I Am Ashamed Of The Breast Cancer Awareness Month Movement

I Am Ashamed Of The Breast Cancer Awareness Month Movement

Have we forgotten the focus?
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I'm honestly embarrassed by the Breast Cancer Awareness Month movement. Now before you start writing your hateful comments, let me explain why.

The main reason for my shame is the godawful slogans used solely to grab anyone's attention instead of pointing out the issue, to name just a few of the many: "Save the tatas", "I love boobies", "don't let breast cancer steal second base", "save second base", "save the hooters", "save a life, grope your wife", "feel for lumps, save your bumps", "big or small, save them all".

Are you kidding me? Breast cancer, first off, can happen to men too. So, possibly we have changed our priorities from the cancer, and moved the focus to breasts. Secondly, breast cancer kills. These slogans completely bypass the levity of the issue and treat it as solely a physical appearance problem. Many women lose their lives to breast cancer, fight through pain and days where they feel they cannot make it another second, and we could not get people's attention until we plastered "I <3 Boobies" on billboards, bracelets, T-shirts, and posters. We have taken a serious, lethal problem, and made it trivial and sexualized it just to create excitement and gain attention from the masses. And not only that, but we have sexualized something that is, in itself, a sexually demeaning process for the woman struggling.

And now, speaking on the importance of it killing a woman's confidence, these slogans are not for the purpose of making the woman feel better about herself. These slogans are simply about getting people's (mainly guys') attention and making them care about breast cancer by making it all about a woman's breasts. "Save second base"? Could we be anymore selfish? Who is that about? Because to me that sounds more like it is about what a man loses when his significant other gets breast cancer. "Save a life, grope your wife"? How does that help a woman with breast cancer, especially one who has had a mastectomy? How inconsiderate. These women feel ashamed, less sexy, less feminine and all we can say is: "I'm here for the boobies", "I'm a breast man", or "save the tatas". These women may go through chemotherapy and lose their hair and all we can do is put on a T-shirt that says: "My oncologist does my hair".

I know women who have struggled with breast cancer and I would be embarrassed to be displaying any of these slogans around them. It is demeaning. It minimizes the importance. It is offensive. I know women who have struggled with breast cancer and are completely offended and deeply hurt by these slogans. Wouldn't you be too? I cannot imagine going through what these women go through, and the only recognition you get around the nation is a bunch of people wanting to save your boobs. At that point, it isn't even about the woman, her heart, her emotions, her healthcare or her life; it is about her physical appearance. I, for one, am sick of these slogans and the negative and unproductive attention they bring to the cancer, or should I say, to the breasts. How many men wore/wear shirts or bracelets with these slogans simply because it gave them an excuse to be wearing something that said "I love boobies" or to have an image of a sexy female on their clothing that does not even portray what breast cancer really does to a woman? If you want to get first-hand insight on what breast cancer does to a woman, read this Washington Post article. It is about a woman who says she had breast cancer and hates breast cancer awareness month. And for more on how we have downplayed the importance of breast cancer, read this Huffington Post article.

I would apologize for the length of this article, but that would require me truly being sorry. The only thing I'm sorry for is not saying more and not saying something sooner.

Cover Image Credit: Deborah Hazen

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Everything You Need To Know About BANG Energy Drinks

Say goodbye to your favorite pre-workout drink.
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BANG energy drinks from VPX Sports are the hottest new products for athletes everywhere. On every can, you'll find their catchphrase "Potent Brain & Body Fuel" and it gives you just that. Clean energy, laser-sharp focus, and no sugar induced crashes are just a few of the reasons these bad boys are flying off the shelves faster than retailers can keep them stocked. Haven't heard of them? Sound too good to be true? Let me answer your questions.

What is it? It's an energy drink that's kind of like your typical Red Bull or Monster. It's a perfect substitution for pre-workout supplements or coffee.

Who's it meant for? Anyone! A better question to ask is, "Who isn't this drink meant for?" On the can, you'll find a recommendation for no one under the age of 18 to consume the drink. You also may want to steer clear of it if you're sensitive to stimulants like caffeine.

What's in it? BANG energy drinks contain zero calories, zero carbohydrates, and zero sugar. But what you can find are BCAA's, CoQ10, creatine, and copious amounts of caffeine. These are things athletes often take as supplements.

What are BCAA's? BCAA's are Branched Chain Amino Acids. They are known to stimulate protein synthesis, increase muscle function, decrease your soreness after a workout, and even aid in repairing damaged muscles.

What's CoQ10? Coenzyme Q10 is found in the mitochondria of your cells and sparks energy production. It helps produce energy your body needs for cell growth and maintenance. People often take this as a dietary supplement when they feel tired or lethargic.

What's super creatine? Creatine does a great job in enhancing athletic performance by aiding growth of lean body mass (AKA muscle). When you take creatine orally, the amount in your muscles increase and helps regenerate ATP more efficiently. According to the nutrition label, this so-called "super" creatine is bonded to Leucine to make Creatyl-L-Leucine. On SupplementReviews.com, a VPX Sports representative allegedly said the following about the Super Creatine in the drink:

"The creatine in there is actually something very special...it is the world's only water stable creatine. It is Creatine-Leucine peptide. Think of this...if you mix creatine in water, it sinks and if you mix leucine in water, it floats....if you combine the two into a peptide, it creates a water soluble and water-stable form of creatine. It also has a fatty acid chain that makes it easier to cross the blood brain barrier. The focus of the super creatine is not for muscle function, but for cognition...by combining this form of creatine with caffeine, it works synergistically for mental focus."

