Today I have an awesome guest post written by Patricia Dean-Escoto. As you will see, Patricia and I share the same passion for breast cancer prevention. Being a breast cancer survivor, I think she has some really important wisdom to share with us. Coincidentally, Patricia and I have both just published books on breast cancer prevention. I got a chance to sneak a peak at her book, and I really liked what I read. Plus, the recipes she includes look fantastic (though I haven’t been able to try them yet).
Ok so on to Patricia’s post. Enjoy!
A cancer diagnosis can be a scary thing. However, when it strikes at an early age, it is often shocking. Most of us are not aware that breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in women between the ages of 15 and 34. Each year, 10,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in women younger than the age of 40. However, there are things we can start doing right now to lessen our chances of falling into these statistics. The first and most important thing to know is that we have the power to play an active role in our own prevention.
Cancer develops at the cellular level when a damaged cell is allowed to replicate instead of dying its natural death. This process happens slowly, over time and can begin anywhere between 5 and 15 years prior to it ever turning into a tumor that can be detected by a mammogram. If cancer’s initiation is within our cells, then we can also fight it at that same level. I have found that one of the best and most effective ways to do this is through nutrition.
These are facts I wish I would have know at an earlier age and what I was faced with 6 years ago when diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer. I have to be honest; the news came as a shock. There was no history of it in my family. I had been living my life trying to avoid the one disease that ran on my father’s side – diabetes. Getting cancer was the furthest thing from my mind and I didn’t see it coming. However, the estrogen-sensitive form of breast cancer I was diagnosed with also happens to be the most common, and the one most affected by environmental factors. This told me there was something I could do about it.
Growing up, my family ate like everyone else did at the time – lots of meat and potatoes, some fruits, and very little vegetables. What I wasn’t aware of then, and what I am acutely aware of now, is the importance of the composition of these foods. The quantity and quality of the fats, carbohydrates, and proteins we eat on a daily basis can have a profound effect on how our body functions, and its overall ability to fight off diseases.
Like the air we breathe and the water we drink, the food we eat is needed for proper functioning on a cellular level. In terms of cancer prevention, complex carbohydrates, in the form of a variety of fruits and vegetables, have been shown to prevent cancer cell replication. They do this with the aid of the phytonutrients they contain.
In terms of protein, the amount we consume is just as important as the variety. Numerous studies have revealed that over-reliance on one type of protein in the diet (e.g. red meats) can cause cellular damage. Our protein sources should come from organic, grass-fed meats, legumes, nuts and seeds. Additionally, we need variety to make sure we are getting all of the essential amino acids that make up the nearly 50,000 combinations our body wants to make. This can best be accomplished by varying the protein source. Instead eating an animal-based protein three times a day, substitute two of the meals with beans, organic tofu, or fish.
Finally, the quality of fats in our diet is essential to everything from proper brain functioning to protection for our cell membranes and production of our hormones. However, not all fats are created equally. Too much Omega 6 (red meats, vegetable oils, salad dressings) and not enough Omega 3 (nuts, seeds, wild-caught fish) can cause an imbalance within the body, leading to inflammation. New studies have shown a direct connection between inflammation and the development of cancer.
When it comes to breast cancer, the best offense is a good defense and the earlier we get started with this, the better our chances are of preventing this disease. Supporting our body at the cellular level with good quality nutrients in the form of high-quality fats, complex carbohydrates and a variety of proteins can help us win this war and take back our health.
More About the Author
Patricia Dean-Escoto is a certified nutrition consultant and breast cancer survivor. Born in Montclair, New Jersey, she earned her master’s degree in Education from Capella University. She has more than 20 years of experience working in both the field of education and healthcare. In 2006, after being diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer, Patricia returned to school to study nutrition. She is a graduate of Bauman College, where she earned her certification as a Nutrition Consultant. Recently, she hosted a year-long radio show called Pathways to Healing on the Voice America network where she interviewed experts in the field of health and wellness. She is a Raw Foods chef and author of ‘The Top Ten Superfoods for Preventing Breast Cancer. Patricia is also a Certified Cancer Physical Trainer. Her company, Pathways2healing, works exclusively with cancer patients in the area of nutrition and exercise. She lectures both locally and nationally on the topic of nutrition and cancer prevention. She and her husband currently reside in Delaware.
About her Book
The war on cancer has raged on for more than forty years. Yet the incidence of breast cancer continues to rise with an average of 180,000 new cases reported each year. In 2011, cancer surpassed heart disease as the number one killer of Americans. All of this leads one to the natural conclusion that we are not winning this war. While the medical community’s focus continues to be on treatment with the latest drug, nature has provided us with a natural way to help prevent this deadly disease. In her new book, breast cancer survivor and nutrition consultant, Patricia Dean-Escoto reveals the top ten Super Foods for preventing breast cancer. Written in clear, easy-to-understand language, citing numerous scientific research studies, The Top Ten Super Foods for Preventing Breast Cancer explains:
- Estrogen’s role in the development of breast cancer
- Environmental contributors to breast cancer
- The role nutrition plays in the prevention of breast cancer
- How inflammation contributes to breast cancer
- The research-backed top ten foods for preventing breast cancer
- Her H.E.A.L.T.H.Y.™ eating food model for cancer prevention