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Category: Cancer prevention

The Great Paleo vs Vegan Debate

Boxing Girl

Proponents of the Paleo Diet are often at odds with vegans, duking it out over who has the better diet, each claiming their own moral high ground and often dismissing the other’s choices outright. Hailing from the plant-based camp myself, I’m obviously biased towards a diet that is good for the environment, the animals, and my health. That being said, I’m always curious to hear about the merits of other people’s choices and what drives them to eat that way.

And I’m fascinated by the vehemence with which some people defend their choices, to the complete preclusion of any other way of eating. Vegans and Paleos are the worst of the bunch, I’ve found: staunch advocates who abide by strict rules, with no wiggle room for real life, no grey areas. In reality, Paleo and WFPB (whole-food plant-based) diets overlap in several areas, such as the avoidance of processed foods and elimination of dairy from the diet. Dr. Mark Hyman even coined the term Pegan, or Paleo-Vegan!

Becoming Vegan book by Brenda DavisIf you’re interested in diving into the topic of Paleo and/or plant-based eating, I invite you to join me on Friday, May 26th for dietitian Brenda Davis’ talk: Decontructing the Paleo Diet from a Plant-based Perspective. Davis is an award-winning author and internationally-respected speaker on evidence-based insights into the diets of our ancestors.

The event is being presented by Meatless Meetup, a Meetup group for vegetarian, vegan, and veg-curious folks in the Greater Vancouver area.  Details about the event can be found on the Meatless Meetup page. Come join us! Registration is required but all are welcome.

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Cancer on a bun

Sausages on BBQ

As we head into BBQ season, I’d just like to ask everyone to hit pause and give some thought as to whether that hotdog or steak is really the best choice for your body. Some of you may like to throw caution to the wind — the ol’ “we-have-to-die-from-something” refrain — but I urge you to consider the implications of your choices. I hate to be the voice of doom (and I know scare tactics are less effective at eliciting change) but I just want to point out that lifestyle-related diseases, such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease, may seem like things that happen way down the road—but your lifestyle can catch up with you in what seems like the blink of an eye.

An Oktoberfest sausage at the neighbour’s BBQ. A chargrilled steak at the cottage. A red hot at the ballpark. Just a typical summer. But did you know that processed meat (e.g. bacon, hot dogs, sausage, luncheon meat, ham) was declared Grade 1 carcinogenic by the World Health Organization (WHO)? They have blatantly stated that processed meat causes cancer. Not might cause cancer or probably causes cancer. It definitively causes cancer. You know what else is Grade 1 carcinogenic? Asbestos. Tobacco. Not great company to be keeping.

WHO’s recommendation? Avoid processed meat. Don’t eat it. Ever. There is no safe amount for consumption. Red meat is only slightly better, earning Grade 2 carcinogenic status, meaning it probably causes cancer.

Although there are multiple factors that contribute to developing disease, and the WHO classification does not focus on the percentage of increased risk associated with processed meat consumption, I urge you to think twice before you tuck into that bacon-wrapped filet mignon. Your body, especially your colon, will thank you for it.

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