Monthly Archives: November 2011

What would have happened if Kim Kardashian had a regular yoga practice…..



It’s not very enlightened of me, but I can’t get enough of Kim Kardashian and her failed nuptials these days.  Although the ending is predictable, I can’t help but divulge myself in the sordid details of what led up to her quickie marriage and even quicker divorce.  I feel sorry for her, am ridiculously jealous of her luxury and bling and am disgusted by her and all she represents all at the same time.  But I can’t help but just suck up all the sordid minutiae of it all.

For serious yoga practitioners, staying with something, even when it is confusing, difficult and unpleasant is what commitment and discipline are all about.

For the former Mrs Humphries (although we all know she didn’t take his name)  dedication in the face of adversity are things that a dedicated practitioner is used to dealing with. By being focused on the present moment, you learn to breathe through confusion and chaos so you can find you center.

Attachment: Who wouldn’t want to stay in Hollywood and keep on getting paid $50-100k an appearance at a party and 10k for a tweet and give up that for the mediocrity that would come with raising kids in the confines of a Missouri suburb.  With a regular practice, maybe she could have learned to detach from all those hedonistic trappings of fame.

Ego-Identification: Being trapped in the identification of your ego-self and being more concerned with how the external world perceives you and not seeing how you perceive yourself at the level of soul can create a sense of disillusionment.

Clarity:  We all saw it coming on E! as they were getting ready for their nuptials, they were already having a clear battle of values and priorities.  Her first allegiance was and is to her brand and family, which is why she didn’t want to change her name and she didn’t value creating a strong partnership with her now X-BBall player hubby.  She didn’t even let him choose his own tuxedo!  He almost had to insist on being able to see their Montecito wedding venue before she put down a deposit on it.

Non-greed: Being paid an exorbitant sum to film your nuptials, (not to mention she was gifted almost everything associated with the weddings, her 3 Vera Wang dresses, the cake, the band, the limos, etc) can color your thinking.  What would have happened if she had declined to profit from her nuptials and she had just gone done to Mexico and gotten married just the two of them with no fanfare and no spotlights?  Maybe she would have been able to have more clarity about the lack of a common vision.

Centered: Rushing into marrying someone, even as the grenades are starting to go off in the planning process can throw anyone off kilter.  Taking your time, keeping the event modest can let you be more focused on your lifelong commitment and not which designer gowns to wear.

 

What about you?  Chime in on your thoughts of KK

 

By, Jasmine Kaloudis

The Diet Connection::Part 4 The Asian Tradition

A Four-Part Series by Susan Silberstein, PhD, Center for Advancement in Cancer Education

Previously in this series, we have discussed “diet and demographics,” “the bad news,” and “the good news.”  Continuing with the empowering aspects of dietary change, let us now highlight certain aspects of the traditional Asian diet that are particularly protective against breast cancer.  Certainly, a heavily plant-based diet of vegetables and grains with little or no meat, dairy or saturated fat is protective in the ways we discussed earlier in this series.  In addition, let us examine four specific staples of the Asian diet.

First, consider green tea, from the plant Camellia Sinensis.  Green tea contains antioxidant compounds called catechins, polyphenols and EGCG, which fight cancer and are highly stimulatory to the immune system.  In a study published in 1994 (Cancer Letters), green tea was shown to inhibit breast cancer growth.  Two groups of female rats were pre-treated with carcinogenic chemicals that caused breast cancer.  One group was also given green tea.  After 36 weeks, the number of survivors in the green tea group was significantly higher (94%) than in the non-green tea group (33%).  At week 18, when all the animals were still alive, the average tumor size was much smaller in the green tea group.  Several studies have also featured human breast cancer-related green tea research.

Reduced risk of breast cancer among Asian populations as compared with western populations is often attributed in part to the prevalence of soy in the diet.  Soy contains phytoestrogens, or weak plant sources of estrogen, known as isoflavones. One major isoflavone is genistein, which interferes with the tumor’s ability to develop its own blood supply. Genistein has been shown to inhibit the growth of human breast cancer cells (Cell Growth & Differentiation, 1996).  Research has demonstrated that soy isoflavones can block the effect of the more dangerous estrogens on breast tissue.  In laboratory and animal experiments, soy has inhibited growth of both estrogen receptor positive and estrogen receptor negative breast cancer cells.  In a study of pre- and post-menopausal women, 45 mg of soy isoflavones daily decreased circulating levels of estrogen, thus helping to prevent breast cancer.  In research  conducted at Queen Elizabeth Medical Center is Australia, women with the least amount of phytoestrogens were three times more likely to have breast cancer than those who had the most (Lancet, 1997).

