breast cancer awareness

Do you have concerns about soy foods?

Research Reveals Concerns About Eating Too Much Soy

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In spite of all its benefits, new evidence shows that eating too much soy can have some drawbacks. Most of the problems occur for vegetarians who rely too heavily on soy for their protein, eating large servings of soy foods (especially non-cultured soy foods) many times a day.

Potential Problems With Soy You’ll Want To Avoid

—Soy foods are hard to digest for a lot of people. The tummy upsetting culprits? Heavy processing, and enzyme (trypsin) inhibitors, that are present in all beans. I always prefer cultured soy foods like tempeh, miso, tofu, soy milk and soy sauce in a healing diet because their healthy bacteria improves their digestibility. —Phytates in soybeans can bind to minerals like zinc, calcium and iron in the digestive tract and prevent their absorption. Note: Fermented soy foods have the least phytates. Soaking soy beans for 12-24 hours before cooking reduces phytate levels. —Soy foods are routinely genetically engineered, posing a problem for many people ethically and health wise. People with food sensitivities are especially affected. —A Hawaiian study suggests that eating a lot of tofu may speed up the aging process, even affect your brain. Researchers speculate that soy’s plant hormones act as an anti-estrogen in the brain, but more research needs to be done to determine if this is true. (Note: The normal aging process itself, a history of stroke and a good education play a much more significant role in the risk for mental decline than soy intake.) —One study has shown that genistein may increase the growth of estrogen-dependent breast cancer cells in vitro. Other studies dispute this finding, but it’s possible that very high doses of soy isoflavones can aggravate some types of breast cancer. — Some research shows that 40mg of soy isoflavones a day can slow down the production of thyroid hormone. I’ve heard often from menopausal women who eat a lot of soy that their metabolism has drastically slowed, leading to weight gain, bloat, and the fatigue that they dread!  A Japanese study show that eating a lot of soy may trigger hypothyroidism and goiter, which I have seen even in younger women. (Note that isoflavone supplements usually contain 40mg. One tablespoon of soy powder contains about 25mg. of isoflavones.) Cooking your soy foods helps deactivate these properties. —Animal studies suggest that a soy-based diet may lead to infertility problems. However, soy’s long history of moderate consumption in the Japanese and American cultures does not confirm this risk. —Soy may not be the best choice for infant formulas. A study by Maryland Nutritionists says babies on soy-based formulas receive the equivalent of 5-6 birth control pills daily from soy’s plant estrogens! Because of the potential impact on hormone health, experts advise caution when considering soy based infant formulas, unless there is a clear allergy to cow’s milk.

My Final Word On Soy?

Eat soy in moderation. Soy foods (especially cultured soy foods) have confirmed benefits for our health. Enjoy soy foods in a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, sea foods and seaweeds. Soy overload (4-5 servings a day) and high doses of isolated soy isoflavones may potentially lead to problems for some people. Whenever possible, choose organic, fermented soy products that are less affected by genetic engineering.

To Life-long health,

Linda Page

Organic 101—The Case For Eating Organic Foods

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Here's an important exceprt from my bestselling book, Healthy Healing 14th Edition on the value of choosing organic fods. Pesticides can remain in the food chain for decades. DDT, chlordane and heptachlor are still found in soils more than 20 years after their use was discontinued. Even worse, pesticides used today are 10 to 100 times more potent than chemicals used just 25 years ago. While some scientists don’t believe pesticide residues harm healthy adults, even the National Academy of Sciences concedes that  just low levels of pesticides can cause toxicity in children (because of their immature immune systems) and in pregnant women (due to increased stress on their organs).

The EPA acknowledges that it sets acceptable pesticide residue risk with 150 pound adult men. More than 2 million synthetic substances are known, 25,000 are added each year—over 30,000 are produced on a widespread commercial scale. They work their way into our bodies faster than they can be eliminated, causing allergies and addictions in record numbers. Only a tiny fraction are ever tested for toxicity. Those that come to us from developing countries have few safeguards. A report from the Pesticide Action Network of North America says that Americans are exposed to toxic pollutants from foods up to 70 times a day!

Recent World Health Organization studies show that chemical and environmental factors are responsible for 80 to 90% of all cancers. Canadian research shows that pesticide sprays encourage life-threatening bacteria to grow on food crops, posing a real threat for people who eat fresh commercial produce- especially strawberries, raspberries and lettuce. New studies also link pesticides and pollutants to hormone dysfunctions, psychological disorders and birth defects. The molecular structure of many chemical carcinogens interacts with human DNA, so long term exposure can result in metabolic and genetic alteration that affect immune response.

