It’s October: Let’s talk Tatas

pink ribbon, breast cancer awareness month, cancer prevention

Someecards health vs size of breasts

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so let’s talk tatas.

First, a few facts from

  • About 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.
  • Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death for women; Heart Disease being the first.
  • In 2014, an estimated 232,670 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 62,570 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer.
  • Breast cancer incidence rates in the U.S. began decreasing in the year 2000, after increasing for the previous two decades. They dropped by 7% from 2002 to 2003 alone. One theory is that this decrease was partially due to the reduced use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) by women after the results of a large study called the Women’s Health Initiative were published in 2002. These results suggested a connection between HRT and increased breast cancer risk.
  • About 85% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer. These occur due to genetic mutations that happen as a result of the aging process and life in general, rather than inherited mutations.
  • Cases of Stage 0 Cancer or Precancerous cells, more often than not, are not reported; therefore, the number of women actually affected by the physical and emotional consequences of having a cancer diagnoses are suspected to be understated.

Although this data could be interpreted as daunting and depressing, pay specific attention to the fourth and fifth facts above. Incident rates of Breast Cancer have been decreasing since 2000 and despite breast cancer numbers being, albeit, staggeringly high for women without a family history, the genetic mutations are attributed to – ahem – life in generalWhat does this mean? It means that your lifestyle has an impact on your health! Not exactly news, but new in the context of managing a disease of this magnitude.

Take a moment to consider the impact if more women were to pay attention to the breast cancer risk factors within their control and take measures to manage them actively and effectively! Think of the decreases in breast cancer incidents, the decreases in the exorbitant feelings of stress and anxiety for the women diagnosed and those who care about them, the hope for girls and women who have not yet been affected but who will have lower likelihoods of diagnoses, and the overall shift in our culture towards healthier living and thus a subsequent decrease in other chronic diseases for both men and women. A seemingly small change has a LARGE IMPACT on the greater well-being of our society.

photo cred
photo cred

So how does this impact you? We’ve established that breast cancer is considered PREVENTABLE through lifestyle changes and establishing good healthful habits. Even if your family history includes cancer, you do not have to consider your fate sealed. Think of your genetics like a puppy. If you train the puppy well with good habits, feed it high-quality food with few cheap fillers, take it for walks, let it play with you and with puppy friends, and provide the puppy with a calm, loving environment, positive reinforcement and a sense of boundaries, the puppy is not very likely to bite you or become unruly. However, if you treat the puppy poorly by neglecting him, starving him of attention and of nutritious food, being aggressive, etc., the risk increases.  The same is true with your genetics. By taking care of yourself, your mental health, emotional health, physical health and spiritual well-being, the risks decrease.

self-care, health coach, genetics,
Whether it’s your puppy, or your health, care for it!
(photo cred:

Here are a few easy habits to consider for your “Practices of Prevention”:

Perform monthly breast self-exams & visit your gynecologist yearly for annual checkup’s.
Encourage your friends and loved ones to do the same. For tips on performing your own breast exams, click here.

Abolish “sugar-free” foods, diet drinks and artificial sweeteners from your diet.
Just do it. Consuming the chemicals in these products are like dousing formaldehyde directly onto your brain. Gross. Studies also show your body responds similarly to these substances as it does to real sugar. Are the additional detrimental effects of these compounds really worth it?

– Speaking of sugar… Cut back on sugar.
Get a load of this: Ketchup, spaghetti sauce, breads, milk and other very common staples are laden with hidden sugar. Fat-free diet foods are the worst! Read the labels and buy smart. Sugar is a high contributor to inflammation in the body. Chronic systemic inflammation breeds cellular dysfunction, which leads to various disorders, which, when left untreated, can lead to cancer. Kick it outta your diet! Experiment with various natural sweeteners, like date sugar, stevia, agave, honey, etc.

Manage your stress.
Like sugar, stress creates an inflammatory response throughout your whole body. Finding ways to manage your stress in a healthy manner, such as through a gratitude practice, meditation, exercise, journaling, hiking, nature walks, time with positive & supportive people, establishing self-care practices and positive self-talk helps relieve any chance of excess inflammation, which reduce your risk for the other chronic diseases, like heart disease or depression.

