“A doctor who leads a cancer research foundation, Prof. Veronesi, says that meat contains carcinogens, and so should limited in consumption, or even avoided. Do you agree?”
There’s a lot of talk at the moment about this subject, and it’s a very big subject, because of a recent study.
A study is never just a study, there are different types, and as always with health, there are so many interacting factors that separating cause and effect is notoriously difficult.
Most often, observational or epidemiological studies are used to show a correlation that is then hyped by the media, as they like to do. Correlation is interesting but it doesn’t prove causation, in the same way that BMW owners correlating to heart attacks doesn’t mean we should stop driving BMWs.
We use nature as one of our key guiding principles… humans have ALWAYS been hunter-gatherers, that is our natural diet, it’s what made us human. And hunter-gatherers existing today are known to be free of modern lifestyle diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes etc. So, any data that suggests a practice that is inherent in our 2.5 million year homo genus history is damaging, raises an eyebrow.
There are things about meat that do relate to cancer that are worth talking about…. that is cooking and cooking methods. You definitely don’t want to burn food, and it’s much better to cook gently and at not high heat. This applies to vegetables as well as meat/fish/eggs.
Heterocyclic amines are one such adverse result of burning, which are carcinogenic. There are other effects of cooking too, but these must be offset against protection against pathogens in terms of healthiness. And of course, who want to eat raw meat? Not many.
I would advise using a slow cooker — this is the gentlest way to cook meat, and also can produce very tasty dishes with little effort, even for a big family. TRADITION is a wonderful instructor, as well as evolution… meat is traditionally cooked with onions/garlic/tomatoes and this practice is known to reduce the formation of HCAs. Evolution selects for beneficial behaviors.
Stocks are all the rage too now, and of course, these too are traditional, used with the HCA reducing methods too, and provide valuable micronutrients such as collagen and calcium.
Lower heat, use of onions etc, and stocks to provide wet rather that dry heat are all going to give benefit in terms of reducing carcinogens.
Rather than be worried about meat, our position at the next review/edit of Happy Guide is likely to shift to removing the vegetarian option altogether, because it’s basically unsound/risky to do it long-term, not something we feel comfortable recommending.
There are massive problems inherent in our modern food supply that radically need to be addressed… the rampant use of antibiotics and hormones in cattle, feedlots, giving cows unnatural diets, keeping chickens indoors and feeding them unnatural foods etc, use of pesticides and herbicides (poisons, which chelate mineral in the soil, and in your body), soil depletion, minerally poor soils, oceans polluted with mercury, PCBs and dioxins… I could go on.
If you remove animal foods from your diet, what do you replace them with? Soy is rampant now in the food supply, and is a known endocrine disruptor, although fermented soy products like tempeh are OK to include now and again.
My view is that NATURE has all the answers, and what we are doing to our food, how it is produced, has many problems. That is where we should focus, as well as a return to traditional methods of preparing foods that are healthiest, including the use of nutritious organ meats like liver and kidney occasionally in stews.
We need to remember too that a even a healthy body has cancer cells that are killed and cleaned up by a healthy immune system. Our modern world is full of chemicals off gassing from carpets and furniture, cleaning and hygiene products, fumes from industry, etc.
I posted an incredible video from Allan Savory recently on another site that shows how traditional herding over vast areas that are turning to desert, can heal climate change, stop desertification, provide food and income for people. I’ll post the video again below because it shows how mimicking nature, in combination with a natural diet, is the holistic solution. So… nature, a return to nature and if we want to heal/prevent cancer there are thousands of other places we need to look and clean up.
So in summary, I recommend sticking to the Happy Guide diet.
Michael Kinnaird is the author of Happy Guide, the result of a 20 year exploration into what works for health and happiness.
Read Chapter 1 “The Happiness Secret”
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