So, if you have’t heard this news yet, you’re probably hiding out in a cave, gnawing on the flesh of a fresh kill. Drop the bone, back away, and listen up.
The World Health Organization announced that “eating processed meat like hot dogs, ham and bacon raises the risk of colon cancer.” Plus, eating red meat in general “probably” isn’t that good for you either.
First of all, this isn’t all that shocking. Processed foods of any kind are not good for you, so why would we assume that man-handled animal flesh is any better? Plus, I recall quitting the consumption of red meat (for a while) back in the late 80s because it was considered less healthy than other choices.
The reaction to the news has been all over the place. CNN quickly seized the opportunity to espouse the virtues of the Mediterranean Diet as the easy solution. While the high fruit and vegetable, low meat diet has been a favorite among health enthusiasts for decades, it’s recently gotten more press than Kanye at the VMAs.
As always, it’s not that simple. Yes, the Mediterranean Diet seems to be a sensible approach (eat real food, not too much, mostly plants), but there’s more to it than that.
Four days before the WHO rocked bacon fetishists and BBQ aficionados everywhere, the New York Times ran a piece advocating the Mediterranean lifestyle, not just the diet. Check this quote:
- “They were surprised by how the people they encountered enjoyed and savored their food, turning every meal into an excuse for a social occasion with friends and family. They noticed that people spent a lot of time outdoors getting fresh air. Instead of designating daily periods of time to jog or exercise, they engaged in a great deal of leisurely physical activity like walking and riding bicycles. And they seemed to have low levels of chronic stress.”
The problem is more likely about the way we live and the things we consider reasonable. That, plus what we put in our bodies, will determine how long we stick around this place.
- Meat Is Linked to Higher Cancer Risk, W.H.O. Report Finds
- If meat causes cancer, what can we eat?
- The Mediterranean Diet: Is It the Food or the Lifestyle?
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