BY Eileen Z. Fuentes

Fred R. Conrad|The New York Times

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Television shows, magazines, and products are all proudly bearing pink ribbons. Even the George Washington Bridge is being adorned with glowing pink lights this month to raise awareness. People everywhere are gearing up to walk for themselves or a loved one. I myself did that walk over 10 years ago. As a matter of fact, I did it twice but in September of 2008, I too was diagnosed with breast cancer. This was a surprise because I was young, nursed my 3 children and had no family history. At the time, I wasn’t aware that breast cancer affects a whopping 1 in 8 women and there is no cure despite the pink crusade.

It has been two years since that fateful day and I have grown to embrace the diagnosis as the quality of my life has improved substantially. I have used nutrition as a way to keep myself healthy and would like to share some little known information on the healing power of food and it’s direct link to cancer prevention.

1. Green leafy vegetables can purify the blood and powerhouses like broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables can combat breast cancer by converting a cancer-promoting estrogen into a more protective variety.

2. Watercress has been shown to suppress breast cancer cell development.

3. Mushrooms such as shitake and maitake strengthen the immune system. They are also loaded with vitamin D. Breast cancer has been linked to vitamin D deficiency.

4. Medicinal herbs like tumeric, garlic, and ginger can act as a powerful anti-inflammatory and antibiotic.

5. Berries are full of powerful antioxidants.

6. Healthy fats such as omega 3, avocado, flaxseed and olive oil may reduce cancer cell growth and the spread of tumors.

7. The polyphenols in matcha green tea may inhibit the growth and spread of certain breast cancer types. It also may improve the survival rates of people with cancer.

8. Beans appear to inhibit cancer cells from multiplying.

9. Root vegetables such as yams, sweet potatoes, squash can inhibit the development of certain types of cancers.

10. Cancer has been shown to feed on sugar so you should avoid it and artificial sweeteners as well. Use natural sweeteners instead like agave nectar, raw honey, maple syrup, and rice syrup. *You should also minimize your intake of dairy, red meat, fried and processed foods.

In addition to nutrition, I’ve learned about other lifestyle changes that can drastically affect outcomes. For example, daily outdoor walks have shown to reduce your risk by up to 50% and mind/body exercises such as yoga, qigong, tai chi, and meditation can drastically reduce stress, which has been linked to the disease. But the most important lesson for me has been about my support systems. There is nothing that a person facing a health challenge appreciates more than a helping hand. To learn more about prevention, go to and watch this video. To learn more about food therapy, click here.

Last week, my friends and I attended a breast cancer conference presented by Columbia University Medical Center with keynote speaker Dara P. Richardson-Heron, a 13-year cancer survivor, a Physician and the CEO of The Greater New York City Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. She was truly inspiring and when her talk was over, I proudly walked over to her wearing my “Eat Real Food” t-shirt and had a brief but honest conversation about the use of healing foods and integrative therapies to support the conventional treatment model. You can see her doing the same on the video below with Dr. Oz, a practicing Physician in our own neighborhood.

Beginning this week, I will be teaching a free 6-month wellness series including nutrition, lifestyle coaching and yoga to cancer survivors. If you or someone you know is interested in participating, please email us at [email protected] as space is limited.


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  • De La Cruzin
    October 5, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    Great Job Eileen!

    It’s funny because I was confused to see why the color of the lights on the GWB was different. I didn’t even think of it in any other way. It should have came to me as soon as I witnessed it being that I have been a supporter of the fight of Breast Cancer, along with supporting the awareness and research. I familiarized myself with this foundation for years, as well as other types of cancer, especially Leukemia. And all of this occurred before Cancer hit home! With that being said I know many supporters who join me in these events and fund raise for this philanthropy who will enjoy reading this article as well as I did.

    Once again, great job!


    • Eileen
      October 5, 2010 at 9:08 pm

      Thank for the support to you and your friends…I will never forget the walk in 2008. Keep up the good work and let me know if you would like to support the organizations that provide integrative cancer care 😉

  • Adriana
    October 5, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    What a wonderful article. Inspiring, informative and straightforward. You are a warrior and life saver! You inspire me everyday.

    Love you lots,

  • Adriana
    October 5, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    Oh and I was wondering what was up with the lights on the GW bridge! cool….now I know 🙂

  • eliana
    October 5, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    Wonderful article, very informative. Keep up the good work

  • Breast Cancer and Food Therapy
    October 5, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    […] To see the article click here: […]

  • Luis
    October 5, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    Hey Coach,

    You are a beacon of light. Fantastic article; beautifully, eloquently, written. Thank you for educating me on Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I had no clue how powerful and meaningful this month is. I am blessed having you and Leo as my friends and family. Keep rocking the house..girlfriend!


  • Eileen
    October 5, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    Must be the company I keep…Thank YOU!

  • Izzy
    October 6, 2010 at 7:11 am

    Great article. Please send me information on the 6 months wellness series…Thanks!

    • Eileen
      October 6, 2010 at 1:53 pm

      Thank you! I will do so after this week. We are looking for advertisers depending on the response from our 1st session. The room only holds 30 participants and we have a substantial number of RSVP’s.


  • Izzy
    October 6, 2010 at 7:12 am

    Very informative….Please send me information on the 6 months wellness series…Thanks!

  • Christina
    October 6, 2010 at 9:33 am

    Awesome article Eileen!! Just the few lines of information that I read has opened my eyes…Thank you for all that you are doing!!!! 🙂

    • Eileen
      October 6, 2010 at 1:54 pm

      Your very welcome…planting seeds and watching them bloom is a wonderful thing!


  • Tamara
    October 6, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    Wonderful work you are doing! All the best with your wellness program.

    • Eileen
      October 6, 2010 at 9:54 pm

      Thanks Tamara. I appreciate the compliment.

  • Perla
    October 10, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    hey the post is wonderful.
    the lights are purple for DV awareness

    • Eileen
      October 11, 2010 at 9:31 pm

      Hi Perla,
      I’m not sure what DV awareness is? Please check out the link for the NY Times article mentioned in my 1st paragraph.

      • Perla
        October 17, 2010 at 1:56 pm

        domestic violence

  • Stephanie
    October 11, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    Thanks for sharing, Eileen. You are giving so much to the Heights.

    • Eileen
      October 11, 2010 at 9:32 pm

      Thanks Stephanie! Fortunately there’s a bit of a shift going on and I am glad to be a part of it.