Resources to Fight Cancer

Ever since Brad’s cancer diagnosis, I’ve been constantly consuming information. There’s a sense of helplessness and fear that come with not knowing what will happen. Instead of allowing myself to be totally consumed by that fear, I’ve decided to control what we can control.

In order to do that, I need information, and I’ve been choosing to get it from lots of different resources. So I thought I would share some of those with you, in case you need the empowerment, too.

Resource No. 1: People

You need to find other people who have been through what you are going through. Maybe it’s not the same cancer or symptoms or whatever, but walking the journey is easier with other people.

Finding people who have faced the fear of doctors, follow-ups, surgery, chemo, radiation and all the things in-between gives you an advantage on what questions to ask, doctors to find (or avoid), clinic etiquette, parking and where to find coffee or snacks.

Lean on those people. Let them help you and comfort you in your time of need. Then, pay it forward. Because I promise you, you will learn lots of tips and tricks that will help someone else in the future.

Resource No. 2: Books

This has been my sweet spot. I’ve got books upon books upon books. I’m reading anything I can get my hands on about nutrition. Some books are competing theories on nutrition. Some are diet-specific. Some are cookbooks. Some are personal stories of cancer survivors.

I can tell you a couple key things I’ve learned from all the reading.

  • Added sugars and artificial sugars are MEGA bad for you, as in they ping the same place in the brain as heroine and cocaine.
  • Processed foods are linked to all kinds of health issues i.e. cancer, heart disease, autoimmune disease, diabetes, autism, etc.
  • Dark leafy greens are the superheros of the vegetable world.
  • Berries are the best fruits because they are high in antioxidants and have a lower glycemic index than other fruits.
  • Fats are not the enemy. Your brain runs on good fats like avocado, coconut oil, MTC oil, olive oil.
  • What you eat affects the microorganisms that live in your digestive tract. This is part of emerging science, but studying the gut will become mainstream in the very near future because gut health is linked to your immune system.
  • Knowing where your food comes from let’s you have more control over what goes into it.
  • Diet is a loaded word, in my opinion. Keto, paleo, vegetarian, whatever. It’s about how you feel. Once you’ve done your research and gain some understand of how food is sourced, processed, etc., you should use different diets as guidelines, not the word. Each body is different. It needs different things based on each person’s genetic makeup, microbiome, stressors and disease. Experiment until you find what works for you.

Books I’ve loved so far:

Books in the queue:

It’s not a fine science. It’s just research. What makes sense to us might not make sense to you. It may not be for you, and that’s ok. You can find what is for you.

Resource No. 3: Weekly Grocery Shopping

“Let food be thy medicine.”

It’s an ancient proverb. Food is powerful. It can build you up or tear you down. What you put in is a direct reflection of what you get out. So I challenge you to make good choices each week.

Cook at home.

Eat those veggies.

Cut back on the starch.

Please, please limit your added sugar intake. It really is in everything so read your labels. Check those ingredient lists.

Be an advocate for yourself. Vote with your dollars on the products that fuel your health. On the brands that are transparent.

Companies and brands I trust as of right now:

Resource No. 4: Overhaul Your Products

I wrote about this once before, but it’s just so important I had to say it again. What you put on your body is just as important as what you put in your body. There is very little regulation on what chemicals can be used in the products you use every day.

Go watch Stink! on Netflix. Then, let’s talk. Because, girl, I’ll tell you what is happening ain’t right. No, ma’am.

Companies and Brands I trust with what I know/research/info available right now:

Note: None of these companies, brands, authors, etc. asked me to endorse their products or work. I did not get compensated for this post. These are the things that have worked for us so far, and I hope you find it helpful.

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Why Your Man Needs Counterman

I never know what to get Brad for Valentine’s Day. I’m actually really bad at shopping for a Valentine’s Day gift because I think Valentine’s Day is silly. We should show love and appreciation for each other more than just one day of the year. But I won’t bore you with that soapbox.

Our first Valentine’s Day together I got him a mini-hatchet to take on his camping adventures. It was really a gift for me since I love a good campfire, and sometimes you need to prep some kindling to get a good campfire going. I can say I’ve gotten better over the years. One time I got him (us) a massage. Again, that was partly for me.

I have yet to come up with something for Brad’s Valentine’s Day gift, but I have a great idea for you.

Meet Counterman.

It’s the first full men’s line of safer skincare and body products from my beloved Beautycounter.

Brad has heard me harp on and on about how wonderful Beautycounter has been for my skin. So with his recent cancer diagnosis, we have been trying to eliminate endocrine disruptors from the products he uses, as well as that we use in the house.

It just didn’t seem fair that I had all of these great, safer products to use, and he didn’t have anything I felt like would fit the bill. Thankfully, Beautycounter announced the new men’s line right after the first of the new year. I was lucky enough, with my consultant status, to get the entire line a month in advance. So it was neatly wrapped and under the tree on Christmas morning.

So why should you get your man a skincare regime?

