How to Get Cancer - Part I

We all know someone who has cancer. And maybe even someone that has died from cancer.

If it seems like cancer is everywhere that’s because it is. Roughly 15 million new cancer cases are diagnosed worldwide each year.

While cancer treatment has improved tremendously in the last decade, still there is no absolute cure. You probably already knew that.

But did you know one third of cancer could be avoided by changing lifestyle and diet habits?


That’s right. What I just said is cancer is preventable in many cases. Really and truly.

Because I would prefer to prevent cancer, I’ve done the research and incorporated the evidence into my life. And today I’m starting a cancer prevention series just for you. Over the next few weeks I will lay out the evidence and offer simple and sustainable ways for you to make lifestyle changes to prevent cancer.

I’m always shocked when people I work with don’t realize that some cancers can be prevented. Knowledge is power and cancer prevention is one of my passions. If you have a friend, family member, or other loved one that you want to help, please refer them here.

Each week, I will offer you one or two action-oriented methods to prevent cancer and the evidence to back it up. In return, you will use the next week to take action and make changes.

Without further adieu, let’s dive in and get started!

How to Get Cancer: Eat Ultra-Processed Food

processed foods.jpeg

It should come as no surprise that processed foods are bad news. We know they are linked to obesity, increase blood pressure, and heart failure exacerbations.

Now we know consumption of processed foods increases the risk of cancer.

A little over a month ago, a study was published that assessed the association between ultra-processed food and cancer. This study include over 100,000 participants that were followed for six years. The results were startling.

A 10% increase in ultra-processed food intake was associated wth greater than 10% increase risk in overall cancer and breast cancer.

Why? First of all, processed foods are high in total fat, saturated fat, added sugar and salt. Secondly, processed foods contain contaminants that are carcinogenic (such as acrylamide and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons). Third, processed foods often are packaged in materials that are carcinogenic or endocrine-disrupting (such as bisphenol A). Lastly, processed foods often contain nitrites, which are hypothesized to be carcinogens.

Which foods were considered to be ultra-processed this the study?

  • Mass produced packaged breads and buns
  • Sweet and savory packaged sweets
  • Mass produced confectionery and desserts
  • Sodas and sweetened beverages
  • Meat products with preservatives other than salt (such as meatballs, chicken nuggets, and fish sticks)
  • Instant noodles and soups
  • Frozen or shelf stable meals
  • Food products made mostly from sugar, oils, fats, and processed oils

Action of the Week: Ditch Ultra-Processed Foods. Immediately, If Not Sooner.

What does this study mean for you? It means that if you want to decrease your risk of cancer (overall and breast), you must decrease your consumption of ultra-processed foods.

So take an inventory. Do you eat any of the ultra-processed foods mentioned above? If so, say sayonara to them. Instead, replace the ultra-processed foods with organic vegetables and fruit. Drink water, sparkling water, or tea instead of sodas and sweetened beverages.

Give it a try this week! And stay tuned for more on the cancer prevention series!

In health and happiness,


THIS Snack Food Can Help You Lose Weight

Do you snack? If you said “yes”, you are in the majority. Most of us snack — nearly a third of calories in the average American diet comes from snack food. Which is a problem because most snacks are low in nutrition and high in salt, fat, and sugar. Basically our snacks are full of empty calories that pack on the pounds.

But not all snacks have to sabotage your health.

And if you are trying to lose weight, there is one snack that can actually help you LOSE weight.

This weight shedding snack isn’t some expensive bar or protein powder. Nor does it taste like cardboard and give you indigestion.

The snack food that can help you lose weight is simple and comes straight from nature. It tastes delicious and is definitively nutritious.

So what is this secret snack?


Let me tell you more.

The Evidence

A study published in the International Journal of Obesity first shed light on the weight loss accolades of almonds.

All the study participants were overweight and were given the same liquid diet for the majority of their calories. However, one group received almonds as their daily snack while the other group ate complex carbohydrates (such as whole wheat crackers, baked potatoes, or air-popped popcorn).

Old school thinking would make you guess both groups lost the same amount of weight. However, this study blasted the “all calories are equal” theory. Because both groups had the exact same number of calories and protein each day. But one group lost significantly more weight than the other — on average nearly 20 pounds more. That same group also had a greater reduction on waist circumference.

It was the almond group.

Why Almonds Help You Lose Weight


Why do almonds decrease weight and fat?

The mechanism is not fully elucidated. However, there are some compelling theories.

The first has do with fat absorption. Other theories are almonds make you feel fuller and can reduce feelings of hunger. And still more theories think insulin may have a role.

How to Add Almonds to Your Life

Now that you know almonds can help you lose weight (especially if you’re snacking on grain-based carbohydrates), how would you add almonds to your life?

The study I referred to above had people eating 3 oz of almonds, which is around 375 calories worth. Specifically, whole, unblanched, unsalted almonds were used.

Translation for you: three ounces of whole, raw, and unsalted almonds instead of carbohydrate-based snacks.

From Knowledge to Action

Now you know the snack food can help you lose weight. If you’re looking to lose weight and are ready to revamp your snack routine, almonds may be the answer.

Are you looking for more information on the health benefits of almonds? Check out this post.

I challenge you to made a difference — either make a change yourself or share this information with someone you think it could help.

Happy Snacking,

Non-Depressing Health Alert: Chocolate is GOOD for Your Heart

Are you struggling with the holidays?

Maybe you can’t turn down those chocolate truffles your co-worker put in the lunch room.

Maybe the box of Candy Cane JoJo’s calls your name when you’re shopping at Trader Joe’s.

Or maybe your husband brought home a package of dark chocolate dipped pretzels that you can’t resist. (Welcome to my life).

Are you feeling food guilt or frustration?

If so, I have FANTASTIC (and evidence-based) health news for you. News that will make you feel better, lose the guilt, and start enjoying the holidays.

Are you ready?

Because it may blow your mind away.

Chocolate is good for your heart.



Eating chocolate is correlated with reductions in heart disease.

So are things like exercising and eating fruits and vegetables. But isn’t eating chocolate a little more fun? I think so. And I think a healthy life SHOULD be fun.

A recent study published in the journal Heart may give us a look into WHY. The study conducted in Denmark showed chocolate consumption was associated with a lower risk of atrial fibrillation, a common arrhythmia that can lead to stroke and other serious heart problems.

Those who had one to three one-ounce servings of chocolate each month had a 10% relative risk reduction in atrial fibrillation. And people that ate more chocolate (one serving a week) had a 20% reduction.

The not as good news? Those that had one or more servings of chocolate a day did not have a statistically significant risk reduction.

So enjoy those chocolate truffles — but try to keep it to once a week to maximize heart health benefits.


There are other health benefits to chocolate. Studies show chocolate consumption is also associated with:

  •  Lower blood pressure
  •  Improved insulin response
  •  Improved mood

So you can feel good (and healthy) about that dark chocolate truffle you just ate.


If you want to maximize the health benefits of chocolate, I have a motto for you.

Darker is smarter.

The darker the chocolate, the higher percentage the cacao or cocoa.

The cacao or cocoa is the part of the chocolate that we think has the health benefits. Not the added sugar or milk.

If you need a little help on picking the best types of chocolate, check out this post. Scroll to the bottom of the post to see my favorite chocolate brands. 


So go forth and enjoy your holidays! Eat your chocolate and savor each bite — knowing you are helping your heart.


With love,