Natural healing, natural wellness

Enemies To Health

Exercise To Reduce Estrogen Load

One cancer-fighting tip that is often recommended on cancer forums or discussion boards everywhere is EXERCISE. When you have a life-threatening disease like cancer, getting fighting-fit is absolutely essential, and regular exercise helps to achieve this.

Exercise is particularly important with hormone-dominant cancers like estrogen-positive breast cancer. Fat cells harbor estrogen, so the more weight you lose, the lesser your estrogen load. Having a “spare tyre” is dangerous for people with estrogen-sensitive cancer. Exercise also helps to alleviate many side-effects associated with drugs prescribed for cancer like aromatase inhibitors.

Since I started on the aromatase inhibitor Letrozole (Femara) a couple of months ago, I have been putting on weight, a common side-effect of AIs. This is not good for someone with my condition. I had actually been losing weight steadily over the last couple of years, until Femara came along. Now, it seems to me that no matter what I do I just can’t seem to lose weight. It’s so frustrating.

So I bought myself a pedometer last week, to help keep track of the number of steps I walk daily. The recommendation is to take at least 10,000 steps each day. Not counting the steps I take when I’m indoors, this translates (for me) to two hours of brisk walking. Each time I walk my dog, Ginger, it takes 25-30 minutes, and I do this twice a day. Either I walk her four times daily (ha! ha!) from now on, or I’ll just have to find some other way to get the other 5,000 steps in. So far, by taking an additional long walk each day, I’m averaging 9,000 steps. At least the pedometer reminds me to walk at least 10,000 steps everyday.

I’ve also been looking at other things I can do naturally to help lose weight, like drastically reducing sugar intake. I already hardly consume any sugar, so I’ve just switched from drinking “reduced-sugar” soy milk daily to “sugar-free” soy milk. Hopefully, that will help. I’m also thinking of taking virgin coconut oil daily, as my research shows that it assists weight loss, besides providing many other health benefits.

Weight-bearing exercises are supposed to help burn fat too. I used to have a pair of barbells. Wonder where they are now? Must look for them. Meanwhile, I bought an exercise band yesterday, so I can do some resistance-based stretching and pulling, even while sitting at my computer. I spend hours working at my desk, so every bit of exercise I can work in helps.

If you have any other ideas to help me lose weight safely and quickly, please share. I’m not doing this for vanity’s sake, but for my life.

Get Moving!

I often joke with my husband that most people ought to have square eyes as they spend so much time either in front of the TV or the computer screen. Some people I know easily spend a minimum of 6-8 hours daily just slouched before the goggle box. Often, they’re not even watching any television programs, but snoozing.

Call me restless, but sitting still throughout a TV show is a challenge for me, let alone indulging in TV marathons. The minute the commercial break comes on, I like to get up to do something active and productive, such as washing the dishes and tidying up. Given a choice between watching TV and going for a walk, I choose the walk every time. Unless the program is really educational or inspiring, it seems like such a waste of life to spend hours in front of the television set.

I had a really nice walk yesterday when I visited my sister-in-law’s resort home. While everybody else stayed indoors to – you guessed it – watch TV, I enjoyed a lovely, invigorating walk along the coastline. The weather was cool and the sea breeze was refreshing. There were many interesting plants, trees and flowers to discover along the way, as well as beautiful homes to admire. Of course, I sometimes stopped to pat the occasional cat or dog. Gazing across the sea into the distance was a good break for my eyes, accustomed as they are to near-sight activities like reading and working on the computer. The setting sun also gave me my daily dose of Vitamin D as well as therapeutic far infrared rays. What a wonderful, rejuvenating walk that was!

In January, a six-year Australian study reported that living a sedentary lifestyle can shorten your life. Surprise, surprise. Researchers from the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in the state of Victoria traced the lifestyle habits of 8,800 adults aged 25 and older. They found that each hour spent in front of the TV daily increased the risk of dying earlier from cardiovascular disease. Published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, the study found every hour in front of the TV was associated with an 11% increased risk of death from all causes, a 9% higher risk of cancer death, and an 18% increased risk of death related to cardiovascular disease (CVD).

The researchers said: “Compared with people who watched less than two hours of television daily, those who watched more than four hours a day had a 46% higher risk of death from all causes and an 80% increased risk of CVD-related death”. They said this association held regardless of other independent and common CVD risk factors, including smoking, high blood pressure and cholesterol, unhealthy diet, excessive waist circumference and leisure exercises.

The findings suggested that any prolonged sedentary behavior, such as sitting at a desk, may pose a health risk. Said researcher Professor David Dunstan, head of the institute’s physical activity laboratory in the division of metabolism and obesity: “The human body was designed to move, not sit for extended periods of time. For many people, on a daily basis, they simply shift from one chair to another – from the chair in the car to the chair in the office to the chair in front of the television set.”

These findings applied not only to the overweight but also to those of a healthy weight: “Even if someone has a healthy body weight, sitting for long periods of time still has an unhealthy influence on their blood sugar and blood fats. In addition to doing regular exercise, avoid sitting for prolonged periods and keep in mind to ‘move more, more often’. Too mush sitting is bad for health.”

I’m off to walk my dog now!

Endocrine Disrupters – Deadly Chemicals in Our Midst

Do you buy convenience foods? What about canned foods? Do you store foods and beverages in plastic containers or, worse, heat them up in plastic containers? If your answer to these questions is “yes”, it’s time to change these habits.

Compounds called endocrine disrupters have long been suspected to be behind health disorders such as breast cancer, prostate cancer, brain cancer, diabetes, heart problems, liver disease and even behavioural changes.

An endocrine disrupter which is one of the world’s highest production volume chemicals, bisphenol A (BPA), is estimated to be detectable in the bodies of more than 90% of the population in the US and Europe. More than 2.2 million tonnes of bisphenol A are produced annually, mainly for making plastics such as containers, baby bottles and food packaging. It’s even used to line cans.

In June 2009, the US Endocrine Society presented research showing that this chemical can affect women’s hearts and permanently damage the DNA of mice. Scientists in January 2010 reported that exposure to bisphenol A has been linked to heart disease, confirming earlier findings. The study was led by Dr. David Melzer, professor of epidemiology and public health at the Peninsula Medical School in Exeter, England. Dr, Melzer’s team studied data on 1,493 people aged 18 to 74. Their research confirmed that BPA also plays a role in diabetes and some forms of liver disease.

In a previous study, using data from a US government national nutrition survey in 2006, American and British scientists examined the effects of bisphenol A and found that high levels of the chemical in urine samples were associated with heart disease.

Pressure has been mounting to ban the use of the chemical in food packaging and bottles. Food and drug regulators in countries such as the US, Canada and the United Kingdom have been examining the safety of bisphenol A. Canada plans to outlaw plastic bottles made with BPA. The organization Breast Cancer UK in December 2009 urged the British government to do the same because they said there was compelling evidence linking bisphenol A to breast cancer risk.

In 2008, US government toxicologists at the National Institute of Health expressed concerns about BPA’s harmful effects on the development of the prostate and brain, as well as behavioural changes in foetuses, infants and children.

US environmental health advocacy groups are urging a federal ban on bisphenol A. “There’s enough research to take definitive action on this chemical to reduce exposure in people and the environment”, said Dr. Anila Jacob of non-profit organisation the Environmental Working Group.

Governments don’t move as fast as an individual can. What are YOU going to do TODAY to protect yourself and your loved ones from the harmful effects of endocrine disrupters like bisphenol A?