Archive for the ‘Vegetarian’ Category

“Closing Out Pink Awareness With A Nod To Red (Meat)”

Saturday, October 31st, 2015

As “pinktober” comes to a close, I find it ironic that the cancer focus has shifted to red. As in meat.

In the event you missed it, earlier this week the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the cancer agency of the World Health Organization, issued a press release highlighting its evaluation of the carcinogenicity of the consumption of red meat and processed meat.

Suddenly, headlines stating that red meat, hot dogs, sausage and bacon cause cancer were EVERYWHERE, and  comments and conversations ranging from “doesn’t everything cause cancer” to “who cares, we’re all gonna die of something” were being slung around the world wide web.

Here’s a link to the actual press release: World Health Organization Consumption of Red Meat and Processed Meat.

Essentially, the WHO reported a classification of the consumption of red meat as probably carcinogenic to humans, mainly for colorectal cancer (with associations also seen for pancreatic and prostate cancer), and the classification of processed meat as carcinogenic to humans, again with regard to colorectal cancer.

FYI, red meat refers to beef, veal, pork, lamb, mutton, horse and goat, and processed meat refers to meat transformed through salting, curing, fermentation, and smoking.

Here’s my take on this announcement. It’s not new information. The directive to eat a plant-based diet in support of cancer prevention has been recommended for years. And while the overall pattern of one’s diet vs. only single foods is a balanced way to view the impact of food choices, I see nothing wrong with calling out foods that potentially fuel cancer; information that is of particular importance for those who’ve been through a cancer experience.

People who make dietary choices in support of remaining cancer-free deserve to know about food and health associations in order to decide what they’re comfortable including or excluding from their diet. Good health is about healthy choices, and the more information to help cancer thrivers eat to prevent secondary cancers or recurrence, the better.

Do You Know Tempeh?

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

Tempeh (tem-pay) originated in Indonesia, where it has for hundreds of years served as a high protein food staple. At its most basic, tempeh is fermented soybean cake; doesn’t sound too appealing if you’ve never tried it and have no idea what to envision, right?

I adore it. The same way that some people crave a good steak, I crave tempeh – go figure. Its taste profile is based in umami (more about that in another blog entry, but suffice it to say it’s the opposite of a sweet tooth).

If you eat a vegetarian or vegan diet, tempeh is your “go to” meat substitute; it’s whole soy, with 10 grams of protein, 4.5 grams of fiber, and significant amounts of calcium and iron per 4 ounce serving.

I like to slice a cake of tempeh horizontally into 1/2 inch pieces, pop them into a hot cast iron skillet with a bit of olive oil and black pepper, and cook until both sides are brown and crispy. I find that 1/2 cup of water mixed with 1 tablespoon of low-sodium soy sauce poured into the pan just as it begins to dry out (tempeh tends to absorb the oil) lends just the right level of flavor. Let the tempeh sit and bubble away in the water/soy sauce bath until all of the liquid evaporates; then let the tempeh cook a few minutes longer until it’s deliciously browned; if you can wait.

Serve on toasted whole grain bread (homemade if you can swing it), smothered in a mix of sauteed onions, mushrooms, and cabbage. Melt low-fat cheddar on the bread as you toast it, then smear on Dijon mustard and a touch of horseradish before piling on the veggies and tempeh (thanks to Deborah Madison for the inspiration).