Why Monthly Breast Self Exams Are a Thing of the Past (and What’s Replacing Them)

I found this article today on the Forbes Woman website and it makes a lot of sense. Most of us have been taught the importance of Monthly Breast Self-Exams but how many of us actually do this regularly and as thoroughly as we should? This article takes things a step further. The takeaway….become comfortable with your breasts and get to know what’s normal for you. 525600 Minutes Exam 300x218 Why Monthly Breast Self Exams Are a Thing of the Past (and Whats Replacing Them)

Most women grew up hearing that monthly breast self exams (BSE) were a crucial part of early detection. But more and more, experts are saying that monthly exams are passé. Instead, they recommend breast “self awareness.” Why is this, and what should you look for?

The main reason that the BSE is not recommended so universally as it once was is that some studies have suggested that women who do monthly BSE are not any better off than women who don’t. In other words, these women had no less risk of dying from breast cancer than women who didn’t do the monthly self exam. As a result, the recommendation from certain organizations has, over time, shifted away from BSE. Replacing it is the idea of breast self awareness, in which women are urged to get to know their breasts intimately, coming to understand what’s normal for them, and how it changes through the course of a month.

Dr. Elisa Port, Chief of Breast Surgery at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, says that one of the problems with the monthly BSE is that “many women say they don’t feel like they know what they’re doing.” Some women may be intimidated by the natural lumpiness of their breasts and not know where to start. But Port urges women to get beyond this and “get comfortable with your breasts” in a fundamental way. Just as you know each contour of the back of your hand, the idea is that you can know your breasts in the same old-hat kind of way. Even women with the densest, lumpiest, “cobblestone” breasts, says Port, can do this. She adds that the “likelihood of identifying something new is higher if you’re comfy with them.” You’ll know to recognize a “dominant mass: something that stands out against the background, even on cobblestone breasts.”

Director of Clinical Breast Programs and Services at NYU and co-author of Bosom Buddies, Dr. Deborah Axelrod underlines that “it’s normal to have lumpy, bumpy, granular and nodular breasts particularly when you are still premenopausal (still menstruating). If something persists through a cycle or two then bring it to your doctor’s attention.” She personally recommends skipping the monthly BSE: “I have changed my recommendations from routine monthly breast exams to feeling your breasts every 2 or 3 months, mainly to get to know what’s “normal” for you. For instance, I have had women over the years see me for physical findings that proved to be completely fine…. Doctors who are examining you for the first time may be alerted to what they consider to be an abnormal finding. However, if it has remained the same over the years (how would you know that? By getting to KNOW your breasts), then a biopsy may be avoided.”

If you’ve been slacking on the breast self awareness, here’s a good way to get started. Make your first step a clinical exam at your doctor’s office to make sure that everything you feel is supposed to be there. Rather than jumping in and getting worried at every lump and bump you find, says Dr. Port, your doctor can help you determine your “normal.”

Dr. Port says she even tells her patients to “draw the face of the clock, with 12 o’clock up toward the head, and 3 o’clock towards the middle of your body on your right breast. Then draw picture of what you think you feel.” You can take your drawing to your doctor, who can determine if lumps you feel are of concern.

Susan Brown, RN at Susan Komen for the Cure, says that her organization also recommends self awareness over monthly BSE, but there are several parts of breast awareness. “First: know your risk, and your family’s medical history; take that info to your health care providers. Second: get screened. If you’re at higher risk, your physician can guide you on screening practices. We recommend annual mammogram beginning at age 40. Third: Know what’s normal for you. If you find warning signs, go to your health care provider. Fourth: Make healthy lifestyle choices. Eat well, exercise, only consume modest amounts of alcohol, avoid hormones, and breast feed if you can.”

What are the red flags to look out for along the way? The obvious is any lumps or thickenings that weren’t there before, but there are other signs that women should be aware of:

* Swelling, warmth, or redness in the breast
* Changes in size and shape of the breasts
* Puckering or retraction of the skin or nipple/new nipple inverstion
* Nipple discharge, especially bloody
* Itchy, scaly rash on the nipple
* Skin dimpling (like an orange peel)
* A lump under the arm/lymph node
* Pain associated with one spot, which doesn’t go away
* Sore, swollen, inflamed breast (a sign of rare inflammatory breast cancer)

There are also some misconceptions about breast cancer risk. Dr. Port says that the most common myths are that the “kind of bra you wear or using deodorant” increase your risk. On the other hand, having no family history does not mean you’re risk-free – “90% of breast cancer patients have no family history,” she says. Hair dyes, breast implants, and terminating a pregnancy also do not seem to have an effect, adds Dr. Axelrod.

