Moving Past Fear

Moving Past Fear

OK, I made a few New Year resolutions.  Did you?  One of the major areas for me to look at and deal with surrounds FEAR!  Yes, fear is real at the time you’re feeling it or even thinking about it.  But, often times when we break it down, the fear isn’t “real”, but a figment of our imagination.  Wow, now that’s deep so let me delve further.

I am usually a real outgoing person.  Send me into a party, and I can go up to anyone and begin a conversation, no problem.  But, put me up in front of a room full of people where I am the speaker, and all of a sudden my heart begins beating fast, my hands get sweaty and I may forget my speech!  Not pretty at all.  When I look at this fear, it doesn’t have any foundation.  The audience isn’t going to hurt me at all, but my mind goes places it shouldn’t go, such as imagined concerns.  These imagined concerns keep me frozen in time and space and so I never pursue speaking engagements.  Last year I hired a speaking coach and worked on my mind-set.  And, once I changed my thinking from FEAR to thinking that all these people were truly interested in the information I was sharing with them, everything changed.  My FEARs subsided and I’ll be speaking in 2019! 

Another FEAR I have is being “seen” on FB Live or on videos.  Well, there is another irrational FEAR.  So this year, with some coaching and help, I will be doing both of those.  I am facing my FEARS and moving through them.  It doesn’t mean I am FEARLESS at all, but I now have confidence and assurance.  I feel really good about this, even though part of me thinks I’m crazy.  I am moving past my “comfort” zone and I’m kind of excited about all of it! 

What FEARS do you have?  I was just talking to a client and she shared with me that initially she was afraid, fearful of taking this test and finding out that she might be at risk of getting ER+ breast cancer.  I can understand that to a certain degree.  If someone were to just tell me that I was at risk of any disease and then just leave me hanging there without any answers or solutions, I’d say “no thank you”!  Who would want to know and then worry all the time – not me!  But, here’s the scoop.  With this test you find out “if” there is a problem, and then you’re given the SOLUTION!  Problem solved!  Now that’s what I’m talking about!  So, really her FEAR didn’t have any foundation.  And once she discovered she would have solutions if there were any problems, she was all IN!  She moved through her FEAR and is very grateful.  And she shared, “To be honest, my real FEAR was that I’d know my risk without getting solutions”.  Knowing your risk and knowing your solutions should bring comfort and assurance to everyone.  It sure did for her and all the others who have stepped forward and taken this test.  And as she said, “ I feel a lot more powerful knowing I can prevent getting ER+ breast cancer and that brings me complete peace of mind”.

POWER. PREVENTION. PEACE OF MIND.

Donna McIntosh, MS, CHFS

Happy New Year 2019

Happy New Year 2019

Wow, another year has come and gone. It seems each year is going faster and faster, so I just hang on, take charge when I can, and keep going! Every New Year brings many wishes for a Happy year. I like that, but what I like to encourage clients and others is to have a Healthy New Year. I find that when people are Healthy, they tend to be Happy.  Now, what are you going to do differently in 2019 to be healthy? And please don’t say, “I wish . . .” because wishing is just that – to desire, to want. Not good enough in my book. A strong declaration is needed with specific goals and steps.  I’ve found that most women don’t think about BREAST health when they make their New Year’s Health Declarations. With over 252,710 women in the United States being diagnosed with breast cancer every year (692 per day) and over 41,000 dying each year, I think breast health needs to be in the top 2. Wherever I go and talk about breast cancer prevention, there are always women there who have personally battled breast cancer, or have a friend who has breast cancer, or knows someone friend/family who has died from breast cancer. This is just unacceptable in my book when there are ways to actually prevent breast cancer. 

Breast cancer prevention is possible. With 80% of all breast cancers being Estrogen driven, why wouldn’t you take a DNA test to see how your liver is breaking down and eliminating Estrogen? This test is so simple and done in the privacy of your own home with 2 swabs of your inner cheek (just like on the CSI shows)! You mail it back in an envelope provided by the lab and 6 weeks later, results and solutions are available. Now that’s what I’m talking about! Power, Prevention, Peace of Mind! 

