Healthy mind, body and soul

April 6th, 2020

Photo: GrantFoto, MUA: Makeup By Sheila, Hair: Anna Cantu

By Blaine Ochoa

 

Throughout life’s winding roads and adventures it’s important to pause, take a moment to breathe and reflect. Life can be overwhelming at times, and anxiety and stress can easily take over. When we pause to think about what is truly important, focus on gratitude and love; that is when joy and peace is found and we heal and strengthen from the inside out. It’s important to keep your mind, body, and soul healthy in order to remain strong and be your best form. Here are some tips that help me continue to move forward daily in peace, power and good health no matter what challenges life throws my way.

Your mind is extremely powerful, and it is the root of your actions and decisions. The body follows the mind. Make sure what you are putting into your mind is positive and encouraging. Your life will be an example of what you believe and what you give your thoughts power, too. Certain things you watch, music you listen to, and people who give you advice all contribute to your mental state. Be aware of what others are pouring into you, and make sure it is to your benefit.

We have each been given one physical body. It is our job to nourish it and take care of it the best way we can. What we eat and consume is a direct reflection of our health. I have found that when you stick to a clean and healthy diet, the better you feel and look. Eating more green vegetables, healthy protein, and drinking at least eight glasses of water a day will increase your natural energy levels, help your body function properly, and give you clearer skin. I also suggest taking vitamins daily. I recommend taking vitamin C, fish oil, calcium, B12, and a probiotic daily.

Exercising is also critical in having and maintaining good health. Thirty minutes of mild exercise daily can transform your health. Walking, yoga, dancing, pilates, and kickboxing are some of my personal favorites. No matter what your fitness level is, there is always something you can do to get your body moving and blood circulating.

Lastly, but most importantly, keep your soul healthy. Your well being starts from within. I have found that peace comes from above, and only perfect peace can be found in God. No matter what storms or hardships life gives us, you can rest in the perfect peace of God and put your hope and trust in Him. Pray, read, and meditate daily. Meditate on the positive and be thankful for what you have. Praying gets you out of your own way and reduces worry and stress. Reading books increases knowledge. Meditating brings calmness and clarity.

These tactics definitely help keep your mind, body and soul healthy. When practiced, we grow in strength and wisdom, and when we face the unknown, ultimately we will have peace and the grace we need to carry on. “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Don’t let your heart be troubled or fearful.” John 14:27

Stay healthy! XO, Blaine

TriFitness Gym – A Great Place To Be

February 27th, 2020

By Alisa Star

As we reach a certain age our body and metabolism change. It becomes harder to shed those unwanted pounds, and movement becomes more challenging. TriFitness will help you go through your fitness journey by creating your own personal workout program that is targeted for your needs. It is based on the mobility of your body. Their team of experts are there to help you achieve your goals in a safe and successful manner.

TriFitness gym is a functional aging specialist fitness center that specializes in small group programs that targets fifty plus years of age and older. The gym is an education based facility and provides training to increase balance, flexibility, endurance, strength and in other areas that focus on natural movement. This helps seniors live a more functional daily life. Age doesn’t define our capabilities, and everyone’s body ages differently. With the right instructor and proper health program, you can help your body slow down the rate at which we lose our functional capacity.

TriFitness is one of a kind gym that has a dynamic set of instructors that are there to cater to your personal workout needs. Jake Trione, co-owner, is a functional aging specialist. Trione loves connecting with people and inspires his clients to meet their goals through his aging fitness and health programs. Trione is dedicated to his clients and makes them feel encouraged that they are working out in a safe way according to their body’s needs. Co-owner John Adelletta, loves his community and wants all the people who enter TriFitness doors to feel comfortable.

Some of TriFitness clients were eager to share their stories. Jerrye, who has been going for two months now said, “I come twice a week, I’m here to save my life”. And Brenda who’s been going faithfully says, she feels great when she arrives, and even better when she leaves. One of their daily highlights is seeing the trainers, feeling important, working out in a safe way and reaching their daily goals.

With the right fitness and nutrition program you can live a longer healthier life. TriFitness gym specializes in caring, connecting, and coaching. They are here to give you the right information, walk you through your personal training program, and get you started to a happier, healthier, better you! “TriFitness gym is buying into you, you’re not buying into us” stated Trione.

