Fighting Obesity With a Healthy Balanced Diet

It has become common knowledge that obesity is a problem in North America. The newspapers, magazines, television commercials and internet banners all acknowledge the issue. It is not uncommon to see advertisements encouraging membership in diet programs where you can lose those extra pounds in a short time. Marketers have even responded by providing 90-100 calorie pre-packaged snacks ranging from almonds to cookies. Others are telling us to walk it off, and some are encouraging the latest fad diet. It seems that everywhere we look there is someone, somewhere trying to fix our personal weight problem.

Is obesity an issue?

Yes, in more ways than we can imagine. It is not simply a matter of having extra weight. Being overweight or obese triggers many health related situations.

Obese Canadians are 4 times more likely to have diabetes, 3.3 times more likely to have high blood pressure and 56% more likely to have heart disease than those that have healthy weights (1). Throughout North America there are reports relating obesity to heart disease, and diabetes. There are other symptoms that are often ignored by the media but are also troubling. I personally know a lady who experienced severe pain in her feet. The extra 60 pounds she had gained caused a problem with her arches, her feet became “flat” and normal daily activities became a burden. These types of poor health symptoms affect everyone in our communities. Government run health programs become more expensive to operate, families struggle with the emotional side of disease, un-wellness and even death.

Surely you have heard that the rate of overweight and obesity are on the rise. Currently 30.6% of Americans (US), 24.2% of Mexicans and 14.3% of Canadians are obese (2). Compare these rates to those of Japan and South Korea where obesity is only at 3.2% of the population (2). That should trigger two things in your mind. First of all, something that we are doing in North America is causing great negative effects on our optimal health. Second, if there are other nations in the world with lower rates of obesity, then obesity can be controlled in North America as well.

Is there any pattern to obesity in North America?

The acknowledgment of obesity, income levels, sense of failure and lack of physical activities are patterns associated with obesity. Sharon Brady, editor of The World is a Kitchen, believes that the first problem to obesity is that a large portion of individuals are simply not facing the fact that they are overweight whether it is through ignorance, denial or indifference (3). Obesity is also disproportionally found in lower income groups (4). This may be a consequence of buying low nutrient, highly processed foods because of the low dollar values. Another possible problem with weight gain and obesity is the sense of failure that comes with cheating or falling off fad diets. A lack of physical activity or even decreased activities levels associated with changes in lifestyle can also be problematic patterns.

How can we fix the problem of obesity?

Dealing with the way we think about food and our body weight is critical. Information on the mind-body connection is readily available. Understanding and addressing mental and emotional stress is of paramount importance when you want to lose weight (5).

Increasing physical activity is recommended and the Government of Canada has published guides for different age groups (6). Activity can come in many forms, even taking a family holiday can be a way to get moving again.

However, even with a good food mindset and increased physical activity, it will be hard to obtain and maintain a healthy weight without a clear understanding of healthy balanced meals and healthy eating. Regardless of your food choice preferences, vegan, vegetarian, raw or a more traditional meat diet, it is important to make sure you are eating properly. And believe it or not, that is a simple thing to do.

The things we need to consider are:

1. Water

2. Healthy Snacks

3. Protein

4. Dairy and Alternatives

5. Complex Carbohydrates

6. Healthy Fats

7. Fruits and Vegetables

Well, now after saying it is simple, I give you a list of seven things to remember. Trust me, before you know it, the list will become engrained in your thought pattern and you will be on your way to eating healthy balanced meals and optimal health which will result in a natural maintainable weight. Let me guide you through the list.

Water

There has been a lot of concern about plastic water bottles littering our disposal sites and being found floating in the ocean. I agree that it is a problem but the good thing is that it means people are becoming aware of the importance of water and they are drinking more of it.

60 to 70% of our body is water. It is important for normal body functions, like digesting the food we eat. We get water from the fluids we drink as well as the food we eat.

It is recommended that we drink 8 cups of water a day. Even more is required if you live in a dry or hot climate or are physically active. That seems like a lot of water, and it is if you try to drink it all at once. Try drinking a cup first thing in the morning before you even get into the shower. Have a glass or two before every meal and another midway in between meals and a glass in the evening too. Before you know it, you have reached 8 cups of water.

Many people have lost the ability to tell the difference between hunger and thirst. Unfortunately food often wins out and water is left aside. Next time you feel hungry have a glass of water first. Wait for a few minutes to see if the hunger goes away before you eat. If you feel thirsty, you body is already dehydrated. You may need to add more cups of water for your personal lifestyle.

Snacks

For many of us, the word snack triggers the thought of a high calorie, low nutrient food. A good way to think of a snack is like a mini-meal that gets us through to the next meal. It is the opportunity to pick a healthy food that you enjoy but may not part of your meal on that day. One of my all time favorites are apples. If I did not have an apple for breakfast and know I will not have one for lunch, having one for my morning snack, along with my cup of water makes a great healthy snack.

Snacking is critical for children. They get a large portion of their daily calories from snacking and it is important that they get healthy snacks.

Protein, Dairy and Alternatives

Protein comes in many forms and this is often where diet styles differ. No matter what you food style preference is having protein in your meals is important.

Proteins can be found in beans, eggs, meats, fish, milk, cheese, nuts and seeds, soy products including tofu. In North America, having large amounts of protein has become standard. I have seen some restaurants where the smallest steak available is 14 oz and where ordering fish means an entire fish. Having such large amounts of protein is not necessary for your body. Protein is important but it does not have to dominate the meal.

