Gardening: Planting Seeds of Growth During Cancer

Google “gardening and cancer“, and you’ll be amazed at the long list of overwhelmingly positive results. At FFLB, we love practices that restore peace to both mind and body. While the list of benefits named by cancer patients is endless, here are some of gardening’s most impressive accolades:

3 in 4 gardeners surveyed said that gardening helped them manage feelings of depression and sadness during treatment, while over half of gardeners in another survey found more energy as a result of gardening during treatment. A third of gardeners in that survey also noted that gardening helped them manage weight gain in response to treatment.

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Via weblogs.com/baltimoresun

The vast options for gardens’ contents also act as healing. If a patient doesn’t feel up to maintaining a full garden, a pot or windowsill box can still be beautiful daily treats. A garden might also act as a memorial for a loved one or friend. Whether you plant vegetables to encourage healthy eating or aromatic herbs to bring peace, gardens can provide something for every aspect of your journey with cancer.

If you don’t have a green thumb, gardening can still enhance your journey. Restorative gardens, sometimes specific for cancer patients, are designed using therapeutic techniques and activities. Patients and their loved ones can find mental peace in these gardens, often with opportunities like art therapy, meditation and yoga. Some gardens even have “plant-free” sections for patients who must avoid allergens. This article lists some of the best restorative gardens in the world. Nearby, be sure to try City of Hope in Duarte’s Argyros Family and Japanese Gardens. They look peaceful and calming! Although they aren’t specifically for cancer patients, The Huntington Gardens and Descanso Gardens make great healing spots right near FFLB.

City of Hope's Japanese Gardens

Want to plan your own garden? We suggest you plant lavender, rosemary, oregano, carrots, spinach or wildflowers. They’re all easy to maintain and beautiful, too!

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via Filcker/woodleywonderworks

Tea Time

Tea cleanses and detoxes have been trending all over the internet lately. From celebrities and models to bloggers, it seems like everyone believes in the power of tea. Turns out, a “tea-tox” doesn’t have to be strict or branded to have refreshing health benefits. We recently stumbled across an article by a Marie Claire writer, who tripled her intake of daily tea and saw incredible results. By drinking 9-10 cups of tea a day, including heavy green tea consumption, the author felt softer skin and majorly improved hydration, as well as a calmed sensation throughout the day.

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With such enticing benefits, we decided to research the benefits and rules of tea in regards to cancer. Both green teas and black teas contain great antioxidant boosts. Tea polyphenols have also been proven in lab tests to help lessen UV damage, modulate immune systems and protect against tumor development. One study also showed slightly positive effects of tea on cancerous oral lesions. Another study demonstrated that among participants drinking 10 cups or more of green tea daily, risks of cancer incidences decreased. The study also revealed the tea’s cardiovascular benefits. While many other studies have been inconclusive as to tea’s specific cancer fighting benefits, it has been deemed a very safe means of hydration, particularly when decaffeinated.

We’re pleased to enjoy Art of Tea at FFLB. With the ultimate fresh brews and some gorgeous “blooming” teas, they light up our day and keep us hydrated. We’re sure they’ll do the same for you as well! Halo - Award Winning

What to Wear During Treatment

Chemotherapy and dialysis treatments can be exhausting, and FFLB knows the power of experiencing cancer treatment with as much comfort and peace as possible. We’ve picked up information from cancer patients and professionals on the most comfortable treatment-wear ideas. Many of the options are extremely affordable, so you can have a wide array of choices to feel comfortable and enter treatment with confidence.

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Camisoles are among the best and most affordable layering pieces for treatment. Choose a cotton tank for breathability, and head to bargain brands for affordable pricing. Forever 21 has a rainbow of cotton options, many under a few dollars. Layer the camisole over a bra and you’ll have an easily movable top for port access.

Treatment can be chilly, and we’ve heard a few good tips for layering over a camisole. Flannels are a great option, because they’re easy to button up and down and have rollable sleeves. Cotton button downs are similarly great choices. Searching for flannels at a consignment or thrift store is a good place to start. These stores usually have very affordable button-downs passed along by men, so they provide extra cozy and almost blanket-like warmth for only a few dollars. Old Navy also has some colorful options under $30.

Old Navy

Ponchos and capes make for extremely cozy and accessible options, too. They’re stylish for wearing outside of treatment and can be layered over camisoles, flannels or both. This under-$50 option is a great example-warm, cozy and better fitted than a blanket, but easy to maneuver around. We found a very fashion forward Free People poncho on sale for less than $50, too. Want to make your own poncho? Here’s a great no-sew DIY! Decorating and bedazzling your poncho with special sayings and ideas can also be a fun craft and uplifting reminder during treatment.