The bottom line is that no woman is too young or old to be diagnosed. “The truth is that all women should be aware that it’s possible,” says Brown. “Don’t ignore any change in your breasts. Sometimes we think, ‘if I don’t notice or don’t talk about these changes, they will go away.’ On the contrary, we want women to feel empowered to take action if they notice changes in their breasts.”

Komen for the Cure offers a breast care help line: 877.GO.KOMEN (877.465.6636), along with information on early detection, diagnosis, and treatment.


The Paper Towel Analogy by Alwyn Cosgrove

This is one of my favorite reads.

Alwyn Cosgrove’s Paper Towel Analogy

10566 The Paper Towel Analogy by Alwyn CosgroveLet’s assume you go out and buy two rolls of paper towels, each with 112 paper towels on it. You put one aside, and keep it for future reference (your “before” picture). The other one represents you (I’ll call your paper towel “Ed”). The core represents the lean Ed. The towels represent the fat that is covering the lean Ed.

For sake of argument, let’s say that Ed wants to lose 28 pounds of fat, so (112/28) each sheet represents a quarter-pound of fat lost.

Let’s also assume that Ed loses his fat equally during each day of the program.
Each day during the first week, you tear a sheet off of Ed, representing the fat he has lost for the day. Next, you put Ed next to the full roll (“Big Ed”) for comparison.
No noticeable difference! Even at the end of the week!
“This can’t be working for me! This program sucks! ”
But, you continue to follow your fat loss program. At the end of weeks two and three, you continue to compare Ed to Big Ed, and still notice very little difference.
But Ed is determined! He continues to work hard!
Three more weeks go by, the sheets peeling off day after day, before Ed gets up the courage to stand next to Big Ed again.
Now there’s a big difference!
By the end of the program (112 days), Ed is down to his lean dream, or somewhere near it. Big Ed is still – well, big.

The lesson to be learned is that fat, like paper towels, comes off in sheets. When you are heavy, you are big around. And when you are big around, that fat is spread over a MUCH larger area – just like that outside towel sheet. The closer you get to the lean you, the more each lost pound of fat shows, because it is spread over a smaller area.

While the outside sheet may only cover one layer of the roll, the inside sheet may go around 4 times. That last sheet looks like it gives you four times the results of the first sheet, but in reality, the results are the same – your perception is just different! And you’ll never see the inside, if you aren’t patient while the outside is coming off!

Almond Milk – Which Brand Tastes Best?

Filed under Things I Like

almond milk Almond Milk   Which Brand Tastes Best?Almond milk is a milky drink made from ground almonds. Unlike dairy milk, almond milk contains no cholesterol or lactose. Regular, unsweetened almond milk can be used as a substitute for dairy milk in recipes, smoothies and protein shakes, and since it does not contain any animal products, it is suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Most commercial almond milk products come in plain, vanilla, or chocolate flavors and are often enriched with vitamins. Almond milk can also be made at home by combining ground almonds with water in a blender. Vanilla or chocolate flavoring and sweeteners can be added. Due to possible allergies, almond milk should not be used in baby formula

TraderJoe 150x150 Almond Milk   Which Brand Tastes Best?Trader Joe’s Almond Milk – Original- Non-dairy

Price: $2.99/half gallon

Trader Joe’s contains 60 calories, 7 grams of sugar, and 2.5 grams of fat per 8oz serving.

Ingredients: filtered water, almonds, evaporated cane sugar, tricalcium phosphate, and sea salt.

Thumbs Up: Has a slightly more obvious almond flavor than the other two, feels rich in your mouth and is my favorite to drink plain.

Thumbs Down: Only available at Trader Joe’s so if there’s not one in your area, you’re out of luck.

AlmondBreezeMilk 150x150 Almond Milk   Which Brand Tastes Best?Blue Diamond Almond Breeze – Original Flavor

Price: $3.50/half Gallon average price at most supermarkets

60 calories, 7 grams of sugar, and 2.5 grams of fat per 8oz serving

Ingredients: filtered water, almonds, all-natural evaporated cane juice, calcium carbonate and sea salt

Thumbs Up: Soy and lactose free. Good substitute for milk in some baking recipes as well as in smoothies. Texture is very similar to whole milk.