TriFitness Gym is located at 2417 Bay Area Blvd in Clear Lake. Visit www.trifitnessgym.com or call (281) 786-1189 for more information.

BIOLOGICS. BIG MOLECULES. BIG CURE.

December 31st, 2019

Mayor Donna Rogers welcomes MaSTherCell’s CEO Darren Head to Webster. MaSTherCell’s magnificent facility, located at 253 Medical Center Boulevard, represents the global company’s US headquarters for cell and gene therapies. Capital letters in the company’s name stand for “Manufacturing Synergies for Therapeutic Cells.”

MaSTherCell’s Innovative Cell Soldiers Infiltrate Webster

New advances in cell and gene therapies are transforming and revolutionizing medicines for treating and curing critical diseases, like leukemia, diabetes, and blood cancers. Since 2011, MaSTherCell, a renowned, global cell and gene therapy Contract Development Manufacturing Organization (CDMO), based in Belgium, has been pioneering and advancing sustainable and affordable therapies for intractable diseases by extracting cells from patients or donors, altering those specimens in highly controlled laboratories that are many times cleaner than a surgical lab, and re-injecting the new cells into patients to combat diseased or compromised cells. Cell and gene therapy works. “Soldier” cells and “soldier” genes are developed, manufactured, and tested by MaSTherCell to attack cancer and other maladies.

MaSTherCell opened its United States headquarters in Webster at 253 Medical Center Boulevard in August 2019 to expand its world presence and provide direct, fast, and comprehensive interaction, consulting, and collaboration with key American-based cell and gene therapy companies—many of which conduct clinical trials in the nearby Texas Medical Center—the largest medical complex on the globe. Webster’s central location within the United States enables time-sensitive cell therapy products to reach any mainland destination quite rapidly—ensuring excellent logistics for live cells. Too, Webster’s proximity to growing life science and biotechnology industries is highly beneficial for ensuring access to a highly skilled workforce and top-notch support services.

MaSTherCell represents the “D” (development) in “R & D” (research and development). When therapy discovery companies seek to develop their process for manufacturing, in accordance with the FDA’s Good Manufacturing Practice standards—and, ultimately, launch their products more rapidly and effectively, they contract with MaSTherCell, as the steps from research to development or concept to manufacturing are fraught with rigorous, regulatory, and complex processes. MaSTherCell’s team of industrial, scientific, and operational experts with credentials in industrial biotechnology, biochemistry, molecular biology, and biomedical science provide technology transfer, process and analytical development, clinical manufacturing, regulatory support, and quality oversight to customers.

A tour of MaSTherCell’s magnificent, state of the art Webster facility illuminates some of the extraordinary processes that the company undergoes to manufacture its customers’ cell and gene therapies. Inside the 32,000 square foot facility, the entire second floor features a suite of labs, including the process development/technology transfer laboratories, quality control, microbiology and cell culture laboratories, and multiple manufacturing suites. All of these labs and cleanrooms, designed under the most exacting and precise standards to support both autologous (utilizing the patient’s own cells) and allogenic cells (utilizing cell sources unrelated to the patient) are continually controlled and monitored, as part of MaSTherCell’s robust Quality Management System, in conjunction with approximately 1,000 pieces of equipment. The eight manufacturing cleanrooms, clustered with their expansive glass exteriors, are surrounded by a spacious walkway that allows clients and visitors the opportunity to view activity—activity that leads to saving lives.

Success stories for cell therapy include toddlers diagnosed with pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia, middle-aged men with chronic lymphocytic leukemia or young women with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Patients who have blood cancer provide T-cells (workhorses of the immune system) that MaSTherCell isolates in the manufacturing site and inserts chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) and grows the cells—“soldier” cells or new CAR-T cells—to combat the disease. Those new cells, known as chimeric immunoreceptors, have been engineered to give T-cells the ability to target a specific protein and act as a “living drug” against cancer cells when they are infused back into the patient following a four-to-twelve week process that includes the most rigorous testing and validations. With CAR-T-cell therapy, cells can be derived from a patient’s own blood (autologous) or derived from the T-cells of another healthy donor (allogeneic). CAR-T cells are genetically engineered to target and destroy cancer cells.

