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Showing posts with label CANCER. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CANCER. Show all posts

Inspiring Ink: 6 Breast Cancer Tattoos | AR NUTRATION

Inspiring Ink: 6 Breast Cancer Tattoos

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Worldwide, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among individuals born of the female sex.
In 2017, an estimated 252,710 new cases of breast cancer were diagnosed in females in the United States. And though the breast cancer death rate among these individuals decreased between 1989 and 2015 by 39 percent, education, awareness, and research around this disease is still vital.
One way to raise awareness is through body art. Some people choose to get inked as a reminder of strength, even during their darkest hours. For others, it’s a way to remember those they’ve lost to the disease. And for some, tattoos act as a source of healing following a mastectomy.
Keep scrolling to see the beautiful artwork and powerful messages behind the tattoos below, submitted by our readers.
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“I chose to have larkspur’s tattooed because larkspur’s are my twin boys’ birth flower. Without them I would not be where I am today. I also chose cannabis leaves because it has given me the quality of life to live, and continue to be healthy for my boys. I have finally turned my ugly scars into beautiful art, and feel myself again. I have found my confidence, and I finally love my breasts!” — Starling Wickes
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“I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer on October 2, 2015. At my very first consultation I stated that, should I need a mastectomy, both breasts were to be removed. I was told this would not happen as they would not remove healthy tissue. [In the end] I fought [for it] and won. Initially I had three months of chemo but this was killing me — and not the cancer. It was stopped, and three weeks later a double mastectomy was performed. Five weeks later I was told that I had made the best decision as I had residual cancer and the second breast would have needed to be removed anyway. Twelve months after surgery, the work on my tattoo began. This took five months to complete and I love it. Why this design? Aside from loving nature, well... these are my new ‘tits’.” — Elaine Murphy
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“I am not a pink ribbon kind of girl — I’m actually quite against it. So to commemorate my journey, I got a tattoo of the chemical formula of Herceptin and I have it right under the breast that was affected. I had the tattoo done on the day I passed the three-year mark, as that is an important milestone in Her2+ cancers.” — Anonymous
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“HOPE is essential when you’re struggling with any type of disease. This ribbon represents metastatic breast cancer — green identifies triumph of spring over winter, and thus symbolizes renewal, hope, and immortality; teal identifies healing and spirituality; pink identifies the origin of the metastasis as breast cancer.” — Debby Carlson
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“I wanted to share my survivor tattoo. I am a three-year survivor — so is my mom. This dragon is me tearing apart breast cancer (pink ribbon).” — Valerie Schwarzwaelder
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“I got this after my mastectomy. It was very healing and made me feel beautiful. I believe it was therapeutic in some way.” — Wendy Snow

Your Anxiety Loves Sugar. Eat These 3 Things Instead. | AR NUTRATION

Your Anxiety Loves Sugar. Eat These 3 Things Instead.

Sugar is harmful to your mental health, but there are ways to still satisfy your sweet tooth.
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Is it time to ditch sugar?

It’s no secret that sugar can wreak havoc on your body if you’re indulging in a little too much of the sweet stuff. Still, 75 percent of Americans are eating too much of it.
The harmful effects it can have on your physical health are well-studied, which is why we talk so much about reducing sugar to lose weight and lower the risk of disease.
While ditching the sweet stuff can result in a physically healthier you, it’s the impact sugar has on our mental health that’s worth taking a second look at.

1. Sugar leads to highs and lows

If your idea of coping with stress involves a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, there’s a good chance you know exactly what a sugar rush is.
While most people can get through a rush and subsequent crash with minimal discomfort, there’s an entire group of people who pay a big price for eating too much sugar.
That’s because consuming a large amount of processed sugar can trigger feelings of worry, irritability, and sadness — which can be a double whammy if you also deal with depression or anxiety.
But why does sugar cause such a problem?
After eating too much sugar, your body releases insulin to help absorb the excess glucose in the bloodstream and stabilize blood sugar levels. That’s a good thing, right? Not necessarily.
Here’s why: A sugar rush makes your body work hard to get back to normal levels.
This roller coaster of ups and downs can leave you feeling nervous, foggy, irritable, jittery, and drained.
If you have anxiety or depression, those symptoms are likely ones you already deal with on a daily basis. Sugar will exacerbate them.

