HOW GOOD ARE YOU TO YOUR FUTURE SELF?

CANCER PREVENTION #realtalk today

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Continuing with the health and wellness series, I want to thank the American Cancer Society for sponsoring this discussion about cancer prevention. This is all my own #realtalk, but trying my best to bring positivity to this heavy topic.

A bump in my breast led to being slightly cut open for a surgical biopsy. I was very young. Too young to know about cancer yet. I don’t recall that much about it, although I remember the look on my mother’s face when she was listening to the doctor. It was a scare, a benign fibrocystic lump. But something about that time stuck in my mind forever.

Fast forward to my twenties when a dermatologist dramatically reacted to moles on my body. And more biopsies happened. I have long, deep scars from the scares that time. And although my parents taught me a lot about protecting and taking care of myself, this series of tests really woke me up. I started reading more about prevention and taking some big steps. I slather on sunscreen and have never gone near a tanning bed again. 

It seems I hear way too often that someone is going through chemo. Or was diagnosed with stage...you name it. These people have their lives changed in an instant. The thing about cancer is this: it does not discriminate. It affects any race, any way, at any time. But, the more knowledgeable we are, we can actively work to try and prevent it to some degree. 

There’s so much we cannot control with the unknowns of cancer, but if we can make small daily changes, it definitely won’t hurt and very well might greatly help. Approximately 42% of cancer cases and 45% of cancer deaths in the United States each year that are linked to modifiable risk factors, thus potentially being preventable. Those statistics woke me up! February is world cancer prevention month. It’s a great time to gently remind those we love of little habits we can implement to change our world...and BE GOOD TO OURSELVES, too. Any regulars here know I’m all about clean living. DOESN’T MEAN I DO IT EVERYDAY. I try. I’m not a doctor (even though I'm Dr. Bridget Forrester on B&B;), but I have the privilege of meeting with specialists that lead me in the right direction.

I bet you could write the below on your own. However, it never hurts to be nudged. I just took a break from writing this to refill my water bottle and go walk on the treadmill because all this is reminding me of the benefits. You all help me stick to my regimen, too. It’s so easy to get lazy; accountability helps. 

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MY TOP TIPS:

  1. SCREENING

I got my first mammogram last year. It’s already time to get my next one. I’ve been avoiding scheduling the appointment, but I’ll do it today. Will you?  Screening and early detection of certain types of cancer is paramount. If you’re feeling something is off anywhere or if you have a question, please, talk to your doctor. And even if there’s not a question, talk to your doctor about what screenings are best for you. PLEASE. 

2. NO TOBACCO

Quitting smoking is not easy, but you can do it. To have the best chance of quitting and staying quit, you need to know what you’re up against, what your options are, and where to go for help. Check out a great source here at cancer.org

3. FOOD AND ALCOHOL

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Diet: what are we putting in our bodies food and drink related (if it’s not pure water)? High calorie foods, regular consumption of alcohol, and processed foods are not wise choices. We know we should be eating more whole foods: fruits and vegetables high in anti-oxidants, limit processed foods.  My boys love going to our local farmer’s market. I remember blogging about it last year and loved reading your responses about your local markets — those that have access to one.

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4. EXERCISE

Exercise. Yep. Yep. Just do it. I try to get in at MINIMUM 3 hours a week. I’ll be honest, before Hayden, I was a 6 day a week girl. I did the work. Now, it’s harder, so I get that life can take over. If we are trying to look like Cindy Crawford, we probably need to put in the time, but if we are trying stay healthy and work at preventing cancer, a little goes a long way. 150 moderate minutes a week, or 75 high intensity minutes will fit the bill. (And when I make time to do this, I feel like I’m floating afterward. The natural endorphins seriously kick in.) If you’re following my stories, you often see me participating in yoga. I love the intensity and principles of yoga.

