Tuesday 27th October 2015

Science backs no 'processed meat' diet

The World Health Organisation has ranked bacon, ham and sausages in the same group 1 cancer-causing category as asbestos, alcohol, arsenic and tobacco.causing category as asbestos, alcohol, arsenic and tobacco.

This comes as no great shock to the macrobiotic community, which has long advocated a diet based largely on plant foods.

The International Macrobiotic School’s founder and author Oliver Cowmeadow, who has been promoting the link between food and health for more than 30 years, said: “This is further scientific evidence that a plant based diet is healthier. It’s a myth that we need to eat a lot of meat for protein, we can get most of what we need from beans, tofu, tempeh and seitan.

“In Western diets, there are often a lot of extreme yin and yang foods creating imbalances in the body which leads to disease. We would categorize smoked and process meats as being pretty yang and to be avoided anyway.”

The report from the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer said there was a causal link between processed meats and bowel cancer.

It places red meat in group 2A, as “probably carcinogenic to humans”. Eating red meat is also linked to pancreatic and prostate cancer, the IARC says.


Sweet and sour tempeh

1 packet tempeh
Stock: shoyu, ginger root, garlic cloves, and enough water to cover the tempeh
Onion, finely sliced
Carrot, in small matchsticks
Red pepper, finely sliced
3 tbsp sesame oil
Sauce: 2 tbsp shoyu, 1 tbsp barley malt, 1 tbsp apple juice concentrate, 1 tbsp brown rice vinegar, 1tsp ginger juice, 1 clove garlic, kuzu or arrowroot to thicken.


  1. Place tempeh in a pan with all the stock ingredients
  2. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 – 30 minutes
  3. Meanwhile, sauté the onions in oil, with a punch of salt, until just soft
  4. Add the carrot and pepper and fry for a few minutes
  5. Remove the tempeh from the stock and dry well on kitchen paper
  6. Add some of the stock to the vegetables along with the sauce ingredients
  7. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes
  8. Mix some kuzu or arrowroot with cold water and add to the sauce to thicken
  9. Cut the tempeh into slices and fry in oil until golden brown on both sides. Add to the sauce and cook for another 5-10 minutes