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As far as specific products that work well for patients in treatment, we found a few well-reviewed ideas. Ron Wear, recently featured on Yahoo and supported by cancer survivor Robin Roberts, has a line of sweatsuits that contain zip-able holes in the arms, chest and legs for ease of access during treatment. The suits’ warmth and normal appearance have impressed many cancer patients and made treatments more bearable. Chemo cozy has some beautiful options too. Their port-accessible fleeces could work just as well on a nature walk as during treatment. We also found some affordable camisoles made specifically for post-mastectomy wear.

Chemo Cozy

We want to hear from our Beauties and other members of the community: What do you recommend wearing to treatments? What makes you most comfortable and lets your inner beauty shine through?

Weekly Wednesday Inspiration: Paper Cranes

Long regarded in Japanese culture, origami is a calming and meditative practice that produces some stunning, simple art. Often mimicking real life and nature, origami paper folds to create cranes, lotuses and other peaceful symbols.

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Cranes in particular have a special place in history as origami’s finest representative. Tradition holds that folding 1,000 paper cranes can bring good fortune and peace to many occasions. Couples often fold cranes before their weddings for prosperity, while the cranes can also be folded in hopes of healing from illness, giving congratulations on an anniversary or celebrating family.

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At FFLB, there’s always a lot to reflect on, especially around our tenth anniversary. We’ve introduced cranes as a meditative craft idea. Whether it be during a treatment or in hopes of uplifting another Beauty, folding cranes is a tradition with potential for harmony.

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Thank you to our amazing women who have contributed cranes! We hope these stand as symbols for your happiness, well being and importance to our community. Interested in making your own cranes? We’ve hunted down some of the finest instructions on the web. Tavin’s Origami Instructions has a helpful video, and we also like this step by step diagram.

Let us know how your crane folding journey goes, or shoot us a picture of your success! Plus, watch for cranes on our Instagram, @livingbeautyorg.

Baltic Amber: Nature’s Ibuprofen

Nature can have gentle, subtly healing elements- and they can also be an easy, everyday part of your style routine! After experiencing Hazelaid‘s hazel wood bracelets as helpful with skin ailments like eczema, we caught up with the company to learn about the potential benefits of their other stunning resource, baltic amber jewelry.

Baltic amber works like a natural ibuprofen, reducing inflammation and swelling while easing aches and pains. When in contact with body heat, the amber releases an oil called succinic acid, an alkalinizing acid that may lower the body’s acidity (and certainly doesn’t raise it). It’s a mild pain reliever, but the lighter and less polished the amber, the stronger it is. While not many patients have tried the amber to ease cancer symptoms, it is possible that stronger amber might be very helpful for pain issues that come with cancer. The amber does help on small levels to boost immune systems and energy levels, which is always excellent news!

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Hazelaid (along with FFLB) would love to know if and how our stylish Beauties find relief with this jewelry. In the course of our discussions, the company generously agreed to give away a free piece of jewelry to one lucky Beauty! Plus, a second Beauty will receive a 40% off code that can be applied in a transaction of up to three items from Hazelaid.

Even if you don’t win, or if you’re not a Living Beauty but have interest in Hazelaid, we have good news! All of our readers can get 10% off their purchases by using the code Foundationforlivingbeautiful10. Thank you to Hazelaid for joining our wonderful community of facilitators and sponsors. We look forward to extending more wonderful, holistic and fresh ideas!

To enter the contest, please email [email protected] with your own holistic tips and suggestions. Name a product, recipe, holistic expert or exercise that has helped you, and tell us how we can get more information! Your suggestions will help us continue building a forum to help other Beauties. Include your name and preferred phone number. Two winners will be chosen completely randomly after verification in our database. We also ask that our product winner keeps us posted on how the jewelry helps so that we can pass on the info!

Thank you for participating in a community of Living Beauty! Think this could help a friend? Pass it along and get them in touch with our staff. Feel inspired to donate? Check out how here.

Tari Prinster and Yoga 4 Cancer

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We are so grateful to present a new series of tips for Living Beauties, their supporters and anyone wishing for a healthy lifestyle! Yoga is a very important experience at the Foundation for Living Beauty. Many of our retreats feature restorative yoga exercises, often led by yoga and cancer expert Tari Prinster. Tari will generously be helping us display some healing yoga poses on the blog.

In the midst of an incredibly athletic lifestyle, Tari was shocked to find herself diagnosed with cancer at age 56. On the road to recovery, she found that yoga gave her spiritual fulfillment while allowing release in her body. Tari recovered in 2003, but continues to share the gift of yoga with other cancer patients and survivors. She has earned a nomination for the Yoga Journal award of Good Karma. She sees both yoga and cancer as great teachers that introduce both the acceptance of uncertainty and the understanding of one’s self.

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For more about Tari and Y4C, check out this introduction video, as well as her website! We will be featuring more expertise from Tari, including healing pose ideas and meditation tips. Stay tuned!