Welcome to Research for Wellness

 
founder

I originally started this project with the intent to share the information I had collected with other cancer survivors, but I quickly realized that these resources might be beneficial for anyone interested in starting a plan to make changes for their own long-term health and well-being.

Let me share how all this started. I was diagnosed with early-stage Melanoma in 2002 and besides coming to the realization that my daylong beach outings were probably over, I didn’t feel motivated to make any other changes to my lifestyle. I finally found that motivation in 2014 and it involved a Kidney Cancer diagnosis. Once again my cancer was discovered before it decided to take a road trip to another body part, so I am one of the lucky ones and I know it. After getting through the surgery, I was given a follow-up schedule of blood work tests and scans as part of a “watch & wait” plan, since chemo or radiation weren’t considered part of the protocol. This “watch & wait” approach wasn’t enough of a plan for me, so rather than hanging out in between CT Scans, I decided there had to be a better strategy moving forward. I hit the computer to find some direction and support and haven’t stopped researching since then. Let’s just say my little part-time hobby has turned into a much larger scale project and after 5 years, I still discover new research and resources every time I log on.

You can find many online recipes for nut milk, but here’s my basic version. Soak 1 cup of  raw  nuts in enough water to cover overnight. The next morning, drain out water & rinse nuts. Add 4 cups of water and the nuts into a blender and mix 2 minutes on high speed. Pour mixture through a reusable nut milk bag (which you can find online) and you’ll need to squeeze out the milk except for when using cashews which are soft enough to completely dissolve, so no straining required. You can add a whole vanilla bean for flavor or a couple of dates for sweetness into the blender before mixing. I’ve done the vanilla bean, but I’m fine without using dates in my nut milk. Store in airtight container for 4 days and this recipe makes 1 quart.

You can find many online recipes for nut milk, but here’s my basic version. Soak 1 cup of raw nuts in enough water to cover overnight. The next morning, drain out water & rinse nuts. Add 4 cups of water and the nuts into a blender and mix 2 minutes on high speed. Pour mixture through a reusable nut milk bag (which you can find online) and you’ll need to squeeze out the milk except for when using cashews which are soft enough to completely dissolve, so no straining required. You can add a whole vanilla bean for flavor or a couple of dates for sweetness into the blender before mixing. I’ve done the vanilla bean, but I’m fine without using dates in my nut milk. Store in airtight container for 4 days and this recipe makes 1 quart.

If you’ve been coping with a cancer diagnosis and have made it through surgery or finished the initial treatment and are looking for some direction, I am hoping the resources in For Cancer Survivors will be a helpful starting point. The approach that worked best for me was to make over one small aspect of my lifestyle at a time. As one example, I watched my friend completely change her diet overnight and that’s a huge impressive accomplishment, but for me just 2 changes at the same time were overwhelming. Cutting out nightly dessert (trying to boot white sugar from my life) while at the same time trying to face my morning coffee without half & half (I read that dairy should hit the road too) made me wonder if I could possibly do this long-term! I decided the best plan for me was by starting to reduce, but not completely eliminate things like white sugar. I decided to exchange my nightly dessert for a weekend “one night only” splurge treat. Next, I tackled my coffee dilemma and ultimately decided that my homemade almond-hazelnut milk, which I daringly tried one morning in my coffee, was actually even better than my half & half. The bottom line is everyone needs to figure out a path that will work best for their own long-term success.

So whether your diet could use some tweaking, or maybe you’re nowhere close to meeting the weekly exercise recommendation of 150 minutes (that currently would be me!), or you are feeling way too stressed out on a daily basis and might benefit from some mindfulness techniques, just know that I am still at my computer working to find new resources to support your efforts and still on the hunt for research to remind or even convince you that making healthier choices matter!

Cheryl Leving
Founder, Research for Wellness


My Research Picks - Some additional sources of personal interest that I've found along the way.


The Science of Laughter and Chocolate with Dr. Lee Berk and Ryan Berk - Stein Institute for Research on Aging (56 min. video)

Chocolate mindfulness exercise | Robin Mallery | TEDxEvansville (7 min. video)

Beauty without Bunnies - PETA
If you want to expand your wellness journey to have an impact on your furry friends and family members, please visit Beauty without Bunnies. Their searchable database has over 3200 cruelty-free companies, where you can check to see if your makeup and personal-care products are made by companies that test on animals. Bunny Free is their App version available free only for ios devices in the Apple store.