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Death by Bacon

After reading a recent study in the Los Angeles Times, I’m petrified.

I love my In-N-Out and Tommy’s burger fix, my Rosie’s rib night, and my steak at Morton’s. Few things sound better for breakfast than my favorite BLT. Clearly, I don’t have long to live.

A recent study featured last week in the Los Angeles Times advises all of us that according to a 20 year study involving 110,000 people, it concluded that any type or amount of red meat in our diet significantly increases our risk of premature death by 17%. It gets worse, (can it really get worse?). The study states that even adding an extra daily serving of processed red meat such as 2 slices of bacon or a hot dog is linked to an additional 20% higher risk of death.

There is death written all over this survey. A cheerful little read.

I couldn’t help but think about all the things I’ve done that were sure to kill me.

For starters, I rode in my dad’s car standing up in the front seat from the time I was 2 years old. No seat belt, no infant seat. I was just running all over the place. I could have been killed.

Do you remember a time when we all rode our bikes without helmets, drove in cars without seat belts, ate very rare hamburgers, and drank coffee when a survey indicated that anything over 2 cups a day would severely stunt our growth?

We have seen our way through the saccharin scare, the food dye threat, preservatives, deodorant with lead in it, the Millennium bug (which was going to destroy civilization as we knew it), asbestos, salmonella in eggs, global warming (okay, I am starting to believe there is a little something to this one), SARS and the swine flu. I’m still waiting for the killer bees to reach America along with the African ants and the bird flu. But I believe the most dastardly imprint left by the surveyors was the one about 15 years ago that advised us that chocolate was bad for us (how dare they). Now we are encouraged to eat a piece of dark chocolate every day for its health benefits. Few of these scares had merit.

So many of them were ridiculously overblown, irresponsibly reported and propagated by overzealous “experts”. Of course, the media took it and ran with it. Fear mongering should be out-lawed. It’s hard to tell the difference these days between irresponsible reporting and the truth.

I’ve heard the scares about red meat for years. Lately, mostly from my daughter who refuses to eat red meat all together. She is also gluten free (I seriously still don’t know what that means), but she swears by it.

I believe that too much of anything is a bad thing. I am trying to cut down on my red meat, my sugar intake and my carb fascination, but that’s because I’m 58 and would like to live to be … well, to be older, and, dare I say, I wouldn’t mind losing a pound or twenty.

I agree that we all should be watching our health, make good choices and be accountable for what we put into our mouths (there’s a joke here, but I digress). Healthy eating these days is easier with all the information we have on hand.  Red meat is here to stay. Moderation is the name of that game, not scaring the hell out of people. I wonder how long it will take before this survey is de-bunked like so many others before it.

There is a lot about meat that doesn’t suit me very well. I’ve seen too many documentaries that show us the cruelty with which the cows, chickens and pigs are raised and kept. It’s very hard to reconcile that. I think that fact more than any other one has contributed to my declining intake of meat in general.

I’m sure there are quite a few “scares” I can’t quite remember, but I’m betting some of you will.

Who are these people who are telling me that by eating 2 slices of bacon I’m increasing my chances of an early death by 20%?  That’s just bad form.  Come on guys; go hang out with the people that are predicting the world will end December 21st because that’s when the Mayan calendar runs out.

I’m going to fix myself a juicy BLT and we can talk about this subject again on December 22nd.


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mercyn - I tried but cannot give up meat. One son is a vegetarian and we have friends now gluten-free. They visited us and the diet was OK for a couple of days, but by day 3 I needed a meat (or chicken or fish) fix. I got tired of reading labels ensuring food was gluten free. Let’s hear it for Everything in Moderation!

Rick Gualtieri - I often wonder what is better…to live miserably or die in bliss? Meat is just too full of, well, meaty goodness for me to go without. Sure I might drop dead of a heartattack. But just think, what if it happens while I’m behind the wheel and a bunch of vegetarians are in front of my car…fat load of good it would’ve done them. 😉

Joan Cooper - GOD (not you Tammy) I hate bacon.

I eat only white meat including turkey dogs. I don’t know if it helps or not, but now when I see a steak it just scares me – doesn’t make me want to eat it.

I have just lost 15 pounds in one month by stopping the fast food habit (innocent chicken) and the Klondike bar at bedtime habit. No Weight Watchers, no Jenny Craig etc etc. I am going for another 15.