When most women think of breast cancer prevention they mention mammograms. Please, this is NOT prevention. This is detection after you already have breast cancer. How can that be prevention? When I went to my doctor 3 years ago asking him how I could prevent getting breast cancer because I had intense, shooting breast pain, he simply stated that I needed to keep getting my mammograms. REALLY? As a nutritionist, I knew I was eating really well about 80% of the time. What was I missing? Well, when I heard about Genomic testing and how it showed your liver’s ability to break down Estrogen properly so that it could be eliminated via sweat, feces or urine, I was intrigued. But when I discovered that they also gave you real solutions to override your errant genes, I was standing up and clapping for the speaker (I was at a nutritional conference at the time). I jumped at the chance to get signed up and get tested and what I found was amazing. I had several genes missing, several genes misbehaving and several just hanging around not doing their job. But, once I discovered what I needed to do to talk to these genes and get them back on course and applied the solutions with tenacity, my breast pain of 20+ years disappeared in 3 weeks. My thermograms went from being red-orange and angry with lots of inflammation, to cool blues and purples with no inflammation. I’m telling you, this test works! 

Do not become one of the statistics of breast cancer. Especially when this test is available. Genomic testing is being done on breast cancer tumors to see what drugs can be used to kill the cancer. Well, why not use this genomic test to prevent getting the breast tumor in the first place?? I have met women who have had radical mastectomies, women who have had lumpectomies, radiation and chemotherapy. None of them are the same afterwards. Their lives are changed forever. However, most of them were like you, thinking that they would never get breast cancer and therefore, didn’t have any action plans for keeping their breasts healthy. The other day, one of my clients stated, “You’d have to be a Boob to pass up this test”. We laughed at the pun, but vowed to spread the word across the country and globe. Don’t’ be a victim, be proactive. Get in contact with me to get this test done and discover how you can change your breast health destiny! Remember these words: Power, Prevention, Peace of Mind. It doesn’t get any better! 

To Your Breast Health in 2019,

Donna McIntosh, MS, CHFS

Vitamin D: One of Your Heros in Breast Cancer Prevention

Vitamin D: One of Your Heros in Breast Cancer Prevention

We’ve all heard about the importance of vitamin D and it seems the “new” test is to check your vitamin D level.  OK, you think, I can do that someday and then you forget all about it.  So, this is just a gentle reminder to get it done.

What is the role of vitamin D?

Great question!  A lot of research has been done on this important nutrient in recent years.  Some powerful research has shown that daily intake of vitamin D by adults ranging between 4,000—8,000 IU’s are needed to maintain blood levels to reduce the risk by about half of breast cancer, colon cancer, multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes.  This is amazing people.

Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, which is essential for good bone health.  Vitamin D is also extremely important in your immune system.  It also helps your muscular and nervous systems to function correctly.  So, it has many functions when it comes to your health.

So, what is vitamin D??

Vitamin D is a steroid hormone that virtually influences every cell in your body.  Receptors that respond to vitamin D have been found in nearly every type of human cell from your bones to your brain.  And it is believed to be one of the most potent cancer fighters.  Many studies have indicated that optimizing your vitamin D levels could help you to prevent at least 16 different types of cancer including pancreatic, lung, ovarian, breast, prostate and skin cancers.  Research suggests that women with low levels of vitamin D may have a higher risk of breast cancer as vitamin D may play a role in controlling normal breast cell growth and may be able to stop breast cancer cells from growing.  Your organs can convert the vitamin D in your bloodstream into calcitriol, which is the hormonal or activated version of vitamin D.  Your organs will then use the calcitriol to repair damaged cells including damage from cancer cells and tumors.

Many alternative doctors are concerned that Americans simply are not getting enough vitamin D to maintain healthy bones, much less getting enough to fight off the diseases that vitamin D has been shown to cut the risk of in half.

