The Health Up Newsletter
Created Bi-Weekly by Teri Yunus
Health Up With Teri Health & Wellness Coaching

May 2, 2024 | ISSUE 176
What's Inside This Week 
  • Tomatoes vs. Cancer
  • The Right Tools
  • Excus-itis

Tomatoes vs Cancer
Food is Medicine

If you know me, you know I am all about natural ways to improve our health. Preventing cancer is important for all of us. Cancer rates have increased despite all the dollars that have gone toward research to ‘find a cure’. Food is medicine. One of the top cancer fighting foods are tomatoes! Tomatoes contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. Lycopene may help prevent lung, stomach, colorectal, oral, esophageal, pancreatic, prostate, and mesothelioma cancers. Let's look at some types of cancer and the role tomatoes can play. 
Lung Cancer
In Italy, men who ate tomatoes or tomato sauce twice a week had a 35% lower risk of lung cancer than those who didn’t. Raw tomato consumption reduced lung cancer risk in another Chinese study.
Stomach Cancer
In Japan, men who ate lots of tomatoes had a much lower risk of stomach cancer than those who didn’t. Men who ate lots of fruits and vegetables were even more protected.
Colorectal Cancer
Tomatoes may lower colorectal cancer risk, according to several studies. US researchers found that men who ate the most tomatoes had a 35% lower risk of colorectal cancer than those who ate the least.
Oral Cancer
A Chinese study found that people who ate the most raw tomatoes had a lower risk of oral cancer. Another Italian study found that men who ate tomatoes or tomato sauce twice a week had a 50% lower oral cancer risk.
Esophageal Cancer
In Iran, men who ate the most tomatoes had a lower risk of esophageal cancer. Another US study found that men who ate the most raw tomatoes had a 58% lower risk of esophageal cancer than those who ate the least.
Pancreatic Cancer
US researchers found that tomato eaters had a 24% lower pancreatic cancer risk than non-eaters. Another Italian study found that men who ate tomatoes or tomato sauce twice a week had a 67% lower pancreatic cancer risk.
Prostate Cancer
Tomatoes may lower prostate cancer risk, according to several studies. In a multivariate analysis of 14,000 Seventh-day Adventist men, only tomato and bean, lentil, and pea intake were associated with lower prostate cancer risk. Lycopene intake reduced risk by 21% in another study. Tomatoes and tomato products provided 82% of lycopene and reduced prostate cancer risk by 35% and aggressive prostate cancer by 53%.
In Italy, men who ate tomatoes or tomato juice 16 or more times a month had a 60% lower risk of mesothelioma than those who did not.
Tomato consumption was linked to a 32% lower risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in a US study.
Tomato lycopene may protect against multiple cancers. What the studies (or lack of) typically say is that more research is needed to confirm this. Besides eating tomatoes, it’s important to eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, limit alcohol, avoid tobacco, and maintain a healthy weight.
If you’re interested in incorporating more plant-based foods into your diet for cancer prevention and support, I can help you get started. I recently earned certification as a Holistic Cancer Coach. I am so proud to have added this important certification to help my clients remain healthy in a world that is becoming sicker and sicker. 
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The Right Tools
It's all about the tools…the right ones in the kitchen can make your life better!

