Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October serves as a reminder for women to be screened in the hope that by doing so, early detection will lead to more positive outcomes in the fight against breast cancer. Since breast cancer often has no symptoms, regular breast cancer screenings are all the more important. Mammograms can help doctors detect cancer in the early stages, when treatment is most successful.

You cannot prevent breast cancer, but these tips may help to lower your risk of developing breast cancer: maintaining a healthy weight, staying physically active, limiting the use of alcohol, eating a healthy diet, breastfeeding, and avoiding the use of cigarettes.

Nutrition and Breast Cancer

The following healthy guidelines are adapted from the American Cancer Society’s Diet and Physical Activity Guidelines for Cancer Prevention and the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking.

  • Achieve and maintain a healthy weight. (People with breast cancer who are overweight or obese should limit high-calorie foods and beverages and increase physical activity to help with weight loss)
  • Eat at least 2½-3 cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit every day. Eat a variety of vegetables and fruits. Include dark green, red and orange vegetables and legumes, such as beans, lentils, peas and soy foods
  • Choose 100 percent whole grain foods such as 100 percent whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice, millet and quinoa
  • Eat “good” fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats). These are found in foods such as olive and canola oil, nuts and natural nut butters, avocados and olives
  • Limit or avoid red meat and processed meat, such as beef, bacon and sausage. Choose chicken, fish or beans more often
  • Limit or avoid sugar-sweetened beverages. Choose water or unsweetened beverages more often
  • Limit or avoid highly processed foods and refined grain products, such as fast food, ready-to-heat foods, snack foods and candy
  • Avoid alcohol. For those who choose to drink alcohol, limit to less than 1 drink a day for women and fewer than 2 drinks a day for men
  • Quit smoking (or never start smoking)

Resources:  For more information about breast cancer screening, risk, treatment, and information visit and

Family Meals Month

Every September is National Family Meals Month which is a national campaign whose goal is encourage families to eat more meals together.

The Family Meals Movement started in 2015 and has grown rapidly because of the positive social and health benefits that can occur by increasing the meals eaten together every week. According to the FMI Foundation there are multiple benefits to regular family meals such as:

  • Higher grades and self-esteem
  • Prosocial behaviors into adulthood such as sharing, fairness and respect
  • Children are less likely to suffer from obesity
  • Higher fruit and vegetable intakes
  • Adolescents are less likely to show symptoms of violence, depression, and suicide as well as less likely to abuse drugs, run away and engage in other risky behaviors

Adolescents who have infrequent family meals are:

  • 3.5 times more likely to abuse prescription or illegal drugs
  • 3 times more likely to have used marijuana
  • More than 2.5 times more likely to have used tobacco
  • 1.5 times more likely to have used alcohol

The goal of this movement is simple, for families to pledge to have one more meal together a week.

Check out the National Family Meals website, , for more information as well as resources, recipes and much more. 

Packed Lunches

Skipping lunch can lead to a lack of energy, loss of concentration and a lower job performance. Eating out every day can be expensive and difficult to find healthier options. Packing your own lunch is the best opportunity to keep your diet on track and keep you sharp and focused throughout the day.

When making a healthy lunch it is important to include multiple food groups, such as lean proteins, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Your best beverage option is water to stay hydrated. To make it more exciting try adding fruit or mint to your water. Try to stay away from prepackaged foods because they tend to be higher in fat, salt and sugar. Instead make more food during dinner to insure you have enough to make leftovers the next day and to help control your portion sizes.

Packing healthy lunches is just as important for your children, try these helpful tips to give your kids the healthiest lunches to help them thrive in school.
• Cut up food into dipping sticks and try new dips such as hummus, guacamole, ranch or yogurt
• If you do not have much time, try canned fruits or cups that are in 100% fruit juice or water
• Skip processed snacks
• Get your kids involved to get them more excited about their food. Take them grocery shopping or have them help pack their lunches and find new recipes
• Use cookie cutters to cut fruits, vegetables or sandwiches into fun shapes

Peanut Butter and Banana Sushi


  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter Substitute soy or sunflower butter if needed)
  • 1 whole grain flatbread or whole wheat tortilla
  • 1 med banana


  • Spread peanut butter down middle of flatbread/tortilla and reserve 1 teaspoon for later
  • Place banana on peanut butter and roll up the flatbread/tortilla
  • Spread remaining peanut butter on outer edge of flatbread to seal the roll
  • Slice roll into sushi sized pieces 

How To Choose The Best Sunscreen

It’s not really debatable that we should be wearing sunscreen. I mean there is clear evidence that the skin’s rays can accelerate the aging process and potentially lead to skin cancer. However, when we look at the sunscreen market, it can be very confusing! Most people take the stance that any sunscreen is good (because it’s protecting you) and I tend to agree, BUT if you are making a switch to clean and non-toxic products, there are a few additional things that you should know. 