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Meditation not for you?
That’s ok! Find what makes your heart happy and do it!

Quit Smoking (or do not start).
I think we all know this one. If you’re a smoker, just stop. If you’re not a smoker, don’t even consider it. You’d be surprised, but women in their 20s and 30s are actually notorious for picking up a cig here and there while bar hopping or partying, which brings me to…

Keep alcoholic drinks to a minimum.
Do not binge drink. If you do want to have a few cocktails, avoid the mixed drinks, like daiquiris, and watch your mixers, like orange juice or  margarita mix. Adding these sugary  to your alcohol wreak havoc on your blood sugar and pretty much spell hangover. Another helpful hint: drink a glass of water for every round, and for you forgetful types, a friendly reminder to eat before hitting that holiday punchbowl or bottle of wine with your sweetie.

Know the dirty dozen and clean fifteen lists, and spend your money accordingly.
Pay now, or pay later, as my father says. Isn’t it worth the investment to buy organic apples, berries, cucumbers and lettuces now vs. paying that price premium in the form of healthcare costs later on? For a printable guide, check out this one from the Environmental Working Group.

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EWG’s Dirty Dozen & Clean Fifteen

Know your meat and dairy.
These days, most meats and dairy products contain hormones, antibiotics and a slew of other sludge that you would never knowingly put into your sweet system. Do your research. Know what you’re putting in your body, and buy organic, cage-free, grass-fed, antibiotic-free animal products. Meatless Mondays or similar efforts are also a fun way to cut back on food costs (animal products are expensive!) and parlay into fun nights experimenting with other cuisines, like Indian, for example that is a primarily plant-based diet. Added Benefit: exotic cuisines are heavy on spices that have added health benefits, like my favorites turmeric & ginger, for instance, which are heavy hitters when it comes to reducing chronic systemic inflammation.

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photo cred

As with all potentially life-altering diseases, simply digesting the beaucoup of information can feel overwhelming, let alone trying to integrate the best practices the health professionals recommend into your lifestyle.  Those of us prone to fretting can easily panic when faced with so many statistics, as well as the laundry list of preventable measures touted on websites, news shows, and celebrity blogs. But, like they say, you can’t eat an elephant in one bite, and the best advice is to simply do the best you can as often as you can. Simply being aware of better choices is a step in the right direction. Over time, the changes will easily find their way into your daily routine, and you’ll hardly remember the days when you chose differently.

photo cred InsomniacArts
photo cred InsomniacArts

As always, we’d like to hear your thoughts, so drop us a note below.

Superfood for you: Ginger

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Photo Cred MindBodyGreen

Ginger is one of my three favorite natural anti-inflammatories. (The others being garlic and the lesser known turmeric.) It is one of my staples, always in my fridge. Not only does this root add a yummy zing to my favorite green juice and culinary Asian adventures in the kitchen, it is also a must-have in my natural health toolbox, as well.

Most of you Roses probably know that ginger alleviates a lot of tummy troubles, like motion sickness, pregnancy-related nausea and chemo-induced nausea, but did you know the power of this root goes beyond aiding digestive distress?

Ginger contains very potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols, which have been shown in numerous studies to alleviate pain often caused by osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, as well as improve mobility levels (read more here). This root has been shown to be more effective against staph infections than antibiotics, and ginger also reduces chronic systemic inflammation, which has been studied and found to be an underlying cause of many serious diseases, including cancer.

Looking to be even more impressed, read through the below info graphic from, do a little internet search for “health benefits of ginger” or check out this article by Heidi Stevenson who compiles a slew of scientific information into a digestible format.


Ginger is potent, even in small doses, so even a gentle increase in your consumption will yield benefits. Not sure how to get more ginger in your life?

