“Give me a rule, and I will follow it,” says Jim Power, a 57-year-old Navy veteran.
Jim has always been very active. But his years in the Navy resulted in injuries that have forced him to slow down. As he’s gotten older, his metabolism has slowed down as well, causing him to gain weight.
Eat less red meat
“Before, Jim was eating red meat two to three times a week,” says Mary Ellen Phipps, a wellness dietitian at MD Anderson. “I challenged Jim to cut back because eating too much red meat, like pork, beef and lamb, can increase colon cancer risk.”
“I was eating about 12 ounces of red meat at each meal,” Jim says. That adds up to about 36 ounces of red meat in one week.
“To reduce his cancer risk, I advised Jim to try to limit the amount of red meat he eats to 18 ounces or less each week,” Mary Ellen says.
Jim takes the challenge
“Because my wife and I share cooking duties at home, we decided to take the red meat challenge together,” Jim says.
“We’ve got five athletic young adults to feed. They need a lot of protein to keep them going,” Jim says. “So, we knew we’d have to get creative with this challenge. But, there was no doubt in my mind that we could do it.”
Jim’s first step was working with his wife to create a weekly menu for the challenge.
What worked for Jim
“Once we started the challenge, we really didn’t mind eating less red meat,” Jim says. “Right now we’re eating red meat approximately three days per week and no more than 18 ounces as Mary Ellen suggested.”
Jim offers this advice:
- Eat more fish and chicken: “We started to include more turkey, chicken, tuna and salmon in our meals. Now, it’s just expected that fish and chicken will be on our menu twice a week.”
- Add dairy as a protein: “It’s OK to skip meat altogether. You can get your protein from other foods, like cheese. For example, we’d eat tomato soup and cheese sandwiches for a meal.”
- Try plant proteins: “For at least one meal each week, we’d get our protein from plants, like beans. We’d have a bean burrito night.”
Request an appointment at MD Anderson's Lyda Hill Cancer Prevention Center online or call 877-632-6789.