WHAT DO DOCTORS RECOMMEND?

Most doctors will recommend that you get your vitamin D levels checked with a simple blood test.  This is a good beginning to be sure.  If your levels are low, there are these typical recommendations:

1. Your best source of vitamin D is exposure to the sun without sunblock on your skin until your skin turns the lightest shade of pink.  But, there are several variables that can affect how much vitamin D you’ll produce from sunlight such as: the darker the skin, the less vitamin D produced; the farther you live from the equator, the less vitamin D produced; and fewer daylight hours means you produce less vitamin D.  In the next paragraph, I let you in on my story about sunlight and vitamin D.

2. Take a vitamin D supplement.  And most don’t even tell you to take the D3 form of the vitamin, NOT the D2 form.  Notice how they rarely suggest eating foods that are naturally high in vitamin D.  Some foods rich in vitamin D are:  salmon, herring, oysters, sardines, pastured egg yolks, and steelhead trout to name a few.  Any “fortified” milk, orange juice and soymilk use synthetic vitamin D.  I always recommend eating natural foods.

This all sounds fairly logical, right?  However, what if you cannot convert sunlight into vitamin D?  What if your vitamin D receptor sites aren’t taking up vitamin D correctly?  These are all extremely important scenarios when it comes to your vitamin D levels and your ability to fight off breast cancer.  How can you test for this?  So glad you asked!!  This is one of the items we check for when we run your genomic test for ER+ breast cancer prevention.  We look closely at several nutrients and vitamin D is one of them.  For example, I found out that I could spend many hours of the day in the sun and my body wouldn’t convert any to vitamin D.  And I found out that my receptor sites on my cells that receive vitamin D weren’t readily receiving it.  You see how important it is to know this information?  I have always been an active, outdoor woman hiking, walking, bicycling and swimming.  All the time thinking I was getting enough vitamin D to take care of my bones and my breasts.  I was shocked when I learned that all that time spent in the sun didn’t change my protection from osteoporosis or breast cancer.

So, what did I do?  Well, the genomic test that I do with my clients (and myself) doesn’t just show you the problem, it gives you answers and solutions!  You read that right, it gives you solutions!!  I discovered that I had to take a very specific form of vitamin D to help my receptor sites absorb it more easily.  I NEVER would have known this information without taking this genomic test.  Now I just get my levels checked to make sure I am taking enough to help my immune system stay strong to help me fight many diseases – even breast cancer.  It is that simple, ladies.

Low vitamin D levels are serious.  Low levels can affect your susceptibility to many diseases such as breast cancer, cancer in general, diabetes, infertility, macular degeneration, obesity, arthritis and so many others.  If you learn you have low levels, you need to discover WHY your levels are low and HOW your body is processing vitamin D.  This genomic test is so simple, and gives you priceless information that can save you a lot of grief, money and even your life!  

Click HERE to get my “Healthy Tips for Healthy Tits” for more information on vitamin D.

Case Study

Case Study

I’ve had a lot of women contacting me regarding breast cancer prevention and genomic testing.  So, I’d like to present a CASE STUDY so that you can get a better understanding of what this genomic test can do for you in the 3 realms:  power, prevention and peace of mind!

Alicia is 67 years young and is in vibrant health and loving this stage of her life.  But 12 years ago, she lived in constant fear.  That’s when her mother died from estrogen receptor positive (ER+) breast cancer.

Alicia was informed that this type of breast cancer was not hereditary, so she didn’t have to worry and there was absolutely NOTHING she could do except to get her regular mammograms and live a healthy lifestyle.  Then, her sister was diagnosed with the same cancer.

With this family history of breast cancer, she felt she was just waiting for the inevitable to happen to her.  But, she didn’t want to live in fear, so she decided to seek a proactive approach.  Alicia was told that there was no definitive way to prevent this disease, but she did have an option to take medication that inhibited estrogen levels in her body.  As with many medications, it had significant potential side effects.  Alicia wanted to know if there were any other options, so researched the internet for months, looking for a different solution.

