A little over a year ago I started limiting my consumption of beef and pork. Since then, many people have asked me why I chose to cut these meats from my diet. The answer: processing and sodium nitrite.
Now, I want to clear one thing up before I go any further. In no way am I suggesting you should make the same diet choices as I have. It worked for me to stop eating these foods, mainly because I don’t like eating a lot of meat anyway, but that doesn’t mean it will work for you.
Back to sodium nitrite! The stuff scares me to death! This chemical compound is a carcinogenic ingredient, which means it is capable of causing cancer in living tissue. This compound can be found in various processed foods such as hot dogs, bacon, sausage, packaged ham, pepperoni, salami and virtually all red meat used in frozen meals.
Aside from sodium nitrite, the entire development of processed meats can be hazardous to one’s health. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, there is a link between diets high in processed red meats and colorectal cancer, in particular. The AICR states, “….[E]very 50 gram serving of processed meat (roughly equivalent to 1 hot dog) eaten per day increases colorectal cancer risk by 21 percent.” I know it seems ridiculous to assume someone would eat a hot dog every single day, but my purpose was to prove that there are dangers associated with the regular consumption of processed meats.
Again, I’m not suggesting to completely cut processed foods out of your life. We live in a culture full of red meats and pork. I think the AICR put it best in a brochure titled “Guidelines for Cancer Prevention” when it said, “So try to think of processed meats as something you save for special occasions – maybe a modest serving of ham at Christmas or a hot dog at a ball game.”
I encourage you to take everything stated above with a grain of salt and a hint of skepticism. I’m not saying all the facts are 100 percent accurate. I just know as someone who has a family history of colon cancer, I’m not taking my chances!
Also, as mentioned before, I really don’t like red meat, so it was easy as pie to cut back. Of course I still have it from time to time, but moderation is key! That’s my main purpose for writing this post.
If you have anything you’d like me to add or if you’d like to refute anything I said, please feel free to shoot me an e-mail at BowenAK15@uww.edu.
~Remember, you have to learn to love yourself before you can truly love someone else~