men’s health

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Ah, it’s almost summer and that means…

Published February 19, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1

It’s almost time to break out the shorts, open-toed sandals, a comfortable top or tank, and sunshine in a bottle.

What? Sunshine in a bottle fruit smoothie, that is. I recently came across a recipe for it and it looks delicious. For this you will need the following:

Glass Mason jars (any size).

Glass straws such as these or others found here as well. I know they’re pricey, but when you’re trying to ween yourself off of plastic entirely and are concerned about unhealthy chemicals being leeched into your drinks and food, then glass straws might be a very healthy lifestyle investment. Sure glass straws can be a pain to clean (some come with a straw brush) and the other draw back is they can shatter and get broken, but making any lifestyle changes come with extra work.

You will also need a juicer or regular kitchen blender. If you opt for a blender, then you might want to strain this through a cheese cloth. I’ve tried the wire mesh strainers and they end up becoming rusty after one use. And if you have a juicer that gets rid of the pulp, then great. 🙂

If you’re going the blender route, be sure to add in enough water to cover the blades first and foremost to reduce wear and tear.

Sunshine in a bottle fruit smoothie:

Take one lemon rinse, peel off the rind and slice it into chunks. You may want to remove the seeds before tossing it into the blender. Depending on what juicer you have, the more expensive models I’ve heard and read about anyway should eliminate the seeds and pulp. Also, about the seeds, some can have small toxic properties, and although its considered a very minuscule amount when ingested by eating certain kinds of fruit like lemons, oranges, and grapefruits, if the seeds do get ground up, then in turn could cause small sharp particles that can then tear the intestines. Believe me, that doesn’t sound like fun. Therefore, I take the extra time to remove the seeds, especially when in doubt.

Next you will need some Fuji and/ or about three red apples. Wash, rinse and slice them into chunks. Discard the core and seeds in the trash. Add the apple slices in with your lemon.

You will also need some oranges, peeled, rinsed, and seeds removed if you want to go to the extra effort. About two Cara Cara oranges or pretty much any type of orange should work. And you need about three. I used one bag of small Halo Cutie oranges, and prepared these in a juicer and frozen them in ice cube trays.

One pineapple. Rind removed and discarded. Next, you’ll want to cut up the pineapple. Its all a personal preference if you discard the core or use it when juicing. I’ve heard both pros and cons of eating the core of a pineapple. The pros is it contains a high concentration of natural vitamin C and other healthy benefits. The cons of the pineapple core is that it can cause fiber balls to build up in the digestive system that can be difficult for your body to break down. Also, some seeds in fruit aren’t meant to be ingested because they can contain cyanide.  So, for myself personally until I can do more research on eating the whole pineapple I would toss out the core. Yeah, I might be depleting the vitamin properties and not getting the full ‘juicing’ experience, but rather be safe than sorry.

Two Kale leaves washed/rinsed off. I would say optional on this if you don’t like mixing veggies with fruits.

Okay now that you’ve washed, sliced, diced, peeled, chopped and cored your fruit you’re ready to add it into the blender and/ or juicer and whip these ingredients together. Last night I tried making this smoothie with most of the ingredients but lacked the most vital one; the pineapple.

So my “half” sunshine in a bottle smoothie is sitting in the fridge. Today I was determined to  walk to town to get  said fruit. And did the usual errands. I also stopped in a local upscale women’s clothing boutique that sells boho (Bohemian/ Hippie-ish) inspired clothing, jewelry, Vera Bradley hand bags, wallets, small back packs, makeup bags, Hanky Panky thong underwear, and even more Chinese-produced, massively over-priced jewelry, necklaces, bracelets, earrings… eh, I’ll just blog about all that in another post.

Tonight I plan to finish my fruit smoothie, crank out at least two other blog posts on here, do my Yoga for the night, etc. Then tomorrow I plan to get the garden cleared  and get it ready for summer. I already have most of my seeds bought and saved back as many as I could from all the fresh produce I bought at the store (roughly a year’s worth of “almost” free food if it grows and produces, that is).

Oh, and if you tried making this sunshine in a bottle fruit smoothie or anything similar, I’d be interested in knowing how it turned out. And should I find the video again of this smoothie I seen on youtube, I will post it in this blog. It looks great, but if you try to make it without the pineapple you’ll have a strong lemon smoothie instead.

Stay tuned for more. As always, thanks for liking, re-blogging, sharing, commenting, tweeting. I always appreciate it a lot! 🙂

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My three-step deodorant (how-to-make):

Published January 31, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1

This was pretty much trial and error when I began my mission to quit putting unnecessary chemicals into my body over three years ago. I researched, scoured, and tried many ‘all-natural’ health food store deodorants with less than impressive results. And it was only after the fact when I would arrive home and read all the ingredients of said deodorants.

How much money did I end up wasting? About $30 per month!!! For that price I could have very easily made my own deodorant and still have money left over.

So, I kicked all those mineral salt deodorants and Tom’s of Maine to the curb. I pitched out all cheap store-bought deodorant brands too, especially the kind that contain aluminum, which by the way, from what I’ve read extensively about, the body doesn’t NEED aluminum. Aluminum could be a cause of bone disorders, kidney problems, Alzheimer’s, breast cancer. Therefore, to eliminate these risks I looked through all of my daily beauty products. I was quite shocked to find Ivory soap “the soap that floats” does contain that sneaky beauty industry word, “fragrance”. This means Ivory isn’t 100 pure. Also, whether or not it really does as advertised to kill 99.9 % of germs leaves a lot to the imagination. If it’s a bar of Ivory it will collect bacteria like a Petrie dish.

Throughout the summer of 2015 I experimented using nothing more than a lemon slice daily. And believe me if you have sensitive skin this will burn like a three alarm fire! Lemon slices were out as far as home made deodorant alternatives were concerned in my case. I looked into using just baking soda, but found I had to re-apply it quite often and it sweated off in less than five minutes. Also, some generic and well-known brands of baking soda can contain aluminum which could account for me breaking out into rashes and having it make my teeth hurt when I used to brush with it in place of store-bought toothpaste.