There is much debate over the presence of milk in our diets. Some individuals prefer soy milk and almond milk. The goal with drinking these products is to obtain calcium. Calcium is available through tablet form and naturally occurs in fruits, vegetables and nuts.

Complex Carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates are our comfort foods. When we consume them, serotonin is produced and leaves us with that “warm fuzzy feeling.” These foods are best for our bodies when they are closest to their natural state. You will recognize them as breads, crackers, pasta, rice and beans. To obtain the maximum health from your foods, decide on products that are made of whole grains rather than white enriched flours. If you like rice, add brown rice to your diet. It takes longer to cook but you will not be hungry half an hour after you finish your meal.

Healthy Fats

The first thing many people do when they attempt to reduce their weight is to remove all the fat from their diet. Eating a lot of fat is not healthy but the body does need small amounts of healthy fats to function normally. Healthy fats occur naturally in the healthy foods that we eat. Avocados, salmon and other fish, nuts and olive oil all contain fats that are healthy for our body.

Fruits and Vegetables

The number of fruits and vegetables that are available is absolutely amazing. They should make up the majority or your diet and when you can eat them raw, I encourage you to do so. When you make your meal, add lots of color by using a variety of fruits and vegetables. The more variety, the better chance of getting everything your body needs.

Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals and enzymes that aid indigestion. They help keep our bodies healthy, protect us from disease, strengthen our bones and make our skin beautiful. Consider them for your snack.

What is Next?

Well, now you have an idea of the important aspects of creating a healthy balanced meal. Pick a food from each category and several from the fruits and vegetables. These will be the ingredients for your meal.

An example of a traditional style meal could be fish for your protein (but not an entire fish), some brown rice, and a large salad made of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, blueberries and sesame seeds. For a healthy snack after dinner, try a fruit salad made with three of your favorite fruits.

That is how simple making a healthy balanced meal can be when you have a little information.

What Difference will this make?

Eating healthy balanced meals will allow you to lose weight naturally. At first you will still have cravings for the heavily processed products that you ate in the past. Eventually you will replace those without even thinking about it. You weight will reduce naturally and you will be able to maintain a healthy weight.

There is no cheating with eating healthy balanced meals because you are making the decisions for you diet. If you have potato chips tonight just acknowledge how it makes your body feel. Next time try a nice fresh piece of pineapple with all its amazing health and healing benefits. Acknowledge how it feels. Learn to listen to your body.

Failure does not exist in a healthy balanced diet. Every time you eat a healthy balanced meal, you are moving ahead to a better healthier you.

Most importantly, you will be setting an example for your child, friends and everyone else that you come into contact with. Help make North America a healthy North America. Japan and South Korea are doing it, so can we, one meal at a time.

Mental Health Is Contained in Language

Our experience in life, even in the womb, is one of sensation. All our physical sense channels, collectively referred to as ‘the sensorium,’ make up the body of our experience, which is then represented with language. In other words, we can share our experiences because of representational language, because of words and pictures. It makes sense then, that a lot of our mental health is contained in language because all of our experience of which we have identified, codified, is contained in language.

Sensation is just sensation. It is raw experience. Sensation can be described, with language, in terms of intensity, duration, frequency, temperature, weight, pressure color, hue, shade, sound, rate, rhythm, bitter, sweet, pungent, aromatic. Lots of words available to help codify and represent raw sensational experience. Sensation itself is without words,without description, without meaning, other than what we give to it, with language.

We use language every day all day, both with others, and internally in what is referred to as internal dialogue, or ‘self-talk.’ Self talk is the undercurrent of chatter, using language, to make statements about situations; those statements, valid or erroneous, become the platform then for our sense of personal self, our sense of others, the experience we recognize as our reality. A lot of that reality is ‘shared reality’ in large part because of the same language. Language is a kind of encoding, and decoding, system. We use words, spoken and printed, to convey experience, ideas, concepts, information. We also use visual images to convey the same. Visual symbols carry a lot of power. Even language is composed of visual symbols, the letters, which make up printed, and spoken, words, associated with sounds, and sights, and feelings.

We typically refer to physical gestures we make, which are visual images, both obvious and subtle, as body language or non-verbal behavior. The term non-verbal behavior is non-descriptive. It is like saying the sky is not green. But, what it is it? The sky is blue; non verbal behavior, or gestures, is visual communication. It is sight. Words, images, behaviors are all used in communication. Behaviors, from slumped in a chair with depression to ecstatic acting out in mania, is communication. We communicate with others, and within ourselves, using language, primarily composed of words and pictures. Words and pictures makes up the bulk of our thinking. Thinking is using words and pictures to define and give meaning to our sensory experience.

The sensorium, the collection of different senses, is composed of the 5 channels we are all familiar with: sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. The content of our sensorium, our raw sensory experience, through these basic 5 channels, is the material we use to build our reality, through codification, with language. One of our more sensational channels in the sensorium is touch, and body feelings, technically referred to as ‘kinaesthetics.’ Our kinaesthetic experiences are preverbal. We feel sensation before we describe it. A child of 1 year feels a lot, and has no auditory or visual representations for it, yet. We codify our kinaesthetic feelings with words, and pictures. In some cases, those feelings are so intense, or so sublime, they cannot adequately be codified by language; they cannot be expressed; they are ineffable, inexpressible.

