There seems to be something very American about “The Sandwich”. While there are certainly other countries and cultures that enjoy sandwiches, America seems to have really honed the market when it comes to putting meat in between two slices of bread. We have thousands of restaurants completely devoted to the art of making sandwiches, and while there is something inherently comforting about eating a sandwich, the meat that goes into most of those sandwiches is far from comforting to our overall health. Processed meat has been associated with higher risk of several types of cancer, namely colon cancer. While our consumption of processed meat (cold cuts, sausage, bacon, etc.) isn’t reserved to sandwiches, it certainly accounts for a large portion of the processed meat that we consume in western culture. Finding meat alternatives for every day meals such as sandwiches is a great way start to minimizing your consumption of a known carcinogen, and increasing your exposure to plant foods that are known to improve your overall health.
In October 2015 a group of 22 scientists, from 10 countries met at the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France to evaluate the carcinogenicity of consumption of red meat and processed meat. They assessed over 800 epidemiological studies that investigated the association of cancer with consumption of red meat or processed meat in many different countries, from several continents, with diverse ethnicities and diets.¹
“On the basis of the large amount of data and the consistent associations of colorectal cancer with consumption of processed meat across studies in different populations, which make chance, bias, and confounding unlikely as explanations, a majority of the Working Group concluded that there is sufficient evidence in human beings for the carcinogenicity of the consumption of processed meat.”¹
This article was published in the prestigious medical journal, The Lancet.
These types of conclusions show that there is strong evidence that eating processed meat can have devastating effects on our health.
Not convinced? The Lancet also recently published the findings of the most comprehensive and systematic analysis of the causes of death around the world. “The Global Burden of Disease Study” was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and involved nearly five hundred researchers and examined nearly one hundred thousand sources of data. “Processed meat is blamed for the deaths of more than eight hundred thousand people every year.”²
With statistics such as these, it seems like a safe bet to steer clear of bacon, hot dogs, ham, turkey, sausage etc. So while I refrain from eating sandwiches with processed meat on them, I do love a good plant based alternative. Even small changes like eating a sandwich with plant based items instead of processed meat could potentially save you from developing cancer. Seems well worth it to me.
This recipe for Chickpea Salad Sandwiches comes from a good friend of mine. She was kind of enough to share it with me, and I know you all will love it.
Chickpea Salad Sandwich
- 14 oz. Can Garbanzo Beans
- 1/4 c. Red Onion Diced
- 1 Celery Stalk Diced
- 1/3 c. Vegan Mayonaise
- 1 Tbsp Mustard
- 1 Tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 Tsp Garlic Salt
- 1/4 Tsp Garlic Powder
- Pepper To Taste
- 6 Slices Whole Wheat Bread
- 2 c. Arugula Divided
- Drain and rinse the chickpeas in a fine mesh strainer.
- Pat the chickpeas dry with a paper towel, pour them onto a large plate. With a flat kitchen mallet, or the back of a clean cup, mash the chickpeas. You can mash them as much as you like, I leave a few larger pieces for added texture.
- In a medium size bowl, combine the mashed chickpeas, red onion , celery, vegannaise, mustard, apple cider vinegar, garlic salt, garlic powder, and pepper to taste. Mix well to combine.
- Can be served immediately, but best if placed in the refrigerator for at least an hour to let the flavors combine and to allow it to firm up.
- When ready to serve, spoon a few tablespoons onto a piece of whole grain bread, top with arugula (or any other toppings you like) and enjoy!