Monday, November 8, 2010

lowering the risk

My S. has many neurological complications. He has had to undergo several surgeries at a young age, and has a VP shunt for hydrocephalus. Because of the shunt, he must be monitored closely and undergo yearly visits including imaging at the nearby children's hospital. Children with shunt-treated hydrocephalus are exposed to serious amounts of radiation when undergoing computerized tomography (CT) scanning. I know S. has had at least 4 CT scans in his life so far, he is 2. I found this article interesting and alarming:

The risk is especially high for children. Researchers say that children are 10 times as sensitive to the radiation as adults are, putting them at an even greater cancer risk.

"Children's tissues are more sensitive to radiation, and they live longer than adults do, which means the cancer has more time to develop," says Cynthia McCollough, a radiological physicist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. "However, if you need a CT scan, parents shouldn't lose a minute of sleep over it."

The reason parents shouldn't be too concerned is that the individual risk of developing cancer is small.

"One in four Americans will develop cancer in their lifetime," explains McCollough. "That's 25 percent. Radiation from CT scans when you are a baby increases your risk of developing cancer to 25.1 percent."

Since last year, S. has been administered MRI's instead, which do not use radiation. But I AM concerned. Cancer freaks me out. I have had many members of my family suffer from cancer related illness or death. We have cared for a teen from Haiti who lost his leg above the knee from cancer. My mom recently had surgery because of cancer.

I have become more and more cautious of our health in our home. We try to eat a lot of produce, healthy oils, whole grains and lean meats. We are concerned with environmental toxins like PCBs, VOCs, pesticides, and the like. This article has many good ideas. (I wasn't aware that avoiding sugar can help prevent cancer. I did know eating a lot of sugar can cause other health problems.)

1 Eat more vegetables
Vegetables aren’t just delicious and filled with vitamins and nutrients; they also contain a lot of fiber, antioxidants, and beta-carotene. All of these help reduce your risk. Eating vegetables makes your body more alkaline, which is also good for preventing any illness.
For more on why eating a more plant based diet is better for you and the environment, please read another great resource at GoVeg.

2 Go organic
Organic food not only tastes better, it doesn’t have all those pesticides, antibiotics, steroids and growth hormones that can make you very sick. A lot of people say to me organic costs more. One trick is to go to your local farmer’s market right before closing. The vendors are practically giving their products away. Plus, eating organic is much cheaper than getting sick, missing work, and having medical expenses.

3 Sweat more
Sweating releases toxins through the skin. Fewer toxins in your body, the lower your risk of getting sick. Go for a hike, take a power yoga class, or sit in a sauna on a regular basis.

4 Do a liver cleanse on a regular basis
If you’ve been getting my newsletters for a while, you know I’m a fan of doing a SAFE cleanse at least once a year. Along with sweating, a liver cleanse will flush out the bad stuff that’s stuck in your liver.

5 Taking care of your mental health
Stress can weaken your immune system. Thus, making you more susceptible to getting sick. So whether it’s meditating, therapy, a spiritual practice, exercise, or all of the above, please take care of you!

6 Avoid sugar, including sugar substitutes, and dairy
Sugar feeds cancer. Eat some fruit instead. And dairy is mucous forming, since it’s mucous too. Try milk alternatives, such as hemp, almond, or rice. You can get really creative and make your own.

7 Deep breathing
Cancer cells won’t thrive in a highly oxygenated body. So take out that yoga mat and breathe.

8 Don’t store or cook your food in plastic.
Highly heated plastics release dioxin (carcinogens) into your food and ultimately into the cells of the body. In fact, avoid using plastic altogether.


More recently I have become careful about the use of plastics. I have become a plastic tossing fool the last few days. I am not throwing them out, since who knows how long this phase will last? I hope it will be a life long, healthy living choice. But I will keep my Tupperware and Rubbermaid in storage for a bit to be sure I really don't want to keep them. Or maybe find another non food storage use for them? I am trying to not bring any more plastic into the home. That is my intention.


Then I think about Christmas. And toys and gifts loaded with plastic. Read this article if you are buying toys for children this Christmas. Or avoid toys all together and give something different.

Some great ideas:



trips or mini vacations


gift cards or certificates

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