Don’t Just Think about Pink, Be about Pink!

As Breast Cancer Awareness month comes to a close, I hope that you were doing more than just admiring all of the trendy pink shirts of the season and got involved in some way to promote the awareness of breast cancer. I have said it before — breast cancer knows no color, no age, and no income level. It is capturing the lives of younger woman every day. Every one of us either knows someone who has breast cancer, is recovering from breast cancer or has a history of breast cancer in the family. It’s an aspect of “six degrees of separation” that is on an entirely different level. While it connects many woman in ways like never before, breast cancer is also impacting the lives of woman like never before. Taking our mothers, our sisters, our daughters and our friends.

I urge you to get involved this year, it’s not too late. This is the last week and you can make a donation, volunteer at an event, or run (or walk) in the last Breast Cancer Awareness race of the year. It only takes a little, you don’t have to do a lot.

As the niece of two aunts who died of breast cancer, the granddaughter of an amazing woman who was a 15-year breast cancer survivor and the friend of a very courageous woman who had a double mastectomy because she carried the breast cancer gene, I am committed to informing and educating people about this disease I want honor the woman who came before me and stand side by side supporting the women I know who are still here fighting.

As always, I like to leave you with some tips to help keep you “in the pink” about lowering your risk of getting breast cancer. Even if you have a family history of breast cancer, like I do, doing preventive acts can really help reduce your chances of acquiring the disease.

Conduct a self-breast exam. Get to know your breasts. Are they lumpy? Do you know notice anything different?

Get a mammogram. If you have a family history like me, then you should schedule an exam by the age of 35. Most women get one around 40-45. And to my girls who are 40, please get your mammogram. No it is not comfortable. Yes the machine squishes your breast together and it does hurt. And yes, the liquid they use is ice cold. But it is important to get the test.

Improve your diet if it is filled with soda, sweets and fried foods. These foods have a negative impact on your health in general.

Talk to a young woman about the importance of breast health. Start a discussion with a young woman you know and ask her if she has questions about breast cancer and what it means to her. Encourage her to know her family history.

To donate a mammogram, click here– www.thebreastcancersite.com

Live life, live healthy!

Pass on the Double Cheeseburger & Filet Mignon

I made the decision to give up red meat about 4 years ago. Every once in a while I would have a craving for a burger or a steak, and there were maybe a handful of times I would give in. But I would suffer, well my stomach would suffer. Slowly, two years ago I begin introducing red meat back into my diet. There was nothing more yummy than a broiled boneless ribeye in a great marinade. Then I stopped eating it again for year. About a year ago, I decided to give up carbs for two weeks and that resulted in me eating me deciding to eat red meat again. When you can’t eat any carbs/starches that steak over sauteed veggies is pretty tasty. I did keep it to lean meats like flank steak but nothing really fatty. But as I do more and more research about the link between red meat and breast cancer ; I am more inclined to give it up forever.   I often ask myself why do I continue to eat it when I know it could potentially be harmful to me? But why do we do anything that we know could hurt us? Because it is hard to break bad habits and it takes some real willpower.

Here is are two studies that link cancer and beef:

Cancer-causing compounds are formed during high-temperature cooking of meat, according to the March 24, 2009 ScienceDaily article, ” Eating Red And Processed Meat Associated With Increased Risk Of Death .” Meat also is a major source of saturated fat, which has been associated with breast and colorectal cancer. In addition, lower meat intake has been linked to a reduction in risk factors for heart disease, including lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

The Journal Archives of Internal Medicine also reported last November that red meat could raise younger women’s risk for an estrogen-linked form of breast cancer. Researchers found  that higher red meat intake may be a risk factor for hormone receptor-positive breast cancer among premenopausal women.

As we all aim to be healthy and reduce our risk, especially those of us who have a family history, it is probably a good idea to look at different options for red meat. So if you are like me and who need your “monthly” iron/red meat fix (you know it’s true) here are some alternatives to the beef burger:

Turkey Burger – This is my absolute favorite and one of my girlfriends says it my best dish. I combine ground turkey breast with terryaki marinade, onion powder, garlic powder, sea salt, creole seasoning and pepper. Slap it o the grill and add so me pepper jack cheese! YUMMY!

