Three years ago when I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, one of the first things I did was commit to talking about the disease. I wanted other people to know about the thyroid gland and what it can do (or not do). Once I starting talking more, I learned something.
On one side of my family, there was a history thyroid disease in my family. On the other side, cancer was very prominent.
Family medical history is important. Knowing your family history is even more important. And being part of a family willing to talk about those medical issues is of utmost importance.The information that I gained during my personal cancer event proved to be more valuable than anything my doctors could have told me. After I recovered, I decided to dig a little deeper and I found some other health issues that I needed to be aware of.
Enter the dirty words.
All of this information was great, but as a parent, I wanted to my kids know that there are some medical conditions they may be genetically predisposed to, which then means the topic of conversation at dinner turned from fashion crises of teens to health issues in our family. In my family, those dirty words are asthma, diabetes, thyroid disease, kidney disease, cholesterol, high blood pressure, epilepsy, vitamin D deficiency, and eczema. At first, the length of that list scared me. Before that dinner conversation with my kids, I dug even more deeper and I researched the ailments even more.
Over the past three years, I’ve learned that healthy nutrition is critical reversing the effects of several health issues.
Disclosure: I partnered with Freshy Bag on this blog post. There are also affiliate links listed from this point forward in this post.
When I talk to my kids about the health concerns that affect our family (and it’s a continuous conversation), I need to give them options that are within their control. Nutrition is one of those options.
As a family, we’ve moved from eating ramen noodles and fast food several times a week to cooking well-balanced meals made from locally-grown and organic produce. Additionally, we have abandoned three meals a day for six smaller, healthier meals.
I know. That’s a great thought in theory, but life can be busy. My response to that statement is simple. Are you too busy to get sick? Are you too busy for daily insulin injections? Are you too busy to be put on mandatory bed rest? Yeah, I’m not either. Here are the tips and tools that have changed our lives for the better:
- Freshy Bag – This is the best way to transport my food as I travel through the day. Grapes in the carpool line? Check. A quick lunchtime salad after one of my classes? Check. What about a homemade yogurt parfait? Of course. This insulated lunch bag works for my family and me (we argue over who gets to use the Freshy Bag) because it is small and light (even when it’s full of fruits and vegetables) and have several compartments for storing different food items. Because the company is committed to healthy living, their website is also full of easy and healthy recipes you can try at home.
- Multi-vitamins and supplements – The kind is totally up to you. I take a regular multi-vitamin once a day and then take some extra supplements of Vitamin D and calcium. I am very fond of gummy vitamins, as are my children. (I may have called the poison-control center last year about a teenager who ate a bottle of 60-count gummy vitamins in 24 hours because said teenager “forgot” they weren’t gummy bears.) If you like gummy vitamins that much, vitamin tablets may be a better option. I’m just saying.
- Having a health related goal each day: mine is to eat 10 servings of fruits and vegetables – Some days I hit my goal, some days I don’t. Without that goal I wouldn’t get nearly enough produce in me each day. With the goal, I thrive (even if it’s not 10.)
- Aromatherapy with essential oils – I know it seems like essential oils are a new fad, but they aren’t. One of the oils we use to control CJ’s eczema has frankincense and myrrh in it. If you’re a fan of Christmas, you know that the Wise Men brought baby Jesus gifts of frankincense and myrrh. If it’s good enough for baby Jesus, it’s most definitely good enough for us. The bottom line here is there – stock up on your essential oil arsenal.
- Bottled water and a BPA-free water jug – The water crises that have been plaguing so many American cities lately has me scared. I used to be a tap water girl, but in recent months, that has changed. Bottle water and BPA-free jugs are the way we roll.
- Spend time outdoors – I live in Texas. The weather here is either incredibly nice or just plain awful. On the nice days, we get out and get moving. On the awful days, we stay in and post on social media just how bad it is. Let’s all commit to more moving and less posting, okay?
What are the dirty words in your family?