I recently was reminded that it has been 14 years since my breast cancer diagnosis. I was 44 years old at the time, and all I remember is how extremely scared and confused I felt. My doctor left the decision to have either a lumpectomy or mastectomy up to me. When I had an MRI of both breasts, it showed that both breasts had tumors growing, I knew what my decision would be. And because my mom passed from the disease, I wanted to be proactive and went with a double mastectomy. When you’re hit with a diagnosis such as Cancer, you’re like a deer in headlights. Everything is coming at you so fast, and you need to make quick decisions, and you’re not sure if they are the right one. The year was 2006, and functional nutrition and functional medicine wasn’t top of mind for most people. There were very few Naturopathic doctors back then. And yes, the chemotherapy saved my life, but it was also what I did post-chemotherapy that was going to decide how I would stay healthy and not have a recurrence.
Today, researchers are finding that some cancers have success using integrative lifestyle therapies and plant-based nutrition to support the whole person in both prevention as well as during the treatment of Cancer. When we have a compromised immune system, we’re more likely to develop Cancer or other chronic illnesses. When we have a robust immune system, our body can identify and eliminate cancer cells. When we’re feeding our body with nourishing, plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables, those cancer cells can’t grow. Every cell in our body has a predetermined life span. Some live longer than others do, for days, weeks, or even months. The cancer cell doesn’t die. They live much too long and multiply. This process forms tumors, which start with a cancer stem cell. If our immune system is healthy, its design allows it to identify and fight off cancer cells. If our immune system is weak, overloaded, or suppressed, it can’t keep up with the demands our body is placing on it and tumors form. The good news is you can heal your body and starve Cancer when you adopt proper dietary and lifestyle changes.
One great reference on this subject, that I included in my book, Take Command of Your Total Health, is ChrisBeatCancer.com. Chris’s story is truly remarkable in that, against all the odds, he beat Cancer through dietary and lifestyle changes. Chris was diagnosed with stage IIIC colon cancer in 2003. After surgery, he opted out of chemotherapy and used nutrition and natural therapies to heal. Chris is now vibrant, healthy, and Cancer free. Today he teaches others about the importance of addressing diet, lifestyle, stress, and the toxic burden we are placing on our bodies. Chris states, “Cancer didn’t invade you from another planet. Your body created it. These are your cells. Cancer is you, your cells, your DNA. Your body created it, and your body can heal it.”
Scientists now believe that the negative aspects of a poor diet and lifestyle are responsible for one-third of all cancers. What you may not realize is that genetics plays a small role in these diagnoses, just under 10 percent. That means 90 percent of cancers are due to malnutrition from an unhealthy diet, chronic stress, and environmental toxins. Our view of eating is quick and easy, with the Standard American Diet or SAD. With the abundance of white flour, sugar (cancel cells love sugar!), processed foods, hydrogenated oils, processed deli meats, etc., Americans are eating unhealthy and are getting sicker because of it. Other areas contributing to the risk of Cancer include toxic chemical exposures from our personal-care products, household cleaning products, our food, water, and environmental toxins. Then add to that, living with chronic stress.
Reducing and eliminating Genetically Modified foods (GMO's), pesticides, herbicides, added hormones in foods can assist in decreasing our overall toxic load. To find the current 2019 list of the cleanest, and the dirtiest fruits and vegetables from the Environmental Working Group, visit www.ewg.org. Research is finding that plant-based nutrition is crucial, and they have also concluded that people who ate the most fruits and vegetables have half the cancer rates as those who ate the least! The top foods that provide a protective shield for all cancers include the alliaceous family, which includes garlic, leeks, and scallions as well as the cruciferous family, which includes broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale, arugula, bok choy, collards, watercress, and radishes. These vegetables have a profound ability to shield cells from several processes that can transform healthy cells into malignant tumors. Then there is the berry family. These protective plants include wild blueberries, organic apples, blackberries, raspberries, red beans, artichoke hearts, and many more. Spices and herbs such as turmeric, garlic, ginger, chili peppers, mint, marjoram, thyme, basil, oregano, and rosemary all have fantastic food phytochemicals that add flavor to our foods at the same time protect our cells. Add to that list, green tea, pomegranates, mushrooms, and dark chocolate.
Think food as our medicine! What all of these foods have in common is their fiber. Fiber assists the body in removing toxins and waste. Gluten-free grains, including quinoa, millet, amaranth, as well as nuts, seeds and flaxseeds, chia, and hemp seeds, are all very beneficial too, and high in fiber.
I have made it my mission to educate and inform others about the importance of whole foods nutrition, and that food is our best defense in keeping our immune system strong and healthy. There is no drug available that will do what our army of fruits and vegetables will do. That is why I have partnered with a company called Juice Plus+. With Juice Plus+ I am getting over 30 fruits and vegetables a day. That's a ton of nutrients that, in addition to a healthy diet, will help me age in health, and not dis-ease. I am committed to sharing how important it is to fuel our bodies with proper nutrition, to stay healthy, vibrant, and strong. If you are interested in learning how you can keep your body healthy and strong, please reach out to me. I would love to have a conversation with you. Email me at info@FindingYourHealth.com