IT’s OFFICIAL: Processed Red Meats Cause Cancer

This article appeared on NPR this morning.   It is an empirical finding by the World Health Organization.

The World Health Organization has put bacon, hot dogs and sausages in the same category of cancer risk as tobacco smoking.

The World Health Organization has put bacon, hot dogs and sausages in the same category of cancer risk as tobacco smoking.

The World Health Organization has deemed that processed meats — such as bacon, sausages and hot dogs — cause cancer.

In addition, the WHO says red meats including beef, pork, veal and lamb are “probably carcinogenic” to people.

A group of 22 scientists reviewed the evidence linking red meat and processed meat consumption to cancer, and concluded that eating processed meats regularly increases the risk of colorectal cancer. Their evidence review is explained in an article published in The Lancet.

The conclusion puts processed meats in the same category of cancer risk as tobacco smoking and asbestos. This does not mean that they are equally dangerous, says the International Agency for Research on Cancer — the agency within the WHO that sets the classifications. And it’s important to note that even things such as aloe vera are on the list of possible carcinogens.

In a Q & A released by the IARC, the agency says that “eating meat has known health benefits,” but it also points out that the cancer risk increases with the amount of meat consumed. As we’ve reported, studies show that the heaviest meat eaters tend to have the highest risk.

The IARC says high-temperature cooking methods (such as cooking meat in direct contact with a flame) produce more carcinogenic compounds. However, the group says there were not enough data “to reach a conclusion about whether the way meat is cooked affects the risk of cancer.”

Susan Gapstur of the American Cancer Society says the society recommends “consuming a healthy diet with an emphasis on plant foods and limiting consumption of processed meat and red meat,” she told us in a written statement.

The recommendation, Gapstur tells The Salt, is based on research. For instance, a systematic literature review on colorectal cancer published in 2011 by the World Cancer Research Fund found a statistically significant, 16 percent increased risk of colorectal cancer associated with each 100 grams of red and processed meat consumed. As the ACS points out, this is an amount of meat roughly equivalent in size to a deck of cards.

The Lancet paper points out that red meat also contains “high biological-value proteins and important micronutrients such as B vitamins, iron and zinc.” And the North American Meat Institute says lots of research points to the benefits of red meat consumption.

“Scientific evidence shows cancer is a complex disease not caused by single foods and that a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle choices are essential to good health,” writes Barry Carpenter, president of the North American Meat Institute, in a statement on the new WHO classification.

Carpenter says it’s important to put this new classification in context. “IARC’s panel was given the basic task of looking at hazards that meat could pose at some level, under circumstance, but was not asked to consider any off-setting benefits, like the nutrition that meat delivers or the implications of drastically reducing or removing meat from the diet altogether,” the statement concludes.

Don’t Shoot the Messenger! – The Psychological Purpose for Denial

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Are any of you familiar with the Tom Stoppard absurdist  play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead?   It is about how two servants (that had minor roles in Shakespeare’s Hamlet)  were so naive that they walked into a situation that ended them, just because they delivered a message that someone didn’t want to hear.

Ring a bell?

Have you ever known anyone that would attack the messenger rather than face news that he or she didn’t want to hear?

A prime example is that of a couple of friends of mine.  He cheats. He has ALWAYS cheated….and even though she knows it,  rather than face the reality of it, the wife (my friend) will blame the women with whom he cheats, hanging on to the marriage as though her life depended on it.

In her eyes, the WOMEN are “bad” because she is sickly emotionally dependent on her husband.  He has always been disloyal to her behind her back, and he continues to be to this day.  She KNOWS about it, yet continues to cling .  She will get drunk, pick up the phone and call up the women that he cheats with, claiming that he doesn’t love them….that he is “afraid of” them…or that he has said terrible things about them.  The women sort of roll their eyes, because he has already warned them that my friend is crazy and to expect her to call.  He warns them that she will demand a 3-way phone call and insists that they ignore the request.  This is how smooth an operator he is….and how he convinces his wife that the women are lying.

The person that is actually telling the lies and committing the cheating continues along these lines indefinitely while the person that speaks out about it gets labeled the “bad one”…the “slut”…”evil”… because the recipient of the news has dependency issues that keep her in the relationship regardless of how unhappy he or she is.  She demands he throw out anything the lover has given him….which, of course, he doesn’t really do.   She demands he block her from his telephone….which, of course, he doesn’t do either.  He simply gets a dedicated phone for the purpose of calling the lover more than ever. In other words, my friend spends all of her energy trying to make misidentified “problem” go away.  She believes that if she can make the other woman “vanish” her husband will be faithful.

