October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month - Life ... It's Why We Cook. Blog at Allrecipes.com - 252481

Life ... It's Why We Cook.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month 
Oct. 4, 2011 11:09 am 
Updated: Oct. 7, 2011 3:20 am
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
 Not only is it a good time to learn everything you can about this dreadful disease, but it is also a great time to do your self- check and get those mammograms. If you feel uncomfortable that a male is telling you to do this, too bad! Maybe it will help you remember to get it done! We have several breast cancer survivors on AR and those whom you know should be reminder enough to take care of yourself.  I am aware of two AR members currently engaged in their own fight with this disease. 
Our Northern friends in Manitoba and Saskatchewan sent a weather front that cleared out the dismal weather that was claiming us for the days preceding last Sunday. What a relief to see blue skies ! Unfortunately, that front included frost and freezing temperatures that claimed most of the lower elevations around us. Our higher elevation of this prairie saved us from those conditions so, my peppers and a couple tomato plants are still producing. That Canadian gift has moved onward and this week we have been experiencing clear skies, balmy 70’s during the day and very cool mid 40’s at night. I’ll take it! That’s beautiful fall weather and will make the fall coloring get very showy.
When I was concerned about a frost or freeze, I covered up the plants that I wanted to keep producing- mostly cherry peppers. They continue to blossom and set peppers and I want to see how far I can make them work and into what temps I can protect them economically.
During the past fourteen months, I have frequently been finding flavors that cause a taste disaster in my mouth. (For the new readers, the cause of this problem is this basic formula: Oral cancer = radiation = taste buds gone berserk.)  It seemed, every few days a new taste disaster would come to light. It got to where I didn’t want to eat anyplace but home because I was sure I would be obliged to eat something that tasted bad (or worse).
One evening, a few weeks ago, my wife put things in a new context that seems to be the information I need to know so that I can eat and, once again, enjoy what I am eating.  It came about when my wife was having some sugarless ice cream that I had made and I was having the same ice cream only sweetened. As I ate the sweetened ice cream, the flavor was rapidly going bad so, I set it aside. That’s when she said, “I think it’s sugar that is making your taste go bad. Eat my ice cream and see what happens.”  We swapped the ice creams and I began the experiment. The conclusion is that the unsweetened ice cream tasted good right to the last delicious spoonful. So, we began keeping track of anything I had that was sweet.
We soon discovered that refined sugar is the biggest culprit. If I had to have negative response to any food, refined sugar is the one to have. What could be better than not eating something that isn’t good for me, anyway?  Of course, I haven’t tried everything, yet so I’ll continue learning. If I stay away from that ingredient, I can enjoy the things I have been missing. Unrefined sugar seems to be OK as well as, Stevia and Splenda.  A big plus- I had the first indulgence of chocolate in these twelve months. I was in the store to buy buttermilk and saw a container of Silk Lite Chocolate. I looked at the nutritional values and the ingredients and found nothing objectionable. On impulse, I bought it. I had doubts because I have heard mostly negatives about the Silk products. At home, I poured a small serving and liked the flavor very much! Above all, it tasted like the chocolate I had been missing! I’ll be experimenting more with sugar free foods.
Now, I need to discover why my taste finds Cheddar, Colby, Cojack and Pinconning cheeses to be repugnant. (Perhaps it’s the colorant?) They are the only cheese that I have a bad taste for.

10/04/11 08:11pm: Two people very close to me discovered lumps in their breast. They had different doctors and each doctor said to "watch it for a while"! Luckily, they were smart enough to run like he!! to other doctors! Cancer can move very quickly and must never be watched until it is identified. Never, never watch it for a while!

