When I was young, I would stay the summers at my retired grandparents. My grammy would get up in the ‘wee hours’ and begin her day. My French grandfather, William John Paul Napoleon Carignan, would slowly enter the kitchen about 9:30 and begin cooking his bacon before frying his eggs. Nothing hangs in the air like the smell of morning bacon.
In 2015 the World Health Organization announced that ‘processed meats’, which include bacon, all lunch meats, hot dogs, ham, chorizo sausage, pastrami, prosciutto, etc, were all classified Group 1 carcinogens. Researchers turned up a massive body of evidence showing that, when nitrates interact with certain components in red meat, they form N-nitro compounds, that are known to be carcinogenic even at a very low dose. Any time someone eats bacon, ham, hot dogs or other processed meat, their gut receives a dose of nitrosamine, which damages the cells in the lining of the bowel, that can lead to cancer.
HARD TO SWALLOW
American’s love of bacon is proof that we cling to old comfort foods and memories long after they have been proven harmful. For example, advocates of the Paleo diet argue that bacon is actually a much-maligned health food. As though our ancient ancestors where lunching on a BLT or noshing on bacon wrapped shrimp.
Yet the American Cancer Society recently lowered the age for colorectal cancer screening to 45 for people at average risk. The guideline was changed, based in part, on the new data showing rates of colorectal cancer increasing in the younger population, with rectal cancer outpacing colon cancer. The younger population can’t imagine they would be at risk for this cancer, once considered an ‘old people’s cancer’. So when diagnosed, people younger than 55 are more likely to discover they have late stage disease. If you have grown up in a processed meat eating home and are still holding on, it can feel alarming to hear you may be contributing to your own death by bacon.
AMERICAN SUMMER FOODS
Americans live in what is called the Northern Hemisphere. Winters can be long, cold, grey, and sometimes brutal. We wait months for summer, dreaming of the day we can shed layers of bulky clothes and feel carefree again. All-American favorite classic cook-out foods have come to reflect that sense of freedom. These foods are often hot dogs, BBQ pork sandwiches, sausage subs, pepperoni pizzas, ham sandwiches, baked beans with bacon, etc. All group 1 carcinogenic foods. These foods are often joined with potato salad, potato chips, dip, casseroles, pasta salad, double dipped fried chicken, ribs, soda, buns and bread…..all a deluge of inflammatory foods…
My mother loved picnic foods. She came from Old World parents, who entered America by way of Ellis Island. She fancied herself as not just a new generation in the 1950’s that embraced hot dogs and foods her parents never ate….but a young modern generation that set her apart from her old world parents and their antiquated, out of sync relationship to modern times. In our household we ate picnic foods from Labor Day to Veteran’s Day, and of course a double dose on the 4th of July. My parents patiently saved S&H green stamps. When enough booklets were filled, they purchased a BQ grill. My father would sit by it on week-ends in his plaid bathing trunks, cooking hot dogs and warming buns. It was the only time my father cooked, and it freed my mom from her small hot kitchen. The stage was set for years of hot dogs, baked beans and potato salad with mayo, washed down with Kool-Aid.
HOW TO LIVE THROUGH THE SUMMER WITH FRIENDS
AND LOVED ONES
HOSTING: Chances are if you live in an average family in the year 2019, you have members that are already struggling with their health from food related diseases. Offering alternatives to accommodate dairy free, gluten free and vegan guests should be a given, not an exaggerated issue for attendees trying to reclaim their health. As a considerate host, this may make you feel a little nervous first time out, but most people like me are appreciative of your efforts.
POT-LUCKS: When I attend my church pot-luck I always bring a giant-giant organic salad. I make sure that I add the extra things that make it inviting, like pine nuts and a salad dressing that would make you weep. No matter what else is on the table, this is always wiped out first.
COMMUNICATION: If you have family and friends you can communicate with, try having a conversation about using all organic foods. Maybe suggest that you all look into Mediterranean food alternatives. American’s did not invent the picnic; the French did. Other cultures healthier than our own have some great summer foods that can keep the event yummy and exciting.
“SO GOOD IT WILL MAKE YOU WEEP” SALAD DRESSING
The first year I was using Food as Medicine to heal myself from cancer I was still experimenting with my water wings. This is one of my all time favorite salad dressings and dip!
> 4 cloves pressed garlic
> 4 stalks celery
> ½ cup filtered water
> ¼ cup olive oil
> ¼ cup Nama Shoyu*
> 4 pitted dates
Throw it all into a Vitamix or high powered blender and pulverize on high until smooth and creamy. Add to a salad just before serving.
*TIP: Nama Shoyo: in Japanese nama means raw (unpasteurized) soy sauce. You can find it at your health food market or online at Gold Mine Natural Food Co.
Ohsawa Organic Nama comes from a small Japanese village called Kamilzumi (translated “God of Spring”). It is naturally aged over two summers in 150 year old cedar kegs. Naturally low in sodium, it is nourishing and alive, retaining all the healthy enzymes and beneficial lactobacillus organisms.
JOIN THE HEALTHY FOOD REVOLUTION!
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