Processed meats contain numerous chemicals and preservatives, including sodium nitrates, which make them, look appealing and fresh but are well known carcinogens. Smoking meats seem to be particularly bad as the meat picks up tar from the smoking process.
The list of process meat includes, but is not limited to, sausages, hot dogs, bacon, most lunch meats like bologna.
Farmed salmon are fed unnatural diets contaminated with chemicals, antibiotics, pesticides, and other known carcinogens. They live in very crowded conditions which results in these fish having 30 times the number of sea lice than wild salmon. Farmed salmon are fed chemicals to make their meat that reddish pink color that should occur naturally because of the artificial diet. Studies have also shown that farmed salmon contain high levels of PCB’s, mercury, and cancer causing dioxins. Avoid farmed salmon and buy it canned or look for labels in your market that state the fish you are buying is wild sockeye salmon.
The Natural On website has a list of sixteen cancer causing foods with descriptions similar to ones described here. You can read the entire list here that includes:
What is left?
If you haven’t figured out what is safe to eat by now, it’s non-processed foods, whole grains, fruits and vegetables—fresh or frozen, wild fish, free range chicken, eggs from non-caged chickens, and foods that have not been refined or processed. The best way is to buy non-industrially raised or grown crops and meat. The movie “Food, Inc.” emphasized that Americans do not know where their food comes from, how animals are raised, what chemicals are used, and the impact on the soil of industry farming that uses herbicides, pesticides, and farming practices that deplete the soil rather than enrich it. If people knew more about food sources, they would be inclined to not only change eating and buying habits, but also where they shop and how they cook food.
The Slow Food Movement is a good example of how individuals can change food habits. Slow Food USA is part of the global Slow Food network of over 100,000 members in more than 150 countries. Through a vast volunteer network of local chapters, youth and food communities, they link the pleasures of the table with a commitment to protect the community, culture, knowledge and environment that make this pleasure possible.
Slow Food Mission:
Our mission as an international grassroots membership organization is good, clean and fair food for all.
Our food should be tasty, seasonal, local, fresh and wholesome.
Our food should nourish a healthful lifestyle and be produced in ways that preserve biodiversity, sustain the environment and ensure animal welfare – without harming human health.
Our food should be affordable by all, while respecting the dignity of labor from field to fork.
Good, clean and fair food should be accessible to all and celebrate the diverse cultures, traditions and nations that reside in the USA.
Meat is a valuable source of protein for many individuals, and the Slow Food Movement recognizes the challenges in ranching and farming meat products. Smaller-scale farmers are answering the call with innovative and creative ways to mitigate the negative environmental effects of industrial food production by returning to traditional methods of animal husbandry, and using methods of farming and grazing that mimic nature and contribute to the health of our land. These methods not only help to combat climate change, but also create better and more flavorful meat.
You don’t have to be a vegetarian to be a food conscious consumer. Join Meatless Monday. Acknowledging that better meat may cost more, we need to provide tools to help eaters shift to consuming less meat — and doing so joyously rather than as a punishment. Meatless Monday, a global movement that simply asks people to cut out meat just one day a week, remains a powerful tool in cutting meat consumption on a national and global level. We plan on encouraging Slow Food chapters to embrace and support Meatless Monday as a way to resist “cheap” meat, and to eat the better meat in less quantity. Organizers of the movement offer alternative suggestions to meat, including incorporating meat as a flavor as opposed to the main event on a dinner plate.
Meatless Monday exemplifies how even small changes can have a huge impact on the environment and personal health, as well as exploring alternative menu planning. Not eating meat once a week doesn’t cost anything, and in fact might even be cheaper with meals planned around plant sources of protein like beans, lentils, seeds, nuts, tofu, nutritional yeast, spirulina, quinoa, and whole grains.
Incremental changes have a cumulative effect, and it doesn’t mean you will never drink a soda again or eat a hamburger. Nutritional sites say basically the same thing. You are more likely to be successful at changing your habits if you make changes one step at a time. "Try to gradually incorporate new habits over time, and before you know it, you will be eating more healthfully…” according to Keri Gans, MS, RD, American Dietetic Association spokesperson and a nutritionist.
I could not write this essay without being truthful about my own journey, and it has not been easy. It has taken a few years to change, for the most part, to not only make healthy choices, but also to enjoy healthy food. I still like the comfort foods and desserts that so many of us associate with epicurean deliciousness. The difference now is I don’t indulge in the those foods every day and have a sense of accomplishment buying and eating from the somewhat shorter list of fresh, non-processed foods, rather than the long list of industrialized and processed foods.
Slow food USA
is retired and lives in Clearlake, California. She has three grown
children and one grandson and a Bachelor’s degree in Health Services
Administration from St. Mary’s College in Moraga California. On the
home front Dava enjoys time with her family, reading, gardening, cooking
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