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Oct. 4, 2011 11:19 am
interesting Mike-sounds like the oral cancer did a number on your sweet taste buds. I would caution the Stevia and Splenda, but that may be my own demon shining through
Oct. 4, 2011 2:05 pm
Thank you for posting about Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Mike! I have been a huge advocate for this subject ever since I was a medical transcriptionist several years ago. I once typed a report about a 40-something year old woman who was dying from cancer that riddled her entire body. A few years before, she had ignored a lump in her breast. It turned out to be cancerous and, by the time she finally got checked out, it had metastasized through every organ system in her body. The worst part - she had two young children and would soon be leaving them motherless. I have stickers on the back window of my car that say "Feel UR Boobies", "I (heart) Boobies", and "Save the TaTas" and I welcome discussion from anyone who sees them. I encourage my loved ones (and sometimes strangers), MALE AND FEMALE, to do regular self-checks and to get yearly exams. Many people don't realize that men CAN get breast cancer! Early detection is the biggest key to successful treatment and regular self-exams are the best way to detect it early. The "Feel Your Boobies" Foundation has a really great take on the self-exam thing. They say not to make a big deal of it and not to feel obsessive about following any specific pattern. Just "feel your boobies" regularly so you're familiar with what's "normal" for you. Then you'll KNOW when something's not right and you can ask your doctor to check it. Congratulations to you and your wife for sleuthing out the cause of your bad-taste sensations! Like RG, I caution against Splenda. I'm not sure about Stevia, as I haven't heard anything bad about it, but Splenda scares me to death. Many people don't know the scientists were actually trying to develop a pesticide when they accidentally "discovered" Splenda. I stay as far away from the stuff as I possibly can. I do plan to grow my own Stevia next year, though, as soon as the local nursery has the plants in stock. For the cheese - I think most yellow cheeses are colored with annatto. Perhaps you could explore if there are any other foods with this coloring that taste bad to you.
Oct. 4, 2011 3:20 pm
Thanks for the reminder on Breast Cancer Awareness. My mother is a recent survivor of that horrible disease. You can bet the women in my family have all had those recent mammograms. That's too bad about your taste buds - but then again, it could be good, too. :-) I've never tried the silk products, good luck with those. Those cheeses you don't like anymore are some of my favorite kinds!
Oct. 4, 2011 3:40 pm
thanks for this blog. i'm gonna check claire asap...gotta love the reasoning, lol! but i agree any cancer is NO joke! ya check for it, claire tells me it's very painful and i hate to see her in pain, but i don't want to miss my bedhog either. the sweet thing is weird, but i've never experienced what you did. i hope the subs work out. hard for me to live without almond joy while i'm reading a good book. many wishes your way from ga.
Oct. 4, 2011 4:00 pm
I think it is wonderful that a man posted this reminder and I'd like to add - MEN GET BREAST CANCER TOO! So you should also be doing self exams and following up as necessary. I would suggest if you are going to use a sugar substitute, stick with pure stevia, not the ones with additives. I'm so glad you are finding ways to eat food you love.
Oct. 4, 2011 4:11 pm
Hi, Gramma! No, it's not your demon. Splenda has no scientific negatives published, but the fact that it is chemistry scares me and I consume it very moderately. As for Stevia? I read an article a few months ago about a possible link from Stevia to a known carcinogen. It's a remote link but one I keep a close watch for.
Oct. 4, 2011 4:19 pm
Hi, Keri! I never did a self exam for myself until I had a bout with another cancer and was told that I am at "extreme risk" for more cancers. I had no idea of how to do a self exam so my wife had to teach me and I didn't want other men to know I was palpating my man boobs. One day, I realized just how ridiculous and selfish that was. Now I preach it to other men. There is a quote I almost used in this blog but decided it might be resented. "Women should pay as much attention to their breasts as men do."
Oct. 4, 2011 4:22 pm
Hi, Mother Ann! It's not that I don't like those cheeses, it's that I have an unpleasant reaction to them. It's getting a bit too far from the treatments to hope for a change but maybe, we'll find an ingredient that is causing it.
Oct. 4, 2011 4:57 pm
Hi, Gary! Congratulations for a very successful Southern Roundup! ... You're right, cancer is no joke. I have been accused of taking cancer too seriously, but that was by people that haven't had it affect them in some way. I do think that some of the awareness messages are humorous as they make their ominous meanings known. What really matters is for people- especially women- monitor their bodies very closely.
Oct. 4, 2011 5:05 pm
Good evening, BigShotsMom! I have been preaching for men to do a self check, also. I get some weird looks but never any attempt at all to say I'm nuts. Breast cancer in men must be found early because there is not as much flesh for the cancer to remain in before it migrates to occupy another place, as well.
Oct. 4, 2011 5:51 pm
You go gurl, err, Mike lol. At the ceremonies on Sunday, they made mention of the small percentage of breast cancer victims who are men. I belive it was something like 140 new cases every year. I couldn't tell you if that was a Canadian statistic or all of N. America. Either way, its enough to do checks regularly.
Oct. 4, 2011 6:10 pm
It is likely a Canadian stat, Randy. The US per capita stat is likely similar. I do know I am not going to be a contributor to those stats. Here's a kicker. Years ago, a neighbors two sons each had breast cancer. Their ages were 8 and 11. It was caught in plenty of time but it just points out that cancer has no preferences for gender or age.
Oct. 4, 2011 6:48 pm
Yikes, so young. How awful, it must have been an extreme genetic predisposition or something huh?
Oct. 4, 2011 7:54 pm
I was told, but I cannot remember the name of the cancer. It was the same for each of them but too many years have passed. In fact, Randy, the family doctor was also the pathologist, surgeon and advisor for the cancer. Specialists (oncologists) weren't around here. Maybe in New York or LA but certainly not in a farm town like this.
Oct. 4, 2011 8:31 pm
I've had a Breast cancer episode and taken care of... Thanks for being an advocate! I've been having a taste and smell delima since I have stopped smoking. Everything I hear and read those senses should be coming back to me... I gotta tell ya... gonna make an extra trip back to the MD soon! Thanks Mike !!!!
Oct. 5, 2011 4:29 am
Hi, Terry! Lost your taste because you quit smoking? I was able to enjoy improved tasting, when I quit. Too much improvement- I had a difficult time controlling my appetite! Best to you at the doctor!
Oct. 5, 2011 11:11 am
Thanks for the reminder. I'm realizing that I got off my healthier habits and I'm paying for it now. The better we take care of ourselves, the stronger our bodies will be to fight off disease. But we also have to be self aware and pay attention to our bodies.
Oct. 5, 2011 11:26 am
100% correct,1st Lady! Exercise and a clean diet will make a great circulatory system to help purge those things that thrive in a sedate body. occasionally, we all get lazy or overconfident and that is why we need each other to stay reminded of the responsibility of keeping our bodies healthy.
Oct. 5, 2011 11:43 am
I just LOVE that you posted a blog about October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month! I'm also so very glad you are doing well health wise and finding NEW ways to enjoy food. I'm tipping my "pink" hat to you Mike for sharing with us gals AND fellas the importance of not taking just one doctor's advice.
Oct. 5, 2011 12:55 pm
Actually, Candice, I was hoping that another person would post it but when October was four days old, it looked like I would be the writer. Thanks for the hat tip! When I first discovered my lumps, I decided to keep an eye on it for a while. It was soon forgotten in the busy days that followed a minor stroke. Four months later, I remembered. Thank God that it was not aggressive or my "keep an eye on it" might have become an eternity.
Oct. 5, 2011 1:38 pm
Mike, did you see my blog on October 1st? It's titled "The Cast Of Survivor" ..... cancer survivor. Check it out.
Oct. 5, 2011 5:04 pm
Candice, I left a comment on your post. Had I read your post first, I would have included parts of it in this one.
Oct. 5, 2011 6:53 pm
Sorry didn't read the blog got the gist of it and that was all I had the energy for. Kid left for bootcamp last night, and the DH is home 15 pounds lighter and swears he wants to keep it off :)
Oct. 5, 2011 7:43 pm
It's tough when they leave the nest,Cat. I won't say you'll get over it. I will say you will learn to live with it. ... Your hubby needs some congrats! he's doing great! Must be you had more influence than you were giving yourself credit for.
Oct. 6, 2011 12:15 pm
Well, I have the luxury of not working or raising other children so I can cry all day. Nah, credit goes to him. Been a rough week for both of us and yes at the going away party everyone noted how much lighter he was and he even said he wants to walk in the evening or go riding with me. We will wait on that last one since he hasn't been on a horse since ????
Oct. 7, 2011 3:20 am
Good morning, Cat! Walking is good and with the wife it's great! I don't know how to get in shape for riding a horse other than getting in the saddle and suffer through it.
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Mike Harvey, daPITA

