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processed meat: it’s on my “never” list

If you’ve read my books, you know there are two foods I never eat and I don’t let my kids eat either. We are virtually 100% about good nutrition at home, but at a party or in a restaurant, we make good choices but aren’t perfect.

The two “over my dead body” foods, though:

One, processed meat. (Bacon, sausage, hot dogs, salami, deli/luncheon meat.) Two, soft drinks.

Here’s a meta-study (my favorite kind–a review of lots of different research studies, in this case almost 1,600 pieces of research) showing how damaging processed meat is to our health:

http://health.yahoo.com/news/reuters/us_heart_meat.html

Nearly 20 years ago, I read a study examining childhood cancers. Kids who developed cancer had no risk factors in common except a prevalance of high (11 or more monthly) hot dog consumption. I have no idea why I remember that–11 hot dogs a month–but I do. Then my best friend worked for Bain & Co., out of college, and one of her clients was a meat-packing plant. After working inside that business, she said to me, “Promise me that you and any offspring you have will never eat a hot dog. You would not believe how disgusting all the ingredients of that product are.”

Everything I’ve read since then confirms those original seeds planted in my brain that hot dogs are . . . well, nauseating. Get the vegan kind at the health food store if your family likes hot dogs.

That’s why you’ve heard them called “cancer sticks”–they are not just full of salt, but also nitrates and nitrites, which are well documented to be highly carcinogenic.

I’ve had ONE bite of a hot dog in the past 20 years. That was when I was on national television with two cameras and 20 teenagers chanting, “EAT. IT! EAT. IT!”

You know I’m here to nurture you towards better nutrition without being radical. But some “foods” really don’t qualify as such and I ask you to consider a full-on ban in your home of processed meats.

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