Mental health is a poorly understood term; but then, so is health, and so is mental. We typically think of health as the absence of disease when in fact it is so much more than that. To say a person has gone mental is to suggest they have lost their mind, when in fact it could mean they have gained insight, understanding or have had a transformational breakthrough, what is sometimes called ‘metanoia,’ which is kind of like a ‘new mind.’ We use the term mind a lot, not really knowing what it does, how it works. Learning a bit about how we use language within ourselves, and with others, can help us understand the relationship between mind and body, mental and physical, because the language we use on ourselves, and with others, does influence state of mind, which does have influence over state of body, just as state of body has influence over state of mind. The language we use on ourselves can generate hormones in the blood, just as seeing somebody bleeding generates self talk.

We use words a lot, perhaps too much; that undercurrent of self-talk chatter is actively interpreting and evaluating and commenting upon sensory experience of sights, sounds, feelings, smells, tastes, situations, contexts. Kinaesthetic sensations, ie,, the sense of touch and body feelings, as one of the sensorium channels, is often overshadowed by sight and sound but may at times be more valid than conclusions arrived at through the more visual and auditory processes. There is a lot of ‘body intelligence’ that communicates through kinaesthetic sensations. How does one talk about kinaesthetic sensations, ie, feelings, in, and on, the body, using language? How do we incorporate kinaesthetics into our self talk, and into our thinking, more consciously? How do we invite feeling into thinking?

Mental health is contained in language; it is about how language organizes the content of the sensorium in a way that is coherent, comprehensive and wholistic, or not so, in which case, dis-ease and dis-comfort would be expected. The sensorium is somewhat like a complex woven tapestry of many threads in many colors with shifting scenes, sights and sounds and smells and tastes, and feeling, like a living garment, woven day by day, hour by hour, by our own thinking and use of language; a web, if you will, in which we are entangled, by thought and language, trying to get out, to understand, to know. In a crazy world in which we drive on parkways and park on driveways, language can have us parking in the street,or driving in the park, just as it can also have us drive well on the highway and park comfortably at home.

The Ayurvedic Approach to Breast Health

The Ayurvedic Approach to Breast Health

Like all tissues and organs in the human body, the female breasts are multidimensional in function. Their most recognized function is as exocrine glands, producing breast milk for the newborn, a function common to all mammalian species. Given the multidimensional functions of the breasts, a discussion of breast health approaches could be complex. Therefore, in this article we will limit our discussion to what women can do from the Ayurvedic perspective to reduce their chances of developing the most dangerous of breast diseases: breast cancer.

First let’s briefly review some simple breast anatomy. Mammary glands are basically highly modified and specialized sebaceous glands which derive from embryonic ectoderm. The adult breast consists of glandular tissue, adipose tissue (fat cells), nerves, blood vessels and lymphatics. Anatomically it overlies the pectoralis major muscle and is anchored to the pectoralis fascia by suspensory ligaments known as Cooper’s ligaments (not shown). The breast contains about 15 to 25 lobes formed by groups of “milk glands”, or lobules. Each lobule is composed of hollow milk producing acini (also called alveoli), and feeds into a milk duct leading to the nipples. The ducts converge near the areola, the darker area round the nipple, to form ampullae or milk storage cavities. Around the areola are small glands known as Montgomery’s glands which secrete an oily substance that protects the nipples during nursing. Lymph nodes within the breast drain into the axillary lymph nodes in the armpit-the first place to which breast cancer will typically metastasize.

What Is Breast Cancer? The Western View

Cancer is fundamentally a disease of failure of regulation of tissue growth. In order for a normal cell to transform into a cancer cell, the genes which regulate cell growth and differentiation must be altered. A gene is a specific sequence of DNA at a specific location within a specific chromosome. Only 5-10% of breast cancers are inherited; the vast majority is due to sporadic, acquired mutations.

The affected genes are divided into two broad categories. Oncogenes are genes which promote cell growth and reproduction. Tumor suppressor genes are genes which inhibit cell division and survival. Malignant transformation can occur through the formation of abnormal oncogenes, the inappropriate over-expression of normal oncogenes, or by the under-expression or complete arrest of tumor suppressor genes. Typically, changes in many genes are required to transform a normal cell into a cancer cell.

Large-scale mutations involve a deletion or gain of a portion of a chromosome. Gene amplification occurs when a cell gains many copies (often 20 or more) of a small chromosomal locus, usually containing one or more oncogenes and adjacent genetic material. Translocation occurs when two separate chromosomal regions become abnormally fused, often at a distinct location. Disruption of a single gene may also result from integration of genomic material from a DNA virus or retrovirus, and resulting in the expression of viral oncogenes in the affected cell and its descendants, but this is not the case in breast cancer.

The transformation of normal breast cells into cancer is akin to a chain reaction caused by initial errors, which compound into more severe errors, each progressively allowing the cell to escape the controls that limit normal tissue growth. This renegade-like scenario causes an undesirable survival of the fittest, where the natural forces of evolution become distorted and work against the body’s design and harmonious order. If the rate of DNA damage exceeds the capacity of the cell to repair it, the accumulation of errors can overwhelm the cell and result in early senescence, apoptosis, or cancer. Once cancer has begun to develop, it uses the body’s own design to serve its own destructive and invasive purposes.

