Conflicting Career Choices & The Cancer Survivor

So, I’ve been busy the last few weeks. Really busy. Between guest blogging over at mamabearcancercoach.com, looking for and actually succeeding at finding a job, then the work that actually comes with that job, there hasn’t been much time for me to devote to my postings. It seems important now, more than ever to write, especially since I feel I’ve made some compromised if not conflicting career choices.

“You have to feed it and it WILL be fed…”

The struggle to document everything possible that relates to the path cancer lead me down and influences me everyday has become an afterthought. I don’t like that. I always said, no matter what I can never forget the lessons cancer taught me and it’s important not to fall into the rut of life again. I can’t lose site of what I am, who I am now. This brings me to my new job.

I am a graphic designer by trade and although I’ve found myself leaning more on the the technical side of that career path I’ve always been drawn to inspiring design work. Print, web, typography, calligraphy, watercolor, art is art, and if you have an eye for it, it doesn’t ever just go away, it’s like a pet that you are responsible for. You have to feed it and it will be fed whatever you bring it close to visually. My new job is with a local printing company. It’s small, but prestigious in the local printing scene. The people are nice and friendly, there are no egos I’ve encountered and the work seems to be solidly flowing in with signs of growth on the horizon.

“Do I get out before it even becomes a problem.”

So why is this a “conflicting career choice”? Well, The printing industry has been known to utilize many chemicals during the printing process that contains carcinogens. Now, you pick up a printed piece of advertisement and no big deal. Now pick up ten-thousand, then another ten-thousand, smell it, run your hands over it to see if the ink smears. Go into a warehouse full of advertisements you’re responsible for and take in the fumes from the five presses you have running and have to clean with harsh chemicals to clean out the ink when making adjustments.

You walk around in the fine misted air full of dust and soot and particulates from the ink that’s been vaporized during the printing process. There’s a faint hint of sawdust as well made from the trimming of paper products made from fine but highly processed paper types that have been bleached and dyed and what have you. Imagine you have to walk through this place daily to check on things, coordinate with co-workers, clock in or out for lunch in the break-room centered in this area.

Now, let’s go back to the other side of the building separated by a thin wall and share a ventilation system with this area. The fumes are not so pungent anymore. That unique smell you couldn’t quite put your finger on when you came in to interview is no longer noticed and you’re just happy to be on “that side” of the building now. Am I painting an accurate picture of what I mean when I said “conflicting”?

I work for a great company, with great people, but all around me I have a story to share, a life to live and a future to think about. I’m breathing in this air with the rest of my coworkers, many of whom seem to have various ailments specifically skin cancer. It’s unsure the surroundings have anything to do with it, but I do know it couldn’t be making it any better. Time will tell I guess.

“Lead by example with a plant based diet, become health resource to those in need.”

In the meantime, I’ve discussed my attempt at going vegan over the coming year with co-workers and have gotten a mixed response, but mostly positive after the initial “you don’t eat meat?” stare. Maybe my role here is to be an example. To help those who may benefit from the change in diet and lifestyle. Maybe I can help counter act some of these ailments with my cancer life knowledge. It’s a fine line between saying and doing sometimes.

I’ve got to keep my chin up, eyes forward and my heart in the right place. If I start to exhibit any symptoms of any kind of ailment, I’ll be forced to do what’s right for my health. The conflict resides in the statement, “Do I get out before it even becomes a problem.”. While I’m here though, I am going to try to do what good I can for my fellow man. Lead by example with a plant based diet, become health resource to those in need. I also plan on researching the machines we use and what kinds of inks and cleaning agents that are utilized as well as the different paper sources we have. Maybe there’s a chance for some synergy between an ecologically friendly printing facility and a cancer graduate.

Can Home Cooking Give You Cancer?

“Isn’t cooking at home healthier for you?”

Well, only if what you choose to be cooking is better for you than anything you’d get at a fast food short-cut or greasy diner. Even higher end restaurants can use chemical laced foods that are harmful to your crusade against cancer.

So, what is a processed food?

It’s pretty simple, really. You can determine whether a food is processed or not simply by looking at the ingredient list. The longer the ingredient list, the more processed a food is likely to be. Processed foods are usually found in the center aisles of the grocery store, meaning between the produce/bakery and the toiletry and hair care products (at least that’s how my local chain store is set up.) and are more likely to contain ingredients that you are not able to recognize or ingredients that you wouldn’t have in your kitchen.

