I didn’t post yesterday because I had my every-five-year colonoscopy, which means undergoing general anesthesia, which means feeling a bit dopey and tired for the rest of the day.  I elected to spend the evening relaxing and watching some Netflix series I’ve been meaning to check out.

I don’t consider myself a cancer candidate, but since my dad had colon cancer, I get the peek-inside procedure done every five years.  No use being stupid about it.

The peek inside showed no cancer or warning signs of cancer, by the way.  That might be a disappointment to the vegan evangelists who occasionally show up in comments to warn me that red meat causes cancer.  They’ve seen some studies, by gosh, and they just know my meaty diet is going to kill me at a young age.

I once pointed out to a vegan troll who was making that argument that Linda McCartney died of cancer after more than 20 years of being a vegetarian.  He replied that she didn’t become a vegetarian until she was in her 30s, so the damage had already been done.  So I replied that I’m in my 50s, which means according to his theory, the damage has already been done.  So there’s really no point in me giving up meat at this point.  May as well enjoy my diet and my life until the cancer set in motion decades ago by eating meat finally flares up and kills me.

That actually shut up him, which was a bit of surprise.

Now I’m off to enjoy a skirt steak for dinner.

56 Responses to “Red Meat Isn’t Killing Me Yet”
  1. tony says:

    Kudos for promoting periodic colonoscopies. I hope all readers follow your lead.

    Foolishly I ignored having a colonoscopy and wound up with rectal cancer, a painful operation and unbearable radiation and chemo therapy. I’m cancer free now.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      Glad to hear you’re cancer-free now. My diet is way different from my dad’s, and I don’t believe I’ll develop his health problems. But yes, it would be foolish for me to consider myself bullet-proof in the cancer department and skip what amounts to a mild inconvenience once every five years.

  2. Janknitz says:

    My dad died of colon cancer, so I get to have regular scopes, too. I do the prep with plenty of probiotics and avoid the sugary crappy electrolytes by drinking clear broth and plain electrolyte water. It’s not bad at all as long as I avoid the sugar roller coaster.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      I asked the doc beforehand about the effects on the gut microbiome. He said because of all the recent research into the importance of gut flora, the prep concoction has been changed. It doesn’t flush out the gut bacteria.

      • Becky says:

        While the flush pretty thoroughly cleans out the colon, apparently there are enough bacteria left to recolonize, according to my doctor. Just realized there’s a “colon” in recolonize …

        • Tom Naughton says:

          I’m eating my tiger nuts to assist with that recolonization.

          • Melissa says:

            Thanks for the reminder to get some for planting. seedworldusa.com is a place to find small quantities. I’m hoping they’ll be decorative in planters around the pool.

  3. Stephen says:

    Yummy carcinogenic steak!!!

  4. Desmond says:

    I got skin cancer at the height of my bachelor diet of pasta, chips, & cola. Yes I still ate some meat, but probably less than the food pyramid recommended. I was in my 20s, so the damage-done must have come from eating all that red meat my mother cooked when I was a child. So really, once you are out of college, it is too late anyway; enjoy the bacon!

  5. tw says:

    i think cancer is a lot more random than many think; and frankly I find the term “cancer” is used gratuitously to exploit people to sell bogus products and ideas.

    In the end I think blood sugar control, however you achieve that, is paramount. The path to this enlightenment is personal and customized.

    Let us eat steak……

  6. Kathy in Texas says:

    Some fun facts re breakfast cereal.


    • Tom Naughton says:

      Yup, the Kellogg brothers had some wacky ideas.

    • Ouch. Didn’t need to hear about the origin of non-religious circumcision, though. Feckin’ vegetarians.


      • Dave says:

        I’ve known about the Kellogg’s circumcision mania since before I learned about healthy low carb eating.

        Routine infant circ is yet another modern medical practice that fails to withstand logical scrutiny. Promoters often cite HIV studies (observational) in Africa (don’t we live in the USA?) to promote this operation. Seriously, unsafe sex is a game of roulette regardless of what your genitals look like. To claim that circumcision “protects” against HIV is like handing someone a gun with only one bullet and saying it’s safer than having two bullets. Why don’t they promote condom use, which also helps prevent unwanted pregnancy and would make the circumcision point moot to begin with? Follow the money…

        Pen & Teller did a good show on circ if you haven’t seen it yet. I tell ya, the more you know about modern medicine, the more you wonder what else they may have gotten wrong!

  7. Firebird says:

    Tom, you could live to be 100 and some vegetarian or vegan out there will say the meat finally killed you.

  8. Kevin says:

    A steak pun is a rare medium well-done.

    • Firebird says:

      They say that about TV. “TV is called a medium because it is rare when it is well done.”

      • Tom Naughton says:

        True back in the day. But with the explosion of cable, Netflix original series, Amazon original series, etc., there’s more good stuff out there than I have time to watch.

        • Firebird says:

          I’m addicted to Hulu. The quality of programming coming out of the UK, France, Australia, Canada, etc. is extraordinary.

