By Lise Alschuler, ND, FABNO, and Karolyn A. Gazella
Nature versus nurture. Do you think that your genes are your destiny? Think again! The truth is, we can directly and profoundly influence how our genes behave. While it is true that our genes do have influence, they are more like a blueprint. The house built from a blueprint depends on the skill of the builders, the materials used, the lay of the land, and the interpretation of the construction crew. We too have the opportunity, through the choices we make, to change the expression of our genetic blueprint.
How do we change our genetic expression? There are five bodily pathways that have the greatest influence on our genes and our health. Those five pathways are immune, inflammation, insulin resistance, hormones, and digestion and detoxification. These pathways are superhighways of influence that carry information from our lifestyle to our DNA and specifically to the proteins that switch genes on and off. And the status of these pathways has significant impact on how our genes behave. There are five core strategies that most influence these pathways: diet, movement, dietary supplements, rejuvenation, and spirit. Implementing critical actions within each of these core strategies will greatly impact the pathways, ultimately changing our DNA expression towards health and away from disease. This represents our Five to Thrive Plan®, a lifestyle strategy to help create vital living and lower the risk of chronic disease, especially cancer.
The key to thriving is to incorporate actions steps into our daily lives. For example, from a dietary standpoint, here are five things you can do each day to enhance your health and help prevent serious diseases such as cancer:
add more colorful fruits and vegetables to each meal (strive for a rainbow on your plate)
add more spices like rosemary, turmeric, and garlic to your food (more is better, and be sure to use fresh spices whenever possible)
eat a whole food diet and eliminate processed foods as much as possible (you should be able to recognize the food you eat by looking at it!)
These five dietary action steps are based on the scientific literature and what research has confirmed. In our latest book, The Definitive Guide to Thriving After Cancer, we explain why these action steps are important. We also provide practical and easy-to-follow advice in other core strategies of healthy living.
Whether you are faced with a diagnosis, want to prevent a recurrence of a serious illness such as cancer, or are just interested in revitalizing your health and wellness, our goal is to inspire and empower you with a practical and scientifically solid plan. Transform your internal landscape with the Five to Thrive Plan for healthy living!
It’s time to Thrive!
I live in the great state of Colorado. Our beautiful landscapes have recently been torn apart by some of the worst natural disasters in our history. The summer started with record-breaking wildfires and ended with devastating rains. The extreme flooding ripped through roadways, destroyed homes, and quite literally changed our landscape. And yet, as if in concert with the rising waters, the stories of resilience and acts of altruism have been spreading throughout our communities.
Neighbors joined together and became impromptu clean-up crews as they patrolled the streets, clearing out debris from one home and then methodically moving on to the next. People and animals died and homes that people worked toward their entire lives were destroyed. But scattered amidst the tragedy and chaos were numerous and significant selfless acts of kindness that surely shored up the resilience of so many Colorado residents…
The Healing Factor is Karolyn Gazella’s Psychology Today blog. In this entry she shines a light on the altruistic nature of human kind. Read the full blog post here: Cultivating Resilience During Stressful Times.
Five to Thrive authors, Dr. Lise Alschuler and Karolyn A. Gazella are excited to announce that The Definitive Guide to Thriving After Cancer will be released on October 8th. This is one of the only cancer prevention books that is written primarily for the cancer survivor; the person who wants to re-establish optimal health, enhance their overall health, and help reduce their risk of cancer recurrence. The Five to Thrive® Plan outlined in the book provides practical, sustainable suggestions, as well as specific advice on how readers can influence the five key pathways that have the most profound influence on our health and cancer risk: immune, inflammation, hormones, insulin sensitivity, and digestion/detoxification.
Who should read this book?
Anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer, anyone who is concerned about their own risk of cancer and would like to find ways to reduce that risk, and anyone who desires revitalized health and long term wellness. Learn more about The Definitive Guide to Thriving After Cancer.