A 1996 study showed frequency of soy consumption was more than twice as high among Asian American women born in Asia (62 times/year) as among Asian American women born in the US (30 times/year).  New research on over 1500 Asian American women showed that high consumption of soy-based foods during childhood could reduce the risk of breast cancer later in life by 58 percent (US National Cancer Institute, 2006).

Because of its estrogen content, some oncologists restrict patients from consuming all soy products.  However, soy can be extremely beneficial if the type and quality of the soy are clearly defined.  Fermented soy as consumed in Asia (for example, tempeh and miso) is generally much safer and more effective than modern processed soy consumed in the west.

Another key component of the Asian diet is sea vegetables like kelp, nori, and wakame.  Sea vegetables are valuable in the fight against breast cancer in three ways.  First, they contain special fibers which can bind up free form estrogen before it can stimulate cancer cell growth.  Second, seaweed is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which inhibit breast cancer and stimulate the immune system.  Third, sea veggies contain the mineral iodine — and breast tissue is a sponge for iodine.  Iodine deficiency increases the sensitivity of breast tissue to estrogen, leading to fibrocystic breast disease and breast cancer — both of which tend to resolve with iodine replacement therapy. (Journal of the American Med. Assoc. 1967, Can. Journal of Surgery, 1993).

Finally, let us mention the shitake, a mushroom has been a traditional food in Japanese and other Asian cultures for centuries. Shitakes contain a compound called lentinen, which can increase T-cell counts, especially the T-helper counts and Natural Killer cell counts — all key players in the immune response to cancer.  Shitakes also stimulate interferon and interleukin production, which provides a woman her own immunotherapy in biologically appropriate doses.

Sadly, as Asian women abandon their traditional oriental dietary patterns in favor of western ways, their rates of breast cancer, like all killer diseases, are rising.  Fortunately, however, returning to traditional eating habits can help not only prevent the disease but also slow the progression of active breast cancer.  According to the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (1993), poor dietary habits are strongly associated with risk for treatment failure, and dietary intervention could be a valuable approach for improving treatment outcome.

 

The Human Body –

I ride my bicycle, answer the phone, hold a meeting, write a paper, mince garlic, rake leaves, sleep, breathe, while my body quietly lives.

An amazing organism; this body is in constant production, destruction, and repair.

It is responsible for the function of skin, muscles, bones, nerves; renews blood cells, hormones, and enzymes; repairs scrapes, wounds, and intestinal lining; looks after the brain; gushes with tears, mucus, gastric juices, and saliva; constantly grows hair and nails; makes cholesterol, bile, urine, stool, and myriad chemicals.

It maintains a clutter free internal environment; eliminates leftover waste after digesting and burning oats, oreos, broccoli or burgers; clears white and purple pills from our system; destroys cancer cells that went berserk and no longer work as a team. It sweeps the inside of arteries so our blood can flow freely; directs vitamins, antioxidants, and phytochemicals to vital tissues everywhere; turns inflammation on and then off as needed.

It is in constant communication with every part of itself: the feet with the hands, the thyroid with the pituitary, the pancreas with the mitochondria. It interacts with space, temperature, and surroundings. It can tell hostility from compassion and competition from joint effort.

Our body communicates with the whole organism and lets us know when we are tired, that we are stressed or satisfied, that we are awake, that we need to pay bills, go to work, make dinner, that we want to make love.

Given to us at birth, this organism houses our self for life. And it counts on our nourishment to sustain its day to day precious balance.

 

By, Ana M Negron

 

Breast Cancer, An Emotional Emergency

Breast cancer is usually not a surgical emergency, it is an emotional emergency.

And what happens is when someone gets diagnosed suddenly everything else around them stops, and for the most part almost every cancer you have time to find a team and to create what you want out of the experience, meaning whatever is really important: being close to home, or if you have the ability to travel to find that team to create that opportunity.

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Rolfing for better balance and alignment

Rolfing for better balance and alignment during and after breast cancer treatments.

Learn how Rolfing can help overcome some of the stress in breast cancer treatments and bring your body back into better alignment.

