From skwigg's journal:
A few years ago I read about a connection between nitrates and Alzheimer's, and between processed red meat and cancer. This scared me out of eating pepperoni for a good long time. I switched exclusively to veggie pizzas. Well, a couple of weeks ago, they didn't have my favorite veggie pizza and I bought a supreme with all the veggies plus pepperoni and sausage. OMG I LOVE PEPPERONI!! It was so amazing after not eating it for a long time. Now I'm going through a thing where I'm kind of obsessed with it. I want it on every pizza. I'm eating it a couple of times per week. I'm not freaking out though. I know that if I allow myself to eat it freely, the novelty will wear off, I'll become indifferent and bored, and I'll be happy to eat it occasionally again, with no swooning. It's sort of self-regulating because eating a bunch of it doesn't feel good, unless you like being bloated and thirsty from mega sodium. I was also reminded of a great discussion in a Nutrition Matters podcast in which registered dietitians discussed what "frequent consumption" actually means in terms of the studies. It was a surprising amount. They also discussed what to do if you're at a picnic and someone hands you a plate with a beautifully charred hot dog on it. You thank them and enjoy the hot dog, because you will not in fact get cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's and heart disease by the end of the day if you eat one serving of processed meat.
Oh, and that reminds me of another fascinating thing I read. I'm enjoying the book Mind over Medicine about how your beliefs affect your health. There are powerful examples of the placebo effect working miracles, and vice versa. Like a woman who received treatment on a broken radiation machine, who received no actual radiation, but believed she did and her tumors shrank. Or a man who was told he had two weeks to live due to his throat cancer, and went ahead and died a week and a half later even though that prognosis was a mistake and his cancer wasn't serious. The book is written by a skeptical doctor who sought out study references and not just the word of a neighbor's grandma. One fascinating thing she talks about (back to pepperoni) is the instances of people who drink beer, smoke cigarettes, and eat pepperoni pizza (she used that as an example, LOL) who are perfectly healthy because they live happy, connected lives with an optimistic attitude. Then there are the green juice drinking, meditating, yoga-going health nuts who should be thriving, but they have one medical crisis after another because they're depressed, anxious, hate their job, their marriage is falling apart, and they can't sleep. So, it's not only your behaviors but your beliefs about the behaviors that are so powerful.