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Battle Creek, Michigan, USA

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About Me
At age 16, I began cooking when my mother was injured in an accident that kept her off her feet for five weeks. At first, my repertoire was fried hot dogs with pork and beans, boiled hot dogs with macaroni and cheese or pizza from a box. After a couple weeks of this, my younger brother was the first to protest and demand variety and my dad was quick to support him. That was my first cooking challenge, learning to plan a meal. About that time, mom returned from the hospital and from her bed, began teaching me things like roast beef, fried chicken, stews and all the sides and trimmings. In 1967, I married and my wife designated herself as the cook and this continued until 1999. It was then that I (voluntarily) began cooking again. At some point, I realized that I was having fun and began searching for recipes that were more challenging and interesting. I found AR and used it's recipes for a long time before registering and later becoming an active member.
My favorite things to cook
Soups. How can I go wrong? They are a great way to use up leftovers and those veggies that are approaching the end of their usefulness. They are always an original recipe. Roasts and steaks are favored, also. Getting the right "doneness" and choosing appropriate sides for a tastey and attractive meal is a continuing and always evolving menu.
My favorite family cooking traditions
If creating impulsive menus and recipes is a tradition then, (I guess) we have a tradition. A new tradition is developing. I have a fruitcake recipe that, I believe, is near perfection. I make it just before Thanksgiving so it is aged enough for the Christmas/ New Year holidays.
My cooking triumphs
Without a doubt, my own recipe for a Reuben Sandwich. It has been a demanded item for many years and I shared it in my AR blog. http://allrecipes.com/Cook/13101603/BlogEntry.aspx?postid=204609
My cooking tragedies
Too many. I have been able to throw them out and have something new before my wife gets home. Most of the time, anyway.
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