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5. PROTECT FROM THE RAYS

SUNSHINE I love it. I need it. I live near the beach for it. A little goes A LONG WAY. My family and I are so used to slathering sunscreen all over us, my kids know the drill, even thought Hayden hates it. Appreciate the sun and all its Vitamin D benefits and mental health benefits, but don’t worship it. Our skin cannot take the heat, so to speak. Even in cloudy, snowy climates— wear your sunscreen. And your sunglasses; protect your eyes! Just a reminder that the top of our heads, hands and tops of our feet need protecting, too. Hats, glasses, enjoying the sun IN THE SHADE, and sunscreen protect us. Give your whole body the love of protection. You all know I’m pale. If you ever see me tan, it’s spray or makeup. The real me is as white as Capser the friendly ghost.

Joel loves picking a shady spot wherever we go.

Joel loves picking a shady spot wherever we go.

I sincerely appreciate and praise those that share their own stories with cancer. I followed the hashtag #worldcancerday and broke into tears. It isn’t fair.

BE GOOD TO YOURSELF. Love life. Visit the American Cancer Society’s website for more tips. Don’t forget to share this post with those you love as a gentle reminder. And will you share with us in comments what you’re doing for yourself for disease and cancer prevention? We can continue to encourage each other.

xox AJH

WHAT'S IN YOUR FRIDGE?

Continuing the new wellness series with this post supported by FAGE yogurt. In full disclosure, we have been a FAGE family for a long time. This partnership just makes sense to spread our love and we hope to continue to partner with more awesomeness in the future.

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What’s in MY fridge?

It’s the middle of winter. Whether you’re in Arizona’s 69 degree weather, or you’re in the snowstorm in the northeast freezing or here in California where it’s been raining, it’s winter. And this, my friends, is an excellent time to start our spring cleaning preparation of mind, BODY and space. Last year, I embarked on a wellness series with y’all and enjoyed it. I feel like we’ve already started with all the “drinking more water” talk. And I’m not gonna let down on that..reminding myself to drink more clean water everyday.

Today, I’m continuing the topic with healthy food choices. So many of you ask me what I make for dinner, or what I’m feeding my kiddos. I also get asked if I EVEN make dinner or what I heat up that’s frozen! VALID, I’ll admit! Any parent in the world has to figure out food for their family—a normal question, albeit a DREADED ONE. Anytime I have the opportunity to ask friends and get new ideas— you bet I do! 

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Today is a busy day. It’s raining in LA and I have appointments. So, I threw chicken in the slow cooker with salsa as a base. Later when it’s time for dinner, I’ll shred it, add a bit of yogurt, yes, FAGE (read benefits of greek yogurt from HEALTHLINE here), low-fat cheese, cilantro, and roll it into a burrito and voila! When I got home, I gave Hayden a FAGE Total Split Cup yogurt container. We have been eating yogurt a lot. FAGE reduced the sugars in FAGE Total Split Cups (fruit varieties) by 30%!! From 16-17g down to 11g per serving! That’s incredible sugar cutting with no artificial sweetners. I love nothing more than to feel like I’m giving my family GOOD, whole foods that help their bodies function properly and fight off sickness.

And for ME!

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Who can relate to this? Whatever I give the kids or my husband, I usually give a portion to myself. Or at least take bites here and there. So, if our snacks or dinner are really fatty (which we went through a phase), I take those bites. Then, I would also eat my dinner later. I have gained a bit of weight (different topic) but am working to makeover our family lifestyle. We are committed to good food, organic or all-natural as much as possible, locally grown, etc, but then my husband still loves melted cheese all over chips. Or brownies. Or muffins. (okay, fine, I like those things, too!). I know there’s a balance, so when I can offer lower calorie, lower sugar snacks, I will. More nuts, fruits and yogurts, or yo-guns, as Hayden calls them. My husband loves FAGE and the individual split cups were easy to tote for the kids.  If we go to the Huntington Gardens (a regular activity when it’s nice outside), I throw a few packages in my backpack with some mixed nuts and a banana. I keep them in stock for my own pre/post workout snack. If I’m leaving the house for auditions and meetings, I have one with me. I can park, read over my lines and eat a high protein snack. The probiotics are healthy for our digestion and fighting toxins in our bodies, too.  The benefits run deep!

