'If there was any connection between meat eating and cancer we would know '

Ann Chovie

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I had a really awful dilemma today..

I was in a very senior meeting of predominantly senior medical staff and assorted associated professionals like me who were non-medical.The topic is irrelevant but during the course of the meeting someone was discussing the guilt people feel about their cancer and how obsessed they can become about nutrition and diet after recovery to avoid a recurrence.

One nurse was talking about the pressure from families to change their eating habits and not 'go back to eating burgers'. She said it makes her cross that patients are told that eating meat causes colorectal cancer and that they should avoid dairy. She said that there is no connection between meat and cancer . She said and I quote ' if there was a connection between meat eating and cancer we would know and be telling all our patients in clinic about it '.

Every one was nodding and giving examples where people were put under pressure to give up meat and dairy either during or after treatment by family and friends. It was agreed it was irresponsible to lay so much guilt on people and make them believe they had caused their cancer. WTF!!!!

I was in a peculiar situation ..having mentioned Veganism at the previous meeting and remembering the strange and 'irritated; response to my regaling of the Brighton Vegan Festival ..

I did not know how to where to start with this one. I am not a coward and I am not afraid to stand up and quote the China Study! What I am is a single mum struggling to keep a job. The remit of my job is very clear and this is not even my place of work it is a hospital where I am tied in knots not only by my job remit but the ones of the hospital I work in.

I know that waves would be caused by me 'going against the herd' and I am acutely aware there were several people whose greatest delight would be to discredit me as a 'hippie' 'freak' or extremist at a time where I am fighting for funding to continue my post. I do not have the luxury of alternative income or a raft of job opportunities awaiting me I am dependant on this income. Thats why I sat quiet.

BUT..I was fighting the urge to speak and twisting in my seat but ultimately aware that something really needed saying ! Now I am left feeling ashamed that I did not speak up and offended that no one in the meeting either remembered or cared that I was a Veggie. I tried to contact the member of staff afterwards to speak to her and offer her a reading list! But she had left. This is all very uncomfortable .


How could I have dealt with this situation differently ?

I am not sure if there is something I can now do to inform?

And HOW without being told I am non-medical and am not qualified to comment or being called up for extending my remit?

Has anyone else faced a similar situation and how did you deal with it?
 

Indian Summer

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So did any of these nurses have recent training in nutrition? And at what level have they studied? From what you are describing, it doesn't sound like they have the background and experience to make these kinds of decisions.

A correlation between consumption of red and/or processed meats and certain cancers have been shown. (I'm not sure the exact mechanisms that cause the cancers has been identified though.) There are several studies that show a correlation. The NHS itself advises people to limit their consumption of red and processed meats (because of the connection with bowel cancer) based on advice from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition:
http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/red-meat.aspx

There are several relevant studies in this area. Some are related to the EPIC Oxford programme:
http://www.epic-oxford.org/
 

Indian Summer

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If I were in your shoes, if possible, I would discretely "appeal to a higher power", so to speak. If the nurses are planning to give advice that goes against the official NHS stance ... then that surely is a concern for someone.
 

Ann Chovie

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. The NHS itself advises people to limit their consumption of red and processed meats (because of the connection with bowel cancer /

Very inconsistent advice from what I have seen. I interview patients all day every day and it appears that the messages are very mixed. Some clients are told to limit consumption of processed foods only, some red meat only, some both. And some get no advice at all.

A lot of patients are advised to limit dairy during Chemotherapy treatment as this treatment seems particularly intolerant to dairy, people will automatically omit it from their diet anyway as it becomes repulsive to them and makes them nauseous.

But..there are still clients who are not given any advice at all . This is worryingly reflected in the nurses 'on the ground' who were speaking this morning. To my knowledge patients will rarely link into the nutritionist services unless , or until, they have such a rapid weight loss that they need supplements. The general advice doing the circuit appears to be eat a little (of anything) you fancy and can stomach as often as you can manage.
 

Ann Chovie

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If I were in your shoes, if possible, I would discretely "appeal to a higher power", so to speak. If the nurses are planning to give advice that goes against the official NHS stance ... then that surely is a concern for someone.

Yes, I agree :sadnod: and am already pondering on who the best person would be to approach ..as I say this is not my place of employment but somewhere that I run an outreach service so I need to give that some thought.

In the meantime ..I think I might have a casual 'chat'with the nutritionist here in the unit first , get some idea whata her directive is. If that is the NHS stance then I need to know she is adhering to it. And..if she is then why arent the nurses?
 

Ann Chovie

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Wow!!! The plot thickens.
Just been into the cancer support office and booked an appointment to meet with the nutritionist. Decided to say what had happened this morning and two of the staff there were well aware of evidence about red meat and cancer , one had no idea and she is a Veggie!!!

Loads of interesting discussion ..more to follow as I am up and out off home now but generally 'yes go for it , have your say people should know'. was the tone of the discussion.

Much , much more. To be continued tonight
 
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Ann Chovie

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Ok update..
I went into the office said how I felt sitting through the meeting.