Well, gosh darn it! So I did further research and came across some home made deodorants using Arrowroot Powder, but the stuff’s expensive. For the meantime, I just wanted a ‘go-to’ home made deodorant. While I was reading up on the benefits of raw organic coconut oil (like oiling pulling where you swoosh a spoonful of coconut oil in your mouth the very first thing 20 minutes upon getting up and on an empty stomach). Not only is this anceint techinque suppose to help draw out toxins, it’s also supposed to help your oral health and whiten teeth as well. I also read about coconut oil’s deodorant properties too. I then discovered there’s many more uses for hydrogen peroxide other than just using it to treat cuts and scrapes. Hydrogen peroxide also has deodorant qualities. I tried this and almost got it to where it worked for me, but it wouldn’t stick. Hmmm…

For the final test version I dusted off with Rumford aluminum-free baking powder. The results? Excellent!

Here’s my three step process I’d like to share with the readers. If you like, you’re more than welcome to pass this along. I don’t know how well this will work for every individual since everyone is different, but here it goes:

Wash, shave (if you need to), and pat dry your underarms. I do this exclusively as part of my morning routine. I haven’t even begun to master tweezing and don’t ever foresee myself getting the hang of that. Shaving is still very quick for me and less of a hassle.

After your underarms are dry, smear some raw organic coconut oil on your fingers and apply this to the underarms making sure to get a generous amount rubbed into the skin.

Next, soak a piece of toilet paper with Hydrogen peroxide and dab this to the under arm area. Since I haven’t found an easier solution to apply hydrogen peroxide without a piece of toilet paper, this will have to do for now. I’ve tried using cotton balls to no avail and even tried using a facial scrubbing pad with messy results since the hydrogen peroxide doesn’t absorb into either material. It just dribbles all over the place.

And last, using a big makeup brush (or powder/ blush brush), dip it into the Rumford’s aluminum-free baking powder and dust it under the arms. Depending on whether or not you’ve shaved recently this might make sensitive skin hurt and/ or turn red. The redness goes away as long as there’s no razor burn or scrapes. And the sensitivity might lessen. Don’t apply this to broken or irritated skin, nor rub in the coconut oil with sharp fingernails. Believe me, this hurts really bad!

Things you’ll need:

Two makeup blush/ powder brushes. Since I use just one for now I often have to wash it out every other day to prevent bacteria buildup. Having two would come in handy while one is drying.

Hydrogen Peroxide (any brand) although I’ve heard there’s a lot of difference between brands.

Rumford brand aluminum-free baking powder (this can be found in most health food sections of a grocery store and/ or health food vitamin store). The container comes in a red can with a tan-color plastic lid. This baking powder sells between $2-3 dollars depending on location.

Raw Organic Coconut oil. I personally haven’t noticed a difference between cold pressed virgin coconut oil or any other less expensive store bought brand. I use whatever coconut oil I have on hand. I used to buy coconut oil by a brand called Spectrum, however, my store quit carrying it. It was also great for baking too.

And there you have it. I hope this is helpful for everybody. I also did this as to get away from the name brand/ store bought deodorants that have been known to be linked to certain types of cancers. And especially for women since some commercial deodorants have been linked to lumps in the breast tissue and lymph glands under the arms as well. By cutting out the use of deodorants exclusively, it’s my belief that my body is thanking for doing it.

And one other thing before I close: what you eat and put into your body has a lot to do with how your body sweats out the toxins and the odors that it’ll release. For example, if you eat a diet rich in red sweet onions, white onions, garlic, then you’re body will secrete these causing body odor that’s very unpleasant. However, I’ve heard from others who are on raw veggies/ fruit diets say that the body odor is almost eliminated and it all boils down to one’s own chemistry, sweat glands, etc. As always, thanks for liking, re-blogging, sharing, commenting, tweeting. I sincerely appreciate it. 🙂

Eating Healthy: My Daily Routine.

Published January 26, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1

I wanted to share with you a healthy habit to get into. And if you’re already doing so, then great! 🙂

I know– I know, groan all you want. Sigh and roll your eyes. Tell me to my face I can’t possibly know the first thing about eating right since after all, I’m just your average woman out there living on a tight income. I’m not a licensed dietitian. I’m not a physical fitness trainer nor am I a certified life coach. But what I do have to offer is a great way to get started on a path to good health and it might even eliminate some bad habits along the way. And if you chose to stick with it (its a preference, not an order), then you’ll begin to see results.

I don’t believe in pumping my body full of diet pills just to achieve desired results. In fact, I believe those are highly dangerous and some have even caused death (think of that Fin-Fin).

This is like a nutrition ‘meal planner.’ Yep, I pre-plan everything I’m going to eat and prepare it the night before or even set aside time a week before and spend three days preparing my own meals on a budget. Pre-planning can save time, be extremely handy when in a hurry or when arriving home dead tired on your feet after a long day at work.

And eating healthy is just a start. When I get up I put on a pot of water. While its heated I remove my container of oats. I begin my day like anybody else, except I take things slow. I don’t get in a hurry. If I had roses to stop and smell, I do that too. I  don’t distract myself with a blaring TV or radio. The house is silent. The computer is kept off. I shower, then get dressed. I return to my boiling water and fill a coffee cup part water/ part oats. As that cools, I add in some Nature Nate’s Raw Honey and go make my bed and tidy up and get ready to head out.

My stuff like winter gloves, hat and scarf, receipt book, odometer notebook and pens are already packed in my bag so is my music. I snag a hard-boiled egg, peel off the shell and eat it with some salt. I wash it down with either steam-treated distilled water (some times seltzer water), and eat my oatmeal. I shut off the burner and when I’m done eating, brush and floss my teeth.

For lunch I might have a kale and avocado spread sandwich on home made Pretzel bread and a handful of unsalted almonds (high in natural vitamin E) and a cutie (small orange) or similar fresh fruit (never canned or pre-packaged fruit cups).

