Over the past decade, real progress has been made in the prevention and treatment of breast cancer. We now have more sophisticated tools to better understand, assess, and defeat this devastating disease. Even though we are making headway, it’s important to remember we may never completely prevent or cure this disease. We must stay vigilant to continue refining and redefining our breast cancer approaches for greater prevention and survival rates. For example, yes, there is a genetic component to breast cancer, but data suggests that 90 to 95 percent of cases are not hereditary. This means that while there are specific cancer-causing genes that influence the growth and spread of tumors, these genes were not necessarily inherited so much as activated by specific external factors: age, diet, environment, lifestyle, and many other potential triggers. While risk factors like age cannot be mitigated, other risk factors can be eliminated or reduced to help prevent the development of breast cancer.
Many potentially toxic substances are manmade. Considered safe by the government until the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proves otherwise, these molecules are often described by their manufacturers as harmless in small amounts. But modern life exposes us to small doses many times over, with our cells playing host to a roiling cocktail of chemicals from different sources. The resulting “body burden” of toxins we’ve accumulated adds up to 400 to 800 chemicals at any given time, says Gaetano Morello, ND.
The next time you go to a pharmacy, take a look at the shelves behind the counter. They’re packed with hundreds, perhaps thousands, of drugs, all designed to cure what ails us. The key word here is cure, meaning fixing something that is wrong. However, we are slowly relearning what ancient medicine has taught for ages: The best solution to a health problem is to prevent it in the first place. And if we do develop a health condition that isn't immediately life threatening, our first approach should be the gentlest one. Many conditions can be prevented or remedied with lifestyle adjustments, and diet tops the list. By now, we should all know that eating healthy—reducing fat, salt, and alcohol, increasing fruits and vegetables—can have a profound impact on our health. But there are other dietary resources that can stave off disease and improve overall health. Specifically, common medicinal herbs and other botanicals can complement or even replace the pharmaceuticals in our medicine cabinet. As an integrative physician, I rely on herbs and botanicals to help promote optimal health. Medicinal herbs have evolved to provide a variety of beneficial natural compounds, such as antioxidants and phytonutrients, which support good health in numerous complex ways. But these are simple, easy-to-find natural remedies, many of which flourish right in our own backyards. This is, of course, the best natural pharmacy: a garden full of vital, living remedies rich in healing properties. In fact, many traditional herbalists insist that our best medicine can be found growing closest to us, fresh and in season.
Collection of YouTube videos featuring Dr. Isaac Eliaz, integrative health expert.
According to the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the Spring and Fall seasons provide the best opportunities for deeply detoxifying and cleansing the body of harmful impurities that have collected in our organs and tissues over the past months and years. Fundamental philosophies in TCM state that the energies which manifest as seasonal changes in our external environment are also reflected in the body, and spring offers a unique transitional period of time when internal energies rise and expand, providing movement and growth to carry us away from the conservation and stagnancy characterizing the energies of cold winter months prior. This expansive energy helps to move things to the surface and expel some of the body's burden of toxins in preparation for the high activity of summer, and this energy of upward growth toward the sun means emotions and issues stored deep within the past also have an opportunity to be released. With a little preparation and mindfulness, the forces of renewal and rebirth that are so pervasive during the spring season can be harnessed and used to greatly benefit the body, mind and spirit during a spring cleanse.
As an integrative physician, some of the most important recommendations I make for my patients include advice on diet and healthy eating habits. But what about healthy cooking? Cooking techniques that can increase nutrient availability are certainly an important part of a health-promoting diet. However, many people don’t consider the fact that some cooking methods can also increase the presence of toxins in their meal. A significant number of consumer reports and scientific studies have revealed the presence of harmful, carcinogenic chemicals and heavy metals in aluminum and other nonstick cookware products. Peer-reviewed research suggests that certain nonstick chemicals can contribute to cancer, birth defects, flu-like symptoms, elevated cholesterol, abnormal thyroid hormone levels, liver inflammation, weakened immunity, and other health problems. These chemicals also pollute the environment, including public drinking water, and pose numerous health hazards during the manufacturing process. Such staggering reports are encouraging many to look twice at the cookware they use.
Dr. Isaac Eliaz, a pioneer in the field of integrative medicine since the early 1980s, is a respected author, lecturer, researcher, product formulator and clinical practitioner. Since 1991, Dr. Eliaz has maintained a busy private practice in northern California that focuses primarily on integrative, holistic protocols for cancer patients. He leads an integrative medical team at Amitabha Clinic in Sebastopol, California with focus on cancer and other chronic ailments.
Spring and summer bring us wonderful warm weather, offering an ideal opportunity to engage in a gentle seasonal cleanse. Since many people are unfamiliar with this health-promoting process, I thought that now would be a good time to introduce the practice of gentle detoxification/cleansing and its numerous benefits. Warmer weather usually prompts us to eat lighter, healthier, more hydrating foods, which is perfect since nourishing foods of this nature are at the foundation of a successful cleanse program. Why should you do a cleanse? The main purpose is to clear the body of toxins, contaminants and heavy metals that can accumulate in joints, organs, tissues, cells and in the bloodstream. These health-robbing pollutants can come from a number of sources, including pesticides, environmental contaminants, everyday household products, overprocessed foods and packaging agents, alcohol, OTC and prescription drugs, and more. By giving your body a break from its toxic burden and deeply nourishing yourself with the right foods, supplements and exercise, you can reach a new level of health and vitality. A gentle cleanse can also help improve mental clarity and emotional stability; balance blood sugar, reducing cravings and crashes; increase strength, flexibility and stamina, and more.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the fall season is an excellent time of year to engage in a gentle detoxifying cleanse for greater health and wellness. According to ancient TCM philosophy, every season correlates with different elements and organ systems in the body. The fall season give emphasis to the large intestines, the lungs and emotions of sadness or grief. As such, a gentle fall detox using a cleansing diet, natural supplements and mind-body methods such as meditative breathing, offers an ideal way to lighten our systems, improve digestion and increase overall well being.By gently cleansing the physical, mental and emotional toxins (including heavy metals, pesticides, environmental toxins; toxic emotions and thought patterns, etc.) we can greatly boost our energy and vitality in preparation for the winter ahead.
Did you know that your digestive issues can trigger a cascade of other health complications? The digestive system is closely interconnected with the immune system, and both work together to defend your body against bacteria, toxins, infections, and diseases.