A healthy body begins in the kitchen. Many experts say the best thing we can do for our health is to cook at home. Stocking your kitchen with the right tools will make your cooking experience more efficient. Believe it or not, you might actually begin to enjoy the creativity and inspiration you find in the kitchen.
If you have never cooked, this can be a daunting idea. To share my experience, my adult children used to tease me that they grew up on five different meals…all easy and nothing fancy. I was not interested in what happened in the kitchen growing up so I did not learn to love to cook. When I married my husband, he was the main cook in the family. When we transformed our eating style is when I was faced with learning how to get around in the kitchen. Since then, I have learned to not only enjoy cooking, but I miss it when I batch cook too much and don’t need to make any dishes for a few days. If this can happen to me…it can happen to anybody!
For a stress-free (or reduced stress in the beginning) experience in the kitchen, you need the right tools…good tools. Here are some basics.
This is the most important tool in your kitchen arsenal. This is where you will want to think “investment” instead of a dollar store find. You don’t have to go crazy…no need to mortgage your house or sell off your jewelry. A good chef’s knife will make your life so much better. The cost of a pretty decent one can be as low as $40-50…a good one upwards to $300 or more. Find the knife that feels good in your hand. That is the one you want. 
Look for a stainless steel or carbon steel blade, with a handle that balances well with the weight of the blade. Carbon steel will stain, but will hold its edge longer than stainless and is typically heavier. Depending on how much time you will spend in the kitchen may help determine if you choose a heavier or a lighter knife.
The newer ceramic knives may be a good choice. They are light, sleep and so sharp; they may seem to do the work for you. They are expensive though but can be an excellent investment in your health. If chopping is easier…you won’t mind it so much.
Some people like the fancy knife sets that come with the block for storage. These are nice for those will like this displayed for easy accessibility. You may find, however, that you use just one or two of the knives in the set so it may be a waste of time and space to invest in one of these sets. You can get away with doing most, if not all, your chopping with a good chef’s knife. A few exceptions are a good quality serrated knife for slicing tomatoes or strawberries. I use my little Rada tomato knife almost daily. A good bread knife is an asset, as well. Using your chef’s knife on bread is not a good idea…it will dull quickly and won’t cut nicely through the texture of bread.
To keep your knives in the best shape, a honing steel is essential. Get a diamond steel honing knife to put an edge on your knife on a daily basis. Each time you begin to cook, hone your blade on the steel to keep the edge sharp and your knife ready for use.
Cutting Board
Next to your knife, you will need a cutting board for prep. Again, skip the dollar store items. A wooden cutting board that fits the space you will be using to prep your food. Go as big as you can so you have room to work as you may be chopping multiple items for your meal. Get a nice, thick board that feels substantial in your hands. This will avoid warping. The newer bamboo boards are nice. They are light, durable, anti-microbial and anti-bacterial naturally and won’t warp. You may pay a bit more for this type but people who use them, love them.
A clean cutting board is a good thing…but soap may leave a film that transfers to your food. A suggestion I came across years ago was to wet your board and sprinkle it generously with salt once a week. Rub a half a lemon over the salty wet board to freshen it. Rinse well. This technique removes odors and germs.
Pots & Pans
No need to be super fancy when it comes to pots and pans in your kitchen. They need to be sturdy, so they hold up for years. Some of the best thrift store finds are older, stainless steels pots and pans. Even if they look beat up, clean up is easy with steel wool. There are plenty of expensive sets available if you prefer to make an investment in healthy cooking. This may take some research to find the ones that call out to you. There are hundreds of styles on the market.
I use stainless steel and find it easy to use (after the learning curve that I experienced early on). Stainless is the most basic. They distribute heat evenly and cook food efficiently. I am able to cook without oil in stainless steel…I keep a cup of filtered water nearby to use to avoid sticking. The key to cooking with stainless steel is to heat the pan to hot before adding food. This allows the porous texture to ‘close’ to create a more non-stick environment in the pan.
Cast iron may be a good choice for you. It is heavy and distributes heat evenly. Those who use them say they are easy to clean. They can go from the stovetop to the oven with ease. There are some porcelain coated cast iron pans that are nice for casseroles and more.
As far as non-stick pans, skip them. There is a newer ‘green’ non-stick pan that is likely safer than others. All the science tells us that most non-stick pans are not safe and can leach chemicals into our food. They aren’t fun to cook with either…you can’t brown food well and they seem unsatisfying in a way.
Oh boy…here’s a can of worms. There are so many gadgets available and they can make our lives easier in many ways. From simple wooden spoons to garlic presses, cherry pitters or graters…the options to make our cooking experience better are endless.
There are steamers, air fryers, high-speed blenders, electric pressure cookers, juicers and ice cream makers and more available for your kitchen dollars. I happen to love my air fryer, my Vitamix and my Instant Pot but it took me some years in the kitchen to gather up the guts to try them. The blender was the first investment. It is great for making smoothies, salad dressings, sauces, and soups. I had my Instant Pot in the box for over a year before I opened it. I was afraid of it. I had never used a pressure cooker and I was sure it would explode. It didn’t. I use it regularly now for steaming potatoes and kale, making amazing soups and stews, and for quick, easy pasta dishes. Same with my air fryer…it created that fried feeling without the acrylamides that can damage our health.
Bottom line is to invest in what you can and think of it as money well spent. Your health is worth it. Most of us spend so much money at restaurants for less-than healthy foods. Shift those dollars to your own kitchen and see what can happen with your health. It will get better and you will feel it!