For supper my one pot meal awaits in the fridge. I either have pea, steamed potato and ham soup, or I thaw a batch of home made chicken broth, add in a piece of chicken and simmer it for two hours on medium heat, then add in some dried peas and whole wheat wide noodles. I check on it and add in water as needed. I clean house, do laundry, and fold and put away clothes. I sweep and vacuum, and when I’m done, the rich aroma of a home made stew fills my cozy house. I bring in my cat and feed her a spoon of Tuna along with her dry cat food. She’s happy as long as I’m the center of her universe. Sometimes she’ll claim the recliner and curl up and sleep for hours. I eat supper, wash up the dishes and wipe down the stove and counter tops.

My meal plan is as follows:

Mornings: Oatmeal and raw honey (in winter), one hard-boiled egg, one banana. In the summer: one hard boiled egg, one banana. I try to eat at least within the first 30 minutes after getting up. This helps to boost metabolism.

Lunch: Sandwich using home made avocado spread and/or soup/ stew or boiled Pollock fish or Salmon (if its on sale) and rice, steamed asparagus, green beans or corn, and a potato (make sure to poke holes in the potato or else it will explode. Do this especially if you plan to have a baked potato).

Supper: This is generally the ‘heaviest’ meal of my day. It can vary depending on what I have on hand. I’ll either have stews, soups, chicken (as the main meat), a veggie, a potato, and for dessert, an apple and peanut butter. Sometimes I forgo the apple and peanut butter and eat a small custard-cup serving of mixed frozen fresh fruit that’s been pre-washed, sorted and bagged. Other times I might make Jack Straw Tuna Casserole and bake it in a 350 degree oven for about 15 mins 20 mins.

How to make Jack Straw Tuna Casserole:

One can of Tuna (drained) and dumped into baking dish. Or, if you prefer, you can always use one can of Salmon or canned chicken with the gross stuff drained off and rinsed in distilled water. The thing about Tuna is that it contains mercury, so you may want to eat this once-in-a-while. And this same heavy metal is also found in most fish as well.

One potato washed, peeled, and cut into shoe-string length. Add those in with the tuna and add in some water. Salt and Pepper to taste.

Sometimes I’ll make this using hot dogs and sauerkraut, and shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese.

Tuna is optional and so are the hot dogs. It’s very rare I do eat hot dogs on a regular basis simply because they are so full of chemicals and they are very unhealthy. The more chemicals you can keep out of your body, the better you’ll feel.

Put some tin foil on the baking dish, set the timer for about 15-20 mins. and place the casserole in the oven to bake. Make sure to use a half cup of water so it doesn’t burn. For a variation Feta cheese is also good as a topping as well in this recipe.

During the summer I rarely heat up the house using the oven and prefer to either steam the heck out of my veggies and chicken dishes, or just boil them in water. I never use any cooking oil and don’t make or consume fried, greasy foods either. It may sound like a plain boring diet, but its what helped me lose a lot of weight and keep it off.

I don’t own a juicer yet. Rather I do blend my fresh produce like kale, fruit, strawberries, bananas, apples, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries and add in a small amount of fresh-squeezed lemon juice. I also like to use half a cup of steam-treated distilled water and/ or Hiland Drinking water (bought at Dollar General). I blend all of the ingredients using grind, whip and puree on my blender, and when its too my liking (thickness-wise like a fruit Smoothie), I pour it into freezer bags, label them and store them in the freezer for future use. The shelf life of this in the freezer is about one month or until the bananas begin to brown then you know its time to toss it.

The avocado spread is made much the similar way using just enough water not to make it soupy but keep it like a thick sauce texture, some lemon juice (spices optional: rosemary, black pepper, Cayenne pepper, Kosher salt, onion powder or fresh sliced white onion about two strips) and freeze it if its not going to be eaten right away. Shelf life of avocado spread in the freezer is 3-5 months. Thereafter it must be pitched out if not consumed by then. I always like to thaw the avocado spread in the fridge overnight so it’s ready for me when I get up.

The home made pretzel bread I make has to be either frozen or refrigerated. Other times I’ll make Welsh Rarebit for a snack. I did happen across Welsh Rarebit when skimming through my 1890s cookbook and wanted to share it:

Welsh Rarebit:
16 (1/3-inch-thick) diagonal bread slices
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup porter or ale
1/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
6 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, coarsely grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 large egg yolk

I usually omit the butter, and all-purpose flour and use whole wheat flour instead. I would assume the bread slices are put on a plate and then the Welsh Rarebit is served over it kind of like an open face sandwich. Also, I skip the port and ale and leave out the milk. This is just my personal preference. With the other ingredients in the Welsh Rarebit, you’ll want to mix these and bring them to a low simmer over medium heat stirring constantly so it won’t stick or burn. Once thickened, remove from burner and serve over the bread. Goes great with a little bit of Feta cheese on top and a side of green beans.

I also have a recipe for my no yeast Pretzel bread:

• 3 cups whole wheat flour (preferably stone ground)
• 4 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 1⁄2 cups rice milk (works with any liquid) or 1 1⁄2 cups water (works with any liquid)
• 1⁄4 cup liquid fat (i.e. melted milk free margarine, vegetable oil, olive oil)
Directions
1. Mix dry ingredients.
2. Do not sift the flour!
3. Mix liquids and add to dry.
4. Stir until there is no more dry flour.
5. Depending on the humidity of the air where you live you may need a little bit more or less liquid.
6. The dough should be moist but not sticky.
7. It may take a few minutes for the flour to fully absorb the liquid, so don’t rush to add liquid or flour to it.
8. Score lightly the surface in a diamond or X shape to prevent splitting of the crust.
9. This is a country style bread that should be sliced thick.
10. It is important not to overwork the dough.
11. Shape into a ball or an oval, with oiled hands.
12. Place on clean baking sheet.
13. Bake for 40 minutes at 400°F.

Remove bread when done, and brush on a mixture of water and baking powder. Sprinkle with Pretzel salt and return to heated oven for about 5 mins. Take out and let cool on a wire cookie rack. Sometimes the loaf will stick to the bread pan so make sure to oil it with Coconut oil or similar if you’re using cooking oil. This bread comes out hard and crusty on the top, moist and spongy on the inside. Cut into slices (this is hard to do without a bread knife, but can be done), then put into bread sacks or zip lock bags and place it the freezer or fridge. If you place this bread in the fridge be sure to consume it within less than a week. Since there are no additives, this bread doesn’t contain all the chemicals that store bought bread does to keep it from getting moldly. This home made bread also sets better and is more dense (not light as air like all commercial store-bought breads are) and you won’t get hungry afterwards since it won’t contain any MSG Mono Sodium Glutamate = ‘natural flavors’ or artificial “your guess is as good as mine” ingredients.

