Part Two of a Three Part Series on What Breast Cancer can teach us about Infertility: 31 steps you can take to Think Pink, Live Green.
Missed Part One? Click HERE
#1 Think Twice
Every time you eat, drink, or use products, you have an opportunity to make healthy changes in your life.
#2 Avoid Taking Extra Hormones
#3 Get to A Healthy Weight And Stick To It
#4 Get Regular Exercise
#5 Limit Alcohol Use
#6 Stop Smoking
#7 Get Fresh Air
The outside air is usually much cleaner than the air inside your home, car, or workplace. Carpeting, furniture, and building materials release many unhealthy chemicals. Opening the windows, or using a window fan or air conditioner keeps the air moving and makes the air inside fresher and cleaner. Even better, spend more time outdoors.
#8 Avoid Unnecessary Radiation
#9 Get Enough Vitamin D
#10 Eat Your Fruits and Veggies
#11 Select Foods And Beverages Carefully
Many of the pesticides and other synthetic chemicals used in agriculture, food processing, and food packaging end up in your food—and that’s the main way they get into you. Selecting the healthiest products and preparing them carefully can make a big difference. Washing and peeling fruits and vegetables helps reduce the amount of pesticides on the outside, but some pesticides can still remain on the inside. Buying organic foods and beverages can reduce your exposure to these chemicals.
Organic products, however, can be expensive. If you can only afford to buy a few, choose organic versions of products that, when grown conventionally, contain the highest levels of pesticides. These are classified as the “Dirty Dozen” by the Environmental Working Group.
Look for sales and limit your use of ready-made or processed foods. Buy raw ingredients and prepare the food yourself. Soy foods, such as edaname, tofu, and soy milk, are a good and cheap source of protein. But it’s best to avoid regular consumption of concentrated soy products, such as soy protein powder, because they may stimulate breast cell activity.
Buy poultry, meats, and fish that were raised without antibiotics. To avoid unknown risks of food from animals treated with extra hormones, only buy organic sources of nonfat dairy products and organic or 100% grass-fed beef. It’s best to choose small, young fish—preferably wild caught rather than farm-raised.
Buy whole foods, such as whole grains, because they fill you up more easily and release their energy more slowly during digestion compared to highly processed foods. And limit your consumption of refined sugar and flour because they release their energy quickly, producing blood sugar spikes and hormone elevations that might over-stimulate breast cells.
#12 Know Your Labels
It’s important to know that words such as “natural,” “simple,” “pure,” “real,” and “free-range” on food labels don’t have official definitions and their use isn’t regulated. “No hormones or antibiotics added” doesn’t mean they weren’t given to the animal before it was butchered. And “Kosher” doesn’t affect how animals and crops are grown.
Look for organically grown or produced food with stickers that show the USDA organic symbol or a price look-up (PLU) code beginning with the #9. These products have been produced and processed according to national organic standards as set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
#13 Know Your Packaging
Buy your food fresh, frozen, dried (beans, seeds), or in bags or glass jars. Limit your use of canned foods and plastics to avoid exposure to the chemicals that can leach out of the container and into your food.
Only use plastics with the recycling code #1, 2, 4, and 5, and avoid plastics with recycling codes #3, 6, and 7.
#14 Vary Your Diet And Lifestyle
In food choices, exercise routines, and the products you buy, adding variety and mixing it up can keep you from getting bored and help you sustain healthy habits.
#15 Avoid Empty Calories
Avoid high-calorie foods and drinks that offer little nutritional value. Think of each meal and snack as an opportunity for healthy nourishment.
#16 Eat Small Meals
Eating three large meals a day often provides too many calories at once. This can trigger a series of changes in the environment inside our bodies, which can turn on breast cell growth. Consuming small amounts of food throughout the day limits overstimulation of breast cells and provides other healthy benefits. It’s also the best way to meet your body’s steady energy requirement and help with weight management.
#17 Cook Real Food
Get your food from the farm, not the factory
#18 Choose Healthy Cooking Methods
There are many ways to prepare food that maintains or enhances its nutrients, including sautéing, stir-frying, roasting, baking, poaching, and steaming. You can microwave your food, but not in plastic! Broiling and grilling also are healthy methods, as long as food is not blackened. Avoid deep-frying.
