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?

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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

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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,
Skye

 

Four Foods to Eat NOW

"What foods are good for my health?"


This is one of the most common questions I receive.

It’s also a loaded one. Because with few exceptions, I don’t believe foods are innately good or bad.

A food with a certain nutritional profile can be excellent for you in certain amounts — too much or too little can be a problem.

However, there are four foods that we know can decrease your risk of early death. The bad news is these foods are notoriously under consumed by Americans.

Where does this information come from? It comes from a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

So which foods should you eat to decrease your risk of early death? Read on for the details!
 

Nuts and Seeds

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Low nut and seed consumption is associated with nearly 10 percent of cardiovascular deaths.

That's HUGE.

Especially considering nuts and seeds are delicious.

Aside from eating nuts and seeds plain, there are easy ways to infuse more into your diet.

  • Blend almond butter/cashew butter/sunflower butter into your smoothies
  • Sprinkle ground flaxseed on your steel cut oats
  • Add shelled hemp seeds or chopped nuts to your salads
  • Blend walnuts or cashews into your favorite soups
  • Make homemade trail mix with raw nuts and seeds
  • Make a sunflower butter and fruit sandwich


Vegetables

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If you’re a regular around these parts you know I often sing the praises of vegetables. And for good reason.

Vegetables are one of the most nutrient dense food groups you can eat. Low consumption of veggies is associated with nearly 8 percent of all cardiovascular deaths.

The beauty of vegetables is there is such a wonderful variety and everyone can find ones they love.

A lot of my clients think salads are the only way to get vegetables. This misconception is easy to fix. Here are a few easy (and tasty) ways to get your veggies:

  • Blend fresh greens into your smoothies (spinach is particularly mild tasting when blended with fruit)
  • Roast carrots, sweet potatoes, and Brussel sprouts with rosemary and a small amount of oil
  • Make a succotash with corn, tomatoes, red peppers, and lima beans
  • Spiralize zucchini and carrots and use them with pasta sauce
  • Add shredded cabbage to noodles
  • Stir fry carrots, bamboo shoots, sugar peas, mushrooms, and water chestnuts


Fruit

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Most of my clients come to me thinking fruit has too much sugar so they avoid fruit. But still continue to add lots of sugar to their coffee, eat refined grains, indulge in several sweet snacks a day, and have foods they don’t even realize are loaded with sugar.

While small groups of people may need to limit fruit, it is pretty hard to eat too much fresh whole fruit.

Newsflash: the natural sugar in whole fresh fruit is not the problem. It’s all the added and refined sugar in food that’s the issue.

And low fruit consumption accounts for 8 percent of cardiovascular deaths.

How should you eat fruit?

Eat fruit in the whole and fresh state. This means eating fresh apples instead of apple juice. Or oranges instead of orange juice. And this means NOT adding sugar to your fruit.


Seafood

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Seafood is really getting at omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that are crucial for many bodily processes.

Low omega-3 fatty acid consumption is associated with 8 percent of cardiovascular deaths.

Certain seafood is rich in omega-3s. Typically, it is your fatty fish (like salmon). But there are other ways to get omega-3s. The easiest way is through algae consumption (eaten or taken in supplement form). Algae is an excellent option if you are concerned with fish contamination or you enjoy a vegan diet.

There are other ways to get omega-3s through diet, but they require your body to convert them first. This is less efficient than eating seafood or algae, but you still should consider the following foods:

  • seeds (ground flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds)
  • soybeans (tofu)
  • walnuts
  • vegetables (spinach, broccoli, tomatoes)


Now What?


I love recommending foods to ADD to people’s diet instead of focusing on what to ELIMINATE.

Now you know the best foods to eat for your health: nuts and seeds, vegetables, fruit, and seafood.

So take an assessment of what you eat and determine where you can add health boosting foods.
 

Until next week,
Skye
 

 

When Pills Don’t Work: Using Alternative Therapy for Drug Resistant Ailments

Change of Plans

I had something entirely different planned for this week.

But then I received notice of something I feel compelled to share with you.

In the past when I’ve published articles, I haven’t promoted them on A Better Way Wellness. At times it was because they didn’t always directly apply to the topics we discuss here. Other times it was out of fear of melding my academic life with my passion for holistic wellness. And because of my discomfort with self-promotion.

After the incredible, kind, and supportive response from last week’s confession post (thank you!), I’ve decided to leave fear behind and share everything I can to help you make the most informed choices about wellness.

So here we go!

Evidence-Based Article on Alternative Therapies

Yesterday, I had an article published in Frontiers in Medicine that was in the same vein as my (vulnerable) confession post last week.

And I want to share this article with each and every one of you.

Why?

Because the article highlights solid scientific evidence to support the use of alternative therapies in treating conditions when drugs have failed.  Yoga, diet, probiotics, folic acid, and even music therapy have helped patients with drug-resistant ailments such as depression, pain, and epilepsy.

So if you want to learn more about what to do when pills don’t work, please read the short commentary I co-authored in Frontiers in Medicine. It’s available free at: http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fmed.2017.00037/full.

Please Share

If you find the article interesting or useful, please share with friends, family, or on social media. My wonderful co-authors (Sarah Elizabeth Levitt and Grzegorz Bulaj, two bright and accomplished professionals and researchers) and I want our message to spread as far as possible.

Thank you for your support and sending you good vibes for the week,
Skye

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