10/07/2015 08:25 EDT | Updated 10/07/2016 05:12 EDT

This October, Let's Stop Pinkwashing Breast Cancer


It's October -- the leaves are changing colours, our front stoops showcase our orange pumpkins, the first frosts make our gardens white in the morning, and everywhere I look, virtually and in person, I see pink.

Despite the lovely pink ribbon, toxic ingredients are polluting us. Maybe it's just the cynic in me, but I think it should be common sense that we can't shop our way to a cure -- especially by listening to companies who claim to be supporting us and fighting breast cancer, while selling products that can contribute to causing the very disease. I'd rather put my money towards cleaning up our water, buying organic food (even pink ones!), or saving the bees, for example, over adding a bunch of pink ribbons to our (already way too big) trash piles.

A few things to do this October (or any month) to be part of the solution:

1. Watch Pink Ribbons Inc. Really, please watch this feature documentary that shows how the devastating reality of breast cancer, which marketing experts have labeled a "dream cause," has been hijacked by a shiny, pink story of success.

2. Question everything you buy, and avoid pink-labelled or ribboned products that are likely just part of the problem. Question the safety of the item, who made it and what good it will do for you, and consider if substantial dollars are being donated to do something meaningful and worthwhile. From clothing and snacks, to cosmetics and beverages, we can make better choices.

3. Read a couple books. I highly suggest Slow Death by Rubber Duck and Toxin Toxout. No mother sets out to buy their newborn a bottle with BPA, serve chemical-laden fish for dinner, or send their child to school with a lunchbox with lead in the lining. The brilliance of Slow Death by Rubber Duck is not simply that authors, Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie, experiment on themselves to show us all how everyday toxins impact our wellbeing, it's that they are able to deliver solutions and a hopeful message. Toxin Toxout is their second book, packed with valuable information to help us get harmful chemicals out of our bodies and our world.

4. Google "Pinkwashing" and learn how rampant it is, then, pass it on.

5. Learn to cook and enjoy your meals at home more. If you buy great ingredients, and know where they come from, and keep them in your kitchen, you'll always be ahead of the eating game. Cooking can also be a great time to unwind, if you treat it as a hobby rather than a chore, and it's great to connect and bond with your friends and family. Here are my favourite books and cookbooks to get you started with simple and delicious recipes that actually work out really well. Keep in mind, cookbooks are not just for recipes, but the good ones also offer fresh, healthy perspective, as my choices always do.

6. Clean up your kitchen. From the pantry, to your reusables (the less plastic the better), from your freezer to your cookware and appliances. Here are a few of my favourite things (with no Teflon in sight!).

7. Get Social. If you are involved in social media, share content to share the anti-pinkwashing and pro-health message. It makes a difference. You can start with this one that I posted if you wish.


Henna Heals for Breast Cancer Awareness Month