Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an annual international health campaign organized by the major breast cancer charities every October. Its aim is to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure, with an increasing focus on the rapidly growing complimentary treatments.
I’m a great supporter of any initiatives that promote cancer awareness. I am never far away from the statistic that 42% of breast cancer cases in the UK could be prevented through simple lifestyle changes. Yes, 42%!
So, what exactly do I mean by lifestyle changes? Well, they’re not actually that difficult, they just require awareness, dependable suppliers and a modicum of dedication. And why wouldn’t you? And by the way, in the long run these steps won’t just improve your defences against cancer, a whole host of other health issues will be less likely to trouble your later life. The three basic steps are:
- Exercise. Get your body moving for at least 30 mins a day. This could be a brisk walk, a bike ride or a swim. And if you’ve had breast cancer just 30 mins of exercise a day can reduce the likelihood of a recurrence by up to 50%, according to a whole host of wide ranging experts!
- Manage your stress. There is a huge link between stress and cancer. We all know the major stress points in our lives and there are always ways to deal with them. ‘Therapies’ such as visualization, mindfulness, aromatherapy, acupuncture and tapping can be enormously helpful, but do what ever works for you, or is the most readily available and affordable! I’ve just downloaded a great app called ‘Simply Being’ which helps me meditate and switch off in as little as 5 mins!
- Diet. This is the one particularly close to my heart and could be 50 blog posts long! In short, I’m afraid that 5-a-day just isn’t enough, never was and never will be. You should be aiming for around 8 to 10 portions of colourful fruit and vegetables a day, with an emphasis of the latter. Plenty of mineral water, green tea, no processed foods, limited alcohol, limit your dairy intake and absolutely no refined sugar, that curse of Big Food – recognised as such, in no uncertain terms last week, by the Head of Amsterdam’s health service. He said it was as pernicious as tobacco!
And now to the recipe. And yes you guessed it, it’s not a sugary, pink cupcake! Instead, it tastes a bit like a very mild thai curry and it’s packed with cancer fighting vegetables and other ingredients. I’ve adapted it from a recipe in ‘The Plant Programme’ by Jane Plant
I promise you’ll feel so nourished when you’ve eaten it.
- 600g of vegetables, chopped such as pumpkin, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, green beans
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 tbls ginger, minced
- 1 large tomato chopped
- Juice of ½ a lime
- 2 tbls coconut oil
- 1 can coconut milk
- 400ml vegetable stock
- 1 can of organic beans such as cannellini or haricot
- 1 large tbls peanut butter
- 1 red chilli
- 1 piece of lemon grass, finely chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the oil in the wok, add the onion and fry for 2-3 mins
- Add the garlic, ginger, lemon grass, and chill and cook for another 2 mins
- Add the coconut milk and stock, stirring continuously
- Add the vegetables and cook until they are just about tender, adding the tomatoes at the very end
- Stir in the peanut butter and lime juice
- Season to taste
- Serve with brown rice