MaSTherCell is part of an explosive, fast growing industry focused on biologic treatment derived from living cells, DNA, and “natural” sources, in contrast to pharmaceuticals derived from chemical synthesis. Too, the potential applications for cell and gene therapy—immunotherapy—continue to unfold. While CAR-T therapy has proven to be life-changing for patients with blood cancers, inroads are being made for solid tumors, like breast, colorectal, and lung cancer. Currently, two CAR-T-cell therapies have been approved by the FDA, while there are 1,000 potential therapies in labs, right now.

MaSTherCell Webster is positioned for this growth with its focus on agility, transparency, engagement, team spirit, and innovation, amid a culture that is directly tied to the company’s mission, “Saving Lives.” Inside the Webster facility, patients’ photographs, with their diagnoses and successful cell therapy, are in the spotlight with MaSTherCell’s slogan, “Every Second Counts!”

Houston Methodist offers tips on how to make healthy holiday choices

December 16th, 2019

The holiday season is here, which means you’re probably already making plans to eat, drink and be merry. But, in a season that lasts for more than a month, it’s easy to go overboard.

Try these tips to make healthy choices this holiday season — without feeling like you’re missing out on the festivities.

Avoid the urge to overeat

The holidays tend to disrupt our routines, which can set us up for unhealthy eating habits. Dr. Donald D. Brown Jr., DO, primary care physician at Houston Methodist Primary Care Group in League City, recommends using these tips to keep your diet on track during the holidays.

  • Indulge, but don’t overindulge. Keep portions in check by limiting starches to a quarter of your plate and eating your protein and vegetables first since they can help you feel full longer. And, don’t forget to eat at a relaxed pace — so you have a better chance of stopping when you’re full.
  • Prioritize fellowship over food. Remember, conversation doesn’t have calories! Try to make the holidays a time to focus on family and friends, rather than just eating and drinking.
  • Get some rest. Getting enough sleep helps improve your impulse control with food choices and decreases cravings. Even though you may be busier, try to get at least seven hours of sleep a night.

The holiday season spans two months, so there’s plenty of time to slide off the exercise bandwagon — especially as your schedule fills up with holiday shopping and parties.

“Working out during the holidays can be challenging. However, it might not seem as daunting if you break it down to just 30 minutes a day and focus on making sure it’s effective,” says Kristin Salinas, athletic trainer at Houston Methodist.

Salinas says an effective workout is one where you spend time in your target heart rate zone, which is 50 to 85% of your maximum heart rate. Calculate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. For instance, a 40-year-old’s target heart rate zone is 90 to 153 beats per minute.

“There are plenty of ways to fit in the types of moderate or vigorous activity that can elevate your heart rate,” explains Salinas. “Moderate activity can be anything from walking, swimming or cycling, while vigorous activity includes running or strength training.”

Don’t let your mental health shift to the back burner

Staying merry during throughout the holiday season isn’t always as easy as it sounds.

“There are many aspects of the holiday season that can add to people’s stress levels” says Brown. “Extra tasks and responsibilities, family conflict and comparison to past holidays are a few reasons people will feel overloaded or burdened.”

Keep your holidays as stress-free as possible by following this advice:

  • Be flexible. Expecting perfection during the holiday season is unrealistic — and can lead to unnecessary stress and disappointment. Make sure you give yourself some flexibility to deal with issues that might arise.
  • Don’t be afraid to say ‘no.’ If holiday festivities start to feel like obligations, don’t be afraid to decline invitations or requests for help. Also, it’s okay to change your ‘yes’ to a ‘no.’
  • Take care of yourself, too. It’s easy to put others’ needs above your own during the holidays. But be sure you’re also practicing self-care. Check in with yourself frequently and consider asking: Am I too stressed? If the answer is yes, make time to take a break and rest

 

About Houston Methodist Clear Lake Hospital

Houston Methodist Clear Lake brings the expertise and compassionate care of Houston Methodist Hospital in The Texas Medical Center to Clear Lake communities. The hospital provides a broad spectrum of adult medical and surgical care, is an accredited chest pain center, and is also a Primary Stroke Center designated through DNV. Houston Methodist Clear Lake offers many inpatient and outpatient services including a Breast Care Center with 3-D mammography, state-of-the-art imaging, labor and delivery with a level II neonatal ICU, Cancer Center, weight loss surgery and advanced laparoscopic surgery, comprehensive orthopedics and sports medicine, cardiovascular services, neurology, urology and otolaryngology. Visit houstonmethodist.org/clearlake to learn more and to find a doctor near you.

