Unlike any other organ, the breast does most of its development well after birth, having to fully build itself from scratch during puberty. And then, if a woman is pregnant, the breast constructs and deconstructs again under the influence of pregnancy hormones, when the glands grow milk-producing structures.
Due to this sensitivity to hormonal change, breasts are an easy ‘target’ for environmental toxins and chemical compounds, which often imitate hormones such as oestrogen.
After I was diagnosed with an oestrogen receptive breast cancer and had a mastectomy, I wanted to make a positive change to my lifestyle and started looking into preventative health. I realised that a healthy diet would be a good first step. But nutritional information is a minefield of contradictions and it took me a lot of research and confidence to decide what works for me.
Reports on possible links between dairy consumption and breast cancer contradict each other, but I understood that hormones found in full milk fat could be connected with the role that oestrogen can play in the development and reoccurrence of breast cancer.
I also learnt that although milk is the ideal food for infants, as people get older many lose their ability to digest it fully and dairy can cause our bodies to become acidified.
Nobel Laureate Otto Warburg already demonstrated in the 1930s that alkalised bodies are healthy oxygenated bodies, opposed to acidic bodies, which are prone to degeneration and oxygen deprivation (which can contribute to the promotion of diseases such as cancer).
To achieve an optimal, more alkaline environment, I decided to cut out dairy and wheat and stick to a mainly plant based diet with some fish. I prefer to take my dietary fat from sources like avocados and olive oil rather than from milk.
The Thai artist Pinaree Sanpitak’s approach to food is much more poetic and light hearted than mine though; With her Breast Stupa Cookery project (2005-ongoing) Sanpitak simply asks people all over the world to use the breast stupa shaped cooking moulds made in cast aluminium and glazed terracotta to produce edible creations. ‘Food becomes the medium of connection and hopefully can mend and blur all boundaries’. (see photos above)
I learnt a lot about food at the Breast Cancer Haven, which provides free complementary therapies including Nutritional Therapy for anyone affected by breast cancer and runs Healthy Fast Food Workshops. www.breastcancerhaven.org.uk
The Hello Beautiful Foundation is a UK based Cancer prevention charity which highlights the benefits of living a healthy Non-Toxic Lifestyle, an experience that starts with mindfulness and extends into nutrition and social responsibility. www.hellobeautiful.org