I received an insightful question from a sweet friend recently, and my mind has been full of thoughts and ideas that I want to share with her.
I have been curious for a while, if/what has changed for you regarding your own perspective about [potential] factors you think contribute to developing breast cancer? I know you’ve read and read. I just never asked because I didn’t know if that was insensitive. Are there any other things you have stopped doing (or started doing) to proactively maintain your health that you would want to share?
Such a great (and daunting) question!
The past 17 months have been the most challenging of my life – full to the brim with extraordinary pain, fear, and overwhelming love, abundance, provision and learning.
The truth is that there absolutely *are* many things that I’ve incorporated into my life, and many I’ve removed. Some of these things are concrete and tangible, such as foods and daily protocols/routines. Others are matters of the spirit and mind and heart … which I’ve discovered and found to be just as valuable in healing as the former, perhaps even more.
What I’ve learned and know for sure is that healing is a beautiful, dynamic process that isn’t stagnant; our bodies are growing, regenerating and healing in miraculous ways constantly. And we get to participate in that process with every breath we deeply inhale, with everything we ingest, and with the thoughts that fill our minds and steady our hearts. Oh, the gift of today!
First, I’ll share a few of the more concrete and tangible things that I’ve learned to be important in supporting my body, particularly as it relates to healing from breast cancer, which is my focus and passion. 🙂 I will not include much of the rationale or research behind each of these, but am glad to share more in-depth with anyone interested in a deeper dive.
I will share a follow up post that includes some of the practices that I’ve embraced and healing protocols that I’ve incorporated that are more emotional and spiritual in nature.
Daily Healing Protocol: Average Daily Meals
- Organic lemon juice squeezed in pure water upon waking
- Breakfast: organic eggs & greens, sauteed in coconut oil
- Lunch: large chopped salad with a variety of organic veggies, some protein, avocado; topped with apple cider & olive oil vinaigrette
- Dinner: cooked veggies, some organic protein, minimal grains (ie, brown rice)
- Coffee with organic cream x 2 or 3 🙂
- Reduced or eliminated: processed refined sugar, flour, fast food, gluten.
- Real food! Varieties of organic veggies, fruits, organic protein, pure water and good fats. There are particular veggies and fruits that are especially helpful with different types of breast cancer prevention as well … too many to list here.
For the first several months after diagnosis, I was unwavering in my eating and utilized every meal as an opportunity to support healing. I researched obsessively and made decisions about everything I ate based on the healing capacity that it possessed. It is amazing to consider the abundance of tools that God has provided us in His natural creation!
“Food acts every day, three times a day. It thus has considerable influence on the biological mechanisms that speed up or slow down cancer growth.” (Ian Gawler)
I have been more open and flexible in the past several months, but compared to life before cancer I haven’t indulged to the extent I did before. My understanding of the crucial role of insulin/blood sugars in promoting breast cancer growth informs my food decisions today. I’ve begun to monitor my morning fasting blood sugar and am aiming for a level of 75-85, being mindful of my carb intake and adjusting as needed to reach that level.
- Vitamin D (crucial! almost uniformly low in women diagnosed with breast cancer – mine was 22 at diagnosis. I aim for levels between 50-70)
- Vitamin C
- Floradix (for anemia)
- EGCG (green tea extract)
- Magnesium & calcium
(My supplement protocol continues to evolve based on my needs. For the first several months, I took between 20-30 pills each morning and night!)
- Intermittent Fasting: minimum of 13 hours between any food consumption at night, and breakfast the next morning (this is SO huge!). I also fast a meal or two each week. Fewer calories overall is so important, as excess weight can lead to unexpected health problems.
- Yoga several times per week
- Rebounding on a mini trampoline several times per week
- Weekly HIIT (need to be more consistent with this)
- Coconut oil with a few drops of frankincense essential oil, massaged over breast morning and night
- Natural, no chemical deodorant, lotions or soaps (coconut oil as primary face and body moisturizer)
- Weekly infrared sauna
- Earlier bedtime with complete darkness (melatonin production crucial)
- Epsom salt baths many evenings, with eucalyptus essential oil, candlelight and a prayer meditation playing
For many months, I kept a sheet of paper in a sheet protector on a clipboard. I aimed to cross of five items each day, on my list of daily healing protocols. This list included some of the items above, as well as others that are more emotional and spiritual in nature. I will share some of those in my next post.
I do not live under the weight of the burden of believing that if I make a less-than-ideal choice with food, or if I don’t move my body as I know that I should, or complete some other item on my list of healing protocols … that somehow I am making some fatal mistake that will cause me great harm. Rather, I see the extraordinary gift of the many ways that I am able to create and support my healing! I am in the driver’s seat of my health, and I have the gift of stewarding this body with the wealth of tools and information and opportunities that surround me. Every day, a choice.
This is not a prescriptive list but rather some of the healing choices that I make, after desperately curating the research since the time of my diagnosis (January 2016) to today, and seeking to prevent breast cancer from ever developing in my body again!