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One thing I love about FAGE Total Split Cup packages is that you add the fruit component. So, I control how much I put in. I can add a few nuts, a few spoonfuls of the fruit component and mix it together. AHHH so good. I also mix the two components in oatmeal most mornings. Hayden and Huck LOVE it.  Even if I do make low fat blueberry muffins for the kids, instead of butter, we spread FAGE.

What’s in YOUR Fridge?

Check out recipes idea here under the “recipe” section at the top! Their sweet potato toast pictured below looks amazing, so does the Macaroni and Cheese!

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Now, it’s YOUR turn. What’s in your fridge? What are you making for dinner? gimme ideas! Any new things with Greek yogurt;)? Would love to hear about it in the comments below or on my latest post on social media!

XO

AJH

Have a GOOD day (chocolate)!

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Hey y’all... sharing something too "good" to keep all to myself. No, it's not another baby (I keep getting asked) or what show I'm working on this week. But, I do get to reveal that soon! Actually headed in for wardrobe fittings in a few minutes. I'll try to share some hints in my stories if I can. SHHHh;)

This little secret is sweet goodness.

The wellness series is full of a lot of stuff I don't necessarily love doing, but know is good for me to do. Like swallowing huge supplements, downing all my water, working out, etc. I'm learning to love those things, but let's be real. So, I wanted to share a treat with you guys. Y’all asked for some of my favorite items from the Bloom Summit Health and Wellness day. I didn't forget. I've just been using some products and researching to find the ones I love the most. Now, part of what I think is cool about learning and experimenting with new products is two part: 1) I like switching things up occasionally and 2) not everything works for everyone's body. So, it's nice to throw ideas out there and see what might work well for you. 

One of the things I learned about is Good Day Chocolate. The creators are self professed “supplement geeks with a chocolate obsession.” It’s a chocolate vitamin (in the cutest packaging you’ve ever seen). Yes, it might sound confusing….a complete treat that is good for you? But, in the name of chocolate, I simply embraced the concept and have since enjoyed many a good days;) It is really hard for me to get everything I need from just food or one or two supplements. I really appreciate creative ideas to mix it all up!

I tried the “energy” chocolate first and loved the taste and gentle pick-me-up. Then, later that evening, I tired the “sleepy” version. I munched on a couple bite-sized chocolates and downed a large glass of water. I woke up refreshed. Hayden must have gotten the memo ‘cause he’s handing us the sleepy time version in the picture above! lol This mama could use a little extra sleep! He must know!

I'm interested in the turmeric supplement. Do y'all take turmeric? I looked up reasons why it's beneficial and was blown away. So, I would like to integrate these antioxidant bites into my weekly supplements.

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I did a bit more research and….this is why I like this company:

1) They support SmileTrain. (One of the founders is a plastic surgeon). 

2) Hayden and Huck beg for them (check out the kids section). Also, check my stories today on instagram. And for kids, they have a daily multi-vitamin that I love giving the boys. They are highly-tested, non GMO and made with fair trade chocolate. Your kids will remind YOU to give them their vitamins.

3) I can have a little sweet tasting something and know it’s beneficial. My go-to is one probiotic and one vitamin D in the AM. If I take one at night, it’s the sleepy time one. Since I'm trying to eat clean and drink the water right now (er...always!), it's a treat I'm adding that I don't feel guilty about. How fun to get a bite of something sweet that is packed with goodness in more ways than one? Really FUN. Great gift, too. Who wouldn’t want to receive this sweetness!? This variety pack is a fun hostess gift.

Warning for toddler moms: if your child is anything like Hayden, he likes to put any treat in his mouth, then hold it for a while in his hands, then put it back in his mouth. We’re working on this, but in the meantime, the chocolate does rub off on his little hands, so keep an eye. For more great info on this company, please visit: GoodDayChocolate.com where you can purchase (they also can be found here on Amazon and the kids' line can be found at your local Target). I have to give them a thank you shout out for sponsoring this portion of the wellness series! 

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BOTTOMS UP...drink your H2O

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Bottoms up!