What Is Breast Cancer? The Ayurvedic View

The female breasts are predominantly Kapha organs, having a fatty nature and producing milk, a Kapha fluid. Breast cancer is a tridoshic (involving all three doshas) disorder of breast tissue. Causes are both hereditary and acquired; the acquired causes being physical, emotional, spiritual, and environmental. Breast cancer is ultimately caused by blockage and flow irregularities at both the gross and imperceptibly subtle levels of several srotamsi (channel systems).

Dietary and other physical factors can help to cause breast cancer, or to trigger the disease in one who already has the hereditary tendency. Breast cancer, like any malignant or degenerative disease, may be the result of prolonged wrong diet, wrong lifestyle, or prajnaparadha (mistake of the intellect). Wrong regimen leads first to accumulation of doshas, then in time to acute illnesses. If those illnesses are treated improperly, that is, if the excess doshas (the three body humors) are not expelled and ama (toxins) is not purified, then the imbalance is driven deeper, resulting in chronic complaints. If these chronic complaints in turn go untreated or are treated by suppressive methods without expelling doshas or cleansing ama, then the excess doshas will localize in the most toxic or most vulnerable tissue, in this case breast tissue, to create sannipatika gulma, a malignant tumor.

Cancer in Äyurveda is not seen as a discrete disease, but a milestone on the continuum of doshic aggravation, ama (toxic waste) accumulation, and srotodushti (channel blockage). A pernicious energy gains access to the individual through the diet, the emotions, the environment, or even the karmic-influenced internal momentum of one’s life. Although modern medicine has disproven any appreciable connection between fibrocystic breasts or fibroadenoma to breast cancer, Ayurveda considers both of these benign conditions to be stages in the breast cancer samprapti. Cancer is a deepening pattern of internal disconnection from the body-mind’s greater intelligence which eventually begins to exhibit its own warped purpose, momentum, and direction.

Importance of Srotamsi (Channels of Circulation) in Breast Cancer

The entire fifth chapter of the Vimanasthana Section of the Charaka Samhita is devoted to the detailed description of the srotamsi and their importance in health and disease. The body and mind contains a large number of srotas or channels through which the basic tissue elements, doshas, and malas circulate. These channels are called srotas (plural srotamsi). Srotas, meaning channels or pores, are present throughout the visible body as well as at the “invisible” or subtle level of the cells, molecules, atoms, and subatomic strata. It is through these channels that nutrients and other substances are transported in and out of our physiology. It is also through these channels that information and intelligence spontaneously flow. When the flow of appropriate nutrients and energies through these channels is unimpeded, there is health; when there is excess, deficiency, or blockage in these channels disease can take root.

The channels are, to a certain extent, similar to the different physiological systems of Western medicine (e.g. arteries, veins, nerves, digestive tract, etc.) but also contain subtler energies comparable to the meridian system of Chinese medicine.

The movements of energy in all srotamsi are directly influenced by stimuli that arise in the mind, which are conveyed by the Vata energy. Hence mental disturbances, both conscious and unconscious, can cause disorders in any of the channels.

Excessive or deficient mental activity can cause excess or deficient flow in the channels of the body. Emotional outbursts or lack of mental control have effects that are analogous to surges in the channels of the physical body and can produce such conditions as in strokes, heart attacks, hyperventilation, tremors, etc.

Stanya vaha srota, which consists of the milk-producing apocrine cells of the lobules, the related pituitary hormones (i.e. prolactin), the ducts, ampullae, and nipple, is the main srota involved in breast cancer.

Artava vaha srotas, which consists of the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, their hormones (i.e. estrogen, progesterone), secretions and connective tissues and related pituitary hormones (i.e. FSH, LH) all belong to artava vaha srotas–the channels carrying out female reproductive functions. The breasts are also included in this system.

Each lunar cycle between menarche and menopause, the proliferation of epithelial cells lining the breast’s lobular acini (increasing from one to two layers) occurs during the luteal phase. The breast epithelium, unlike the endometrium of the uterus, cannot be shed at the end of the cycle; regression at the end of the cycle is by apoptosis (self-programmed cell death). The apoptotic residue (ama) is plentiful within the lumens toward the late luteal phase of the cycle. Efficient removal of this material is essential for the breast tissue to remain healthy and vital.

Samprapti (Pathogenesis)

Due to uncorrected exposure for a sufficient period of time to nidanas–internal and external causes of doshic vitiation–(a few common examples described below), the doshas can become aggravated and begin a sequence of pathological steps culminating in the creation of a disease state. The term “samprapti” (from the root “Ap” to cause, arrive, reach or obtain; “sam” conjunction, union, intensity, completeness) refers to this sequence of doshic-related pathology triggered by one or more nidanas (causes). Let us consider a brief explanation of this sequence.

First, one or more doshas begins to accumulate somewhere in the body and soon becomes vitiated (aggravated). Next, the aggravated dosha spills over and begins to spread. In the case of breast cancer, it may enter the stanya vaha srota or another associated srota. When it reaches a vulnerable or somewhat weakened area or organ of the body, it will stagnate there and begin to mix with and disturb the structure and function of the local tissues including sometimes cellular DNA. The tissues of the body, when spoken of in their healthy state are of course called the dhatus; however when we speak of these same tissues with regard to their mixing with vitiated doshas, we always refer to the tissues as dushyas.

