No, your daily turkey sandwich isn’t good for you. Neither is bacon, pepperoni, sausage, hotdogs, corned beef, or other cold cuts. And it’s not just because of their sodium or fat content. All processed meats contain sodium nitrate, a color stabilizer found in all of the above products. Nitrates are known cancer-causing agents, and are linked to cancer of the brain, esophagus, bladder and mouth. Research also shows that individuals who eat 3oz. or more per day, have a 15% increased risk of stomach cancer and 68% risk of pancreatic cancer.
These facts aren’t meant as scare tactics, but rather to get you thinking about your current lunch meal. More than likely, it’s some type of cold-cut sandwich: bologna, turkey, beef, or ham.
Here’s a recipe for a sandwich filling option that is high in calcium and protein and perfect in a wrap, pita, or 100% whole wheat sandwich. It’s also an interesting way to add tofu into your diet. Don’t like tofu? No problem, but I would suggest cutting down your intake of nitrate-filled foods to no more than 1-2X a week. Good swaps: tomato and cheese sandwich, hummus wrap, couscous salad (see previous post), leftovers from last night, bean and cheese burrito, bean salad, soup, or a salad sandwich.
1 block firm tofu
4 ribs celery, sliced thin and chopped
2 tbls. chopped onion
1 tbls. mayonnaise
1 tbls. ume plum or white vinegar (I love vinegar and try to add a bit to all my dishes, you could also use lemon juice or omit the vinegar)
1 tbls. capers
small bunch parsley, chopped
1 tsp. turmeric
1 chopped tomato
Place the tofu between two pieces of paper towels on a plate. Set a heavy object on top and allow to drain 15-20 minutes (this allows the water to be displaced out of the tofu so it can absorb more of the flavors of the dish) Crumble the tofu into a bowl, and mash slightly with a fork. Add the rest of the ingredients and combine.
*If your new to tofu, I urge you to try this dish, it’s really refreshing and cooling, perfect for a summer day. You can also make this more plain by just adding turmeric (for color), minced celery, onions, carrots, and mayonnaise and serve like you would egg salad.