Finding Hope in Hard Times

Hope is defined as an optimistic state of mind based on an expectation of positive outcomes; a feeling of trust; or confident expectation.

This week I am joined by author Andrea Herzer and Andrea knows all about hope, growing it and maintaining it.  Andrea shares her story of managing extreme challenges and finding hope in difficult times, primarily through chronic health issues. Despite her hardships, Andrea has been able to find hope and resilience by relying on her faith, leaning on her support system, and focusing on gratitude.

Listen in as Andrea shares her insights and experiences on how to overcome adversity and find hope in life’s toughest moments. She emphasizes the importance of staying positive and focusing on the good things in life, even when things seem bleak. This episode provides an inspiring and uplifting message for listeners who may be going through their own struggles and need some encouragement to keep going.

Connect with Andrea Herzer on her website:

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CANCER EVOLUTION – The Metabolic Therapy Journey

A Discussion on Cancer Treatment and Research

Ivelisse Page, the founder of Believe Big, spoke with cancer survivor and advocate Maggie Jones and her husband Brad, about the importance of being your own advocate when it comes to cancer treatment and research. The conversation centered around the upcoming release of the docu-series, Cancer Evolution, which focuses on the need for more research into integrative cancer treatments. Ivelisse, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer in 2013, shared her personal journey and the challenges she faced when seeking alternative treatments. Listen to the full episode below:

Here are some key takeaways from the conversation:

Be Your Own Advocate: When it comes to cancer treatment, it’s important to do your own research and be your own advocate. While doctors and oncologists can provide guidance and advice, ultimately, it’s up to you to make informed decisions about your care.

Seek a Supportive Team: Building a team of supportive doctors and practitioners can be invaluable in navigating cancer treatment. Just as there are different specialties in oncology, there are also specialists in integrative medicine who can provide unique perspectives and treatments.

Embrace Integrative Treatments: Integrative cancer treatments combine conventional medical treatments with complementary therapies such as acupuncture, nutrition, and meditation. While more research is needed in this area, many cancer patients have found relief from side effects and improved quality of life through integrative treatments.

Participate in Research: By participating in clinical trials and research studies, cancer patients can contribute to the advancement of cancer treatments and help future patients access new therapies.

The Cancer Evolution docu-series, set to be released in September, it aims to raise awareness about the need for more research into integrative cancer treatments. By sharing personal stories and insights from experts in the field, the series hopes to inspire patients and caregivers to explore all options when it comes to cancer care.

In conclusion, being your own advocate and seeking a supportive team are essential in navigating cancer treatment. Integrative treatments and participation in research can also provide additional options and hope for cancer patients.


Register to stream the premier for free >


Join us for the summit, save 20% when you use code: BELIEVEBIG20

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Believe Big’s review of “100 Acts of Love: A Girlfriend’s Guide to Loving Your Friend Through Cancer or Loss”

As an organization that supports cancer patients and their loved ones, we highly recommend “100 Acts of Love” by Kim Hamer. This book is an incredibly helpful and heartfelt guide for anyone who wants to support a friend or loved one through a cancer diagnosis or loss. This book is based on Hamer’s personal experiences of caring for her husband with cancer and the support she received from her friends. Through practical advice and meaningful insights, she helps readers navigate the ups and downs of a cancer journey. From how to be a good listener to creative ways to show your love and support, “100 Acts of Love” is full of practical tips and thoughtful ideas that will help you be there for your friend in a meaningful way.


What we appreciate most about this book is that it emphasizes the importance of connection and community in times of difficulty. Hamer encourages readers to lean on their own support networks, while also offering guidance on how to build and strengthen those networks during a challenging time. Overall, “100 Acts of Love” is an essential guide for anyone who wants to show their love and support for a friend or loved one dealing with cancer or loss.


Three key takeaways we had after reading it:


  1. Small gestures can make a big impact: The book emphasizes that it’s often the little things that matter most when supporting a friend through cancer or loss. From sending a thoughtful text message to making a homemade meal, the book offers many practical suggestions for simple yet meaningful acts of love.