Btw ..The meeting was actually a working party working on setting up health and well being days for patients in recovery and " moving on".

Someone who has organised them before told me that one the most discussed areas was nutrition

. And in particular how and what should People eat to avoid a tecurrence. She told me that patients are confused by newspaper reports about the connection between alcohol and meat and cancer. She told me that they do not know what to believe and what medical staff would confirm or deny. They are looking for direction for the future.

Her guess was that nutritionist advice (is as I mentioned earlier )during treatment is eat what you can when you can to help them retain weight .But that on recovery they have no idea of the best diet to follow for the future.

She felt that I should talk to the nutritionist and find out if she could attend the event days and offer more comprehensive guidelines.

Not sure where that will go until I see the reaction I get from the nutritionist.

But I am in good position to monitor it as I have put myself up as an events co- ordinator!!;)
 

Clueless Git

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... generally 'yes Lesley go for it , have your say people should know'. was the tone of the discussion.

Aha! So that's your name.

Can we have the long number off the front of your card, it's expiry date and the 3 digits from the back to go with it?

Seriously; I'll be wrapping what's left of my brain around this in time to chat with you about it tonight.

Right now m'brain's only focused on the bruises from having a large Irishman throw me roughly on a mat and then jump on top of me yesterday evening.
 

Ann Chovie

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Very agitated at the moment!!!! :bang::bang:

Apparently our health and information day does not need to include any provision for information on meat free diets. And there is no need to consider Vegan catering
because it is unlikely that any Vegans will come except me ( and I apparently can bring my own sandwiches). And..if a Vegan dared to enter well ...'we have fruit
scewers on the menu anyway dont we?'

I had to fight for Veggie provision let alone Vegan..apparently everyone was puzzled that after spending half an hour deliberating between tempura prawns or smokey bbq chicken and roasted pepper sticks we needed to spend even one minute discussing Veggie options. o_OThe crudities and dip were dismissed on the grounds that we already had a fruit option did we need both? All I got grugingly was a Veggie option for the soft rolls ..amidst the rolling eyes/covert smirking and watch glancing.

Wow you guys how can I thank you????

Bit miffed at the moment and YET AGAIN cornered because I need my job and I really want to make a noise about this and cannot!!!!!! Just needed to retreat to a place of sanity ..so excuse my rant but no one here that will understand. :(
 

Clueless Git

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No one disses my squeeze without coming to regret it.

That's an obtuse way of saying that Chovie and m'self have evaluated the situation and come up with a plan, btw.

Here's a list of the minorities we could think of whom Chovie's committee will unwittingly send a "we don't give a sh*t about you" message to via their almost exclusively Western omni-centric catering arrangements.

Muslims
Jews
Hindhus
Sikhs
Seventh Day Adventists
Buddhists
Jains
Rastafarians
Taoists
Bahai
Zoroastrians
Neopagans
Sufi's
Lactose intolerants
Vegetarians
Vegans

No idea what the combined % of the population that adds up to but it has to be quite significant?
 
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Indian Summer

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No one disses my squeeze without coming to regret it.

That's an obtuse way of saying that Chovie and m'self have evaluated the situation and come up with a plan, btw.

Here's a list of the minorities we could think of whom Chovie's committee will unwittingly send a "we don't give a sh*t about you" message to via their almost exclusively Western omni-centric catering arrangements.

Muslims
Jews
Hindhus
Sikhs
Seventh Day Adventists
Buddhists
Jains
Rastafarians
Taoists
Bahai
Zoroastrians
Neopagans
Sufi's
Lactose intolerants
Vegetarians
Vegans

No idea what the combined % of the population that adds up to but it has to be quite significant?
That seems like a fruitful way to frame the problem - well done! Britain is a multicultural society, and surely they don't want to exclude so many minorities from getting proper health information?
 

Ann Chovie

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That seems like a fruitful way to frame the problem - well done! Britain is a multicultural society, and surely they don't want to exclude so many minorities from getting proper health information?

:sadnod: The irony is that I spend all my time at work creeping around trying to avoid politically incorrect landmines.

As an organisation we go to great pains to avoid any hint of gender,racial or disability discrimination in our interaction with client ..and very rightly so.

But apparently it is open season on dietry discrimination.

I think the problem lies in the fact that Veganism is not connected to any one religion or any one medical condition.

If it were they would be bending over backwards to accomodate us but..

They are pretty safe in the knowledge that the media are not going to bother whipping up moral outrage about a few offended Vegans who could eat meat if they wanted but are just being difficult and making a fuss.

Just a bunch of attention seeking hippies...hardly newsworthy eh?

Which is why the 'plan' to list all the other groups being discriminated against is briliant ...because they ARE newsworthy. I can sit back and watch the entertainment as a flock of headless chickens frantically squawk around trying to amend the menu before it hits the printers!

:clp:
 
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Ann Chovie

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No one disses my squeeze without coming to regret it.

That's an obtuse way of saying that Chovie and m'self have evaluated the situation and come up with a plan, btw.

