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Preventing cancer is a top health concern for everyone today. Only 5-10% of cancer patients today have any genetic predisposition (inherited risk from their family members) for developing cancer. For the remaining population, we have to consider what are the predominant factors causing cancer today.

Carcinogens are chemical substances known to cause cancer. The majority of the most concerning carcinogens are human made. They are products developed for agriculture (pesticides & herbicides), building materials, products in our cosmetic industry and more. Avoiding cancer requires a keen awareness of what carcinogens are and making conscious choices to utilize products without them. It also requires adding protective measures for the carcinogens we cannot avoid; those that are in our air and water as pollution and often in our homes.

But isn’t our government keeping us safe? In the United States, chemical safety is determined by the manufacturer of a compound evaluating effects over short periods of time, then reporting to the EPA/USDA depending on how it is classified. This does not identify long-term toxicity or lifelong accumulation. While we know that cigarettes cause cancer, smoking 1 cigarette will not and so it was said that cigarettes were safe for many, many years. However it is now widely acknowledged that cigarettes do cause cancer as a result of long-term use. Similarly, chemicals that have been allowed in our food system due to short-term safety are increasingly recognized to have detrimental long-term effects.

Even more complex, when scientists determine chemical safety it is by evaluating 1 chemical at a time. However an individual’s exposure in one bite of food can often contain a dozen or more chemical additives, all working together. One aspect of medicine that is becoming an increasing concern is the use of “polypharmacy,” or the unknown effect of using more than one drug at a time. While we might evaluate the risks and benefits of prescription drugs in this way, we need to be paying even closer attention to the combined affect of carcinogens in all areas of life.

Examining the entire list of carcinogens is completely overwhelming, so this series will highlight a few to steer clear of and great resources to check out too. Let’s start with those that may be in our refrigerators and our backyards:

  • Atrazine, Organophosphates and Telone – these chemicals are just a few of the compounds used in conventional agriculture today that are known carcinogens. Consuming foods produced with these chemical additives are individually known to cause cancer. In most conventional farms and food products, multiple chemicals are used simultaneously. What are we to do?
    • Consume organic foods, especially from small farms that are not adjacent to conventional agriculture regions is your best bet to keep these cancer causing substances out of your body.
    • Request restaurants you enjoy to opt for organic foods, as it’s not just what we buy at the grocery store that matters.
    • Ensure children are given organic food for their packed lunches. Many of these compounds bio-accumulate, which mean they grow in the body exponentially and cannot be removed. Presently public school nutrition does not provide food free of carcinogens.
    • Learn about natural pest control and organic fertilizers to grow your own healthy food.
  • Glyphosate the active ingredient in RoundUp – this controversial compound and product have been proclaimed as safe by the manufacturer Monsanto since the 1970’s. However, increasing evidence from researchers around the world acknowledge the broad health impacts and carcinogenicity of not only glyphosate but the combined effects of the ingredients in the common weed killer products.
    • Learn to appreciate a natural appearing environment for your region. Permaculture and xeriscaping employ practices that mimic the health of the ecosystem to create beautiful landscapes.
    • Utilize old-fashioned techniques – pull the undesirable weeds out!
    • Explore natural products for weed killing; salt, vinegar and certain essential oils have proven effective at destroying undesirable plant species.

No matter your race, gender, class or intellectual expertise we are all at significant risk for developing cancer living in the US today. For most individuals, by the time a cancer is large enough to be identified, it has already been growing steadily for 10-20 years. There is no better time to focus on prevention, because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

For individualized recommendations on reducing your cancer risk and enhancing the preventative measures in your life, visit Stillwater Clinic & Apothecary where we offer resources, education and individualized medical care to support your long term health.

 

References:

Anand, Preethad et al. Cancer is a Preventable Disease that Requires Major Lifestyle Changes., Pharm Res. 2008 Sep; 25(9): 2097–2116.
BreastCancer.org, “Your Step By Step Guide to Reducing Your Risk of Breast Cancer” handbook.
Cressey, Daniel.  Widely Used Herbicide Linked to Cancer  The World Health Organization’s research arm declares glyphosate a probable carcinogen. What’s the evidence? Nature magazine on March 25, 2015.
Dalamas, Christos and Ilias G. Eleftherohorinos. Pesticide Exposure, Safety Issues, and Risk Assessment Indicators. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2011 May; 8(5): 1402–1419.
National Institute of Health, Department of Health & Human Services: Environmental Health & Toxicology Database; https://toxtown.nlm.nih.gov/index.php
Samsel, Anthony, and Stephanie Seneff. Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases II: Celiac sprue and gluten intolerance. Interdiscip Toxicol. 2013 Dec; 6(4): 159–184.
Seidler, Ramon PhD., the former Team Leader of the EPA’s Genetically Engineered Organism biosafety program. Interview; http://gmwatch.org/en/news/latest-news/17456-the-time-for-glyphosate-based-herbicides-is-over

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Juicing fruits and vegetables provide easy access to the vast quantity of nutrients available in these foods. Juicing can be a beneficial addition to any routine and is especially great for routine detoxification. For the purposes of a cleanse, juicing is a great way to provide added support to the body.

There are many ways to go about juicing. First and most importantly is acquiring fresh, organic produce. Secondly, devising a method of creating juice out of these. Options include using a juicing machine, buying fresh or pre-made juice, using a blender and/or using products that can be shaken or stirred.

Methods

1. Juicing machine. These are devices that pulverize vegetable and fruit matter to separate the juice from the fiber. The end-product is a very easy to assimilate vital fluid. The fiber is disposed of or can be saved to add to other cooking projects.

