“Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, behind only lung cancer.” – The American Cancer Society
Let’s talk about cancer, men, and meat. While the conversation can become a complicated gender/biology issue, culturally, in the U.S., men, meat, and prostate cancer diagnoses go hand in hand. Men consuming the traditional meat focused Western diets are diagnosed with prostate cancer at a rate of 2.5 times more than men who don’t. There is a connection specifically between prostate cancer and consumption of red meat and animal fats.
The silver lining? A prostate cancer diagnosis isn’t a death sentence, for millions of men, it’s a wake up call to a new type of lifestyle. In addition to preventing prostate cancer, incredibly promising research indicates that subscribing to a vegetarian (or even better, vegan) diet after prostate cancer diagnosis can dramatically increase survival rates. Living a preventative lifestyle may not eliminate your cancer risk, but it will decrease your probability.
* It’s important to note that the incidence of ALL cancers, both male specific and female specific cancer diagnosis, are lower among vegetarians and plant based eaters. We can benefit in a familial way by converting to plant based living!
How do we get men to eat their veggies? It’s not me, it’s science which dictates that men are much less likely to eat their veggies than women. Researcher’s offer a plethora of reasons why, but I don’t like to generalize, because I find the male clients I work with are quick to make changes, follow what I ask of them, and generally (sorry ladies) make more lasting changes in the long run.
To increase your odds of beating prostate cancer and lower your prostate cancer risk (and all cancer risks for that matter!), here are my 5 easy tips to transition to plant based lifestyle:
- Make the commitment. The first step is to commit. You won’t be perfect, life doesn’t always make meatless eating convenient, but the commitment is the essential step.
- Spread the word and be held to it. Sometimes opening your big mouth holds you to your commitment and will garner you more support (or shame if you quit). Share with friends and family, post your plant based adventures on social media, explore your local health food stores and farmer’s markets and let people know your making the move to living plant based. You may be surprised by the support and healthy tips you receive (and, hopefully your circle will hold you to your lifestyle changes).
- Start with reachable goals. Don’t view this as an elimination lifestyle, view it as an addition lifestyle. You don’t have to commit to NEVER eating meat again, that thought is sure to make failure an option. Start with going plant based for lunch or dinner. After 2 weeks of following this, choose 3-4 days per week to go totally meat free (leave the option of fish in). As you slowly make changes, you will see it gets easier. Within 30-45 days, you should be able to smoothly transition to what I call “Week Day Vegetarian”.
- Everything doesn’t have to go. 4-5 ounces of lean animal protein isn’t the end of the world. I personally feel better when I eat a little meat throughout the week. I keep it to 3-4 servings of lean animal protein PER WEEK and I stick to grass-fed, organic (hormone and antibiotic free), and free range.
- Simply removing meat from your current Western diet will only make you less healthy. You can’t live on white bread, processed “vegetarian” foods, grilled cheese, french fried, and spaghetti with sugar loaded tomato sauces. Just because it’s meat free doesn’t mean it’s healthy! Whole grains (quinoa, farro, kamut, wild rice), loads of fresh vegetables, plant sources of protein (quinoa, edamame, tempeh, millet, nuts, leafy greens), healthy fats (olive oil, coconut oil, walnut oil, avocado oil, avocado, chia, hemp) will balance your diet. Check out my plant based recipes for all kinds of inspiration – this week I’m sharing one of my favorites Spaghetti Squash Puttanesca.
Ready to take the plant-based plunge? I am here to support you all the way. Whether looking to prevent or treat prostate cancer with a integrative approach, reach out to me firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions.