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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Emily Update

Emily seems to have adjusted to boot camp fairly quickly.  We are sending her letters every day or two, she is sending us letters most days, we get a phone call once per week. The first weekly phone call was hard, Emily was hysterically sobbing and very homesick, I am glad to say that this week when she called she sounded happy, has settled into military life and feels confident that this is what she wants to do.
During week 1 of training all recruits receive a medical evaluation and get a ton of shots, including a massive dose of penicillin. Unfortunately for Emily she found out the hard way that she is allergic to penicillin. Initially she broke out in hives and then began to have difficulty breathing. Em was rushed to the base ER where she was given a number of shots to counteract the allergic reaction and then an inhaler to help with her breathing. After all of this she got a day of bed rest and was able to catch up on some much needed sleep. Part of the treatment included taking a course of steroids, this affected her vision so she was tested for glasses, she gets her prescription next week. Military issue glasses are not attractive :)
Anyway, Emily seems to be taking everything in its stride, she was excited to receive her M16, she has never run so much in her life, she has learned to keep her possessions organized at ALL times, and she is having a pretty good time of it.  We are looking forward to our trip to San Antonio at the end of March to watch Emily graduate boot camp, it will wonderful to see her, and she can't wait to see us.  There is no PDA (public displays of affection) allowed on base, so we will have to contain ourselves when we arrive and keep our hugs short and sweet!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Diet Really Does Matter

Last summer I decided to get my eating habits back in check, I had lost a lot of weight, but slowly bad habits      crept back and one day I realized that I was a long way off from my goal of life long healthy eating.  In August I decided to go back to being vegetarian, throughout my adulthood I have been an on again off again vegetarian, so it wasn't anything completely new to me.
I watched several documentaries on NetFlix, one that particularly struck a chord with me was Forks Over Knives, it provides so much information and such a profound argument for going vegan that I felt overwhelmingly encouraged to give it try. By October I was completely vegan.
The health benefits of a vegan diet are amazing, most people experience some weight loss and this is a good health benefit to start with. The effects of a healthy vegan diet are so beneficial in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, reversing the effects of type 2 diabetes and reducing cancer risk.
Have I missed milk, milk products and eggs? I can quite honestly say no I have not.  Have I missed meat? Not at all.
Keep in mind you can be vegan and be very unhealthy, if you ate oreo cookies all day and sucked down bottles of soda you would be vegan, but you would also be destroying your body. Incorporate many fruits, vegetables, legumes, seeds, nuts and grains into your daily diet. Avoid processed foods, eat what you can raw, try to have a salad with lunch and dinner. Baked potatoes are fabulous plain, not quite sure who decided they needed butter to taste good.  Hummus is a great substitute for cheese, and if you make your own you can control the amount of oil in it by eliminating or drastically reducing the tahini. A little bit of preparation makes meal time easy. I make a couple of soups on the weekend, they will last for several days and on Wednesday I generally make a couple more soups to last me until the weekend.  Vegan soups don't take long to make because there is no meat, simply cook for about 30 minutes so that the veggies are tender, most soups will include several bean types. Wasa crackers are lovely to have around, two of them with a bit of hummus spread on top and some sliced cucumber make the most wonderful snack. Fresh fruit is great to snack on.  Eat leafy greens, kale and spinach are both great in soups.  Lentils are good, and I recently discovered red lentils and they are very enjoyable. Quinoa, the Incan power grain, what a great thing to have around, it provides a complete protein, cooks quickly and is good with a variety of foods, I use it in place of rice. For quicker cooking keep canned beans available, rinse them well before using. Eat oatmeal, whole oats or steel cut. Almond milk is  good to have around, I like a splash on my oatmeal. Drink plenty of water, avoid fruit juices, and begin to enjoy the large bounty of the many green teas available to us, I particularly enjoy Jasmine tea and Ooolong tea.
My sister was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, she and her husband have done a ton of research on diet and the treatment of breast cancer, and guess what?  A vegan diet for the rest of life is strongly recommended for women who have breast cancer.  Women who have had breast cancer and follow a vegan diet have a much lower chance of recurrence of the disease.
Now onto dairy, where to begin? There is now so much research showing that dairy is NOT good for us, NOT good for us at all.  Milk is a fine and wonderful food if you are a baby calf. Human beings are the only mammal species who drink milk beyond infancy, and we are the only mammal who drink the milk of another species. The fats in milk are not healthy for us. Oh, what about osteoporosis you ask? Interestingly enough, osteoporosis is rampant in the western world, the portion of the worlds population who consume mass quantities of dairy.  Another worrying problem with dairy is that the casein proteins in milk have been shown to promote tumor growth.

Recommended viewing:
Forks Over Knives DVD - this is available for streaming on NetFlix

Recommended Reading:
Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Caldwell Esselstyn, MD
Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease by Dr. Dean Ornish

A report on the effects of diet and cancer by the National Institute of Health

A report on the bad effects of dairy

Dr. Esselstyns website - there are some very good recipes available here as well:

There are many, many, many, more resources available, so much information it is simply mind blowing, but do your research, reach your own conclusions, and if you end up vegan, I say GOOD FOR YOU, and your body will thank you :)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Surgery Update

Well we did not get the news we wanted this morning. The tumor was larger than at first thought and all of the lymph nodes had to be removed, Marika is now looking at a 4 -6 month treatment plan starting with chemo therapy and finishing off with radiation.  The outcome is still good, but the treatment is going to be a long journey.  Marika is in very good spirits, she is staying overnight at the hospital, and she is ready to fight this disease and we are all here to support here.

Dave's sister Angie went back to the specialist today and was glad to find out that her lymph nodes are cancer free and she is now scheduled for surgery on the 18th, she will then go through chemo and radiation.

This is a difficult time for all of us as we watch our loved ones cope with their diagnosis and know that they have a lot to go through to get better.  But we are all focused on the light at the end of tunnel, they will get through this, Marika and Angie are both strong women, and both have strong faith. I know that God is bigger than all of this and He will be them through it all.

Thank you again for your ongoing prayers.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Surgery Tomorrow

Tomorrow my sister has surgery to remove her breast cancer, she is going to have a lumpectomy, please pray that all goes well.  During the surgery they are going to remove some lymph nodes and immediately send them to pathology to check for any signs of cancer, please pray that they are free and clear of cancer.
Thank you to all who have been praying for Marika.  And please continue to remember my husband's sister,  Angie, in your prayers as she is battling lung cancer, thank you to all who have been praying for Angie.

Friday, February 1, 2013

A New Addition

Sir Digby

A few weeks ago one of Emily's friends, who is going to school to be a vet tech, facebooked looking for a home for Durby.  We talked about it and decided to give Durby a chance, his owner had died and if a new home was not found soon he would be put to sleep.  We changed his name from Durby to Digby, and welcomed him into our home.  He is an extremely good dog, very lazy and very well behaved. We have had no regrets what so ever and are glad that Emily stumbled across her friends request and that we were able to provide a home for such a nice dog.