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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Grains, Girth and Garlic

Grains, Girth and Garlic

The first fact is that one in four Canadians is overweight. Being excessively overweight contributes to a host of medical issues, which includes breast cancer and breast cancer occurrence.

It is well established that breast cancer risk increases with the level and time of exposure to estrogens. Excess body fat is a source of estrogen and that estrogen may act as a growth factor for cancer cells. Something else excess weight causes is elevated insulin levels, which also promotes breast cancer cell growth.
So we need to keep our body weight within healthy margins if we want to practice cancer prevention. It’s all about Girth Control, people.
Not easy, you say. Okay, admittedly losing weight has to be on the top five toughest things to do in life. But it can be done relatively painlessly if you do a few key things.
Number One: EAT more. Sounds crazy, but if you were to follow Canada’s Food Guide of eating 7-8 servings of fruits and vegetables and 6-7 servings of whole grains daily, plus 2 milk or alternatives and 2 meat, eggs or nuts, then you would be too full to eat anything else. This will also stabilize your blood sugar if you spread it out over the day. DON’T ever skip meals. Get in a healthy whole grain slice of toast or a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. Snack on fruits, vegi’s…anything high in fiber to keep fuel in your furnace burning. You won’t believe how good you’ll feel, while at the same time losing instead of gaining the pounds. Diets don’t mean you have to quit eating. They just mean you have to start eating what your body needs to function properly! Opt for low fat and sugarless as much as possible.
Number Two: It’s all about calories in versus calories out. If you want to lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you eat. Simple as that. So you broke down and ate a bag of chips. Now get up off that chair and walk it off! Jump on a bike, go to the pool, do what you have to but don’t just sit there and let what you just ate settle on your backside or stomach. You did the crime, now do the time! After a while, you won’t be so quick to eat the entire chocolate bar knowing how hard you have to work to burn it off!
Number Three: Try to eliminate ALL refined foods, especially energy dense ones low in fiber (like white flour, white pasta, sugary drinks, cakes, candies etc.). These cause weight gain. But don’t skip all carbs. Eat only whole grains or try brown rice products (ie :brown rice pastas, crisps and crackers) Buy a whole grain recipe book. You’ll find lots of dessert and cake recipes to use. I eat brownies, breads, cakes, scones you-name-it! All whole grain and all absolutely delicious and filling. Not to mention guilt-free. You will actually lose not gain weight.

Before discussing the importance of whole grains in our diet, I thought you might like to read what Wikipedia has to say on the subject:

Diet and cancer
Diet and cancer are associated. It has been estimated that 35 percent of cancer deaths may be related to dietary factors.[1] Almost all cancers (80–90%) are caused by environmental factors,[2] and of these, 30–40% of cancers are directly linked to the diet.[3] While many dietary recommendations have been proposed to reduce the risk of cancer, few have significant supporting scientific evidence.[4] The primary dietary factors that increase risk are obesity and alcohol consumption; with a diet low in fruits and vegetables and high in red meat being implicated but not confirmed.[5] Studies have linked consumption of red or processed meat to an increased risk of breast cancer, colon cancer, and pancreatic cancer, a phenomenon which could be due to the presence of carcinogens in foods cooked at high temperatures.[8][9] Thus dietary recommendation for cancer prevention typically include: "mainly vegetables, fruits, whole grains and fish and a reduced intake of red meat, animal fat and refined sugar."[4]

According to Canada’s Food Guide, adult women need 6-7 servings of whole grains a day while men need 8. A serving size is one 35g slice of bread, ½ a bagel or flat bread, ½ cup cooked rice, bulgur, quinoa, pasta or couscous or ¾ cup cereal.
Instead of reducing our carbohydrate intake, which seems to be the trend these days, we actually need to bump it up to maintain a healthy weight! The key is to do it with WHOLE grains.

So what exactly is a whole grain?
To be considered a “whole grain” product, all 3 parts of the grain must be present:
§  the germ
§  the endosperm
§  the bran
If the bread is made with a flour from a different type of grain, the first ingredient listed should say “whole grain _____ flour”. For example, whole grain oat flour or whole grain spelt flour.
This is different from the refinement process in which the germ and the bran are removed leaving only the starchy endosperm behind. An example of a refined grain product is all purpose white flour. According to the Whole Grains Council, approximately 25% of a grain’s protein and 17 key nutrients are lost in the refining process.
Whole grains are rich in cancer fighting components such as antioxidants, phenols, lignans and saponins. They are also rich in fiber and B-vitamins. Whole grains are digested more slowly than refined grains which can help stabilize blood sugar levels. People with diabetes can benefit from this effect. You will also feel full longer eating them.
The following terms will indicate a bread made with refined (non-whole grain) flour:
§  flour
§  enriched flour
§  wheat flour
§  bread flour
§  enriched wheat flour.

It is possible for a bread to be made with several types of flour. The best bread choice would be made only with 100% whole wheat or whole grain flour. Avoid breads that list “enriched wheat flour” as a second or third ingredient.
TIP: I use brown rice flour in place of white flour when the recipe calls for “dusting with flour” for coating meats, thickening soups or making sauces. I also replace any white flour in recipes with whole wheat flour. When a recipe calls for a mix of both, I ignore it. Your end product will be denser but you’ll be eating a healthier choice.
And there you have it. Girth Control and Grains…hand-in-hand. Avoiding cancer isn’t as hard as you might have thought. A few adjustments in your diet and lifestyle and you can hopefully avoid the issue altogether.


Cancer, like vampires can virtually suck the life right out of you. Good thing that garlic works as a deterrent against both. A clove a day can keep cancer at bay.
 A study in France found that increased garlic consumption was associated with a statistically significant reduction in breast cancer risk. After considering total calorie intake and other established risk factors, breast cancer risk was reduced in those consuming greater amounts of fiber, garlic, and onions 
The National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, does not recommend any dietary supplement for the prevention of cancer, but recognizes garlic as one of several vegetables with potential anticancer properties. Because all garlic preparations are not the same, it is difficult to determine the exact amount of garlic that may be needed to reduce cancer risk. Furthermore, the active compounds present in garlic may lose their effectiveness with time, handling, and processing. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) guidelines for general health promotion for adults is a daily dose of 2 to 5 g of fresh garlic (approximately one clove), 0.4 to 1.2 g of dried garlic powder, 2 to 5 mg of garlic oil, 300 to 1,000 mg of garlic extract, or other formulations that are equal to 2 to 5 mg of allicin. 
The Truth About Garlic Supplements
People taking garlic supplements for cancer prevention should take note. Most garlic supplements contain only trace amounts of Allyl sulfur compounds, which are the major cancer-fighting component in garlic. It is best to stick with garlic oil or powder for more concentrated forms of garlic in its best cancer fighting form.

CAUTION: Too Much Garlic Can Cause More Than Just Bad Breath
An overload of garlic can cause several health problems, along with a bad case of halitosis. It may interfere with anesthesia and cause bleeding because of its anti-clotting properties. Digesting too much garlic can also lead to stomach problems, allergic reactions and dermatitis.
As I said, a clove a day!