Calling out excus-itis
Hold yourself accountable 

It is possible that you have not heard this term…excusitis. It is not a medical term but more of a fun way to describe one who makes excuses. We all do it to some extent. We make excuses when we don’t REALLY want to do something. We make excuses when we are afraid. We make excuses because something better might come up. We make excuses for a hundred different reasons. The problem is that making excuses can get in the way of having what we want most.
Becoming aware of our excuses is one of the first things we can do to move past them. Being brutally honest with yourself is the first step to moving away from making excuses. When you notice yourself finding an excuse, ask yourself if the excuse is real or if something is getting in your way of doing the thing. Having a conversation with your inner self may help you sort out what is really happening. Look in the mirror and discuss whether the excuse you are coming up with is real or if something else is going on. Humans typically have good intuition…we know what we are doing. We know when we are making an excuse. Listen to your gut…your instincts will guide you.
Here are some other tips to reduce the excuses in your life.
  • Set short term goals that lead to your bigger, ultimate goal. Planning to get started with an exercise regime? Think smaller at first if you find yourself coming up with excuses. If it’s walking you want to do…start by creating a goal of putting on your walking shoes. Once you have your shoes on, it’s easier to get out the door. Sometimes it’s that first small step that can motivate you to take the next step.
  • Recognize that you are worth the effort. Often, we look around and see others achieving their goals and we wonder why we can’t do it. The truth is that we CAN do it. When we start to recognize that we are worth the effort it takes to make a change, we are more likely to do the things it takes to get there. An excuse a lot of us use is, “it’s so hard”. Yet we do hard things all the time. I once saw a meme on FB called, ‘choose your hard’. It’s hard to get up out of the chair and go for a walk…it’s also hard to remain in your chair and feel awful physically and mentally. Choose your hard.
  • Use the correct words with yourself. When you say, “I can’t”…does it really mean, “I won’t” or “I don’t want to”? Most times it does. Call yourself out…hold yourself accountable and use the words that are correct. Words matter. The same goes for using the words, “I want”. We can want all day and still not get out of the chair. When we shift to saying, “I will” then the magic can happen. Our brains believe what we tell it…when we say, “I want” there is no substance behind it. “I will” is more directive and our brains will recognize it.
Starting something new or maintaining a program long term can be challenging. Humans are great at making excuses. When we stop and notice what we are doing, we enable ourselves to dig a little deeper to find what is holding us back. We are hardest on ourselves. Consider what you would say to your youngest child/grandchild if they were finding excuses. Use the power of positivity to empower yourself like you would with a child. Getting started is often the hardest part. Once you let go of the excuses keeping you from having what you want, you build that muscle to allow yourself to do things that you didn’t think you could. You have so much more power over how you live your life than you know. Letting go of excusitis is one way to thrive. You deserve that.
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Move Yo'Self

The plank is an exercise known for its ability to sculpt a strong and stable core. Like all exercise, its important to warm up prior to starting. Just a few stretches is all that is necessary but don't discount the value of stretching prior to planking. You may find muscles you didn't know you had and stretching before and after can help alleviate some of the tension of sore muscles. Watch the video below to learn how to do a plank correctly. Notice her feet are about shoulder width apart and her hands are directly below her shoulders. The video includes a low plank option, as well, to protect your wrists if this is a concern for you. Start with as low as 10-15 seconds and build your endurance as you continue to perform this simple exercise regularly. Work up to 2 minutes. It can be a real game changer to build strength and sculpt your abdomen when done consistently. 