What she found completely changed her life.

Although BRACA1 and BRACA2, hereditary gene mutations, are the most well publicized causes of breast cancer, they only account for about 10% of all cases.  The majority of breast cancer is related to estrogen – about 80% of all cases, to be exact.  Estrogen can potentially cause breast cancer by stimulating growth of breast tissue that at some point can become cancerous.

Estrogen can also cause breast cancer when your liver does not metabolize it efficiently.  This can damage DNA directly.  This may be one of the main causes of breast cancer in postmenopausal women, and one that gives us great potential for prevention today using genomic medicine.

Alicia discovered this new science called genomics, and how it is being used to personalize prevention and treatment programs based on a person’s DNA.  Using genomic testing, personalized nutritional strategies can be created based on a person’s DNA to prevent ER+ breast cancer in women.  This is called Nutrigenomics.

Alicia learned from her genomic test results that she was indeed predisposed to ER+ breast cancer because of SNPs (snips), or small changes called single nucleotide polymorphisms, in genes related to the processing of estrogen in her body.  She also learned that even post-menopausal women produce estrogen and if the right combination of genes responsible for metabolizing this hormone is impaired, then according to the scientific literature, it can increase their breast cancer risk significantly.  Most importantly, Alicia was thrilled to learn she could DO something to reduce her risk without medication!!

Using her genomic data as a guide, and approaching her using a whole-person approach to her health, she received a personalized plan involving diet, stress management and nutritional supplements to better support her genes and the enzymes they produce.  And best of all, she could follow how that was working using biomarker testing and adjusting her regimen as needed.

Alicia became part of an ongoing study with Genoma co-founder, Dr. Joe Veltmann.  This group of more than 200 women was either at risk of ER+ breast cancer, or had been diagnosed and treated for ER+ breast cancer.  They all knew the odds:  one in six women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime, and on average 25% of women diagnosed and treated conventionally for ER+ breast cancer have a recurrence within 5 years, according to data from several research studies.  This group of women has been following individualized DNA-directed protocols for more than 12 years.  None of these women in either of the two groups has developed breast cancer or a recurrence of the disease.  They have all beaten the odds.

Alicia feels empowered by Genomic Medicine, knowing how to stay healthy because she has a proactive and individualized plan.  She no longer worries about what she believed to be her genetic destiny, and lives today without fearing she will suffer the same fate as her mother and sister.  Please go to my website to read MY STORY:  www.stopbreastcancernow.com.

Infertility and Estrogen

Infertility and Estrogen

At times it seems like yesterday when my first husband and I were desperately trying to have a baby.  I was 29 years old.  Then we were recommended to the only infertility doctor in the Phoenix area.  And I can honestly say, that we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.  The roller coaster of tests and emotions came crashing down around us.  So many shots, pills and doctor appointments- it all seemed like a blur even then!  Now, it is 32 years later and it always sends a shiver up my spine when a couple tells me they are seeing a fertility specialist.

I think I was checked for every hormone possible, but funny, I don’t remember getting tested for my Estrogen level.  I remember precisely getting tested for Progesterone and Prolactin and antibodies against my husband’s sperm.  And worse, no one could tell us WHY we weren’t conceiving!  It was so frustrating and exasperating.  After 13 months on Clomid and 11 IUI’s, we finally stepped away from our dream of having children.  I was 30 years old.  We had been trying for 3 years and were out of money.  I remember crying for days at a time.  And, every time I saw a woman with her baby I would cry again.  Finally, I got up the courage to ask a new mother if I could touch her baby’s head/hair.  It always brought a sense of calm and serenity to me as my hand touched the soft, baby hair.  Such perfection!  I even wrote a song about it!  If anyone is interested, I will send it to you upon request.

