Breast Health with Rachelle Poitras
In continuation of Self Care December, lets talk about breast health ladies. (Men are more than welcome to talk about it as well) How well do you treat your breasts? I quit bras about a year ago, told myself I didn’t want to cage them in anymore and I set them free ;) But breast health is more than just losing the bra. Certain foods we eat, and even certain chemicals we put on our skin, can affect out breast health.
I interviewed Rachelle Poitras, founder of Metanoia, an online journal that inspires awareness in holistic breast health. She’s a true advocate to holistic health and natural beauty! I was curious and wanted to know more.
Tell me a little about yourself? Your story
Rachelle - I have 12 fibroadenomas and one benign phyllodes tumor. Five years ago, I decided to take my health challenges as opportunities for healing and growth.
I’ve had fibroadenomas for as long as I can remember, probably since puberty. I had one removed surgically about 15 years ago. I thought surgery was the answer and that I wouldn’t have to deal with this issue any longer. Or so I was told by several doctors. Several years later, a tumor grew in it’s it place. Again, surgery was recommended and I was very skeptical to remove something I didn’t understand. I also believed that if my body created this imbalance, it could also heal it. This was a huge wake up call. As with any health imbalances, I was being called to tap into my body and nourish it on many different levels.
This journey has awakened my spirit, softened my heart, nourished and strengthened my body. We are all healers and it is our responsibility to heal ourselves. No one else can do it for us. It’s our duty to dive deep, harness our strength, honor ourselves with deep reverence and allow our bodies innate intelligence to work it’s magic. It’s taught me self-love, to be compassionate and kind towards myself, and to listen to my body’s messages. Our bodies are constantly communicating with us. It’s our job to listen.
Why is it so important for women to be conscious about their breast health?
Rachelle - It’s important for everyone to be aware of their whole body health. But for women specifically, There’s an anxiety around breast imbalances. Our mind automatically thinks of breast cancer whenever we find a lump. It’s also important to seek professional medical advice if we find anything that seems out of the ordinary or we’re unsure of. Fortunately, most of the time these lumps and growths we find are benign and can be healed, as I’ve discovered, holistically. Often these imbalances are calling for us to start paying attention to ourselves. It’s an opportunity to learn to love our bodies, appreciate their incredible intelligence and return to wholeness. According to Louise Hay, breast imbalances represent feeling unloved and a refusal to nourish ourselves.
It’s important for women to take their health in their own hands, to inform themselves. Get different opinions if you‘ve been diagnosed. Read, listen to podcasts, and attend workshops. Become your own doctor, so to speak.
What are some herbs/self care remedies do you recommend?
Iodine is an anti-estrogenic mineral which is used by every cell in the body and incredibly important for healthy breast tissue. It’s also known to shrink growths like fibroadenomas.
Castor Oil is an incredibly powerful oil which helps to detoxify the lymph and has shrinking abilities.
Dandelion root is a true powerhouse for breast health. It’s an incredible ally for a variety of breast conditions; fibroadenomas, benign cysts, tumors, lumps, cancer, soreness, and water retention
Violet leaf has an affinity for breast tissue. It’s a wonderful herbal ally for gently healing fibroadenomas, fibrous cysts, lumps, tumors, infections or growths like cancer.
These are all incredibly important tools, but the relationship you have with yourself is one of the most important ones. Treat yourself like the queen that you are. Don’t settle for less than what you’re worth and desire, in all areas of your life. You show others how to treat you by the way you treat yourself. You’re the only one that can heal yourself. That is your responsibility and yours alone.
4. What are food/things we should avoid to maintain healthy body/ breasts?
Rachelle - Stay away from refined, processed foods, dairy, gluten, refined sugar, food sensitivities, alcohol, smoking, non-organic and GMO foods. They will increase inflammation, affect gene mutations and create imbalances, especially hormonal.
If you don’t have access to organic, make sure to wash your fruits and vegetables thoroughly. Do the best you can with what you’ve got. One thing everyone can start doing is eating more greens.
Eat a diet that makes you feel good. This doesn’t mean you can never have ‘junk’ food but it needs to be limited. Having that piece of pizza or donut is absolutely ok, enjoy it. I definitely enjoy a donut here and there, but as I’ve cleaned up my eating, my taste buds have tremendously changed. The treats I now enjoy are usually gluten free and refined sugar free and taste incredible. Find guilt free and healthy treats.
5. What alternatives do you recommend for women to do instead of getting mammograms?
Rachelle - My personal experience is with ultrasounds. I’ve never had a mammogram so I can’t speak to this tool personally, but from my understanding, mammograms are quite an outdated method and thermograms are a far more efficient and safer diagnostic tool. Thermograms detect the amount of heat (inflammation) coming from the breast. This may be much more proactive in early detection, so if inflammation is detected, a protocol can be put into action to reduce inflammation before growths start to develop. There are always exceptions, and perhaps there are situations where a mammogram is needed. It’s important for women to take their health into their own hands and inform themselves. You need to find what works for you. This may not always be what works for another. Talk to different practitioners in western, functional/integrative, and naturopathic medicine and get their perspectives.
To dive little deeper, go to Rachelle’s blog for recipes and additional information on breast health.
Stay Happy & Healthy,