  1. Connection and community are crucial: The author emphasizes the importance of building and maintaining strong support networks during times of difficulty. Whether it’s reaching out to family members, joining a support group, or simply spending time with friends, connecting with others can provide much-needed comfort and help alleviate feelings of isolation.


  1. It’s okay to not have all the answers: Hamer acknowledges that supporting a friend through cancer or loss can be challenging and that there may not always be easy answers. However, she emphasizes that being present and listening to your friend’s needs is often the most important thing you can do. By showing empathy, compassion, and a willingness to simply be there, you can make a significant difference in your friend’s life.


We highly recommend this book to anyone looking for practical advice, heartfelt encouragement, and inspiration on how to be a good friend and a strong source of support in difficult times. You can find it on amazon:

Listen to the podcast episode below where we had the pleasure of speaking with Kim Hamer about the book and these important topics.

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Cancer Hates Tea

Harnessing the power of nature through tea.

Stacy Fritz, Believe Big Patient Advocate + Paula Weinberg, JD, CNS, LDN, ONC

Tea has several health benefits, including preventing cancer, improving vascular function, reducing cholesterol levels, preventing atherosclerosis, aiding healthy weight management, boosting metabolic rate, inhibiting fat formation, suppressing appetite, and providing benefits before exercising. Cancer cells do not know when to die, while healthy cells do, and tea supports cell death in cancer cells. There are technically only four types of tea, all from the same camellia sinensis plant: white, green, oolong, and black tea.
They differ in processing methods, and black tea is made from fully oxidized crushed tea leaves, resulting in a rich, dark flavor. Poo Air tea is fully oxidized and aged, with an earthy flavor that is not for everyone. Green tea is particularly beneficial for preventing cancer, and its benefits are demonstrated in detail in the book “Cancer Hates Tea.”
Thank you for registering to join us for our nutrition webinar, Food for Thought. Please enjoy below the replay to watch and share with your friends and family. We have also added this to the Food for Thought landing page on our website with the resources below. Have a blessed week!


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Believe Big Surpasses $300,000 Goal at 12th Annual Fundraising Dinner

Enjoy this write up from the CityBiz

Believe Big, a non-profit cancer assistance organization founded by cancer survivor and mistletoe advocate Ivelisse Page, recently hosted its 12th Annual Fundraising Dinner. The event was a resounding success, with supporters coming together to raise more than $300,000 to support Believe Big’s mission of helping cancer patients face, fight, and overcome their disease.

The event was the first in-person fundraising event for Believe Big in over two years, and attendees were excited to be back together for a night of inspiring stories and updates on the latest advances in cancer research. Jennifer Gilbert St. John served as the Master of Ceremonies, and guests were inspired by the stories of hope shared by Terri Zgorski and Daniel Wellington.

Believe Big’s Executive Director and Co-founder, Ivelisse Page, expressed gratitude to the supporters and donors who helped make the event a success, saying, “We are so grateful for our supporters who came alongside us to help cancer patients face, fight, and overcome their disease. Since Believe Big began we have helped over 1 million people due to your generosity. Thank you for linking arms with us and helping to make a real difference in the lives of so many.”

Prior to the event, Believe Big set a goal to raise $300,000 and gain 37 new monthly partners. In addition to surpassing the fundraising goal, the organization was able to exceed its monthly partner goal with 49 new partners.

The event also featured updates on the Believe Big Institute of Health and the Mistletoe Clinical Trial Team. Dr. Luis Diaz Jr., head of the Division of Solid Tumor Oncology in Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Department of Medicine, and Dr. Channing Paller, associate professor of oncology, the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University, shared that completing Phase 1 of the clinical trial was just the first step in making mistletoe therapy standard care oncology and its ability to be covered by insurance.