Ain’t gonna happen.

My friend’s husband has been unfaithful to her repeatedly.  This man is CONSTANTLY  “trolling for women” and telling them that he and his wife are on the skids.   Oh, the lies!

This poor woman has plans to spend the rest of her life with this man and she refuses to embrace the truth no matter how many times she comes face to face with it.

When well-meaning friends have tried to warn her,  she will either get mad at them for having delivered the message, or she will attack and belittle the women with whom her husband entangles himself…but she will NEVER walk away from the relationship, because she is too insecure.  She makes excuses for her husband every single time.  Does he stop cheating on her?  No.  Does she vilify the women that he cheats on her with?                           René Best musician

Yup.  Every.  single. time.

It is always THEIR fault (the fault of the other women)  and never the fault of the cheating husband.  They want him.  They throw themselves at him.  They stalk him.  He can’t beat them off with a stick!  And when caught, he declares that these other women are fat…or ugly…or crazy….and the wife falls for it every single time.

cageRene Best musician       Rene Best guitarist

Meanwhile, the other women that this man flirts with, sleeps with and swears his undying love for,  are all lead to believe that they are the special ones….that the marriage is so bad that it excuses his cheating behavior.

 The wife denies and denies it and cooks up all kinds of unsavory stories about the WOMEN….but not about the man that is stirring the pot!  She will upload photos of herself and her husband in strained, deliberately posed positions that are intended to convey their “happiness” together…but the husband instantly dispels this theory.  “She MADE me pose in that picture!  I didn’t want to do it.  She was just trying to piss you off…..”  on …and on…and on….

This action takes place because of her own dependency issues. She is desperate to convince the world…the same world that knows how miserable they are…how “happy” they are, completely ignoring the fact that he has ruthlessly cut her down to virtually everyone that knows him.   She would rather have a man that she KNOWS in her heart, is cheating, than not have a man at all.  So she remains  in total denial….even when these women occasionally reach out to try to help her.    Big mistake. Huge.


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 Is there an apple in the picture below?  I don’t think so…yet according to some people, it may very well be one…because they WANT to believe it is an apple, whether it is or not!  How sad is that?   Some people do not base anything on actual reality.  They base everything on their insecurities and needs….(…not that anyone NEEDS to be with unfaithful men. )

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Denial is an internally-generated defense mechanism that goes into action when someone is not able to face reality.    It is the refusal to admit or to even recognize that an event such as an affair (or other traumatic event)  has occurred or is currently going on.   We most often hear about denial as it relates to  alcoholics or drug addicts.   However, these are not the only times when denial kicks in.  People that  are traumatized or who  fear trauma will go into denial rather than even see the truth.    In many cases, there might be overwhelming evidence that something is true, yet the person will continue to deny its existence or truth because it is too uncomfortable to face.   Ask how things are going, and they might respond with, “GREAT!!!”  and a big, happy smile.     Why does this happen?

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Denial  protects one’s ego from things and events with which the individual cannot cope.  While this may save that person from anxiety or pain, being in denial  requires a huge investment of psychic energy. Because of this, other defenses are also used to keep these unacceptable feelings from consciousness.  One of these defense mechanisms is displacement.

Have ever had a really bad day and then gone home and taken out your frustration on someone else?  This is displacement.  Displacement involves taking out our frustrations, feelings, and impulses on people or objects that are less threatening.   This, too, can result in the wrong person getting the blame.   In the case of my friend, her husband is clearly the one that is doing something wrong, but my friend, instead, blames the other women….or blames her ex husband, or blames her upbringing, her parents, her boss….ANYONE AND ANYTHING other than her husband….because if she admitted that he was unfaithful, there would be no reason to justify her staying with him….and she is very insecure.  She needs a man, even one that cheats on her, to create the delusion that her life is something that it isn’t.  Convincing people on the outside that things are, “GREAT!!” is her top priority.

The type of denial that my friend has goes far beyond grace and forgiveness and into the realm of stupidity.  I guess that was unkind.  She is not stupid.  She needs help, actually….but a lot of people just view her as stupid, because THEY can see what is going on, even if she does adamantly deny it.  A defense mechanism that K. needs to develop is sublimation.

ImageSublimation allows people to act out unacceptable impulses by converting them into more socially acceptable forms of behavior. For instance, when K. experiences the uncontrollable rage that causes her to attack the messenger or, worse yet, to attack the women with which her husband carries on, she might, instead, take up gardening or join a dance group to vent her frustration.  I agree with Sigmund Freud, who  believed that sublimation is a sign of maturity that allows us to function normally in socially acceptable ways.   Going on the attack against the wrong people?   That just sucks.   Living in denial of my friend’s husband’s infidelities only makes my friend appear pathetic.  EVERYONE knows that he cheats….and she does, too, at some level, yet she continues to skirt the issue.  Living in denial is a debilitating mental illness.  It makes the person in denial look mad as a hatter while everyone else comes out smelling like a rose.

 

Having an Opera Day

One of the things that brought us together initially, was the fact that both John and I were (and still are) big opera fans.  When we met, I had seasons tickets to the Houston Grand Opera , and we used to go together frequently….or I would go by myself….or I would go with my best mate, Katie or with my kids.

We are an opera family.  While still a high school student, my  son used to be an usher at the Houston Grand Opera, which allowed him to see all of the operas free of charge.   He has loved opera since.  I took all of my kids with me, however.  Again…we are an opera family.

I saw Pavarotti sing Nessun Dorma and other of his “greatest hits” in person, upon a number of occasions, thanks to dear Katie, and still weep at the notion of his no longer being among the living. He was magnificent!  I was never fortunate enough to see him in an actual opera, however.

John and I both adore Puccini’s operas and have been listening to them this morning with the windows open, the cool breeze blowing in and the flowers blooming everywhere outside. This is another day in which the temperature is mild and absolutely perfect. (These Portland springs and summers make the dark winters well worth the wait. )

As I write this, we are listening to Pavarotti sing Turandot.  There are simply no words to describe how beautiful this music is!  It really brings out the romance in my husband, too.   🙂

Fell in love with him all over again today.

This, my friends, is a beautiful day.

Thank you, opera.

The Perils of Long Distance Love

Long distance relationships can’t work…or so  the colloquial wisdom goes. Ok…maybe they’ll work for a while: You’ll exchange a few texts, talk on the phone when you can both steal moments alone, maybe visit once in a while, have great sex, enjoy your time together thoroughly….. But the heartache of being apart and living separate lives will finally begin to wear on you until finally, things will just fizzle out….and it really can be painful.

 

Wait!  Not true, according to a small but growing number of social science studies. Long-distance relationships are, in many ways, stronger than relationships between couples who live together or close by, shows a new study published today in the Journal of Communication.

“While the public and the science community hold a pessimistic view towards long distance (LD), this research provides compelling support for the opposite side – long distance is not necessarily inferior to geographically close dating,” says Crystal Jiang, an assistant professor of communication at City University of Hong Kong.

 

Jiang’s research suggests  that people in long-distance relationships reported feeling emotionally closer to their long-distance lovers than did people in relationships with people who were literally — geographically — closer. Long-distance couples also reported sharing more with their lovers, and feeling like their partners were really listening.

 

“You always hear people say ‘long-distance relationships suck’ or ‘long-distance relationships never work out,’” Jiang says. “Indeed, our culture, particularly American culture, emphasizes being together physically and frequent face-to-face contact for close relationships, but long-distance relationships clearly stand against all these values.”  Talking goes to greater depths.  It is easier, in some cases, to establish bonds of trust.

It’s especially reassuring to hear this now, as so many couples today are living apart.  My husband and I spend many months apart doing the year.   In fact, three million Americans live apart from their spouses (for reasons other than divorce or discordance), Jiang says. It’s a trend that’s has spawned the term “commuter marriages” in recent headlines reflecting the new realities of tough economic times — you’ve got to go where the job is, after all. And many college students, not surprisingly, live apart from their partners – up to 50 percent are in a long-distance relationship, according to one estimate in a 2005 report.