“Karolyn A. Gazella, publisher of the Natural Medicine Journal, the official journal of the AANP, was presented with this year’s Champion Award in recognition of her 22 years of contribution and leadership in the field of natural medicine. The Champion Award recognizes a non-naturopath who displays a deep commitment to changing the landscape of healthcare through his/her championship of naturopathic medicine. Natural Medicine Journal editors Tina Kaczor, ND, FABNO, and Jacob Schor, ND, FABNO, presented Gazella with her award.
Gazella was surprised and honored to receive the Champion Award. “Each year when we attend the annual AANP conference, we are reminded of how proud we are to be the official journal of this wonderful organization that is filled with exemplary individuals,” Gazella said. ‘It’s always great to connect with our supportive sponsors, dedicated board members, and many friends we have made over the years.’”
Read the full press release published in the Natural Medicine Journal here: AANP Recognizes Contributions to Natural Medicine.
Are we hard-wired to focus on the negative? Is that why we tend to give more power to negative feedback, emotions, and events than we do positive? Science says yes. But that doesn’t mean we can’t change it.
In a 2001 article in the Review of General Psychology, Dutch researchers explain that the human brain processes negative information more thoroughly than it processes positive input. The authors point out that this tendency can be traced back to the dawn of time. From an evolutionary standpoint, paying more attention to potential negative events meant increased survival—and those negative-focused genes have been passed on for generations. After all, back in the days of living in caves and fighting off tigers, positive events might not have a noticeable effect on one’s life, but a negative one could quickly end it.
But we are no longer being chased by tigers, so why do we continue to be so attuned to negative events? Could this “survival mechanism” actually be getting in the way of our long-term health? And more importantly, can we rewire this innate survival fixation and tap into the power of positivity?
The Healing Factor is Karolyn Gazella’s Psychology Today blog. In this entry she discusses our ability to transform our emotional landscape by practicing positivity. Read the full blog post here: The Importance of Decreasing Negative Influencers.
While I respect Angelina Jolie’s personal decision to have a prophylactic mastectomy, I fear she has given the wrong impression to millions of women with a family history of breast cancer or those who carry a BRCA gene mutation. She missed an important opportunity to share vital information about this gut wrenching decision that women wrestle with.
I’m one of those women. In fact, my family history for breast cancer is so strong that we’ve been studied by two major universities. We are one of the largest known families who carry the BRCA1 gene mutation in North America. I chose against elective mastectomy, and I think it’s important to explain why…
In this Psychology Today blog Five to Thrive co-creator, Karolyn Gazella, provides a different perspective on prophylactic mastectomy. Read the full blog post here: Angelina Jolie Missed An Important Opportunity.
Integrative Practicioner, an online community for integrative healthcare professionals recently published a new article by Dr. Lise Alschuler.
“Our internal milieu, as complicated and dynamic as it is, strongly determines the fate of mutated cells. If the mutations sustained within a cell are severe enough to overcome its innate suicide mechanism (apoptosis) and are essentially irreparable, the cell will have the opportunity to survive and divide. Its daughter cells will do the same, and with each generation of cell division, cancer becomes an ever-approaching reality.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, cells do not function in isolation. Cells are highly responsive to their environment. Membrane receptors translate the surrounding environment into cascading signals within the cytoplasm. These signals, in turn, direct the activity of the cell’s DNA and messenger RNA. In this way, the environment within which a cell resides directs the fate of the cell itself. Certain bodily states create perpetual and distinct influences on cells. This interface helps to explain why cancer growth is stimulated under tissue conditions of chronic inflammation…”
Read Dr. Alschuler’s complete article here: The Inflammatory Landscape of Cancer.
Have you read the lastest Thrive Thought? Stop and Smell the…Veggies!
Soon I will celebrate 18 years of being cancer–free, after my ovarian cancer diagnosis at age 33. But even though the cancer is long-gone, the fear it brought with it lingers. Less than three months prior to my diagnosis, my mom died of advanced pancreatic cancer. As I began my battle, memories of her suffering were vivid and frightening.
Recently I had a dry, hacking cough that lasted more than five weeks. Instead of seeing it for the winter cold it was, I worked myself into a state of panic, convinced it was lung cancer.