Turmeric: Nature’s most potent pain reliever and more

July 2nd, 2019

By Chris Matos

I have suffered from chronic pain in my knees and back for several years now. This pain prohibits me from doing activities and hobbies that use to bring much enjoyment to life. I tried many different treatments from over-the-counter to prescription pain pills, all of which either had no effect or were causing additional problems. This encouraged me to research healthier and more effective treatments for pain. I discovered turmeric curcumin and an impressive list of health benefits such as diminished joint pain, improved brain function, lower risk of heart disease and cancer, thwarting Alzheimer’s disease, and even anti-aging effects.

Background
Turmeric curcumin has been used for centuries in food and medicine dating back nearly 4,000 years because of its potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Known as the main spice in the Indian dish curry, it is argued by many to be the most powerful herb on the planet at fighting and potentially reversing disease. Curcumin is one of the active ingredients in turmeric responsible for so many of its benefits and yellow color. In fact, turmeric is even good for treating hip pain and other inflammatory conditions in dogs, thanks to this active ingredient. Today’s market primarily includes turmeric supplements with products composed of 95 percent curcumin.

Turmeric curcumin happens to be poorly absorbed by the human body, so it is often recommended to purchase turmeric supplements that contain black pepper or piperine to maximize absorption. However, these chemical additives can have adverse side effects. Furthermore, turmeric and curcumin are two of the most scientifically studied natural ingredients. Many of the studies have been conducted locally at the Texas Medical Center in Houston who support turmeric’s potency and usefulness for many health conditions.

Does it really work?
Personally, having tried ten of the most rated turmeric supplements on Amazon only a couple showed positive results, yet none delivered the benefits I had expected. Realizing all supplements are not made equal I found a true gem. Nuvothera’s Super-Micronized Turmeric Curcumin utilizes the full turmeric root with over 200 beneficial molecules. Having the full complement of turmeric molecules works better as a whole rather than in isolation of only curcumin alone. Perhaps the greatest feature is the “micronized” aspect which simply means they have made the particle size incredibly small improving its absorption and bioavailability. Micronizing is so effective no black pepper or chemical enhancers are needed. This aids effectiveness and eliminates the risk of harmful side effects. Research studies have shown this super micronized turmeric curcumin to be over 100 times more potent compared to other curcumin brands.

What turmeric does for the body is amazing. Health-wise turmeric and curcumin benefits range in everything from helping with blood clots and depression to combating inflammation, boosting skin health, regulating cholesterol, and more. Nuvothera’s website (Nuvothera.com) has been eye opening from the amount of reliable information and videos showing how their product excels beyond all others. Since using their maximum potency turmeric those expected benefits have become surpassed, truly changing my life. I am able to enjoy a healthy pain free life everyday while enhancing my mood. This has become the go to gift for family who become so thankful and share all the benefits they have experienced. To feel the great rewards from turmeric, demand the best quality and begin living life to the fullest.

Houston Methodist Clear Lake plans new medical office building

May 2nd, 2019

Houston Methodist Clear Lake Hospital will begin construction soon on a six-story,
150,000-square-foot medical office building on land adjacent to its campus on NASA
Pkwy. – the first phase in a multi-year expansion plan.

Houston Methodist Clear Lake Hospital will begin construction soon on a six- story, 150,000-square-foot medical office building on land adjacent to its campus – the first phase in a multi-year expansion plan.

The $40 million medical office building will be home to Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine at Clear Lake as well as the hospital’s physical therapy facilities. The building’s upper floors will contain office and clinic space for physicians from a broad range of specialties.

