How Can You Reduce Your 1 in 3 Cancer Risk Part 3, What Do Antioxidants Do by Melissa Stockman

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How can you reduce your 1 in 3 cancer risk? 
Part 3:  What do antioxidants do?
By Melissa Stockman RN, BC-ANP, PNP                                                                                                            Medical Director of TimeToPlay ,                                                                                                                       Board Certified Nurse Practitioner & RN                                                                                            Email:
According to the NCI (National Cancer Institute), “At high concentrations, ….free radicals can be hazardous to your body, including the DNA…The damage to cells caused by free radicals…play a role in cancer & other health conditions”.   Diets rich in antioxidants defend against oxidation of LDL (lipids) & plaque formations that clog arteries & cause CAD.   As per Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center “In small clinical trials, reishi (Reishi is derived from specific mushrooms)…enhanced immune responses in cancer patients.  In another study, …reishi…appeared to suppress development of colorectal adenomas.  Remission of hepatocellular carcinoma was reported in a few cases in a single study.  Another case study suggests benefits of gastrointestinal cancer patients….further research is needed.”  “Reishi …stop the growth & prevent the spread of cancer cells in laboratory & animal studies”, says K. Simon Young, manager of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center’s “About Herbs” website.  “The mushrooms can also play a role in cancer prevention, says Daniel Silva, Senior Investigator of Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital’s Cancer Research Laboratory in Indianapolis.  I personally take herbal supplementations derived from mushrooms.      
 Antioxidants interact with & neutralize the free radicals to stop that chain reaction of free radicals damaging more nearby atoms or molecules.  Antioxidants donate an electron (-) to end the stealing of electrons which then ends the chain reaction.  Thus, each antioxidant can prevent many many many many free radicals from forming.  The body makes some antioxidants but not enough to keep up with the demand of free radical chain reactions.   Remember, free radical damage accumulates with age.  I believe that since antioxidants stop & slow down free radical formations & their chain reactions, they promote health, slow down oxidation aka aging, promote weight loss, reduce your risk of cancers & other diseases.  Patients of mine who have raised their antioxidant levels seemed to lose their excess weight quicker too.  When we starve ourselves of calories, our bodies compensates by burning the calories slower to conserve energy.  I believe the same thing happens when we don’t get enough nutrients.   
Learn more about preventing free radical damage by reading future parts of this article, joining our “Reduce your 1 in 3 Cancer Risk” 
*Join Melissa for her monthly “Be Healthy Program” at the Time to Play Office located at 1075 Rte 112 Port Jefferson Station starting on Tuesday, February  21st and every 3rd Tuesday of each month. Call 631-331-2675 for details or email Melissa at  Hope to see you there!


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Every day I’m reminded how short life is and how we have to take advantage of every moment we have.  This article is not intended to be morbid in any way, but, perhaps, a “wake up” call. 

I know the concept of life is short is a hard one to grasp.  I know, for myself, that we believe we are immortal, that we have endless time and endless possibilities.  But, alas, that is not fact.  There is inevitability in every person, animal, plant, and thing on this Earth.  Everything has a life cycle.  Sure, we may know the average life cycles for each species, but there are no guarantees for anything that exists. 

“Wow, Doreen… what a way to ruin a party!”  I hope you will continue reading, as I can hear you thinking this right about now.  But, let’s put things into perspective.

Over these last few weeks I have had so many “messages” and realized I needed to pay more attention to the day-to-day and make sure that what I am doing is not wasting my own precious time.  One lovely friend had a fire at her business that caused significant changes to her long term plans.  One gentleman I know lost his job of 9 years.  Another wonderful person I know suddenly experienced a life-altering illness.  These are examples of life events that we have no control over but tremendously change our plans from what we expect to “do tomorrow”.  In an unexpected, life-altering situation we have two choices.  We can either allow the event to cause a downward spiral and spark self-destructive behavior, or we can pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and adopt a mindset that the event that occurred was a blessing in disguise. 

What would / do you do?  Would you become stagnant and wallow in despair, or would you create a plan and evaluate options for what you can do to move forward? 

Neither choice is easy.  Events that are not planned are extremely stressful for everyone involved, and many times our decisions on what to do involve many others including our family.  I, for one, know firsthand what it is like to lose a job at a most inopportune time.  I acknowledge that a first impulse may be to scramble in a “survival of the fittest” response.  However, after many years, and a ton of self-help books and research, I realize that if you look at an occurrence as an opportunity to move forward and make your life even better, you have an opportunity to get further, faster.  Most things that happen that we consider a “negative” occurrence can be turned around if we take a moment to stop and reevaluate things.

OK… now for an even more serious discussion.  In the past few weeks I have been informed of three deaths of people who I knew and one I did not know.  One lovely woman was preparing to retire and travel.  She was 61.  One was a person we worked with for a short period of time; he was in his late 40’s.  One was a volunteer firefighter in his early 30’s, and one was a friend’s childhood friend in his 40’s, as well.  With today’s average life expectancy, we could say that these people passed way too early; however, as we know, death does not discriminate. You can be one hour old, one day old, or 100+ years old.  Unfortunately, (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), none of us is stamped with an expiration date. 

Why am I discussing this?  It is my intention to create a spark in each of us.  What are you doing in your life right now that does not make you happy?  What do you dread doing?  What can you do to make a change?

By now I hope you got what I’m trying to convey – the discussion that life is short.  But, just in case, I’ve taken the liberty to go a little further in my explanation.

I came up with an analogy knowing that, sometimes, people understand things that are more visual.  Take a $1 bill out of your pocket or wallet.  I know you feel silly, but please do it….

Most of us value every dollar we have and the possibilities of what we can use that money for, don’t we?  In this example, the $1 you are holding will signify this very second of your life.  To further explain, for our purposes, you just (symbolically) paid $1 for this very second and for each and every second thereafter as long as you are alive.  Oh, one more thing… there is NO return policy.  You can’t get a refund or a do-over.

Take another look at the dollar.  Was it worth it?  Did you find value?  Did you CHOOSE to be doing what you want to be doing in that 1 second time period?  Of course, in this case, you found great worth because you are reading this eloquently written, amazingly informative article! 

Seriously, though, I want you to take a few moments to reflect on your days, in general. 

Look at that $1 bill.  Are your precious seconds worth what you are paying for them… every second of your day? 

Let’s still go a little further.  If you are pleased with the majority of your day, then that is excellent.  Keep on spending those dollars the way you are.  However, if you find you are spending them being sad or being angry, or if you spend them in a job you hate, or if you spend them in a relationship that is abusive or not progressing, I want you to ask yourself if you are spending your dollars (seconds of life) the way you should.  Are you spending your dollar being fearful, resentful, or unforgiving?  Are you healthy and able to physically do all you would like to?  Or, even further… perhaps you are experiencing depression or using alcohol or substances to dull your pain.  In some of these instances it may be necessary, if you have not yet done so, to look into counseling to help you alleviate your negative feelings.  Perhaps you can begin to make a change towards moving forward. 

Life is short. How do you want to spend your dollar?

A quick disclaimer:  I am a very practical person.  I know we may set ourselves up for disappointment if we believe EVERY second is going to make us overwhelmingly happy.  We are emotional beings and I don’t want to apply extra pressure to any one of us.  However, I do request that you consider the example as a motivation to evaluate your life and determine if a change is necessary so you can create the best life possible. 

Got Plans?  We all do.  But we need to also determine what will make our current situation and current day the best that it can be.  Maybe it’s time to ask yourself:  Isn’t it time to enjoy YOUR life?  Isn’t it “Time to Play”?


JOIN US!  Did you know we do a weekly FREE podcast called Empower Half Hour?  Click here for further information and our weekly schedule.  It is recorded live on Wednesdays from 9:30 am to 10 am EST (and available to listen any time after if you can’t join in at that time of the day).  As of 3/31/2014 we will be moving the podcast to 5 pm on Mondays with a one hour group life coaching session afterward (you can also participate via telephone or skype).  See for more information about the group coaching sessions or contact me at 631-331-2675 or email me at for more information. 

P.S.:  A cheap “plug”:  Our book, If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life”, is full of powerful stories of obstacles and life situations we have experienced but have overcome.  The book is intended to help a reader learn from our experiences.  More information and reviews:

School Year's Resolutions

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September may be the ninth month, but for anyone with children, it feels like the start of school marks the beginning of the year.  Why wait until January to make resolutions that you know will benefit you and your family right now?  An added bonus is that you can get the kids on track by setting a good example.  While each family has its own challenges, there is a common theme that most families struggle with:  planning and organization.  These two issues permeate every aspect of our lives and also greatly impact personal finances and household budgets.  By taking steps in the right direction, you can start to feel more in control which begets calmness.  Isn’t that a wonderful way to start the school year?  Below are some of the most common School Year’s Resolutions and tips on how you can take steps in achieving these goals.