When I eventually calmed down and let logic prevail, I was left with this question: Why, after all these years, do I continue to go there? I don’t have an answer to that question. All I have is the simple truth. I go there…
In Karolyn Gazella’s Psychology Today blog, our Five to Thrive co-author offers a straightforward, personal and practical look at fighting the cancer fear. Read the full blog here: “Fighting the Cancer Fear”.
Last year I wrote a story about poison in our poultry, apples being injected with chemicals to prevent browning, and genetically modified salmon affectionately known as “Frankenfish.” News reports also revealed that McDonald’s adds “pink slime” to their burgers and “meat glue,” a chemical binding agent, is being used by meat purveyors to piece together beef scraps to create what looks like premium cuts.
It’s enough to make you sick. Literally.
When did the food industry become so disconnected from nature’s food supply that it would create these abominations—with utter disregard for their ramifications on our own health? Isn’t it bad enough that grocery stores are littered with foods that contain hidden fats, high sodium, and chemical preservatives that require a biochemical PhD just to pronounce them?
I could continue this rant (which so many of you have heard before), but I’d prefer to give props to the First Lady for taking action…
In Karolyn Gazella’s Psychology Today blog, our Five to Thrive co-author addresses some pressing food industry concerns in an open letter to Michelle Obama. Read the full blog here: “Follow First Lady Michelle Obama’s Lead”.
Instead of searching for a harsh detox diet we suggest the psychological detox—a different kind of cleanse. Karolyn shares her 5-step plan to cleanse your emotional, mental, and spiritual health in “The Healing Factor”, her Psychology Today blog.
“Maybe it’s shopping for champagne and indulging on butter-rich hors d’oeuvres that makes everyone start talking about cleanses this time of year.
In the past, I’d be doing the same: Looking up cocktail recipes one day while searching for purging herbs the other. Not this year.
It’s not that I’m forgoing the cleanse altogether, just that I’m giving it a makeover. This year, instead of focusing on detoxifying my body, I’m going to work on making room for goodness in my mind, my life, and my relationships.
I’ve called my plan the CREAM cleanse—not only because that’s the acronym, but also because it represents rising to the top. And that’s just what I hope to do this year: To be even healthier and happier by continuously and gently cleansing my emotional, mental, and spiritual health.”
Read the full blog entry here: “A New Kind of Cleanse”.
Never underestimate the healing power of words. Karolyn shares a personal story about the power of the pen in her Psychology Today blog: “The Healing Factor”.
“I had a publishing company with my mom and my sister. After we experienced our first business crisis, my mom wrote me a letter—not a typed letter, a handwritten note from her heart. That letter was a turning point in my young career. She had never written me a letter before and I have never shared the letter with anyone and have only briefly mentioned it to a few close friends. I’d like to share some of it with you with the hope that it will inspire you just as it has done for me…”
Read the full blog entry here: “Write a Letter This Holiday Season”.
Can being hopeful help us heal? Karolyn answers this question with her latest post in “The Healing Factor”, her blog on Psychology Today.
“Recently I interviewed Mark Pettus, MD, who is the author of It’s All in Your Head: Change Your Mind, Change Your Health. We talked about how we can “train the brain to be addicted to health”—I love the way he phrases that. Through diet, lifestyle and dietary supplements we can help influence the brain’s biologic response…”
Read the full blog entry here: “The Healing Power of Hope”.
“Dr. Lise Alschuler, a board-certified Naturopathic Oncologist, comes on the show to discuss her recently completed book for cancer survivors and those with the disease that focuses on how to thrive despite the condition. Five to Thrive: Your Cutting-Edge Cancer Prevention Plan shows how people can influence the way the cells behave to create an internal environment that moves them away from disease. It utilizes five key pathways – Immune, Inflammation, Hormones, Insulin Resistance, and Digestion/Detoxification – to affect change for vibrant health.”
You can directly download these radio interviews and play them on your computer or mp3 player!
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