“This is a significant milestone in our long-range expansion plans as we continue to grow to serve the Bay Area and surrounding communities,” said Houston Methodist Clear Lake CEO Dan Newman. “Over the next five years, we plan to add 30 to 40 new physicians to our hospital campus – across multiple specialties – and the new medical office building gives us the physical footprint we need to accommodate that growth.”

The building will be constructed on land that previously was part of the Nassau Bay Shopping Village in the 1800 block of Upper Bay Road. The hospital purchased that center in 2015. Construction is expected to begin in August and the building will open in 2021.

“This is the first major facility expansion we are undertaking since the hospital became part of the Houston Methodist system in 2014,” Newman said. “The strategic acquisition of the shopping center land in 2015 makes it possible for us to add facilities, bring in new physicians and expand our service offerings – today and in the future.”

As part of its phase one effort, the hospital also plans to demolish the existing Fuddruckers restaurant on NASA Parkway in Nassau Bay to make way for construction of a new, more visible entrance that will improve access. That project will also include enhanced signage to make it easier for patients and visitors to navigate the growing campus.

“We are already making plans for a second phase of construction that will include an expansion of the hospital itself,” said Newman. “It’s an exciting time for Houston Methodist Clear Lake.”

The Decline of America’s Health and Nutrition

January 2nd, 2019

By Sumer Dene

I received a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science at Rutgers University. Afterwards, I researched animal law at the Superior Courts in Washington, D.C. These fundamental experiences inspired me to examine how belief systems, laws, and science influence food production.

We are inundated with fast food corporations and advertisements aimed to fix problems while creating them. A “happy meal” entices children to be brand loyal to a logo, while parents are lured by convenience and price. Nonetheless, kids are encouraged to eat addictive, unhealthy food in exchange for a gift and Americans suffer through relentless habit.

Healthy food is inaccessible and unaffordable to many communities while chronic disease is the leading cause of death and disability in America. The most common, and costly preventable health problems include heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and arthritis. According to the United Nations, over 800 million people suffer from undernourishment around the world. For the Dietary Guidelines of 2020-2025, we urge policymakers to make critical decisions in securing the future of nutritious food supply.

Unsustainable Agriculture
Food is an important part of identity to maintain physical, emotional and mental health. It is a creative tool to best represent a person’s heritage and to connect people, globally, culturally, and even spiritually. However, there is a widespread cognitive dissonance in our relationship with food and how it got to our plate. This is a result of mass marketing of ultra-processed foods that undermine traditional culture. The destructive power of large-scale animal agribusiness far exceeds any other technology on earth. The U.N. addresses meat as the “world’s most urgent problem.” Instead of carrying the past in front of us, we must look forward to improve food production, health, the environment, and a booming economy and ecosystem.

The Guidelines
Integrity is determined by individuals awareness of truth and the ability to innovate and lead with research-driven science. Branded labels guide consumers when making important nutritional choices. The USDA oversees Federal Dietary Guidelines as well as policy and promotion of meat and dairy products. They are also in charge of educational systems, nutritional programs and multi-billion dollar advertising campaigns. The Standard American Diet (SAD) promotes food that may make you ill, particularly to the young and the poor. The USDA supports the agricultural economy by partnering with large scale food corporations such as McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and Dominos, to develop heavy meat and dairy menus. Dietary Guidelines affect school lunch programs, nutrition for the military, food subsidies, food labels, SNAP (food stamps), and job growth.

Health Issues:

Hunger and Disease
According to the USDA, models are emerging that view hunger as a health issue. The need for sustainable, nutritious food has skyrocketed. Imagine if the agriculture department existed mainly for land grants to local farmers and funding for agricultural research and education. Many doctors and scientists have recommended to limit meat and dairy for the future of food supply. This would reduce the catastrophic effects of industrial farming, from its vast emissions, water pollution, and disease. A change in dietary guidelines would allow opportunities for new markets to grow, give support to local organic farmers, increase global collaboration, improve access and affordability to healthy foods, and advance sustainable technology for food production.

