As the co-founder of RE.VITYL™ and with a family history of breast cancer that has led to relatives that are near and dear to me to have a mastectomy and lumpectomy, this topic is extremely personal to me. It is one that is a matter of life and death, and I am truly fortunate that the outcome of those surgeries was positive, that they were survivors, however that is often not the case. I have watched my grandma, my mom and my aunts all deal with these very delicate and life-changing procedures in my family. I have also seen my close relatives not share with the younger females in the family, the true extent of the disease in efforts not to “worry” or “scare” us before we needed to know. In their efforts to keep the pain to themselves, it prevented an open dialog and perhaps even the effort for us to take earlier active preventative steps. Now that my sister and our cousins have reached our 40’s, this topic is something that we of that younger generation believe is of utmost importance. It is something we no longer avoid talking about when together, and are fostering an open environment as the urgent need to share this information with our daughters arises.
My 85-year-old grandma died this past week, and I am happy to say it was from old age. She was truly blessed to live another 25 years following her breast cancer diagnosis, and after experiencing a mastectomy. Not only was her life spared from this procedure, it gave us all even more meaningful years in her company.
Each October, I take the opportunity to remind myself, my family and my friends that preventing breast cancer, or any type of cancer, has ripple effects into our entire lifestyle and greater wellbeing. I am also fully aware that everything I do may or may not help me to prevent it, but I will try my best for myself and my family to in-still healthy lifestyle and support the things that I can do and change.
- I Put my health first by maintaining a healthy weight and eating a balanced Mediterranean diet. Leafy greens, fruits, olive oil, lean meats and fish are my staples. I usually start my day off with lemon water or celery juice, to detox my system followed by 2-3 figs which we love in Croatia. Figs are an excellent source of dietary fiber, a wealth of essential minerals such as potassium, iron and calcium, and rich in health-promoting antioxidants and complex carbohydrates. In addition, recent research has showed that Figs are a powerful natural medicine and can help diminish the risk of Brest-cancer and 8 other types of cancer including melanoma, stomach, throat, bone, brain and liver. (source CancerActive)
- I Don’t smoke. Living in Europe, where being a ‘social smoker’ is something that is extremely prevalent I partook in it during in my late 20s and early 30s on weekend nights. Getting pregnant and having my two children, was a good way to cut out the social smoking for good. It is also a huge misconception that a few cigarettes here and there won’t hurt you. It’s a well-known fact that smoking any amount can increase your risk of cancer and tobacco-related diseases.
- I Protect my skin from the sun. Spending my early years growing in Croatia, and summers thereafter, I saw around me relatives that didn’t look at the sun as something that they needed to be protected from. As much as I enjoy the Mediterranean way of life, and the benefits of Vitamin D, we all know that like anything in life, there can be “too much of a good thing.” Hats, Sunglasses, Sunscreen (Year Round!), and UV clothing are now an integrated part of my family’s routine. It is something that we have brought with us living with Asia in always avoiding being out at the peak sun hours, and I know it will persist no matter where we live
- I Get out and move. I love to be active and mentally and physically thrive and benefit from long walks and hikes in nature. When indoors, my studio favorites are yoga and trampoline. Researchers claim that bouncing on the trampoline can boosts the immune system and increases oxygen. A strong immune system is key to fighting any disease and also cancer cells. Not to mention our immunity is imperative to maintaining our health during the pandemic.
- I Sleep at least 8 hours per night. “A study in the International Journal of Cancer found a relationship between women’s irregular work schedules and the rate of breast cancer. Researchers suspect that researchers suspect that a disruption in the circadian rhythm could pose a risk for developing cancer, since the body’s internal clock affects so many biological functions.” You notice when you sleep poorly your entire day is more difficult and out of balance. This wrecks total havoc on your immune system. The best appointment on your daily calendar is to ensure that you get the proper rest and sleep you need, and this is why we wanted to create natural sleep solutions to support you.
With such as strong family history of different types of cancer, it is my obligation to explore any preventive measures for my myself and my family. Just as in life there are no guarantees of efficacy here, I still owe to myself and to my relatives who have suffered from cancer, to do my part in trying my best to prevent it and to educate the future generations of our family on how they can do the same.
This particular monthly RE.VITYL initiative, is also because African American women are 40% more likely to die from breast cancer than white women, and have the highest death rates of any racial group. So both Rashia and hope that in sharing my story, and with your support of our PINK products we can create greater awareness, support, and extend the life of survivors in all communities, and especially those that are underserved and to inspire you to do the same for your community and family.