Meat may cause cancer, but there are other reasons to cut back

A report by the World Health Organization released earlier this week linked processed meats (such as bacon, sausage and ham) to cancer and the Internet is not ready to accept the facts.

The bad news is WHO is probably right, and anyone who thought about it beyond his or her taste buds probably could have figured out that processed meat isn’t good for us.

The good news is the report also stressed that meat does have health benefits. Like anything else, if you’re going to eat meat, you need to do it in moderation.

Cutting back on meat in our diets isn’t just for our own health, but for the health of the environment, as the meat industry is one of the worst environmental offenders.

Scientific American reported in 2011 water pollution from factory farms can produce as much sewage waste as a small city and that is only the tip of the environmental iceberg when it comes to how the meat industry is hurting the environment. There are still greenhouse gas emissions, fertilizer and pesticide use to feed the animals and antibiotic use to keep them healthy to be considered in the environmental impact.

Most people could cut down to only eating meat three to four times a week and that would be a vast improvement over meat at nearly every meal.

After cutting down meat consumption, the next step to take is switching to locally sourced, organic, pasture-raised, grass-fed animals for both meat and dairy needs.

Instead of thinking of this new scientific information as a burden on your lifestyle, reframe it as a way you can make a difference and feel good about what you are consuming.

Bacon might be cool, but cancer isn’t and neither is destroying our planet to fulfill our hipster meat trends.