Keys to Beating the Cancer Game
What does a trim waistline have to do with breast cancer?
When it comes to the topic of “women’s health” there are two inevitable truths that come to mind. I have yet to meet a woman who wasn’t interested in losing “two more pounds.” As a physician, I have shared many conversations with women concerned over the avoidance of breast cancer. Well guess what? These two things are directly linked to lifestyle and diet. The topic of breast health and weight management are too large for adequate discussion in this brief format but let’s look at where these topics overlap and begin to outline a course of action that will allow you to impact both.
If I had a cancer cell and I wanted to make it grow and flourish, here are the five best things to feed it: sugar, insulin, estrogen, casein (milk protein) and acidity. Remember this list. Tattoo it on your arm if you have to ‚Äì it’s that important.
Only 2-3 percent of all breast cancers that occur can be blamed on genetics. Most breast cancer occurs as a direct result of diet and environmental factors. Even if you have both BRCA1 and BRCA2 breast cancer genes which are only present in one out of every 500 women, your risk of breast cancer is still only 50 percent. Restated, breast cancer genes do not guarantee that you will get cancer. It’s not your genes, it is whether you turn on the bad genes and whether you feed the cancer.
Experts estimate that 90 percent of all breast cancer is due to environmental factors. These factors include: eating herbicides and pesticides because you refuse to buy organic foods, drinking from plastic bottles that contain estrogen, heat or freeze plastic storage containers that leach bisphenol-A (BPA) and estrogen-like chemicals, exposing yourself to pesticides in your home from exterminators, eating non-organic milk and meat that is loaded with hormones and antibiotics that promote cancer, cleaning supplies and cosmetics contain many harmful chemicals that can turn on cancer genes and lead to poor liver detoxification.
Sugar and Insulin
Here’s where having a trim waist line and healthy breasts come together. A diet high in sugar will lead to increases in insulin, which leads to diabetes. So what constitutes a high sugar food? Any food that rapidly increased blood sugar or has a high glycemic index. Here are a few of the biggest offenders: bread, bagels, english muffins, breakfast cereal, potatoes, rice and pasta.Did I surprise you by not listing soda pop, pop-tarts, cookies and candy? These are on the list too but most people tell me they eat “healthy” and then proceed to list all the items I mentioned first.
Avoid all processed foods. If it comes in a box, a bag or a can then it is a processed food. Here’s the recipe for processed food: take whole food that is loaded with vitamins and phytochemicals and fiber and good nutrition and then heat it, squish it, mangle it, extract the fiber, destroy the vitamins, add tons of chemicals and coloring and preservatives and of course high fructose corn syrup and then put healthy buzzwords on the wrapper. Processed foods rob your body of good nutrition and adds dangerous chemicals that your liver has to process for removal.
So let’s put these elements together and see how it can work for or against you. If you eat bread and starchy carbohydrates every day it causes a large blood sugar spike which makes your body respond with a large insulin spike. Insulin tells your body to store fat. Insulin is the most inflammatory chemical in your body, it stimulates cancer growth and causes you to age faster and gain belly fat. Belly fat is different than the subcutaneous fat in your arms and legs. Belly fat is called “brown fat” and it actively produces estrogen and inflammatory chemicals called cytokines. These brown fat cells also make an enzyme called aromatase that converts your testosterone into estrogen. As estrogen rises it tells my body to store fat and stimulates the growth of cancer cells. Too much estrogen can very dangerous.
Now what would happen if you add lots of processed foods to this equation? Processed foods contain chemicals, many of which act like estrogen and stimulate cancer growth. Processed foods are typically devoid of fiber and without that fiber you are unable to bind estrogen and remove it from your body. The low fiber content of processed foods leads to constipation which promotes the release of estrogen from conjugated bonds in the bowel and the estrogen gets re-absorbed into your bloodstream further elevating your estrogen level. Soda pop, coffee, alcohol, meat, and dairy are all very acidic foods and with greater consumption you develop an acidic body that is ripe for nourishing cancer cells. The casein protein in all dairy products is just one more stimulus for cancer growth.
What to do:
- Eat whole organic foods.
- Eat cruciferous vegetables such as brussel sprouts, broccoli, kale, bok choy, which offer a natural phytochemical called dindolylmethane that works with your liver to clear excess estrogen from the body.
- Avoid plastic bottles and plastic containers. Use pyrex instead of plastic. Drink filtered water from stainless steel bottles. Use glass, not plastic cups.
- Eat high fiber foods like beans, flax seed meal (not flax oil), and vegetables that help aid healthy estrogen metabolism and removal. High fiber diets lower blood sugar and insulin and aid weight loss.
- Drink soda pop very rarely as a treat and never as a daily staple. It is NEVER good for you and always causes problems. The acidity will kill you.
- Get your calcium from green vegetables, not dairy. Dairy does not give you calcium despite a successful campaign by the dairy council. What to read more? Go to www.milksucks.com We have all been sold a ton of misinformation.
- If you stop eating bread, pasta, rice and potatoes you will lose 10 pounds. Try this for one month and if I’m wrong, then email me with your results. (I’m not wrong.) Decreased weight, sugar, and insulin leads to less fat which equals less aromotase and less estrogen.
Remember this: increased belly fat is a risk factor for all cancers but especially breast cancer. Sugar, insulin, casein (milk protein), estrogen and acidity are to be feared and avoided. Make a few simple changes starting today and gradually work to clean up your diet and lower your risk for not only breast cancer but most other degenerative diseases.
Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography
Location: The McAlpin
Model: Tiffany Brown
Makeup Artistry: Cecily Claytor, Zoë Custom Cosmetics