A Giant Leaf Forward
A dedicated group of chefs, gardeners, researchers, culinary anthropologists, and nutritionists are developing an integrative plant-based menu for the 2030 Mars Mission. Space gardens will be essential to explore space beyond lower earth orbit. The veggie experiment at the International Space station grows plants in a lunar greenhouse with very little water and no soil. This could be used on earth as a large-scale hydroponic source of food. Space exploration brings out the best in people, improves life on earth, and inspires youth to get involved to make a difference in the world. The food choices we make directly affect the world around us. We are a part of a whole, interconnected system. For the upcoming Dietary Guidelines of 2020-2025, scientists, doctors, and policymakers will discuss the imminent changes needed to protect the health and welfare of our planet. The question is: “Where will the future take us?” The committee will conduct a review of evidence and conclude with a scientific report by early 2020.

The Facts, Effects of Agribusiness
80% of antibiotics sold in the U.S. are for livestock.

Less than 1% of U.S. farmland is organic. Livestock covers 45% of the earth’s total land and accounts for more worldwide greenhouse gas emissions than all of the transportation systems combined.

Animal agriculture is responsible to up to 91% of Amazon deforestation, 136 million rainforest acres have been cleared to grow feed and animals. Agribusiness is the leading cause of species extinction, deforestation, water pollution and habitat destruction.

Animal farms pollute waterways more than all other industrial sources and account for more than half of water used in the United States.

Over 95% of farm animals in the U.S. are raised in factory farms with minimal animal cruelty laws.

Livestock operations have created more than 500 nitrogen flooded dead zones in oceans around the world.

1/3 of the planet is desertified, with livestock as the leading driver.

This is known as the largest mass extinction on earth in the last 65 million years.

Fatty liver disease

January 2nd, 2019

More than 100 million Americans have potentially life threatening fatty liver disease and most do not even know it. Overeating and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol this holiday season could put someone already with the disease on the fast track to liver failure.

“There are usually no symptoms associated with fatty liver disease and no pain, so it goes undiagnosed in many people. Overtime if not diagnosed the condition has the potential to cause end stage liver failure.” said Dr. Candice Dunn, an internal medicine primary care physician at Houston Methodist Primary Care Group. “In fact, the disease is so prevalent that it will soon overtake Hepatitis C as the No. 1 reason for liver transplantation in the United States.”

Fatty liver disease is a group of disorders which all cause fat deposits in liver cells. This disrupts normal liver functioning and at a certain point can lead to liver failure and in some cases death. It is thought that insulin resistance could be the main factor initiating the disease, but genetics, environmental factors, weight, diet, exercise and many other factors can contribute. By definition the disease is not caused by alcohol intake but once diagnosed alcohol intake of any amount can severely worsen the disease. Many people with this condition suffer from metabolic syndrome, a constellation of factors which includes a large waist circumference (men greater than 40 inches, women greater than 35 inches), high blood pressure, high cholesterol and insulin resistance that heighten the risk of heart attack, stroke and type 2 diabetes.

“Fatty liver disease, much like type 2 diabetes, is manageable with proper diet and exercise. If you lose seven to 10 percent of your current weight, you can eliminate some fat from your liver,” Dunn said. “I would encourage people this holiday season to use portion control but still enjoy the holidays.”

Dunn says avoid supersizing food; use a smaller plate; don’t fill up the entire plate; don’t go back for seconds; limit the amount of sweets and, of course, limit alcohol intake to one or two drinks per week.”

Vigorous exercise, such as weight lifting, swimming, running or aerobics, between 75 and 150 minutes a week with a heart rate of 120 or above during the holiday season and beyond will help you tackle this problem. Dunn suggests eating fruits and vegetables before attending a family function or holiday party will help a person feel full and avoid foods high in fat. It has been found that up to 20 percent of people with fatty liver disease will develop cirrhosis, which can be life threatening or require liver transplant. Dunn says that number is likely to grow as the nation’s obesity epidemic continues to get worse.

“If people are concerned about whether or not they have fatty liver disease, they can ask their physician to order liver function testing,” Dunn said. “The good thing is that with a few lifestyle changes this is a disease that is very manageable. Portion control and exercise are the keys to keeping it in check.”

To learn more about Houston Methodist Primary Care Group, visit them at houstonmethodist.org/pcg or call 713-441-7265.

