Seeing red is a good thing, if the red is on your plate. Research has found that the biological compounds that give certain fruits and vegetables their color also provide various health benefits. For example, the red of tomatoes and beets comes from specific phytochemicals—lycopene in tomatoes and anthocyanins in beets—that can help maintain heart […]
A Kripalu Yoga teacher and cancer survivor gets back on her paddleboard by Natalie Smith Waking up in the hospital, I couldn’t do anything for myself. Even breathing was a chore. I had just undergone a bilateral mastectomy to treat breast cancer, and I felt frustrated and powerless. Before my illness, I was a Kripalu […]
Garlic has a range of cardiovascular benefits, protects against cancer, and can even help promote healthy weight, due to its flavonoids and a unique set of sulfur-containing nutrients, in addition to vitamins C and B6, selenium, and manganese. For good measure, bright lemons and red bell peppers are rich in a variety of detox-supporting, health-enhancing […]
It’s a lot simpler than we think.
At the Union for International Cancer Control’s recent World Cancer Congress,Washington University School of Medicine researcher Graham Colditz, PD, DrPH, reported that more than 50 percent of cancer could be prevented if we implemented certain “lifestyle changes,” including quitting smoking and avoiding obesity.
Seems somewhat obvious, right? Maybe, maybe not. Although we read enough to know that eating right, exercising, and minimizing our exposure to known toxins (cigarettes among them) can limit our risk of developing cancer, most of us don’t necessarily believe it. “Many people are still under the impression that most cancer is genetic,” says Susan B. Lord,MD, a faculty member in Kripalu Healthy Living programs. “But the real figure is actually five percent.” That is, five percent of cancers have strong genetic ties, and the rest are related to environment and lifestyle. This means that the disease is far more preventable than we tend to think it is. In fact, Dr. Colditz estimated that improvement in diet could reduce cancer incidence by 50 percent, and increases in physical activity could reduce cancer incidence by as much as 85 percent, in five to 20 years.
A cancer survivor explores bold new directions
When I plopped into the Radiance program’s opening night welcome circle, I was exhausted. That morning, I had attended the memorial service for my dear friend, Dara, who had passed a week before. A couple hundred people gathered to share stories, laughter, tears, and outrage that this beautiful, lively, loving soul had left at age 40, from cancer.
And now, a train ride and time warp later, here I was in the branch-filled Berkshires, sitting in a back jack, meeting eight cancer survivors and our co-leader Maria Sirois. In that moment, “life after cancer” looked to me like throwing a rose on my friend’s coffin and hearing it thud. It looked like crying myself to sleep every night for the last two weeks.
But as I settled in and heard tales of diagnosis and survival, I remembered: Oh. We’re all still here. In my fellow workshoppers—eight people from their 30s through 50s—I saw stress and fear and bravery and resilience and resistance. I saw myself. Diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma seven years ago at age 31, I had almost been forgetting that I was a survivor, too.