How much caffeine is in one can? In one can of BANG, you'll be blessed with 300mg of caffeine. This is the equivalent to over three cups of coffee.

Is that even safe? Yeah, it is. In order for the caffeine in the energy drink to be lethal at any capacity, I would have to drink 30.7 cans.

So, what are the downsides? There are two things that come to mind. One is that consumers have no idea how much BCAA's, CoQ10, or creatine is actually in the drink. It could very likely be trace amounts too small to do anything beneficial. Two, BANG energy drinks do not go through the FDA approval process.

Is it really that good? Well, out of 113 reviews of the product on Bodybuilding.com, there's an average 9.6 overall rating. Most reviews comment on the quality of the energy, the cognitive focus, and the non-existent crash once the drink wears off.

What kind of flavors can I get? There are currently eight BANG energy drink flavors on the market: Black Cherry Vanilla, Cotton Candy, Sour Heads, Star Blast, Blue Razz, Champagne Cola, Power Punch, and Lemon Drop.

Where can I buy BANG energy drinks? You can find BANG energy drinks at Amazon, your local GNC or Vitamin Shoppe retailers, Bodybuilding.com, VPX Sports' website, some gas stations, and privately owned retailers.

How expensive are they? This depends on where you make your purchase. The cheapest place to purchase your BANG energy drinks is at Bodybuilding.com for about $2.00 per can. You can find similar prices on Amazon and at your local retailers. The energy drinks are most expensive through the VPX website where you'll pay about $2.75 per can.

How does BANG compare to other energy drinks? I'll give you some data on nutrition facts and you can make your decisions based on that:

16 oz. BANG: 300mg caffeine, 0g carbohydrates, 0g sugar.

16 oz. Monster Energy (regular): 160mg caffeine, 54g carbohydrates, 54g sugar

16 oz. Red Bull (regular): 160mg caffeine, 56g carbohydrates, 56g sugar

16 oz. Rockstar (regular): 144g caffeine, 54g carbohydrates, 54g sugar

Cover Image Credit: Youtube

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5 Signs That You're A Perfectionist Who Plans, Stresses, And Thinks Too Much

Nothing is ever going to be "perfect," but you plan, stress and utilize all of your time to figure out what the best plan of action may be.

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If you look at something and automatically find a flaw that you could fix, you're probably a perfectionist. Your outlook on the world is different than others, and sometimes this can drive you a bit crazy. Everything has to be exactly right in order for you to have a relaxing night in. Here are just a few things that you may have encountered at one point (or almost every day) in your life if you are a perfectionist.

1. You spend your free time thinking about the best way to do things.

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Whether it's re-organizing a room or planning a project, you try to think of the best possible option for any given situation that you are a part of. You know what's best and do what you can to make things "just right." You have the exact way you like to relax and not think too hard about everything else you have to do, and it's hard to deviate from that if someone wants to take a day to do something unplanned.

2. You take the lead on projects because you know you’ll get it done right.

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Who wants to be the project lead? You do, every time. Looking at what needs to be done and assigning team members to do assigned parts of the project is what you enjoy, and by doing this you can plan a timeline and be sure everything gets done. This opportunity brings you joy and the knowledge that all deadlines will be adhered to, with the production of a "perfect" (to your standards) product.

3. You plan everything.

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Calendars, checklists and a solid plan are your best friends. Everything in life can be planned out whether it's how to organize a room, study for a test or making a life plan about what future job or family you want to have. Planning things make you feel in control and as if you have everything put together, but sometimes deviating from this can become stressful.

4. You over-stress yourself about the little things.

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Not following your plan can lead to discomfort, which can lead to becoming stressed about whatever it is not turning out right. To you, there are very few definitions of "right", and you possess all of them. If anyone tries to help without you asking for it in certain situations, it can lead to more stress and the feeling that everything is spiraling out of control because it's not how you envisioned it.

5. Sometimes it’s hard to get out of your comfort zone.

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Planning is second nature and without a plan, it can be hard to do anything. You have a lot to do, and certain times and ways to do it, so doing anything out of your control can be difficult. If someone messes up the meticulously organized papers that you need to study for a test, your sense of sanity can get out of control. People may tell you it's not a big deal, but it is to you because your system is now off and you have to do it over again. The same thing can happen on a night out, where someone suggests another place that you've never been, then other people drive and you are no longer in control of your plan for the night. It can be hard, but keeping calm and not showing that you may feel uncomfortable with the optimism can happen on occasion.

Whether one or all of these points are you, being a perfectionist is a personality trait that you choose. In the end, you choose how you want to feel, act and deal with situations, and this is something that you can forget when you feel overwhelmed. Having an open mind is one of the best things anyone can do for themselves, whether it's a lifestyle or temporary adjustment. I personally have struggled with wanting everything to be "perfect," but this is not always attainable and I have come to realize that over the years. Doing things to the best of your ability makes you feel good and accomplished, but don't let the little things that aren't "perfect" control your life.

Go on an adventure. Be open to a night out where there are no plans on exactly where to go. Enjoy every moment in life that you can share with people that love you and all of your crazy quirks.

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