2. Purchasing pre-made juice. Fresh is far better because the activity of the bioflavonoids degrades quickly. Carrot juice and some others can be found pre-made and bottled.

3. Using a blender is possible with fruits and vegetables in a couple ways. Some produce can be blended easily when combined with enough water. Spinach, cucumber, soft fruits are all easily blended. Harder vegetables and fruits will also blend easily after being gently steamed. This is beneficial because it then includes the fiber in the final product. Make sure to use enough water and keep the recipe simple.

4. Mixing Powders and Liquids:  Ingredients that do not need to be juiced or blended are also vast and delicious. Some of these include spirulina, aloe vera juice, very berry concentrate, lemon and lime, boiled ginger, etc…

Ingredients

Every plant species has it’s own personality, its properties and affinities. As you explore the simplicity of consumption, notice how you feel affected by what you consume and try to find simple blends that suits you best. Variety is not only the spice of life, but also a key to keeping the digestive system from reacting to foods that we consume too frequently. As a general rule, dilute fruit and high sugar content vegetables by 50% and have cucumber, celery and greens comprise half of all juice you consume. Experiment and have fun!

Beets – their red color demonstrates an affinity for the blood and heart, purifying and stimulating. Has a laxative effect and is highly beneficial for liver detoxification. Try to not use more than 1 small beet per juice due to their high sugar content.

Greens – hearty as they are, greens are a wonderful addition to juices. Greens assist liver detoxification and the high chlorophyll content is very beneficial for the blood. Kale, spinach, chard, chollards, beet greens, etc… 1-3 leaves per juice is enough due to the strong flavor and their mild sweet quality is helpful for keeping the sugar balanced.

Carrots – namesake for the essential nutrient, beta-carotene, carrots have a lot to brag about and are such a wonderful juice addition they should not be overlooked! High sugar content.

Celery – Acts as a natural diuretic and has a low sugar content.

Fruit – best kept minimal as the sugar content is very high. However, the addition of fruits can do wonders for the taste buds. Apples and pears are especially great additions to vegetable juices and lower on the glycemic index.

Ginger – great addition to juices as it provides warmth and stimulation to the digestive system. Can be decocted in hot water and provide as much benefit as it does in a juicer.

Berries –wonderfully delicious and high in bioflavonoids, berries are what some consider the key to aging gracefully. Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries are all seasonally appropriate. High sugar content.

Spirulina – wonderful addition to a juice blend as it has immense vitality as a sea food. Considered one of the best energy boosting foods. Cooling nature.

Aloe vera – stimulating to the small and large intestines, aloe is a emulsifying juice that coats and soothes irritated intestines. This is especially beneficial during a cleanse when we are stimulating and healing the intestines for optimal elimination. Also can be cooling.

Citrus –lemon and lime are great additions to a juice due to their astringent nature. This helps to tone the digestive tract and stimulate digestive enzymes. Can also encourage peristalsis to aid bowel cleansing.

Cucumber –great addition to a juice due to its bland and slightly bitter flavor which helps to balance the sugars. Cooling.

Turmeric –this root has developed an incredible reputation for being a very strong liver aid in the detoxification process. Add a small portion of the root or the powdered culinary form.

Burdock –another plant that is famous for supporting detoxification. This root is powerfully bitter and bland. Great if you suspect an imbalanced microflora.

Dandelion greens or root –supportive of overall liver function. This common weed is highly beneficial for encouraging detoxification and supporting blood purification. Do not harvest from a yard treated with pesticides or herbicides within the past 3 years or more.

Garlic –strong flavor as well as being a strong anti-microbial food. This is beneficial if you suspect you have an imbalance in your microflora. Raw garlic may aggravate the stomach so use with caution.

Parsley –flat leaf variety is stimulating to the digestive system, which aids elimination.

Cinnamon –this plant has a long history of use for supporting digestion. It is warming, antibacterial and may help to regulate blood sugar.

Cayenne –this very warm spice stimulates the blood flow to the digestive tract and has a medicinal use for healing ulcers.

Other ingredients

Protein powder –some individuals may find that their energy needs or health concerns require consistent protein intake. Adding a hemp, whey, soy or rice protein powder to a juice can be helpful. A powdered form will be easy to digest to allow the body an overall rest from digestive activity to shift the focus to detoxification.

Recipes

General support
1 carrot
2 sticks celery
1/2 beet
-juice or steam/blend

Warm up
1 cucumber (peeled)
1/2 pear (chopped)
medium piece ginger (chopped finely)
dash cinnamon
-blend with 12 ounces of water

Liver stimulator
Bunch dandelion greens
2 celery stalks
1/2 beet
1/2 apple
dash turmeric
-juice or steam/blend

On the go
2 tsp spirulina
2 Tbsp aloe vera
1 Tbsp. berry concentrate or handful of berries
Mix with 12 ounces of water
-shaken or blend with berries

Healthy skin and weight loss blend
1 carrot
1 cucumber
1/2 beet
1 burdock root
-juice or steam/blend

Longevity
1 carrot
1 celery stalk
small piece ginger
-juice or steam/blend

Master cleanse
2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon or lime
1-2 Tbsp 100% maple syrup
1/10 tsp cayenne pepper
-shaken with 8 oz water, drink liberally

Dr. Hart’s favorite
Beet greens from 1 beet
2 stalks celery
1/2 apple or pear
1/2 inch section of ginger root

Resources

Staying Healthy with the Seasons, by Elson M. Haas
Juicing for Life, by Cherie Calbom & Maureen Keane
The Complete Cancer Cleanse, by Cherie & John Calbom
The Fasting Diet, by Stephen Bailey
Juice Alive, by Stephen Bailey and Larry Trivieri

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