Beyond the Pink Ribbon: Breast Cancer Awareness

October is breast cancer awareness month. It’s nice to wear a pink ribbon, buy something pink from a store, and even to donate to various walks. I’d like to go beyond that and commit myself to fighting cancer by taking preventative measures. Although we cannot control the environment or genetics, there are major lifestyle changes that make a huge difference in our body’s ability to ward off illness. Here are my 6 tips, and I’d love to hear yours!

1. Eat smart. There are so many diets out there these days! Pescatarian, vegan, paleo, clean eating, gluten free– which is best for you? Only you know your specific dietary concerns. If your health has been generally good, a good place to start is 3 veggies, 3 fruits, and 3 whole grains. Add to this, lots of water and vitamins. Sporadic healthy eating will just not do.This must be a lifestyle change!

2. Self exams: A BSE (Breast self exam) should be done at least monthly. Need more information? Check here . In addition to self exams, annual exams should not be skipped.

3. Rest. This is your body’s opportunity to reset and repair. Sleep is important for mental wellness as well as the rest of your body. Make a commitment today to make sure you get adequate sleep. Information on cool iPhone apps to help with sleeping found here.

4. Move your body. Exercise is essential whether it’s walking, gym time, an outdoor sport. Studies have proven that 30 minutes of cardio 5 times a week shows to have amazing health benefits. Not time? Break your cardio up into two 15 minute sessions if you must!

5. Be mindful of hazardous chemicals. When possible, choose non-toxic materials for your home, organic foods and natural cleaners. Research DIY cleaners if there are allergy concerns as well. My video on my favorite non-toxic cleaners can be found here.

6. Constantly educate yourself on health. Your lifestyle can be a model to others around you—your spouse, friends, children, and coworkers. There is no need to preach health to others. By you simply living it, you will influence people more than you know!

If you are a cancer survivor, there are a number of studies being done all over the country of which you can participate. These studies often include counseling and advising on a new diet and lifestyle to prevent the recurrence of cancer. Please research this in your area to participate. UCSD Cancer Research Center studies for participants found here.

Here’s a video you can share with others in honor of all the breast cancer survivors, and to help others begin to be more proactive: