Healthy Living and Breast Cancer Risk with Kristen Keenan

Some healthy lifestyle choices may lower your risk of getting breast cancer. Learn what you can do to improve your health in this week’s episode.

We all know that we should try to live a healthy lifestyle, but exactly how do we go about doing that? Especially during a pandemic? Today we will answer those questions with Kristen Keenan, a Registered Dietitian and Health Education Specialist at Susan G. Komen.

About Kristen

Kristen Keenan is a Health Education Specialist in the Mission Department at Susan G. Komen. She became a registered dietitian by obtaining her Bachelor of Science in Nutrition, Master of Public Health, completing a dietetic internship, and passing the RD certification exam. Kristen enjoys all things food and loves to cook. In her free time, you will find her taking walks in nature with her husband, trying new recipes, and practicing yoga. 


Adam (00:00):

Adam (00:00):

We all know that we should try to live a healthy lifestyle, but exactly. How do we go about doing that? Especially during a pandemic today, we will answer those questions with Kristin Keenan, a registered dietician and health education specialist at Susan G Komen some healthy lifestyle choices may lower your risk of getting breast cancer, learn what you can do to improve your health in this week’s episode. So Kristen, welcome to the show.

Kristen (00:25):

Hi, thank you for having me.

Adam (00:28):

Well, I’m excited to talk about this. Why is a healthy lifestyle important as it relates to breast cancer?

Kristen (00:34):

So a healthy lifestyle can actually lower your risk of getting cancer. Specifically breast cancer. And healthy lifestyle is really important for a lot of different reasons, bigger than just breast cancer. There’s obviously other risk factors involved in breast cancer risk, but healthy lifestyle is something that we have the power to change. And it also helps in other aspects of our lives. It can make us feel better, be in a better mood, be better for our families. So it’s just all around a great thing to try to adopt.

Adam (01:07):

Right. That’s right. Better sleep, better moods, better everything. So, absolutely. So, so let’s dig in what is considered a healthy lifestyle. Cause that seems like a very broad sort of thing.

Kristen (01:18):

Yeah. So there’s a lot of different aspects to it, but three things that we can really modify that can influence our breast cancer risk includes achieving and maintaining a healthy diet and a healthy weight, adding exercise, chair routine and avoiding alcohol. Those are kind of like the big things that we can do that may influence our risk.

Adam (01:42):

All right. Well, let’s talk about the diet. You mentioned a healthy diet. What, what is a healthy diet? What should we eat? Maybe what should we not eat like candy? You know, give me, give me the ins and outs of that.

Kristen (01:52):

Yeah, well it’s really just something that we need to balance in all aspects. I love chocolate. I love candy too. Most of the time I eat one chocolate a day, so everything in moderation, but a healthy lifestyle really includes a balanced diet. A lot of people try to do fad diets and try to restrict themselves and do really crazy things that are hard to follow and those things aren’t sustainable. So the best thing to do is just to have a balanced diet and kind of cover the main food groups, definitely fruits and vegetables, whole grains, 100%, whole grains. You can look on the labels and find that, that stuff like wheat bread, whole wheat, pasta, there’s ancient grains like quinoa and then you also have your protein and that’s what keeps you full. So some great lean options for protein include fish, chicken, turkey, and kind of limiting those red meats. Those can possibly increase our risk of some cancers. So things like beef, sausage and jerky, those kinds things. Yeah.

Adam (03:00):

Right. It’s moderation, it’s balanced diet. It makes a lot of sense. And I think is attainable to average individuals like myself. So tell me your thoughts on snacking. I mean, what snacks do you eat? What’s a good habit there.

Kristen (03:14):

Yeah. So I’ll start back. When all of this quarantine stuff started, I was started working from home and I had access to my fridge and it was there all day long and I just grazed all day long. So that was not good. And then I tried not snacking at all, and I realized that I would get so hungry before my next meal, that I would just overeat at breakfast, lunch or dinner. So I found that there’s a really good routine for snacking and trying to schedule your sacks. And that really helps me know that I’m going to get to eat and I’m going to stay full until my next meal. So I started scheduling snacks like in the morning and in the afternoon. And that really helps me stay on track. Doing some pre-prepared snacks is really great. And that way you can just grab it from your fridge, either take it on the go or just grab it for your desk. If you’re working from home.