2. If it doesn’t cause anxiety, it sure makes it worse

If you deal with anxiety, then you know how disastrous it can be to binge on sugar.
The powerful high and subsequent crash can make you feel irritable, shaky, and tense — all side effects that can worsen your anxiety.
But that’s not all. Sugar can also weaken your body’s ability to respond to stress, which can trigger your anxiety and prevent you from dealing with the cause of the stress.
There’ve been a few studies that have looked at the connection between sugar and anxiety, but they were both done on rats. While the findings did show a definite link between sugar intake and anxiety, researchers would like to see more studies done on humans.

3. Sugar can increase your risk of developing depression

It’s hard to avoid reaching for the sweets, especially after a difficult day. And when you’re dealing with depression, sometimes food can serve as a form of self-medication.
But this vicious cycle of consuming sugar to numb your emotions will only make your symptoms of sadness, fatigue, and hopelessness worse.
Overconsumption of sugar triggers imbalances in certain brain chemicals. These imbalances can lead to depression and may even increase the long-term risk of developing a mental health disorder in some people.
In fact, a 2017 study found that men who consumed a high amount of sugar (67 grams or more) each day were 23 percent more likely to receive a diagnosis of clinical depression within five years.
Even though the study just involved men, the link between sugar and depression is also evident in women.

4. Withdrawing from sweets can feel like a panic attack

When it comes to quitting processed sugar, many people recommend going cold turkey. But if you have a history of panic attacks, that might not be a good idea.
Withdrawing from sugar isn’t pleasant.
It can cause serious side effects, such as anxiety, irritability, confusion, and fatigue. This has led experts to look at how the withdrawal symptoms from sugar can resemble those of certain drugs.
“Evidence in the literature shows substantial parallels and overlap between drugs of abuse and sugar,” explains Uma Naidoo, MD, who’s considered the mood-food expert at Harvard Medical School.
When someone misuses a drug, like cocaine, they go into a physiological state of withdrawal when they stop using it.
Naidoo says that people who are consuming high amounts of sugar in their diets can similarly experience the physiological sensation of withdrawal if they suddenly stop consuming sugar.
That’s why going cold turkey from sugar may not be the best solution for someone who also has anxiety.
“Suddenly stopping sugar intake can mimic withdrawal and feel like a panic attack,” Naidoo says. And if you have an anxiety disorder, this experience of withdrawal can be heightened.

5. Sugar zaps your brain power

Your stomach may be telling you to dive in and drink your way out of that jumbo cherry Icee, but your brain has a different idea.
Researchers at UCLA found that a diet steadily high in fructose from sugary items such as soda slows down your brain, which can hamper memory and learning. The researchers discovered that genes in the brain could be damaged by fructose.
This may impact memory and learning and could even lead to Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and heart disease.
The main sources of fructose in the American diet include cane sugar (sucrose) and high-fructose corn syrup. This is an important distinction, since the researchers were focused only on fructose.
Granted, their study was done on rats. But what they discovered is worth considering when it comes to your diet — and brain health.

If you’re craving sweets, here’s what to eat instead

Just because you’re ditching processed sugar doesn’t mean you have to deny yourself the pleasure of sweet-tasting food. In addition to being a doctor known as an expert on food and mood, Naidoo is also a chef.
Here are a few of her favorite low- or no-sugar recipes.
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Chef Uma’s chai tea smoothie


  • 1 serving vanilla protein powder of your choice
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1 tbsp. almond butter
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/8 tsp. each of ground cinnamonnutmegclove, and cardamom spice
  • 1/4 tsp. organic vanilla essence
  • ice
  • a small bit of organic honey to sweeten, if needed


  1. Add all ingredients to your blender. Blend until smooth.
  2. Enjoy.

Chef Uma's tips

  • If you don’t have the spices, brew a cup of chai tea using tea bags or whole leaf tea. Use it instead of the almond milk.
  • For a thinner smoothie, add almond milk for creaminess.
  • Avocado adds creaminess and is a healthy fat to boot!

Chef Uma’s chocolate dipped strawberries



  • 2 16-oz. containers of strawberries with the stems on
  • 1 10-oz. bag of dark chocolate chips
  • 1 10-oz. bag of milk chocolate chips


  1. Wash the two containers of strawberries, then air-dry.
  2. Use a double-boiler method to heat the chocolate.
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. Gently stir the chocolate to a smooth consistency.
  5. Quickly dip strawberries in melted chocolate. Dry on sheet pan.
  6. Set in fridge for 5 to 10 minutes.

