Thursday, August 5, 2010

When Food Causes Cancer

(Edited and reposted 10-13-2011)

Paul came home from work the other day all upset about the news he heard on the radio that nitrates in processed meats cause cancer (and a slew of other problems). He decided that he did not want to eat nitrates anymore, and asked me to stop buying lunch meat.
So, being the good wife that I am, I went to the store to look for meat without nitrates. Nada. Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Zero. I would have better luck finding a needle in a haystack! As if our diet was not limited enough... now we have to cut back on lunch meat, sausage, bacon, even whole hams (and so much more!). What now?! Can I knowingly feed my family carcinogens? Or, do I eat beans and rice three times a day?
I know that I said that I was going to be more moderate in my food intake... but, seriously, can I do it when I know something causes cancer? Do I just say, "We live in a fallen world, that's just the way it is," and present a platter of processed meat? Because, it looks like it will be a long time before we have any livestock.

And, then I read this today - Cancer cells feed on high fructose. So, if you have cancer, it will be worsened by eating most any processed food that you pick up in the store. Lovely.

OK, who wants beans and rice for dinner?

Any practical suggestions? (besides plug my ears from the news and stop reading health articles)

Added 10-13-2011: Wal-Mart does sell one pre-packaged lunch meat without nitrates. It is about $3/half pound. This is what we buy when we want lunch meat.


April said...


Could you buy regular meat and slice it thin enough for sandwiches? I know it wouldn't be nearly as thin as lunch meat, but then you could at least have sandwiches. I don't know if this would be more or less expensive, but I have heard that, ounce for ounce, lunch meat is way more expensive than regular meat.

As far as cancer and HFCS, I've heard that cancer basically feeds off all sugar--which doesn't mean that every cookie is a death wish :) but it's one more reason to just be very limited in our sugar intake. I'm horrible at this one--working on it.

I don't know if they carry this brand in your local store, but I just looked on their website, and the Hormel Natural Choice brand claims to be nitrate free.

Biggest advice I can give you? Know that you're doing the best you can, recognize that our appointed time to die is in God's hands--whether it's from cancer or a car wreck--and trust Him. That of course doesn't mean you shouldn't care about your family's health at all. I've just found it helpful (in a weird way) to realize that I could eat organic everything and get hit by a truck. My life is not in my hands. Hope that is more helpful than morbid. :)

Kimberly said...

I agree with April, buy regular meat and slice it up for sandwiches... I buy Applegate Farms brand turkey that is gluten and nitrate free, from the deli counter. They are more expensive
{13+ a lb.}-

A long time ago I started making an extra portion at supper, specifically for Hubby's lunch the next day- that system works pretty well here. If he can only bring a sandwich, try doing a search on different types of sandwiches for recipes.

Good Luck!

Together We Save said...

I try and pay attention to what we eat... but it seems like everyday something new causes cancer or any other illness. I try and stay away from processed food as much as posible.

Bean said...

Roast a couple of little chickens on the weekend, pull of meat and store in fridge, great in sandwiches, or pita bread. Slow cook a chuck roast until it pulls apart, great in sandwiches. Also, any meat you cook for sandwiches will freeze well in little baggies. Egg salad, tuna salad, cheese and tomato sandwiches - all nice alternatives to lunchmeat. Left over meatloaf, very nice in a sandwich. And, why does lunch have to be a sandwich, perhaps a thermos of homemade soup or stew and some cornbread, or left overs from last nights dinner provided there is a way to reheat the food. I like to take a tupperware container of yogurt to work with a handful of frozen blueberries mixed in and sometimes other fresh fruit as available, and a baggie of granola to add to the yogurt/fruit when I am ready to eat.
There a so many options for lunch other than lunch meat!! :)

And, rice and beans, can be doctored up into a very tasty meal - go to library and check out some vegetarian cookbooks.

Bethany W. in mid-MO said...

Great ideas ladies! Thanks for the help!

(Kerri) said...

Yup, just about any processed food will contribute to cancer, plus a whole host of other issues which I wrote to you about. I do hope I didn't upset you by what I had written! Do be honest and let me know. But onto foods, I just so happen to have decided to do a week in food on my blog. My menu should be up for the week on monday. I hope it will be of help. Lunches by far are the hardest for me! Without pband j, or lunch meat, or hot dogs or mac and cheese, etc, what in the world am I going to feed my family?!?!! Well this will give you a glimpse into what we will be doing. I've been trying to be frugal with all of this too. I cooked up one whole chicken to be used in two different dishes (chicken quasadillas and chicken alfredo). Plus I plan on using the bones to make chicken broth. With the broth I can make soup with out chicken, or wait till I cook up another one to have chicken with it. Basically when it comes to lunches you have to think outside the box, as all the normal standbys are so very bad for us.


Bethany W. in mid-MO said...

I'm not at all upset. I am just altogether too slow in replying. Please forgive me for my neglect :0)

I can't wait to see your menu! But, that's not quite good enough for me - I want to see how it actually turns out!


Dawn said...

Bethany, I try to avoid processed meat too, but mostly because the nitrates and nitrites cause my little guy to be super hyper. When I was pregnant and feeding him ham sandwiches every day for a couple weeks he would say, "I want to be still, mommy, but I just can't." The only thing different in his diet was the lunch meat, so we don't lunch meat, ham, pepperoni bacon,or sausage very much anymore. I do freezer cook a bunch of meat and use it for easy lunches. I started a series about it on my blog today and plan to most more every few days.

On the same note- don't stress. We live in a fallen world and our bodies respond negatively to a lot of things. If you tried to avoid everything that might cause cancer you would probably starve.

Bethany W. in mid-MO said...

You are right about starving if I avoid everything that causes cancer... for example, I would have to stop storing my food in plastic, and so on.
Thanks for being another vote of moderation. And, don't worry, I am not starving my family. But, it is good that we like rice and beans!
I think you told me before that your little guy reacted like that to lunchmeat, but I had forgotten. Thanks for reminding me! This might be one more thing that explains how Nelson's behavior can change so much from one day to the next.

Chris said...

Hi Bethany
I just discovered your blog and am loving it already! (You can tell by how I've read through several months of posts in one sitting :P)

It's a little late to leave a comment on an August post in October, but if you're looking for an occasional treat, you could make your own burger patties :) Just take some fresh minced meat (watch out for those that put additives in it), mix it with breadcrumbs and egg, then add anything you'd like (I like throwing in mushrooms and cheese - it makes for an oozing flavoursome burger patty!) and mix them together! Then just pan fry, grill or bake them, and you're ready to go :) It tastes sooo much better than the regular processed stuff, and you can get your kids to help as well :)

I'm no (health) chef, but I've done a little bit of cooking this past year since I'm a student far from home. This dish was taught to me by a dear Greek corridormate, and has served me well ever since!

Apart from that, perhaps you'd like to try whipping up the occasional pasta/cous cous salad as well. It's healthy, fast and easy to prepare, and since you have to chuck it in the fridge anyway, you can prepare it in advance without worrying about whether the food gets cold.. cos it is! :P

Chris said...

I realized I should have used my blogger ID to comment so I'd know if anyone replied :P

But anyhow, give me a shoutout if you'd like to know any of the original recipes!