I participate in several “cancer events,” like the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, every year. The “c-word” is an epidemic. 2.8 million women were effected by breast cancer in the US in one year; and 2.5 million men with prostate cancer. Total incidences of cancer per year in the US is over 28 million! (www.cancer.org, 2009)
We are a product of our environment. Some of it we have control over; some of it we don’t. For example, the “breast cancer clusters” that have been observed in California to me seem to indicate there are environmental factors that need to be considered. What is in the water? What is being pumped into the air from the surrounding factories? What are the area’s farming practices?
My overall opinion on cancer: it’s a dis-ease of toxicity. Your body can become overloaded with toxins and your Liver, intestines, or Kidneys get congested and can’t get them out.
The things we do have control over are:
- our diet
- the products we choose to clean our bodies, homes and clothes, etc.
- the chemicals we add into the picture (or not)
- our lifestyle — exercise, stress management, healthcare
Here are my top 10 suggestions to do the best you can to prevent the c-word:
1. Buy local and organic food. If you really are curious as to why, see the documentary “Food Inc.” or read The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food in the NY Times.
2. Read labels on all products and packaged foods. If I can’t pronounce it or don’t know where it came from, I don’t use it.
3. Use natural cleaners. To clean my hardwood floors and mirrors at home I use plain white vinegar. You can also combine vinegar with water in a spray bottle and use it to kill mold and mildew. The smell goes away in a few minutes! Plain baking soda can scour bathtubs and sinks. For the rest I try to find products that are free from: bleach, phosphates, xylene, 2-butoxyethanol / ethylene glycol butyl ether, diethylene glycol (window cleaners), methylene chloride, ammonia, ethoxylated nonyl phenols (NPEs) (laundry detergents and multi-purpose cleaners – currently banned in Europe), chlorinated phenols (toilet bowl cleaners), phenols (disinfectants), formaldehyde (deodorizers), perchloroethylene (most dry-cleaners use this – causes Liver and Kidney damage) and naphthalene. Basically, if the label says “DANGER” or “POISONOUS” – proceed with caution. If the label says “biodegradable” or “nontoxic” – it’s probably much safer.
4. Filter your water. Ever see the film Erin Brockovich? It’s about a woman who found – and proved in court – that chromium-6 in the water supply of the town was making them sick. Just a few of the lovely things found in our water supply: chlorine (to kill bacteria); fluoride; rusty water pipes could lead to heavy metals such as lead, mercury, or cadmium; chemicals, bacteria, and viruses not filtered at water treatments plants (this could include pesticides, herbicides, pharmaceuticals, e-coli, and giardia. Yummy.
5. Re-consider your beauty routine. I love beauty products, but am very picky about which ones I use. Most of them contain these toxins: petroleum (listed as mineral oil, liquid paraffin, or toluene); 1,4 dioxane (found in hair relaxers, hair dyes, baby soap (!), and moisturizers — may be listed as PEG, xynol, ceterareth, or oleth); artificial fragrance; talc; parabens (shown to cause cancer — may be listed as methyl, propyl, butyl, and ethyl parabens); formaldehyde (found in some nail polish and nail polish removers); phthalates (found in hair sprays, nail polish, and perfumes — may be listed as “DBP,” “DEP,” “DEHP,” “BzBP,” or “DMP.”).
- When using a sunscreen, choose one that filters light with zinc oxide; avoid ones with benzophenones (oxybenzone), PABA, and Octyl Methoxycinnamate. All of these are known carcinogens, “endocrine disruptors” and “mutagenic.”
- Skin care products (cleansers, toners, masks, moisturizers, etc.) should be edible, if you ask me. Yes, you read that correctly, edible. You should be able to eat what you put on your skin. It should be that safe. Plus, it makes your skin look great! My personal favorite is Suki. Liliflora has great products, too, but you have to order them online.
- Some resources for finding non-toxic makeup in Austin: W3ll People, Central Market, Whole Foods, or even some of the choices at Nordstrom’s (I love their “Butter” nail polish!) or Sephora may be toxin-free, you’ll just have to ask.
- There are some interesting facts about deodorants and antiperspirants as well. Consider this: over 75% of all breast cancers happen in one of the five quadrants of the breast. Guess which one? The one closest to the armpit! In short: find a natural deodorant that works for you (I like “Thai Stick” or “Queen Helene’s” which you can find at natural food marts) and avoid the anti-perspirants which block the toxins in your sweat from leaving your body!
- Lipsticks especially should be toxin-free. Think about it — by the end of a few hours, your lipstick or gloss is gone. Maybe a little of it went on someone’s cheek or the edge of a glass, but mostly…you ate it. I use W3ll People’s lip glosses. Burt’s Bees also makes some lip glosses with decent pigmentation.
6. Keep a positive frame of mind. Use mantras such as “I am healthy and happy.” Your mind has unbelievable power over your body.
7. Avoid unnecessary medications. As with everything else, avoiding unknown and known carcinogens is the key. Try the natural method of healing first, not as a last resort!
8. Sweat at least once per day. A hot bath, a good workout, or just dancing or gardening may be enough to get a light or heavy sweat that will help toxins leave your body.
9. Use natural pesticides whenever possible. To get rid of fleas, try Diatomaceous Earth (available at the Herb Bar). For ant, roach, or other unsavory infestations, I call Aztec, Chem-Free, or Nature’s Own Pest Control here in Austin.
10. Stop smoking. I used to smoke, until one day I had this revelation: this costs me money, it smells, it’s terrible for my health, and it doesn’t even give me a high or a buzz of any sort. Forget about it! I threw that last ciggie out the window and never looked back.
Don’t forget: forward this information to a loved one who could benefit from it!