Men’s skin is biologically different than women’s skin.*

• Men’s skin is thicker. In general, men’s skin density is about 25% thicker than women’s—which is attributed to collagen density. They retain this density level for longer than women, resulting in younger-looking skin.

• Skin is tougher. Men’s skin tends to be tougher due to slower cellular turnover and constant shaving that disrupts the skin barrier.

• Skin is oilier. Men generally produce more sebum than women and tend to be shinier and more prone to breakouts.

• Pore & follicle size is larger. Not only do men produce coarser and darker facial hair, but their pore size is larger, leaving skin more vulnerable to blackheads.

*1. AAD, DW August 21, 2014. “Biological differences in skin create challenges in treating men”. A Publication of the American Academy of Dermatology|Association.

How is Counterman unique?

Featuring high-tech Sequoia Stem Cell Complex, all
Counterman formulas help protect skin from every day
stress, while providing safer and cleaner products dedicated
specifically for men.

What is the Sequoias Stem Cell Complex, and what are the benefits?

Plant stem cells have the properties and the ability to self renew. Also, plant stem cells never undergo an aging process but instead perpetually divide to produce new cells. Plant stem cell technology helps to increase the availability of these extracts and allows us to have consistency in our
formula.

What are the products?

If you feel like learning more, click the link at the bottom of each photo. That’s also the way you shop, too, if you are interested.

Counterman Cooling Aftershave Tonic
Counterman Smoothing Shave Cream
Counterman Charcoal Body Bar
Counterman Conditioning Beard Oil
Counterman Oil-Free Face Lotion
Counterman Detoxifying Toner Pads
Counterman Daily Exfoliating Cleanser
Counterman Energizing Charcoal Body Wash

Did you know there are sets?

Counterman Beard Regimen
Counterman Shave Regimen
Counterman Collection

The regimens and full collection comes with a free gift until the end of January. So get your favorite guy some safer skincare this Valentine’s Day. You won’t be sorry, especially when his skin starts looking so healthy and good.

I also have samples of some of the items. If you are interested, visit the Contact Me page, and shoot me a message with your address. I will ship them out ASAP.

Do No Harm

2018 was a tough year for me. I lost my favorite kid in the entire world to Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer, and my boyfriend was diagnosed with a malignant neuroendocrine tumor (NET) in his small intestine, which thankfully they removed right before Christmas.

I can’t help but think that these life-shaping moments mean something more, and I personally have felt very called, convicted to share my knowledge on how to help people make safer, better choices.

The mantra “Do No Harm” comes into play here. We are hardwired to go with the flow, the masses. Society can make choices that we automatically deem ok because “other people are doing it.” I remember in elementary school getting in trouble for doing something against the rules, and my teacher saying something like if everyone jumped off the roof, would you do it, too?

We have to stop “jumping off the roof” when it comes to our health and wellbeing. Just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t make it the best choice for each of us.

I love the idea of exploring this whole idea of don’t just go with the flow when it comes to your health. It’s a loaded topic. And I know people will get testy on the subject because we want to believe that we are doing the right thing. Health and wellness is just a touchy topic because everyone choices to live differently.

But let’s unpack this idea. For fun. Particularly for the endocrine system.

I found this article from Dr. Axe, and it totally hit home for me.

With Brad’s cancer specifically affecting hormone cells in his small intestine, changing his diet won’t be enough on the preventative side we can control. There are so many things that we use on our bodies, breathe in through the air and eat that can effect our endocrine system. So diet is only one of many things.

Well, you can’t control what chemical makeup of the air we breathe.

But you can get a home air filtration system or diffuse clarifying essential oils or use safer cleaning products. I started looking into household cleaners once I signed on with Beautycounter and started learning about all the ways our endocrine system can be affected by what we put on our bodies. That translated quickly into changing our everyday cleaners and detergents.

Brands I use include Seventh Generation, Better Life and Doterra. Better Life is a new one for me, but proving to be a good one. I get mine through Thrive Market or on Amazon.

I use EWG’s Skin Deep Site or app to check out beauty and skin care products that fall outside of Beautycounter‘s current product offerings. Finding Beautycounter was a total game changer for me and my skin care. I’ve always suffered with oily, acne-prone skin, but now I believe that was totally because the products I was using were full of harmful chemicals, additives and questionable ingredients. Beautycounter has a list of over 1,500 ingredients they never use in any of their products. It’s a company I’m proud to support because we are collectively changing the beauty industry for the better.

I realize this is a heavy subject, but we need to be talking about it as consumers. We need to be voting with our dollars for company’s that put people first, instead of profit. This is something I’m deeply passionate about, and it is so very important as we move forward.

The goal is not to have everyone I know using Beautycounter or brands I love (though I would love it if you found Beautycounter to be your thing that works for you).

The goal is to get you thinking about things in a new way.

To question.

To not jump off a roof just because everyone else is doing it.

To take your health and wellness seriously.

Because, y’all, we only get this one life.

What do you want to do this year to take control of your health and wellness? What small changes can you make? What things can you get rid of? How can I help you? Because I truly feel called to help you take the steps to make a choice.

2019: The Year of Gratitude

I spent the weekend reflecting on 2018 and setting goals for 2019. What a year it’s been.

I always love looking at everyone’s “Best Nine” at the end of the year. It’s so fun to go back and look at what consumed your life. Mine was consumed with travel, gardening, Annie Mae and B. Several things happened that I wish hadn’t, but overall I found goodness and a little grace.

I completed my 2019 Powersheets prep work on Saturday morning. This is the first year I’ve tried to set intentional goals at the beginning of the year. Last year, I started with Powersheets around June. I love the prep work because it helps you really nail down what you want to accomplish for the year, and it breaks your main goals down into smaller, easier-to-digest goals to work toward monthly, weekly and daily.

One of my main goals is to establish and maintain healthy eating practices and a true fitness routine. So I wanted to share with you what I will be doing to reach that goal starting tomorrow.

Establish a Meditation Practice

I’ve used the Calm app off and on for a couple of months to see if it is something that will help me. Quieting my mind is basically non-existent. My brain literally never shuts off. It can, at times, be awful. So I did some research about stress management, and guided meditation is one of the best ways to manage stress.

Tomorrow, I will start a daily mediation practice. Whether it’s in the morning or before bed will depend on my mood, but my goal is to mediate in the morning before leaving for work. I will also use the Sleep Stories or sleep mediations to help me fall asleep at night, instead of using the TV. At least, that is a long term goal for this practice. I’m shooting for 5-10 minutes per day, and then maybe longer periods on the weekends, which will lead into the second part of this overall goal.

A Daily Yoga Practice

After lots of research and looking at my daily schedule, yoga seems like the easiest thing to work into my life at this time. Plus, there are added benefits of stress management for combining a mediation and yoga practice. I know it sounds pretty granola, but that’s just where I am right now.

I’ve used Asana Rebel off and on, and I have a BOD account. So the plan is to use them, even if it is only 5 or ten minutes. Just move my body each day. Ideally, I would like this to be 10-20 minutes on the mat with longer sessions on the weekends. And I plan to use the Calm app directly after my yoga practice.

My intention for the new year is centered around gratitude, and my intention for my yoga practice is focused on being awake.

I would love to know what your goals are for 2019. Please share.

The Season of Change

“Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy.” 
― Robert Tew

Hey. Hi. Hello.

It’s been awhile since I last published on this space. But it feels like the thing to start doing now that life has significantly changed.

So what has changed?

My better half was diagnosed with cancer, had surgery and has been declared cancer free in a mere two week period. All of this happening grossly close to the Christmas holiday and during a busy work period for me. Isn’t life funny like that? It always makes you slow down and take stock of what is really important at the most inopportune times.

But that is why I’m writing now. I want to be able to share all the things we learn about how to live our best life as we prepare for routine scans and the anxiety that comes with that. It’s just another season of life, but it won’t slow us down for one minute.

So what does this season of life look like?

To be honest, I’m not really sure. I know I want to be in the moment more than ever before. I know I don’t want to dwell on the little things. I know I don’t want to worry over what people think. I know I want to live my best life with Brad and our puppies in our home that we share. I know we will be eating very clean. I know we will start a routine of exercising (yoga for me…not sure what Brad will want to do once he is fully recovered from surgery.)

And I know this is the space, as well as my Adventures to Wellness Facebook page, where I will share what we are doing to accomplish and thrive during this new season.

Gratitude for All the People

A cancer diagnosis for someone as young as Brad is super unsettling. Most people don’t really know what to say to us. So they just not to say anything (not judging, just an observation) or they say something off the wall. It can be quite comical. And yet I feel a little guilty typing that out because so many people have been so good to us during this time. It’s just the truth.

There is a small population of people that know exactly what to say and how to say it. Very, very small. And I can say we have been blessed beyond measure on having key people in that category. And people in the category of just coming to spend time with us….because spending time is the most valuable thing someone can do for another person.

The Restart

When I thought about what I wanted to say in this first post, nothing really feels adequate. Most starts or restarts are horribly awkward. (This one is shaping up to be pretty awkward, too.) I’ve found, most of the time, the fear is in starting.

I’ve started over on this blog lots of times, but no other time has it been more important to me than now.

2019 will be the year of weeding out what and who doesn’t serve, grow or make me happy.

I know that’s a bold statement. But when the one person you love most in the world faces a scary beast like cancer and wins, you have to celebrate life because every single day from here on out is a gift. A straight up gift.

So what can you expect to see here?

  • Paleo and Ketogenic recipes and food content
  • Clean eating philosophies
  • Clean beauty and skin care for men and women (B’s tumor affected his endocrine system)
  • Books on gut health, general health and wellness, food, personal development and spiritual development
  • Outside resources (mostly on the Facebook page) we feel warrant sharing with a larger audience
  • Life updates on B’s condition, our life, etc.

This space will be what I intended it to be when I first conceived the idea. It will be with some regularity, but maybe not daily, and I welcome you to follow along.

This is no longer just my space of wellness, but Brad’s, too. And, ultimately, yours…if you want to be a part of it.

With all my love and positive energy,
Ashten