The chemical industry points out that DDT and some other harmful pollutants containing environmental hormones are illegal in America.  Yet, 99% of Americans test positive for DDT degradants, even though DDT hasn’t been used in the U.S. since 1972. The U.S. is still the largest seller of DDT to the rest of the world. Many food-producing countries that supply America do not have pesticide bans, so imported foods from them still carry a toxic threat to us. Even if we ban the sprayed foods at our ports, the Earth’s winds circle the globe and all the waterways are connected, so pesticides with environmental hormones reach the entire world’s food supply.

The newest statistics come from breast cancer research. The dramatic rise in breast cancer in the last decade is consistent with the increased accumulation of organo-chlorine (PCB) residues. In Long Island, for instance, women living in areas previously sprayed with DDT have one of the highest breast cancer rates in the U.S.

Israel’s pesticide experience offers even more dramatic evidence of the pesticide-breast cancer connection. Until twenty years ago, breast cancer rates and contamination levels of organo-chlorine pesticides in Israel were among the highest in the world. An aggressive phase-out of the pesticides led to a sharp reduction in contamination levels… and to breast cancer death rates.

Here’s how the link between pesticides and breast cancer seems to work.  Pesticides, like other pollutants, are stored in fatty tissue areas like breast tissue. Some pesticides (including PCB’s and DDT) compromise immune function, overwork the liver and disrupt the glands the way too much estrogen does. A recent study showed up to 60% more dichloro-diphenyl-ethylene (DDE), DDT, and polychlorinated bi-phenols (PCB’s) in the bodies of women who have breast cancer than in those who don’t. Some researchers suggest that the reason today’s older women have a higher than normal rate of breast cancer may be that these women had greater exposure to DDT before it was banned.

What can we do to overcome environmental health threats? It’s a quandary. The healthy fruits and vegetables we’re all encouraged to eat are likely to contain unhealthy pesticides. Should you stop eating fresh produce? Of course not; fruits and vegetables clearly protect against cancer and heart disease. Still, only whole foods are wholesome. A healthy detox twice a year is a good way to rid yourself of dangerous chemicals.

Start With The Foods You Eat

Steps to protect yourself from chemical residues in your food.

1. Almost 50% of U.S. consumers use organic foods when they have a choice. Sales of organic foods have risen to over $23.8 billion each year! Sales of organic baby food alone increased 21.6% in 2009. U.S. organic farmland now spans 4 million acres. With 20% annual growth rate, organics are the fastest growing agricultural sector!

Organic foods are a first line of protection for you and your family against chemical overload. Organic food standards require that no food labeled organic can be treated with chemical pesticides, radiation, genetic engineering, or have any contact with sewage sludge. In a recent study of 96 school children, the only child who had no measurable pesticides in his urine lived in a home where the family ate organic food exclusively.  For the best results, fix organic food yourself if you’re on a healing diet. A rapidly growing group of Americans now seek out farmer’s markets and produce stands.... even grow some of their own foods. Grocery stores and markets now offer affordable organic produce to meet the growing consumer demand.

Organic foods are better for the environment, too. Organic farming reduces pollutants in groundwater, creating richer, more fertile soil. Organic crops are healthier, create less erosion, and use significantly less energy resources than conventional farming. Organic farming also reduces the overload of airborne toxins that add to the burden on our bodies and our planet. Even in tough economic times, Americans aren’t sacrificing organic quality to save a dollar. A poll by Mambo Sprouts marketing shows 87% of consumers are buying organic even in the recession.

2. Buy seasonal, local produce whenever you can. Avoid imported foods as much as possible. Foreign countries have different regulations for pesticide use, so produce from other countries typically contains higher levels of pesticides than U.S. grown.  Developing countries have few regulations. Mexico, for instance, has only recently begun phasing out DDT and chlordane which have been banned in the U.S. for decades. Imported produce also carries the threat of dangerous microbes, like those found in Guatemalan and Mexican strawberries in during the 1990’s.

3. Eat fruits and vegetables that have low PCB residues - like avocados, onions, broccoli, bananas, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, watermelon. Eat a wide variety of foods to keep your exposure to any one pesticide low. Choose organic for foods with high residues: strawberries, cherries, peaches, green beans, spinach, bell peppers, corn, cucumbers and grapes. Additionally, rice , soy, corn and baby food should be sourced from organic brands to avoid excess pesticides and genetically modified organisms.

