October is breast cancer awareness month. As I sit here contemplating on what I will write in this blog, I am aware of breast cancer in many ways…including the client that just left my office and is battling it at this very moment.
There is so much information out there it is mind boggling, so I am going to share what has worked best for my clients (who are all strong survivors). We know that disease is present when the body is in a state of dis-ease. What does this mean?, you ask. Simple, our body maintains it’s health when we are in a state of balance, or homeostatsis. This balance is one of mind, body and spirit.
Whenever I see a client for any ailment, the first thing we need to figure out is where is the imbalance and what is it’s source? This varies from one person to the next, so protocols are never quite the same. I am going to share a few common elements in the majority of breast cancer protocols. Always remember that in order for anything to work for you it has to be “right” for you. Research, explore possibilities, educate yourself and follow what you feel is your path.
Here are some easy changes to make and help your body achieve and maintain health.
Avoid toxins! An increased toxic load on our bodies inevitably increases our chance of disease. Avoid sugar, caffeine, table salt, red meat, alcohol, tobacco use, toxic chemicals in cleaning supplies & personal care products. Decrease your exposure to food additives and preservatives. Eat whole, living foods, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds.
Increase your quality water intake. Make sure you are getting adequate amounts of quality water to flush the toxins your body filters everyday. Using your body weight in pounds divide it by 2 and you will know the number of ounces of quality water you need each day. Remember that there are approx 40 ounces in 1 litre. So, if you weigh 150lbs, that is 75 ounces of water daily. Almost 2 litres.
Eat your vegetables!! Mom wasn’t kidding when she said they would make you healthy and strong! Some types of fruits and vegetables may protect against certain cancers. A massive report by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research suggests that non-starchy vegetables—such as lettuce and other leafy greens, broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, garlic, onions, and others protect against cancers. Cruciferous vegetables are proven rich in nutrients, including several cartotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin); vitamins C, E, and K; folate; and minerals. They are also a good fibre source. In addition, cruciferous vegetables contain a group of substances known as glucosinolates, which are sulphur-containing chemicals. These chemicals are responsible for the pungent aroma and bitter flavor of cruciferous vegetables. During food preparation, chewing, and digestion, the glucosinolates in cruciferous vegetables are broken down to form biologically active compounds such as indoles, nitriles, thiocyanates, and isothiocyanates. Indoles and isothiocyanates have been found to inhibit the development of cancer in several organs in rats and mice, including the bladder, breast, colon, liver, lung, and stomach. So eat those greens!!! http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/diet/cruciferous-vegetables
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of fibre and beta-carotene. Eating the skin of a sweet potato can add 5,000 phytochemicals to your meal. Sweet potatoes are a great substitute for the old standby starchy white potatoes. They add great flavour and colour to your meal! Peas contain phytochemicals, which can help to reduce the risk of cancer. They also provide a quick, cheap way to add more vegetables to your diet. My mom used to grow snap peas in her garden…I think I ate more off the plants than actually made it into the house for supper. Oh boy, they were good!!! Filled with vitamins A and C, and calcium, kale is an excellent way to keep your body healthy and ward off free radicals in order to stop the spread of disease. For a healthy, tasty treat make some seasoned kale chips at home for you and your loved ones. Jalapenos can give a punch to a variety of cuisines, but they also provide powerful nutritional benefits. They contain capsaicin, which may help to neutralize some cancer-causing chemicals. Spice it up a little with some jalapenos! Oh, and we can’t forget my dad’s favourite! Brussels sprouts not only are a dark, green vegetable–which means they have multiple health benefits–but they are also a member of the cruciferous vegetables. Broccoli (yes the little trees) contain sulforaphane, which may help to stop the spread of cancer throughout the body. In some laboratory tests, it has been shown to reduce the spread of tumours, and reduce the amount of carcinogens and free radicals in the body.
I know, I know…vegetables may not be your favourite thing, but they are much better than being ill! Besides there are many of Mother Nature’s sweets that are beneficial when preventing and fighting cancer as well! Grapes, grapefruit and even watermelon! Red and purple grapes contain large amounts of resveratrol, which has strong anti-inflammatory properties and can stop cancer-causing cells from spreading in the body. Have a snack of fresh grapes for a tasty and beneficial treat. Filled with vitamin C and containing less sugar than other citrus fruits, grapefruits also pack vital nutrients that may help rid the body of harmful carcinogens. Sip on fresh grapefruit juice for a quick burst of energy or try it in your favourite fruit salad. A rich source of vitamins A and C, watermelon has more lycopene per serving than raw tomatoes. Sour sop, has shown promise in laboratory tests as a possible cancer fighting agent. In laboratory tests, sour sop extract has been shown to kill certain types of liver and breast cancer cells that are resistant to particular chemotherapy drugs. The list goes on and on! To reduce your risk of cancer, look no further than your fridge. “All the studies on cancer and nutrition point to eating plant-based foods for their phytonutrients and other special compounds,” says Richard Béliveau, PhD, chair in the prevention and treatment of cancer at the University of Québec at Montreal and author of Foods to Fight Cancer.
There are 2 types of herbal tea I traditionally use with cancer clients. One is the Essiac Tea named for the nurse Renee Caisse that learnt it from the Native American tribes and then passed it along free of charge to many cancer patients with incredible success. I recommend reading Essiac: A Native Herbal Cancer Remedy by Cynthia Olsen to learn all you can about this incredible tea. It is not to be taken in conjunction with other cancer treatments as it will detoxify the body of chemotherapy and radiation, the very toxins being used to kill the cancer cells. The other is Chaga Tea. This is a fungus that grows on birch trees and is a highly effective adaptigen. Studies from Russia have shown it to be as effective as chemotherapy with little to no side effects.
The most recent addition to cancer protocols for my clients is to be aware of not only what you are putting in your body, but also what you are putting on your body. Many skin care products contain parabens, studies have shown that 18 of 20 breast cancer cells contain parabens. Now, whether the parabens are a cause of the cancer or not, you certainly don’t want them there. Parabens are preservatives…that’s right preservatives that are preserving the cancer cells! How awful is that??? I urge you to read your daily personal care product labels as closely as the labels on your foods!!
Once dietary habits and daily self care routines have improved we have to look at the level of stress we are experiencing. Stress has devastating effect son our overall health. Identify your stressors and begin to eliminate them or learn coping mechanisms in order to lessen the negative effect it has on your general well being. Psychological stress alone has not been found to cause cancer, but psychological stress that lasts a long time may affect a person’s overall health and ability to cope with cancer. There is evidence that extreme distress is associated with poorer clinical outcomes. There are many ways to decrease your stress. Meditate, have a nice soak in the tub, hike outdoors, listen to music, partake in an activity you enjoy, go to the gym, have heart to heart talks and spend time with loved ones. There are so many ways to drop the stress levels a few notches. Find what suits you best and just do it. We spend so much time worrying these days that we lose sight of the little things that make our lives so special and fulfilling. Make time for you. De-stress. An excellent lesson I learned recently from Robin Sharma is to ask yourself “will this matter a year from now?” if not, move on. Even if we are lucky enough to live to a healthy 100yrs old, life is just too short.
Most important of all…don’t give up! Keep fighting the brave fight! You are worth more to yourself, your loved ones, and the world than you can imagine…never surrender.
Light, love and be well,