This dosha-dusyas sammurcchana is the actual disease process (sammurcchana means “interaction”). The interaction of the doshas and dushyas, together with the specific effect from the site or organ involved (adhisthana) leads to the development first of specific prodromal features, and then of the main symptoms, of a disease. Involvement of primarily Kapha might result in a fibrocystic breast condition; predominantly Kapha-Vata vitiation might lead eventually to fibroadenoma; Pitta-Vata can be associated with mastitis and other inflammatory states; Tridoshic vitiation can ultimately produce cancer. Left untreated the disease will evolve its unique set of complications and can reach a stage where it is no longer curable by any means.

Ayurvedic Prevention and Treatment Approach

The essence of the Ayurvedic approach is beautifully summed up in one of its well-known statements, “Avert the danger from illness before it arrives”. This terse directive emphasizes the importance of correcting imbalances while still in their earliest stages and hence very remediable. Ayurveda accomplishes this goal through health programs uniquely tailored to the idiosyncratic characteristics of each individual. It celebrates our individual uniqueness while recognizing our universal Oneness. It is through our uniquely developed human consciousness, which among other capacities, affords us the enormous power of choice, that we can influence our health. The positive and negative health effects of those choices have been understood by Ayurvedic sages for thousands of years.

It must be stated at the outset of this section that, based on current level of available Ayurvedic knowledge, Ayurveda has no place as a primary treatment for any form of breast cancer. Ayurvedic treatment for breast cancer are useful as complementary therapy in order reduce side effects and sometimes bring about a more comprehensive response to conventional treatment. Ayurvedic medicines main strength is as a strategy to prevent the initial disease or its recurrence and to prolong survival.

That being said, current research is advancing towards a rational use of Ayurveda as a primary intervention. Specifically, the methanolic leaf extract of Ashwagandha leaf (Withania somnifera) was demonstrated to restore normal p53 function in tumor cells bearing mutated copies. p53 is a tumor suppressor protein which causes either the complete destruction of cells which have irreparably damaged and abnormal DNA or to temporarily arrest cell replication so that the DNA repair mechanisms can repair the damage. Once repaired p53 then allows the cell to duplicate. How p53 chooses cell destruction or arrest is unknown; it is commonly called the “guardian angel” of the cell.

It should be noted that today all breast cancer patients should be under the regular care and supervision of a medical oncologist.

Practical Choices That Matter

The Ayurvedic approach to breast health centers on diet, detoxification, lifestyle and exercise, mental health, environment and herbal preparations. Additionally, both ancient and current Ayurvedic physicians also emphasize early detection. Self examination of breasts, regular breast examinations by health care professionals and mammograms if clinically warranted are the methods.

Diet

One of Ayurveda’s great recognitions is that the body and mind naturally proceed in the direction of balance and, in fact, are designed to achieve and maintain balance and vibrant health. The systems and organs that make possible this remarkable state of physical and mental well-being, and the intelligence which directs them all, exist in all of us from birth. Cancerous changes show that, despite this inherent healthy tendency, there is an imbalance of the tri-dosha with toxins. Food is the foundation of the tissue formation process and health itself. Here are some of the more important Ayurvedic recommendations.

i. First and foremost, choose foods according to either your constitutional type or your primary doshic imbalance, if known. This will help match your diet to your agni (digestive fire). Your physician may alternatively instruct you to eat according to the seasons if you are already in a balanced state of health. Eat organic foods whenever possible.

ii. Construct a diet which reduces ama formation. A predominantly vegetarian diet of foods that are light, warm, and cooked will do this. Freshly prepared dals and soups, organic vegetables prepared with fresh spices, whole grains such as basmati rice, barley, and amaranth, and freshly made flat-breads are ideal.

iii. Include organic cooked prunes, figs, apples, pears, pineapple, papaya, and cooked leafy greens, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage (cruciferous vegetables) in your diet. These foods provide fiber, antioxidants, and detoxifying effects.There is also a burgeoning body of evidence that curcumin, a component of turmeric, has breast cancer protective effects.

iv. Avoid foods that create body ama, including leftovers; packaged, canned, and frozen foods; foods grown with chemicals, GMO’s, pesticides and chemical fertilizers.

v. Restrict the intake of alcoholic beverages of all kinds.

vi. Visceral (abdominal) adiposity contributes to the risk for estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer in premenopausal women.

Detoxification

As discussed above, ama-along with agni and the srotamsi–has tremendous importance in the manifestation of breast cancer. Ama is principally the result of the initial ahara rasa (nutrient juices) not being completely digested in the amashaya (small intestines) due to abnormal jatharagni. Ama then enters the srotamsi where it causes srotodushti (pathology of the srota) leading to srotorodha (obstruction). This results in an abnormal or arrested flow of doshas, nutrients and wastes.

The doshas thus retained can extravasate out of the srota and penetrate the surrounding dhatus (now called dushyas). The site where this interaction occurs (dosha-dushya sammurcchana) is the site where disease is initiated. If the impairment to the srotas can be prevented or reversed, disease will be averted.

