Quick Links

Find Authors

Books

Non-fiction
Diabetes type 2? Weight problems? Find your answers!
Fiction
Nonfiction
Water is the stuff of life - warm inside, cold outside. Did you know?
Nonfiction
Best and cheapest little book about how to live a healthy and long life!

Blog: On Health. On Writing. On Life. On Everything.

Today Is International No-Bra Day!

July 9, 2014

Tags: order, food, movement, water, alcohol, antenna, bedroom, bra, brassiere, breast, breast cancer, breast health, breast size, cancer, circulation, cold wash, comfort, convention, cups, dairy, darkness, diet, gym, hormones, jogging, July heat, lifestyle, lunch hour, nightshift, sleep, sports bra, starch - white, sugar, support, Today Is International No-Bra Day!, trans fats, underwire bra, vegetables

Sweltering July is probably the best reason to throw out your bra – even if for only a day.

Because it is hot in there – in the cups. A few studies suggest that a link consists with wearing a bra and getting cancer. Unfortunately, those studies are not the best by scientific standards. We certainly should demand better studies!

Personally, I believe that a bra that cuts off circulation and traps heat close to one part of the body might be doing harm – the more hours a day one is wearing it, the more likely. Some people think it is the metal wire in the underwire bra that might work like an antenna, attracting bad “waves”.

One certainly should never wear a bra to bed – give your breast some freedom at least over night! But going all without is not an option for well-endowed women, because heavy breast can hurt with every movement. Sports bras certainly have their place. I wince whenever I see a woman jogging and her breasts are bouncing up and down – ouch!

Many years ago, in my twenties, I threw my bras out and never looked back – an easy decision because I have not much to hold. For me, a bra was a senseless convention. I had a beloved aunt who was as small-chested as I. She would gleefully pronounce: “What I don’t have today, can’t sag tomorrow!” Her attitude made my small size a no-problem.

For other women a bra might be a life saver – no rule applies to everybody. Today is a good day to examine if you are wearing a brassiere for comfort – or for convention. Throw out the convention … if you dare.

We know (by good studies) that bigger breasts are more likely to develop cancer. But that might have different reasons: Women who are overweight have usually a less healthy lifestyle. And more female hormones lead to bigger breasts, as well, potentially, to breast cancer.

What makes healthy breasts:

• A good diet with fresh vegetables (and avoidance of sugar, white starches, dairy and trans fats). Don’t be fat-phobic: Olive oil, coconut oil and butterfat are healthy.
• Regular movements – just move through your day, as opposed to spending time in the gym.
• A daily walk during– for moving and for daylight and vitamin D. Vitamin D prevents cancer.
• Moderate alcohol consumption. Enough sleep and real darkness in your bedroom: Light at night seems to increase the likelihood of cancer (especially if you are working nightshifts – which I certainly have, extensively, in my life).
• And here is my favorite – and of course, there are no studies to be had: Wash your breasts with cold water every day – take a face cloth and 21 splashes to each breast.

To Mammogram, Or Not To Mammogram

January 31, 2012

Tags: order, movement, food, herbs, water, animal flesh consumption, breast cancer, breast cancer - surgery, breast cancer treatment, cancer - aggressiveness, cancerous cell, cancer prevention, cardio-vascular health, cold shower, daylight, diet, dying of cancer, environmental pollution, exercise, family history of breast cancer, fluoroscopy, heart disease, immune system, lifestyle, lumpectomy, mammogram, mastectomy, medicine, prostate cancer, radiation, science, sitzbath - cold, sleep before midnight, smoothie - green, thyroid cancer, To Mammogram, Or Not To Mammogram, tuberculosis, vegan, vegetable, vegetarian, vitamin D, walking

About this subject I do write with trepidation – as the right answers are still not known – medicine and science have not advanced far enough to let us make rational decisions. In actuality, regarding mammograms, we are living in something like medieval times.

Do mammograms help prevent cancer? No, they don’t. They do find some cancers. But they also “find” an unacceptably high number of “cancers” that aren’t cancers - false positives. For which women then undergo unnecessary treatment.

Do mammograms prevent deaths from cancer? The answer is amazingly unclear: For the longest time – basically for the entire twentieth century - namely since the advent of radical mastectomy, breast cancer death numbers didn’t budge. In the last few years, we seem to make a little dent. But it is not clear to me if it comes from therapies, or from better lifestyles that women have adopted - similar to the improvement of cardio-vascular health that happened mostly in the kitchen and the gym, not in the doctor’s office.