When you’re working with Rolfing around an issue such as dealing with breast cancer, there’s so many changes happening in a person emotionally and in the body often.  So it can help to keep bringing you back into balance even as the stresses of treatment and all of the emotional stresses start to pull you into your more habitual patterns.

Rolfing is designed to bring the physical body back into a better, easier relationship with respect to the pull of gravity.  You mentioned scoliosis, this sometimes happens as a result of breast cancer treatment.  And you can see how that would happen when we think about the body responds in a spiral.  If you have a part of your body that you have an unfinished relationship with and you pull away from it, now you have a spiral in your spine.  So it’s a lot about reconnecting with that side of your body, reconnecting with the space on that side of you to help bring you into a better balanced relationship both within your body and within the space around you.

Rolfing always has a logic to it.  It’s about how to unfold this structure so that it can come into as best a balance in this moment as possible.  It’s not just, let’s rub everything really deeply, it’s let’s specifically get the short things long and then let’s look at how to get the things that have not been toned enough, how to get them participating in movement.

For manipulation I use hands, knuckles, forearms, and I have lots of toys in my office.  I have lots of balls, I have orchid pots to balance on your head [laughter].  I have balance boards to notice what your balance is doing.  So we do a lot of manipulation and then a lot of playing.  We do think that this really balanced way of being in the world is wired into our systems.  So it’s a lot about, rather than totally learning something new, exploring the things that have covered up that good coordination so that you can clear that off and come back to what is your birth right.

The more I can help someone to understand their whole pattern, then it becomes less mysterious as to why things are happening.  And people learn very clear and easy ways to bring themselves into better balance very quickly that will address the whole system.

By: Rebecca Lisak

Your Mental Diet

It’s a good time to decide if you’re in need of a mental tune-up.  Has fear or worry taken a front seat in your life? Fear is a tenacious foe that can incapacitate us. Even when our cells may be screaming it’s time to make the necessary changes to improve our situation, fear can overpower and immobilze us.

What’s a strong line of defense to tackle the negative mind conditioning? Optimism! Optimisim can counteract those uninvited guests, the negative programs that play over and over in your head.

So how do we cultivate optimism? A new gardener like me is aware of what needs to go into the soil to produce beautiful, healthy, vibrant flowers. The correct mulch, attention and vigilance are necessary to make certain that the flowers get enough sunlight, minerals and water. As simplistic as it sounds, we need to make sure that what goes into our minds and what we focus our attention on is monitored in much the same way as our home gardens.

The garden of your mind responds to constancy and repetition. Note mentally what you’re consistently feeding it. If you flood your mind with fears and doubts, or a host of negatives, that’s what your mind garden will produce. Over time, it will simply spew out what’s been put into it.

You have the ability to change your mind program by consciously deciding to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.

As humans with life challenges, it’s not always easy to discount the worry and concern we have for our life events. Do you know anyone who was able to change anything by worry or fear?

Get the facts, stay informed regarding your physical health and the methods you can use to support you. That to me is always the first line of action. After, really take a look at what you thoughts ar doing and what they’re feeding you. What mental diet are you on?

Nurture you mind when you wake up or before sleep, by reading something  uplifting. Create your own positive statements or affirmations and write or say them. When a doubt slips in, quickly create a positive thought right behind it. To me, it’s  like training a tight muscle. Over time, your mind becomes more accustomed to elicit positive thoughts.

Train your own mind to be receptive to expect positive outcomes and your personal best. You’ll be amazed that your efforts will yield a fertile garden of optimism.

By, Jo Anne White

The Diet Connection::Part Three: The Good News

A Four-Part Series by Susan Silberstein, PhD, Center for Advancement in Cancer Education

 

The previous article in this series discussed all the bad news — fat, meat, dairy, sugar, coffee, alcohol, colas, chocolate.  We were left wondering, is there actually anything left to eat or drink? Are we forced to decide between dying of breast cancer and dying of starvation?  The good news is that most of us can avoid both.

 

The key is a low-fat, plant-based diet — the traditional diet of many countries in the world.

About two years ago, the International Research Conference on Food, Nutrition and Cancer featured a study by University of California (Los Angeles) scientists demonstrating that the blood of women on this diet for only two weeks was able to reduce the growth rate of human breast cancer cells by 20 percent!