Things like high-fructose corn syrup for example are obviously on the well-known, “processed food” ingredients item list. This is basically a sweetener added to nearly every canned good and processed pre-packaged ready to heat meal in a box a lot of families eat for lunch or serve their family when they are tired after a long day at work. It’s understandable, it’s cheap, easy and fast without that greasy bag on the counter to remind you that you just ate something you knew you shouldn’t.

Avoid…

Here’s a list of the top 10 worst processed foods to watch out for.

  1. Palm Oil
  2. Shortening
  3. White Processed Foods
  4. Corn Syrup
  5. Artificial Sweeteners
  6. Sodium Benzoate And Potassium Benzoate
  7. Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)
  8. Sodium Nitrates And Sodium Nitrites
  9. Blue, Green, Red, And Yellow Artificial Dyes
  10. MSG

So I know what you’re saying “I’m cooking at home, i’m using fresh ingredients and maybe I use a few cans as a short cut, or a marinara sauce for spaghetti.” Think about it. If you aren’t making every single aspect of the food from start to finish then you have no idea what is in your food.

Yes, that marinara sauce more than likely has some form of corn syrup in it even if you used a simple can of tomato sauce as a base, maybe even a red food dye. The rolls you got that you were going to use as garlic bread may have shortening in it. Not to mention the butter you were going to use to garlic toast it up probably came from cows riddled with hormones and antibiotics and chemicals that help them continue to produce milk when they aren’t supposed to. Be cautious about where the milk was sourced from and how they treat their livestock. Oh and let’s not forget the tin cans all of your vegetables you got may have BHA in them to keep them from going bad and they’ve just been in there soaking it up in that chemical soup bath.

Follow the links to learn more about each one of these typical food additives and how they impact your health in a negative way. Remember these ingredients next time you are at the grocery store. Hopefully we’ll all be making better choices when checking off items on the grocery list.

So what do you do?

Stay away from foods that you wouldn’t be able to produce or make yourself at home. Stick to unprocessed, natural foods, mostly found on the periphery of the grocery store, such as vegetables, fruits, eggs, meat and other single-ingredient foods.

I know I said previously that I’m going Vegetarian and hopefully Vegan by the end of 2017. Why would I mention you should eat meats and dairy? Because I’m not you, even though I’m going on this journey, I don’t expect you to emulate me. If you want to eat meat and dairy products, that’s up to you. If you want some encouragement to NOT eat these things, well you’re welcome to join me. I don’t want to be a preachy Vegan in the end and that starts with respecting others nutritional opinions and hopefully open a dialogue about why we do what we do and what evidence we have to support our decisions.

I would like to mention that one staple in my veganization of grocery line items I like to keep on hand is  Nutritional Yeast . This helps combat my cravings for cheese and I don’t think I’d be as strong in the fight without it. I’ll talk more about it and it’s uses in an upcoming post.

Soaps, Detergents and Lotions Are Toxic?

Soaps, detergents & Lotions are toxic. All of them can impact cancer gene expression because of the common chemicals used to produce the most widely used brands and even some that are considered “environmentally friendly”. Chemicals like – Di-Ethanolamine, Triclocarbon, Phthalates, Parabens, Triclosan.

More and more we’re finding that the government agencies that are in charge of taking care of our country’s health are either ignorant, lying or just passing blame to other organizations of false claims to skirt their responsibilities, with zero accountability upon mounting evidence to the contrary. In this article, I’ve compiled a few reputable sources to back up the claims I’m about to make. Hopefully the dots will connect themselves but this is to enable you to be informed and take from it what you will. As for me and my house, we will be nixing items that have even a 0.1% chance of giving use cancer. It’s just too important to assume someone else is watching out for you, when we live in a capitalistic society where money is the form of power and power is the goal of all. No one cares. I want to care more. Let’s dig in shall we?

So we start this series with soap. Soaps have been showing up in the news a lot lately and although the FDA has recently started banning certain hygiene products like hand sanitizer and the practice of using plastic bits that may or may not contain carcinogenic chemicals like BPA, in creams and soaps to exfoliate skin, more can and should be done with regards to our health specifically when it comes to our hygiene products. Soap is a big issue. We all use it. Some every day, some every other day (if you’re going off what is recommended use, that is).

So what is soap?