A Few Easy Ideas:
– For nausea: Make ginger tea made by steeping one or two 1/2-inch slices (one 1/2-inch slice equals 2/3 of an ounce) of fresh ginger in a cup of hot water
– For joint pain: Add as little as 1/4-inch slice of fresh ginger grated into water or mixed into salad dressing. Here’s my mother’s lovely recipe for “Gla’s Spa Water,” a refreshing, nutritious take on traditional H2O that is quite soothing and delightful no matter what ails you!
– For overall wellbeing: Get creative! Add ginger to your morning smoothie, your green juice, your salad dressing or experiment with entrees and side dishes that include ginger as an ingredient. A little goes a long way with this powerful little guy, so even if you ease your way into a ginger-filled diet, you’ll still reap the benefits.

Gla's Spa Water
Gla’s Spa Water & Ginger, Carrot and Beet Juice Mmmmm!

AS ALWAYS: With any powerful herb or spice, there is the potential for food allergies and/or drug interaction, so be sure to check with your doctor if you are on any prescription medications to avoid the risk of drug interaction, particularly if those prescriptions are to treat diabetes or blood-pressure.

Milk Allergy or Lactose Intolerance?

Diary allergy, cows milk, health coach atlanta, gluten free, food allergy, kids with allergies
Diary allergy, cows milk, health coach atlanta, gluten free, food allergy, kids with allergies
photo cred:

Let’s talk about a very important topic: recognizing food allergies, specifically a dairy allergy.

Over the past few weeks, milk & dairy allergies has been at the forefront of many conversations with clients to colleagues to a guy at the car dealership. (I know, crazy, isn’t it!?)

One thing was clear from all these conversations. Distinguishing an allergy from lactose intolerance is not as easy or as talked-about as it should be.

Let’s consider this very common scenario: After explaining your or your child’s allergy to milk and dairy, the friend/hostess/colleague replies with an understanding nod and “oh, you’re (your child is) lactose intolerant?”

Until recently, the only physical response to milk that made the news was indeed lactose intolerance, so we can’t blame the friend/hostess/colleague for assuming she was understanding and empathizing properly. She really doesn’t know the difference between an allergy to dairy and an intolerance to lactose, and it’s important we understand the basic science, symptoms and solutions of each as they become more prevalent.

Here’s the skinny on how to recognize an allergy vs. intolerance.

Lactose Intolerance
Symptoms: gassy, digestive tract discomfort, diarrhea, abdominal pain within a short time of consuming the food ( 30 minutes – a few hours)

Potential Solutions: Lactaid, Lactose-free milk, Lactase supplement, dairy-free diet, milk alternatives

Lactaid products, lactose intolerance, health coach, gluten free, food allergy, kid with milk allergy, milk allergy, health coach atlanta
A Variety of Lactose-Free options

The Story: As we age, our natural production of lactase, the digestive enzyme that breaks down lactose in milk so that it may be digested, declines.

If we can’t produce the lactase to break down the lactose, then the lactose stays in the digestive tract, acts as a laxative, and results in gas and loose stools within a few hours of intaking dairy. This is why Lactaid or lactose-free products are more easily digested by those who are lactose intolerance; a lactase insufficiency can be eased by lactase-enriched products, like Lactaid.

Milk Allergy, on the other hand, is a bit different.

Milk Allergy
Symptoms: Rashes, congestion/runny nose, itchy mouth/throat, hives, abdominal pain or any other combination of an immunological response

Solutions: Steer Clear of Dairy! And don’t fret, there are a variety of milk alternatives that will allow you or your munchkin to still enjoy cereal, ice cream and mac n’ cheese!Dairy free, allergy to dairy, milk allergy, gluten free, health coach atlanta, kids with food allergy, kid with milk allergy

The Story: Food allergies involve the body’s immune system, which is the body’s way of fighting infection and invaders. However, if you or your child is allergic to a particular food, the immune system sees that food as a danger to the body. The immune system then overreacts to proteins in that food, causing an allergic reaction and a release of histamine. Tingling in the mouth, swelling lips, hives and itchy ears are often symptoms that indicate an allergic reaction.