Breast cancer risk factors women need to avoid

October 1st, 2018

By Sumer Dene

Bay Group Media has and always will support Breast Cancer research. As a company we predominantly employ women and understand the importance of spreading knowledge to our readers. Information can save lives and help prevent tragedies. Our CEO, Rick Clapp has experienced the devastation and complexities of cancer and is a champion survivor.

Breast Cancer Awareness month is dedicated to spread awareness of the most common cancer among women. People gather at special events and fundraisers around the world to offer support. Health groups respectfully join together to discuss, inquire and evaluate a resolution to the pandemic we call cancer.

The goal of Breast Cancer Awareness month is to build a community of fabulous cognizant women who embrace their bodies, maintain a healthy lifestyle and unite in sisterhood. Being happy with who you are and mindful of your daily choices can go a long way and can lead others to do the same.

We encourage women to love and respect each other. Groups challenge the limited view of female sexuality and advocate for chemical regulations, a healthier work and home environment and transparent information regarding health and wellness.

RISK FACTORS
Risk factors for breast cancer include age, obesity, heavy drinking, smoking, chronic inflammation, high stress and toxins in our environment and diet. According to the National Cancer Institute, being exposed for a long time and/or to high levels of hormones is linked to an increased risk in breast cancer. Pesticides, synthetic chemicals and plastics leach harmful toxins that emulate estrogen in the body. These chemicals are found in processed foods, conventional health and beauty products, and the unnecessary plastic we use daily.

Excess estrogen is stored in fat and sequentially signals the body to store more fat. It’s a dangerous cycle that affects our lives in many ways. If something doesn’t seem right, ask pertinent questions. Answers become clear when you investigate. Educating yourself on important issues within a community brings everything to light to assess the bigger picture. In a free market with unlimited information and choice, where can we find solutions to complex, intricate issues for the betterment of society and the health of our people?

The “system” can be changed from the inside out. We can address obstacles to unite and lead towards a better world. Cancer rates have risen exponentially as time goes by, and so has the prevalence of many other diseases. U.S. taxpayers spend a groundbreaking $38 billion yearly to subsidize meat and dairy consumption including heavy subsidies on corn and soy. Nevertheless, experts and scientists advocate for a diverse diet rich in healthy fats, leafy and cruciferous vegetables, low-glycemic fruits, herbs and spices, and fibrous and fermented foods.

In a consumption driven industry, citizens pay for their own demise. This is an indicator of an issue that lingers in our government, food and education system and even within ourselves. We can all agree that changing government subsidies for the betterment of our people can save millions, advance healthcare and improve the quality of our lives.

SAVES LIVES
Early detection of breast cancer can save lives. Check yourself for any changes in breasts 4-5 days after your period. Notice any change in shape, color, size and contour. Caress breasts in different positions and gradually increase pressure applying three fingers in a U-shaped circular motion. Pregnant women can reduce their chances of breast cancer by breast-feeding, which results in lowered estrogen levels in the body. Learn to relax and be aware of how stress triggers you. High cortisol levels over time affect the production of hormones and weaken the immune system. Recognize negative thoughts and realize that most anxieties are not reality or truth. The best we can do is prepare for the worst, expect the best, and help others live with passion and to their highest potential.

Women are learning to embrace their femininity without limits. Female sexuality is elusive and mysterious, not until recently has culture allowed women to express themselves, connect to their body and discover their true potential as leaders in our world.

It is time to celebrate womanhood for the beauty and power that it contains. What messages do women receive growing up in this culture? Peer support groups are now spreading social messages to better lives by sharing relatable experiences. When we acknowledge and understand ourselves and the differences we have with the opposite sex we can deepen our relationships.

We strive to inspire men and women to live with intention and mindfulness to support a community of strong individuals that celebrate life together.

There is no rhyme or reason for a disease that affects people worldwide from many walks of life. Cancer has no prejudice or boundaries. It can affect anyone at any time of their lives for reasons unknown to science. The environment we are raised in dictates our habits and lifestyle choices. For any change to take place it must first happen within. A guideline for longevity is to enjoy a nutrient dense diet with healthy fats and wholesome foods, live life to the fullest, and be happy.

