It’s been a bit of a break for me from writing on the blog! Not intentional, but things have been a bit crazy at work. Yes, you read that right. Blogging is not my job! I have a full-time job as the Wellness Director at Cancer Services, Inc. in Winston-Salem. This blog is a small portion of what I do. I love it, but sometimes I just can’t seem to make the time to write.
Anyway… here’s what I’ve been up to for the last 3 weeks.
First, I had a presentation at CancerCON 2015 in Denver (a GREAT time!! Thanks to Stupid Cancer for inviting me):
then went on vacation (celebrated my birthday at Disneyland!! Turns out Disneyland and Cancer Services are BOTH celebrating 60th anniversary’s this year. 1955 was a big year!):
then came back to more presentations and a new Intern (welcome, intern Sanaa!):
I’ve barely had a chance to breathe, much less write! Here I am though. Ready to give you some of the thoughts that I shared at my presentation for young adult cancer survivors via the Stupid Cancer Conference.
Optimizing Your Nutrition
The presentation description went like this: Get your nutrition myths debunked with Julie Lanford, “The Cancer Dietitian” as she coaches you through facts, truths and practical methods to decide what’s right for you.
Challenge accepted! This is pretty broad for a 1 hour topic. I did my best, and I think it turned out well!
I started by reminding people that “Just because someone knows how to eat, doesn’t make them an expert in nutrition”! So for you readers out there, especially the new ones to this site… check out my bio to find out what makes me an expert in nutrition. I worked really long and hard to get through a lot of science classes and earn my degrees and credentials! I point this out not to impress you with all my work, but to remind you that just because someone does a weekend “certification”, doesn’t make them an expert either.
Be cautious about who you believe. Especially when it comes to claims about nutrition and cancer.
My brother refers to my stance and look above as the “what the heck are they thinking” pose. He claims to have seen it a few times in his life. Unsubstantiated claims, I tell you. 😉
Nutrition and Cancer Basics
I like to get everyone on the same page early on in my presentations. So I almost always cover the following at the beginning of every presentation:
- Nutrition is not a guarantee. It’s part of putting the odds in your favor.
- Even after a cell begins to accumulate damage that may lead to cancer, what we eat and how we live can still help short-circuit the cancer process.
- After cancer has developed, several nutrients also have been shown to delay its progression; this gives the body more time to defend itself.
5 Common Cancer Nutrition Myths
Next I moved into the myths. Now… I couldn’t cover all the myths, so I had to pick what I deemed to be the top 5. I had some assistance from social media followers, which was helpful! If you want to hear me talk about the top 15 myths, you can access my webinar here.
- Sugar feeds cancer.
- Acidic diets cause cancer.
- People with hormone positive cancers should avoid soy and flax.
- Pesticides cause cancer so you should eat organic.
- Superfoods prevent cancer.
8 Truths About Nutrition and Cancer
Again, there’s not time here to go over each one of these in detail, but if you want… you can access my truths webinar here! These are based on the AICR recommendations for cancer prevention.
- Eat more of a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes such as beans.
- Avoid sugary drinks. Limit consumption of energy-dense foods.
- Limit consumption of red meats (such as beef, pork and lamb) and avoid processed meats.
- If consumed at all, limit alcoholic drinks to 2 for men and 1 for women a day.
- Limit consumption of salty foods and foods processed with salt (sodium).
- Don’t use supplements to protect against cancer.
- Be as lean as possible without becoming underweight.
- Be physically active for at least 30 minutes every day. Limit sedentary habits.
Phytochemicals: The Basis to a Cancer Fighting Diet
Next comes my very favorite thing to talk about. The nutrients that you find in plants that help your body fight disease! This isn’t just about cancer. It’s about all types of disease. When you really start looking into it, you find that these plant nutrients, or plant chemicals are what make up a healthy diet. The more you get the better!
I love talking about phytochemicals. And because I think they’re so important, I actually spend a lot of my free time growing plants. I have a garden at home and a garden at our office at Cancer Services. How do you eat healthy on a budget? GROW YOUR FOOD! It doesn’t have to be fancy. We have most of our veggies at our office growing in pots in the parking lot. But that’s a topic for another post!
Here’s a pic of my home grown strawberries:
THE BOTTOM LINE:
This is almost always my bottom line. EAT YOUR VEGETABLES! My recommendation is 4-5 cups of fruits and vegetables combined each day.
Every time you sit down to eat or drink something, you have a choice. You can choose to put more health promoting phytochemicals in your body and provide it the nutrients it needs to function. Or not. My goal for you is to choose the health promoting eating pattern 80% of the time. The other 20% of the time you make food choices for other reasons (special occasion foods).
Choose Your Own Adventure!