So here we are, 32 years later.  Science has exploded in so many fields of study.  And of course, it has in the field of fertility.  But, what is so exciting is the Genomic test using the DNA of the man and woman, which will show their ability to conceive in many areas.  One area is how well the woman and the man are breaking down Estrogen, because if it isn’t breaking down properly, he/she will be Estrogen Dominant and it may interfere with their ability to conceive.  Truly, I believe this is exactly WHY I couldn’t conceive.  My liver had several “hiccups” in it’s ability to break down Estrogen so that it could be properly eliminated via sweat, urine and feces.  Because it wasn’t breaking down properly, the Estrogen just kept recycling and recycling, raising my Estrogen level.  Again, this can happen to a man as well, making his Estrogen level go up and become dominant over Testosterone, causing a low sperm count.  I worked with several couples where one or the other had a problem with Estrogen clearance through the liver.  Once it was identified and taken care of using diet, lifestyle and supplements, they conceived easily.

The second area of using your own DNA is looking at your ability to methylate.  Again, this happens in your liver.  If there is a “hiccup” in this process, it can make it very difficult to not only conceive, but to carry full-term.  So many couples that have several miscarriages in a row often have a problem with methylation.  I worked with a woman who had gotten pregnant 4 times and all miscarried within 7 weeks.  We then did a DNA Genomic Test to check her ability to methylate and found out she had several “hiccups”.  So we got busy and got her on track using lifestyle, diet and supplements.  She now has a wonderful little boy who just turned 1 in January.  Now that, for me, is a magical blessing.  Many times I cry when a client conceives and I get to hold that baby for the first time.  It is always tears of joy and love at the blessing of a new life!

So, if you are having trouble conceiving or maintaining a pregnancy, you just may have some “hiccups” in your liver affecting your Estrogen clearance and your ability to methylate.  This genomic test is so easy, affordable and private, as you do it in your own home.  The test kit is mailed directly to your doorstep.  You swab the inside of your mouth and mail it back to the lab in the self-addressed, stamped envelope provided.  When I get the results, I write a report and then we have a phone consultation explaining your results and ACTION PLAN!  Yes, you get an action plan of what you need to do to get your liver on the right track.  In other words, you learn how to talk to your genes and get them to behave.  This is powerful information and is very individualized and customized since it is just for YOU using your DNA!

I look forward to helping many couples wanting to hear the laughter of their baby and the pitter-patter of little feet running down the hallway.   I know that longing and yearning and want you to fill your arms with your precious baby and not walk away with empty arms as I did.

Here’s to new science and the ability to help many couples!  I am 2 generations late, but if this had been available when I was “trying”, I would have jumped at this immediately.  Contact me and let’s discuss your desires and get going.  Don’t wait another moment, minute or month.  Your baby is waiting for you!

The Radical Radish

The Radical Radish

Most of us really don’t even think of eating a radish, but I would strongly suggest that you rethink this tiny giant.  It is packed with such goodies that you really shouldn’t pass them by in the grocery store.  And they are so pretty.  I actually think that they are calling me when I walk into the produce section.  Well, not really “calling” me, but they sure do grab my attention with their beautiful ruby red color offset by their lovely green leaves.  OK, I admit it . . . I have a love affair with radishes, but it wasn’t always that way.  In fact, I do not think that I even ate a radish until I was in my 40’s.  I am embarrassed to admit this, but it is the truth.  And, it may be true for you as well.  But don’t hesitate to put these beautiful and powerful beauties into your grocery basket, as they are effective guardians of your health and your BREASTS!

The radish is a member of the mustard family, but is also a cousin to cabbage, cauliflower, kale and turnips (Brassica).  What?  No really they are.  This vegetable was introduced into Middle Asia from China in prehistoric times (my calendar doesn’t go back that far)!  Even before the Egyptian pyramids were built, ancient records (no not an email) in Egypt show that radishes were a common food in that country.  An ancient Greek physician wrote an entire book on radishes (I am not sure about the plot).  Records from 1548 show that people in England were eating radishes raw with bread or as a meat sauce.  And it is believed that dear Columbus brought the radish to America to be discovered here!  Radishes were found in Mexico around 1500 and in Haiti in 1565, and were among the first vegetables grown in the colonies in this country.  See, aren’t you glad you’re reading this and learning about this tiny vegetable??  So what do these beauties offer our breasts and health??

