Childhood Cancer Awareness – How You Can Help

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.  Although I have never personally experienced the pain that goes along with Childhood Cancer, I know others that have.

A couple of years ago, Andy Stanley gave a message where he asked, “What breaks your heart?”  Whatever the answer to that question is for you, I recommend you go towards it.  God’s calling you.

For me, cancer breaks my heart.  More specifically, childhood cancer.  I was transformed back in 2012 when I ran the St. Jude Marathon (ok, it was only the 5k) that was sponsored by Juice Plus+.  I toured that hospital and weeped.  On the day of the race, we ran through the campus, watching the children and families cheer for the runners.  I will never forget that entire weekend and what it meant to me.

 

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I have followed journeys of children who have since passed from this disease.  I want to share two with you and if you are so compelled with what they stand for, please consider donating to help this cause.  One that impacted me greatly was Kylie Myers, a beautiful 12 year old girl that lost her battle with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a type of aggressive bone cancer. Kylie was known for her smile, that radiated so much joy, even through her painful journey. Kylie had a dream that there would be more funding for childhood cancer, and a cure.  Her family continues this mission today.  To learn more about Kiley’s journey and to donate, you can visit Smiley for Kiley.

20150955edff84ef724Another was Mary Elizabeth Paris, a local 12 year old that lost her battle with AML, an aggressive form of leukemia.  You can learn more about Mary Elizabeth’s story and donate to CURE Childhood Cancer via this link, Mary Elizabeth’s Story.

The fact is – cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children.

  • 1 in 285 children will be diagnosed with cancer
  • 2500 children will die annually from cancer

These are statistics that I do not take lightly.  God ‘broke my heart’ with this, and if it breaks yours too, we can come together and do something good.

There are two organization that I want to point you to, both near to my heart.  A dear friend of mine, Ginny Starr, works alongside Chantel Adams with ForeverWe.  Chantel & Ginny have an amazing mission with the company they have created.  Knowing that kids use toys to tell a story, Chantel & Ginny created a unique doll for kids going through a cancer journey.  This doll not only helps the child going through the journey, but also helps kids who care about them, helping them to have an understanding of what they are going through.  Please please check them out, as they are doing such beautiful work and have the biggest hearts.  You can purchase a doll for someone in need or donate one as well. Their Jewel doll is $39.99.

 

 

5702648df75dc73be7fa3bb35236d8f2Our family has been involved with Happy Caps for the past 2 years. Happy Caps’ mission is to gift cheerful handmade hats to people suffering hair loss due to cancer treatment – or any medical condition – to keep their head warm, to remind them each time they wear it that there are people who care and to make sure that when people stare, it’s because they have on such a cool hat!  Julia Miller, one of the Directors of the organization, shared the mission with my husband Jeff, who then shared it with our daughter, Abbie.  Abbie felt compelled to learn how to crochet so she could begin donating caps.  She has been doing this now for over a year and has loved it!  Happy Caps seeks volunteers to make hats, but also seeks donations to help with the process.

I believe that we can come together for the good of these families and children.  These organizations mentioned above are only a couple out of many many good ones that are doing good work.

As for me, my request for each of you – focus on prevention.  Feed your children well.  It matters.  I share this with you in the hopes that you will take the time to look into how a diet rich in fruits & vegetables can help you on your journey to wellness, and how Juice Plus+ can play a huge part in that.

God bless all those that suffer and all those that give their hearts to this cause.

In good health & healing,

Jackie

My Whole 30 Journey, Take 2

A few years ago, the Whole 30 was recommended to me as a way to clean up my diet and make healthy changes.  I started by reading the book, “It Starts With Food,” by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig, the creators of the Whole 30 program.  I knew after finishing the last page, this would be a journey I would take.  I remember the first time doing the program, it was challenging.  But I did it and felt so good on the inside and outside!

Fast forward three years later, a friend was doing this same challenge and inspired me to go for it once again.  I knew it was time to make changes in my diet.  The first reason, I have been working out in my yoga studio many hours during the week, but those few pounds that I had gained were not coming off, no matter how much sweat came off of me in the hot room.  And the reason for that was 100% about what I was putting in my mouth.  The second reason is that I’ve been on the wellness journey, passionately sharing disease prevention for many years, yet here I was making choices that I knew were not benefiting my health or my body.  You know how the saying goes, you can’t out-exercise a bad diet.  You can’t.  I had a sugar and cheese addiction, along with REALLY loving our weekends of eating out at restaurants.  Something had to give.