It might take awhile to notice any results when breaking free from chemically processed foods and switching over to an all natural, raw fruits, veggies and home made meals diet since everybody is different. If you can cut out the sugar (sugary drinks, bagged sugars, candy, and sweetners) you’ll soon discover a HUGE, (I mean massive) increase in energy and libido. Your body will thank you and your spiritual, mental, and emotional well being will love you for it. Not only will you feel great, but you’ll see it physically.

Another helpful tip: start by keeping a weight diary. (This helps, trust me). Weigh yourself each morning after you get up first thing. And don’t eat or drink anything. If you do, that’s okay too. Usually you weigh less in the morning than you would at night. I generally like to take my weight twice (once without a stitch of clothes on), and one weight reading with clothes on including shoes for better accuracy. I always jot down my weight nowadays and the date.

When I began my raw veggies/ fresh fruit about three years back, I didn’t keep a weight diary. And I really should have. I weighed 132 pounds back in 2014, and for a woman of such a small size, I would consider that morbidly obese and I’m not even a medical doctor. Surprisingly throughout my past regular and even yearly exams nobody ever brought up my weight to me. I didn’t gain that weight until I was in my late twenties (27-28) and it just stuck with me since my ex would cook in grease. Everything was grease and he’d swear by it was the only way to cook. I used to drink soda like a fish back then, ate very unhealthy processed foods and by the time I was in my early 30s I hated how I looked and felt. I know what did it for me was when I undergone my emergency gallbladder surgery at 35 and that was my wake up call. And had I not heeded that handsome surgeon’s advice about having the emergency surgery, I wouldn’t be here blogging.

I began to see results almost one week after I cut out soda completely. But mind you I began to do this slowly over time once I healed from my gallbladder surgery completely. Then I stopped baking with sugar. And then I really saw results! I slowly, but surely I eliminated all boxed dinners, processed foods, junk foods, candy, gum, and at the last even tea. I will eat sunflower seeds and chew on toothpicks.

Nowadays I make my own steeped tea boiling water and adding in two fresh frozen cranberries. Other times I will raid my Hosier cabinet for my dried Peppermint leaves and put those in my tea strainer. They won’t change the water to green as I’ve seen from the bagged “Bigalow” Peppermint tea does. There’s hardly any ‘mint’ taste from my dried peppermint leaves, but they complement the cranberries I think. I’ve also tried a little bit of my dried lavender flowers too and didn’t notice much difference (taste-wise). Lavender does help to aid digestion.

Cranberries are an extremely good source of antioxidants and natural vitamin C and if you can buy them fresh in the bag (Oceanspray brand) found in the fresh fruit/strawberry, blueberry, and mulberry cooler, then its worth it. Yep, you can freeze fresh cranberries (at least I do), and you can freeze fresh strawberries, blueberries, and mulberries. 🙂

If I can think of anything else, I will be adding to this blog as time goes on. Please, keep checking back. Thank you for liking, commenting, sharing, re-blogging, and tweeting. I sincerely appreciate it. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bare it all part one in a series: Mammograms and what they don’t tell women:

Published January 21, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1

 

Let me start off by stating I’m not writing this to ruffle any feathers in the regular medical community if any of them do happen to read this. I just wanted to clarify this first and foremost before I begin.

Do I not care about my health? This would likely be an automatic assumption by regular medical doctors when it comes to annual mammogram screenings. I love myself so much that I take great strides to safeguard myself. I like to keep myself  well informed and this happens to be one of those topics.

But, hey am I listening? Yes, I hear it loud and clear: “It’s for preventative measures,” and “Early detection is the best treatment.” I also hear it every time I walk through the door each year and it annoys me.

I’m not saying “Don’t do it,” I just highly question the short and long term risks of it, especially since a government panel is practically pounding it into women’s brains ‘They need mammograms!’ Generally, beginning around 40-50 (at least this was based on some older recommendations from a few years back). Now a government panel has reconsidered this and decided that 50 and older is when a woman should begin getting annual mammograms. But what the government panel doesn’t say is how dangerous these could potentially be. Think about it: you palpitate the breasts, and if there’s cancer present, this could easily rupture sending more cancer cells throughout the body.

I knew a man once that played in a band many, many years ago. The statement he made about exploratory surgery and the like was he’d never do it. It was his firm belief that when you were opened up, the air would be like adding fuel to a fire and the infection would then spread out of control.

And what most doctors won’t tell you about is that mammograms expose you to approximately 1,000 times the amount of radiation you’d get in a chest X-ray. The radiation is stored and can reach astronomical levels in your body. And if a woman gets annual mammograms it is approximately 1 rad.

Mammograms vs. Thermograms. What’s the difference?

I’ll explain this a little later. But right now, I’ll focus strictly on presenting some dangers of mammograms.

And let me state as my disclaimer, I’m neither a doctor nor do I work in the health care field. In fact, I don’t plan to ever study medicine or work in a health-related field at all. I’m just your average woman out there that likes to take charge of her own health, ask questions, be thoroughly informed, jot down what I see, hear and read for future reference and get clarification when needed, present as much knowledge as I can, do my own research like its nobody’s business, educate myself and go from there. I’m very careful with my body, what I put into it, how I treat it and what I expose myself to.

I strongly feel that mammogram screenings shouldn’t be recommended or even pushed onto healthy women of child-bearing and pre-menopausal ages. I feel that they shouldn’t even be given to women at any stage in their life. I feel other alternatives and avenues need to be offered to women everywhere for safer breast cancer screenings. The reason why I feel so strongly about this is because I believe it would pose a potential health risk to a new mother-to-be. Her milk, that life-giving nutrient could pass the radioactivity down to her infant. Pre-menpausal women could have their hormones (and a lot more) disrupted. A woman’s hormones are like raising sea monkeys. Both have extremely delicate eco-systems. One exists in a plastic container filled with water that can’t be changed out or cleaned or else the little sea monkeys and their underwater kingdom could be dumped down the drain by accident. A woman’s hormones when disrupted repeatedly by synthetic man made pills, Hormone Replacement Therapy, and annual mammograms puts her at a much higher risk of developing said cancer they try to ‘prevent’ from occurring/ spreading.