 

It gets harder to estimate how many non-married, non-college students are in long-distance relationships, but according to one estimate, 14 percent of dating relationships were long-distance, according to the Center for the Study of Long-Distance Relationships. (Yes, such a thing once existed; sadly, it has closed). And HEY!  I’m a college student, so this is interesting stuff! 🙂Continue reading “The Perils of Long Distance Love”

When the Abuser is a Woman

I am an advocate for women. That is what makes writing this post so difficult.   I have done volunteer work at a rape crisis center, have volunteered in a battered women’s shelter, have assisted women in crisis.  I am sympathetic to the plights of women as minorities, and empathize with the inequities that exist between the sexes. Does this mean I’m a “man hater”?   Um…no.  I have a wonderful husband, a new grandson and many outstanding male friends,  a couple of whom  mean a whole lot to me in terms of how they enrich my life.  I am close to my father, and I adored all of my now-deceased uncles, and the one uncle who is still living.   My sons-in-law are great….so I am very fortunate to have all of these great men in my life.  However, my women friends are not just my women friends.  They are my sisters.  I feel a strong connection to other women and relate strongly to their thoughts, feelings and situations.  This is what makes it so difficult when I learn that a woman has been abusive toward a man.  I feel that she sets other women back by decades.                                    

Are we not above this?

 

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My friend has been on the receiving end of some serious domestic violence lately.  It is not the first time that it has happened, and I am conflicted about how to help him.  He does not want trouble.  Like any victim, he feels shame at the thought of anyone turning his abuser over to the police.  To make things worse, his  abuser is a petite flower (i.e.”stink weed”) much smaller than he, and loves to pretend that *she* is the victim.   She strikes and then feigns injury herself and has been known to call the authorities in situations where SHE was the batterer….She is mentally ill, a very dangerous type.  This violent dervish is no victim.  She hits him.  She breaks his personal property.  She screams at him.  She spies on him.  She belittles him.  It doesn’t take a genius to note the patterns that have formed through the years, nor  to ascertain that she is the liar in this scenario.  In this particular case, the abuser is also an excellent actress.   Therefore, many people outside of their home only know her as  a “really great lady.” Little do they suspect how cruel and spiteful she truly is. Then again, there are those of us who know what she is and how her seedy little mind operates.

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 Her actions not only hurt the man she is abusing.  They hurt all women, just as male-against-female domestic violence hurts all men.   I am a woman, so this issue effects me….and all women.  I hate it when men abuse women.  I also hate it when women abuse men.   I am writing this today, to speak out against domestic abuse that occurs between men and women, but in this case,I am speaking out  against  women who abuse men.    Domestic violence is wrong.

Are you with someone that  purposefully chooses to destroy only the objects she knows will hurt you emotionally – using these demolition derbies  as a demonstration of her desired power and control?   In actual fact, they are a demonstration of her emotional immaturity and selfishness.

This is the case in the abusive situation that my friend is in.  Do not be silent if you see this happening among people that you know and love.  Abusers fear exposure.  Expose them!  This is what I am going to do.  If I EVER hear of this woman abusing my friend again, I will call the police and have her thrown in jail.  I will not hesitate, even if it costs my relationship with my friend.  This is going to stop, and it is going to stop NOW.

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According to recent studies, approximately two in every five cases of domestic violence are caused by women who abuse men.  This contradicts the notion that it is always the women who are left bruised and battered.  Men that are assaulted by their domestic partners are often not taken seriously by the police, witness their attackers walking away free and have fewer refuges to where they can flee.  Data that was gathered  from Home Office statistical bulletins in England, as well as submitted by the British Crime Survey,  support the fact that men made up about 40% of domestic violence victims each year between 2004-05 and 2008-09.  2009 was the last year for which figures are currently available. In 2006-07 men made up 43.4% of all those who had suffered partner abuse in the previous year, which rose to 45.5% in 2007-08 but fell to 37.7% in 2008-09.  Similar or slightly larger numbers of men were subjected to severe force in an incident with their partner, according to the same documents. The figure stood at 48.6% in 2006-07, 48.3% the next year and 37.5% in 2008-09, Home Office statistics show.  musician

Men have a completely different set of problems with which to cope.  Because women can often be perceived as “less than” men within a given society, and are, at times,  not valued as highly as men, no one is surprised when one is battered.  This is terrible, but the data exists to support this unfortunate claim.  However, the societal pressures when a man is physically/emotionally abused by a woman are completely different.   Just as a woman feels shame and embarrassment when she is abused, men feel it, too, but for different reasons.

