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Afraid of the "V-word"

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Afraid of the "V-word"

Today as I searched Google News for what's new in the vegetarian world, I came across an article title in the search results that said "Does Red Meat Give You Bowel Cancer?" OK, sounds I read the blurb below from the article. "The WRCF (World Cancer Research Fund) does not in any event advocate a vegetarian diet, or a complete abstention from red meat." That is the first sentence of the article blurb...UGH!?

What's the big phobia with advocating a vegetarian diet? Oh no, you said "the v-word." Afraid you'll lose readers? Funding? It reminds me of equality-loving, stereotype-hating women who refuse to call themselves feminists.

This article from BBC News says:

~ "The evidence that red and processed meats increase the risk of colorectal cancer is 'convincing.'"

~ "WCRF...has urged the public to limit their consumption of steak and sausages."

~ "Red meat should be consumed in modest amounts, and salami and ham should almost always be avoided."

~ "Looking at all the research, the evidence linking red and processed meat and bowel cancer is overwhelming."

~ "Very high levels of red and processed meat consumption--more than two pork chops every day--was associated with a 35% higher risk of bowel cancer when compared with those who rarely ate red meat."

~ "Two of the world's largest studies on diet and cancer have found that people are more likely to develop some cancers, such as bowel cancer, if they eat too much red or processed meat. Cutting down on these foods can help to reduce the risk of developing cancer."

Now, here's the clencher, the article ends with this: "Yes, avoid a high calorie, high fat diet--but by all means enjoy that steak." WHAT!

I majored in Sociology. I understand how labeling theory works. People's identities become their labels (woman, white, middle class, heterosexual, married, educated, whatever). Labels lead to stereotyping, which is generally bad (Forgive me for condensing my entire Bachelor's Degree into a paragraph). However, calling a spade a spade and announcing the obvious have never been bad. In the case of the dreaded v-word, people don't want to step outside the box--the norm--and announce that the dissenting view here is the winner.

Vegetarians, be sure to announce yourselves loud and proud. Spread the good word.



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Susan Sayour