Having said this, I look forward to fast food and Klondike bars maybe once a week – not more -as a special treat. They are all the more attractive now and the weight loss is good for me – I am told.

A friend tells me to walk through a Whole Foods market or like, and see how sick the people look. Something is missing in their healthy diet.

Maybe living dangerously (seat belts etc) was good for us.


Kellie - Ya if I followed EVERY rule I would have nothing to eat! My rule of thumb…moderation,moderation and more moderation! And to all those studies that say we can’t have more than 2 cups of coffee BITE ME! 🙂

Laura Lee Carter aka the Midlife Crisis Queen - If you give up everything you like you don’t live longer, it just seems like it! -LLC

Ande Lyons - LOL! Carpe Diem Girlfriend!

So many things can knock us down in life, why let a little fact like early death and heart disease from 85% hamburg and triple thick bacon keep us from enjoying the ‘juices’ of our labor.

Off to grill up a nice Angus burger, medium rare!


Tammy - Hi Mercyn, I’m SO with you. I have cut down quite a bit, but that is really more of the animal cruelty thing. Still, I gravitate to the fabulous burgers, amazing ribs and out of this world steak (my mouth is watering). The survey doesn’t give much new information except for the inflated percentage rate that we will all be dropping. Judging from the posts here, I won’t be the only one checking out for having one too many BLT’s. The gluten free thing is still a mystery to me. I’ve tried gluten free pasta, cereals, crackers, and I’m here to tell you, they are not awesome. I don’t smoke, I rarely drink and I exercise daily (my dog insists on 3 fast paced walks a day despite bribes from me to stay in) so red meat is really my only vice. Clearly from the study, it doesn’t matter how clean a life I live, I will die young as a result of my burger habit. It’s always something, isn’t it? Thanks so much for posting. It’s great having you here!

Jeffrey Davidson - I remember when the cyclomates scare came out. I calculated that based on the amount fed to rats, that the average human being (do you know of any?) would have to consume about 15 gallons of pop, (soda for those of you who do not know what pop is!),] per day for about 6 months.

Our friend Kellie who responded that there would be nothing left to eat is right on – unless you grew everything on the farm yourself. However, her use of “moderation, moderation and more moderation” should be used moderately!

Men and women are omnivores. We are meant to eat both meat and fruits and vegetables.

Remember, red meat is not bad for you, green fuzzy meat is bad for you!

Marilyn Tichauer - Dear Tammy Girl, I miss you and our late night sliders at Morton’s!!!!!!!!

Scott Morgan - As an ex-reporter, I’m not sure how the calculus works on meat (though as a vegan, I don’t have to worry about it), but I do know that the number one cause of death is having been alive at some point. I seem to think that “you’ll die anyway” comes up for pretty much everyone eventually. All I know is, try not to take life seriously, nobody makes it out alive anyway.

Tammy - Hi Rick, you crack me up, I’m still giggling. I’ve often thought about how the well disciplined life often gets cut short from ‘natural causes’. You are probably way too young to remember Euell Gibbons; a naturalist who wrote books and made a lucrative living around being a health nut. I still remember the news anchor who while he announced his death from “natural causes” was trying hard to not laugh at the irony of it. I agree, meaty goodness is a tough thing to go without, and while I have cut down, I simply can’t find my way to cutting it out of my diet completely. I guarantee that if I did I would be the most unpleasant (nice way of saying bitchy) person to be around. We have to do some of the things that make us happy, right? With that said, I wouldn’t mind knowing what kind of car you drive so I can be on the lookout. Just saying. Wonderful having you here and thanks loads for the post!

Tammy - Hi Joan, see, already you have me off guard. I’ve never actually met anyone (that I’m aware of) that doesn’t like bacon. OMG! Turkey dogs? OMG again! Okay, I’m composed in the knowledge that it’s different strokes for different folks. If you don’t look down on me for my meat loving ways I won’t think you’ve lost your mind for your sensible eating habits. Deal? Huge congrats on the weight loss and good luck with the remainder of pounds. It’s no lie that we as American’s carry around a lot more weight than we should. I am a perfect example being 25 pounds fluffier than I have a right to be. Always great hearing from you. Thanks so much for sharing, it’s always a kick!

Rick Gualtieri - Watch out for a red Ridgeline with a bald man holding a hamburger behind the wheel. 😀

Tammy - Hi Laura Lee, I LOVE that philosophy! I agree!! It will be my new mantra. Thanks for posting, always great to hear from you!

Tammy - Hi Ande, hahahahaaa, yeah, why let a little statistic keep us from doing the right thing, right? I get it, and I’m with you on this 100%. You should share your location so I can pop in and help you with those Angus burgers (my favorite). Enjoy! Thanks for sharing, loved your post!

Tammy - Ohhh Marilyn, don’t even get me started! LOVE those little sliders. And always love the time we spend together. Hope the desert is treating you well and that I will be there to share late night munchies with you soon enough. Thanks for reading and for posting. It means a lot!

Tammy - Hi Scott, I’m pretty sure you are my brother from another mother. My sentiments exactly and I was going to include that very phrase “no one makes it out alive”. Truth. You are a vegan? Oh my, I have the utmost respect (and sick fascination) for vegans. Not sure how you do it but I suspect you will probably live longer for it. Unless, of course, you get hit by a bus. Hey, it could happen. Thanks for being here and for posting. You, sir, are awesome.

Joan Cooper - Loved Jeff ‘s comment – ‘it’s green fuzzy meat that is bad for you’.

When I was a kid, we loved to eat vegetables off the vendors wagon – yeah – no big trucks then. We never washed anything and we didn’t get sick from it. Of course, now the Bugs are stronger. How did that happen with all the dietary and sanitary advances?


Tammy - Hi Jeff, I love your comment that Kellie should use moderation in using the word. She will love it too. That woman has a sassy sense of humor from what I can tell. Here Here! Your observation that we were meant to eat meat along with fruits and veggies is one that has been overlooked. That is kind of where the whole “balanced diet” idea came from, right? Yes, I remember that scare with the rat comparison. Interestingly enough, the consumption levels were not disclosed at first. Media hype. I’m fully expecting that within the next ten years we will be privy to a study that tells us that red meat will save us. Hope I’m here long enough to see it. LOVE your humor and appreciate your post. Thanks for being here, my friend.

Tammy - Duly noted. Being a master at eating in the car, I recommend you tuck paper towels into your shirt. The tuck is hugely important. (giggle)

Tammy - Hi Kellie, hugely agree with your rule of thumb. Read Jeff’s note about your post; my readers are so funny! I’m still laughing over your coffee comment. Bite me is damn straight right! At the time that came out I started drinking just one cup a day. Clearly those were the days I was easily influenced. Not so much anymore. I’m still a one cup a day coffee girl, but to be fair, that doesn’t include my Starbucks runs. Hey, I’m with you, if I followed every survey out there, I would be eating granola for dinner and one measly marshmallow for desert. Thanks, but no thanks. Pass the ketchup! Thanks for posting, always enjoy hearing from you!

Kellie - Yes I’m a card alright. :)Yes I eat meat and veggies both. I love a red rare steak, but I make sure I eat in moderation. I normally go for the fish or chicken. I saw a recent show on 60 minutes I think …The segment was on why are women in France able to remain slender with all the yummy foods at their finger tips? Moderation- a little of this and a little of that …I like that!!

Cindy buehler - Yah, what is gluten free anyways? I do think moderation and exercise are the key, and I also heard that with all the bad stuff being injested and created, more people are living longer than ever before…………..the sliders at Ladyface are grrrrrrrrrreat!

Sydney Aaliyah - Yeah, Tammy. The killer bees thing still freaks me out.
And, I have a friend who verbally categorizes everything she puts in her mouth as good or bad at the moment she is putting it in her mouth. It is nauseating to eat with her. Which helps with my diet.
Great post!

Tammy - Hi Cindy, I have no clue what gluten even is, except that I would be healthier if I ate stuff without it. Confused? Yeah, me too. I’m reading so much about the pink slime that goes into meat that I finally just had to stop reading. Overload! I want to be educated and make good choices. If I need to cut back on stuff to make me healthier, I will. But do without what I love…yeah, probably not going to happen. Making a mental note: Sliders / Ladyface. Can’t leave that stone unturned. Thanks for the tipoff. Here’s to both of us exercising and eating in moderation….um, at least my idea of moderation. (heh-heh) Thanks for sharing, Cindy. So happy to have you here. Really.