Adam (04:09):

I love the idea of like the pre-prepared snack, because I feel like then it takes the thought out of it. Cause you can’t, you can’t trust your future self, right? Like the, like I’m gonna make good decisions right now for myself in four hours, but myself and four hours may reach for something that’s a bad idea. So I love that prepackage sort of thing. That’s really great. Do you have any like any examples of good snacks we should be thinking about?

Kristen (04:31):

Yeah. So fruits and vegetables is really important overall and we should be getting around five cups of fruits and vegetables a day, which is a lot. So I always try to incorporate those into my snacks because it will increase my fruit and vegetable consumption, which can possibly reduce your risk of breast cancer. So I will try to eat an Apple with some cheese or peanut butter, or maybe even a yogurt with some nuts and berries on it and making sure that I’m trying to get all of those big food groups in there. So I want fat carbs and protein at each one of my snacks so that it keeps me full and keeps me from grazing all day.

Adam (05:13):

I love that. All right. So next question. What tips do you have for adopting a healthy diet? So, you know, ways to sort of begin moving in that direction.

Kristen (05:24):

The biggest part about eating a healthy diet and sticking with it is finding things that you enjoy eating. That’s a huge part of it. So if you’re not liking what you’re eating, then you’re not going to probably eat it longterm, try new things, go to the grocery store, look for new fruits and vegetables. You haven’t tried and do trial and error and see what you like. And a huge part of maintaining a healthy diet is to make a plan. And that’s something that we all kind of dread because it’s extra time on the weekend that we want to be having fun, but it’s really great way to set yourself up for success. So something I normally do on the weekend would be make a meal plan, think about the dinners. I’m going to be eating at home. Think about the dinners I’m going to be eating out and then add in a couple of leftovers or just fend for myself nights and then just plan a couple. And then I also think about my breakfast, lunch, and snacks, and that way I have something to make my grocery list with.

Adam (06:25):

Hmm. I mean, again, is that pre-planning. If you preplan, you plan ahead, then you can make good healthy choices ahead of time. And then you just follow up down the road, which is pretty great. I love the idea of just trying some new things too. I mean, why not? Right. Just grab a new vegetable that you haven’t tried before when you’re at the store. I mean, it’s not gonna hurt anything. Probably cost 40 cents. Who knows? So that’s great. Okay. And so my last question, what is one thing a listener can do today to kick off their healthy diet journey?

Kristen (06:54):

I think the biggest thing is that we get overwhelmed with what a healthy lifestyle is or what a healthy diet is. And really just changing one small thing can make you a healthier person. So picking one fruit or vegetable to eat a day, that’s more than what you would normally eat. So just adding one into your snack, or just adding one into your dinner, that’s something that can help lower your risk, possibly breast cancer, but also it can just help you have more nutrients, which will give you more energy. So just adding one a day, that’s something that’s super attainable, or you could just do something like go for a walk and you can make a goal with it and keep it small, doing something like I’m going to walk after work for five minutes, tries this week. That will take you no time. And it’s just something that you can get in the habit of doing, and it’ll probably help your mental health too. Cause you kind of get out of the house, get a change of scenery and then you can just slowly make it a habit and grow with your goal each week.

Adam (07:57):

I love that. Or, you know, take a walk as a break during the workday to help clear your mind and think and think outside the box. I find a lot of times when I take a walk, when I’m trying to solve a problem that really helps. So maybe even think about it that way too. So Kristen, this has been great. I love your advice. It’s really practical. It’s really easy. And thanks for joining me on the show. We’d love to have you back again sometime. Yes. Thanks for having me.

Intro and outro music is City Sunshine by Kevin MacLeod.