However, this post is not about emptying your glass of Rose' all day! I just downed 14 oz of water. This post is too simple. I really should get a big fat 'ol "F" for this. It's too easy, too on-the-nose. Everyone knows they need to drink water

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We’ve heard this our whole lives: DRINK MORE WATER. It’s basically the panacea to many ailments. Most of this wellness reminder series is simply that— great reminders. We know all of this already, but I still like new reminders. I recently overheard someone say in conversation, “Drinking water is a no-brainer, well, it’s 90% of your brain, so it’s more of a BRAINER than we think!” 

Anyhow, that joke wasn’t very funny. And I’m not trying to be funny here. Just straightforward. And bring your mid(ish)-year reminder about many of our new year’s resolutions. And if memory serves me, we all had several different resolutions, but the consistently ones were: drink more water and weight loss.

So, while typing and doing a bit of research here, I got super thirsty. As I said, I downed water. I think part of my issue is that I forget, then I get tired and and busy and distracted. I need a pick me up.  I instinctively reach for caffeine. And THAT IS MY DOWNFALL.

I appreciate my yoga teachers telling me all the benefits of water and why it's so important for me drink it. As I'm doing my last down dog of the class recently, I hear the lecture coming. I roll my eyes back so far, it's as if gravity is going to make them stick there. But, alas, I rise up once again and it is on my mind. 

For better or worse, the thoughts that get me thinking are more vanity based. Does this happen to you sometimes? I'm thinking, "Duh, we ALL know we need to drink water to make our digestive system work. Are you really saying this OUT LOUD. I mean, we're paying $20 a class to be here, we clearly on the "body-wellness" path, so tell us something I don't hear everyday." And then she did.

She reminded me of things like this:

Calorie control

Water simply helps people feel full, and as a result consume fewer calories. Timing can help, too. Drink 16oz. before meals. And cold water helps metabolism.

Fuels Muscle/Gives us Energy

When the muscles don’t have enough water, they get tired. So for extra energy, try drinking water to push through that final set of squats. And water in general can give us all more energy! If only I had the energy of my two year old! 

Clearer skin

Part of the detoxification benefits of drinking water, it helps flush out toxins that can clog our pores and cause acne. The jury is still out on if it scientifically helps with wrinkles, but I'll tell you this much, it doesn't hurt!

Improves Brain Function

I don't know if it's just from being tired a lot of the time, but I will take all the help I can get to improve my brain function! Like I said earlier, our brain is mainly water and needs enough of it to function properly. I don't know the science behind it, but it makes sense.

Relieves Constipation In Many Cases

Pretty self explanatory, but worth mentioning. If problems persist, see your doctor, but this is a good place to start.

extra credit: 

IT’S FREE!

Even if you splurge for bottled water, it’s cheaper than Starbucks or wine!

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You might remember my post with Dr Oz reminding us all to immediately drink 2 glasses of water upon rising. I do that about 40% of the time if I’m being honest. UGH! Coffee calls my name in the morning. SO Loudly!!!

BUT, bottoms UP. It’s time. If you haven’t been consistent, let’s start this challenge and get ‘er done. If you don’t love the taste—er— non taste of water, there are fun things you can do. Add mint! Add fruit. I add Usana’s Booster C and it gives me just enough flavor (and Vitamin C). This morning, I added the probiotic powder. I’m challenging myself to drink 64 oz every single day this week. I’ll report in my stories. Will you do it with me? Maybe we’ll go longer, but let’s start with a week. WE CAN DO THIS.

Tag me in any stories or posts…. What’s a hashtag we can all use? #bottomsupH2o? too long? thoughts? ha!

Breathe. Exhale. Repeat.

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Hi y'all,

Thanks to all of you that read the Wellness Post yesterday. Today, I am focusing on breath. Most likely, this is not new information, but sometimes reminding myself of the benefits help motivate me to practice deep breathing exercises. Recently, my husband and I were asked what our top three goals were for improving ourselves. I like this question. What's going to make me a better partner in our marriage? One of my answers was to reduce stress and lower my anxiety. I can then be a more present partner and mother. Deep breathing is one way to get there.  DISCLAIMER: I'm not a doctor or a life coach or anything like that....I'm just another girl with a blog sharing what is working for me.

