Change Your Diet Change Your Cancer Risk

There were several people in tears Saturday night in the Giraffe’s Den. This wasn’t due to two teams falling short on the final question of Game Night but the tears were coming from cutting a few enormous red onions as part of three recipes we were preparing for dinner. Today I will recap the Healthy Giraffe Event from Saturday evening including the link between meat and cancer, dinner and the tightly contested Game Night.

Since the event was in close proximity to the 4th of July, that was the theme for the event. With burgers being a popular menu item on Independence Day we set out to prepare two different plant-based burgers. The companion to the burgers would be french fries along with another delicious potato recipe. We had additional sides and desserts as well…

Before we started preparing dinner, we watched a segment from The Exam Room Podcast produced by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. This interview was with Dr. Stephen Neabore who covered the link between Meat and Cancer Risk. Dr Neabore explained what happens when we consume meat that elevates the risk of developing cancer along with other chronic illnesses.

I lost my dad to prostate cancer in 1994 when he was 58…58 years old… He suffered greatly through this terrible cancer. It’s staggering as a man in the U.S. dies every 20 minutes to this illness that is greatly preventable by how we feed ourselves. I have a much greater risk of developing prostate cancer by what I put in my mouth vs. the genetic risk from my father.

Another unfortunate chronic illness associated with eating meat is colon cancer. Dr. Neabore shared how before the meat we eat and digest gets passed out of our body the cancer producing properties just sit in our colon for the greatest amount of time than the other parts of our body it passes through thus contributing to a greater risk in developing. Those cancer producing properties can certainly trigger in other parts of our bodies as well however, not just the colon or prostate. Dr. Neabore concluded his conversation sharing those consuming meat vs. non-meat eaters have three times greater risk of developing colon cancer.

For women, the link between meat and cancer is great as well and in the following example, breast cancer. Dietician Lee Crosby, also from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine shared this connection in her interview segment titled, Meat and Breast Cancer Risk. Women raise their chance of developing breast cancer by 13% with each three ounce serving of meat per day. First of all, who has a three ounce serving of meat? Also consider if you include meat in breakfast, lunch and dinner at only three ounces you now increased your risk by 39%. Increase that serving size and ……

Another not so nice side effect of consuming meat is it can pack on the weight. One gram of fat which meat is loaded with equates to nine calories. I ate a lot of meat back in the day…a lot of meat. Prior to the 2010 University of Central Florida football season I had the opportunity to be in two television commercials. Fellow alum and great buddy Glenn Hamilton is also in one of the commercials (#2) with me. We watched the two commercials, #1 & #2, during the event and got to pause the screen and see how unhealthy I looked. There was significant filler in my face and neck especially. That is just what you could see on the outside. Inside I was a wreck headed to a pretty bad outcome demonstrated through my blood test results and physical symptoms.

On a positive note, we transitioned to how we would prepare tasty and healthy plant-based burgers. We watched a regular pair at these events, The Happy Pear, show us how to make a Falafel Burger. We also prepared The Ultimate 15-minute Burger from their most recent cookbook, Recipes for Happiness, Various spices, beans, and mushrooms highlighted these burgers. We also prepared french fries using two air fryers. No oil to clog our arteries and raise our calorie in-take. Lastly another group worked on, 50/50 Hash Browns, from Rip Esselstyn’s, The Engine 2 Cookbook,

Along with the main course we had fresh cut watermelon and a mango salsa (thank you Jennie and Michael). We also enjoyed desserts from Valhalla Bakery in St. Petersburg (thank you Jamie and Jo) and homemade chocolate chip cookies (thank you Morgan) from Chloe Coscarelli’s cookbook, Chloe’s Vegan Desserts. I’m not sure if Dave, Elia or I had the most desserts but it was one of us for sure. Thank goodness we are in full training mode right now to burn off those calories…

It was then on to Game Night where we learned a bit more about nutrition and random fun topics in Family Feud style. We discussed a few upcoming events before we closed including a couple options for next month’s road trip to a local healthy restaurant, the documentary Game Changers outing on September 16 (link to more information if you want to go with the group), and a theme for the September Healthy Giraffe Event.

It was great to welcome Keith and Scarlett to group. In addition to those already mentioned above I do want to thank Eva, Heather, Keith (#2), Anthony (thanks for the ice), Jodi & Mark (thank you for the oven top). What a great community of friends and family!

As I was finishing the blog today Anthony sent me a timely text message indicating Dr. Michael Greger had just posted a video today titled, The Best Diet for Colon Cancer PreventionAs you may guess he shares how the Standard American Diet (SAD) is not the best choice where as the plant-based diet of course rocks. Anthony also noted Dr. Greger posted another video last week, Best Foods for Colon Cancer PreventionHere he shares more evidence about the best foods to reduce our colon cancer risk, highlighting importance of foods rich in fiber. Animal products contain zero fiber whereas plant-based foods are packed with it. Thank you Anthony for the great finds today Anthony. Also check out his website and blog at for great content on all things running.

Keep up with news for upcoming Healthy Giraffe Events on the Events menu above and/or The Healthy Giraffe Facebook page.

– Add Health to Your Life

Supplies ready to cook


Falafel Burgers in motion
Elia trying out the watermelon
15 Minute Burgers in play
Mashing those chickpeas and more…
Looking ready to form into burger patties
Coming together…
Let’s eat
Valhalla cookies
Chloe cookies
I was pointing out my unhealthy body via the UCF Football Commercial…

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