The completion of Phase 2 is estimated to cost $1 million and Believe Big is asking for continued support from its donors to help make this a reality. Donate today >


About Believe Big

Established in 2011, Believe Big is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit founded by Ivelisse and Jimmy Page after her battle with Stage IV colon cancer. Believe Big serves those with cancer in the United States and beyond. Believe Big offers a wide array of support mechanisms for cancer patients, ranging from nutrition therapy to Mistletoe education and patient advocacy. The organization helps cancer patients move through the overwhelming process of treatment by bridging the gap between conventional and complementary medicine to heal in all aspects of life: physically, emotionally and spiritually. To learn more, visit



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Sugar and Its Role in Feeding Cancer Cells

The western American diet is under fire for the amount of sugar we consume on a daily basis.  Overconsumption of sugar creates all sorts of health issues for us and it is a big topic of discussion for everyone these days, especially cancer patients.

In this Believe Big podcast episode, Dr. Lucas Tims of the Riordan Clinic returns for a second time to talk about sugar and the role it plays in cancer.

  • Can consuming sugar increase your risk for cancer?
  • Are there certain types of cancers that are more sensitive to sugar intake?
  • Does sugar affect cancer treatments?
  • Are artificial sweeteners beneficial to someone on a cancer journey?

Dr. Tims answers these questions and talks about how sugar consumption can lead to inflammation in the body.  This inflammation can create an environment that is conducive to cancer growth.   He also discusses the importance of maintaining a healthy, balanced diet that is low in sugar and high in nutrients, sharing how he has helped his patients reduce their sugar consumption in their individual health journeys.

You won’t want to miss this enlightening episode!

Connect with Dr. Tims at the Riordan Clinic – Overland Park

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Top Anti-Cancer Foods and Essential Oils with Anti-Cancer Agents

Cancer is a disease that is becoming increasingly common in today’s society, with many individuals experiencing its devastating effects. In this blog we will go over a handful of the top anti-cancer foods and essential oils that have anti-cancer agents.

Believe Big knows that while there is no one-size-fits-all solution to cancer prevention, a balanced diet filled with nutritious foods can be an essential tool in reducing the risk of developing cancer and to help in healing cancer.

In this blog, we will explore some foods that have been shown to help fight cancer. First and foremost, fruits and vegetables are essential for cancer prevention. These foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help to protect cells from damage and reduce the risk of cancer. Some examples of antioxidant-rich foods include berries, leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, and citrus fruits. Berries are a great source of anthocyanins, which have been shown to reduce the growth of cancer cells. Leafy greens like spinach and kale are high in carotenoids and vitamin C, which are powerful antioxidants that help protect cells from damage. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower contain compounds called glucosinolates, which have been shown to have anti-cancer effects. Citrus fruits are high in vitamin C and flavonoids, which help to protect cells from oxidative stress.

Another group of foods that has been shown to help fight cancer is whole grains. Whole grains contain fiber, which helps to regulate digestion and prevent constipation, which has been linked to an increased risk of colon cancer. In addition, whole grains contain antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that help to protect cells from damage. Some examples of whole grains include brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat bread, and oatmeal.

Fatty fish is another food that can help fight cancer. Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects. Chronic inflammation has been linked to an increased risk of cancer, so consuming foods that reduce inflammation can help reduce the risk of cancer. In addition, fatty fish is a great source of vitamin D, which has also been shown to have anti-cancer effects.

Finally, nuts and seeds are a great addition to any cancer-fighting diet. Nuts and seeds are rich in healthy fats, protein, and fiber, which help to regulate digestion and keep the body healthy. Some examples of nuts and seeds that are especially high in anti-cancer compounds include flaxseeds, chia seeds, almonds, and walnuts. In conclusion, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fatty fish, and nuts and seeds can help to reduce the risk of cancer. These foods are high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that help to protect cells from damage and reduce inflammation. While no single food can prevent cancer, incorporating these foods into a balanced diet can help to support overall health and reduce the risk of cancer.

In conclusion, There are several essential oils that contain anti-cancer agents and have been shown to provide numerous benefits. For example, frankincense oil has been found to inhibit the growth and spread of cancer cells, particularly in breast and bladder cancers. Additionally, tea tree oil has been found to have anti-cancer properties, particularly in skin cancer. Other essential oils such as lavender, lemon, and peppermint have also been studied for their anti-cancer properties, with results suggesting that they may be effective in preventing the growth and spread of certain types of cancer cells. However, it is important to note that while essential oils may have potential benefits for cancer prevention and treatment, they should not be used as a replacement for conventional medical treatment.

Be sure to check out our monthly nutrition webinars. We have a library of replay videos located here. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with cancer, please visit our patient video series for additional information on your journey to healing.


This web site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for the diagnosis, treatment and advice of a qualified licensed professional. This site offers people medical information and tells them their alternative medical options, but in no way should anyone consider that this site represents the “practice of medicine.” This site assumes no responsibility for how this material is used. Also note that this website frequently updates its contents, due to a variety of reasons, therefore, some information may be out of date. The statements regarding alternative treatments for cancer have not been evaluated by the FDA


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How To Use Castor Oil Packs For Daily Detox Support

Your easy self-care routine for detox and cleansing

Written by: Victoria Williams, R.H.N. From Queen of the Thrones®

The word detox is thrown around a lot these days, and for good reason. Detox is just as important for your wellness as getting enough sleep at night or drinking enough water.

You’ve heard of hundreds of ways to support your body’s daily detox. From lotions and potions, to teas and supplements, everyone knows how important this process is in today’s toxic world, agreed? 

But we’re going to keep it simple and focus on 1 easy self-care practice you can do every night that makes all of the other things you’re already doing work better: Castor Oil Packs.


First, what’s the difference between detox and cleansing? 

Detoxification is the process your body uses to break down toxins, hormones, heavy metals, etc. and packages them for elimination.

Cleansing is the way that your body eliminates the waste, either through bowel movements, urine, sweat, breath, or your period.

It’s kind of like taking out your garbage: Detoxification is when you throw all of your waste into a garbage bag and package it up for garbage day. And cleansing is when you take it to the curb and the garbage truck takes it away. That’s always a great feeling, agreed?


What role does the liver play in detox?

Out of all the organs in your body, your liver is the heavy-lifter of detoxification. 

It filters toxins from your blood the way an air filter cleans pollutants from the air. When the filter is clogged, it doesn’t work very well, and the same is true for your liver. This is why it’s the best place to start for overall detox and cleanse support.

What is a Castor Oil Pack?

So, you might be wondering: What the heck is a Castor Oil Pack, and how it does it help with natural detox, right? 

A Castor Oil Pack is Castor Oil applied to an organic cotton compress and worn over the liver area. 

Castor Oil comes from pressing the seeds from the Castor bean plant (A.K.A. the Palm of Christ) – a native of Africa, India, and the Mediterranean region. It’s a thick, golden oil that is rich in antioxidants and super nourishing for the skin, hair and nails.

Castor Oil Packs have been around for centuries and were popularized in North America in the 1900s by a bedside healer named Edgar Cayce. They’re a favorite of naturopathic doctors, functional medicine practitioners, massage therapists, and chiropractors, but in some circles they were thought of as “fringe” or “woo-woo”

How do Castor Oil Packs work? 

You might be thinking this too… How could oil on a piece of cotton impact your insides, right? Finally, in recent years, scientific research has helped unlock the mystery of how Castor Oil Packs work.

You see, Castor Oil is made up of 90% ricinoleic acid, a fatty acid known for its antimicrobial1, antiviral2 and anti-inflammatory3 properties. 

The soft, gentle compression of the Castor Oil Pack on the skin helps move the body into a relaxed state via stimulating receptors in the skin4 5, similar to a hug or a weighted blanket.

The pack also stimulates somatic visceral reflexes via dermatomes and Traditional Chinese Medicine meridians that are thought to be connected to detox and cleansing organs including the liver, gallbladder, stomach, kidneys, adrenals, and colon. 

Stress is a factor in all types of dis-ease 

Castor Oil Packs simply help move the body into the parasympathetic ‘rest and digest’ state where detox and cleansing are optimized. 

The power of the relaxed state is not to be underestimated in our fast-paced high stress world, agreed?  There are stressors all around us, from obvious things like traffic jams or pressure at work, to subtle things like plastics in your environment or the blue light from your phone screen. 

After all, stress is a factor in all types of dis-ease. From cancer, to autoimmunity, to mental health, to hormonal imbalances; stress aggravates symptoms. So, self-care practices that help balance your stress are KEY.

Quality of materials for your Castor Oil Packs

Your goal is to detox, not re-tox, right? Quality is important when it comes to choosing your Castor Oil Pack!

For your oil: Look for 100% pure, certified organic, hexane-free Castor Oil always in a glass bottle. If you have Castor Oil in a plastic bottle, throw it away! Castor Oil is an amazing carrier oil, so it can carry any substance with it (good or bad), into your skin. It should never be bottled in plastic. 

For your pack: Always go for organic cotton, linen, or wool touching your skin. Avoid cotton blended with synthetic fibers (ie. cotton velour) or materials like bamboo that are highly treated with chemicals. 

The Queen of the Thrones® Castor Oil Pack Kit is ideal because it’s made with organic cotton, a protective “less mess” layer and comfortable straps that tie it onto your body. 

So, how do you do a Castor Oil Pack for daily detox? 

Step 1: Apply 1 tbsp of organic Castor Oil to your Queen of the Thrones® Castor Oil Pack.

Step Two:  Place your pack over your liver area (under your right rib cage) and tie it in place with the adjustable straps.

Wear for 1 hour before bed, or even better, wear overnight to help you cleanse while you sleep. How’s that for efficiency? Plus, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the time of liver detox is between 1-3 am! 

Remember: Castor Oil is an oil and it WILL stain clothing and bed sheets, so take extra care when preparing your pack and wear an old t-shirt overtop just in case.

It’s the little things over time that make a big difference

The truth is, we can run but we can’t hide from toxins in today’s world. But we can do daily detox practices to help support our bodies to deal with them better and keep things flowing.

And who doesn’t love a little self-care in the evenings, especially when it helps you poop better, sleep better and stress less, agreed? 




  1. Marwat SK, Rehman F, Khan EA, Baloch MS, Sadiq M, Ullah I, Javaria S, Shaheen S. Review – Ricinus cmmunis – Ethnomedicinal uses and pharmacological activities.Pak J Pharm Sci. 2017 Sep;30(5):1815-1827. PMID: 29084706
  2. Elkousy RH, Said ZNA, Abd El-Baseer MA, Abu El Wafa SA. Antiviral activity of castor oil plant (Ricinus communis) leaf extracts. J Ethnopharmacol. 2021 May 10;271:113878. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2021.113878. Epub 2021 Jan 27. PMID: 33515683.
  3. Vieira C et al. .Effect of ricinoleic acid in acute and subchronic experimental models of inflammation. Mediators Inflamm. 2000;9(5):223-8 PMID: 11200362 
  4. Walker SC1, Trotter PD2, Swaney WT2, Marshall A3, Mcglone FP4. C-tactile afferents: Cutaneous mediators of oxytocin release during affiliative tactile interactions? Neuropeptides. 2017 Aug;64:27-38. doi: 10.1016/j.npep.2017.01.001. Epub 2017 Jan 19. PMID: 28162847
  5. Rolls ET et all. Representations of pleasant and painful touch in the human orbitofrontal and cingulate cortices. Cereb Cortex. 2003 Mar;13(3):308-17. PMID: 12571120
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Improving Gut Health: Small Dietary Changes Can Make a Big Impact