In Ayurveda breast cancer primarily involves the channels of the female breasts and of the reproductive system and are called the Stanya Vaha Srotas and Artava Vaha Srotas, respectively. They include all the reproductive tissue, breasts, hormones and all secretions including breast milk. Keeping these channels clear of ama and all toxins is essential. The Mano Vaha Srotas, channels of the mind, are also involved. Proper diet, lifestyle, exercise, emotional health and select Ayurvedic herbs all help however a regular comprehensive detoxification procedure is also advised. It forms the foundation of preventive health in the Ayurvedic view and is often an important part of the treatment protocol for diseases which have already occurred.

Vulnerable Breasts on a Chemical Planet

Besides the assault from endogenous toxins (ama), exogenous toxins also have a grave effect on breast health. As a consequence of decades of uncontrolled environmental pollution with persistent organic pollutants (POP’s), the contamination of human milk has become widespread. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), DDT and its metabolites, dioxins, dibenzofurans, phthalates, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), and heavy metals are among the toxic chemicals most often found in breast milk. Whether she is pregnant or not, these and many other chemical pose a tremendous risk to the female breast. This is because POP’s are fat-soluble “lipophilic” (i.e. affinity for fat) chemicals which undergo bio-accumulation and concentration over time in the breast fatty tissue. The positive news is that POP’s can be significantly removed from their sites of accumulation through regular periods of panchakarma detoxification therapies.

Ayurveda states in the Ashtanga Hridayam Sutrasthanam IV/25-26:

“Exhaustive effort should be made to radically expel the malas (doshas and metabolic wastes) at the right times. Uncorrected accumulation will verily result in aggravation and cut short life itself.” “Doshas which are subdued by langhana and pachana therapies can inevitably become re-aggravated, but those which are radically expelled by samshodhana (purification) therapies will not become deranged again.” (italics added)

Lifestyle and Exercise: Balancing the Doshas

Scientific evidence suggests about 30% of all 572,000 cancer deaths (39,500 due to breast cancer) expected in 2011 will be related to being obese or overweight, inadequate physical inactivity or errors in nutrition and thus are preventable.

It is clear that only about 30-40% of all breast cancer cases can be traced to identifiable genes or a familial tendency. Of those, 5 to 10 percent of women have inherited defective breast cancer genes, the most common being BRCA1 or BRCA2. The remainder have forms of breast cancers in their families that involve several genes.

That leaves 60-70% caused by unknown factors. Some are environmental–toxins we breathe, drink, touch or are exposed to in some way. The biggest risk factors are simply being a woman (<1 percent breast cancers occur in men) and getting older (risk increases after age 50). We can’t change that, but we can change our lifestyles. The best recommendations are these six:

-Avoid hormone replacement therapy -Improve your diet -Exercise regularly -Follow good detection strategies -Maintain good body weight -Consume less or no alcohol

Mental Health

The state of one’s mental health is a direct reflection of how we think, feel and act as we face different life experiences. Our mental health determines how we handle emotional stress, relate to others and make choices. It is the emotional and spiritual resilience (atati shakti) which enables us to achieve happiness and to survive pain, sorrow and disappointment. Normal mental health instinctively creates an underlying belief in one’s self-worth, and in the dignity and worth of other human beings and all life forms. Psycho-social-spiritual stress can play a role in breast health. To refresh the mind Ayurveda suggests the classical mental balancing and rejuvenation techniques described in Patanjali’s system of Raja Yoga. Because there are eight aspects in the Raja Yoga path to enlightenment, it is also known as Ashtanga Yoga (eight-limbed). Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras begins with the statement yoga cittavritti nirodhah (I/2), “Yoga is for the restraint of the activities of the mind”. They proceed to describe the ways in which mind can create false ideas and understandings, and details the eight steps that can taken to escape from the unreal.

Meditation techniques have been shown in numerous research studies to positively influence the physiology. The regular practice of yoga postures (asanas), breath control techniques (pranayama), and dhyana (meditation) is the most effective way to relieve anxiety, depression and emotional stress, according to Ayurvedic tradition. Although the mechanism by which meditation helps re-establish mental health is not clear, we do know that these techniques provide periods of profound sensory and cognitive rest. The regular dissociation of the senses from their sense objects and the withdrawal of the attention within appears to release deep-rooted stresses that have lodged in the structure, chemistry and energetic matrix of the mind-body.

Herbal Medicines

Ayurvedic herbal medicine regimens are not conceived using the model of a specific drug to neutralize or suppress a specific symptom or disease (allopathic model). In fact, successful treatment depends on rational and logical actions of a mixture of plant substances coupled with the incomprehensible healing intelligence of Nature. The intention of herbal treatment, like all forms of Ayurvedic therapies, is to up-regulate the innate healing capacity of the human being. Herbal treatment may be categorized according to the following scheme which forms a sequence for the prevention of any disease including breast cancer and also for the treatment of many diseases.

1. Separation of Dosha and Dushya (Sammurcchana Bhanga)

2. Autodigestion of Ama (Ama pacana)

3. Clearing of the Srotasmi (Shroto Vishodhana)

4. Optimization of Agni (Dipanagni)

5. Strengthening of Immunity (Vyadhi Kshamatva)

Separation of Dosha and Dushya (Sammurcchana Bhanga)

The initial action which must be taken in the treatment of disease is the separation of the vitiated dosha from the dushya. Since many on the subsequent steps in treating disease are strong measures aimed at the doshas, if separation of the healthy tissue is not achieved first, these treatments can and will harm the tissues and the associated srotas and vital organs. The degraded dosha and the affected tissue or organ becomes joined together like the milk fats and ghee are joined together in milk. And just as we heat the milk in order to separate the ghee from the milk fats, the herbal substances which accomplish the separation of dosha from dushya (a process called sammurchana bhanga) have the following gunas: hot (ushna), sharp (tikshna), penetrating (sukshma), rapid onset (vyavam), purifying (punanam), destructive (nashita), and separating (viyujate).

