the Warrior Goddess
from Book and NOHA Lecture by
Christine Horner, MD, FACS
Christine Horner, MD, FACS is a nationally recognized surgeon, author, professional speaker, and a relentless champion for women's health. She is passionate about teaching people the tools for staying healthy naturally, avoiding disease, and living life to its fullest potential. In her charismatic and persuasive presentations, Dr. Horner has educated and inspired countless women and men to live a healthier lifestyle.
In the late 1990s, Dr. Horner spearheaded a national campaign to pass laws requiring insurance companies to pay for breast reconstruction following mastectomy. Her five-year effort led to laws in thirty-five states and a federal law passed by Congress on October 21, 1998.
Dr. Horner helped to create the first-ever syndicated television news segment exclusively focused on complementary and alternative medicine and natural approaches to staying healthy in 1999. In 2001 the segment was syndicated on the WISDOM Television Network, reaching 5.5 million households. Dr. Horner was the host and medical editor of the segment.
Residing in Taos New Mexico, she
is the author of Waking the Warrior Goddess: Dr. Christine Horner's Program
to Protect Against and Fight Breast Cancer, winner of the Independent
Publisher Book Award "Best Health Book of 2006."
The Breast Cancer Epidemic
More and more womenparticularly in the US and Western countriesare being diagnosed with breast cancer. This deadly disease normally hits older and/or overweight women, but is rapidly increasing in younger women as well. Alarmingly, significant numbers of women have been treated for breast cancers in their 20s! From 1999 to 2003 the incidence of breast cancer rose 21 percent! In 2004 the American Cancer Society estimates that over 270,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and over 40,000 will die from it.
Estrogen is the main contributing cause of breast cancer. However, it is important to understand that not all estrogen is "bad" or cancer-promoting; there are also "good" protective types (the same way that there are "good" and "bad" kinds of cholesterol). When it comes to causing breast cell proliferation, which increases the risk of breast cancer, a type of natural estrogen called estradiol is considered the worst offender. Every time a woman has a menstrual period, estradiol is produced. Therefore, the more periods a woman has over her lifetimeeither by starting at an earlier age or having shorter more frequent cyclesthe more likely she is to get breast cancer. Two effective ways to avoid extra estradiol are: (1) to nurse your baby after pregnancy for at least six to nine monthsmost women don't ovulate while nursing. Breast feeding is also good for your infant. Babies who are breast fed grow up to have lower rates of breast cancer and other diseases compared to those who are formula-fed. (2) Eat a low-fat, plant-based organically grown diet. In addition to being packed full of health promoting and protecting nutrients, it also causes the body to produce lower and healthier amounts of estrogen (including estradiol).
This deadly disease normally hits older and/or overweight women, but is rapidly increasing in younger women as well. Alarmingly, significant numbers of women have been treated for breast cancers in their 20s! From 1999 to 2003 the incidence of breast cancer rose 21 percent!
Unfortunately, the worst problem is Western Medicine's basic approach to examination and treatment for breast cancer and most other chronic diseases. In the US and most other Western countries, instead of "health care," a much better and descriptive term would be "disease care." Most Western doctors don't offer any advice or treatment until AFTER their tests reveal that the patient already has the cancer or other chronic diseaseand nutrition is rarely mentioned.
Even though mammograms can be a useful
screening tool, they leave much to be desired as a good test for breast cancer.
They involve the use of potentially dangerous radiation, can be painful, can't
see clearly through "dense" breast tissue (typically found in most
women under 40), and don't work well for women with breast implants. Mammograms
can only "see" 70 to 80 percent of all breast cancers. Regardless
of their size, 20 to 30 percent of breast cancers won't show up on mammograms.
So women with these "invisible" tumors feel falsely reassured, and
diagnosis of their cancers may be dangerously delayed. In addition, 80 percent
of "suspicious" mammograms lead to a breast biopsy showing NO cancer.
Because over one million breast biopsies are performed in the US every year,
about 800,000 women have expensive, physically traumatizing, and emotionally
devastating breast biopsies UNNECESSARILY every year!
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
scans are also used as a screening tool for breast cancer, but they too are
not very accurate, give many false positives leading to more unnecessary biopsies,
and are extremely expensive. We need a highly accurate, inexpensive, non-invasive,
painless test that can show breast cancer at very early stages. Recent research
shows a re-emerging technology with all these qualities called "thermography."
Thermography uses infrared technology,
which has been greatly improved with digital cameras and computers in recent
years, to detect the heat from additional blood vessels growing before any tumor
forms. Thermography can detect breast cancer before any other available technology.
A study by the American Journal of Radiology in January, 2003 concluded that
this technology could prevent most unnecessary breast biopsies.