Black Bean Burger - A little more difficult to make but very good. I use similar seasonings as the turkey burger but add an egg to keep it together. It falls apart as you try to make it into a patty so beware.

Houston’s Veggie Burger - My vegetarian boyfriend swears by this! I have to say I have had some great veggie burgers out and about. For a quick, on the run lunch option try Morningstar Grillers. They are suprisingly tasty.

Be Good to Your “Girls”

Well, I am back! I am not going to make any excuses for why the lapse in my blogging except that my life was turned upside down in April when I took on a new job heading up a non profit organization. Every day I am faced with issues impacting pregnant women, women’s health, and child and infant health that by the time I get home I have no extra energy to blog. It is 6 months later and I am finding some balance. To tell the truth, I need the blog to keep me sane. Writing helps to calm me and keep me grounded.

268120997_c219e7129aWhat a better time to start back up SavvyHealthGirl than in October – Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is a month that is very personal to me. With a family history of breast cancer and my own issues with lumps in my breasts, I am a huge advocate increasing awareness about breast cancer and what women can do to prevent  it from occuring. It is so important that women, even young teen girls are good to their “girls.” Here are a few things I encourage women to start doing this month (if you are not already) and then on a regular basis to ensure you lower your chances for breast cancer:

Conduct a self-breast exam. Get to know your breasts. Are they lumpy? Do you know notice anything different?
Get a mammogram. If you have a family history like me, then you should schedule an exam by the age of 35. Most women get one around 40-45.
Improve your diet if it is filled with soda, sweets and fried foods. These foods have a negative impact on your health in general.
Talk to a young woman about the importance of breast health. Start a discussion with a young woman you know and ask her if she has questions about breast cancer and what it means to her. Encourage her to know her family history.

Live life, live healthy!

The Breast Cancer Site

My Lumpy Breasts: A scare and a blessing

My grandmother is a 15 year breast cancer survivor and I am so blessed to still have her in my life, telling me not to worry one bit that I haven’t found a husband yet! Haha, I guess only a grandmother could truly love you enough to not wonder why at 36, seemingly intelligent and attractive, that you are not married and haven’t given her great-grand children. Well, I adore her for that and all of the wisdom she bestows upon me. Wisdom such as knowing how to take care of yourself and how to gracefully overcome the boulders life can throw at you.

I was only a teenager when I discovered three small lumps in my left breast. Not knowing why my father had a look of pain and extreme worry on his face, I knew something wasn’t right. It was also the pain I would have in the middle of the night from lying on my stomach. that I knew something was wrong. I had my first mammogram at the age of 17. I can’t recall if I had ever even heard the words “breast cancer.” I would often hear my father talking about my grandmother’s illness, but I don’t know if initially he used “breast cancer” to describe it. I don’t even recall the OB-GYN using these two words, until my father asked “Could it be cancer?” What powerful and frightening words for a 17-year old to hear, just 4 weeks before she is to head off to college and all of her life ahead of her.

The OB-GYN said I was blessed, the results were benign cysts and they would diminish with a change in diet. Which they did in a matter of months. No soda, no fried foods, not a lot of sweets. More vegetables, salads and healthier options to balance my very “teenage” diet. What a small price to pay to keep my breasts and stay healthy. It was at that moment, that I first learned about self-breast exams, mammograms and breast cancer. It was 1990, almost 20 years ago.

Apparently, I have lumpy breasts and at 17 it was challenging for the technician to locate the cysts with the mammogram. Even now it’s still a challenge. Which is why it is so important that women do self breast exams. You will know what is a normal lump and what is not so normal. The more you know about your breasts, the more proactive you can be when in your health care provider’s office. There is still so much to be done around awareness of breast cancer, breast health and breast masses. Ladies, do your part, know your body. Take care of it with the upmost of care, love and adoration. Spread the word!

Live life, live healthy!

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