Meat Free Week Challenge

Meat Free Week Challenge

Tuesday 7 April 2015

MUG is getting behind Guernsey Red Watch firemen who are taking on the Meat Free Week Challenge this April to support Bowel Cancer Awareness Month.

The whole of Red Watch gave up all meat for one week because eating too much red meat or any processed meat is linked to a higher risk of bowel cancer.  The challenge also motivated the men to try out new vegetable based recipes which they can continue to enjoy for the rest of the year.

Dave Hockey, Red Watch Commander explains how the men found the challenge:

"It was a really different challenge for the team, we're used to challenging ourselves physically but altering diet involves a lot of commitment, organisation and planning.  We had to shop and cook differently but the experience showed that it is possible to have fulfilling meals that are primarily vegetable-based.  We all feel a lot better for it and we will definitely be continuing to eat some of the new recipes we tried"

Di Mathews, Health Promotion Officer for Cancer Prevention said:

"The risks associated with eating too much red meat or any processed meats aren't widely known.  Reducing the amount of beef, pork and lamb you eat can really help reduce the risk of getting bowel cancer. Cutting out any processed meats like bacon, ham, sausages, sandwich meat, salami, and corned beef is the ideal too.  Many fit and healthy people wouldn't think it is important to reduce the amount of red meat eaten."

"It's very easy to get into the habit of cooking the same meals in the same way week in, week out and the challenge of giving up meat altogether for one week has really motivated the Firemen to reduce red meat intake in their future meals."

Di Mathews added:

"Bowel cancer is one of the most common and yet one of the most preventable cancers in the UK and Guernsey and reducing the amount of red meat in your diet is one of the ways to help prevent this type of cancer in particular."

One team who has accepted the challenge is the Fire Station's Red Watch. 

Dr Stephen Bridgman, Director of Public Health says:

"The choices you make about food can reduce your chances of developing cancer.  The recommendation is that we limit the amount of red meat we eat to a maximum of 500g (17oz) of cooked weight per week and avoid eating processed meats altogether. 

Good alternative protein sources include eggs, beans, lentils, soya and tofu so with a bit of planning meat can successfully be reduced.  I would encourage everyone to start thinking about the meat they are eating and take on the challenge of being meat free for a week."

If you want more information about bowel cancer prevention contact Lauren Gilligan at the Health Promotion Unit on 707311 or by e-mail at [email protected]