However, the true permanent solution to the breast cancer epidemic and the growing number of other chronic diseases in the west is a totally different holistic approach to health. Specifically, this means to stay healthy in the first place through your choice of foods and daily activities.
comprehensive holistic preventative system of health
Ayurveda is not known to most doctors trained in the West even though it is the primary method for health care for over one sixth the world's population, or over one billion people! Ayur means "life" and veda means "knowledge," so Ayurveda literally means "the knowledge of life." Ayurveda teaches how to live life to its fullest potential by maintaining a fine state of balance in your physiology. Ayurveda is also a holistic system of health, which holds that there is no separation between mind, body, spirit, consciousness, or anything in the universe.
The history of Ayurveda dates back at least 5,000 years to the Vedic culturea visionary culture in what is now India. It was passed down through oral tradition until about 2,500 years ago when it was written down. Ayurveda went through some rough times when the British invaded India and all Ayurveda medical schools were closed and practicing it was illegal. Much of the knowledge became fragmented or lost and degenerated into an herbalized form of Western Medicine. In the early 1980s, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi recognized that the world was in desperate need of the original Ayurveda, so he brought the top Ayurvedic doctors together to read and carefully select from the original Ayurvedic texts the best techniques to fit our current modern culture.
Ayur means "life" and veda means "knowledge," so Ayurveda literally means "the knowledge of life." Ayurveda teaches how to live life to its fullest potential by maintaining a fine state of balance in your physiology. Ayurveda is also a holistic system of health, which holds that there is no separation between mind, body, spirit, consciousness, or anything in the universe.
Many current modalities of complementary
alternative medicine have their roots in Ayurveda, including yoga, meditation,
massage, music therapy, herbs, breathing techniques, diets, and detoxification,
to name just a few. These ancient practices are based on the Laws of Nature
that govern health. An example is that food (NOT a pharmaceutical drug) is medicine.
There are two major underlying principles of Ayurveda: (1) Perfect balance brings perfect health. Everything you do and eatevery dayeither brings you into balance or throws you out of balance. The trick is to know the difference. (2) Perfect health is achieved through enlivening your inner healing intelligence. All healthy foods, activities, herbs, and healing techniques work by making your body stronger and smarter at repairing itself and resisting disease. Dr. Horner uses a powerful metaphor for enlivening your inner healing intelligenceWaking Your Warrior Goddess!
Common Western Diets and Activities
that Increase Cancer
Dr. Horner notes that epidemiological studies show a much lower incidence of breast cancer in Asian women than in US women. However, when Asian women move to the US and adopt our diet and lifestyle, their cancer rate rises to match that in the US. This fact points out that the US CULTURE is the source of the problem. Here are several foods in the typical American diet to avoid and why:
Other Cultural Cancer Promoters
The main causes of obesity come from a sedentary lifestyle, overeating, and toxins in our environment. The extra fat invites cancer and many other diseases. The increase in US breast cancer is at least partly caused by the increase in US obesity because fat cells produce estrogen. After menopause, fat becomes the principal source for estrogen, so the more fat you have, the more estrogen is produced. Toxins may also play a role. A 2002 article by Paula Baille Hamilton in the Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine claims that toxins contribute to the current US obesity epidemic. Toxins block the natural "intelligence" of our bodies, and the part controlling our weight seems particularly vulnerable to all the toxinsboth indoor and outthat we have poured into our environment.
Outlawed pesticides we export return to us on imported foods in the "circle of poison" whenever we eat "conventional" non-organic food. Unfortunately, because of wide spread contamination of our environment, there are now even a few low levels of toxins in organic food.
A 2002 article . . . claims that toxins contribute to the current US obesity epidemic. Toxins block the natural "intelligence" of our bodies, and the part controlling our weight seems particularly vulnerable to all the toxinsboth indoor and outthat we have poured into our environment.
With all the handy computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices come an invisible but dangerous electromagnetic field (EMF). A definite link has been shown between EMF exposure and breast cancer. To avoid them, sit at least two feet away from the computer and use many of the low EMF cell phones and other devices now available.
Holistic Ayurveda Practices
Balancing Everything to Avoid Cancer and Stay Healthy
Fortunately, there are many good foods to eat and activities that will greatly reduce your risk of breast cancer and all other diseases as well. This ancient Ayurveda approach is totally holistic and accounts for EVERYTHING you do and think, as well as an excellent totally natural diet.
In quantum physics we have learned
that EVERYTHING in the universe consists of an interacting web of vibrations
("string theory"). Ayurveda practices are based on quantum physics
because the influence of everything is considered-your friends, job, community,
city, country, the planet earth, the solar system, stars, and the entire universe!
For each step you take in this holistic direction, the positive effects will
MULTIPLY, not just add up.
Your daily schedule and rhythms are also very important. For example:
Here are more healthy facts and tips:
*The healthiest diet includes lots of plants, especially fresh, organically grown fruits and vegetables. They contain many health-promoting phytochemicals (including bioflavonoids and natural vitamins) and are low in fat and high in fiber. Plants in the Cruciferous Family, which include bitter cress, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, horseradish, kale, mustard seeds, radishes, rutabaga, turnip, and watercress contain a plant or phytochemical called indole-3 carbinol with extraordinary anticancer properties. Cruciferous vegetables also contain two other cancer-fighting phytochemicals worth noting: Sulforaphane helps the body detoxify more effectively and stops cancer before it starts. D-glucaric acidfound also in oranges and grapefruitbinds to toxins, as well as to "bad" estrogen, and helps to eliminate them. Vine-ripened fruits and vegetables from your own organic garden or farm offer the very highest nutritional qualities.