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This, from help guide.org:

An abusive wife or partner may hit, kick, bite, punch, spit, push, throw things, or destroy your possessions. To make up for any difference in strength, she may attack you while you’re asleep or otherwise catch you by surprise. She may also use a weapon, such as a gun or knife, or strike you with an object, abuse or threaten your children, or harm your pets. Of course, domestic abuse is not limited to violence.

Your spouse or partner may also: 

Verbally abuse you, belittle you, or humiliate you in front of friends, colleagues, or family, or on social media sites.

  • Be possessive, act jealous, or harass you with accusations of being unfaithful.
  • Take away your car keys or medications, try to control where you go and who you see.
  • Try to control how you spend money or deliberately default on joint financial obligations.
  • Make false allegations about you to your friends, employer, or the police, or find other ways to manipulate and isolate you.
  • Threaten to leave you and prevent you from seeing your kids (or pets) if you report the abuse.

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If you have been abused and need immediate assistance, call 911 or your local emergency service.

Abused men can also reach out to the following organizations for help:

  • U.S. and Canada: 1-888-7HELPLINE (1-888-743-5754)

 

Abusers use domestic violence to gain and maintain complete control over their victims. It is not uncommon for an abuser to use guilt, fear, shame or intimidation to wear down their victims and to keep them under their control.  Abusers  may also threaten to take away their victims’ children or pets.

 

dv6Verbal abuse can be severely damaging as well.  Often men believe, that if they are not being physically abused by their partners,  they are not being abused.  This is wrong.  If either men or women are in a relationship which is draining something from them… that person may not recognize that his or her self-esteem is eroding his or her  happiness through verbal, mental, emotional and other forms of abuse.

In addition to physically harming him, my friend’s partner also verbally abuses him.  I want to help him by exposing her.

The following is a list of ways to tell if someone is being abused without being physically touched:

  • Withholding:  Does the abuser stop speaking when he or she is displeased?  Does he or she ignore you?  does he or she withdraw affection in order to punish?
  • Countering:  Are you told continually that you are wrong if you don’t agree with?  Does he or she argue against your every thought?  Tell you your feelings are wrong?  Tell you that you don’t know what you’re talking about?  Are you forbidden from having your own opinions? friends? life?
  • Ridicule [Verbal Abuse Disguised as Jokes]:  Are you being made fun of?  Are you being ridiculed about subjects that you are particularly sensitive about?  Does your partner seem to enjoy it?    Does he or she use sarcasm to put you down?
  • Blocking and Diverting:  Is  the subject abruptly when you try to bring something up?  Does he or she divert serious discussions by accusing you of virtually everything under the sun?
  • Accusing and Blaming:  Are you blamed for everything that goes wrong?    Does he or she accuse you of hurting him or her when you tell him or her your feelings?  Are you continually accused of having affairs?  Is your partner jealous?
  • Trivializing:  Is what you say belittled?  Are your feelings or accomplishments dismissed?  Are you frequently insulted when you express pride in your own abilities?  Are you treated as if your work is no big deal?
  • Under-mining:  Is your enthusiasm destroyed with insensitive comments such as, “You wouldn’t understand”, or “You’ll never make it”?  Are your ideas sabotaged by his or her pointing out all the ways in which they might fail?   Are you interrupted when you need time alone?
  • Threatening:   Are you overtly or covertly threatened with emotional pain?
  • Name-calling:  Are vulgarities used to insult you?  Are you called cruel names?
  • Ordering:  Are you ordered to do something instead of being asked?
  • Judging and Criticizing:  Is fault found with everything that you do?  Are you told that you “ought to” or “should” do things a certain way?
  • Denial:  Do you witness denial by your abuser that certain things happened?  Are you told that the abuser didn’t say something or that you never saw something occur?
  • Abusive Anger:  Does your abuser erupt into a rage when angry?  Is there screaming, yelling, or shouting?  Are obscenities hurled in your direction?  Does your abusers body language become more aggressive?  Does she stomp, strut, hit things, or hit you?  Become red in the face?  Throw things?Does she physically get in your way, or follow you from room to room?  Snap at you?  Is she usually irritable?  Does all of this usually take place in private, when you are alone?  [ It’s a sure sign things are escalating if she attacks you in public. ]
  • Refusal to Accept Responsibility:  Are you blamed for his or her anger?

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If you know someone that is being abused…man or woman….encourage that person to leave.  Encourage them to prosecute.  You will be helping ALL survivors of domestic violence when you do.  Being passive is not the answer.

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