Chef Uma’s tips

  • Always air-dry or towel-dry the strawberries before dipping them in the melted chocolate. Water will damage the chocolate.
  • If the chocolates form a thick mixture, you may need to add 1/2 cup more of milk chocolate chips to help create a smooth consistency for dipping.
  • The flavanols, methylxanthines, and polyphenols found in dark chocolate help boost mood, lower anxiety, and fight inflammation.
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Chef Uma’s oven-roasted sweet potatoes with red miso paste


  • 4 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup red miso paste
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF (218ºC).
  2. Create a marinade by mixing the olive oil, salt, pepper, and red miso paste.
  3. Peel and cut sweet potatoes into equal-sized pieces or discs.
  4. Toss the sweet potatoes in the marinade.
  5. Place sweet potatoes on a sheet pan in a single layer.
  6. Roast for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

Chef Uma’s tips

  • You can substitute white miso paste for less of an umami flavor.
  • It may be easier to coat all the potatoes with the marinade if you put both in a Ziploc bag, then toss around.
  • Sweet potatoes are a healthy source of fiber and phytonutrients.

8 Reasons Your Friends (and Twitter) Should Never Replace Therapy | AR NUTRATION

8 Reasons Your Friends (and Twitter) Should Never Replace Therapy

Your friends and family might love you, but they don’t always make for good therapists.
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Approximately 1 in 6 adults in the United States experiences mental health issues in any given year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Luckily, among those 44 million Americans are celebrities who are using their platform to raise awareness and normalize talking about mental health issues.
That includes Kanye West.
“I want to change the stigma of [the word] crazy, of mental health — period,” he told radio personality Charlamagne in a nearly two-hour long interview earlier this month.
Unfortunately, Kanye went on to make some polarizing comments about therapy: “I use the world as my therapy, as my therapist,” he said. “I will pull them into the conversation of what I’m feeling at that point and get their perspective.”
Twitter didn’t react so kindly to Kanye’s comments, some going so far as to call this strategy dangerous.
After all, friends and family aren’t always the best source of advice. Plus, there are many benefits of talking to a therapist that you simply won’t get from a non-professional.
We’ve certainly come a long way when it comes to destigmatizing the world of mental health.
Today, younger generations are viewing therapy as a crucial part of proactively maintaining their overall wellness, says licensed psychologist Erika Martinez, PsyD. “Because of our prevalent medical model and the way insurance is set up, mental health has been thought of as secondary or tertiary care. It’s never been used as preventive medicine. Now, prevention is what it’s all about.”
But there’s still an undeniable stigma around talking about mental health and seeing a therapist.
Maybe you feel embarrassed to require help beyond what friends or family can provide, or maybe you — like Kanye — just have yet to understand the benefits of paying to talk to someone.
These eight reasons to talk to a therapist, rather than friends and family, may change your mind:

1. A therapist won’t judge you

One of the biggest perks of having a therapist? You can talk to them about literally anything without needing to filter yourself for fear of being judged. It’s basically one of the key requirements of the job.
“My job is to give you 100 percent positive regard and unconditional support, and to be completely nonjudgmental,” Kate Cummins, licensed clinical psychologist, tells Healthline.
Friends and family might not have the extensive training to keep their judgement in check on whatever you’re going through.

2. Therapists aren’t pushing their own agenda

As an unbiased third party, your therapist should be there to give the best possible guidance to you — and you alone. “The problem with friends is that they care about you and their relationship with you, so they often just agree with you to make you feel better,” says psychiatrist Scott Carroll, MD.
“Family, on the other hand, tends to advise you in ways to ‘protect you’ and minimize your risk, or [to] fit their beliefs about morals and how they think life should be lived,” he says.
These are the best-case scenarios. The worst case is that your friend or family member may actually want to control you or keep you in a pathological state for their benefit, he adds.
With a therapist, you have someone who doesn’t have the same personal stake, so they can be completely honest and objective.

3. They’re required to keep your secrets

When you choose to make your friends your therapists, you can end up putting both of you in a tough spot. Especially if you’re venting about someone they also have a relationship with, says Martinez.
While it’s important to only confide in those who you have complete trust in, with a therapist, you don’t have to worry that something you said in confidence will be turned into gossip or repeated to the wrong person.

4. Therapists have years of training under their belt to help you address the problem

While your friend may have taken a Psych 101 class, without a degree, they simply don’t have the tools to help you take action. (And even if they did, they’d have bias). “Your friends and family can listen and provide support, but a clinician is trained to understand your psychological behaviors. They can help you uncover the why,” Cummins says.
And most importantly, they can also give you healthy coping strategies, so you can change your behaviors, or move past dysfunctional thoughts or difficult emotions, she adds.

5. With a therapist, you don’t have to feel guilty about feeling “needy”

After all, you’re paying them (or insurance is)! Any relationship can turn toxic if one person feels like they’re constantly being “used” for support, but never supported in return. With a therapist, it’s not supposed to be a two-way street.
“As a therapist, you don’t expect anything back from your clients, except for them to just show up. With any other relationship you have in life, something is needed in return. If it’s your parents, they need you to be their child; if it’s a friend, they want that friendship back,” says Cummins.

6. They won’t minimize your problems

There’s nothing worse than going through a painful or traumatic experience and being told by a friend or family member that you should be “over it by now.”
The fact is, everyone experiences and manages life events differently. A therapist will understand that everyone is on their own timeline when it comes to getting over a breakup, settling into a new job, or processing any other obstacle, Cummins says.
And when it comes to other serious mental health issues like depression or anxiety — or even sub-clinical issues like loneliness or social anxiety — a therapist will never minimize or brush over your issues as not serious enough or worthy of attention like your friends or family may.

7. Talking to the wrong people might make you feel worse

“Some people have really difficult families. It may not be safe to share intimate struggles with them even if they are flesh and blood,” Martinez points out. “Others simply aren’t equipped with the ability to hear your story, and they won’t be able to empathize,” she says.
“When people share intimate struggles with those who haven’t earned the right to hear them, or who make them feel minimized, judged, or deprecated, it can do more damage than good,” she adds.
Of course, talking to select friends and family who do make you feel understood and validated can be helpful, especially if you just need a vent sesh about life stressors, says Carroll. “The irony is that you often have to go to therapy to figure out which of your friends and family are the best to talk to.”

8. They can help you grow as a person

Because of their training, a therapist is uniquely equipped to give you insight into your behaviors that can help you grow in ways that might be impossible on your own.
“For example, in the instance of a breakup, most people think talking to a therapist would be an overreaction. It’s not. It’s one of the healthiest things you can do,” says Martinez. “A breakup is fertile ground for personal growth. Yes, you are emotionally raw and vulnerable, but there’s so much potential there. It’s a chance for people to realize things about themselves they never would’ve realized had they simply talked to friends and family.”

How to find the right therapist for you

Shopping for a therapist can be a time consuming process. Still, it’s worth it when you find someone who supports and empowers you.
  1. Ask your primary care doctor, and — if you’re comfortable sharing — friends, for referrals. You choose your doctors and friends, so chances are you’ll also get along with someone they click with.
  2. Look up a list of in-network practitioners on your insurance company website. Every insurance plan includes mental health coverage and it should be the same or a similar co-pay as your other doctors’ appointments.
  3. Search database. It lets you filter by:

    a. specialty or need, like ‘relationships,’ ‘anxiety,’ or ‘body image’

    b. type of provider, such as psychologist, licensed clinical social worker, marriage and family therapist

    c. whether or not they take your insurance
  4. Ask these questions if your top choice isn’t covered. If you don’t have insurance, or want to see someone who’s out-of-network or doesn’t accept insurance at all, ask if they offer discounted cash rates. Some therapists also offer a sliding scale to help those who are limited financially.
  5. Check out their websites and request a phone call. Once you’ve narrowed down your list to those who meet your needs, read through their bios to get a feel for their personality, then request a preliminary call. Most will offer a free, 15-minute phone consultation. If they won’t talk on the phone, move onto the next person on your list.
  6. Ask yourself whether this is someone you feel warm when talking to. If you don’t feel a connection, it’s okay. Move on to the next.
  7. Consider online therapy. You can also check out digital therapy apps like Talkspace or BetterHelp, that match you with a licensed counselor whenever you need for a flat monthly rate.
When you do find a therapist, here are some questions to ask them to see if they’re right for you. Remember, it’s your therapy. You can choose the therapist that’s right for you.