- Pick one day of the week where you commit to eating vegetarian the whole day and don’t let anything or anyone break that commitment or,
- Pick one meal out of the day that you’ll commit to eating vegetarian
Before 1992, the month of October was simply the time period on the Gregorian calendar that noted the seasonal transition from Mother Earth’s abundance of warm, life promoting sun, to less sun and more cooler temperatures. Cool temperatures that sobered us up and awakened us to the resilience of her beauty painted across the landscape with symbolic fall foliage, as she prepared for a long, cold winter.
And perhaps this is why the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation designated October to be the official month for breast cancer awareness and branded the event with its own color—a pink ribbon.
The color pink was selected to remind women that in as much as we are like the summer season—beautiful, feminine, nurturing life givers—some of us would also transition into a season of sobering coolness in our health as we face the staggering statistics that 1 in 8 of us will develop breast cancer. But more important than that, the color pink is also the symbol of hope that we promote as we rally together in sisterhood to bring awareness about breast cancer facts and possible ways that we can naturally prevent ever getting it.
Know the Quick Facts:
What is Breast Cancer?
The Symptoms of Breast Cancer
Screening for Breast Cancer
Breast Cancer Prevention—Three Key Changes That Might Save your Life: Vitamin D3, Omega 3 Fatty Acids, and Exercise
Eating a more plant based diet is a “no brainer” when it comes to sustaining our lives, but did you know that there are essential nutrients like Vitamin D3 (darker skinned women do not get enough sunshine to naturally get Vitamin D3 from the sun) and omega 3 fatty acids that are also critical to your overall health? And moreover, did you also know that exercise—Yes, even walking—just might save your life and prevent you from developing breast cancer?
Vitamin D3 Deficiency
Vitamin D3 deficiency has been linked to many health issues ranging from mere bone fractures to heart attacks, so it’s not surprising that cancer— including breast cancer—would also be among the list.
Vitamin D3 Research
Research at UC Sandiago has shown that patients with higher levels of Vitamin D in their blood had a higher survival rate when diagnosed with breast cancer.
Dr. Cedric Garland, a professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine decided to perform the study on the correlations between breast cancer and Vitamin D3 survival rates after he discovered that women with low levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D had a much greater risk of developing premenopausal breast cancer. The study concluded that women with lower levels of Vitamin D3 in their blood stream were more likely to develop breast cancer.
How to get more Vitamin D3:
You should see your physician as soon as possible and ask to have a 25(OH) D blood test done to determine your blood level. Ideally, if you are cancer free, you should aim to have about 50ml of Vitamin D3 in your blood as stated in the chart below.
However, if you are below 50 ng/ml, then you will need to take a good, quality Vitamin D3 vitamin to get you on the right track to increase your vitamin D levels.
Fortunately, Vitamin D3 comes in a variety of forms, i.e. there are gel caps, sprays, and drops so pick the supplement that’s easiest for you to consistently take. I highly recommend the sprayable form because it’s quick and easy to administer.
Below are three charts (based on a 150 lb weight), courtesy of the Vitamin D Council, to guide you on the amount of supplementation you’ll need based on your lab results.
If your levels are 10 ng/ml and below, you’ll need to do the following:
|To achieve this level…||Take this much supplement per day…|
|20 ng/ml||1000 IU|
|30 ng/ml||2200 IU|
|40 ng/ml||3600 IU|
|50 ng/ml||5300 IU|
|60 ng/ml||7400 IU|
|70 ng/ml||10100 IU|
If your levels are between 20 ng/ml and 30 ng/ml, you’ll need to do the following action:
|To achieve this level…||Take this much supplement per day…|
|30 ng/ml||600 IU|
|40 ng/ml||2000 IU|
|50 ng/ml||3700 IU|
|60 ng/ml||5800 IU|
|70 ng/ml||8600 IU|
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Researchers at the Research Institute, National Cancer Center, Gyeonggi, South Korea, examined the dietary consumption of omega 3 fatty acid rich fish of 358 Korean women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer and a control group of 360 Korean women with no known history of breast cancer, and what they found was extremely promising. Women who had higher levels of omega 3 fatty acids in their diet were less likely to develop breast cancer. Therefore, increasing your intake of omega 3 fatty acids will possibly lower your risks of developing breast cancer.
Getting More Omega 3 Fatty Acids in Your Diet:
You can eat more wild Alaskan salmon to increase your daily consumption of omega 3 fatty acids. Wild Alaskan salmon has very low mercury levels and is therefore, safer to consume. Or, you could also supplement with a high quality fish oil or cod liver oil. But if you supplement with cod liver oil, just be mindful that it contains vitamin D3 so you will have to adjust your vitamin D3 supplemental intake to ensure that you are not getting too much.
The beauty of exercise is that it doesn’t have to cost anything—it’s free. And according to the National Cancer Institute, women who exercise four or more hours a week, are less likely to develop breast cancer, which is a very simply strategy to incorporate into your daily lives. Walking 30 minutes a day—six days a week can save your life.
These are three small, simple strategies that might prove to have a profound impact on the longevity of women. So this October, I urge every woman to not only adorn yourselves in the sisterhood of pink during this change of seasons and become not only mindful of the statistic that 1 in 8 of us will be diagnosis with breast cancer, but to also become stronger in the pink ribbon sisterhood that’s now symbolic of the beauty, femininity, nurturing spirit, and most important of all —the hope that this awareness gives each of us to prevent breast cancer from entering our lives!
I’m a big advocate of buying organic and/or natural products whenever possible. One of my must-haves in the organic food category is milk. The thought of giving my family milk that comes from conventional farming (where horror stories abound) makes me sad for the cow and concerned about the quality of the milk. Is the milk nutritional? Is it harmful to my family, etc…
While I won’t belabor the unspeakable suffering that conventional cows must endure to put milk on our tables, I will provide a link from the Humane Society that speaks to why we should re-think purchasing dairy sourced from these cows. After all, cows deserve compassion too. Right?
However, I do realize that there are people out there who don’t make their milk purchasing decisions based on the welfare of the cow. So, I say to you perhaps you’d consider changing your dairy purchasing habits based on the following: The welfare or health risks that the suffering cow’s milk might have on your family.
Of course, this brings me back to my previous two questions: Is the milk nutritional? Is it harmful? I will respectively answer no and yes- and here is why:
Conventional Milk is Less Nutritional Because:
The Harmful Effects of Conventional Milk on Humans
Benefits of Organically Grown Milk: Especially When the Cows are Grass-Fed
Now for me, these main key points make my decision for purchasing organic milk a “no brainer.” I do it in hopes that my purchasing dollar will send the message that these harmful and cruel industrial-scale factory-farming practices should end, and I do it to improve my family’s health. However, I must admit that not all organic milk is created equally. So, if you decide that you want to start giving your family organic milk, I provided a quick guide to help you make the right choice for your family and your finances.
The Cornucopia Institute has put together the Organic Dairy Report/Ratings that rates the quality of different organic milk brands. The healthiest and most nutritional milk has a 5 cow star rating (too cute!) and the least healthy/nutritional milk has a 1 or 0 cow rating.
The chart is pretty straight forward and gives you what you need to make the right decision for you and your family.