3 REASONS TO STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND PRACTICE DEEP BREATHING:

LOWERS ANXIETY

"When you undergo physical pain or stressful situations, your body instinctively reacts in accordance with its fight-or-flight mechanism and your adrenal glands release the stress hormone, cortisol, which leads to increased heartbeat, muscles constriction, eye dilation, an increase in breath rate and a decrease in breath duration.

Medical professionals are unanimous in the assertion that elevated cortisol levels pose a serious threat to our health. Breathing exercises can help to reverse or mitigate the body’s natural reaction to stressful situations, markedly decreasing the rate at which cortisol is released into your system." - UnbeatableMind.com

RELEASES TOXINS AND STRENGTHENS YOUR CORE

"Good breathing habits help the lymphatic system function properly, which encourages the release of harmful toxins. This cleanses the body and allows it to direct its energy to more productive functions." LivingthenourishedLife.com I know when I practice the correct way of deep breathing, it's a great core strengthener, too. Releasing toxins and bringing in oxygen is one of the best steps to an overall healthier life. 

FOCUSING THE MIND

"Increased oxygen flow to the brain allows it to function at its optimal levels, which in turn aids decision making and ability to focus on tasks. Studies have shown that breathing exercises have beneficial impacts on the brain’s state of awareness – increasing retention and concentration." UnbeatableMind. Ahhh... is this why I feel more motivated mentally after an hour of yoga?

There are many more benefits, these are just the ones that are helping me right now. I'd also like to include this link from the New York Times with simple images reminding us great ways to take a moment and take a breath. 


I really appreciate hearing from you guys. Please know, I do read the DMs on social as often as I can and I take note of what you all are saying. Sometimes it's positive ideas for me to hear and sometimes it's sharing info about your lives. 

Lately, I've heard from a few of you about health issues. I would love to be able to send you a link on amazon to fix those issues! OR magically take them away. I cannot. What can I do? I can pray. I can encourage and I can listen to you (read your comments). I can remind you to breathe. 

Happy Tuesday, folks! Take time to take a long, deep breath. See you tomorrow. 

"Be still and know that I am God." Psalms 46

 

You can't have a bad day in POLKA DOTS.

TRUTH. No bad days in polka dots. I think Anna Kendrick said this. I must agree. I wore this top last Saturday to Bloom Summit and it was a good day.

actresses Christine Lakin, Virgina Williams, Vanessa Ray, me;) Photo by: @Ographr 

actresses Christine Lakin, Virgina Williams, Vanessa Ray, me;) Photo by: @Ographr 

The summit, produced by @NewBloomMedia@beautymomme expert Saarah Samadani, kicked off the morning with a plethora of wellness tips and new products. I'm learning about tricks of the health trade. And you know I'll be sharing my favorites tips and products with you. There were so many new things to wrap my mind around, especially in weight management. With all the inner beauty talk and focus on wellness, it made me reflect on my "SMART" GOALS in this post. Am I accomplishing them? Well, some of them I am! And many I need to revisit and refocus. 

Loved getting to visit with the ladies at the event, even for a moment. All of us have kids the same age (with the exception of the darling Vanessa Ray...you know her from BLUE BLOODS or PRETTY LITTLE LIARS but soap fans will remember AS THE WORLD TURNS!). 

After the event, we headed to San Diego to meet my sister and the day got even better.

I felt very "bright and cherry" in my white sunnies, polka dots and blue pants. Was it too much? ha! Maybe, but whatever- I went with it. The converse grounded the outfit, right? This polka dot top really makes me smile. Love the tiny ruffle on the sleeve. If this one isn't the perfect one for you, here are other fun options. Just click on an image to go to the item at the store's site:

FYI: the blue pants linked are not the same ones I'm wearing. I'm wearing the ones I wore in this post at Hayden's first birthday! But, they sold out quickly. I enjoy a pop of color, so here are some other options of brands I wear:

Non-sequitur, but I asked in the last post about good book recommendations...? Just compiling a list. I'll share! Thanks to those that have dm'd or commented with their suggestions.

xoxo

AAJ

Photo: @Ographr

Photo: @Ographr

Alex Basowski, Amy Davidson, me;) Photo: Alex's iPhone 

Alex Basowski, Amy Davidson, me;) Photo: Alex's iPhone