How to Combat the Carcinogenic Effects of Red Meat + Chimichurri Meatballs (AIP, GAPS, Paleo, GF, DF)

How to Combat the Carcinogenic Effects of Red Meat

I don't know if you've noticed but pretty much anytime I make a meatball, meat sauce, meat patty... really just any time I use meat, I also use greens. More often than not they're right in there with the patty. 

There are a couple reasons for this:

1) It makes them taste even better

2) We all know greens are really great for you

but most pointedly,

red meat gets it's bad wrap for having links to cancer.

Even when we go with high quality grass-fed beef, this does not eliminate all of the potentially carcinogenic compounds that go along with meat. In fact, grass-fed beef primarily shows drastic improvement in the content of it's fat, while the cancer-causing processes are primarily caused by specific proteins in meat, like l-carnitine and, in the case of red meat in particular, heme (the pro-oxidant component of iron).

HOWEVER, studies show that the presence of chlorophyll (found in green vegetables!) eliminates (or at least combats) those processes!

Before you say, “I hate green vegetables, I’ll just supplement with chlorophyll pills”, studies have proven that only natural chlorophyll from green vegetables will do the job. The form of chlorophyll you’re getting from supplements is most often chlorophyllin, which does not have the same effect!

If you really hate your greens, however, cruciferous vegetables (including the not so green ones like cauliflower and purple cabbage) contain compounds like isothiocyanates, which may also protect against the damaging effects of heme. Yogurt, particularly for its lactobacillus content, may also yeild some protective effects.

SO, enjoy that high quality meat, (even red meat!) just don't forget throw some greens in with it!

Start with these herbed meatballs. Perfect for tossing on top of some zucchini noodles and layering with my chimichurri sauce! You can’t get more green than that! 

This recipe is perfect for those of you following the autoimmune protocol (AIP), GAPS, paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free or are just looking for a delicious healthy meal for you and your family!

Chimichurri Meatballs (AIP, GAPS, Paleo, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free) - 30 minute dinner recipe

Chimichurri Meatballs

(AIP, GAPS, Paleo, GF, DF)

TIME: 30 minutes

SERVES: 4 servings



2 cloves of garlic (peeled & smashed)

5 stalks green onion (roughly chopped)

1/4 cup cilantro (roughly chopped)

2 cups swiss chard (roughly chopped)

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp himalayan pink salt

1 lb pastured ground pork

1 lb grass-fed ground beef

1 tbsp coconut oil (for frying)


1/4 cup parsley (roughly chopped)

2 tbsp cilantro (roughly chopped)

1 1/2 tsps lemon juice

2 cloves of garlic (peeled & smashed)

1 1/2 tsps oregano

1 tsp himalayan pink salt

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil



1) Throw the garlic, green onions, and cilantro into a food processor. Process until evenly chopped

2) Add the swiss chard, one handful at a time, and processed until evenly chopped.

3) Transfer mixture to a large bowl and add oregano, pink salt, pork and beef.

4) Use your hands to mix until well combined. Scoop out a spoonful at a time and form into balls.

5) Heat coconut oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, add meatballs and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and cooked through.

6) Remove from skillet and drain on a paper towel covered plate.


1) Combine all chimichurri ingredients in your food processor and let process until chopped and smooth.

2) Transfer to a jar or air-tight container and chill until meatballs are ready.

3) When both are finished, serve meatballs on top of cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles with plenty of fresh chimichurri.


Chimichurri Meatballs with Zucchini Noodles (AIP, GAPS, Paleo, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free)

Please give this a try and let me know what you think. I could literally eat this every single night, but maybe I’m a little too obsessed with chimichurri.

If you make this recipe, please feel free to take a pic and tag me on instagram @realistic.holistic and use #realisticholistic :) I’ll be sure to share your culinary adventure!

COMMENT below if you have any questions about the recipe or the anti-carcinogenic strategies I mentioned.

SHARE this with someone who definitely won’t give up red meat.

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Kisses & kombucha,

xox Meg


Balder, Helena F., et al. “Heme and Chlorophyll Intake and Risk of Colorectal Cancer in the Netherlands Cohort Study.” Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, American Association for Cancer Research, 1 Apr. 2006,

Donaldson, Michael S. “Nutrition and cancer: a review of the evidence for an anti-cancer diet” Nutrition journalvol. 3 19. 20 Oct. 2004, doi:10.1186/1475-2891-3-19

Johan de Vogel, Denise S.M.L. Jonker-Termont, Esther M.M. van Lieshout, Martijn B. Katan, Roelof van der Meer; Green vegetables, red meat and colon cancer: chlorophyll prevents the cytotoxic and hyperproliferative effects of haem in rat colon, Carcinogenesis, Volume 26, Issue 2, 1 February 2005, Pages 387–393,

Johan de Vogel, Denise S. M. L. Jonker-Termont, Martijn B. Katan, Roelof van der Meer; Natural Chlorophyll but Not Chlorophyllin Prevents Heme-Induced Cytotoxic and Hyperproliferative Effects in Rat Colon, The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 135, Issue 8, 1 August 2005, Pages 1995–2000,

Shaughnessy, Daniel T et al. “Inhibition of fried meat-induced colorectal DNA damage and altered systemic genotoxicity in humans by crucifera, chlorophyllin, and yogurt” PloS onevol. 6,4 e18707. 25 Apr. 2011, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0018707