I don’t ever see any literature displayed in a doctor’s office for such safe alternatives. And this lack of other alternatives prompted me to do my own medical research on a topic since I want to shed some light on it (from a patient’s perspective as well). I also strongly feel a lot of women are (and at the very least know of another woman) who has undergone at least one bad mammogram experience from hell or several in her lifetime. Same goes for biopsies, lumpectomies (typically when a cancerous lump has been found but hasn’t spread) and mastectomies (removal of one or both breasts) and excruciatingly painful pap and pelvic. Ever read the countless horror stories over at women against stirrups? They’re an eye-opener and I can totally relate.

I hear so much of the ‘preventive measures’ advice every year that I could sit down and crank out a very boring, medical jargon-filled romance novel on just ‘preventative’, ‘measures’ and ‘breast exams’. Don’t ask me what I would title my doctor-ish filled 93,447 word count slapped-together-in-one week masterpiece.

In all seriousness though there’s a very good adage that stuck with me for a long time and it is: “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” I translate this to mean: leave well enough alone.

Did you know if you ask any medical doctor or nurse point blank how many men die each year due to testicular cancer the answer might surprise you. Men are at much higher risk dying from testicular cancer than women will possibly die of breast and ovarian cancers even though actual statistics vary.

One school of thought weighs breast cancer as a number one killer among women (and men are at risk of getting this too). I don’t exclude males. And there are other schools of thought that weigh in and say no, it’s testicular and/ or problems with the male prostate that’s a number one cause of death to men. The age range for a man to come down with testicular cancer in his lifetime is between the ages of 13-35. However, if we compare this to women’s chances of coming down with breast cancer there’s a HUGE age difference.

Why does a select small age range for women is between 40 and 50 and much higher as they get older? Are men not at greater risk too for this particular breast cancer when they approach or are at the age between 40 and 50?  I’m curious to know why the age gap is getting increasingly younger for men and older for women. However, children and pre-teens aren’t spared from some horrific mandated school-required untested and questionable vaccines and what-have-you. Something isn’t right here. As a society we take things at face value, fall in line, and don’t question what we’re being told.

Yet, I don’t see the mainstream medical field pushing men to get their testicles removed or their ‘member’ undergoing a biopsy, lumpectomy, partial or full removal of it. They don’t hound and/or pressure men to get annual ‘manly mammogram’ screenings for ‘preventative measures’. Nor is there scarcely a mention that April is, in fact, Testicular Cancer Awareness month and there’s hardly any public awareness being crammed into men’s brains about it. I don’t buy for one minute that men will complain, “Well, that’s because [we] are arrogant, stupid, and not open like women are when it comes to their breast health. Women will share everything with their doctors. Men don’t.” That’s because men don’t put up with crap.

Men, your woman’s hairdresser likely knows more about your sex life than she’ll confide in both her gynecologist and regular MD. Yet I do see the questions presented all the time “Are you sexually active?” “If so, how many times a day/week/ month?” “Monogamous/ Swinger/Married/ Divorced/Separated/ Widowed?” “Are you straight, gay, bi, transsexual?”

Breast Cancer Awareness month and that pink ribbon (and all pink colors) will forever be associated with October and “Breast Cancer Awareness”, “Breasts”, and bazookas. The color pink is no longer indicative to early 80’s New Wave or punk. But the color blue seems to still remain associated with “It’s a boy!” bubblegum cigars and blue awareness ribbons are seldom plastered on everything that isn’t nailed down. You might hear about one radio advertisement for Testicular cancer awareness during the single month of April if you’re lucky, and then never hear a peep about it for another ten or twenty years.

Do I want to be reminded of it everywhere I go? No. Do I want to see and hear about Breast Cancer Awareness propaganda? Nope. Do I want to be told the same old advice over and over again as each year passes during every yearly? A thousand times, no. I realize this is something doctors have to tell their patients. Okay, I get that, but it gets old. It won’t convince or persuade me.

And why is it that the medical community never papers the town with billboards, posters, TV and radio ads and maybe advertise it on a Jumbo Tron during half time at a football game to persuade men into getting annual testiclegrams? (I made up that word). This would be liken to mammograms are for women only twenty million times more painful and the man wouldn’t be able to walk out the clinic unassisted afterwards. There’s a reason why Testicular Cancer awareness is seldom advertised. It’s because men are treated differently.

Testicular cancer is not common; a man’s lifetime chance of developing testicular cancer is about 1 in 270.”- Last Medical Review: 02/11/2014.

When I was advised about annual mammograms my response to my gyno was a sharp and unintended gruff, ‘Nope’. I’m never going to put myself through another horrific ordeal like it ever again for as long as I shall live. Been there, done that at 22 and not going back.

I know it’s rude to interrupt especially when the gyno is just passing along some advice because they have to. After I objected he let me know he has to tell this to all his patients. Yes, I know the the importance of self-breast exams, too. I’ve also heard it’s for ‘preventative measures’, it’s ‘to save a life’, it’s for this, that, or some other reason they’ll strongly try to persuade women of all ages nowadays.

It sure would suck to grow up in this generation. And I truly feel sorry for the younger generation coming up that has no other choice. They don’t get a break, either. I look back at all of my prior yearly experiences (bad outweigh the good in my case) throughout my entire life up to this point.

And I praise the good Lord above every day as he continues to bless me with continuing excellent health. I pray to the Lord every night as well. And for those that don’t know, I am deeply religious so I also base a lot of my opposition to annual mammogram screenings on religious grounds and past yearly exam experiences.

However, women aren’t told the truth about the hidden dangers of mammograms. As I was doing endless hours of research for this blog series, I discovered a few things the doctors will never tell a woman about like the radiation exposure and how the body will absorb it and store it for a long periods of time.

