Lifestyle

 

Lifestyle Changes

 

Try to make the following changes:

·     Buy organic food.  This was a bit difficult and seemed expensive at first.  Many wholesale clubs now carry organic meat so this was where I started. You will find out later that you’ll be saving money since you will no longer buy junk food, and  this helps balance the cost of buying organic.  If you can’t buy organic fruits and vegetables, you can remove some of the pesticides by filling the kitchen sink with lukewarm water. Add about ½ cup of apple cider vinegar.  Let the fruit soak for five minutes then rinse thoroughly in cool water.  Only clean fruit you plan on eating within the next 24 hours…this also removes any preservative they spray on the fruit at the grocery store.

            Produce Codes:

For conventionally grown fruit, (grown with chemicals inputs), the PLU code on the sticker consists of four numbers beginning with a 4 or 3. Organically grown fruit has a five-numeral PLU prefaced by the number 9. Genetically engineered (GM) fruit has a five-numeral PLU prefaced by the number 8. For example,

A conventionally grown banana would be: 4011

An organic banana would be: 94011

A genetically engineered (GE or GMO) banana would be: 84011

 

Non-organic meat and dairy is fed with growth hormones to make them fatter and produce more milk and eggs. The growth hormones are estrogen based which is especially bad for estrogen positive tumors.  Be careful to make sure that the label not only says “raised without hormones”, but also states that the animals were free range.  This means that they were grass fed. Some labels even specifically state “grass-fed”.  Misleading labels say “organic” or “vegetarian fed”.  Vegetarian fed can mean the animal was given a soy-based feed which is not good if you are estrogen receptor positive.  If you are going to drink milk and eat milk products like yogurt and ice cream, buy non-hormone fed, organic brands.  Greek yogurt is the best.  I have stopped consuming all milk products and have switched to drinking coconut milk and eating coconut ice cream.  The ice cream has a very slight coconut taste and is delicious.

 

·     Drink filtered water(I use the Brita style jug filters - carbon based filter) I gave up drinking bottled water unless I am away from home.  All the recent data on the plastic leaching into the water was a concern.  The best type of filters are the reverse osmosis systems.  These can be expensive, but well worth the money.

 

·     Don’t use artificial sweeteners.  This has been a controversy since I did my science project on them in 8th grade.  The only proven safe sweeteners are plant-based like stevia, truvia, fructose and erythritol.   I use erythritol in baking since it behaves like sugar.  None of these raise blood glucose levels like sugar does. 

 

·     Don’t eat sweets made with sugar.  Sugar feeds cancer.  Did you know that when they give you a PET scan, they mix the dye with glucose (sugar) so that that cancer cells will go after the dye? 

 

·     Reduce alcohol use.  This was also tough for me, although now I do not even miss it.  I used to be a 2 or 3+ glass of red wine girl.  Red wine has been listed as good for your heart, but once you pass the 4 oz. mark, you are hurting yourself.  Your liver converts alcohol to sugar and releases it into your bloodstream as such.  Current studies suggest you may be increasing your breast cancer risk by as much as 40% if you exceed the 4 oz/day level.

 

·         Reduce caffeine.

 

·         Reduce Chemical Exposure. Avoid parabenes, formaldehyde, toluene, sulfates and phlalates in beauty products and foods.  These are estrogen producers in your body.  I was amazed at how many make-up and lotion products contain these, particularly parabenes and phalates. I switched most of my cosmetics to Bare Minerals make-up and now use OPI nail polish.  I use natural Revlon mascara. OPI top coat is not clear of these chemicals although the polishes are.  Since products are continually changing, just be sure to read all the labels to be sure your particular product is ok.  Other mineral make-up lines are chemical free but contain soy.  If you are estrogen positive, you should avoid soy. Try to reduce noxious chemicals in the home and open windows when painting to freshen the air. Reduce sources of chlorine in the house - use a hydrogen peroxide bleach, and stop using cleaners with bleach.

 

·     Don't cook food in the microwave in plastic dishes, or put hot food into Tupperware - it can encourage the leaching of chemicals into your food

 

·     Exercise.  This was also very hard for me.  I am the queen of buying exercise DVD’s and the laziest when it comes to using them.  I had started doing Zumba when I was diagnosed.  After my surgery, I started walking and now really enjoy that.  Find something you like and stick with it.  I try to walk 2 miles/day at least 5 days a week.  I am still working on this goal, but I know I need to.

 

·     Use relaxation techniques.  I downloaded Bellaruth Naspare’s cancer meditation.  There are many such products on the market.  I bought myself an ipod nano and use it when I walk.  Massage, aromatherapy, yoga, meditation, visualization, and Reike are also helpful for relaxing and rejuvenating the immune system.