Eat Healthy From the Inside Out

Byproducts once limited to sausages, lunchmeat and pet food are salvaged into très chic entrees.

Eating Offal Or Sweetbreads


Preventing colorectal cancer begins with a good meal. Websites praise the versatility and nutritional value of byproducts once limited to sausages, lunchmeat and pet food. Sweetbreads are the thymus glands, usually taken from veal, but occasionally from lamb or young pigs.

Offal is organ meat—what is salvaged after butchering traditionally marketable cuts of meat. With its high profit margin, some upscale restaurants are making organ meat très chic.

Some diners may be repulsed by the unsavory raw appear­ance or texture of varietal meats while others flock to trendy restaurants in droves for a taste of animal brains, goose chitterlings, or rabbit and quail liver pâté.

Many feign ignorance of their existence while enjoying ground byproducts within hot dogs and sausages (tripe). Whether you consider offal a delicacy or not, plan what you eat to preserve the health of your own innards. Prevent the awful outcome of colon cancer.

Offal Meats
Animal heads, brains, trotters and tripe on sale in an Istanbul meat market

Garbage In, Garbage Out

Unfortunately, what we put into our bodies is not always motivated by healthy logic. If that were the case, there would be no profitable ice cream parlors or candy shops. NYC mayor would not have been so adamant about quashing junk food, and Zucchini On a Stick would make shopping-mall fast food chains wealthy. We generally eat food because it looks, smells and tastes delicious. But what really counts is what’s inside—its nutrition.

One thing lacking from most fast food “meals” is adequate roughage. Don’t defend the lone pickle slice or spoonful of iceberg lettuce occasionally included on an artery-clogging burger.

Though it comes in many forms, roughage might simply be equated with dietary fiber. It consists of grains and textures that are not quickly or entirely broken down through digestion. Remaining slightly intact allows roughage to add a sense of fullness, which can minimize the desire to overeat.

The fiber traveling through our intestines also gives bulk to departing wastes. This helps scrub the digestive tract and bowel. Trouble-free elimination is a reason healthy chefs may include things like kale, celery, wheat germ, nuts or dried fruits in dishes.

Maintain Healthy Digestive Tract

Stools that are loose or have the consistency of moist clay can leave residual wastes, including processed-food carcinogenic substances, in the folds of the colon. This is a good indication of the need for more insoluble fiber. Prepare meals with more cellulose and lignin like fibrous kale and lightly steamed broccoli. Conversely, constipation can result from a lack of water-soluble fiber found in foods with psyllium or pectin.

Foods high in fiber… can lower risk for colorectal cancer.

Alice Bender, MS, RD, a nutritionist for the American Institute for Cancer Research, says the evidence on fiber and colon cancer, while mixed, is strong enough to make recommendations. “Our 2007 expert report looked at all the studies and concluded that foods high in fiber, not necessarily the fiber itself, can lower risk for colorectal cancer.”

So fiber, in and of itself has no cancer-fighting properties, but the function of fiber in the digestive tract may eliminate toxins, thereby minimizing the risk of cancer. Interestingly, roughage helps with more than colorectal cancer. There are also lower incidences of stomach, mouth, pharynx, larynx, and esophageal cancers.

Alice Bender and Colleen Doyle, MS, RD, director of nutrition and physical activity for the American Cancer Society suggests these guidelines:

  • Eat a mostly plant-based diet.
  • Use the American plate mode: Fill two-thirds of your plate with plants foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts, and one-third with lean or low-fat animal products.
  • Limit red meat to 18 ounces or less per week.
  • Avoid processed meats.

Tongue with sauce gribiche

This punchy acidity of gribiche pairs really well with cold cuts of tongue for a great open sandwich.

Serves 4-6

  • 1kg ox tongue
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 white onion, peeled and halved
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 1 carrot
  • Stalks of a small bunch of parsley (leaves reserved for the gribiche)
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • 200ml white wine
  • A large pinch of sea salt
  • 2 litres cold water

For the gribiche

  • 2 eggs, hard-boiled and peeled
  • Salt and black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 200ml flavourless oil
  • 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 30g capers, rinsed and chopped
  • 100g sweet pickled cornichons
  • A small bunch of tarragon, leaves finely chopped
  • Leaves of the above small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp dill, finely chopped
  • A bunch of watercress, to serve

Step 1. Put all the ingredients for the tongue into a large, oval-shaped casserole. Cover, bring to a gentle boil over a medium heat, skimming any scum from the surface and turn down to a simmer. Cook uncovered for 2½-3 hours, adding more water if the tongue becomes visible above the water.

Step 2. Remove the tongue from the pan, set aside until cool enough to handle but still warm, then peel off the skin. It’s important to do this while it’s still warm, otherwise it becomes impossible. Cool completely, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for a few hours.

Step 3. To make the gribiche, remove the yolks then slice the egg whites into neat juliennes.

Step 4. Blitz the yolks with the salt and pepper in a food processor. Add the dijon mustard and blitz again. Add about an eighth of the oil and blitz until the mixture is smooth and emulsified. Add 1 Tbsp of the vinegar and blitz again, followed by another good slosh of the oil. Then add the rest of the vinegar, followed gradually by the rest of the oil, blitzing until it’s incorporated each time before adding more.

Step 5. When you have a smooth sauce, add the capers, cornichons and herbs, and blitz until they’re chopped and incorporated into the sauce. Pour the sauce into a bowl and stir through the julienned egg whites.

Step 6. Serve the tongue finely sliced and topped with a generous spoonful of the gribiche, with some watercress on the side.

Rosie Birkett,

It is awfully stressful to battle colon cancer—a disease that literally eats you up from the inside out. Cole slaw may be a wiser choice than potato chips with that lunchtime deli sandwich. If you follow the advice of noted dietitians, continue to include various forms of fiber in your diet so you can remain healthy. Now, what fiber will you be enjoying today? If you need suggestions, visit us on Pinterest.

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Updated: Aug 10, 2023

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