And there’s so much emphasis placed on ‘early detection, prevention, and annual screenings’ regarding mammograms that it’s overkill (for lack of a better term). I’m just one of those women that simply will not be persuaded into getting another mammogram. I will not fall in line like the rest. I will and do ask questions and some past doctors I had even hated me for it. I write down anything medical and any other health-related questions I may have that I want verified and/ or get a second opinion about. This way I have physical proof of who said what, when, and the specific date.

Physically, spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically my own mammogram experience eons ago was like a million other women’s horror stories. But the internet was still very brand new. I was unaware of the horror stories/ message forums for women who had traumatic mammogram experiences because I didn’t have access to the internet. I didn’t know what was going to happen to me, but all I knew is that the screening was mandated or else I would have lost my insurance coverage. I did everything in my power to cancel every appointment my therapist made on my behalf without my consent and she’d reschedule a new one.

It wasn’t too long after my mammogram from hell that I very soon after fired my therapist and quit going to therapy completely. I also fired my doctor and never kept routine physicals, either. I wanted everybody “medical” and “therapist” to leave me the hell alone. I was sick and tired of living under a microscope pretty much for a majority of my natural born years.

I was very fed up of being poked, prodded, yanked on and having my most sensual part bared for an entire audience of ten new medical students during one such embarrassing exam in particular just because the doctor decided to invite them in so they could take notes, ask questions about the exam and examine me up close. All done without my written or verbal consent and I was 17. :< I was royally pissed off and giving the medical student and doctor my infamous look of malice. That certain look could chill a person’s blood. Most of them backed off which is a good thing.

Nobody ever explained to me at 22 what a real mammogram is. Forget the false assurances they try to lay on women. They cleverly disguise keywords and drop them like the four letter “F” word. And it’s met with fierce resistance. I can’t be tricked. I won’t be duped.

The doctor I had seen for my mammogram from hell never explained how much it would hurt like hell.

Hell, I thought. I wouldn’t know the meaning of the word until the day came…

for my mammogram.

If the office visit for my yearly wasn’t bad enough (and they always were with me), then my first mammogram was going to leave me with sleepless nights, nightmares, flashbacks, tremendous pain, physical hurt, mental torment, anguish, etc. I don’t think I can ever recall a time in my life I was so angry with not just one person, but a few.

The therapist for sure, the doctor, and the unsympathetic and very rough x-ray tech and staff that told me to shut up and quit crying like a baby because “It won’t hurt.” and “Hold still, damn you!” And there’d be a man’s rough, cold pair of big hands yanking, jerking, twisting. I nearly passed out. The glass plates cut and hurt. I was already so sore and tender due to it nearing that time of the month and was ready to go psycho B**** on this man.

Tears streamed. I choked back sobs and this only infuriated the staff and there was greater pain delivered to me. My legs began to shake, my knees went weak.

I don’t want this man touching me! My head begins to spin violently. Blood rushing, heart pounding, racing thoughts of disgust, humiliation, violation no less than actual ‘rape’ and assault flood my brain. I don’t comply with them or answer. I’m riled, . Nobody listens, nobody cares. I nearly black out and almost hit the cold, terrazzo tile when... serene calm, a gentle hush, and strength of a thousand men are bracing me in compassion and warm love. The staff don’t seem to notice what I’m experiencing at that moment. In fact, I look around me. Nobody’s there. I continue to feel the actual impression of something supporting my body. I still feel the excruciating pain, the embarrassment. I’m still sobbing uncontrolably, but out of nowhere I feel love, warmth, comfort in my darkest hour.

I want to run. I want to hide, lock myself away in a convent if I had to. I wanted to be anywhere else at that moment except there in that cold, radioactive environment. Physically I remain until finally… I dissociate. At last I’m free from the pain and the staffs gruff instructions and manhandling. It’s like a an OBE (out of body experience).

If I had a moment to catch my breath between six consecutive painful tugging, pulling, yanking, stretching (dear god! 😮 and slammings, 😦 I would have shouted at the x-ray tech, “How about I kick your banana to Savannah? Then we’ll be even!”

I did lose all sensation (feeling) after my mammogram. And it stayed gone for many long years. I think that’s what scared me most. I didn’t think about any internal damage that may have resulted and I know there had to be some. I didn’t know anything about the internal anatomy of the breasts at 22 nor was I aware that they’re very precious and extremely rare like two priceless Ming Dynasty vases. Unfortunately if they get ‘broke’, nobody’s going to fix it.

And like so many others it too scarred me for life. It was a very scary ordeal. I wound up loosing a lot of sleep because of it and I was never the same woman afterwards. Going through that ordeal certainly cured me of my naivety. Still to this day I have a deep distrust of all doctors/ mainstream medical care and there’s many more valid unsaid reasons I won’t get into.

So doctors, don’t take it personally. I’m not sharing my horror story to create ire. And my opposition to annual mammogram screenings may make me come across as defiant and stubborn when in fact, I’m the opposite. I’m really just abundantly cautious which is a good thing and just looking out for number one, which is me.

I want to know both sides to every story before I’m ever pressured into making any hasty decisions that I will likely regret at some point later on in my life. To know me and where I’m coming from you’d have to walk a mile in my combat boots (I use that figuratively). But I am sincere about the ‘walking in a mile in my shoes’ aspect.

A female comedian back in the early 90’s once said about mammograms, “I’m in the waiting room and one of my breasts is in other room getting x-rayed.” I wasn’t laughing after I had one.

I saw my health care very differently from then on. I came away from my mammogram ordeal deciding I wouldn’t allow (or stand for) other people stealing my autonomy. I took great strides to empower myself with as much medical studies, well-published and unconventional, out-dated texts and compared it to modern medical knowledge. I crammed so much into my cranium that I’ve been asked, “Are you studying medicine?” “Are you a pre-med student?” whereby I smile and answer politely, “Nope.”

Its very atypical of the average woman/patient to be informed in this society, and when a patient doesn’t agree to something or goes against what a doctor says they will make you do and prevent you from walking out, that’s when you just want to rip them a new a%%.