Originally soap started out as a means to get stains out of clothes. During World War I, commercial soap, as we know it today, came into existence. The injuries of war brought an increased need for cleaning agents. However, at the same time, the ingredients needed to make soap were scarce. German scientists created a new form of “soap” made with various synthetic compounds and as a result detergents were born. Most commercial soaps available today are actually detergents, which are made with petroleum by-products. Since these “soaps” are detergents, by law cannot be called soap. Chances are that when you see a soap called a “body bar,” it is not soap at all.

Soaps, detergents & Lotions are toxic

Before 1930’s, soap was made by a method called batch kettle boiling. Commercial soap makers had huge three story kettles that produced thousands of pounds of soap over the course of about a week. Shortly thereafter, an invention called continuous process was introduced and refined by Procter & Gamble. This process decreased soap making production time to less than a day. Large commercial soap manufacturers still use continuous process.

Commercial soap manufacturers also learned that they could remove the natural glycerin in soap which gives it moisturizing properties. They sell it or use it in other higher priced products like the moisturizers and creams you need when their soap dries out your skin. Removing the natural glycerin also extends the shelf life of the soap so that it can sit in storehouse or on store shelves for many years.

Today there is a heightened awareness of the possible adverse effects of many of the synthetic additives and chemicals in commercial soap. Even large companies are starting to advertise “natural ingredients” in their products. BUT BEWARE! The addition of one or two natural ingredients does not make a product “all natural.” It is virtually impossible for large companies to create natural, handmade soaps.

What does this mean?

Additives like The chemical, cocamide diethanolamine (cocamide DEA), a chemically-modified form of coconut oil used as a thickener or foaming agent in many products, was listed by California as a known carcinogen in 2012. See this article that goes in depth on the companies tested in this referenced study here. Soaps claiming to be more sanitary than others by using antibacterial additives like the chemicals triclosan and triclocarban were only recently banned by the FDA. This means all of the soap you thought you were using up until now that had those antibacterial claims behind it, was exposing you to cancer causing chemicals. If they only recently banned it, because of new studies linking the chemicals to cancer, what makes you think there’s not other chemicals they haven’t studied yet because of lobbyists pushing prying eyes out of the ingredients listing and on to some scapegoat while they plan a replacement that may be even worse but has less data to back up negative claims against it? Here’s an interesting article CNN did on the subject. Take me to the article.

Money, follow the money. Opinion can be bought, scientific studies can be swayed. All you need to prove that is to simply look back on what caused gasoline to become unleaded for cars. Speaking of gasoline, most of the soaps on the market these days are made using petroleum by products. That’s the stuff left over once crude oil has been processed. They use bleaches, ammonia, alcohol, and numerous other chemicals to extract or “purify” the final petroleum products like parrafin wax and vasoline, but that’s for another blog posting.

So what else might be in your soaps? Let’s look at a few ingredients that are in a lot of your standard, “family branded” soap and some even in toothpaste and lotions.

Triclosan

An antifungal and antibacterial agent, when used beyond their permissible limit, is known to have an impact on the developmental and reproductive effects and also a potential cancer risk.

The chemical can penetrate into the skin and has the tendency to interfere with hormone function, so has been categorized as an endocrine disrupting chemical, the study said.

It added evidence does suggest that Triclosan can affect aquatic wildlife and the hormonal systems of mice. It may impact male and female hormones like testosterone and estrogen, and may also affect thyroid systems, which regulate weight and metabolism.

Used in: Soaps, toothpastes, deodorants, mouthwash, detergents and hair products

Parabens

Used for its anti-bactericidal and fungicidal properties, this group of chemicals also penetrate into the skin easily and gets absorbed into the body through the skin, blood and digestive system.

Studies in animals have shown that Paraben may play a role in the endocrine disruption. In addition, Parabens may also interfere with male reproductive functions and is feared to be an agent causing breast cancer. The European Commission on Endocrine Disruption has listed Parabens as Category 1 priority substances, based on evidence that they interfere with hormone function, the study said.

Used in: Shampoos, Moisturizers, Shaving gels, Personal lubricants, Hairspray/mousse/gel, Spray tanning solution , Cleansers , Makeup , Toothpastes , Topical/parenteral pharmaceuticals

Phthalates

Used as a plasticizer, (substances added to plastics to increase their flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity) are termed as hepatotoxic (harmful to the liver), teratogenic (harms the development of a foetus), and carcinogenic.

Phthalates have potentially toxic effects to the developing endocrine and reproductive systems. High doses have been shown to change hormone levels and cause birth defects, the report stated citing past research.