To Lifelong health,

Linda Page

Hormone Detox Plan for Women

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Try this 3-week detox diet to overcome hormone overload.Week 1: Detoxify your liver first…Gland function (especially adrenals) responds quickly to give you the best results for hormone balance (try Liver Cleanse Flushing Tea and Liver Renew caps for 1 week) Then, cut back on fat. Hormone disrupters accumulate in body fat… the reason a high fat diet is a major risk factor for long term exposure to them, and why it may lead to increased risk for hormone-driven cancers.

Week 2: Lay the foundation for a new way to fuel your body - from energy based on carbs to energy based on burning body fat. This week, add sea veggies like wakame, nori and dulse regularly. Algin, a gel like substance in sea veggies, protects against chemical overload (often involved in breast cancer) by binding to chemical wastes so they can be eliminated safely from the body. Eat cruciferous veggies like broccoli regularly to improve estrogen metabolism. Add fish, nuts and seeds, avocado, and yogurt or kefir and kefir cheese.

Week 3: Have a fresh green leafy salad with extra cabbage and radishes every day. Add more fish and seafood to your diet. Sushi is a delicious way to add more seaweeds. Add small amounts of whole grain breads, pita chips, crackers and pastas. Choose hormone-free chicken and turkey, and hormone-free dairy foods, too.

To Life-long Health,

Linda Page, Ph.D., Traditional Naturopath

Why are our hormones so imbalanced?

Estrogen Disrupting Chemicals may be to blame... Environmental hormones are so commonplace in modern society that there is no way to completely avoid them. They come from pollutants, hormone-injected meats and dairy foods, plastics, pesticides, and hormone replacement drugs for both sexes. Only in the last ten years has anyone realized how common environmental estrogens are in today’s world. Nearly 40% of the pesticides used in commercial agriculture are suspected hormone disruptors. All of the Earth’s waterways are connected, so chemical pollutants containing environmental hormones reach your food supply wherever you live.

Hormone disrupters can affect your entire endocrine system, including the system of your glands, hormones and cellular receptors in your body. They alter the production and breakdown of your own hormones, and the function of your hormone receptors — disrupting hormone balance at its developmental core. They can compete for hormone receptor sites in the body and bind to them in place of natural hormones, causing fluctuations in your hormonal levels. They are a serious concern for women in early pregnancy because a developing embryo is highly sensitive to estrogen disruptor toxicity.

Hormone imbalance disorders are epidemic through this country. We see hormone imbalance in women’s disorders like PMS, endometriosis and fibroids. Further, women with hysterectomies are only beginning to see the harm that removing delicate glands, or treating fragile hormones with drugs can do. Bone loss is clearly related to hormone imbalance. ). A poorly functioning liver (the liver metabolizes excess estrogen), and a high fat, processed foods diet (excess fat harbors hormones) are almost always implicated.

Environmental estrogens can wreak havoc on male and female fertility.  Multiple exposures to environmental estrogens disrupt conception efforts for both partners, affecting ovulation, and lowering sperm count and viability.

Other women’s diseases associated with long exposure to estrogen mimics in the environment: 1) reproductive organ cancer; 2) breast and uterine fibroids; 3) polycystic ovarian syndrome; 4) endometriosis; 5) PID (pelvic inflammatory disease); 6) gallbladder disease; 7) blood clots, stroke.

Are Hormone Disruptors Impacting You? Signs that you may have estrogen disruption:

  • Breast inflammation and pain that worsens before menstrual periods, usually followed by heavy, painful periods.
  • Weight gain: especially in the hips. Bloating, mood swings, low sex drive or vaginal dryness.
  • Head hair loss/facial hair growth. Dry skin or premature wrinkling.
  • Hot flashes: or early perimenopause.
  • Endometriosis: now linked to dioxin, an airborne hormone disrupter.
  • Breast and uterine fibroid development, ovarian cysts, and pelvic inflammatory disease.
  • Breast, uterine and reproductive organ cancer: up to 60% more DDE, DDT and PCB’s, known estrogen disruptors, in women with breast cancer.
  • Early puberty: nearly half of African-American girls and 15% of Caucasian girls now begin to develop sexually by age 8, a clear indicator of estrogen disruption.

 

Are You At Risk Of Exposure To Estrogen Disruptors? You may be especially exposed if: 1)  you live in a high agricultural area; you eat a high fat diet (fatty areas of your body store pesticides and other agricultural chemicals); 2) you eat hormone-injected dairy foods or meats regularly; 3) you’re on prescription HRT drugs or birth control pills.

To Life-long Health,

Linda Page, Ph.D., Traditional Naturopath