For thirteen years now I have not done a mammogram. Not because I try to be reckless, but because I have my doubts. In a way, I am sticking my head in the sand (breast cancer runs in my family). On the other hand, I have a history of heavy radiation as a child, and mammogram certainly is adding to my risk to develop breast cancer. You could say that I made a decision rather to die of breast cancer than from breast cancer treatment. You don’t have to follow me here – or rather, I don’t want you to follow me here because I shudder of the responsibility I would take on if I talked you out of mammograms. In reality, I always encourage my patients to have their yearly mammograms – regardless of the personal doubts I am harboring.

Because of my childhood radiation history – I had bad tuberculosis as a child with tons of fluoroscopy - my decision not to add any more radiation (I also have myself padded down at airports rather than going through the screening machines) is not applicable to everyone. In addition, I had mammograms since age eighteen every year because of lumps (and twice had lumps removed that turned out to be benign. So, I had an unusual number of mammograms - enough for a lifetime, I think. My doctors, because of my history, are basically waiting for me to develop breast or thyroid cancer. But over the years I came to realize that the real causes for breast cancer - diet, exercise and environmental pollution, including radiation - are not addressed by physicians and authorities. But I want to encourage every woman to come to her own decision. Every case has different variables.

Lately I am also changing my thinking about cancer generally - not that one person has it, and the other person doesn't have it. Truth is, at a certain age, we probably are all always having cancerous cells in us, and keeping them at bay as best as we can we good lifestyle habits seems to be much more important. - I also have a body that would react badly to any kind of treatment - so I rather am putting my energy into a good lifestyle. And cancers in later years are often less aggressive than cancer in children and young adults.

And a last thought: Medicine is yet is unable to differ between "bad" cancer and "good" cancer - we don't know which one will explode and kill a patient. So we are working with big guns on all cancers. It seems to me that surviving cancer has more to do with which type your cancer is and how good your immune system works than with any treatment. This argument is also very applicable to prostate cancer in men.

If I would find a lump, I certainly would have it removed surgically. If I get "exploding" cancer, I hope I will die gracefully. Not knowing if I already have such a time bomb inside me, I make sure I walk every day during daylight to get my daily dose of vitamin D and exercise, I eat my veggies and drink my green smoothie, I keep my animal flesh consumption low (but I don’t advocate vegetarian or vegan lifestyles), I take a daily cold shower or cold sitzbath to strengthen my immune system, and I make sure I sleep long before midnight so that my body can catch bad cells and repair what is broken – before it explodes.

The rest is not in my hands.

Otto’s Nipples

April 24, 2011

Tags: order, alcohol, breast, breast cancer, cancer, cat, cirrhosis, Creationism, Darwin, embryo, estrogen, Evolution, female, fetus, hormones, liver failure, male, nipples, testosterone, tomcat, Otto’s Nipples

You must have heard about my adorable tomcat Otto. He is all black, with two small white spots, on his breast and on his belly.

Every time he sees me, he throws himself on his back, begging for a belly rub. When I first got him from the shelter, his fear to be touched by a stranger was greater than his desire to get a belly rub. But over time, he became bolder, and now I can touch his belly most of the time, and indeed, he even demands it.

So, when I do my chore and rub his belly, invariably I am astonished to find that he has nipples, two nice rows of it. What a waste to put nipples on a male! In a female, the nipples would serve to feed the young. But in a male?

In the Creation story, God takes a rib from the sleeping Adam and shapes Eve out of it. So why did Adam have nipples? He shouldn’t!

I don’t want to offend religious feelings, but nipples prove that Evolution is real, and that Darwin was right. For me, nipples are the neatest evidence for the Earth and all her inhabitants having come a long way.

In fetal development, the first fourteen weeks are exactly the same in male and female. After that, under influence of the male hormone testosterone, a boy and his special parts develops. If testosterone is not supplied (as in a genetic girl), the fetus stays what it was, basically, and becomes a girl. And since having or not having nipples is of minor consequence, evolution never selected against nipples; they just stayed where they were left at week fourteen of embryonic development.

Medically, the male breast occasionally can develop cancer – just like the female breast does. But the number is only one in a hundred male cases to female cases. Anyway, an unusual swelling in a man’s breast should be evaluated by a physician.

However, swelling of both male breasts usually stems from the influence of hormones (or hormone-like substances). It is called gynecomastia, meaning: breasts like females. They can be a sign that testosterone levels are too low in a man, or that estrogens are too high. In any case, they should also be seen by a physician. This condition often happens in puberty, when the balance of hormones is not yet perfect, and most often it vanishes on its own.

In older men, development of breasts may have to do with obesity and/or alcohol consumption: When the liver is too busy with alcohol, it cannot break down estrogens very well – those estrogens are also produce normally in men, although in low numbers. But when the liver is failing, the estrogen level rises relative to testosterone levels, and gynecomastia develops. Time to drink less alcohol (or none)! The liver has a great capacity for regeneration – and half a year alcohol-free does wonders (if there wasn’t already cirrhosis, the end-stage of liver disease).