Benefits:  These delectable beauties can be found in several colors (pink, dark grey, purple, two-tone green & white and yellow) and have a delightful crunch when bitten and have a peppery taste when chewed.

Radishes are very high in Vitamin C for their size.  In fact ½ cup offers 14% of our daily recommendation.  Vitamin C is great for a strong immune system to fight infections and cancer.  Vitamin C also helps to rebuild tissues and blood vessels and keeps bones and teeth strong.

Folate, fiber, riboflavin, potassium, magnesium, calcium and manganese are also present.

Fiber also comes into play with indigestible carbohydrates.  This keeps your pipes flushed and regular which also aids in a healthy weight.  Radishes are also a natural diuretic helping to support kidney function and urinary systems and relieving inflammation.  This also helps support healthy blood pressure.  They have antibacterial, antifungal and detoxifying properties, which is so amazing for your overall health.

They also contain Phytochemicals and flavonoids, which are potent agents to achieve and maintain your health.  And since the radish is related to the Brassica family, it is packed with a dynamic phytochemical called sulforaphane.  Sulforaphane is a proven inhibitor of prostate, colon, ovarian, breast and other cancers.  Anytime you can support the detoxification process, which radishes do, you are boosting your health with every bite!  Scientists have tested the chemo-preventive effectiveness of the mighty radish including the leaves, roots and stems.  The root (radish) showed significant cell growth inhibition and actually induced cell death, which supports the promise that radishes are potentially chemo-preventive and apoptosis-inducing capabilities in some cancer cell lines.

How to tell if it is a good radish:  A good-quality radish is smaller (the bigger radishes are mushy & hollow) in stature, smooth, firm and crisp with a mild peppery flavor.  The condition of the leaves is not always a good indicator of the quality of the radish as the leaves can be mushy and the radish is perfect.  Or the opposite, the leaves can look really perfect and the radish may be spongy and strong.  Use your fingers to press on the radish and discover if it is spongy or pithy.  If so, look for another batch.

How to store your radishes:  1. remove the greens, wash and put in a baggie with a paper towel.  Place in refrigerator. They will remain fresh for about a week.  2. keep the root (radish) unwashed in the fridge until you are ready to use them.  They will last 1-2 weeks in a sealed container or bag. Again, I store in Tupperware with a paper towel to absorb any moisture.  I store the greens in a baggie and I use the greens in salads or on a sandwich, but you have to really wash them as they usually come full of healthy dirt!  I have sautéed these as well and they are pretty good and very healthy!

RADISH RECIPE:  Roasted Radishes with brown butter  (serves 4)

  • 2 bunches radishes, green ends trimmed and reserved
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Thoroughly rinse the radishes and their green tops.  Chop the green part, and set aside.  Cut off the bottom of the radishes and discard them.

Slice the radishes vertically in half.  Place the sliced radishes in a baking pan, and pour olive oil over the top.  Season with salt and mix.  Roast for 20 minutes or until radishes are golden brown.  Stir occasionally.

Melt butter over medium heat in a small saucepan.  Swirl the pan so the butter browns, but doesn’t burn.  Once beginning to brown, remove from heat.  Drizzle over the roasted radishes and garnish with the chopped radish greens.  Squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the radishes.  Season with salt to taste.

These are delicious and so breast-health friendly.  There are so many ways to protect your breasts with food being the major player.  I have identified 7 shields to protect your breasts throughout your lifetime.  Come discover more!

So, don’t overlook the mighty radish in your grocery store or local farmer’s markets.  Enjoy the peppery crunch and cancer fighting ingredients!!