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Processed Meat: It’s On My “Never” List

Robyn Openshaw - May 20, 2010 - This Post May Contain Affiliate Links

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:

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.

Posted in: Relationships, Whole Food

13 thoughts on “Processed Meat: It’s On My “Never” List”

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  1. I didn’t know vegan hot dogs existed! Thats good to know! I will need to investigate that! I only let my kids eat the Hebrew National hot dogs, but maybe I need to rethink even that plan?

  2. I buy my kids only the hot dogs from Whole Foods just six ingredients Welshire kids brand.

    I really didn’t want them to ever, ever have pop, but I got a lot of pressure from family members ( my husband included!) for just when we go out to eat.

    I just found your site today and excited to get to know you better.

    Have a healthy, happy day!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Do you have any great information and studies that show why Sodas are bad?? I would love to have information to show my husband. He has had some crazy health problems and he is a Dr. Pepper addict. I have blamed all his health issues on his soda. He’s scientifically minded and he always wants proof. I’m not sure where to find good evidence that his soda is causing his problems.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I appreciate the info you just gave us on Hot Dogs. I will not let my family eat them! And I will be happy to show this to my husband. He always needs proof and studies or evidences. Thanks so much! I love this blog!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Robyn I looked but cannot find the name of the dr (endocrinologist I think) that you recommend to go to in Orem/provo area. (or rather a clinic’s name?!!) my friend is having hormone issues and needs to get checked–is that the place I should send her? THANKS

  6. Anonymous says:

    oh my–I knew I should read the last 2 posts first sicne i’ve been away from the site a couple days–I think you just names the clinic in the last post–wellnique?!! thanks!

  7. Robyn Openshaw says:

    Kascia, please read Ch. 1 of my 12 Steps to Whole Foods. I review lots of statistics about how sodas are hurting our health (especially children with developing bones, but it applies to all of us).

  8. Anonymous says:

    I know you are trying to tell people about your version of nutritious eating, but you are being radical.

  9. Anonymous says:

    All of the veg hot dogs I’ve run across are composed of wheat gluten, soy protein isolate, and spices. We used to buy them regularly for my daughter, but I have such a hard time doing that now, since it dawned on me that it’s not even really a food. I limit them to very special occasions.

    Veg burgers are almost as bad, but we found at least one brand that’s made up of whole vegetables and seeds.

  10. Anonymous says:

    i agree 100% but having a hard time finding something else beside lunchmeats for my kids lunch that is quick in the morning and will go into a kids lunch box all day. What do you give your kids for school lunchs?

  11. Anonymous says:


    This is what I send in lunches. I cringe to share it because the cheese and crackers aren’t the best, but none of it is lunchmeats and that is the goal of this post.

    I send water, a salad and a fresh fruit every day and then the rest of the lunch is one of the following:

    thermos with soup, brown rice with coconut milk, or chili (put boiling hot water in the thermos first and then it will easily keep the food warm till lunch), toasted tortillas with guacamole, crackers and hummus, cheese and crackers, or cheese sandwich,.

    I would send peanut butter and honey if my kids liked it…

    We’ve recently tried Lara bars at Costco, you could throw those in a lunch when you are in a hurry.

  12. Anonymous says:

    thanks i will have to get more creative and be a better planner still not good at planning for the week. thanks for the input if you have any more let me know

  13. Anonymous says:

    The link didn’t work for me, but I was able to find it through google.

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