Believe Big’s latest podcast episode features Dawn Swann, a certified integrative health coach, who discusses the importance of gut health in preventing cancer. Swann shares her personal journey of healing her gut and provides tips on making simple changes in diet to improve overall health. The podcast highlights how the key to optimal health is a process of continual learning and small steps.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the conversation:

  1. Dark chocolate can be beneficial for emotional health, as long as it’s low in sugar and made with a clean sweetener like coconut sugar or coconut oil. Nuts with a higher fat content, like walnuts and macadamia nuts, can also help with emotional health.
  2. Many people have misconceptions about what it means to eat healthy. It’s important to educate ourselves about the hidden sugars and other additives in processed foods and supplements.
  3. Having an integrative practitioner or health coach can be helpful in figuring out what foods are best for your individual body chemistry.
  4. It’s important to be aware of the glycemic index of fruits and to pair them with other foods appropriately.
  5. Eliminating or reducing starch and sugar in your diet can help prevent health issues like insulin resistance, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

Listen to the full episode here:

According to Swann, over 70% of our immune system is found in our gut, making gut health crucial for our overall well-being. The food we consume has a direct impact on our gut health, and a poor diet can lead to various health problems. She suggests that one should change their attitude towards food and focus on feeling better rather than just counting calories.

Swann recommends making small changes in the diet that will have a significant impact on gut health. One way to achieve this is by focusing on whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, as they are rich in fiber and other essential nutrients. Another way to improve gut health is by reducing the intake of processed foods, sugar, and unhealthy fats. These foods are known to cause inflammation in the gut, leading to various health problems, including cancer. Swann recommends replacing processed foods with nutrient-dense options such as nuts, seeds, and lean protein.

In addition to dietary changes, Swann suggests that we should focus on improving our sleep patterns. Good sleep is essential for the body to heal and repair itself, and lack of sleep can lead to various health problems, including a weakened immune system. Swann recommends practicing good sleep hygiene, such as avoiding electronic devices before bedtime, keeping a regular sleep schedule, and creating a relaxing sleep environment.

Lastly, Swann emphasizes the importance of increasing knowledge about nutrition to achieve optimal health. She suggests that we should learn about the nutrients our bodies need and make informed choices about the foods we consume. This will not only improve our gut health but also improve our overall health and well-being.

In conclusion, improving gut health is crucial for our overall health, and small dietary changes can have a significant impact. By focusing on whole foods, reducing processed foods, improving sleep patterns, and increasing knowledge about nutrition, we can achieve optimal health and prevent cancer and other diseases. Incorporating these simple changes into our daily routine can lead to a healthier and happier life.

Connect with Dawn on her website:

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RECIPE – Chocolate Almond Butter Yogurt Bark:

  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened yogurt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond butter ( or nut butter of choice)
  • 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup ( can omit )
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips ( I use Hu or Lily’s)

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper, then mix first 3 ingredients in a bowl. Spread yogurt mixture onto sheet pan.
Melt chocolate chips in microwave 20 second intervals to avoid burning or in a double boiler, then drizzle onto yogurt mixture and swirl with a knife.
Freeze for about 4 hours then break into bark and enjoy! Store in freezer.

Optional add ons:  shredded coconut, pumpkin seeds or berries.

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In Integrative and Complementary Medicine, Where Are The Men? – Robin Daly

Men are often “tough” customers when it comes to new options in the world of health and wellness.  That’s a trend that was not lost on Robin Daly when he began digging into the world of integrative and complementary medicine for his daughter. It’s a trend he wants to change.

Men NEED options for their health as much as women, but they are often left out or overlooked, making it difficult for them to do what’s best for themselves.  There is a vulnerability that needs to be exposed for men to help them know their health matters too.

Join me today as Robin and I talk about:

  • why men are less likely to seek complementary care options for their health
  • how men can be better engaged to seek integrative therapy options in a diagnosis
  • where men can go to learn more and be empowered to make strong, personal decisions for their health
  • and so much more

Connect with Robin at Yes To Life:

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