          I believe the quote comes from Steve Allen and dates back to the 1950s or 60s.

          • Tom Naughton says:

            The “vast wasteland” description once fit. This article explains why there’s been such a dramatic change:


            I don’t check Hulu much, but between the cable networks, Amazon Prime and Netflix, we’re loaded with excellent choices. Chareva and I just finished the second season of “Ripper Street” last night. Great writing.

            • Firebird says:

              I use to watch that on BBC America when I had cable. I had Amazon Prime and liked the pilot to “Bosch” and loved “Alpha House”. What turned me off to it was the lousy movie choices and the fact that some programming wasn’t included in Prime and you still have to pay a rental fee.

              Hulu has a great comedy on there called “Quick Draw” along with something about nutrition that challenges Morgan Spurlock…

  9. Ash Simmonds says:

    Well, for the sake of balance (Libran yo) more folk should *probably* read the awesome Roar Of Wolverine blog, this one on butt checks and safety:


    And this one on meat vs veg/etc digestion as demonstrated directly in his stomach tube things:


    And the story of how he got there – basically, a botched colonoscopy and being fed crap:


    Cool podcast with him too on @AskBryan’s blog somewhere.

    • Ash Simmonds says:

      Quoting having not deeply checked the sources, so someonea culpa:

      “According The Annals Of Internal Medicine’s report on colonoscopies, an estimated 70,000 (0.5%) will be injured or killed by a complication related to this procedure. This figure is 22% higher than the annual deaths from colorectal cancer itself – the very disease the device was designed to prevent.”

      • Tom Naughton says:

        Well, combining “injured or killed” and then comparing it to deaths is a bit misleading. Where’s the death-to-death comparison? What proportion of the 70,000 are deaths, what proportion are injuries, and what constitutes an “injury”? We’d also need to know (if there are accurate figures available) how many colon-cancer deaths were prevented by being spotted and treated early on … because from what I’ve read, colon cancer that isn’t treated will kill you quite reliably. I’d need to see way more data before concluding a colonoscopy’s risks outweigh the benefits.

        Anecdotally, my best friend’s father never bothered with colonoscopies and died of colon cancer in his late sixties. My father had a colonoscopy for the first time in his sixties, which revealed colon cancer (not in the early stages, by the way), which was treated.

        • Abe says:

          Some more info for you Tom if you’re interested. The “number needed to treat” was a topic on the body by science blog a while back.



          Fascinating stuff. I kinda fall on the side where if you have a family history that indicates you are at higher risk, then the benefits of screening may outweigh the risks but otherwise it’s worth at least considering just staying out of “the belly of the beast”

        • Chris L says:

          My dad proudly never went to the doctor for any reason for decades (other than one incident when he received serious burns and was hospitalized). In the summer of 2013, he started complaining about having difficulty in the bathroom as well as having painful bowel movements. It took until October to get him to see a doctor, who got completely focused on his enlarged prostate. By mid-November, he was looking rather skeletal and was getting less and less mobile, and we finally managed to get him into Emergency.

          By the end of the day, the doctors pretty much confirmed that it was stage 4 colorectal cancer, which appeared to have spread to his liver and lungs. They gave him about six months to a year. He died six weeks after diagnosis.

          I turned 40 last year, and I know that I should start doing a colonoscopy every few years, but I haven’t yet because I really don’t want to. I gotta get over that.

          • Tom Naughton says:

            That’s similar to what happened to my best friend’s father. He didn’t visit a doctor until he had serious digestion issues. The doc found advanced colon cancer, and by then it was too late to do anything about it.

          • SB says:

            I’m sorry for your loss, that’s really sad (but having an older father who refuses to see the doctor, I can relate a bit). Consider going, if something is wrong, it moves fast. A friend of a friend passed away in college from colon cancer only a few months after diagnosis.

      • Dave says:

        My grandfather died at 85 from complications arising from surgery to remove polyps that were deemed possibly cancerous. In retrospect, he could have lived a while longer had he not gone to the hospital.

        One often has to wonder how many deaths attributed to certain causes are actually from people who have lived longer than the average life expectancy. I don’t think citations are very clear about these details. It would be much different for a 50 year old to die from colon cancer than for an 80 year old to die from complications after a colonoscopy, and vice versa.

  10. Lynda says:

    I get a colonoscopy every three years and have had polyps removed each time – not good but great to have them gone. Here in New Zealand we don’t have a general anaesthetic though, just some relaxing drug and you can co-operate while they do it but you hardly remember a thing. Seems odd to have a general for this procedure? Good to have it done though!

    • Tom Naughton says:

      I had one done years ago under “twilight” anesthesia where I was awake. I much prefer missing the whole thing.

  11. Kathy in Texas says:

    I know someone who almost died in an awful car accident. While checking out all the internal damage from the accident, the doctors discovered that he had (pretty advanced) colon cancer. Talk about kicking a guy when he’s down.

