WHO Says I Should Give up Bacon?
If you think I'm giving up bacon, you've lost your freakin' mind! My earliest readers may recall my first blog, How Bacon Saved My Life. It saved my cooking from bland flavors, it saved my fertility from an anemic, hypoglycemic, vegetarian state, and it saved me from my own misconceptions about fat.
"You need to eat fat to lose fat" - Jessica Campbell - Heart Healthy Fats
But, as a holistic nutritionist, when the World Health Organization starts spreading fear about my beloved pork, I listen. I'm also in "mostly" agreement with the WHO. You see, they're not referring to those of us that seek the highest quality meats from sustainable farmers, and eat meat as a side dish to our rainbow of vegetables.
No, they're talking about overeating the meat products of convenience. You know your friends that eat a bacon McEgg in the morning, a ham sandwich at lunch, and hot dogs for dinner. Sorry, but that's not quite the diet of a healthy American. Thanks WHO for clearing that up for us.
They're not talking about families like mine, who LOVE bacon once a week crumbled over their collard greens, and sausages with sour kraut on the weekends. Am I worried about cancer - no!
It's not because I make sure my bacon is hand preserved by a reliable source without artificial nitrates and refined white sugar. It's not even because numerous studies demonstrate eating high quantities of antioxidant rich vegetables counters the dangers of eating meats. (see Link between Meat and Cancer below)
No, it's because eating high quality bacon once a week with my greens satiates me and reduces my stress from the fear the media stirs up.
Everybody consumes carcinogens everyday...
...but stressing over that fact can be more problematic than the ingestion of those particles. Don't forget greens have loads of anti-cancer properties. It's as if the two foods were meant to be eaten together.
Honestly, I don't stress about cancer because I work so hard to maintain a healthy digestive system, a strong immune system, and a healthy gut bacteria. I know that my diet aids my body in destroying those cancerous cells everyday, and my elimination pathways keep me regularly flushed of toxins. If you want to learn more about how to eat to promote health, check out my Food Foundation detox.
As for the benefits of pairing meat with veggies, Dr. Sarah Ballantyne describes this beautifully in the Link Between Meat and Cancer. The nutrients in plants alter the metabolism of meat in human bodies making both foods more nutritious. I see this as an argument in favor of an omnivorous diet that doesn't need to exclude the occasional preserved meats.
Does that mean you should run out and buy lunch meats, hot dogs, and bacon? No, these are the foods of convenience which used to be a way to preserve meat and make it last a little longer. Well, that same theory of stretching meat applies, only now it's not due to harsh winters and mouths to feed. It's now due to large corporations squeezing every last $$ out of their cheap meats.
The animals are fed Cheap GMO grains and waste products, they're cramped into stressful living quarters, full of antibiotics, hormones, and fillers. Then to preserve the meat's shelf life, they add more fillers, extra salt, sugar, bad fats, artificial flavors, and preservatives. Do I really need to explain why eating this for every meal may not be the best choice for your health?
This is why I support the WHO. If the culprits of mass meat sludge will not commit to making a better product, then I support the WHO for recommending we avoid those foods. This isn't rocket science, the WHO just said, "hey maybe fast food hot dogs and hamburgers for every meal is not a great choice for your health." Really?
I know you're laughing, but you're reading my blog so you're already part of the solution, not part of the problem. Think about how much of this food is served not just at fast food joints, but in hospitals, schools, senior centers, and most places where food has the potential of making or breaking a persons' health.
I wish with all my heart that in my lifetime I'm able to make a change in the way our school children, sick and hospitalized, and seniors are fed. But for now it's got to be baby steps. My first goal is education so that you all have the tools to help me accomplish this.
Your first step is to take care of yourself. I want to save the world, but a wise friend said to me, "you have to put on your own oxygen mask before helping another."
Here's your lesson plan:
- Make sure you know exactly where your meat is from
- Eat quality meat in smaller quantities
- Make sure to load up your plate with brightly colorful vegetables
We bought our bacon at Markegard Family Grass-Fed this weekend. Stay tuned for an insiders look at their family farm....
Are you eating this way already? Awesome, time to put somebody else's oxygen mask on. Buy better quality meats and farm fresh vegetables to make dinner for your friends or family. Make a meal for your church, your child's class, or your office, and teach others.
You teach, you teach, you teach...
Some people see these guidelines from the WHO, they watch a movie like Cowspiracy, and they decide it's time to go vegetarian. As a recovering vegetarian I encourage you to point these people to the ranchers who are raising wild livestock on free range and practicing Holistic Land Management. See how bison become carbon farmers in this Patagonia project, preserve water in the land, and help grasses grow naturally.
In a time when the media is trying to corner us into a black or white picture, it's OK to be in the gray. We can have our beefcake and eat it too. Just make sure that the quality of your meat is the best you can buy, and the quantity of vegetables outweighs your meat in every meal.
Do have a meal you would like to share with us that represents high quality meats and high quantities of veggies? Check out my recipe for Sofrito Minestrone Soup and then share your recipe below.