#19 Use Safe Cookware, Storage Containers, Serving Items
When cooking, storing, freezing, reheating, and serving food, it’s best to use stainless steel, ceramic, cast iron, glass, and enamel-covered metal containers, pots, and dishes. Do not use non-stick pots and pans at very high heat, because they can release harmful chemicals. Avoid cooking or heating food up in plastic, even if the container claims to be “microwave saf
#20 Drink Filtered Tap Water
The public water supply in most major U.S. cities is usually very safe to drink straight from the tap. But public water supplies in some areas may be polluted by nearby large scale agricultural or industrial operations. Regular testing of public water quality is reported by the “Consumer Confidence Report” (available by web: http://water.epa.gov/drink/info/ccr/basicinformation.cfm)
Filter your tap water if its quality is unknown or unsafe. You can use a commercially available filter pitcher or a filter on your faucet or under the sink. Some people invest in a whole-house water filter system. Look for filters bearing NSF Standard 53 certification. These types of filters can remove many (but not all) kinds of contaminants. All water filters need to be changed on a regular basis.
#21 Choose Safe Personal Care Products
It is best to buy products that are made without fragrances, hormones, and preservatives. You can also find new solutions that don’t involve heavy use of commercial products. For example, rather than reapplying lots of sunscreen throughout the day, use sun-protective clothing and a wide-brim hat and avoid the most intense sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Instead of a moisturizer with a ton of ingredients you can’t pronounce, choose cocoa butter or an oil that’s good enough to eat, such as olive or coconut oil. For information on safer product options, visit http://www.safecosmetics.org and http://www.ewg.org/files/EWG_cosmeticsguide.pdf.
#22 Use “Green” Household Products
Consider organic or “green” household supplies that tend to be safer for you and the environment. For detailed information on non-toxic, environmentally friendly products, visit http://www.goodguide.com. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also offers a searchable database on household products at http:// householdproducts.nlm.nih.gov/
#23 Manage Your Emotional Stress
Anything you can do to reduce your stress and enhance your emotional comfort and joy will help your body recover better from the wear and tear of modern life. Focus on the present rather than worry about the past and future. Adjust your expectations to make them reasonable. Don’t take on too much at once. Break down tasks into doable chunks. Try to see a disappointment as a valuable life lesson rather than a terrible mistake or a dismal failure. Mindful measures such as meditation, yoga, visualization exercises, and prayer can be valuable additions to your daily or weekly routine. These practices can reduce your emotional stress and build your energy, confidence, and determination to take care of yourself.
#24 Manage Your Physical Strain
Exercise boosts your overall health including your breast health. Your kidneys and bowels will run regularly and smoothly if you are well-hydrated and consume a high-fiber diet. Drink mostly water rather than sodas or juices. Aim for at least 25 gm of fiber a day through foods and supplements. Strengthen your bones with calcium as well as vitamin D
#25 Sleep Well
Your cells experience many insults and injuries throughout the day from the normal wear and tear of living. The good news is, your body has great capacity to heal the damage, keep your cells growing normally, and make you feel good. Repair is a continuous process, but much of the healing and internal housekeeping occurs at night. So it’s important to get enough sleep by limiting caffeine use, keeping your bedroom quiet and dark, minimizing daytime naps, managing snoring and hot flashes, and avoiding other interruptions.
#26 Consider Earlier Pregnancy
OK, we are doing our best on this one
#27 Know Your Personal And Family History
#28 Take Extra Steps To Reduce High Risk
Women and girls at high risk for breast cancer should take extra steps to help reduce their risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer or experiencing a breast cancer recurrence.
#29 Vote At The Cash Register And The Polls
Public awareness about the environment has played a critical role in creating better policies and procedures to protect people and the planet.
#30 Start Now And Try Your Best
Change is a journey. You have to start somewhere. Whether it’s making the choice to avoid plastics or rethinking your food choices, roll up your sleeves and get busy. Some changes may be easy to make. Some may feel out of reach. You can only do the best you can—and you should feel good about your efforts. Whatever first step you take is one in the right direction. One step leads to two steps and then more. For more information and guidance about how to Think Pink, Live Green, go to http://www. breastcancer.org.
#31 Believe In Yourself. Lead By Example
Breastcancer.org President and Founder Marisa Weiss, M.D. – Think Pink, Live Green
Think Pink, Live Green represents the results of ongoing research to identify both well-established and newly suspected breast cancer risk factors. Many of these factors can be reduced or modified by changing our daily lives. Every woman is at risk for breast cancer; some are more prone than others. But sometimes risk can be random.