LET'S TALK ABOUT COLONS!!!!
Successfully grabbed your attention there, didn't I? 😉
An unavoidable headline in the health industry recently has been the correlation between processed red meat and the incidence of colorectal cancer. Major womp womp news for the new trendy Paleo diet. But what exactly is processed meat, how does it lead to colon cancer, what, how, since when, why?!
The general consensus is that processed meat is meat that is manipulated somehow other than being cut or ground. So ground beef or a prime cut of steak are not examples of processed meat. Processed meat is made mostly from pork or beef meat that is preserved by methods other than freezing, and that undergo a treatment to improve the quality, enhance flavor and increase preservation. Most commonly this means curing, smoking, cooking and packaging. The most typical processed meat some of us encounter nearly daily is in the form of cold-cuts in lunch meat.
Sandwich toppings, anyone?
While smoking meat enhances it's flavor (anyone else loving smoked fish and roasts in the summer?) wood pyrolysis may generate polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH), which are carcinogenic (cancer causing). Yes, these are the same PAH compounds produced by burning fossil fuels which are negatively affecting our environment! Bad for the trees bad for the bees.
Unfortunately, I think this is the epitome of summer at the cabin:
Or even better, how about taking a fish straight out of the smoker, where unlike an open fire the smoke remains inside a closed compartment concentrating all those carcinogens right into that sweet delicious fish?
I'm pretty sure my whole family is cursing this post right now
But the evidence is glaring to the point where strong considerations on our next grocery store visit should be taken.
In a recent article published in The Lancet Oncology, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the cancer agency of the World Health Organization (WHO), found that for each 50 gram serving of processed meat you eat daily, your risk of colorectal cancer goes up by 18 percent. Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society.
If you love meat, the simplest way to avoid these carcinogens is to cut and cook meat yourself. I'm not suggesting you raise and butcher your own cow (although power to my family for being badass farmers)
While the whole process may involve more time and patience, buying a hunk of meat at a butcher is not only avoiding processing but is much more economical as well!
Another great alternative to avoiding processed meat, is making some hearty vegetarian dishes. Coming from a self proclaimed awful cook, I can assure you these dishes are all quick, simple, healthy and delicious!
Cooked lentils, combined with a package of frozen vegetables, tomato sauce, topped with fresh goat cheese atop a bed of fresh spinach is a hefty source of nutrition and pride in my book.
Speaking of pride, how about homemade sushi?
Lars and I calculated the cost of this masterpiece entirety, and 36 pieces of sushi rounded out to only around 7€. I don't think you could get a single California roll for that price in Budapest! (We've had a craving ever since waving goodbye to the beautiful yet pricey Tokio restaurant on our recent trip to Budapest)
Our sincere craving and determination paid off, because this dish was incredibly easy to make thanks to pre-sliced salmon and easy to find vegetables. Major life hack, sushi rice can be made from arborio rice, aka risotto rice!
Sushi Rice - for 6 sushi rolls
2 dL rice
5 dL water
3 TBS rice vinegar (or if you're a student or don't want to bother with fancy stuff, regular white vinegar can be substituted! 🙂 )
2 tsp salt
Boil rice in water. As soon as rice begins to boil, turn heat down to low and let cook under a lid. In a separate saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar and salt and cook until solids melt and a homogenous liquid forms. Once the rice has absorbed all the water, pour vinegar mixture over rice and stir until combined. Voila! Sushi rice! 🙂
Since I'm all about gloating about my amateur cooking skills, my most recent salad masterpiece came in the form of red cabbage!
I made this salad on a whim using whatever I had on hand, and it turned out could-be-served-way-overpriced-in-a-restaurant good. I just warmed fresh spinach and red cabbage on a saucepan in a dash of oil and salt, and plated it. I added carrot shavings, orange slices, walnuts and goat cheese, creating a plate of holy-color-party in my mouth.
The only thing I make on a regular basis that never disappoints is my breakfast bowl.
This oats, yogurt, fruit, nuts and seeds combo is what get my day started almost every morning (that is when it's not waffles on the weekend 😉 ) The toppings and colors change with the time of year, always depending on whatever is fresh and in season. Thankfully strawberry season is here which means revealing a lot of tiny black seeds stuck between my teeth in my first class of the day.
Finally, if home cooking 'aint your thing, nearly every restaurant serves meat-free dishes to those wanting to avoid nitrates.
Tomato, basil, mozzarella sandwich at Aranycipo is always a win, but a recent discovery of ours is Palancsinta Öntonde or the Pancake House in Pécs!
This place is adorable. Lars and I celebrated our two year anniversary in the classiest of ways, devouring five pancakes for the price of an appetizer at a traditional restaurant.
(I'm a cheap date 😉 )
They had everything from Greek to Hawaiian pancakes, veggie and meat laden!
And of course, dessert pancakes as well 😉
The service was friendly and quick and the atmosphere is very casual. It's the perfect place to go for a bite to eat after or between class, or for dinner if you have no shame in ordering 6 pancakes.
I certainly don't! 😉
Whether it's a simple dietary modification or altering your family's beloved summer dish, for the sake of their colorectal health, meat eaters need to strongly consider the type of prepared meat they consume. Why not take it as an opportunity to try some meatless alternatives?
What are your favorite meat-free dishes?