 

“Low fat” does not mean no fat, and some fats are really good.  For example, foods rich in omega-3 fats like flaxseeds, wild fish or game, sea vegetables, free roaming hen eggs, and raw walnuts or pumpkin seeds, greatly support immune function.  And omega-9-rich extra virgin olive oil, with its high oleic acid content, has been shown to suppress the HER-2-neu breast cancer gene by up to 70 percent.

 

One of the highlights of the plant-based diet is fiber.  Studies show that women consuming a high fiber diet (about 50 grams per day) have much lower rates of breast cancer than those who consume a low-fiber diet. High fiber can reduce estrogen levels by trapping those hormones, binding them up and escorting them out of the body.  Fiber-rich foods include fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts, beans, legumes and sea vegetables.  In fact, a Harvard University study of more than 90,000 women showed that those women who consumed two to four servings of legumes per week cut their risk of breast cancer by 25 percent, compared with those who ate beans or lentils less than once a month.

 

Also protective against breast cancer are carotenes, found in orange, red, yellow, green, and purple fruits and vegetables.  Carotenes stimulate immune function and provide antioxidant activity, both of which help prevent the disease.  One of the best known carotenoids is lycopene (commonly found in tomatoes and associated with prostate cancer control).  However, lycopene rich foods — which also include watermelon, pomegranate, beets, and all red-colored plants — also lower risk for breast cancer, according to the Ben Gurion University Breast Health Center in Israel.

 

There has also been excellent research on the role of cruciferous vegetables in breast cancer control.  This group includes foods in the cabbage family, like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, and kale.  They contain important indole and sulfur compounds that help the liver neutralize dangerous, disease-promoting forms of estrogen into safe forms of estrogen. Again in Israel, women given a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables for only seven days showed a dramatic drop in levels of dangerous estrogen levels and a dramatic rise in protective estrogen levels.  An optimum daily dose is about one-third a head of cabbage, cauliflower or broccoli.

 

At the University of Illinois, researchers studying Polish immigrants to the United States noted that immigrant women were much more likely to develop breast cancer than those who remained in Poland. A key factor was the high native consumption of cabbage, sauerkraut and coleslaw, greatly reduced among Polish women living in America.  Researchers found that low concentrations of cruciferous vegetables added to colonies of human breast cancer cells not only slowed their growth but also actually blocked their genetic expression!

 

Another protective food is flaxseeds, mentioned above as a rich source of omega-3 fats. The natural fibers in flax help bind up estrogen and improve bowel function, both of which help protect against breast cancer.  In animal experiments, flax greatly slowed breast cancer growth, both in early and late stages of the disease.  In a human study conducted at the University of Toronto in 2001, flaxseeds had a dramatic effect on estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer.  Thirty-nine women diagnosed with the disease and awaiting surgery consumed either a flaxseed muffin or another type of muffin daily for 30 days. Surgeons found a significant reduction in tumor size among women in the flax muffin group. An optimal dose is two heaping tablespoons of fresh ground flaxseeds per day (starting with only one teaspoon and increasing gradually).

 

A brief word about garlic.  Garlic-consuming populations have low rates of cancer in general.  In 1992, scientists at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the University of California in Irvine showed that aged garlic extract inhibits the growth of human breast cancer cells, primarily by dramatically increasing Natural Killer Cell activity.

 

The fourth article in this series, The Asian Tradition, will discuss special elements of the traditional Asian diet that help protect against breast cancer.

 

The Diet Connection::Part Two: The Bad News

A Four-Part Series by Susan Silberstein, PhD, Center for Advancement in Cancer Education

Research has demonstrated that poor dietary choices in terms of fats, proteins and carbohydrates can definitely increase the risk for breast cancer.  Fats are important in three ways: the amount of fat, the type of fat and the quality of fat.  On a high fat diet, the breast-cancer promoting hormone estradiol increases; on a low-fat diet, it decreases (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 1990).  A high fat diet also promotes storage of xenoestrogens, synthetic chemicals that mimic estrogenic activity in breast tissue, from sources like pesticides, bleached paper products, plastic food containers, and especially bovine growth hormones added to meat and dairy products.  These carcinogenic hormones and chemicals are lipophilic – that is, they love fat, they live in fat, and they

don’t metabolize out of fat; so if a woman has a high fat diet or a lot of fatty tissue on her body, she will store a lot of these dangerous compounds.