The second time around, the decision to do this was easier and the actual 30 days was easier.  It was likely because I knew I could do it.  I’d done it before!  And I was also following my friend who was a bit ahead of me in the process and she continued to inspire me every day.  Everything is always better and easier with a buddy! Since completing these last 30 days, I have had many people ask more about what this entails.  My goal is to outline and share my experience.  Is this something for you?  Only you can make that decision.  No ONE thing is right for every person.  But here is what I do know.  If you tell yourself this is hard, it WILL be hard.  If you believe you can’t do it, you WON’T.  If you complain the entire month, it will make it so much worse.  I love what they say on the Whole 30 website –

“It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Birthing a baby is hard. Losing a parent is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. You’ve done harder things than this, and you have no excuse not to complete the program as written. It’s only thirty days, and it’s for the most important health cause on earth – the only physical body you will ever have in this lifetime.” 

Way to tell it EXACTLY like it is.  Puts things in perspective, huh?

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So what does this entail?  Cleaning up your diet.  Taking out the bad and putting in the good.  For 30 days you avoid sugar of any kind (real or artificial), dairy, grains, legumes, soy, alcohol, carrageenan, MSG or sulfites.  Nothing processed.  Nothing artificial.  You consume real food.

What do you eat?  Meat, eggs, seafood, tons of vegetables, some fruit, healthy fats from fruits, oils, nuts & seeds.

And you may wonder… HOW is this possible? What will I eat?

I assure you, it is possible and for me, I eat more on this program that I do NOT on this program.  The wonderful thing is that there are so many recipe ideas out there (even a Whole 30 cookbook) and bunch of products that are approved under Whole 30.  You just have to take the time to research and plan ahead before beginning.  You can make your own mayonnaise or salad dressings or purchase the right ones from some amazing companies committed to putting the right ingredients in their products.  Two of the companies that I love the most – Tessamae’s & Primal Kitchen.  Check them out!

I believe that the main thing that this program helps you to do is identify your behaviors around food.  I grew up in a family that loves food.  My great grandparents and grandparents immigrated from Italy.  Food was the center of my childhood.  Cheese, pasta, 3 course meals, dessert…  Truly, I LOVE FOOD.  It is nostalgic for me.  It is often times difficult for me to separate that love of food, or the pictures in my unconscious mind surrounding food, from what I know to be true about what we should consume to keep us healthy.

The great news is that after these past 30 days, I feel as though I’ve gotten a handle on that behavior.  I don’t want to go back to the way I was eating.  I don’t want to feel the way I was feeling.   I want to feed my body what it needs to heal on the inside.  The truth is, none of us can feel prevention, just like we can not feel disease until it is too late.  We have no idea what’s going on behind the curtain.  If I understand from what I read and hear, sugar feeds cancer.  Then why, just by knowing that fact, do we continue to eat ridiculous amounts of sugar (real or artificial)?  How can I understand but not do what I need to do prevent?  This is something we all struggle with because none of us are perfect people.  Food is many times joyous and fun.  It is something we should experience in this one life that we have.  What I feel is that these 30 days have given me perspective.  I needed to change my thinking around food.  And I have.

My results: better sleep, glowing skin, zero stomach aches or cramps, very little cravings, more energy & 7 pounds lost.  I know many could read this and think that because I was a fairly healthy weight, WHY would I need something like this?  First of all, it’s not a diet.  Second of all, just because I appear healthy does not mean that I am.  Third, if I don’t feel comfortable in my clothes, I have the right to make the changes that I need to be comfortable.  Let the judgments slide and focus on what you need for YOUR journey, not what you think that I may need for mine.

Give this a try if you want to give your body what it needs.  First start by reading the book.  The best results for your life always begin with an understanding as to why you’re doing this in the first place.

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I will continue on with this way of eating.  Since my 30 days has ended, I have added back my Juice Plus+ Complete smoothie, which has been a lifeline for me for many years.  I’m happy to say that my body had no reaction.  Yippee!  So the Whole 30 life will continue on, with Complete being a part of it.

Best of luck on your journey.  You do what’s right for you.  If this is something you think you should try, take the time to understand it and then go for it.  You will never know how good your body is designed to feel unless you give it what it needs and take away from it, the things that it doesn’t.

Here’s to your health!

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I’m sick and tired of the six letter word.

For the past seven years, I’ve considered myself a ‘Mom on a Mission’.  I first learned about a life changing product called Juice Plus+ back in 2009.  I was searching for something to take, as I began my own health journey.  Different paths and questions all converged into one answer:  Juice Plus+.  It was as easy as this, it made sense.  I knew my family did not eat enough fruits and vegetables, so this could definitely help.  And it did. As the months passed, changes occurred within our family.  The first thing that we noticed was that we weren’t tired anymore! What? You mean the right foods in your bloodstream could give you energy?  Over the first year, we noticed many changes in our family that we still notice today.  Let me sum them up for you:  more energy, less illness and infection, quicker recovery when ill, decrease in allergy symptoms, better food choices.  Our family changed.  I noticed bigger things. My LDL cholesterol decreased, as HDL increased – and this has been across the board in my entire family.  My husband’s stomach and heartburn issues became non-existent.  My vision has IMPROVED (that really stumps an eye doctor). My gum health has IMPROVED.  A heart arrhythmia condition that I had, no longer appears on my routine EKG’s.  ‘We see no sign of this, are you sure you had it?’  Um, yes.