  12. Mike says:

    Vegans cause Cancer. So do carrots and hibiscus tea. I also know that Birkenstocks cause ALS. (A Birkenstock wearing friend died of it)

    Colonoscopies are a good idea of course, but they are not preventative. They catch problems – hopefully early, but a five year cadence diminishes that early catch opportunity. Better than nothing though.

    Now, where is my meat?

  13. Becky says:

    Paul Jaminet is looking at the red meat thing from a different angle.

    • Arturo says:

      I appreciate that he doesn’t really comment on the article itself (given it tested such an articial scenario), but simply considered scenarios where a small component of meat could trigger an autoimmune response or inflammation . It’s a worthwhile thing to consider given that a bad diet or a chronic-inflammation could be the precursor to something like an allergy or autoimmunity to other triggers (perhaps the body’s paranoid last-resort as a means of protecting itself).

      • Becky says:

        Yes. It is also a reminder that there is so much we do not know … getting comfortable with the fact that there are many unplumbed depths of human biology re: food, that we are in the dark about, is hard to do but necessary.

  14. Nads says:

    Is every five years enough? I was told every two. I was concerned re the gut biome so
    I haven’t had one for about four years. Have had about four colonoscopies over ten years. Which prep is safe? I was having Fleet. Not sure if Australia has caught up with change in prep. I don’t remember a thing from twilight anaesthetics.

  15. tom says:

    Funny I Googled low carb diet activist died and high fat diet activist died and my results were a bunch of pro vegan websites telling me if iI eat meat and fat im going to die young from a heat attack. But I did not see any names of people whom have passed? I also typed in in various ways in Google containing the words vegan/ vegetarian activist died, and my results were- Jay Dinshah president and founder of the american vegan society died from a heart attack age 66, actor Michael clark duncan (a vegetarian) died from a heart attack age 54 and Peter Berg (a PETA activist and committed vegan) died from (YUP YOU GUEST IT) a heart attack at the ripe old age of 42. Also Cesar Chavez age 66 natural causes and Molly Anderson (vegan restaurant owner and activist) age 43 from asthma attack. That research took me all of about 10 to 15 minutes!!!

    • Tom Naughton says:

      Yup, plenty of celebrity vegetarians and vegans died at a young age.

    • gallier2 says:

      There are some low-carb advocates who died untimely. Dr.Atkins cracked his skull on an icy sidewalk. Prof.Lutz died 3 or 4 years ago (age 97). Prof. Yudkin died in 1995 (age 85). Dr. Richard Mackarness died in 1996 (age 80). Barry Groves died at age 77.
      More seriously, low carb isn’t an anti-death diet, those things don’t exist.

  16. Ulfric Douglas says:

    No way! ” because I had my every-five-year colonoscopy”
    After reading Wolverine’s blog that’s not even an option in any diagnosis.
    I didn’t look, is it on your blogroll?

  17. jclivenz says:

    Long time since commenting from “downunder” but still regular reader. On this subject I offer some references for reader’s consideration as I detect an element of fear which is falling into the trap set by the allopaths.
    In 1974 (aged 31)I was privileged to become a friend of a NZ woman doctor who had bucked the cancer establishment in the 1950s, spent 6 months in the US at a Hoxsey clinic being treated herself, then staying on to observe and even give evidence in Court defending Hoxsey. Thereafter I was never scared of cancer and determined I would never ever entertain the slash burn and poison offered by the establishment. Apart from a bit of skin cancer(cured with an escharotic) I have never had any hint of cancer.
    Konstantin Monastyrsky http://www.gutsense.org/crc/crc_colonoscopy.html – definitely against colonoscopies
    Dr Mercola http://search.mercola.com/results.aspx?q=colonoscopies a range of articles but overall I think he cautions against
    Dr William Douglass http://douglassreport.com/search/colonoscopies surprisingly in favour
    My doctor friend wrote a book appropriately titled “Why Be Scared of Cancer?” but to put that into practice one needs to be au fait with the subject of natural protocols and I recommend a start at Webster Kehr http://www.cancertutor.com/colon_cancer/ one of the 50 contributors’ to Ty Bollinger’s 2014 series “The Truth About Cancer”.
    I thank Ash for reminding me of “Wolverine” with whom I exchanged emails a few years ago. We share the same surname.
    My point is that with WHO prediction that 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women alive 2day will develop cancer the only way to avoid and or be prepared is to adopt an appropriate lifestyle (Fathead is a good start!) and be aware of natural treatments.

  18. Thomas E. says:

    Here is a cool TED talk for you Tom.


    We need tasty grass fed animals to eat. It’s for the environment!

  19. T33CH says:

    Congrats on the scope,

    The poor vegans and lip-phobes don’t realize that the worst foods on this planet are plant based products made of processed sugars, starches, and seed oils. head- bang

  20. Butler Reynolds says:

    “Now I’m off to enjoy a skirt steak for dinner.”

    Every time I see in in the store or read a recipe calling for skirt steak, I can’t get Aerosmith’s “Dude Looks Like A Lady” out of my head.

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