Tim Hunnewell gets his beard dyed pink by colorist Melissa Zeller at the Marianne Strokirk Salon in Chicago. Hunnewell was preparing to run for the Bright Pink team in the Chicago Marathon to raise money for breast cancer research. He raised more than ,100, mostly on the promise of coloring his beard. File 2012

During breast cancer awareness month, WJ ran a front page photo on Oct. 10 of a man who dyed his beard pink in preparation to run with the Bright Pink team in the Chicago Marathon to raise money for breast cancer research.

It was catchy, yet it gears people into conventional thinking that there still aren’t cures for cancers, and the solution still lies in some magic, expensive toxic pill yet to be discovered by some pharmaceutical company, who then makes a hefty profit.

What if we think beyond the pink? What could that look like? There are other “colors,” thoughts and actions of the emerging integrative medical health spectrum to ponder.

Women can take some time to learn about ways to protect their breasts and support their breast health. This should be done on the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and energetic levels. Women are already doing it.

Our bodies are magnificent, energetic healing machines. With proper support, knowledge, and holistic and natural strategies, we can choose to own our bodies and our health choices. Cancer is not something “out there” that will get us. We can pro-actively make healthy changes both personally and socially in an effort to prevent cancers.

Women are bombarded with fear about their breasts and getting cancer. Fear is a toxic emotion, and cutting-edge research shows there is a strong mind-body connection, so it’s good insurance to prevent those fears from embedding in your thoughts, feelings and tissues. Let them bounce off and then affirm your health and ability to make new empowered choices.

Our breasts are rich in lymph fluid and ducts. The lymph moves toxins out. So it’s a bright idea to not constrict breasts with tight bras, especially those with metal or plastic underwires. Women can also learn simple ways to move the lymph in their breasts, so that toxins don’t pool there. See www.breasthealthproject.com.

You can choose to reduce the toxic load on your body by avoiding chemicals that mimic estrogens. They are called xenoestrogens and can be in pesticides, insecticides, plastics, lotions, sunscreen lotions and more. It’s also important to eliminate toxic antiperspirants with parabens and aluminum. It takes some time, money and energy to eliminate these, but you and your children are worth the investment. You can also research the many ways to detox from those chemicals that already are in your body.

Sherri Tennpenny, D.O., helps educate women about some amazing nutrients to help breast health. She focuses on several, including the research for Iodine and Vitamin D3. Check it out for yourself. It’s exciting. Breasts are sponges for iodine and this mineral has a protective quality for breasts. Midwest people tend to be low in iodine (don’t get Iodine from industrialized refined salt).

Dr. Tennpenny recommends 3 mg of iodine a day but tests her patients to see what they need. Integrative medical professionals are aware of the urine test, research and helpful supplements. Vitamin D3 can also be tested, and some insurance companies even pay for this test. The research about the amazing immune system support of this nutrient is exciting. And it’s easy. Of course, eating a variety of vibrant, real foods is very important for each of us to nurture great health.

Women have been trained to use mammograms, since they are the standard of care in the allopathic medical field. Yet they are painful, they irradiate sensitive breast tissue, and only detect lumps that are already progressing. That’s not prevention or early detection.

Thermography can detect conditions that are pre-cancerous, and can detect a problem up to eight years earlier than mammograms. They are painless and non-toxic. Several local integrative medical professionals offer them. Since insurance companies do not yet pay for this valuable service, you will need to pay out of pocket, but you are worth the investment. Cancer is expensive in all ways.

Early detection, a holistic approach and an ounce of prevention are truly worth a pound of cure. Let’s think beyond the pink.

Gina Orlando is a holistic health educator in Oak Park.

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