*Five Minute Friday is an initiative set up by Lisa-Jo Baker over at Surprised by Motherhood. It has now been taken over by Kate over at Heading Home. The basic premise is to take the word Kate gives and write, non-stop for 5 minutes. Then you stop and post. Read more about it here. This October, I am taking part in a series based on this called “31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes”, in which we commit to writing from the prompt as usual, but everyday rather than just on a Friday. Read more here.
Bacon has been in the media a lot this week. After the publication of a World Health Organisation report on red and processed meats, the media exploded with over-the-top headlines letting us know that ‘any of us who eat a couple of rashers of bacon or one sausage will get cancer, and die.’
Naturally, this being the media, I took this with a pinch of salt (but not too much of course, because then I will get cancer, and die), and I like to think most other people did, too. At least, I hope so.
Whenever I see these food-and-health-related headlines, I take care to read the articles closely, and if it interests me, to do a little further research outside of the mainstream media.
With this particular latest craze, I was amused to come across this article on the I Quit Sugar website, in which I learned that:
“Professor Bernard Stewart, an Australian cancer expert who led the study… says the results are more applicable to those with unhealthy meat-based diets, and we shouldn’t give up processed meats altogether.“
He even admitted that he himself enjoys processed and red meats, and states that:
“For those who are eating these foods, let’s say more than five days a week, possibly every day, it is those people who will probably be the focus of dietary guidelines suggesting that they replace some of that red and processed meat by a higher intake of poultry, fish and possibly even, dare I say it, a vegetarian meal every now and then.”
And when you look at the report, you understand why he is backtracking – the whole “two rashers of bacon might give you cancer” deal is based, as Stewart says, on those who eat this amount of processed meat every.single.day.
Now I love bacon. And sausages. A lot. But neither my body nor my wallet could possibly take eating these things every day of the year. We as a family made a decision a few years ago that we would rather spend a little more on lovely, grass-fed, tender meats from the butcher and eat it less often, than buy average low-quality meat in bulk at our local supermarket and eat it daily. As a result, probably about 60% of our meals are vegetarian. The other 40% are made up of good-quality meats (of various kinds) and fish. Some months the percentage is even higher on vegetarian meals, usually because of budget.
Am I going to be avoiding bacon, sausages and beef from now on? Of course not. In fact, red meat is great (in small quantities) for women (especially pregnant women) due to the high iron content. And who doesn’t love a good plate of sausage and mash or a fry-up every now and then?
So if you’ve been spooked by the over-exaggerated headlines and general panic that has ensued this week, be reassured that even a leading expert who led the study that caused the panic is eating these things and telling us that unless we are consuming them daily, we are probably doing just fine.
Having said that, there is certainly nothing wrong with swapping a couple of meals in your week for fish-based or vegetarian ones. In fact, it can only do you good!
But tomorrow morning, your weekly bacon sandwich is one you can enjoy as much as usual, I promise. 🙂