Archive | October, 2010

Breast Cancer – Lifestyle Risks, What Are They? – Jill Sung

28 Oct

It’s almost Halloween, and I can’t think of anything scary to wear. Let me know if you have any suggestions so I’m not staring into my closet considering re-using a costume! But, I was thinking that scarier than horror movies and something that I can’t yet understand how scary it is, is finding out that I have cancer. I can’t imagine how I would deal with it, and really respect all the people who’ve received that news, and their families who have helped them deal with it.

Since this is still breast cancer awareness month, I thought I’d focus on what are the preventable things one can do to decrease their chance for breast cancer.

What you intake…

  • Alcohol – Breast Cancer risk increases with the amount of alcohol one drinks. 2-5 drinks a day increases your risk of breast cancer by 1.5 times (it can also increase the risk of mouth, throat, liver, and esophageal cancer). 1 drink a day slightly increases your risk…this is all compared to those who drink no alcohol.
  • Oral Contraceptives – usage is associated with a slightly higher risk, but this risk declines once usage is stopped. 10 years after stopping, you’re back to the same risk as if you never took oral contraceptives. But be sure to weigh your risks and benefits before deciding to stop or start.
  • Hormone Therapy – use is related to an increased risk, even if just for a few years. Talk to your doctor about post-menopause hormone therapy risks and benefits especially as it relates to osteoporosis, stroke and heart disease.

Things you do…

  • Physical Activity – Even as little as 1.25 to 2.5 hours of brisk walking a week, decreases your chance of breast cancer by about 18% (shown in the Women’s Health Initiative research). More hours is even better.
  • Being Overweight – is associated with a higher breast cancer risk, especially after menopause. After menopause, your ovaries decrease estrogen production, but your fat cells continue…And where your fat cells are located (waist is worse than hips) affects your risk.
  • Pregnancy – early and many decreases your risk…but sometimes, this just can’t be helped!

Tobacco smoke, environmental toxins, diet, and vitamin intake still need better research or are still controversial, so I’ll leave those alone for now. Thanks to the American Cancer Society for this great information! I hope you and your children all have a safe and fun Halloween!

Turmeric: The Ancient Wonder Ingredient – Metta Murdaya

18 Oct
Healthy Turmeric - Strong Antioxidant

Tasty and Good for you!

So there’s this ‘new’ ingredient that’s popping up in the US in health supplements, skincare, and exotic dishes that’s raved about as uber healthy with anti-cancer properties: Turmeric. We often nod “oh, yes, that plant.” But what is it, and why is it so awesome? Oh, let me count the ways. For one, it’s one of Indonesia’s most revered spices/ingredients used in its herbal medicinal tradition and beauty rituals for centuries, but that’s not all. Hopefully this brief overview will leave you the most interesting person at your next dinner party when you can quip up on the wonders of this spice – and leave people wanting to try it out!

What is it? Turmeric (Curcuma Longa) is a 5000 year old herb in the ginger family, and is known to grow wild in Southern Asia including India (oldest origin), Indonesia, Indochina, nearby Asian countries, and even in Hawaii. It is less fibrous than ginger, and has a nutty, slightly funky herbal/gingery smell to it and a nice, peppery and warm flavor.

What is it used for? Many things. Its roots are used in cooking as a spice, medicine, and even dye to color fabric/food. Known for its bright yellow color that can stain, turmeric has been used as a food colorant and dye for cloth historically as a less expensive alternative to saffron.  Indonesian and Indian cuisine frequent this ingredient, especially in curries, because it is not only yummy but healthy! In Indonesia, we use Turmeric in hundreds of healthy concoctions from a princess spa ritual to brighten skin to drunken medicines to help cleanse blood and liver. In Bali, a traditional healer mixed turmeric with sandalwood and water to create a paste he massaged in my sprained ankle to help reduce swelling and induce rapid healing! (For those of you who saw Eat, Pray, Love, yes – those healers do exist, I can personally attest to it!) Turmeric is also widely used in Indian Ayurvedic systems, most widely used to purify blood.

What’s the magic ingredient? Curcumin is the power ingredient in Turmeric that has many of the anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and blood purifying properties. Though studies conducted are still in the early stage, curcumin has shown positive effect on preventing cancer through its ability to suppress the proliferation of a wide variety of tumor cells and to inhibit harmful molecules and enzymes. Topically, like in our Turmeric Antioxidant Radiance Mask, the curcumin in our turmeric complex brightens skin and naturally fights discoloration and age spots naturally. It gives your skin a natural glow – just try it! 15 minutes and you’ll notice a difference.