The following herbal and herbomineral medicines have the action of separating dosha and dushya. This list is by no means complete. Please note that many of these medicines can be toxic and cause

adverse reactions. They should therefore only be given for short courses and only under expert supervision.

Terminalia arjuna

Trailokya Rasa Chintamani

Datura metal Boswellia serrata

Aconitum ferox Tamra Bhasma

Strychnos nux vomica Heerak Bhasma

Semicarpus anacardium Holarrhena antidysenterica

Abhrak Bhasma Embelia ribes

Autodigestion of Ama (Ama pacana)

The operative principle behind the reversal and removal of ama is to temporarily stop providing nutrition to those parts of the body which we wish to purge of ama. In clinical application, this is achieved most readily, not with herbal medicines, but rather through fasting. Fasting is advocated as a bona fide approach for the removal of ama when found to be present or to prevent its formation. Like any other therapy, it is prescribed and supervised by an experienced physician.

During the fasting period, no new nutritive substances are available to the digestive system. Therefore the jathara agni and various dhatvagnis are utilized for the digestion of the accumulated ama. The fasting period can be as short as one or two days, or may extend for up to two weeks under medical supervision. There are several herbs and formulations which have been found to be effective in supporting and augmenting ama pacana:

Zingiber officinalis, Terminalia chebula, Tinospora cordifolia, Terminalia bellerica, Berberis aristata, Coriandrum sativum, Piper longum, Alpinia galangal.

Clearing of the Srotasmi (Shroto Vishodhana)

Whereas ama pacana is effective in transforming and liquefying the waste materials in the tissues,

the process known as shroto vishodhana draws these substances out of the tissues and into the appropriate channels of elimination (i.e. Stanya Vaha Srota). In addition, this process initiates movement in the proper direction in the srotasmi for the expulsion of the wastes. This stage requires that no matter what the primary doshic imbalance may be (Vata, Pitta, or Kapha), the Vata dosha needs to be in a balanced state. Thus is because Vata dosha is what creates movement of the wastes. A balanced Vata dosha moves the wastes in the proper and natural direction.

Medicines which act on the rasa, rakta, mamsa, meda, and sukra dhatus and their corresponding srotas are used in promoting breast health. These medicines will promote the elimination of doshas from the tissues without harming the tissues and include:

Holharrhina antidysentrica, Cissampelos pareira, Tricosanthe dioica, Cyperus rotundus, Picrorrhiza kurroa, Azadirachta indica, Hemidesmus indicus, Triphala, Piper nigrum, Acorus calamus, Curcuma longa, Aegle marmelos.

In addition to these herbal medicines, anuvasana bastis (oil-based enemata) or often administered during this phase to promote the proper flow of Vata dosha in the srotas. Also there are specialized techniques of breast massage which are performed with specific oils (i.e. Narayana, Vishagarbha, Chandanbala Laxadi) and can be taught to patient to perform at home.

Optimization of Agni (Dipanagni)

There is not a single biological process occurring within our bodies and mind which does not depend on agni. Our intelligence, awareness, energy, appearance, perception, immunity, and life itself is kindled by its power. There are thirteen forms of agni as we have outlined earlier. The most important is jathara agni–which presides over and creates all the others. Any disturbance in jathara agni will result in incomplete and improper digestion and the formation of ama. Some of the herbal medicines which help to stimulate and balance the jatharagni and, indirectly, all the agnis of the body are as follows:

Gingiber officinalis

Piper longum

Piper nigrum

Cayenne pepper

Plumbago zeylanica

Strengthening of Immunity (Vyadhi Kshamatva)

The capacity to resist disease depends prominently on a substance known as ojas. Ojas is formed from the best and purest parts of each of the seven bodily dhatus; it is said to be the quintessence of human tissue metabolism. Like bees make honey by gathering the essence of several species of flowers, ojas is formed from the saptadhatus. There are certain plant-medicines which increase ojas and are therefore called jīvanīya gana aushadhi, medicines which sustain Life. Some of these include:

Withania somnifera, Curculigo orchiodes, Asparagus racemosus Phaseolus trilobus Hemidesmus indicus Ocimum sanctum Tinospora cordifolia Eclipta alba Emblica officinalis Shilajitu

Glycerrhiza glabra Terminalia chebula

In addition, medicines like Triphala Guggulu, Kanchnaar Guggulu, Arogyavardhini, Maha-manjishthadi kwath, Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Gokshur (Tribulus terrestris) as well as the two most renowned Ayurvedic compound preparations Triphala and Chywanprash are used on a long term basis to prevent recurrence.

Medicines like Medhohar-Guggulu, Chandraprabha-Vati, and Trivang-Bhasma are also used according to the presentation of symptoms.

To prevent or reduce side effects from chemotherapy and radiation therapy, Ashwagandha, Shatavari, Kamadudha, Shankhbhasma vati, Laghu sutshekhar vati and Shunthi (Zinziber officinale) can be used.

