Mourning Angelina Jolie’s Double Masectomy: 12 Tips for Breast Health

Every day I check my Yahoo email and I briefly scan the featured Yahoo News stories, mostly ignoring the paparazzi headlines  and trying not to get too distracted. Today I was stunned upon reading the latest about Angelina Jolie. After discovering that she had the “faulty” breast cancer gene, she opted for a double mastectomy. 
Yikes! I remember when Christina Applegate did this a few years back and it shocked me then. However, Christina had already discovered cancer and was scheduled for chemo and radiation. I guess what’s really upsetting to me is this concept of “preventive mastectomy. ” Needing to have one is already hard enough.  But getting one just because you have a certain gene? I feel that this “short-cut” approach is but a bandage of deeper symptoms that we are experiencing as an unhealthy society. 
Number one, I respect every woman’s right to make their own decisions about what they want to do to their bodies. However, this story really affected me and rattled me to the core about my own beliefs. I was extremely saddened that someone so famous, with so much influence, so much money and access to the best medical treatment would choose this route of going under the knife. 
I am a nutrition educator and I help women feel better in their own bodies, take charge of their health and start making day to day decisions that will impact their overall wellbeing. I am a firm believer in Nutrigenomics (the study of how nutrition impacts genetics), and that having a “faulty” gene is in no way a death sentence. In other words, Nurture and Nature both play a role in overall health. I would like to believe that the daily choices that we make have a greater impact than simply our genetics. I realize that there are plenty of super healthy people that end up suffering from diseases nevertheless.  Such is the way of the Universe sometimes and no one can explain that. I feel that Proactive health means eating the right foods for one’s Metabolic Type,  spending time with healthy people, and doing the things that we love. I don’t see how self mutilation falls into this Proactive health category.
I really hope I’m not offending anyone but realize that with such a delicate topic as this, many people are going to be. I welcome your comments and thoughts. Meanwhile, here are 12 tips to keep breasts healthy (and this goes for men too!)
  1. Minimize refined sugar. Sugar acidifies your body and cancer thrives in an acidic environment.
  2. Limit alcohol to 5 oz. of wine or beer daily or 1 oz. hard alcohol. Alcohol increases estrogen levels and this may lead to estrogenic types of cancer.
  3. Limit coffee to 8 oz. daily. Caffeine increases the formation of cysts (lumps) in the breasts. 
  4. Avoid anything that has hydrogenated oil in it, even if the label claims 0 grams trans fats! Hydrogenated oils clog cell membranes, prevent the absorption of nutrients and the elimination of wastes. 
  5. Avoid canned foods which are lined with Bisphenol A, an estrogen like compound. Acidic foods like citrus and tomatoes are more likely to leach this out of the cans. 
  6. Choose meat and dairy products that are hormone free. The hormones given to animals can disrupt our own hormonal balance. 
  7. Care for your liver and colon. If these are healthy, we can maintain hormonal balance more efficiently. Include warm lemon water on a daily basis, first thing in the morning. This will stimulate the liver, and induce a bowel movement. Limonene, found in lemon and orange peels prevents breast cancer by blocking cancer cells’ utilization of protein.
  8. Eat cruciferous veggies such as Broccoli, Cauliflower, Kale, Brussels sprouts, Bok Choy, and Cabbage. These are powerful cancer fighting vegetables that contain “indoles” to supercharge detoxification.
  9. Eat red, blue and purple fruits and vegetables. The pigments in these protect DNA from free radicals and slows the mutation of cancerous cells. 
  10. Eat Selenium rich foods such as Brazil nuts, onions and garlic. Selenium kills cancer cells before they can spread! 
  11. Enjoy Tangerines. Tangeretin, the plant chemical found in tangerines is 250 times more powerful than genistein (in soy) at squelching breast cancer cells. 
  12. Ensure adequate sleep. Our bodies only make melatonin in the dark when we are asleep. Melatonin is a super antioxidant and free radical scavenger. 
I have many more tips and I’m happy to share. Please email me for more information: sylvie@realfoodnutrition.com.

My final thought is that in a world where everything is interconnected, we can’t just cut off and discard the pieces that we don’t want. Thinking in this mechanistic sort of model keeps us from evolving and being truly healthy. Addressing all causes and catalysts of disease is where I’d like to see society’s current mindset move towards.  Rather than dissecting, cutting, & discarding, I’d like us to assimilate, and make changes that connect us further to our health, other beings and our environment. Rather than taking a pill to bandage symptoms or to remove a body part that may become “problematic” let’s take full inventories of our lives.

What are we consuming and putting on our skin on a daily basis? Are we spending our time with people in places that nourish us or drain us? While addressing issues like these is more complex and takes more time in certain cases, I believe that this is the path to true health and happiness. 
Yours in Health, 
Sylvie Nalezny, MA, CNE
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About nutritionthatworks

Sylvie Nalezny has a Master's degree in Holistic Health Education and is a certified Nutrition Educator. She has worked as a Nutritionist specializing in weight loss and overcoming sugar addiction and as a Wellness Coach, helping people to create healthy habits.

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