Thursday, March 10, 2016

Simple Steps to Focus on Cancer Prevention

Written by, Bernadyn Nettles

Last month in February was Cancer Prevention Month, but we need to think about taking care of ourselves to prevent cancer, or any disease, everyday.  Prevention means consciously living a healthy lifestyle from what type of food you eat, how you treat your body, and what type of chemicals you surround yourself with daily. Cancer is one of those scary words I hate to think about, especially because it hits close to home. There are people who I cared about who have lost the battle to cancer. As a mother and wife, it affects me more because I want to do all I can to prevent my kids and husband from this terrible disease. I'm sharing some lifestyle tips today to motivate you to keep cancer away, too.

Ever since I found out I was going to be a mom, I knew I wanted to keep my home, my body, and my family safe from toxins and un-natural products and chemicals.

Here are some ways our family tries to live healthy and prevent encountering carcinogens:

Household Products

We make an effort to use household cleaners that are safe and natural. We usually use homemade natural cleaners. This is especially important when our kids help with chores - we give them a spray bottle filled with only warm water or maybe vinegar to clean surfaces like table tops, counter tops, sinks and door handles.


  • We try to eat whole foods. 
  • We make an effort to include more fresh fruit and vegetables in our diets compared to eating meat and processed food. 
  • Cooking our own meals is a good way to know what's in our meals and encourages our kids to be motivated to eat healthier when they helped to prepare the meal.
  • We like making our own smoothies using fruit and adding fresh fruit to salads. 
  • There are times when we don't always eat the healthiest but we try to stick to our healthy-eating habits on most days out of the week. I would suggest to create a meal plan as a proactive way to stay on top of a healthy-eating schedule.

Get Fit!

  • We exercise regularly and are active on most days. 
  • We spend more time outdoors now that our son loves sports. He started riding a bike and our daughter loves using her scooter and going to the park. 
  • We do plenty of walking instead of using the car since we moved to our new neighborhood. His school is right next door, so walking makes more sense anyway, especially when the weather is nice. Also, I began graduate school and I park in a far lot to get to class, allowing me to walk at least a mile back and forth on the days I attend school. 
  • My husband and I try to go to the gym at least three times a week.
  • When we can't make it to the gym or would rather do something else, we participate in other physical activities (playing a game of soccer with the kids or swimming when it's hot outside).

I know going to an actual gym or attending fitness classes can be challenging for most people's schedules or tough on the budget, but simply doing 30 minutes of physical activity a day can make a difference in preventing diseases like cancer. 

Ideas to get physical aside from hitting the gym:

  • Dance at home or go out and hit the dance floor (my husband and I even took dance classes a couple years ago - it really is a workout!)
  • Play sports
  • Walk around or jog in place while watching TV or talking on the phone
  • Walk around your neighborhood or at the park or head to the mall if it's hot outside
  • Climb stairs instead of using the elevator
  • Borrow workout videos from your local library to do indoors 
  • Netflix also has workout videos available that I used to use when I first had my kids
  • Join a neighborhood group in your neighborhood that jogs, bikes, or walks on a set schedule every week

Other Unhealthy Lifestyle Choices to Avoid 

Additionally, don't forget about activities to avoid like smoking, drinking alcohol heavily, and practicing other unhealthy lifestyle activities that could possible lead to. Avoid going outside without sunscreen and proper attire if you know you'll be out in the sun. Even in the winter and rain, the sun can damage your skin. I wear sunscreen everyday whether I'm going outside or staying indoors. For your face, use face sunscreen or moisturizer and makeup that includes it. Don't forget to reapply especially if you're sweating it off or washing it off in the water.

Environmental Dangers

Remember to also have your home properly inspected for other ways carcinogen may sneak up on you including mold and asbestos, which can still be found in older homes and schools. Exposure is known to cause an aggressive cancer called mesothelioma, so be alert for possible signs of asbestos and proper abatement practices.

Read Labels and Research Products

Pay more attention to labels and consider doing extra research on products you use or before you make a purchase. Often times, you'll be surprised at what types of dangerous chemicals you use everyday that could potentially harm your health. This goes for household cleaners and the food you eat.

Focus on Cancer Prevention

Treating cancer is obviously more of a challenge than proactively trying to prevent it. Preventing cancer and any health problems starts in the home and with how you live daily. Change does not have to be hard: eat more fruit and greens daily, take more walks, and read the labels when you make purchases.

What are some tips you have for living healthier? Share and let me know, I'd love to hear it!

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