Summer Spritzer
Try this refreshing, non-alcoholic beverage this summer! Summer is coming, you know :)
Summer Spritzer
  • 2-inch-thick slice of cucumber
  • 4 sprig mint or more if you love mint
  • few frozen red berries
  • 2 cups clear, sparkling lemonade
  • ice
To garnish
  • more frozen berries, chopped fruits, cucumber slice, mint, citrus – all optional
  • STEP 1
Chop the cucumber and mint sprig into small pieces. Bring about a couple cups of water to the boil in a small pan and then add the mint and cucumber. Turn off the heat and leave for 2 mins. Add a small handful of frozen berries, let them defrost for a minute, then crush them lightly with the back of a spoon. Strain the mixture. This will keep in the fridge for up to 24 hours and will be enough to make at least four drinks.
  • STEP 2
Divide your strained mixture into 4 tall glasses. Fill the glass with ice and top off with about ½ cup lemonade. Garnish with whatever chopped fruit you like or some more frozen berries and mint leaves if you have them. Stir gently to combine.
Recipe adapted from

did you know
Treadmills were originally used as torture devices
Being on a treadmill too long may seem like torture. Well, guess what? The original use for treadmills was just that! Treadmills were originally designed to harness the power of humans or animals. They were used as machines to help with hard labor like grinding wheat or pumping water. In England during the 18th century, the treadmill was introduced to prisons as a torture device. Prisoners were required to climb upwards on an endless staircase while holding onto a handrail for balance. This form of torture was later deemed inhumane and abolished in the 19th century.
So next time you are on a treadmill, think about this…lol. Now we voluntarily use treadmills and it's a healthy thing to do!

Food for Thought
I am adding a new feature that I think will be interesting for you all. Dr. Michael Greger released his “How Not to Age” book recently and it is jam-packed (like all of his books!) with facts that can help us to slow the aging process and feel great until our last breath. For the next several weeks, I will share little tidbits that I am reading. I strongly encourage all my readers to look for Dr. Greger's books. They are based on scientific evidence and worth their weight in gold (in my humble opinion). :)
Excerpt from Sleep:
Dip Your Toes In
Eating late at night not only exacerbates weight gain, as I cover in How Not to Diet, but may hinder our ability to fall asleep. Normally, around bedtime, there is a drop in our core body temperature, which seems to be one of our cues that it's time to sleep, but late-night munchies may interfere with that. In that case, wouldn't taking a hot shower be counterproductive? No. The moment you step out of the bath, the rapid decline in your skin temperature can enhance the natural nighttime drop and actually improve your sleep. Just soaking your feet in a warm bath may help you fall asleep about fifteen minutes faster. 
Footbaths have been called a “safe, simple, and non-pharmacological method to improve sleep quality.” A meta-analysis of trials found that enjoying a warm shower, footbath, or full-body bath for just ten minutes one to two hours before bedtime can help people fall asleep more quickly and sleep better. 
Special blood vessels that connect the arteries and veins in the palms of our hands and soles of our feet are dilated by the warm water, enhancing the transfer of heat from our core to our hands and feet, where it can be dissipated more efficiently to achieve that sleep-inducing drop in core temperature. Older adults have a blunted temperature response--perhaps helping to explain some of the age-related sleep difficulties--and that potentially makes measures to increase circulation to our hands and feet even more important. 
Is there a way to accomplish this without getting wet? A hot water bottle by our feet might do it. Can we just wear warm socks? A study in which young men wore socks starting an hour before bedtime didn't subjectively improve sleep quality. Objectively, however, they slept about a half hour more than when sockless, thanks to falling asleep more quickly and waking up few times throughout the night. 
Catch my Health Tip Tuesday video on Facebook on Tuesdays to hear my health tip for the week!
Share with your friends and family. Sharing and commenting along with liking or loving <3 increases the exposure so more people can become aware of the value of healthful living.

“We are never more fully alive, more completely ourselves, or more deeply engrossed in anything than when we are playing.” 
--Charles Schaefer


what small step will you take this week?
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are still steps….
Lots of love from Teri