Previous studies have also found Phthalates exposure through breast milk was associated with abnormal reproductive hormone levels in 3-month-old infants, the report said.

The chemical also can cause anti-androgenicity in adult men.

Used in: Skin moisturizers, skin softeners, skin penetration enhancers, stabilizers, dispersants and lubricants, nail polishes

Triclocarbon

Used as an antimicrobial active ingredient in bar soaps, its side effects include that of Triclosan. In addition, Triclocarbon enhances the gene expression of other steroid hormones, including androgens, estrogens, and cortisol. It can also harm patients with ER-positive breast cancer.

Used in: Soaps, Deodorants, Detergents, Cleansing lotions, Wipes, Hand wash

Di-Ethanolamine

Used to create the creamy texture or foam in products like soaps and shampoos, it causes mild to moderate irritation in the eye, skin, throat and nose. The International Agency for Research on Cancer found that excesses of small margins were observed in cancer patients of various sites including stomach, oesophagus and larynx.

More importantly reacting with other cosmetic formulae it can form nitrosodiethanolamine, an extremely potent carcinogen.

Used in: Soaps , Shampoos , Detergents , Cleaners , Polishers , Cosmetics

Okay so that’s what, six or so chemicals in what we’ll assume you use at least five times a day; Brush Teeth in the morning, Shampoo during your shower, use of body wash in shower, maybe a washing of the hands before you make breakfast or after you’ve used the restroom then a use mouthwash before leaving for work, washing your hands maybe two more times while at work before lunch and a restroom break, then one more wash before dinner, maybe a dab of dish detergent to soak that pan you used to cook with? How about the clothes you wore, detergent got that clean and it’s been absorbing through your skin all day, maybe it even made you itch a bit so you used a lotion to stay moisturized. Then you brushed your teeth and maybe some mouthwash before bed. Okay that’s more like ten exposures that could of put your body in contact with between six and nineteen carcinogens per exposure! Let’s keep it moderate and say ten chemicals per exposure at ten exposures. ONE-HUNDRED KNOWN CARCINOGENIC CHEMICAL CONTACTS! That’s just your hygiene. We haven’t even started talking about water, food, entertainment or even environmental exposures.

Okay so at this point you’re saying, “Man this guy is a hypochondriac! I don’t want to listen anymore. He’s a negative person spouting doomsday prophecy and stuff I don’t want to listen to anymore.”, does that mean I’m wrong? I’ve cited the scientific and media backed evidence, I’ve calculated on a moderate day of exposure. Cancer is at an all time high. Use your brain, the simplest thought on the matter is that if you expose yourself to chemicals, you’ll get what the chemical is known to cause/create inside your body. It’s as simple as that. I’m just the messenger and you’re just the person the advertising world is trying to lie to because they’ve placed you in a box on a board, they gave you a name, a gender, an age range, a job expectation and earning potential assessment and sold you to companies who are looking for ways to get you to make them rich. It’s simple math, it’s the world you live in and you can’t run from it. If it’s too much, we throw up our hands. That’s not my intention. My intention is to help you fight. Here is the information, here are your weapons, here is your armor, use the knowledge, and make good decisions for yourself. If you find yourself helping others along the way feel free to send them my way for a crisp, high-five from a hand that’s been washed with a simple soap with no cancer in it.

Thanks,

Jason

The Battle of The Mind – Why I’m Moving Forward with Cancer Ingredient Posts.

It’s amazing to think that organizations like the FDA, FTC would allow us to become inundated with products containing chemicals that are known to have real carcinogenic effects. Yet, this seems to be more and more what we find with the research starts digging into what we put in our bodies, our mouths, our clothes and our life’s conveniences. I remember once getting some social media backlash from an acquaintance about a post I had made that came from none other than David Avocado Wolfe. Yes, he’s a bit extreme sometimes and some of his claims are either personal or completely devoid of scientific evidence, like that mushrooms originated from outer-space for example. My problem at the time was that what I had posted about was simply related to known cancer research and the effects of certain items we come into contact with or consume like, milk and dairy products, that have been linked to certain types of cancer. Seemingly harmless info to pass along, but this guy proceeded to devalue it publicly on my social media page simply because of distribution source that was sited at the end of the video. It was a production of David Avocado Wolfe. He lumped anything that came from him as garbage.

