The Holidays of February

Aside from Valentine’s day, February is home to a few other holidays that many people probably did not know about. For instance, February is National Cherry Month, National Grapefruit Month, as well as National Snack Food Month – just to name a few. However the one holiday that really stuck out to me was World Cancer Day, which occurred on February 4th.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 84 million people will die of cancer between 2005 and 2015 without medical treatment. Having an uncle who was diagnosed with cancer just a few months ago, I can understand the burden cancer can cause to  loved ones. WHO emphasizes how simple changes can reduce the risk of getting cancer. As always, remember that cancer does not discriminate against age, sex or gender.

Quit smoking –  Tobacco use is the single most important risk factor for cancer! If you are a smoker, and have a hard time quitting, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Get more exercise – Exercise doesn’t have to be going to gym for hours every day, pick something fun you can stick with. Try dance or aerobic classes with friends, or simply take short walks throughout the day. You’ll be surprised how physically and mentally rewarding it may be.

Eat a more balanced diet – I have a challenge for you: try changing one thing about your diet, and stick with it for 15 days. Whether it may be replacing soda with water, or replacing the bag of chips with a bowl of fruit. We really are what we eat; our body will respond better to more natural foods as opposed to processed foods.

Limit alcohol consumption – I’m not saying that if you happen to have a bit too much alcohol on Friday night, you’ll automatically be at risk for getting cancer later in your life, but moderation is always key. The more alcohol you consume throughout your life, the higher the risk that you may develop cancer in some areas such as the mouth, liver, and breast. Find other ways to de-stress and have fun with friends!

Finally, if you are a generally healthy person, there is probably a minimal chance of getting cancer, especially at a young age.

Since this post was a bit of a mood-dampener, I’ll end with a delicious recipe to celebrate National Cherry Month!

Mini Cherry Cheesecakes
(Adapted from http://www.howto-simplify.com/)

Ingredients:

  • 2 packages (8-ounce) cream cheese (softened to room temperature)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Vanilla wafers
  • 2 inch mini baking cups
  • Cherry pie filling

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together cream cheese, sugar, eggs, vanilla and lemon juice.
  3. Place a vanilla wafer in the bottom of each mini aluminum baking cup.
  4. Spoon approximately 3 tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture over each wafer.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes; remove from oven and let cool.
  6. Top with cherry pie filling and refrigerate.

 

-Victoria Li

 

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