Thumbs Down: Has a slight aftertaste that doesn’t resemble almonds. Least favorite to drink alone.

silk almond milk 150x150 Almond Milk   Which Brand Tastes Best?Silk Pure Almond All-Natural – Original Flavor

Price: $3.59/half gallon at most supermarkets

60 calories, 7 grams of sugar, and 2.5 grams of fat per 8oz serving

Ingredients: filtered water, almonds, all natural evaporated cane juice, calcium carbonate and sea salt

Thumbs Up: Rich flavor and texture. Flavor is enhanced when served cold.

Thumbs Down: Not bad but just not quite as rich tasting as the Trader Joe’s brand

Since there was hardly any difference in macronutrient content, it pretty much comes down to taste preference. All brands tested are acceptable for substitutions in recipes and for smoothies/protein shakes. If purchasing this product to drink alone, the overall winner is the Trader Joe’s Brand. The Trader Joe’s brand is also the least expensive provided you have a Trader Joe’s in your area.

Jamie Eason’s Cinnamon Swirl Protein Bread

Jamie Eason is one of my favorite fitness models. Yesterday she posted this recipe on her Facebook wall. Although I haven’t tried it, it looks absolutely delicious!

Jamie Eason’s LiveFit Recipes: Cinnamon Swirl Protein Bread

jamie eason cinnamon swirl protein bread asm Jamie Easons  Cinnamon Swirl Protein Bread

The only thing better than the aroma of coffee wafting through the house first thing in the morning is the smell of freshly baked cinnamon rolls. As a kid, nothing could get me down the stairs for breakfast faster! Though it’s been ages since I’ve actually had the kind of cinnamon rolls my mom would bake, I can still remember the warm buttery goodness with hints of vanilla, cinnamon, and sugar icing.
Of course, these days, indulgences like that are few and far between for me. Though it may not lessen the allure of a Cinnabon at the mall, my own cinnamon swirl protein bread satisfies that urge. Not only does it fill the house with the aroma of cinnamon and vanilla, but it also provides additional protein and has far fewer calories. Eat this scrumptious bread first thing in the morning or pack it to accompany meals throughout the day!


• 1/3 cup Ideal (Xylitol)
• 2 tsp cinnamon
• 1 1/2 cups oat flour + 2 scoops vanilla whey protein
• 1 tbsp baking powder
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1/2 cup Ideal (Xylitol) or ¼ cup Stevia in the Raw
• 2 egg whites
• 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (Almond Breeze)
• 1/3 cup or 1 4oz jar of baby food applesauce and ¼ cup low sugar vanilla yogurt (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray an 8 X 8 inch Pyrex dish with non-stick spray.

2. In small bowl combine: (set aside)

• 1/3 cup Ideal (Xylitol)
• 2 tsp cinnamon

3. In a large bowl combine: (whisk together)

• 1 1/2 cups oat flour + 2 scoops vanilla whey protein
• 1 tbsp baking powder
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1/2 cup Ideal (Xylitol) or ¼ cup Stevia in the Raw

4. In a medium bowl combine: (whisk together & add to lrg bowl)

• 2 egg whites
• 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (Almond Breeze)
• 1/3 cup or 1 4oz jar of baby food applesauce and ¼ cup low sugar vanilla yogurt (optional)

5. Pour a shallow layer of batter into the loaf pan (about 1/4 of the batter).

6. Sprinkle heavily with half of the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Repeat with remaining batter & cinnamon/sugar on top.

7. Draw a knife through the batter to marble. Bake for 24 to 28 min. Let cool for 10 min. Bread will be dense.

Greek-Style Yogurt in 2 Easy Steps

When I first tried some of the greek yogurts on the market, I loved the thicker, creamier consistency but I didn’t really like the taste or the flavor options, plus they were more expensive than my regular brands. Sooooooo, being the good steward of my fiances that I am, I decided to do some research and attempt to make my own. I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was.

I found this really simple recipe in Cooking Light Magazine and added my own 3rd step, which is the fun part, experimenting with flavorings and toppings.

This is my kind of recipe…..Simple, Easy, and Tasty

Step 1
Spoon plain nonfat or low-fat yogurt into a fine-mesh steel strainer lined with a paper tower or coffee filter.
Greek Yogurt 1 300x300 Greek Style Yogurt in 2 Easy Steps

Step 2:
Set the strainer into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, put in the fridge, and let the whey drain out of the yogurt.
Greek Yogurt 2 300x300 Greek Style Yogurt in 2 Easy Steps

Step 3:
Mix with fruit, honey, peanut butter, flavoring or of course, enjoy plain
3 Greek Yogurt 236x300 Greek Style Yogurt in 2 Easy Steps