Now this acquaintance was very smart, had a Master’s and a few other degrees I can’t recall right now. He was well spoken, very educated and in-the-know on a lot of goings on in the scientific, political and educational circles. He was also physically disabled. His mind was probably one of the strongest I’ve ever personally come across as far as intellectual capacity goes. With all of this though, comes complete skepticism of anything coming from a source he felt was tainted, so nothing of truth could possibly come from there right? I get the principle of “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.”, but he put full faith in the FDA and other government entities, as if they could do no wrong and their margins for error were thin. He cited their current so-called “allowances of PPM (parts-per-million)” or some such and the relation to that vs what’s considered safe. The FDA’s claims he cited countered the data showcased in the video by doing what most Western medicine does, treat the symptom not the cause. The claims were in regards to one or two items in the list of cancer causing daily use items, so it wasn’t the whole list, just a couple and again, not taking into consideration long-term accumulative effects, just the standards the FDA set for acceptable parts per million to be safe for consumption.

At the time I didn’t have the necessary research to support the video’s claims or at least sway the validity to win a healthy educated skeptical mind. I was also going through chemo and battling cancer so my thought process was not the sharpest. I had so much fight going on in other areas of my life, I just let that go. I let a few more things like this go, even with my sister who is a pharmacist and one of my nurses who balked at the idea of lowering sugar or using THC/CBD oil as an alternative to chemo, or increasing vitamin C to boost chemo or replace it all together. Again, educated minds set in their ways. This can sometimes be just as dangerous as an extreme religious organization teaching it’s members that science is of the world, therefore of the devil and is not to be trusted. We only know what the backers or certain sciences wanted to have researched. Following the money in this world is much like watching the hips of an opponent in any sport, neither can lie. These are the reasons I’ve decided to cover these topics. I know they are in the news, or on pinterest boards or in the media in passing. Those who haven’t suffered from cancer, hear it and move on. Even those who have loved ones going through it don’t or won’t take it seriously until it’s directly impacted them personally. It’s hard, I get it. I’m here to try to put it all in one place and hopefully help someone with the knowledge.

So here we go. The first in a long list of weekly if not daily blog-style articles I’ll be writing on the subject. I’m as healthy as I can hope to be now with the the “all-clear, cancer-free” assessment to date. Time to put it to good use.

Jason

 

 

 

Switching To A Plant Based Diet

Yup, you read that right. I’m attempting to go vegetarian, if not vegan this year. I’ve already made strides to cook healthier meals, cut out processed foods whenever I can and have stopped going out to eat. My girlfriend asked for an Instapot for Christmas and my santa delivered this year! It’s been amazing. Part of the reason most people don’t eat healthier is the time it takes to make some of the replacements for fast food. Not so with a pressure cooker like the Instapot. You may of heard of it in passing, or from someone at work, or a parent at your kids school or even a neighbor as the largest portion of advertisement for this product seems to be word of mouth. This thing has basically gone viral in the New Year’s resolutionists camp. Rice? Baked Potatoes? Oatmeal? Re-fried beans? quinoa? All can be made in or under 10 minutes each! That’s an hour to meal prep food bases that used to take all day Sunday. Okay so sounds like I’m being sponsored but I’m truly not. If Instapot wanted to throw two more my way though, I wouldn’t be mad, just sayin.

Also, I’ve decided to cover topics relating to common household objects, products, consumables, etc. that have credible links to cancer and how they play a part in the cancer epidemic. Slow and steady wins the race, and right now, cancer is slow and steady. One thing won’t hurt you, two things won’t hurt you, even three, four or even five may not hurt you, but hundreds of products you come into contact with every single day add up to a lot, especially for those of us with genetic expressions that can be teased out by the constant influx of carcinogenic products we used daily. So yeah here’s a brief list of things I’ll be trying to cover broken down by usage:

  1. Soaps, lotions, detergents and cleaning supplies
  2. Processed foods and ingredients found in commonly used, so-called, “healthy” shortcuts we see in home cooking.
  3. Cooking utensils and containers
  4. Drinks and flavor additives
  5. Clothing materials and how they are processed
  6. Scents, candles, oils
  7. Cosmetics
  8. Plastic, rubber, styro-foam
  9. Consumer advertising and the danger of handling heavily inked paper adverts

I’ll break it down further by covering a wide range of items based off an in-depth listing I’ll discuss in a previous posting for the week. I’d like to get better at my blogging and outreach as a cancer awareness advocate and I think this is a good first step. For those that don’t follow me on other social media platforms or weren’t involved with my gofundme campaign, I’m happy to report that I am, at the moment, cancer free!

 

Thanks again for all the support!

Jason