 

The type of fats is important as well.  In general, saturated animal source fats are associated with increased risk for all cancers, while unsaturated plant source fats are more protective.  However, there are differences in breast cancer risk among the unsaturated fats too.  While omega-3 fats up-regulate immunity, omega-6 fats tend to suppress immune function.  The latter are prevalent in soybean oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, and cottonseed oil, for example.  Omega-6 fatty acids have a booster effect on breast cancer (Archives of Internal Medicine, 1998).  Researchers studying 61,000 women noted that regular consumption of these fats increased breast cancer risk by 69%.

 

One final aspect of fats is their quality.  Fats are very unstable and break down quickly when exposed to air, light or heat.  When exposed, they oxidize, become rancid, and produce free radicals — dangerous compounds implicated in the aging and cancer-forming processes of all cells.  Food manufacturers often add hydrogen to the omega-6 rich plant oils to make them solid at room temperature; that process produces carcinogenic transfats.  In a European study of 700 post-menopausal women, researchers found a 40% increased risk of breast cancer among those women consuming a lot of hydrogenated fats in margarine, fried foods or baked goods (Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention, 1997).

 

Moving on to proteins, high animal protein is associated with risk for breast cancer.    First, a diet high in animal protein often contains high animal fat.  Second, a high protein diet raises the levels of prolactin, another hormone that can stimulate breast cancer growth (Cancer Research Journal, 1977, and Journal of Endocrinology, 1983).  Of major concern is bovine growth hormone administered to western cattle beginning in the 1950’s, paralleling the rise of breast cancer in the United States.  Among those consuming the most red meat, a New York study of 14,000 women found a 25% increased risk of breast cancer, and a study in Uruguay showed up to a 770% increase in risk. In a study of nearly 26,000 women, those who ate meat more than five times per week had 2.5 times greater risk for breast cancer than those who ate meat fewer than two meals per week (International Journal of Cancer, 1995).

 

Another source of animal protein is cow’s milk and dairy products like cheese.  These foods often contain added growth hormones, but even organic milk products without added hormones contain insulin-like growth factors that will stimulate existing cancer cells to grow.  Before the Berlin Wall came down, East Germany suffered dairy shortages – and shortages of breast cancer, while West Germany had plentiful dairy consumption – and plentiful rates of breast cancer.  In general, countries that consume less dairy have lower rates of breast cancer than those that consume more dairy.  The U.S. and the Netherlands, for example, have very high rates of both dairy consumption and breast cancer, whereas Singapore and Korea have very low rates of both.

 

Let us look at carbohydrates, especially refined carbohydrates like white sugar and flour.  High sugar intake is a major risk factor for breast cancer in women over 45.  Sugar increases insulin levels, and insulin is a strong promoter of cell growth.  Since there are insulin receptors on the surface of breast cells, insulin can create the estrogen effect.

 

Scientists at the University of Toronto found a 283% increased risk of breast cancer in women with high insulin levels.  According to some researchers, high levels of insulin and insulin-like growth factor are actually causative for cancer of the breast (Proceedings of the Nutrition Society of Australia, 2001)!  High dietary sugar provides cancer cells their preferred food and reduces the body’s ability to mount an immune response.

 

The caffeine family also contributes to increased risk of breast cancer.  Caffeine and related chemicals are found in coffee, tea, colas, orange soda, Mountain Dew, peanuts, cheese and – heaven forbid! – chocolate.  Consumption of these foods and beverages promotes breast dysplasia, gradual cellular changes towards malignancy.  Some surgeons restricting the caffeine family prior to biopsy have actually seen breast lumps shrink or even disappear within weeks.

 

The last negative dietary influence on breast cancer risk is alcohol.  According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, alcohol elevates serum estrogen levels, especially estradiol, in both pre- and post-menopausal women.  In a study of nearly 16,000 females conducted at the University of California at Los Angeles, those women who averaged one drink per day (beer, wine or mixed drink) were 39% more likely to develop breast cancer than those who did not drink.  Furthermore, a review of three separate studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed up to a 60% increase in breast cancer among women consuming one or more alcoholic beverages daily.

 

So alcohol is bad, coffee is bad, meat is bad, dairy is bad, sugar is bad – there’s nothing to eat!!!  Stay tuned for the good news in part 3 of this series.