This type of reaction, in contrast to the digestive reaction to a lactose intolerance, can happen within moments with potentially far worse consequences. Any time you, your child or your guest starts “feeling funny” after consuming any foods, particularly the Big Allergens like gluten, dairy, nuts, shellfish, eggs, etc., get medical attention immediately.

As with any food allergy, it’s always best to steer clear of the food/drink and see your doctor.

For more information on dairy allergies and lactose intolerance, visit the NIH website for lactose intolerance or Kids Health’s article on milk allergies.

As always, we love to hear your questions and comments, so leave us a note below!

In the Kitchen: Broccoli & Slaw Salad with Tahini Dressing

Serves 2-4 (depending on if a side item or main dish)

For the Dressing:
2 tbl Tahini
1/4 c lemon juice
1 tbl water
Optional: 1/2 tbl nutritional yeast, cayenne pepper to taste

For the Salad:
One bag of broccoli slaw (can be found in the produce aisle at the grocery store)
One bag of broccoli florets or one large head of broccoli
Cooking spray or other oil of your choice (olive, coconut, sunflower, etc)
1/2 yellow or white onion
1-2 cloves of garlic
1-2 sprigs of rosemary
1 tsp of fennel seeds
1/8 c. cranberries, raisins or other dried fruits
Optional: walnuts, pine nuts, toasted pumpkin seeds

To Do:
Mix up the dressing by whisking the ingredients together or whipping them together with a fork. Put aside.

Sauté the slaw using oil or cooking spray with the onion, garlic, rosemary and fennel. You want the onions to slightly carmelize, and the colors of the slaw to stay vibrant, but be a wee bit softened to make the digestion easier on your digestive “tubes.”

While keeping your eye on the slaw, pop the broccoli florets in the microwave to blanche. I use a veggie steamer and usually cook them for about 2 minutes. You want the broccoli to maintain its green color and crunch, but be cooked just enough to be easy to digest.
*Helpful hint: if you break off a piece of the floret, it should give you a little bit of resistance. Too much resistance, it’s overcooked; too little, it’s too raw.

Once the veggies are cooked, place into a big bowl and toss with the dressing and the cranberries or other dried fruits. For you nut-friendly folks, feel free to toss in some walnuts or pine nuts for some extra yum! Vegans & Vegetarians, mix some nutritional yeast in to the the dressing to give it a little nuttier or cheesier flavor or throw on some tempeh crumbles for a fun twist! Mmmm!

Superfood of the Week: Turmeric

This week’s superfood post is brought to you by Turmeric, a powerful little spice!

turmeric, ground turmeric, superfood, natural anti-inflammatory
photo cred:

With its origins in South & Southeast Asia, Turmeric is ubiquitous in Indian cuisine and revered for its extensive healing properties, particularly in Integrative Medicine and Ayurvedic Medicine. You could say that Turmeric is a Four Star General in the fight for good health.

Among its many medicinal properties, this little wonder has been proven to:
Detoxify the liver
– Balance cholesterol levels
– Fight allergies
– Stimulate digestion
– Boost immunity
– Enhance the complexion
– Fight inflammation
– Regulate and purify the male & female reproductive systems
– Reduce fevers, diarrhea, urinary disorders, insanity, poisoning, cough, and lactation problems

And PS., if you haven’t heard, research has shown that the common origin of age-related diseases, such as Chronic Heart disease, Cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease and even Cancer is… Chronic low-level systemic inflammation. (In other words, your body gets out of whack due to dietary, lifestyle or environmental factors, prompting an all-out inflammatory response instead of just in a localized spot, like if you had a cut or a sprained ankle.) Turmeric, among other foods, helps reduce the systemic inflammation and promote healing and overall balance in the body! A spice may help prevent cancer? Yup.

It’s no wonder this spice is considered a magical superfood with its many health-promoting properties! And, if you can believe it, it’s easy to find in your local grocery store and can be easily incorporated into many family-favorite meals, like chili, chicken soup, pasta salad, rice dishes and more. Stay tuned for more superfoods and easy recipes to incorporate this powerhouse!

Happy Healing!