In the month of October, set aside a moment to honor the courageous people affected by this appalling disease and stand together to move forward to find solutions that can implement profound changes.

Whole-foods Lifestyle

August 1st, 2018

Sumer Dene

I am honored to be Bay Area Houston’s new featured writer!

A little about me; I grew up in Atlanta, New Jersey, Houston and Los Angeles. I graduated with a degree in Animal Science from Rutgers University. In an active research environment, we ask important questions like how and why.

I was a model in New York City and Los Angeles. I did runway and editorial modeling and a national broadcast commercial.

The industry taught me how to be professional, poised and confident.

However, the demands took a toll and I felt stripped of my identity. Beauty is supposed to be unique, kind, graceful, natural and full of life. Why alter and idealize it? It was difficult to be myself and live up to unrealistic measurements and standards.

After college, I was a law intern at the Superior courts in Washington, D.C. I discovered the importance of finding fact to represent important truths. Change is inevitable and so is growth- if you are willing. Laws change over time based on the wants and needs of the people.

After my internship I moved to Austin, TX. Here I discovered eccentric art, music, culture and a variety of whole-foods available anywhere at any time of day.

I couldn’t believe my eyes, all of the versatile, quality, affordable fresh foods made convenient to order. How did people not know about this? More importantly, why are whole-foods normally so difficult to find in our daily, multi-faceted life?

Why?
Through knowledge and pertinent information we can share common goals to find solutions to major problems in our society. Our food system is complex, and it doesn’t have to be. Food connects us, brings us together and fuels us. Nutrition plays an important role in how we look, feel, think and interpret information. How we choose to nurture ourselves is a decision we make every day for the rest of our lives. We can inspire loved ones to make healthier choices from living by example and becoming informed. The main reason people don’t give a whole-foods lifestyle a try is because of lack of information, pressure from advertisements, family and friends.

Over time I learned to be aware of what I put in my body and things started to change.

How?
A whole-foods lifestyle first begins with a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes. Everyone does it differently- it’s a learning experience to find out what is best suited for you.

There’s no need to limit or restrict yourself. This is a long-term goal to improve health and quality of life. You’ll learn each step is easier than the next. It’s supposed to be fun, simple and easy. It’s about exploring healthful foods and sharing that joy with the world, and that is why I developed a versatile, efficient guide to help others begin their personal journey with food.

Ingredients
It’s amazing what you can do with a few simple ingredients to combine into something delicious and nutritious. The less ingredients, the better.

Avoid words like high fructose corn syrup, gelatin, caraganeen, palm oil, white (refined), hydrogenated oils (trans fats), sodium nitrates, sodium benzoate, red 40, yellow 5 or any type of artificial color or taste used for marketing purposes. If you can’t pronounce it, you probably shouldn’t eat it. Check servings sizes and percent daily values to calculate specific nutritional needs.

Processed and refined foods are stripped of valuable nutrients. These are “empty” calories high in saturated fats with no nutritional value. To make things worse, many low-fat items are high in sugars while concentrated juices lack the essential fiber you need. This leaves you in a destructive pattern feeling unsatisfied and hungry for more.

1. Purchase fruits and vegetables in season and legumes, oats, seeds, teas, herbs and spices in bulk. You can maintain freshness in sealed glass jars. Also at many stores they offer freshly ground peanut or almond butter.

2. Stay hydrated. Drink at least 2 liters or more a day. Tal has amazing stainless steel water bottles that keep your water fresh and cool all day. You can find many sizes and colors at Walmart.

3. Make shopping simple. Reusable bags can hold many more items without tear and make grocery shopping so much more convenient.

4. Pot some plants, grow some trees. Look for a local nursery near you. Also Walmart and Home Depot have a variety of non-gmo organic seeds. You’ll grow much more than you need so make sure to share with family, friends and your community. There’s numerous therapeutic benefits to gardening plus it’s highly cost-effective.

Do your research – get the most out of your calories

Next month I will share some whole-foods recipes and suggestions. Feel free to contact me at SumerDene@gmail.com

I value your input and suggestions, all ideas are welcome.