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,


My (Vulnerable) Confession

I have a confession to make. Something I kept under wraps for years, only revealing to my friends and family I’m closest with.

Here it is: I’m a holistic healthcare provider. I believe in holistic medicine — a form of wellness that integrates body, mind, spirit, and emotions in the quest for optimal health.  

And this is something I kept hidden for years.

Because in my early career and professional environment, being holistic was not embraced. In fact, it was scorned.

Judgmental comments were (and still are) made by my colleagues about people who looked to a mind-body-spirt connection for healing and health. Hurtful words like “quack”, “crazy”, and “granola” were used.

And early in my career, I tried to convinced myself that the status quo was right. The status quo thought the mind and body were separate, that lab-made was better than nature-made, that medications were the answer for everything, that people were too lazy or not smart enough to make healthy choices.

But deep down I knew the status quo was wrong.


My given name is Skye and most folks assume my parents were hippies. This makes me giggle because my parents were most definitely not hippies. But they were open and taught me to question assumptions and the status quo. They taught me to seek truth, even if it wasn’t popular or easy. And I am forever grateful for all they taught me.

As a child I had a natural interest in holistic wellness. I have vivid memories of playing in the garden, selecting samples of various plants, and mixing them up into potions. After playing in the sprinklers, I would mix mud with rose petals and slather my body with my homemade concoction. At McDonald’s, I was the kid who ordered salads instead of Happy Meals. Because I intuitively knew what was good and healthy.

Then like velcro, other people’s ideas, opinions, and wills stuck to me. As a teenager, I fell deep into the rabbit hole of “diet” foods and the “low fat” craze. I started using heavily fragranced and chemical-laden self care products. Essentially, I disconnected from my intuition and tried to be “healthy” based on other people’s assumptions and corporate marketing.

And it literally took years of research, reflection, and intuition to carefully remove all the junk that was stuck to me.


I knew, through both legitimate research and personal experience, that a holistic approach to health made sense. So I learned as much as I could — reading articles, taking courses, gaining certifications.

Then I started to speak up. Started to offer alternative suggestions and treatments. Began sharing my knowledge. Writing what I knew.

At the time, my stable and well-paying professional job was at odds with what I knew was right. So I left it. Even though my husband is finishing his fellowship and we are expecting our first child this year. Even though there were hundreds of reason to keep going with the status quo.

Because I knew I needed to share what I knew in my own way.


After my leap into the unknown, I experienced a dynamic shift. People were interested. Colleagues, patients, and even publishers. I was asked to speak on prevention and integrative health. Journalists asked my opinion for articles. Writing opportunities came my way.


In fact, just today I was invited to speak at the Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine’s annual meeting. Which I am totally pumped and grateful for! This is a conference that professionals I greatly respect and admire speak at. Last year Dr. Dean Ornish and Dr. Mark Hyman were both speakers (aka people that are a BIG deal and are changing the traditional Western approach to medicine). I can hardly believe it.

I am so incredibly thankful for the support, encouragement, and love I’ve received thus far on my journey. Lovely mentors, colleagues, and readers like you have made my dream a reality.

Full disclosure here: There were those who were less enthused. Those who wondered why I went into pharmacy if my goal was to keep people from needing medicine. Others thought what I was trying to do was pointless — that Americans are too apathetic to take charge of their wellness.

To these people: I respectfully disagree with you.

There is legitimate scientific evidence to support a holistic approach to wellness. I believe many people want to change and take charge of their health. But they need guidance, mentorship, support, and inspiration. And that should be the role of the healthcare provider.

To be clear, I believe there is a place for medicine. There are times and circumstances where the benefits of medication far outweigh the risks. I’m not the person that thinks medication and traditional medicine is inherently bad. I have the experience and knowledge to know this is true. But I believe medication should not be the first option — that in most cases there are holistic approaches that can be used first or in conjunction with traditional western approaches.

While my approach is not as popular (or profitable) as the status quo, I am comfortable and at peace with my stance. Because, as my parents taught me, I follow truth wherever it leads. Even if it leads me somewhere unpopular and a bit uncomfortable.


Why am I sharing this? A few reasons, really.

First, I believe sharing real experiences — honestly and vulnerably — benefits everyone. I tend to be a private person, but I’m stepping out of my comfort zone with the hope it helps others.

Second, many of my readers have a healthcare background. And I want them to know it’s okay to think differently, practice differently, and approach health and wellness differently. It may (and probably will) feel uncomfortable at first. You may encounter resistance, but that’s okay. You have evidence, intuition, and in time, experience to back you up. And you have me. I’m always here to help answer a question or provide support.

Bottomline: we need to change the direction of health in this country. The status quo just isn’t working — Americans are less healthy, happy, and well. If I can help people live healthier, happier, and sustainable lives, I’m doing something right.


What you can expect from my corner of the internet is actionable, evidence-based, sustainable wellness information delivered in an approachable way.

You can also expect more of a community — a safe, informative, and inspiring place for other holistic wellness lovers to hang out and explore.


Thank you for being a loyal supporter and reader. A Better Way Wellness would not exist without you.

Sending you love, light, and x’s and o’s,
Skye (your holistic healthcare friend)
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