I sigh every time I look at our photos when we were younger. We seemed to be growing bigger and bigger each year. Dah beranak, lemak pun beranak sekali. Pffft.
But it’s not just about losing weight anymore. It’s about staying fit and healthy. I guess being 30 makes me realize all that. After months – wait, years, of overindulging, my husband and I decided that it’s time to get back on track. We actually just started our “healthy lifestyle” just a couple of weeks ago. We’ve been trying to eat less carbs, fats and sugar, cook healthier dishes, eat more lean meats and veggies, have brown rice instead of white rice, and make it a habit to exercise 3 times a week. I even had green smoothie for breakfast twice (still trying to get used to the “grassy” taste, which honestly is a bit yucky).
And of course, a recent trip to the hospital to visit a sick uncle with a heart problem kind of opened up our eyes too. He was only in his late 40s-early 50s. Scary how more and more people are getting sick at younger age these days… and that could be us if we don’t do something to change our diet and lifestyle. Nauzubillah.
I was even more bersemangat with health issues after attending Yakult’s breast cancer awareness campaign recently. The event was held at Yakult factory in Seremban for the Yakult ladies.
The event started with an opening speech, followed by Cancer Prevention Nutrition Tips by a Nutritionist, Puan Indra Balaratnam.
Besides genetics, physical activities and environmental exposures, food is one of the main causes of cancer. What you eat and don’t eat can have a powerful effect on your health because there are food that actually increases the risk of cancer, while others strengthen your immune system and support your body. So it’s important to know which food you should be consuming, and which ones you should avoid.
Some of the best anti-cancer food are fatty fish (like salmon and mackerel), nuts, flaxseed, soy, and of course fruits and veggies, especially the bright colored ones. Fruits and veggies that are rich in colors, such as bell peppers, carrots, apples, beets, strawberries, eggplants, broccoli, spinach, etc contain pigments with antioxidant properties which protect the cells in our body.
Then Puan Indra showed us this:
Besides these highly fattening food, we should also limit fast food, fried food, processed food, packaged food and other foods and drinks with all those “science-y” ingredients that you can’t even pronounce, because they are high in saturated fats, refined sugar, sodium, MSG, etc and contains very little to zero nutrients. They are just plain unhealthy. Most of them are just toxic to our body so it would be even better if you can avoid them at all cost. Bak kata my mom, tak mati pun kalau tak minum tu, tapi kalau minum boleh mati (she was talking about soft drinks by the way). How true!
The next topic was Early Detection and Breast Self-Exam, by Matron Zainab from Breast Cancer Welfare Association Malaysia.
Ok, a quick quiz. Among the Malay, Chinese and Indian races, which Malaysian women do you think have the highest risk of breast cancer?
No clue? Then take a look at this:
Chinese! (This is based on a research by the way). I was quite surprised because I thought it was Malay because… you know, a lot of Malay dishes use santan and whatnot.
But that doesn’t mean the other 2 races can sigh in relief, especially those with family history of cancer. According to the matron, all women should start doing breast self-examination once a month beginning at the age of 20! I…. uhh… think I’ve only done it like…. 3 times in all my life? That’s like once every 10 years! Yikes. I’m gonna do it sooooon ok, after my next period because according to Matron Zainab, the best time to do it is 7-10 days after your first day of period. Which means, let’s say you get your period on the 1st day of the month; you can do your breast self-exam anytime between 7th – 10th day of the month.
Matron Zainab even showed us how to do the breast self-exam and it was pretty easy. Refer here if you don’t know how. You can even ask your husband to do it for you. I’m sure he’d be more than happy to help.
Matron Zainab said that not all lumps or changes in breasts are cancer. In fact, 90% of the lumps are non-cancerous. Phew! They could be fibrosis, cysts, benign tumors, mastitis (if you’re breastfeeding) and others. So don’t panic if you feel something in your breast. Seek expert advice if you’re unsure.
The last topic was about how Yakult can actually lowers the risk of breast cancer. The talk was given by Dr. Kaga from Yakult Central Institute for Microbiological Research.
Then Dr. Kaga explained how L. casei Shirota (LcS), the probiotic strain found in Yakult could help to lower the risk of breast cancer, together with soy isoflavons. Probiotics are microorganisms that gives health benefits by helping to keep the intestines healthy and assist in digesting food. They also help to activate our immune system. A study was done in Japan and they found that women who took both LcS and soy isoflavones on regular basis have a lower risk of breast cancer than women who don’t take them.
The event ended with a cooking demo – well, a healthy smoothie demo actually – with the bubbly Fara Fauzana.
She’s assisting Pn. Indra, the Nutritionist, on how to make healthy fruit smoothies. Pn. Indra even recommended drinking healthy smoothies/shakes for breakfast. Seriously guys, it’s so easy and only takes like 2 minutes to make one.
So remember ladies (myself included, and gentlemen because you have mothers/wives/sisters/cousins), be aware, prevent and get your breast checked regularly before it’s too late. Ignorance is NOT bliss!