Change of plans for this week’s post. I’m really excited about the rest of my posts in the current series I’m working on, but I have something much more important to talk about. So I am putting that on hold. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT THIS RIGHT NOW! I have danced around this subject before in several of my posts, but here we go, we are having this conversation now. CANCER. Cancer, EVERYWHERE.
You guys, I’m scared. Last night I broke down in tears. It seems that every week someone in this community is diagnosed with or loses a battle with cancer. So many lives. People we know and love. Young people, people in their 40’s, 30’s, even 20’s. My heart is broken for the families who have lost a loved one.
KENTUCKY has the HIGHEST cancer DEATH RATE as well as the HIGHEST CANCER INCIDENCES. Please do not read this lightly. This is a statistic that no one wants to be known for. This is about me, this is about you, this is about our community.
Kentucky ranks first in cancer, but we also rank very high on the charts for heart disease, stroke, Alzheimers, diabetes, respiratory diseases, and kidney diseases according to the CDC. We also rank high for preterm birth rate and low birth weights. WE ARE UNHEALTHY.
As I said, I’m scared. I’ve only recently adopted a healthier lifestyle, and I am so frustrated with myself for not doing so sooner. I’m scared that I won’t be able to counteract 25 years of being unhealthy. I’m scared that my family and friends won’t wake up to what is happening around us, and I will have to watch them suffer the same fate as so many others. I’m scared for our community.
You may look fine or you may even feel fine, but that doesn’t mean you are safe from disease or cancer. Plenty of “healthy, young” people have been blindsided from cancer.
Misconception #1 I feel like there is a misconception about what healthy means. I think many people see it as a skinny vs. fat type thing. Or gym vs. couch. Or about calorie intake. Or daily steps. Or how they look on the outside. Or how they feel on the inside. You cannot determine health from any of these concepts because there exist very few truths here. You can compare two people of very different body types and you may be surprised at which one is healthier. You may go to they gym every day or be able to run a 5k, but this is not necessarily synonymous with being healthy. You may monitor your calorie intake, but you may not be eating nutritious foods. You may look fine or you may even feel fine, but that doesn’t mean you are safe from disease or cancer. Plenty of “healthy, young” people have been blindsided from cancer.
We don’t get cancer. We provoke it.
Misconception #2 Chew on this. We don’t get cancer. We provoke it. We all have cancer cells in our body. But hopefully most of these abnormal cells will never become dangerous as long as our bodies defend against them. But too much sun, cigarette smoke, alcohol, or toxins/ chemicals/ preservatives from the household products we use or food we consume…and BOOM these things accumulate in our bodies and become carcinogenic and provoke those cancer cells. Those cells exist inside each of us. How long will your body be able to defend itself?
In over 40 years of our “war against cancer” and over 200 billion dollars later, we have improved the median survival rate of cancer by 3 months. So what does this mean? That medical approaches to kill cancer cells isn’t enough. I saves some lives, but some isn’t enough. We need to take additional approaches. It is just as important to make our bodies an inhospitable place for cancer cells to grow as it is to attempt to wipe those cells out.
There’s many ways to start living a healthier lifestyle. Choose a few things off the list below and start there. Any of the things listed are a type of “intervention” against cancer. But keep in mind, although starting slow may enable your jumpstart, the key to prevention is “multiple interventions”. The more changes you can make in your lifestyle, the better. We have to start being better to our bodies before it is too late.
- Eat healthy and clean
- Try to eat organic, avoiding chemicals, pesticides, GMO’s, hormones, and other additives.
The EPA considers 60 percent of herbicides, 90 percent of fungicides, and 30 percent of insecticides to be carcinogenic.
- Avoid eating canned or processed foods. Eat fresh foods instead.
- Don’t use the microwave. But especially don’t microwave foods in plastic containers.
Microwaving creates new compounds that are not found in humans or in nature, called radiolytic compounds.
- Eat superfoods (acai berry, chia seeds, kefir, berries, cruciferous vegetables and leafy greens, garlic, coconut…)
- Don’t eat processed meats (bacon, ham, sausage) and reduce red meat intake.
- Eat grass fed animals not grain fed (corn and soy). Grass is high in omega 3 fatty acids (which reduces clotting, inflammation, and cell growth). Omega 3 fatty acids have all but disappeared from the milk, butter, cheese, cream, meat, and eggs we eat.
- Eat alkaline foods vs. acidic foods.
Tumor growth increases in an acid environment. Melons and Lemons are the most alkaline-forming foods. But most fruits and veggies are good options.
- Only drink water, fresh juices (this isn’t the juice you get at the grocery store), and herbal teas…especially green tea.
- Use quality essential oils that promote the immune system and healing.
- Eat fermented foods (sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, pickles, yogurt…)
- Use herbs and spices such as turmeric.
- Limit sugars (cancer cells feed on sugar) and fats.
- Physical activity for 30 minutes, 5 days a week.
- Take quality vitamins and supplements.
- Breathing techniques.
Oxygen is essential for all human functions. Deep breathing and correct breathing practices can be very healing as well as stress relieving. This is why yoga and Qigong is more than just a form of physical exercise or a fad. They are ancient, healing exercises with real results .
- Social Support can reduce cancer by a factor of 4.
- Use chemical free/ non-toxic personal products (bath toiletries, soap, makeup) and household products (cleaning supplies).
- Safe amount of time in the sun–20 minutes (but no longer) of exposure for a large portion of the body (torso, arms, and face). Vitamin D is a big defense against cancer!
I happened upon a presentation of David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD online. He has his own incredible story as a survivor of brain cancer many years ago, and he gave a very interesting talk about science and medicine. There’s research (Boivin et al., 2008 Food Chem) that I find completely amazing. A research scientist, after years of testing chemicals on cancer cells, buys a juicer for the lab. He adds little drops of various vegetable juice to cancer cell colonies. What he discovered is that some vegetables are capable of inhibiting cancer cells by 100%. You can’t find drugs that do this because when chemicals have the effect of inhibiting cancer growth by 100%, they are so toxic, they cannot be consumed. That folks is the power of cabbage. Or garlic. Or spinach.
Another study (Andersen et al., 2008 Cancer) shows a 68% reduction in mortality in an 11 year time span. A 68 PERCENT REDUCTION! No other conventional treatment can compare to this! How? The group with this result did 4 simple things: they learned to eat differently, they included physical activity (30 minutes, 5 x week), learned basic breathing techniques, and learned how to seek social support.
Think of cancer as this: A loss of balance between the forces that either increase or decrease cancer growth. Cancer is not a genetic lottery. It’s not a situation where once you have it it is out of control. We need to start fighting for ourselves and for each other. Inspire healthy change in yourself and encourage it in those around us. Please if you are reading this, take the time to share it with others. Have this conversation with family or friends. Start making changes right now. Let’s stand strong as a community of health and wellness. The opportunities for change are in front of you. Right now is the time.