Patwardhan and Gautum5 summarize the results of preclinical studies on the cytoprotective potential of W. somnifera and its constituents. They include reports on the inhibition of breast and colon cancer cell lines compared to doxorubicin after the administration of withaferin A and an increase in the response to radio-resistant tumors when radiotherapy is combined with withaferin A treatment, among others studies.

Triphala is an Ayurvedic herbal rasayana formula consisting of equal parts of three myrobalan fruits: Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Bibhitaki (Terminalia bellirica), and Haritaki (Terminalia chebula). Rasayana preparations are adaptogens and can be taken for life without fear of side effects. Triphala was recently found to dose-dependently induce apoptosis in human breast cell cancer lines (MCF-7) and mouse thymic lymphoma (barcl-95). Treatment did not affect neither normal human breast epithelial and peripheral blood mononuclear cells nor mouse liver and spleen cells. Direct oral feeding of triphala to mice (40 mg/kg for 13 days) resulted in significantly (P < 0.05) reduced tumor growth and more than three times higher levels of apoptosis in excised tumor tissue. According to the researchers, increases in intracellular reactive oxygen species appeared to be involved with induced cytotoxicity, supporting the hypothesis that the antioxidant effect of triphala fruits is at least partly responsible for this anticancer activity (Sandhya et al.)6.

Chywanprash

Oxygen radicals are continuously generated within our cells. This is a result of normal breathing which creates something called hydroxyl radicals. These molecules damage your DNA, producing the mutations that initiate and sustain health issues later on. Studies suggest that a diet that is rich in antioxidants may help to support breast health. This has led to the current nutritional recommendation that we all should consume at least five portions of fruits or vegetables each day.

Chyawanprash is significantly more powerful than other single antioxidant; it is up to 1,000 times more effective per dose than comparable amounts of Vitamin C and Vitamin E in scavenging free radicals and preventing damage to the body. It provides full-spectrum, super-antioxidant power. Traditional literature states that Chywanprash improves cardiovascular and neurological functioning, reduces toxicity of the dhatus, improves immunity, balances emotions, and improves mental clarity.

Conclusion

All matter is energy vibrating at different rates. The fundamental state of the universe contains all possible forms of undifferentiated matter (i.e. energy) vibrating in coherent harmony. Human beings, because we are a part of the natural universe, also have a fundamental vibration that harmonizes with the rest of the creation. Illness, including cancer, is a manifestation of disharmony which arises in the individual’s core vibration due to stress, environmental changes, emotional distress, physical injury, dietary indiscretion, or an infinite number of physical, mental, or spiritual factors. Healing is therefore initiated by restoring the normal vibratory state to the individual as a whole and to the vulnerable or diseased body part. The Ayurvedic therapies mentioned in this paper are not the only methods available from this comprehensive science, but will help us begin to understand how our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters can keep their bodies free from toxins and impurities and their immunity high even in modern times and thus avert the scourge of breast cancer.

How Have These Famous Health Channels Crafted Their Health Logo Designs?

Branding is important for TV channels. Their logo designs reflect the true essence of their business.

Let’s have a look how these famous TV channels have designed their health logo designs:

1. Food network:
This TV channel airs shows about food, cooking and healthy life style. It was launched in 1993 and is owned by Scripps Network and Tribune. During this time, their brand mark has seen quite a few alterations. Their initial emblem as crafted with green colored italic fonts with a circle behind the business name. This design was used from 1996 till 2002. Their current trademark is much more attractive and energetic. It consists of a red colored circle with the channel name inscribed in it. The text in the circle is white colored with italic effects that makes it imaginative and sophisticated. Overall, the design is chic and elegant.

2. BBC – Lifestyle:
This channel was first launched in 2007 in Singapore and is owned by BBC Worldwide. Although it replaced BBC Food, it still caters to the same audience and the programs aired here are related to food and fitness. Their monogram consists of the traditional BBC mark in black and white colors with the word ‘lifestyle’ crafted in thick and straight fonts under it. The text is created with fonts that are easily readable and slightly curvy that makes them sophisticated and comfortable. The use of black and white colors for the emblem makes it ageless and chic. The white background makes it clean and compact.

3. Care world:
This is Asia’s only satellite channel dedicated towards physical condition and wellness. Compared to other monograms, it is quite colorful and attractive. It consists of the business name written in straight and thick fonts over a blue background. There is an image of a square with four colors; green, red, blue and yellow that adds colors to the entire image. The entire image is encased in a rectangular shape that encourages trust and dependability amongst the viewers.

4. Discovery Fit & Health
Discovery Fit & Health channel is owned by Discovery Communications. This channel is a merger of Discovery Health Channel and FitTv. It was launched in 2011. Their cardinal health logo is written in white colored text on a bright orange background. The channel name is enclosed in a square shape with text of different sizes. Although this is a daughter channel of Discovery, there is hardly any resemblance to the parent channel. This emblem is a little funky and informal. The use of orange color makes it energetic and lively. Overall, this emblem is a perfect design to represent good physical condition and fitness.

In a nutshell, this shows that these monograms were crafted to reflect the true essence of the business.

Beverly Houston works as a Senior Design Consultant at a Professional Logo Design Company. For more information on health logo find her competitive rates at Logo Design Consultant.