And while there is overwhelming evidence that sunscreen protects us from the sun and prevents skin cancer, now consumers are asking if they are getting additional toxins and doing more harm than good.

Proper Sun Protection Is Always KEY!

First of all, don’t stop wearing sunscreen! Follow proper sun protection recommendations – cover-up, wear a hat and try to avoid the peak times of sun exposure (between 10am-2pm).  And when you are applying sunscreen, make sure you are applying enough! This means about a shot glass size to the areas of exposed skin and reapplying when needed. 

What Kind Of Protection Do I Need From Sunscreen? 

There are two types of UV rays that we are concerned about.  The UVA rays, which are the longer rays that penetrate deep into the skin and are responsible for long-term sun damage and UVB rays which are shorter rays and what we attribute to sunburns. We need our sunscreen to protect us from both (SPF protects us from UVB; look for the term “broad spectrum to ensure protection from UVA).

The EWB states recommends a max Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 50 and advises that a higher SPF over promises and can be misleading. The ratio of UVA protection decreases as SPF increases. Because of this, in 2019, the FDA proposed a SPF cap of 60. Those proposed rules were thrown out with the passage of sunscreen legislation included in a coronavirus stimulus bill. It is expected that the FDA will reintroduce similar rules within the coming year.

Chemical Sunscreen

There are two types of sunscreen on the market, chemical and mineral. Chemical sunscreen works by absorbing the sun’s rays, converting them to heat and then releasing them from the body. 

As we know, drugs or ingredients that have been around for a long time are often grandfathered in. So, when the FDA began to consider sunscreen safety, it grandfathered in active ingredients from the late 1970s without reviewing the evidence of their potential hazards. In February 2019, the agency released its final draft sunscreens monograph, which contains “insufficient health and safety data to designate 12 of the 16 sunscreen filters allowed for use in the U.S. as ‘generally recognized as safe and effective’. These 12 ingredients include some of the most commonly used UV filters, including oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and avobenzone.”

The 2019 proposal from the FDA also concluded that the risks of using aminobenzoic acid, or PABA, and trolamine salicylate outweigh their benefits, and it proposed classifying them as unsafe. The FDA-proposed monograph gave the GRASE designation to just two active sunscreen ingredients: zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

Why I Recommend Mineral Sunscreen

Mineral sunscreen works by adding a protective layer on the skin that acts as a physical barrier. There are two ingredients – zinc oxide and titanium dioxide – that the FDA and EWG have recognized as safe. We want to block both UVA and UVA. Titanium dioxide only blocks UVA, zinc oxide blocks both.

Because of the lack of safety studies around the chemical sunscreen ingredients, and the fact that some have been shown to disrupt hormone regulation, specifically estrogen , I recommend mineral sunscreen over chemical especially for children and women of child-bearing age.

The main con of mineral sunscreen is that it takes awhile to rub in and sometimes you get a white residue.

Summer Food Safety

While summer is a great time to spend quality time outdoors with friends and family, these events can lead to serious illness if the food is not properly handled. The warmer temperatures lead to an increase in food poisoning cases because these germs thrive and grow well under these conditions. Here are a few tips to keep your loved ones safe while enjoying the sun.

  • Refrigerate perishable foods within 1 hour if it is 90 degrees or warmer when you are shopping for groceries or eating outside
  • When grilling, throw out marinades or sauces that have touched raw meats or meat juices
  • Always use clean utensils and plates to remove cooked foods from the grill. Do not use the same utensils or plates because it can lead to cross contamination
  • Bring hand sanitizer or wipes to clean your hands before preparing or eating food if there is not access to a sink
  • Always bring a food thermometer to make sure your meat is cooked to the proper temperature to ensure it is safe to eat. Check out this website for all of the temperatures foods should be cooked to: