We have produced hundreds of video productions. Our first industrial video was for local media personality, Dorothy Wilhelm. She had a breast clinic client. She wanted a video to illustrate mammograms to show women how they worked. As Dorothy went through the exam process we videotaped and then edited the presentation. Dorothy would pass along comments like "You saved my life," from clinic visitors. Shortly after we produced the video my mother developed breast cancer. She survived another fifteen years. Mammograms represent a good warning test for breast cancer, but prevention starts long before a visit to a clinic.
In May of 2013, while attending the Diet and Optimum Health conference sponsored by the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, we had the opportunity to listen to Cynthia Thomson, Ph.D., R.D. as she gave a presentation on "Healthy dietary patterns in the prevention of breast cancer and metabolic syndrome." Dr. Thomson is a professor at the College of Public Health, and Director of the Canyon Ranch Center for Prevention and Health Promotion, University of Arizona. Her message had broader applications than breast cancer and metabolic syndrome.
Dr. Thomson says, "Healthy diets are characterized by high intake of vegetables and fruit, fiber, lean protein sources, and variety, and are generally considered nutrient dense. Conversely, 'unhealthy' diets tend to be high in total fat, animal fat, and processed foods, and are considered energy dense. The combination of food choices across major food groups as well as frequency of intake of select foods describes the dietary pattern of an individual."
My mother's dietary pattern was not of the healthy diet variety.
My mom was born in Oklahoma and lived most of her early life in western Missouri. Mom and dad moved to the Pacific Northwest shortly after World War II to visit her twin sister. We stayed. My aunt usually had a garden at her home in the Puyallup Valley, so we would sometimes have fresh produce to join the badly cooked mid-west servings of canned vegetables, TV dinners, and over-cooked main courses. Steaks were served black with pats of butter on top to give them some moisture. My parents owned a motel. They were hard workers and processed food and fast food were often on the menu. After all, we lived across the street from the best pizza in the world. When my parents left me in charge of the motel I would order a pizza as soon as they pulled out of the driveway. I would send my four year-old sister across the highway to pay for it and bring it home. Thank god she was good at dodging traffic.
Peg's mother was ahead of the curve on nutrients and so my diet improved when we married, but my roots run deep. Today we strive to eat healthy foods. We are also lucky to live in Tacoma, home of both the Roman Meal Company (and their healthful breads and cereals) and "Relay For Life," a fund-raiser for cancer research. Relay began in 1986 about the same time we produced the mammogram video. Relay For Life is the signature activity of the American Cancer Society, where survivors and volunteers walk in teams for donations. Our friend Pat Flynn, often called the "Mother of Relay," speaks across the country for the event. I should walk in the event, but unfortunately I'm lazy. However, many of my friends and relatives do take part and I'm always happy to open up my wallet to help them and their teams.
Dr. Thomson has advice for a diet to help protect us all, "For breast cancer, a pattern rich in vegetables, low in fat, restricted in alcohol, and higher in fiber, appears to reduce risk. For metabolic syndrome, a condition defined by high blood glucose, lipids, waist circumference, and blood pressure (condition thought to be a pre-clinical state associated with greater diabetes risk), these associations less studied. However, evidence suggests that patterns lower in simple sugars and higher in fiber may be protective."
I worry about my family, mostly my daughter and sisters, and my friends, too. I want to save more lives. I've got to improve my own diet, also. I probably won't develop breast cancer (it affects men in lesser numbers), but diet associated health problems are always there waiting for me. I still love the world's best pizza, I just try to limit its consumption, while I put more fruits and vegetables on my plate.
c. 2013 - Live2AgeWell.com
Live2agewell.com is supported by the makers of Roman Meal bread. Roman Meal Company sponsors cutting-edge research at the Healthy Aging Program of the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University.
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