Here's a list of the minorities we could think of whom Chovie's committee will unwittingly send a "we don't give a sh*t about you" message to via their almost exclusively Western omni-centric catering arrangements.

Muslims
Jews
Hindhus
Sikhs
Seventh Day Adventists
Buddhists
Jains
Rastafarians
Taoists
Bahai
Zoroastrians
Neopagans
Sufi's
Lactose intolerants
Vegetarians
Vegans

No idea what the combined % of the population that adds up to but it has to be quite significant?

:master::master: That is all
 

Clueless Git

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I forgot to add 'wimmin' to the list of minorities, btw.

There be more female veg-heads than there are male ones.

Discrimination against vegetarians is therefore discrimination against females proportionately more than it is against males.
 

Clueless Git

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:master::master: That is all

It's all your getting untill I turn up in a baby chicken costume and wander round asking "has anyone seen my mum?".

I'm keeping a baby cow costume in reserve too.

That way if I get chucked out I can do a quick change and no one will suspect it's me again when I sneak back in.
 
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Clueless Git

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That seems like a fruitful way to frame the problem - well done! Britain is a multicultural society, and surely they don't want to exclude so many minorities from getting proper health information?

TY, IS :)

I'm a bit ****** off that I had to come up with that angle though.

Effectively I simply called in minority groups against whom causing offence/exclusion/discrimination poses a risk.

That because so many veg*ans are so wishy-washy-wimpy that even blatantly open and intentional persecution of vegans poses absolutely ZERO threat to anyone at all.
 

Ann Chovie

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So an update on the ' let them eat fruit' committee..

I decide to run with CGs brilliant idea:zen: ( have to add him to the credits or I will be sleeping in the shed all week ..again :()

Anyway little knowing what a hornets nest I was poking, I sent an email listing all the other groups that were blatantly being discriminated against by the proposed menu. I mentioned that there may be a need to include a 'dietry requirements' box on the invitation to avoid a predicted barrage of complaints .

Well the response was ' oh for Gods sake if we cater for all those groups we will need six or seven different menus lets just forget the whole thing and just have tea and coffee and cake' Cakes made with animal fat and lard presumably!

I was told by irritated members that it was all a bit petty and disruptive especially in light of the fact that there WAS fruit and even vegetable patties . I asked 'would these be made with animal fat pastry' which was met with rolling eyes and tuts and 'yes probably I expect so'

So I have spent most of today explaining why it is important to me, and how the complete lack of empathy or interest at the previous meeting had left me feeling betrayed and marginalised. I did receive a grudging acknowledgment that I might have felt this way and even two apologies !!!

But ..being realistic..I think the main reason everyone is running around like headless chickens is because they realise other, shall we say 'more politically sensitive 'groups might feel equally marginalised and discriminated against. And that really would cause a storm!!!

One comment was...well those groups do not come to events like this anyway we never know why that is ...doh!!!!! WELL might it be because they do not feel particularly welcome when they have to spend a whole day without being offered any food??????

Anyway the upshot is..I have suggested a further meeting to iron this out and work out how to rehash the invitation form. The person who designed it is now in juvenile sulk mode:sob: and refuses to do it again as she does not know what all the fuss is about.

But while she sucks on her dummy:lala: we are holding an 'extraordinary meeting' of the committee next week . And I am as popular as CG at Smithfields market!!!:eek:

A bit pleased with myself to be honest :bp::bp:

Keep you posted!
 
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Clueless Git

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The person who designed it is now in juvenile sulk mode:sob: and refuses to do it again as she does not know what all the fuss is about.

Which is hilarious because:

1. All the fuss is about not being catered for.

2. Not being catered for is exactly what she's sulking about.

More accurately ...

1. The original fuss is about some people not being catered for at all.

2. She's sulking simply over not having her own personal preferences catered for precisely.

Omni-brain is a disease that being beaten with big sticks is the only effective cure for.
 

flyingsnail

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As for the cancer and meat/dairy topic, I think a medical professional would have to have his/her head in the sand to not know about the links between red meat and processed meats and cancer. Its not just colon cancer either.

I've heard some really strange things from medical professionals about nutrition, its a bit scary, I think most medical professionals are just as influenced by pop-culture nutritional ideas (which are usually derived from marketing) as the average person but unlike the average person they tend to have a degree of arrogance about it.
 

Clueless Git

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As for the cancer and meat/dairy topic, I think a medical professional would have to have his/her head in the sand to not know about ...

Omni anti animal cruelty bods manage 'not to know' about the links between meat and animal cruelty.

Omni environmentalists manage 'not to know' about the links between meat and destruction of the environment.

Omni conservationists manage 'not to know' about the links between meat and the destruction of the habitat, and thus the species, they want conserving.

Omni 'save the starving third worlders' manage 'not to know' about the links between meat and third world human food shortages.

Omni humanitarians manage 'not to know' about the links between meat and other manifestations of mans inhumanity.

Omni pacifists manage 'not to know' about the links between meat and other manifestations of violence.

And the list goes on ...

Omnivorism, basicaly, is just one gigantic bucket of sand.
 
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