Avoiding Processed Meats With Healthy Alternatives!

640x312_PastaSaladBsilTomatChkpeaThe American Institute of Cancer Research is committed to the prevention of cancer.  They fund research, analyze data and produce recommendations, all with the same goal in mind – to save lives.[1]  One of their major recommendations is as follows:  “Limit consumption of red meats (such as beef, pork and lamb) and avoid processed meats.”[2]  The term processed meat refers to meats preserved by smoking, curing or salting, or by the addition of preservatives.  Examples include ham, bacon, pastrami and salami, as well as hot dogs and sausages.

Red meat and especially processed meats may be linked to a higher risk of colon cancer.[3]  Avoiding processed meats entirely, however, can be a challenge.  People often struggle with what to pack for lunch as an alternative to sandwiches made with cold cuts.  My number one recommendation is to pack a salad, such as a dark leafy green salad, a bean salad or a whole grain pasta salad.  Your salad should include a protein such as beans, lentils, nuts, seeds or leftover chicken or fish from last night’s dinner.  The dressing can be packed on the side in an individual container.  If you are looking for new recipe ideas, one of my favourites is the “Easy Pasta Salad with Basil, Grape Tomatoes and Chickpeas (http://www.catelli.ca/pasta/recipes/easy-pasta-salad-with-basil-grape-tomatoes-chickpeas?frm=rcp#.Ujd_2H9MBW0).  It is loved by adults and kids alike.  You can make it on the weekend and the family can enjoy it all week long.

Bottom line: to potentially reduce your risk of cancer, don’t pack a sandwich made with cold cuts for lunch.  Instead pack a salad with an alternative source of protein.

[1] American Institute of Cancer Prevention.  “Playing the Odds – What We Mean By Prevention.” (http://blog.aicr.org/2013/09/13/playing-the-odds-what-we-mean-by-prevention/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=playing-the-odds-what-we-mean-by-prevention).  September 13, 2013.

[2] American Institute of Cancer Prevention.  “Recommendations For Cancer Prevention.” (http://www.aicr.org/reduce-your-cancer-risk/recommendations-for-cancer-prevention/recommendations_05_red_meat.html).

[3] Chan, D., et al.  “Red and processed meat and colorectal cancer incidence: meta-analysis of prospective studies.”  PLoS One. 2011;6(6):e20456.

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