All these musings just from stroking Otto’s belly – amazing. But even more amazing is Evolution, I guess.

Green Tea Doesn’t Prevent Breast Cancer--?

October 29, 2010

Tags: food, bancha, beverages – sugared, breast cancer, Breast Cancer Research – journal, British Medical Journal, green tea, Green Tea Doesn’t Prevent Breast Cancer--?, Lancet, New England Journal of Medicine, sencha, tea – green, tea –herbal

Japanese researchers just published a study that green tea doesn’t prevent breast cancer in the Journal Breast Cancer Research.

Whenever a study does not fit our expectations, we have to consider if we are dealing with a biased or otherwise flawed study.

Do these researcher want that we throw out green and herbal teas "because they don't prevent breast cancer"? We would assume that Japanese people would want to increase the sales of their Japanese tea, wouldn’t we? But that is as flawed as thinking that all American would want to boost the sales of American lettuce.

Medical science is confusing to lay people - and to doctors as well. Clearly, this study goes in the face of everything I am standing for ) or pretty much everything), and you could call me biased. I am. And that study did not convince me that green tea is not good for you – or me. (But clearly, I have a hard time arguing my case here!).

Looking into the research, two facts are interesting: The Breast Cancer Research journal is reputable – but certainly not The Lancet, The British Medical Journal or the New England Journal of Medicine. It clearly is a second tier journal. Why was this article not accepted by any of the biggies?

The other find is that the numbers are all over the place, even more varying with the bancha than with the sencha tea drinkers. Bancha is the cheap version of sencha. Could it be that people who can’t afford sencha can also not afford a healthier diet? We know that junk food has made inroads into the Japanese society. Sencha comes out sort of even – the claim that green tea doesn’t do anything against breast cancer comes mostly from the bancha drinkers.

Since we don’t know anything else about the lifestyle of the cohort, we do not know how healthy people lived otherwise.

Meanwhile, I suggest sticking with common sense and green tea for your health because sugared beverages are clearly not the answer.

Do We Need Vitamins?

April 21, 2010

Tags: food, astronaut food, breast cancer, cancer, depression, diabetes type II, Do We Need Vitamins?, elimination, food sensitivities, glucose, gluten, gluten intolerance, health, heart disease, multivitamin, nutrition, syndrome X, toxins, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamins, waste

A recent Swedish study showed that breast cancer in women taking multivitamins was nineteen percent higher than in women who did not. Other studies earlier linked single vitamin preparations (vitamin E and A) also to higher cancer rates.

This feeds into my hunch that artificial high-dosed vitamin pills are not the same as vitamins naturally occurring in food. And why should they be?

Imagine: Glucose is a fuel molecule needed in every single cell of your body. But the moment we were able to refine sugar and put it on everybody's table, the downhill course in our health began: Diabetes, heart disease, cancer, syndrome X, depression, and so on.

Think about man-made vitamins in the same way: Too much of a good thing in too short time - your body just does not know what to do with it and is overwhelmed. As Annemarie Colbin once put it: If you pop a vitamin A in the morning, your body might be searching for the rest of the carrot the whole day…

Your vitamins should come from fresh food. There is no substitute for freshness – we are learning it now the hard way. As I see American cuisine in the last half century or so: In the fifties, families started to eat "modern" canned food and “enriched” cereals as an easy way to get meals on the table. Then frozen and take-out foods arrived. And to assuage our guilty feelings (somehow we know this can’t be right), we shove in vitamins.

Medically speaking, vitamin deficiencies do exists. If your physician diagnoses such a state, by all means take the prescribed pill. But not forever and ever. Your doctor should find out why you are deficient in the first place. Often, there is a poor diet, or an inflamed gut is unable to take up vitamins. Common causes for inflamed bowels are gluten intolerance and food sensitivities. Heal your gut with better food, and your vitamin deficiencies might improve.

In the seventies, a new fad took over: astronaut food. These were un-food-like substances (in the form of cubes in beautiful pastel colors) which could be digested without the need of elimination. See, going to the bathroom in space was considered a major obstacle. – What happened? Turns out, defecating is a marvelous thing because it eliminates wastes and toxins from the body. Astronauts got sick from their beautiful cubes, and astronaut food vanished from the market.

But wait – don’t throw out your vitamins yet. Keep them in a drawer, don’t take them every day. But if one day suddenly you feel like taking one of those vitamins; do take it. Because your body might be telling you that you need one. But only one.
Aspen eyes, by Peggy Peters

Iguazu Falls, by Xin Liu

Alexa Fleckenstein M.D. 2012, by Lolita Parker jr.

Tags - see also the non-captalized entries below!