A Meat Eater’s Rebuttal to the WHO’s Report on Cancer Being Linked to Meat
If you’re reading this article, it means that you eat meat. And by “eat meat,” I mean that meat is the central part of your diet. In other words, every meal requires some component of dead animal in order for it to qualify as a meal. In case you live under a rock and did not hear about the recent news (and ensuing debate between meat eaters and non-meat eaters), the World Health Organization (WHO) recently published a report with scientific evidence proving the link between cancer and meat. You can read the press release here and their followup Q&A here.
But don’t worry – for all you yogis out there who, like me, don’t want to give up your meat, I have broken down all this information from what the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is saying to help you carnivorous yogis still get your meat fix while minimizing the risk:
1. You Can Eat Meat
The WHO is not telling you not to eat meat. They are telling you to watch the type and quantity of meat that you eat. The WHO gave an example of a person eating a meat portion the size of a deck of cards per day as the amount that begins to show health risks. If you’re thinking what I’m thinking, that’s not a lot of meat. Yet this gives you a good indication of how much meat you can eat without having to worry about the health risks.
2. How You Cook Meat Matters
Realize that the way you cook meat matters. Cooking your food over an open flame is not the best cooking method for you, since there is a link between high-temperature cooking (flame broiled, grilling, pan frying, etc.) and cancer-causing chemicals found in your meat. With this new information in mind, you may want to vary the way you cook your meat. You may choose to only eat grilled food once a week, and remember to slow cook, roast, or bake the majority of your protein. Baking the majority of your meat is the healthiest form of cooking anyway.
3. Avoid Processed Meats
You also shouldn’t be having those highly processed meats, such as bacon, sausage and hot dogs. Be honest with yourself! You have known that the turkey sausage and bacon aren’t healthy for you. If your food has to go through a transformation to get to your kitchen table, then you know that you should not be putting it in your body. Pretend for a second that you were living in the wild, as your ancestors did at some point.
You would kill animals, and then eat what you kill. You wouldn’t store it or process it through some machine to cure it, and then eat it. You would simply kill it, cook it and eat it right from its natural state. It makes logical sense that when we modify the form of the food we eat and change its basic composition, this food could now negatively impact our health.
4. Cut Down on Beef
Keep your beef consumption down. This doesn’t mean that you can’t eat beef and enjoy it. Have a nice piece of rare steak cooked at the right temperature every now and then. While there is no definitive evidence for or against beef, you should realize that when it sits heavier in your stomach, that heavy feeling is your body having trouble digesting it. Understand that your body gives you signals, and if you feel bloated or sluggish after a meal, then it most likely isn’t good for you.
As a carnivore, what do you do to maintain your caveman-like instincts without increasing your risks of cancer? Eat your meat. Enjoy it. Just choose your meat and cooking process smartly. Not a scientific entity in the world has expressed that poultry can negatively impact your health, so make the right protein choices, such as a nice, slow-cooked chicken falling right off the bone.
So yes, all you meat eaters out there need to cut back on your sausage, pepperoni, bacon, and ham intake. You should consider restricting your intake of these glorious meats or only eat them on special occasions. If you ignore the warnings and stick to the meats that are proven to be bad for you, then you will increase your chances for developing cancer. If you think back, there is not a single slice of bacon that you’ve had in your life that is worth that risk. Eat to your health!