Dealing with breast cancer is hard enough, but worrying about your diet on top of that can seem downright daunting. However, eating healthfully is key to both helping you recover and preventing cancer from coming back. In this post, we’ll give you some tips on how to make the most of your meals while you’re recovering from cancer. Thanks for reading!
Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting women. According to the American Cancer Society, the average risk of a woman in the United States developing breast cancer sometime in her life is about 13%.
This means there is a 1 in 8 chance we women will develop breast cancer. This also means there is a 7 in 8 chance we may never have the disease, and knowing how to make the right choices based on one’s unique body and state of health is the best chance one has at not becoming a statistic.
Understanding what things in our day-to-day environment impact hormone-related cancers is one way to practice prevention. Another way is knowing what foods are important to eat and how to prepare them in order to support our immune system and heal damaged tissue.
When women are going through breast cancer treatment the focus is on killing cancer but not really about strengthening your immunity or other impactful systems related to health. The reason for this is that many conventional oncologists are simply not trained in nutrition or understanding how certain foods truly react with chemo, radiation, or maintenance therapies women take after their primary treatment is over.
There are a lot of myths out there when it comes to nutritious eating for breast cancer. People often believe that you should be on a plant-based diet which can mean different things for people because it doesn’t really have a set definition. Eating healthfully for breast cancer is really about eating cleanly and knowing what foods are triggers for your immune system that you should avoid.
A lot of people will come to see me post-treatment because they want to lose excess weight, that no matter what they do, they can’t lose. Maybe they’re working out with a trainer with minimal results, or what they’ve done in the past isn’t working. While exercising is important, what you eat, and even more importantly: HOW you eat is key to losing stubborn weight.
Some treatments can cause hormonal imbalances. This can make it hard to keep your metabolism working right. Some examples of hormones that are important for metabolism are insulin, glucagon, and cortisol. Looking at all the major events in your life from the lens of what impact those experiences and consequences could have had on adrenal gland health, your digestive, and metabolic function. These are all so important. Most of the time, the major health problems people have are because of some unknown imbalances in their tissues. We need to focus on preventing breast cancer by finding and correcting these imbalances.
Most people have improperly diagnosed food sensitivities or just think they can’t eat certain things like “I can’t eat dairy” or “I can’t eat eggs”, and that may or may not be true. However, it’s more likely that your digestive system has been compromised. This comes from improper lifestyle habits around eating that have probably been there since before the diagnosis.
It’s not just about what you eat such as “I’m eating clean” or “I’m eating vegetarian, paleo, and intermittent fasting”, it doesn’t matter. It’s your habits around eating- what I call “Nutritional Hygiene”. How much do you eat? What time of day do you eat? Do you eat consistently throughout the day? When is the last time you eat at night? When and how much fluids are you drinking? Are you combining your foods properly for optimal digestion? If not, then you end up with food toxicity where undigested food rots in your gut leading to inflammation, weak digestion, and poor nutrient absorption. How much do you think that impacts your energy? A lot!
Therefore, the habits of eating as well as taking care of underlying issues and eating cleanly is the way to go. The majority of the food on your plate should be cooked fresh vegetables, then whole unprocessed grains as these two food groups contribute the most to growing the beneficial flora in our guts that allow us to naturally keep a strong immune system and repair itself. Eating protein is also important but know where it is sourced and how much it has been processed or infused with potentially harmful carcinogens. The Mediterranean diet is a great diet to follow generally for anyone wanting to prevent cancer but modified to fit you as an individual and with nutrition hygiene in mind.
But for each person, you have to understand their unique problems. This includes problems that were started or made worse by treatment. For many people, there are underlying toxicities and dysfunction that have been present for a long time. It takes the right guide and mentor to help you flush this out and create a unique action plan for you so you know what to eat and not to help your body function better on its own.
Now, how do you eat healthily and cleanly when you have cancer? First, it’s important to understand that everyone is different. What works for one person might not work for another. That being said, there are some general guidelines that we can follow to support our health both during and after treatment. If you’re looking for more personalized advice, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Schedule a free discovery call with one of our experts who can help get you on the right track. We want to see you recover and stay cancer-free!
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