. . . EVERYTHING in the universe consists of an interacting web of vibrations ("string theory"). Ayurveda practices are based on [this]. For each step you take in this holistic direction, the positive effects will MULTIPLY, not just add up.
*The ancient agricultural method
called Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture (MVOA) believes that food quality
can be enhanced even further by paying attention to and working with the rhythms
of nature. MVOA also uses sounds and music to help plants grow better. Research
conducted almost 40 years ago, in the 1970s, documented the effects of music
on the growth of plants: Classical music was observed to cause plants to grow
faster and stronger, while rock-and-roll caused them to wilt. Quantum physics
tells us that our conscious thoughts also produce effects on the environmentwhich
includes plants and other people. Therefore, a farmer's consciousness has an
influence on how well his/her crops grow. This principle was powerfully demonstrated
in Washington DC in 1985 when thousands of people convened for group meditations
to create potent waves of peaceful consciousness in the environment. During
their stay the accident and crime rate dropped by 25 percent!
*Like estrogen and cholesterol, there
are "good" fats as well as all the "bad" ones. Trans fats
and non-organic saturated fats should be totally avoided. A certain amount of
omega-6 fatty acids is essential for our health, but excess amounts are very
harmful. The healthiest fats are omega-3 fatty acids. The best plant source
of omega-3 fatty acids is from flaxseeds. They can also be found in walnuts
or in certain fish like salmon and herring, but beware of all the toxins concentrated
in the fish's fat. The best balance between omega-6s and omega-3s is 4:1 or
even 1:1. (The typical US diet is closer to 20:1). Also beneficial are omega-9
fatty acids from organic olive oil. Omega-9s work in a variety of ways to reduce
cancer risk including working on our DNA by blocking genes known as "oncogenes"
that promote cancer.
*Flax seeds have several additional benefits besides being an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Flax seeds are rich in "lignans," which fight cancer in dozens of different ways. For example, lignans block strong estrogens, restructure the breast making it more resistant to the toxins that can induce cancer, and inhibit the growth of tumors.
. . . there are "good" fats as well as all the "bad" ones. . . . A certain amount of omega-6 fatty acids are essential for our health, but excess amounts are very harmful. The healthiest fats are omega-3 fatty acids. The best plant source of omega-3 fatty acids is from flaxseeds. . . . The best balance between omega-6s and omega-3s is 4:1 or even 1:1. (The typical US diet is closer to 20:1).
*The soy controversy illustrates
an important Ayurveda principleeat whole foods with an absolute minimum
of processing. The most powerful and active phytochemical in soy against breast
cancer is genistein. In a 1996 study from San Francisco, women were given 38
grams of genistein a day for a year. The genistein they received was NOT from
whole soy, but had been extracted and isolated, like a pharmaceutical drug.
The researchers were surprised to find that, rather than helping, the genistein
supplement appeared to be harmful. The women had increased estrogen levels and
their breasts showed signs of increased growth. Because the genistein these
women received was NOT from whole soy, it behaved differently. Our bodies were
designed to eat whole, natural foods. Whenever a pharmaceutical company extracts
a particular chemical and sells it as a drug, many negative side effects are
listed. The healthiest option is to eat a wide variety of whole, natural, organic
foods. This resembles the late NOHA Professional Advisory Board Member Theron
G. Randolph, MD's "rotation diet," which consisted entirely of "chemically
less contaminated" (his term for "organic") whole foods.
Several other excellent anti-cancer Asian foods include:
In her NOHA lecture, Dr. Horner
gave an excellent example of how these Ayurveda foods MULTIPLY instead of merely
adding up your chance of avoiding cancer. Turmeric's benefits are increased
by a factor of three when consumed with green tea. Then, green tea's benefits
are increased by a factor of EIGHT when consumed with turmeric!
Trying just a couple of these healthy,
holistic Ayurveda foods and/or activities, while minimizing the unhealthy US
foods and habits, will greatly increase our overall health and sense of well
being as well as decrease our chances of ever getting cancer. As added benefits,
healthcare costs will be reduced and our productivity increased.
By following all of Dr. Horner's
suggestions, our inner healing intelligence will be fully enlivened resulting
in an extraordinary state of healthsomething she says we can easily see
in the mirror as the radiant glow of our awakened warrior goddess.
Waking the Warrior Goddess: Harnessing the Power of Nature & Natural Medicine to Achieve Extraordinary Health by Christine Horner, MD, FACS, Basic Health Publications, Inc., 2005. Winner of the Independent Publisher Book Award "Best Health Book of 2006"
Article from NOHA NEWS,
Vol. XXXI, No. 3, Summer 2006, pages 1-5.