Women, at least in the eyes of the mainstream medical field are seen as grown-up children unable to make their own decisions. Let’s face it, we’re spoken to like little girls, not like the smart, intellectual, articulate ‘women’ that we are. If you were to turn back the hands of time women have always been seen as the weaker sex by their male counterparts. And we’re also conditioned to believe that we need to go running to a doctor for every little thing that’s wrong with us, even if its something simple like a splinter or a chipped fingernail. Whereas men, don’t and they can walk out of an appointment if they want to.

We’re still living like its a Victorian-era filled medical profession (minus making house calls). We allow ourselves to be tricked and persuaded. We’re seen as uneducated, especially when the medical field now asks what grade level you completed and if you have a college degree. I’ve even been asked my employment status, how many hours I work, how much I make, and for my employer’s contact information. It’s all insurance-driven.

We’re also considered gullible the very minute a health care provider tells us we might have something wrong. And even when we don’t, they do their damned best to convince us otherwise. We are discouraged from/ banned from getting second and five different opinions. Men just tell ’em to stick it where the sun don’t shine when they don’t agree and leave.

Those who are non-compliant patients get ‘patient-dumped’ because its a waste of the health care provider’s time since they’re obviously not going to get an extra insurance incentive when using certain keywords to brainwash. And when a woman says “NO!” it should mean just that “no”. Some have referred to the yearly exams as “legalized rape” of a woman’s body.

Using such key words as “preventive”, “treatment”, “disease,” “screenings”, “keeping healthy”, “health”, “healthy”, “future preventive healthcare” is insurance companies jargon and it has to be mentioned or else they lose money.

They need women to think if they don’t let their privates be probed painfully, being spread eagle on our backs, legs in stirrups with strange men looking us over, touching us intimately be it rough, strictly professional, and the ‘too close for comfort’ feather-light touch, getting our breasts pounded on like Chinese chopsticks and palpated to excess every year or two depending on what ‘risk’ category the woman falls under according to insurance company regulations.

We’re seen as very ‘uncool’ and shamed for taking charge of our own bodies and health when we refuse to do as the doctor advises.

I’ve read many chilling horror stories of women going in for something completely unrelated and their PCP (Personal Care Provider) pressures them into a pap/pelvic exam FIRST or else they’ll refuse to treat them regardless when their last yearly was.

And should the woman not fall within the age range for the annual mammogram screenings or even have a medical history of breast cancer or even considered ‘high risk’ she is again highly pressured into *thinking about* (another brainwashing keyword used heavily) getting them annually just for her ‘preventative healthcare’ and ‘breast health’. Men, if you love to suck on female nipples and breasts, then you’d have keener first-hand knowledge what feels normal and what’s abnormal with your woman.

People everyday decide not to go to the dentist to get their teeth worked on. I haven’t had the need to see a dentist in well over 16 years. Does that make me irresponsible with my oral health? Nope. It just means all these years I’ve followed a strict regimen: brush after every meal, snack and floss. I avoid fluoride city tap water, sweets, coffee, tea, soda, gum and never use any mouth rinse since those do contain artificial man made sweeteners, chemicals, and alcohol. Are my teeth extremely unnaturally white like a movie star’s? No. They’re a natural shade. I also don’t brush with fluoride toothpaste. I use a mixture of Organic coconut oil, Kosher salt, and Rumford’s aluminum free baking powder.

It’s very seldom I see dental health junk mail flooding the mail box. I don’t see  posters for people with varying degrees of bad oral health and disease. I don’t see literature advertising how gum, oral, and teeth health are vital to people and it does play a huge role in our overall health.

There’s such a thing as Pyorrhea (inflammation of the gums and tooth sockets leading to tooth loss) and I don’t see a huge rush to invent an injection or oral mouth rinse to cure it and mandate everybody on the planet take it just because *it might* prevent and/ or *safeguard* against tooth loss even if the person doesn’t have it to begin with. And the dental profession doesn’t give a hoot (nor do they hound, pester, annoy, force, bully) you to see them for regular checkups or not. The trend seems to be nowadays you have all of your teeth surgically removed and get fake teeth implants all because the teeth you were born with *might* have fallen out no matter how well you took extremely good care of them throughout your life.

I assume they don’t push or pester a lot because seeing a dentist is kind of like going in for cosmetic consultations since its more for personal beauty in a way. And most insurances won’t cover or even offer cosmetic services because they’re very out of reach for the middle class, working class poor and poverty anyway. Cosmetic surgery includes plastic surgery, tummy tucks, lipo, botox implants, breast implants, laser tattoo-removal, electrolysis (hair removal), hair transplants, etc.

I made a promise to myself after my nightmare mammogram experience that I’d never allow myself to be put into a position where I had no say so regarding what I want. And from then on I never again allowed myself to be persuaded, pushed, or forced into anything I didn’t feel comfortable with.

If you have any inkling of doubt that ‘something doesn’t feel right’ before, during or even after an exam, speak up! But more importantly speak up before the exam ever starts. Take a notebook and pen with you and jot down everything that’s discussed. And don’t be afraid to ask questions! And if you want to go technical, take a digital voice recorder with you and record everything that’s discussed.

But one thing never occurred to me that day in particular in my case when I was 22 is that I could have demanded the screening to end right then and there, donned my clothes in haste, and walked out. Or just streaked naked to find my way out while garnering a lot of second glances from strangers in the process.

It does astound me even as I write this blog post that I didn’t know how much of autonomy I had back then at 22. (That’s the ability to make and form your own decisions).

Now I will *try* to see this from a medical doctor’s perspective: they might have viewed such opposition and outright refusal to be a red warning flag of a potential medical malpractice and/ or negligent lawsuit waiting to happen. But that isn’t the case with me. I’m just very difficult to be one of those ‘compliant’ insurance patients. I hear that a lot of what’s worded (and how its said by the doctor to their patient) is also an extra kick back insurance incentive for the doctor and staff.

Moving along…

What to expect before, during, and after a mammogram (this isn’t just for us women, I include the men here since they do undergo breast screenings too, although less common):

Well, if you never had to have a mammogram before (or ever needed one for any reason annually or otherwise), thank the good Lord above you have been spared. I say this with all sincerity.

Expect to feel excruciating pain before, during, and after for weeks, months, even years afterwards. Expect to have numbness, soreness, tingling, loss of sensation (this can be full or partial of one or both breasts), bruising around the areola and breast itself, and a plethora of other symptoms and psychological effects that’s seldom, if ever discussed.

A woman might be in so much pain afterwards it’ll make developing breasts when they were a pre-teen seem like a walk in the park.

Expect to cry Olympic-sized pool tears for weeks on end (even if you’re results come back ‘okay’ and no further tests are needed). This screening will scare the daylights out of a healthy woman or man even, especially if they’re really young with no family history of cancer and/ or don’t fall into ‘high risk’ categories.

What the regular medical profession won’t and/ or don’t tell you about is that women (and men as well) do have alternative options other than a mammogram. These options such as thermograms are pricey and it depends on a few things: the type of insurance coverage, the doctor and if they’ll approve it. But don’t look for the regular medical doctor to present these alternatives. From what I’ve been reading thus far these other alternatives are largely from the holistic medical community (alternative medicine).

How does a mammogram work:

😦 What the staff does is place the breast between two glass plates in a vice-looking mammography x-ray. The breast is compressed down extremely hard and held there. I mean they will literally flatten them like day old hot cakes from McDonald’s! :/ There is no curvature to this medieval-looking modern day torture device and it will hurt like one can’t begin to fathom.

😦 A woman has to remain perfectly still and the x-ray tech or hospital staff will pull, tug, and yank the breast in order to ‘force it’ to fit between two glass plates. And if the woman makes any sudden movements, the breast will again be flattened into the mammography and more unbearable pressure is added.

😦 What a mammogram can do:

It can misshape the breasts, cause permanent sagging, flatten and bruise the nipple and areola (nipple tissue). A mammography machine can not only reek havoc on the breast tissue, but also to the lobes (milk-producing part of the breast), connective tissue, lymph nodes, lymph tissue, nerves, and ligaments. This could also have a negative impact on breast sensation as some women have shared through their horror stories. It’s my firm belief that by compressing the breast can do internal damage to the tissue as well.

A woman’s breasts are very delicate and precious. They should never be manhandled (handled roughly) whether during a mammogram or through a routine in-office breast examination, and sadly it does happen.

And to the pissed off doctor: knock it off with your Chinese chopsticks while asking gruffly, “Does that hurt?” “How about that?” “Any tenderness… soreness?” While the routine breast exam lasts less than five minutes total, you spent a full twenty minutes b**** slapping those god given beauties. And you have the balls to ask if there’s soreness, if it hurts? I’d like to see what Cracker Jack box you found your medical license in.

Not only do mammograms give off radiation, they can also damage the cardiovascular health according to another website I surfed onto. And when the mammography machine gives off radiation taking four films of breasts annually this is approximately 1 rad exposure (radiation absorbed dose).

From what I’ve been informing myself with thus far, the author of The Secrets of Health Breast Wisdom, Kathleen Barnes goes in depth and explains why mammograms should best be avoided at all costs. Not only does the breast tissue absorb the radiation, it also stores it in the body for long periods of time. And if there is any cancer present, the more the breast is compressed, the greater the chances are that if any cancerous cells are present, they’ll rupture and send more cancer cells throughout the entire body.

Are Breast Thermograms any different than mammograms?

Yes. A thermogram is a type of imaging test that captures infrared images of the heat that radiates off of a person’s body. And again, I bring up the same author Kathleen Barnes as she explains it better in her article. Thermal imaging also detects the vascular and metabolic changes.

From what I understand about this particular thermogram screening it’s just a camera that takes pictures of the breasts. And another option for annual breast screening is an ultrasound. There’s also Computerized Thermal Imaging, too. But the reason why these options are never presented or even discussed with women (and men) in regular doctor visits is because thermograms and ultrasounds are part of holistic medicine.

I can’t say one way or another why the regular medical field never even mentions thermograms or even ultrasounds as possible (safer) alternatives over the orthodox mammogram screening. I would assume it has a lot to do with insurance.

William Campbell Douglass is quoted as saying, “I find it maddeningly contradictory that medical students are taught to examine breasts gently to keep any possible cancer from spreading, yet radiologists are allowed to manhandle them for a mammogram.”

Amen to that. But Mr. William Douglass, you forgot include that some physicians, nurses, and doctor’s assistants do manhandle breasts during in-office breast exams just the same.

And if you’re a man try to imagine being on the receiving end of a mammogram. It would be the equivalent of smashing one or both testicles in a drawer repeatedly and let’s see if you’d like to have an annual mammogram from then on out.

I’m not here to tell a woman or a man to just cancel annual screenings or regular checkups. I would say better to play it safe and please be informed BEFORE you submit to a mammogram! Study up on it. Ask your doctor about alternative screenings and if you’re still unsatisfied, worried, scared ask around and read as much as you can. Read some message boards and forums not just dedicated to women’s health, but men’s as well. Even though reading about prostrate issues wouldn’t ever effect a woman, men can shed light and do complain that they don’t receive any attention and their awareness doesn’t matter much in society.

And if you feel confident and comfortable keeping a running conversation with your doctor and/ or gyno, it never hurts to ask questions. A kind blogger pointed this out to me about cost-effective Ultrasound that’s much safer:

“Another thing the medical industry doesn’t tell women is that breasts can be checked using ultrasound. Any time something “suspicious” is seen on a mammogram, the doc immediately sends her for a “followup ultrasound” for a closer look. Okay, so if the ultrasound actually gives a better look than the mammogram, why not simply use the ultrasound instead of the mammogram? It’s because insurance companies don’t pay for it as the “primary screening method”, but only as a followup. Never mind that the ultrasound carries absolutely no risk to the patient (no radiation and no radioactive contrast material as in an MRI) AND is more sensitive (accurate)! The Chinese study below also showed ultrasound to be more cost effective than mammography:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4366890/

It boggles the mind why ultrasound isn’t the first line screening method.”- Chatsworthlady

 

Oh, and one more important reminder I’ll leave the reader with: this isn’t written for the intention to diagnose, treat or prevent any disease. Stay tuned for more womanly topics. As always, thank you for reading, sharing, liking, commenting, re-blogging, tweeting. I do appreciate it.