A few days ago, I found out that a high school friend died of breast cancer. She was 43. Less than a month ago, a co-worker lost her life to the same disgusting disease. She just turned 40. Another high school classmate of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer last year and has bravely been fighting it. I've sent encouraging words as she went through chemo, and would rejoice from afar as she completed each round. Rejoicing, as poison was being sent into her body to attempt to kill this awful thing.
According to cancer.org, in 2015 there will be an estimated 1,658,370 new cancer cases diagnosed. These are NEW cases...JUST in the United States. Cancer does not discriminate. It does not care if you are rich or poor; black, white or yellow; man or woman; old or young.
What can WE do, you ask? We start fighting with what we put in our bodies. We have a choice. Do you choose to put real food in your body that gives you strength and energy, strengthening your immune system, making it more likely that your body can fight debilitating and/or life-threatening diseases? Or do you choose to put food-like substances, laden with chemicals and sugar and deplete of any nutritional value, that break down your immune system, making your body fight every day just to survive, let alone thrive?
We don't control the government - the lobbyists do. And the chances of them doing anything to force the food industry to stop using artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, and other additives is slim to none. But the food industry WILL listen to the people, when it hurts their wallets. The change is starting to happen; it's going to be a VERY slow change, but it will happen. Heck, even McDonalds in now offering an organic burger in Germany. With every meal, you have a choice. None of us are perfect, but all of us can do better.
Start working your way away from fast-food and pre-packaged food-like substances in boxes and tubes to REAL, organic when possible, fruits and vegetables. If you eat meat (I'm not here to debate this right now, please), choose meat that comes from animals living in an environment that is how they live in the wild, instead of factory-farmed, hormone and antibiotic filled, tortured and sick animals.
- Eat something green at every meal (I don't mean gummy bears or Skittles). Cruciferous vegetables are knows for cancer fighting properties. These are the vegetables in the cabbage family: broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, collard greens, and kale.
- Eat vegetables raw most of the time or lightly steamed. This keeps all of those amazing phytonutrients alive, so your body can make use of them.
- Spice it up! Having a tough time with those veggies? Add some garlic, onions, or other allium family food to give your veggies some flavor. These are PACKED cancer-fighting properties. Consider spices like turmeric, cumin, and cayenne pepper, along with herbs like oregano. All are great for anti-inflammatory purposes, and they taste great!
- Incorporate raw nuts and seeds as part of your daily intake. In a study performed at Harvard and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, "daily nut-eaters were less likely to die of cancer, heart disease, and respiratory disease."
- Start reducing your sugar intake, and make the sugar that you do eat in its raw and natural form. Instead of refined white sugar, start using honey, pure maple syrup, molasses, or coconut sugar. These unrefined sugars DO have some health benefits (stay tuned for a follow up post on this topic). This doesn't mean you should pour a whole jug of syrup on your pancakes...cancer literally feeds on sugar - keep the quantities limited.
- Don't be fooled by marketing. Just because something is labeled "natural" or "organic," doesn't necessarily mean it is good for you. Read your labels...a lot of organic packaged food, like almond milk or ice cream, has added carrageenan, a known carcinogen. That's just one of an awful lot of additives allowed in our food supply. Again - best to eat stuff that doesn't come in a box, tube or other fancy packaging.
- Swap out your pasta. Try using spaghetti squash or making noodles from zucchini. Yeah, yeah. I know. It's not pasta. Just try it; trust me.
- Chill out! I wanted to say reduce your stress here, but we can't control the events that happen to us. We CAN, however, control our reactions to them. Chronic stress wreaks all kinds of havoc in the body. Build in a daily de-stressing routine: deep breathing exercises, meditation, exercise of any kind, reading, etc. Allowing your body to rebuild from the chemical changes stress brings on is highly recommended.
- Eat mushrooms. Simple, right? Research has shown that mushrooms of any kind can be great for fighting various kinds of cancer, but even more-so for breast cancer. Eat up!
- Drink water. The latest recommendations are half your body weight in ounces of water. If you weigh 150 pounds, strive for 75 ounces (9+ cups) of water. It helps your body do all things it needs to do.