To eat - or not to eat - meat? THAT is the question I'm often asked, by cancer clients and prevention-seekers alike.
It's a GOOD question, too. My answer? "It depends."
First, it depends on your answers to 3 other questions:
1. Is your digestive system equipped with sufficient hydrochloric acid and enzymes to break down and assimilate the health-building proteins and minerals found in meat? (Most people, especially after a "certain age", are sorely lacking in stomach acid...)
2. Are you free of food allergies or sensitivities to the meat in question? If you've got sensitivities, you may be setting yourself up for inflammation... and, therefore, disease (no matter how much you love yourself a good steak!)
3. Are you eating a fiber-rich diet? All animal products (meat, dairy, eggs, fish) are completely devoid of fiber. (Yeah, I know, shocking!) That's why vegetables, fruits, legumes, and seeds, in addition to being nutritional powerhouses in other ways, are needed in large amounts to provide the "bulk" you need to keep things moving and speed up transit time, if you receive my drift...
Before we even begin a conversation on whether it is 'meet to eat meat', your answers to these questions need to be "yes". Oui. Ja. Tak... Ndiyo (in Swahili).
Next comes the question of quality. Steak lovers might argue that meat couldn't possibly be a contributing cause of current health problems since it has been a traditional component of our diet since good ol' hunter-gatherer times.
True. But the commercialization of meat production is a relatively recent invention... and therein the problem lies. This brings us to a whole new series of questions...
4. Has your meat been tainted with antibiotic residue?
5. Does it contain pesticides?
6. Does it contain hormones?
7. Does it contain organochlorines?
To these questions, your response ought to be "no". Non. Neit. Nein... Hapana (in Swahili).
And now for the deal-breaker...
8. Does it have a high omega-6 to 3 ratio? (Please answer "no" again.)
Essential fatty acids (EFAs), especially omega-3, are the fats that are healing to cancer. They enhance oxygen use in cells, decrease tumor formation, slow tumor growth, decrease the spread of cancer cells (metastasis), and extend patient's survival time.
Meat, in general, is high in saturated fats, and low is EFAs, especially omega-3. Grain or corn silage fed red meats have a omega-3 to 6 fat ratio that promotes inflammation. For this reason, "organic", "grass fed", "pasture fed" or "wild" are key words which might "steer" you in the direction of better meat choices. (Pardon the pun.) Bison and lamb are typically only grass-fed so may be your best meat-to-eat options.
In any case, avoid pork, especially during the active cancer phase!
A number of pioneering researchers have independently observed that cancer involves the presence of microbes. Observing them alive, these researchers have reported that microbes (like humans) change form during their life cycle. What forms they take on is influenced by the food medium on which they grow. An asparagus medium, for example, will produce a benign form. A pork medium, on the other hand, has been shown to transform the bug into its virulent form. If I had cancer, I wouldn't be touching pork with a ten-foot skewer!
Furthermore, a high meat diet promotes the growth of a specific intestinal bacteria that causes more reabsorption of estrogen through the intestinal wall. For this reason, I do not recommend meat for those with hormone-based cancers such as breast cancer, for example.
So, should you eat meat? It depends. On your health condition. On the source and quality of the meat. On what the rest of your diet looks like.
A primarily plant-based diet supplies us with a wide range of nutrients which help make our body a medium that is unconducive to the development and growth of diseases such as cancer. Perhaps, that is where the emphasis ought to lie.
It's food for thought.