those other little boys will never, ever forget.  And feeling guilty that you've been so annoyed at how much time he spent on baseball all year, because now you get it and are as hooked on it as he is.

8.  And be prepared to become friends with some of the nicest parents you'll ever meet.  
And meet some of the most adorable kids you'll ever have the privilege to know.  And some of them will become lifelong family friends.  

Friends who will help you out during all sorts of things (like the summer they all rallied to support me through my breast cancer treatments) without a question and who will treat you like family and hold your hand through one of the toughest years of your life.

Friends who will make your family dinners and put up one of those afore-mentioned tents for every game because you weren't supposed to get sun on you during all the chemo, and they never said a word, but just beckoned you over to sit under the tent 'cause they knew you needed some shade.  And made sure your son got taken care of and had a lot of sleep-overs that summer because his mom was so out of it and sick with chemo for most of it.  And just generally, took care of us and nurtured me and made me feel like a human being during all the horrible chemo when I was bald as a cue-ball under my baseball hat and sick as a dog.

Last weekend was one of the first games of the high school baseball season and I saw some of my baseball mom friends and had a flashback to that summer of 2010.  Somehow the game of baseball will always be tied up with that interminable summer of chemotherapy  in my head. I guess you can see why I have that whole Baseball love/hate dichotomy thing going on there, eh?  

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Exercise Reduces Breast Cancer Risk For All Women

Today is the first day of Spring and boy am I ready for it!  

I bet all of us are because it sure has been a tough winter.  I am so excited to get out for a good long walk with Tucker (our Pembroke Welsh Corgi, a la the Queen of England's pets) later today.

And then I saw a wonderful article on my Google home page first thing this morning, about the benefits of exercise in reducing women's risk of breast cancer with the headline "Exercise Cuts Breast Cancer Risk For All Women Everywhere!  

Talk about a perfect recommendation for a beautiful spring day like today!

It's a very simple thing, according to this and many other articles I've read.  Exercise of any kind reduces women's risk of breast cancer, no matter how old they are, no matter how much they weigh and no matter when they start. 

What could be better!  

The study involved more than 4 million woman around the world from 1987 to 2013, which is a pretty large group of participants.  The study shows that the more active you are, the greater the benefit, but even modest exercise has been shown to reduce risk.  The data, from researchers in France was recently presented at the European Breast Cancer Conference in Glasgow, Ireland.

I would encourage all of my readers to get out there and exercise: take a walk, get out on your bike, go to the gym, or simply do some modest exercise and stretching at home, but do something NOW because it's one of the only things I've ever heard of that can help reduce breast cancer no matter when it's started.  It's a no-brainer to me.

The study showed that the average reduction in risk of breast cancer when you exercise is 12% but can go as high as 25% with higher and longer levels of activity.  

Even women who are post menopause see these benefits so there's no downside to starting NOW, even if you're in my age range (ahem.....I like to consider myself to be mid-life, not middle aged; a subtle but important nuance in my mind).

So as soon as I'm done with all my client conference calls, I'm going to be going out for a walk with Tucker on this beautiful Vernal Equinox day (so much better to hear those words, than the words we've been bandying about all winter -- Polar Vortex)!

What about you?  Were you able to get out and about on this beautiful day?  

Saturday, March 15, 2014

I Love New York!

It's been a busy week for me, with lots of work projects and two visits into the City (New York City, for those readers who aren't on the East coast).

Tip for any out of town readers who plan to come for a visit, if you don't want to seem like a tourist you say you're "going into the City," not "I'm going to New York City."

Because I've lived near New York my whole life, I really love it and am an unabashed fan.  I personally think it's the second best city in the world, right behind Paris.  There are so many things to do with every type of food you'd ever want and such a variety of cultural activities that you could visit for weeks and never see it all.

This week I went into the City for a meeting at Jazz at Lincoln Center which is inside the Time Warner Center on Columbus Circle, one of my favorite parts of  NYC.  It's the first time I've been to Jazz at Lincoln Center and it's a gorgeous venue with wonderful acoustics.  I was there for the Nickelodeon upfront media review, and at the end of the show (which was very well done) they had Sara Bareilles come out to perform; an unexpected treat!  She's adorable and charming with a knock-out voice.

The next night I went back into the City for dinner and a play with my two oldest and best friends from college. Let me clarify before they chew my head off; they're not OLD, they're just long-time friends!

We went to Da Tommaso on 8th Avenue and 53rd for a delicious dinner and lots of fun talking and catching up.  We see each other at least once a month, and catch up on the phone often, but we never seem to stop talking (and laughing) when we're together.  There was good wine, a cocktail or two and great Italian food.  I find that there's nothing better for my soul than to spend time with old friends who knew me back-in the-day.  It refreshes my spirit and lifts me up for days afterwards.

Then we went to see the musical "Chicago" at The Ambassador Theater.  I'd never seen the play on Broadway, only the movie, so this was a treat.  It's a great production and I just love that Bob Fosse style of dance.

Now it's back to the weekend chores of grocery shopping and laundry (for those teens).  Tonight we're going to a St. Patrick's Day party and I really hope that they don't have corned beef and cabbage -- blech!  What's to like about boiled meat?  Never liked it, never will (and I'm about 40% Irish).

Hope you're all enjoying the week; spring is right around the corner.  I can feel it coming finally!  What about you, my readers?  Any fun plans for St. Patrick's Day?