The Meaty Truth

IMG_8912After a year of being a vegetarian, I can still say with certainty that I am, in fact, a meat lover. While this might make some of my vegetarian friends cringe, I am writing to my fellow meat lovers out in the world to think about a couple of things before purchasing some of your favorite meaty products.

The sad truth is that some of my favorites like bacon, salami, pepperoni and sausage can be filled with toxins used to preserve flavor and appearance. Chemicals such as nitrites and nitrates are used to preserve cured meats, but when mixed with the meat itself, may form a known carcinogenic compound called Nitrosamine (EWG, 2014). Another preservative found in cured meat, Propyl gallate, is a suspected endocrine disruptor and carcinogenic toxin (EWG, 2014).

As a college student, some of the things I miss most while being away from home are home cooked meals, especially a plate of juicy steak with mashed potatoes on the side. However, the conventional US beef industry exposes cows and pigs to synthetic growth hormones like Zeranol. Zeranol mimics the human hormone, estrogen, which has been linked to early puberty in girls and an increased chance of developing breast cancer later in life (Breast Cancer Fund).

So before you go pick up that Italian sub or your favorite tasty hamburger, make sure you check to see whether or not your meat contains any of these harmful toxins. Or, simply choose products that are certified organic!

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