But here’s something we never talk about.  That terrible, ugly six-letter word.  The one we all dread, the one that makes us cringe when we hear it.  The one that brings us to tears and down on our knees.  You know the word.  But you know what?  Not many people think about that word until they actually hear it spoken.  No one thinks it will happen to them, until it does.  Not many people think about what they are putting in and on their bodies that may actually prevent and not cause it to occur.  It just seems that people would rather ignore the possibility than think about solutions.  

My story is that I watched my Aunt Debbie pass away from Multiple Myeloma in her early 40’s.  She had two bouts with the disease, the second took her life.  She was an active, healthy, lovely, beautiful and kind woman.  She loved playing tennis and walking her dog. She loved her two children.  The ugly word took her from us.

 

My maternal grandfather is one of 13 siblings.  Almost every one of his female siblings had it and many were taken because of it, as was his mother.

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This is my Pappy (seated in the center) with 9 of his 11 siblings.

It’s in my genes, folks.  Likely, it’s in yours too.

So here I look at these pretty red, purple and green capsules.  They contain powders that contain powerful antioxidants that go directly into the bloodstream.  Powerful antioxidants that stop the growth of bad cells.  Kill them.  Fight them.  We all have the cells.  But what are we doing to stop their multiplication?

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You see, you may not choose to think about it.  Just pretend like it won’t happen.  It may not.  And I’m not saying that swallowing these capsules every day means it won’t happen. But what I do know (because it has been researched numerous times) is that it’s doing good things in my body to prevent it from happening. Do I have a number? 10% less chance, 25% less chance, 75% less chance of it occurring?  Here’s what I know, a 0.1% less chance of it occurring is more than enough for me.  And I think it’s safe to say, without making claims, that it’s well more than that.

Yes, my eyesight improving is great.  Energy during the day is great.  Less virus and infection is great.  But the greatest benefit, the one that fuels my passion, is what I CAN NOT FEEL.  

My friends, far and wide, know my passion around this product.  Those that know me well, know that it’s because I truly care about keeping anyone I know healthy. Because we are NOT perfect people.  We eat terribly.  We don’t exercise as much as we should.  We don’t get enough sleep.  We are stressed.  We may have perfect days, weeks or months.  But it’s not every day, week or month.  But guess what, I swallow 6-12 capsules every day, week, month and year.  I don’t skip a day, like I may skip that salad or that workout or that night’s sleep.

Why don’t we care more about taking care of ourselves?  This keeps me up at night, folks! Over the past 7 years, I’ve had to learn how to accept the fact that many people just don’t want to face this.  They don’t want a solution. They aren’t open to hearing or learning or trying to understand.  They analyze, dissect and question the simplicity.  It’s one of those things that is so simple, that people want to complicate it.  Perhaps they see me as a ‘sales person’, out for myself, in one of ‘those’ types of businesses.  And I’ve had to grow strong, pray, and fight on.  Because yes, I am a sales person.  I am in one of those businesses.  And many don’t understand the beauty of all of that, which is a story for another day.

I will leave you with this.  I’m writing this today because I am tired of hearing that word. You probably are too.  I am tired of people not caring.  Maybe you are too.  I am tired of people not taking their health into their own hands, as our health care system (if you can even call it that) in the United States is an absolute mess.  

I don’t want to join another group on Facebook of another young mom fighting for her life. I don’t want to hear another story about another 12 year old girl passing away far too soon after a fight no 12 year old should never have to make.  

It’s time for solutions.  It’s time for prevention.  And if you’re suffering with ANYTHING, it’s time for healing.  God gave us foods to heal us.  We don’t eat enough of them.  But we have access and we have this simple solution that comes in capsules.  And because I’ve seen it with literally hundreds of people, and I’ve read the research and I’ve listened to the Doctors, they heal.

I hope this story somehow resonates with you.  I’d be open to discussion with absolutely anyone that would be open to listening or learning.  That’s my only goal. I am not a Doctor or a medical professional, but I know that my Company has hundreds of the best Doctors from around the world backing the product and the research that I represent.  I don’t understand it all, but I know there are people that do.  And I trust them.  I ask that you trust me.  

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Me and my daughter with Dr. Bill Sears, America’s Pediatrician (www.askdrsears.com)

It’s time to take your health into your hands.  If you’re looking for a sign, THIS IS IT.

Don’t let that word hit you like a ton of bricks, when you have a shot at stopping it before you have to fight it.

Here’s to good health,

Your Mom on a Mission

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