As part of our Healthy Holidays theme of leading a healthy, anti-cancer lifestyle, we invited members of our Pink Cart Team to share their tips and tricks for living well and reducing their risk factors for developing breast cancer. Here's what Samia had to say about a new take on "good nutrition".
We all know that eating healthy is the right thing to do, and that it lowers your risk factors for developing cancer, but what does “eating healthy” really mean? Does it mean a low fat diet? Should we give up meat? Should we limit our dairy? Give up sweets and caffeine? What about processed foods? What about calorie intake per day?
These are all great questions, and if you do enough research, you’ll find lots of contradictory information on the subject.
One of the best books I’ve read on nutrition and healthy eating is Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, M.D. Although the book positions itself as a weight loss program, it has excellent information on nutrition. The premise of the book is to eat as many nutrient rich foods as possible, which consist primarily of fruits and vegetables, in their raw form. Vegetables and fruits have the highest ratio of nutrients to calories, so a diet composed primarily of vegetables provides us with the highest nutrition possible, at a low caloric intake.
The book also changes some of our paradigms around protein and calcium intake. For example, I was surprised to learn that cultures that have vegetarian diets have lower incidents of hip fractures. Interesting, isn’t it? I always felt guilty that if I wasn’t drinking milk, I was robbing my body of essential calcium. But as it turns out, spinach and kale are full of calcium, and the calcium is better absorbed by our bodies through vegetables!
Be warned, however, the book is a bit extreme! But if you’re looking for something to boost and/or repair your immune system because of illness or allergies, you might want to give this program a try. I’ve been working towards being a vegetarian for a couple of years. I’m not strict because I have three kids and making meals work for everyone is very difficult. But I can say that I have easily eaten more raw/cooked vegetables and fruit in the past two years, than probably in the last ten put together. And to my surprise, this was the first the year, I have not suffered from seasonal allergies. At all! I attribute this completely to a better, more nutritious diet which has vastly improved my immune system.
This is a lot to commit to, but just take these 3 steps and start doing something great for your health today:
- Eat at least one salad per day with a variety of vegetables (no meat, or cheese)
- Snack on raw vegetables and fruit (no limit on what and how many)
- Eliminate processed foods from your diet (fast food, chips, crackers, cookies, and anything containing ingredients that you can’t pronounce)
Food can be a powerful tool in staying healthy, building a strong immune system, maintaining a cancer-free lifestyle, and just feeling great! Make a commitment. Start today.
The Pink Cart Team