Eat Healthier

Getting dinner on the table while juggling extra-curricular activities and homework can often lead to poor choices (as in unhealthy and expensive take-out).  TIP:  The simple act of meal planning before you shop for groceries can greatly decrease what you will buy and what you will spend.  Using the local flyer as your guide for sale items, make up a week’s worth of healthy dinners and lunches.  Shopping with Pea Pod and other delivery chains may also save time and money, as old shopping lists are saved and a running tally of the grocery bill is ever-present.  There will be time to gather your coupons, further reducing the bill.  Whether you order on-line or physically go to the store, the one simple step of meal planning with the flyer will ensure you buy the best-priced items and will have ample food for all your meals.  Furthermore, when you have a menu pre-set, you are less likely to pick up a pizza.

Organize Closets, the Garage and Pantries.

Wherever stuff lurks there is the potential to save a lot of money.  How many times have you had to run to the store to buy something you know you have but couldn’t find (such as scotch tape, a hammer, a flashlight, etc.)?    TIP:  Group like items as you would in a store.  You don’t need to spend a fortune on organizing supplies.  Old shoe boxes, clear storage bags, over the door hooks and bags can all help consolidate items based on their use.  Gift wrapping supplies, from scissors, tape, paper, bows, and generic cards can all be placed in one shopping bag; common household tools like measuring tape, flashlights, screw drivers and hammers can be placed in a box.   Designate a space in the coat closet for umbrellas, hats, scarfs, and gloves so you are not left scrambling the first morning there is inclement weather.  Don’t forget to extend this exercise to the food pantry, as well.   Then you will know what you need (or don’t need) next time you food shop.  When you are organized, less time and money will be spent by your household, guaranteed!

Purge Papers

From school handouts, to artwork, to junk mail and personal files – paper piles up and things get lost.  TIP:  Set-up a binder book or expandable file for each child that will house the class contact list, book orders, assignments, handouts, invitations, and artwork that you want to keep (consider framing or hanging a bulletin board to post larger items).   Toss junk mail as soon as it enters the house and get removed from mailing lists.  Keep an eye on your financial files, as well.  Here’s what to keep and what to shred:

  • Keep only the current year’s payroll stubs, which can be shredded after you get your W2 and verify that your annual compensation amount is correctly reflected.
  • Provided you do not need them to support income tax filings, bills and canceled checks that have already been reflected in your current bank statement can go after a year (exception: hold receipts indefinitely for warranty-items or large ticket purchases for insurance purposes).
  • Bank statements.  Keep the monthly statements for the year.  After you file tax returns, hold on to any checks that relate to your tax preparations (housing/mortgage related expenses, payment of taxes, or business expenses) and your year-end statement.  Get rid of the rest.
  • Investment statements.  For retirement accounts, keep records of all non-deductible IRA contributions to prove that you already paid taxes on these monies.  Keep quarterly statements of all investment accounts and make sure the year-end statement matches up before disposing of the quarterly statements.  Keep records of purchases and sales of securities for capital gain tax purposes. 
  • Taxes:  Keep seven years’ worth of income tax records and supporting documents (receipts, checks, W2s, 1099s, etc.).
  • Credit card receipts.  Keep receipts to reconcile against your monthly bill.  After verifying that the balance due is correct, shred all but those receipts you need for tax purposes.
  • Housing Papers.  Keep all documentations relating to the purchase or sale of property for at least six years after you no longer own it.  Keep receipts pertaining to all household improvements for tax purposes.

Get in Balance. 

Many parents and children are so over scheduled that life has become a series of running from one place to the next (which often results in a “drive-thru” dinner).  Take an inventory of the activities and events your household participates in and decide which ones truly fit your family’s need for balance and recreation.  Eliminating some may be a sanity-saver and a budget booster.

 Making some small adjustments, such as these, can result in a less harried home life.  When you know what you are making for dinner, and you know where everything is, there are far fewer last minute errands to the store.  When the schedule isn’t jam-packed, you can actually enjoy dinner together and show your kids that down time is to be savored.  When the precious commodities, time and money, are preserved, you will feel more in charge of your life and less a part of the rat race.  Perhaps you’ll be inspired to stay healthy as a family, and use this found time to go for an after-dinner walk or bike ride.  Your kids will function better in a calmer environment, and you’ll be more present to guide them through life’s daily challenges without all the distractions. 

As they quietly learn from you, maybe, just maybe they will even be encouraged to make some resolutions of their own.