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Column: Drop the dog, pick a plant

Naomi Yaeger

A couple of hotdoggers emailed the Budgeteer on April 2 with a press release full of fun puns. Now I must say that I get hundreds of emails a day and getting my attention isn’t always easy. These hotdoggers were hoping to get a chance to “meat” us with their Wienermobile while in town. They signed the email, “With relish.”

Those of you who know me know that I work hard to put out a fun, informative community newspaper, all while maintaining a vegan diet. I pondered the invitation for a bit. “This paper is not ‘Naomi’s paper,’” I thought. “It’s a paper for the community. And most people love hot dogs.”

I remember seeing a cute story about the Wienermobile in the Grand Forks Herald a few years ago. The reporter on that story said that she got to ride “shotbun.”

My reporter, Teri Cadeau, works hard. Some of the payoff is the opportunity to have fun. So I asked her if she would be interested in getting a chance to ride the Wienermobile. Indeed she did, “I thought it would be fun because I remember seeing it on TV,” Cadeau said. Cadeau’s mother is reported to have said, “Oh fun!” when she learned her why her daughter would be sticking around Duluth instead of heading to her hometown of Gilbert first thing on Saturday.

But when I arrived home that very day of the Wienermobile invitation, I opened my personal email account. What should I get but an email from fellow North Dakotan Neal Barnard, M.D. He wanted to inform me about a campaign called “Drop the Dog” because processed meat products, like hot dogs, are strongly linked to colorectal cancer. Barnard is the president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Eating just one hot dog a day can increase your risk of colorectal cancer by 21 percent, according to studies by the PCRM.

Budgeteer columnist Brian Matuszak recently wrote his “colon columns” urging everyone to get a colonoscopy starting at age 50. With my colonoscopy scheduled for Friday, Barnard’s words were especially appropriate. According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer among men and women, with one in 20 developing it in his or her lifetime. This disease will claim the lives of more than 50,000 Americans this year.

Barnard asked me to spread the word. “March was Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and even though March has come to a close, colorectal cancer will not disappear,” Barnard said. “One simple change that you can make to dramatically reduce your risk of colorectal cancer is to ditch processed meat.”

Barnard doesn’t ask you to just “ditch the dog” without a plan. He suggests you “pick a plant” and gives some recipes including those for Pita Pizza, Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges and Rainbow Salad. Find more recipes at

Here are some ways you can reduce your risk of colorectal cancer:

Reduce your risk

1) Reduce your consumption of red and processed meat products.

2) Increase your consumption of fruits, vegetables, and high-fiber foods.

3) Get screened early, especially if there is a family history of colon cancer.

4) Increase your physical activity level.

5) Quit smoking. Long-term smokers are more likely than non-smokers to develop and die from colorectal cancer.

6) Limit alcohol intake. Colorectal cancer has been linked to heavy use of alcohol.

Naomi Yaeger is editor of the Budgeteer News.

Naomi Yaeger

Naomi Yaeger is a freelance writer and the former editor of the Budgeteer. See her blog at