Your daily bologna-on-white is not just bland, it’s potentially detrimental to your health. When meat is preserved by canning, curing, salting, smoking or the addition of powerful preservatives, cancer-causing compounds can be formed.  Not worth the risk for a bland hot dog or slice of deli ham, is it?

It’s not just your digestive system that will benefit from a break from processed deli meats. Cutting out these preserved meats can go a long way to cutting down your daily sodium intake as well. The Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation reminds us that excess dietary salt can increase the amount of blood in the arteries, raising blood pressure and increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Click here to explore the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s dietary guidelines- and see how similar keeping your heart healthy is to keeping your colon healthy!

The CCAC urges you to limit your red meat intake to just a few ounces per week, so don’t waste your weekly servings on a paltry helping of overly salty, low-quality meat. Next time you’re packing lunch for yourself or your family members, consider replacing processed meats with some of the flavourful alternatives listed after the cut.

Alternative # 1: Roasted Veggie and Goat Cheese sandwiches

1 eggplant,

1 small zuchinni

1 red pepper

1 small onion

Fresh basil leaves

1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon of olive oil

Black pepper

Semisoft goat cheese

Your favourite grainy bread (for fibre!)

Chop up the veggies to uniform thickness. Toss in a mixture of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and add some black pepper to taste. Spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and place in a 400-degree oven for 15-20 minutes, flipping once. Take care not to burn the vegetables, as visible charring means an increase in carcinogens.

Keep this flavourful mixture in a container in the fridge for a couple of day’s worth of lunches!

Come sandwich time, lightly toast a slice or two of your favourite fibre-rich grainy bread. Spread with a generous layer of rich, creamy goat cheese and top with the roasted vegetables.

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Alternative #2: Chicken Gyros

4 cloves garlic, smashed

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tsp. red wine vinegar

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

2 heaping tbsp. plain yogurt

1 tbsp. dried oregano

Freshly cracked black pepper

1 1/4 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Tzatziki sauce

Crumbled feta cheese

Whole wheat pitas

Your favourite chilled vegetables

Combine the garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, yogurt, oregano. Add black pepper to taste. Add chicken breast pieces and toss well. Refrigerate for up to a few hours. Cook the chicken until thoroughly done, either by baking in your oven or under your broiler.  Take care not to char the meat. Click here to read why.

Spread each pita with a small amount of tzatziki. Add fresh vegetables, such as lettuce, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers. Top with chicken pieces and a small sprinkle of feta cheese. Wrap and go!

For more information on meat and your cancer risk, consult our directory on the subject..