I get a little frustrated with ” Pinktober” for lots of reasons.
First of all, many of the products emblazoned with a pink ribbon contain known cancer causing chemicals. Let me rephrase-many of the items with pink ribbons on them are linked to breast cancer. This makes me crazy.
Secondly, it is supposed to raise “breast cancer awareness.” I’m pretty sure everyone knows about breast cancer. What we need is a “breast cancer prevention” month or a “take a look at your personal care products and since the FDA won’t ban the KNOWN chemicals linked to breast cancer, much less test the other 10,000 untested ingredients, it’s up to you to choose not to slather these on your skin every day only to be soaked up by your bloodstream and circulated around your body” month. Or a “clean up your diet and avoid plastic bottles” month. Or a “drink more water and eat more fiber” month.
Can you tell this is a subject I am passionate about?
A few Octobers ago I held a “reduce your risk of breast cancer” event in New York City, and wanted to share the information that was on one of my handouts:
A woman in the U.S. today has a one in eight chance of getting breast cancer, however there is growing scientific evidence that lifestyle choices influence cancer risk. Even if you don’t smoke and eat your fruits and vegetables, there are many environmental toxins you are exposed to daily in your food, air, water, soil, personal care products, home and office that are known carcinogens. Therefore it is important to maintain a holistic lifestyle that supports your immune system to detoxify and protect your body from disease.
Here are 12 ways to reduce your risk of Breast Cancer:
Eat organically produced food. This includes fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes and animal foods. BreastCancer.com has some great recipes here. Plant foods grown conventionally are laden with petroleum-based pesticides which are estrogen mimickers and confuse the body into accepting them into their cells. Meat that is not organic contains harmful synthetic hormones and pesticides from the food it consumed.
Add Healthy Fats. Use olive oil and coconut oil in your cooking and take a fish oil and evening primrose oil supplement.
Eat 30 grams of fiber per day. This will help rid your body of excess estrogen therefore lowering your risk of breast cancer.
Avoid drinking out of plastic water bottles, using plastic wrap on your food, putting hot beverages in plastic and microwaving food in plastic containers. Plastic contains xenoestrogens which are shown to cause cancer.
Green your cleaning products. Start looking at what chemicals you are exposed to in your home. Laundry detergent, dish soap, air fresheners, and candles are all places dangerous ingredients are lurking. This week pick something you use everyday and upgrade it to something that is healthy for you, your family and the environment. Our health food stores are great places to find better options. You can also clean almost anything in your home with vinegar and baking soda, and olive oil makes a great furniture polish.
Pay attention to what you put on your body- your skin will absorb it and it goes into your body- we know this is true because the birth control patch can cause a woman to stop ovulating and the nicotine patch satisfies a craving for a cigarette. Obviously what you put on your body winds up in your blood stream. The average woman uses 12 different personal care products everday, exposing herself to 166 different synthetic chemicals. Many of these chemicals are known to cause cancer. Make the switch to natural and organic body care. This includes hairspray, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, moisturizer, toner, shaving cream, all cosmetics, nail polish, and especially antiperspirants. Antiperspirants are strong chemicals, usually containing aluminum, which prevent sweating and sweating is a way for the body to eliminate toxins and unwanted materials with the help of the lymphatic system. So let your body do its job and use a natural deodorant.
Go braless for 12 hours every day and don’t sleep in your bra. Also try to find bras without underwire.
Catch some rays! Sunlight is the easiest to get vitamin d, and vitamin d is a hormone that protects our bodies from disease.
Sleep in a totally dark room every night. Your body releases melatonin while you sleep which is one of the body’s first lines of defense against malignant breast cell growth. This can only be done, however, if you are in a dark room. This means: do not sleep with the TV, night light, or a bathroom light on, or the blinds open. It is also extremely helpful to go to bed before 10:30PM because this is when your body produces the most melatonin.
And here is a bonus tip:
-Try organic red wine. Organic wine contains 34% more antioxidants and Pinot Noir is highest in resveratrol which slows breast cancer cell growth. It has also been linked to clearer skin. Just remember if you drink alcohol at all, this depletes your body of folic acid which protects your body from breast cancer, so take a folic acid supplement. Whew.
I have also seen a few pink items I can support in good conscience. More on those later, but for now I leave you with my favorite:
This pink weight lifting bar by ReGyms.
During the month of October, $30 from every barbell sold will go directly to the Flatwater Foundation, providing mental health support for families affected by breast cancer.