Hello my dear friends,
N.B. The above picture is a great April fool`s prank played in England.. Not an actual accident 🙂
The custom of setting aside a day for the playing of harmless pranks upon one’s friends, colleagues or family members is almost universal, and yet nothing certain seems to be known of its origin.
In France and French Canada, an April fool is called a “poisson d’avril”, an “April fish,” perhaps because young fish that appear in streams around this time of the year are more easily caught than older, more beguiling fish. French shops sell chocolates shaped like fish for the occasion. People try to pin paper fish onto each other’s backs as a joke, and the perpetrator triumphantly cries, “April fish!”, as was the case at my primary school and current workplace haha.
Norwegians, Danes and Swedes too celebrate April Fool`s Day (aprilsnar in Danish). Many media outlets will release exactly one fake and phony story on April 1st. For many newspaper companies, this story will appear on the first page but not as a headline.
Boy do I love me some fun facts about April first. I also love all occasions when people’s inner child is released, and pranking good-humored people becomes totally acceptable.
This year though, joke was on me, let me tell you. On the morning of April 1st, I was going about my business at the medical clinic where I work. I went to get my first patient in the waiting room. We made small talk as we walked to my office. Upon arrival in my office – WHAM-BAM – an open pack of Ringolos and a can of Sprite were smirkily resting on my desk. I burst out laughing. I looked like a) someone who eats this type of junk food early in the morn and b) someone who eats less than healthy snacks (which is totally okay on occasion, granted I woudn’t advertise it so blatently). The funny thing is, as I tried explaining to my patient that it was an April Fool’s prank, he wouldn’t buy it. Bwahahah. I’ve been had!
Pranks are so great when they are all in good fun. April, however, is useful for much more than pranks. It is also cancer awareness month, a cause I care very deeply for. So, for this “April showers bring May flowers” month (there are gonna be tons of May flowers if this intense torrential downpour keeps up, perhaps even new species – jokes), here is a list of recommendations for cancer prevention. Choose a few off the list that you are ready to commit to, perhaps find a partner to share the goal with and stick to it together. Your health will thank you.
1) Lycopene-containing foods (tomatoes cooked in oil, apricots, watermelon, papaya, pink grapefruit) help reduce cancer risk.
2) Cruciferous vegetables, which basically means all veg that belong to the same family as cabbage (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, red & green cabbage, etc.), can help inactivate cancer-causing agents and inhibit tumor formation.
3) Shiitake mushrooms contain beta-glucans which can help stimulate the immune system and reduce tumor activity.
4) Probiotics such as bifidobacteria and lactobacilli will patrol intestinal health and attach themselves to carcinogens in the intestines.
3) White and green teas contain EGCG which helps rid our bodies of carcinogens.
4) Limit alcohol to 2 drinks per day at most (if you are a man) and 1 drink per day at most (if you are a woman).
5) Limit red meat to 300 grams a week (cooked) at most, if you choose to consume meat. Red meat includes beef, pork, veal, lamb and ham.
6) Eat more plant-based foods: vary your legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Nutrition can be confusing, I’m the first to admit that the science is ever-changing: coffee is good for you/coffee is bad for you, alcohol may be beneficial in moderation/all alcohol consumption is bad for you, etc. However, one thing we know for sure is that studies are continuously demonstrating that plant-based foods are protective for our general health.
7) Be active, this means at least 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week.
8) Avoid transformed foods with artificial preservatives and additives.
It is important to mention that while all the above-mentioned tips do help protect against cancer, the best protection will be provided by the nutrient synergy present when you eat a variety of healthy foods every day. Basically put, it is a generally well-balanced diet rather than randomly adding some shiitake mushrooms to a diet consisting of mostly processed foods that will provide the best protection.