Tammy - Hi Sydney, I know, right?! The killer bees and African ants petrified me for years. The press kept telling us they were coming. Re your friend, I’m thinking it’s best she ate alone. It sounds nauseating. She must be wonderful in all other ‘friend’ aspects, or you would have smacked her one by now. Where do you get a habit like that, anyway? I would talk with her about it….tell her if she does it again you might have to kill her. That usually works (kidding..just kidding). Glad you enjoyed the post. Hope to see you back. Thanks for sharing!

Tammy - Joan, I know…Jeff is one funny guy. I don’t remember the vegetable carts, but I fondly remember the Helms bakery guy who drove through the streets and stopped to sell us donuts or fresh bread. But then again, those were the days that our milk and butter got delivered to our door. Damn, I’m feeling old. Think I’ll quit while I’m ahead! 🙂

maureen - I but.think of my dad, living on a cholesterol free diet (read boring and mostly tasteless) before suffering strokes at.76… he would have far preferred a few BLTs along the way. You nailed it on the moderation- enjoying a good meal is one of the best parts!

CQ - Although this article in the LA Times, is interesting and somewhat worry-some for most Americans, I will say that I eat meat almost every day and my cholestorl levels are healthy because i work out 3 days a week and get the right amount of sleep and supplement that processed meat with other healthy options. I am not worried, but thank you for the heads up!

Tammy - Hi Maureen, so sorry to hear that about your dad. I remember my ex father in-law telling me that one of the worst things about his cancer was that he was no longer able to eat the rich soups and meats he had enjoyed all his life. He beat cancer that go-around but remained on a fairly strict diet. He always lamented it. Years later when he found out he had a limited time to live; he enjoyed his foods and was much happier even in the face of death. Food matters. It brings us comfort and yes, joy. But it doesn’t mean we can live our lives gorging. I get that. Still, scare tactics telling me that I need to eliminate something completely or I have a 20% stronger chance of checking out earlier are, I think, biased and manipulative. You’re right … good meals are indeed one of the best parts of living! Thanks for being on the other end of my blog…and thanks for posting!

Tammy - Hi CQ, I think I want to be like you when I grow up! It’s wonderful that you are so attentive to your diet and your health. We could all use a little of that vigilance. I walk 2-3 miles daily (without fail), watch my carbs like a fiend and eat meat probably 4-5 times a week. I rarely indulge in dessert anymore (way to punishing to the waist line) and take supplements. Still, with all of that I found my lipid panel required me to sign on for a daily dose of Lipitor. Some things are just hereditary so I’ve been told. It was an interesting article but I guess I’ve read so many of them by this point in my life that I no longer feel overly alarmed. Awesome that you stopped by…and thanks so much for posting.

Kesha Brown - Girl, eat your bacon, you’ll be ayight. 🙂

Disclaimer: That note was for entertainment purposes only since I am not a doctor. LOL

Some of us would clean fall off the face of the earth if we couldn’t have our bacon…I tried turkey bacon but it’s just the same crunchy, juicy goodness as plain ‘ol pork bacon 😉


Tammy - Thanks, Kesha, I officially have ‘approval’! Now…when anyone gives me a boatload of negativity because of my diet, I shall smile slyly and say simply: Kesha said it was ayight. And that, girlfriend, is good enough for me. Thanks for stopping in and posting.

Kesha Brown - Yes! LOL

And you know I meant turkey bacon is NOT the same (in my comment above)…had to clear that up 🙂


malissa - OMG I love Bacon, I could eat the whole package but we now eat tofu bacon and have real bacon when we go out for breakfast. This way I can’t eat the whole package ,that’s how I do moderation.
My favorite saying : Where’s the Beef? 🙂

Tammy - Hi Malissa, bacon is awesome! It is, by far, my favorite breakfast item. Tofu bacon??? (I’m compelled to slap you silly here) What in the world? It sounds wonderfully devoid of the fat, grease and calories. So I ask … what’s the point? Hahahaha! A package of bacon in this house doesn’t last long. Love your favorite saying!! I think we could become fast friends. Thanks for the post!

Malissa - Hi again, well the hubby and I were trying to lose a few pounds and so we tried it, didn’t last long lol. But after memorial day were getting back on the diet for some health reasons we need to lose a lot. But even on weight watchers you can have bacon but if we really want to be good we do the other.

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