What does it do, in a nutshell? Overall, turmeric is an amazing antioxidant, thanks to an ingredient in it – curcurmin. Turmeric can detoxify the liver, reduce cholesterol, brighten skin complexion (see our Turmeric Antioxidant Radiance Mask), is naturally antiseptic and antibacterial, and does a whole lot more. So take your dose or turmeric – in capsules like a health supplement, fresh, or in a spice powder, in Jamu (Indonesian tonics), or in our JUARA Turmeric Antioxidant Radiance Mask. Enjoy!

Breast Cancer – What do I need to know? – Jill Sung

12 Oct

Breast Exam: Anatomy

It’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month! And besides knowing that I need to do self exams and that JUARA is donating funds from sales for this important issue

Some Diagnosis Tips: Self Exam

If you’re 20 years old and above, it’s good to start self-examining now. The most common signs of breast cancer are below, however, we should keep in mind that not all lumps or changes mean one has breast cancer…these are just common signs to watch for – if found, go to your doctor. An easy self-exam video: Breast Cancer Self-Exam Video

  • a lump in the breast
  • abnormal thickening of the breast, or
  • a change in the shape, size, or color of the breast
  • less common but also signs
    • Dimpling or puckering of the skin
    • Swelling, redness or warmth that does not go away
    • Pain in one spot that does not vary with your monthly cycle
    • Pulling in of the nipple
    • Nipple discharge that starts suddenly and appears only in one breast
    • An itchy, sore or scaling area on one nipple
Should I  get a Mammogram?

The rules I’ve learned are that one should receive mammograms once a year at age 40 and beyond. But this past November 2009, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (and pay attention ladies, because this may affect insurance coverage) stated that women with an average chance of breast cancer should receive biennial mammograms between the age of 50 and 74. (If you have a greater chance because a family member had breast cancer or have clinical signs, etc. you should consult your doctor and discuss the best preventive practice.) For women between the age of 40 and 49, the USPSTF recommended against annual screenings because of the risk of radiation exposure, false-positive/negative results, overdiagnosis, pain during procedures, and anxiety, distress…Despite these rulings, many of the organizations that support breast cancer awareness are still evaluating the decision of when to start preventive mammogram screenings. So please keep in mind that you should, with the help of your physician, assess your risk for breast cancer and be preventive accordingly. (Interestingly, the USPSTF also recommended against breast self-exam…but the jury was out on self-exam by supporting organizations as well).

I think that’s it for now, we’ll talk more about the risks, etc. next time. How many of you out there do yearly self-exams? Why? Any tips?

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: JUARA partners with CEW Foundation’s Cancer & Careers

1 Oct

When I was in my 20s, I would barely notice as October’s Breast Cancer Awareness month come and go.  When you are young and blessed with good health, you feel invincible, especially if your peers close to you are healthy too.  Then, a former class mate of mine from grad school fell ill suddenly with breast cancer.  She was in her early 30s, a normal healthy mother to 2 adorable little kids… no family history of breast cancer or any other known risk factors what-so-ever.  Fortunately treatment was successful and she remains cancer-free so far, but that’s when it hit me that breast cancer, as well as many other common forms of cancer, is quite random:  Any woman, young or old, risk factors or not, can get it.  That’s why it is so important for all of us help raise awareness and help in the fight against breast cancer.  As entrepreneurs we believe in self-empowerment and in taking charge of our destiny.  The notion of empowerment is key in the fight against breast cancer as well, so we are very excited to announce that JUARA has partnered with CEW Cancer and Careers.

From October through December 2010. JUARA will be donating 10% of their proceeds from sales of the Turmeric Antioxidant Radiance Mask on JUARA’s online boutique to Cancer and Careers.

JUARA’s Turmeric Antioxidant Radiance Mask is a wet clay mask that strengthens skin’s defenses and brightens skin with a unique Turmeric complex that acts as a powerful antioxidant and is clinically proven to be effective. Over time skin will become brighter, stronger, and healthier.   We chose this mask for Breast Cancer Awareness Month because Turmeric is such a key ingredient in Indonesian herbal medicine to maintain health and well-being.

Cancer and Careers’ mission is to empower and educate people with cancer to thrive in their workplace by providing expert advice, interactive tools and educational events. To learn more visit