This week’s featured shelter pet is Hannibal, also known as Hanni, who is up for adoption at the Smithtown Animal Shelter.

Hanni is a five year-old Male Pit Mix who is bursting with energy. He is fun-loving, social, and very active. He loves to be outside and chase balls, but a future home should keep a close eye on him, as he may try and escape to look for new friends. Some of Hanni’s favorite activities include sunbathing, going for walks, and riding in the car. He has dealt with a few ear infections, as well as some light allergies. Hannibal has lived with other dogs in the past, and should get along with other pets and older children as long as they respect his space. A wonderful guy like Hannibal deserves a loving family, and we know that perfect home is out there somewhere for him.

If you would like to meet Hanni, please call ahead to schedule an hour to properly interact with him in a domestic setting which includes a Meet and Greet Room,  dog runs, and a Dog Walk trail.

The Smithtown Animal & Adoption Shelter is located at 410 Middle Country Road, Smithtown. Visitor hours are currently Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Sundays and Wednesday evenings by appointment only). For more information, call 631-360-7575 or visit


Pixabay photo

By Daniel Dunaief

Daniel Dunaief

Mother-in-law. Those three words could come with their own Darth Vader or Jaws soundtrack.

Mothers-in-law present the kind of material that creates both great drama and comedy.

This week, I lost my mother-in-law Judy. She was both a force of nature and fiercely loyal.

Sure, there were comedic elements to our interactions. She seemed unsure of what to ask me to call her. I’d pick up the phone and she’d stutter, “Hi, Dan, this is your … I mean, this is … Judy.”

It was a huge relief for both of us when my wife and I had kids, not only because she wanted more grandchildren and I wanted children, but it also gave both of a us an easy way to refer to her, even when the children weren’t around: “grandma” or, at times, “Grandma Judy.”

A small and slender woman, Judy was all about getting things done. Whenever she had something either on a physical or mental list, she wouldn’t stop until she could check it off.

“Did you bring the water upstairs yet?” she’d ask.

“Not yet, but I will,” I’d reply.

“Okay, good, so what else is new?” she’d continue.

“I had an interesting week of work. I interviewed the CEO of one of the biggest banks in the country, I met a former Knick player, and I spoke with several government officials about an ongoing sovereign debt renegotiation.”

“Wow, how wonderful,” she’d offer, grinning broadly. “Just don’t forget about the water.”

When you were in the circle with Judy, she was a strong and determined advocate and supporter. At a buffet, even at one of her own events, she’d take a plate full of food she knew I could eat and stash it somewhere, in case I wasn’t ready to eat. 

When my wife and I got married, I messed up. Judy, who ascribed to certain rituals, waited as long as she could for me to ask her to dance. When I didn’t oblige, she brought the photographer over.

“Come,” she said, “let’s pretend to dance so that we can get a picture.”

She was the ringmaster of a law practice for her husband and son. Everything flowed through her. She handled almost every administrative duty, including typing. She made sure everyone was where they were supposed to be, and that they were on time.

Allergic to lemon, Judy traveled with my wife, our children and me to Paris. She was terrified that she wouldn’t be able to share her food concerns, bringing with her a sheet with words written phonetically. My French isn’t particularly strong, but I was able to let everyone know of our food issues, to her tremendous relief.

While Judy didn’t and wouldn’t stab me in the back figuratively, she did use her long, bony, shockingly strong fingers to move me along while we were in line at the airport or heading towards the elevator at the Eiffel Tower.

Perhaps all the bones she gnawed on when she ate steak went directly to those incredibly strong and pointed fingers? Eventually, I was able to outmaneuver her need to jab me in the back.

Judy was incredibly devoted to her children, grandchildren, and extended family. She also had a passion for cats and fish. Even when she wasn’t particularly mobile, becoming something of a human question mark as she bent over to make sure she didn’t trip, she brought fish food to all her finned friends and cat food to her favorite felines.

I will miss the way she locked eyes and smiled at me each time we got together, and the way she described everything around her as “crazy.”

She’d often start sentences with, “You want me to tell you somethin’?”

And, Judy, I’m sorry I didn’t ask you to dance at my wedding. I tried to make up for it on numerous other occasions. You’d pretend to be surprised and I’d try to be gallant. Thanks for everything, including and especially making it possible to enjoy a lifetime with your spectacular daughter. We will both miss you and will cherish the memories.

New York State Senator Anthony Palumbo

By Anthony Palumbo

A recent Siena College poll shows that 82% of New Yorkers view the wave of migrants flooding our nation and state as a serious problem. Compounding the issue has been Washington and Albany’s lack of action and a clear plan to address the humanitarian crisis their policies helped create. 

This failure of leadership can be seen daily in the news — migrants sleeping on the streets, shuttled to hotels throughout the state and haphazard plans complete with no-bid contracts to house these individuals and families in tent cities or on college campuses. 

While New York City and Albany lock horns, cast blame and piece together last-minute plans to address a problem that has been a long time coming, we need to ensure that Long Island is shielded, not from migrants, but from the failed leadership and policies that created this man-made disaster. 

That shield is local control.

During this year’s legislative session, I joined my colleagues calling for policies to block the use of New York’s ill-suited college campuses for migrant housing and proposed plans to bus them to our small communities without local input and approval.

We also requested that the governor’s office share with us the plan and the amount of New York tax dollars being used to house, transport and care for these individuals. 

Additionally, we requested the state comptroller provides a fully transparent accounting of all tax dollars being spent and make that information available via a searchable, public database. This information is critical as the state faces severe financial challenges and we work to stop additional burdens being placed on local governments, schools and, most importantly, taxpayers. 

Recent history, from the pandemic to the governor’s failed housing proposals, has shown that the top-down, Albany-centric approach fails because it doesn’t consider the diverse and unique communities that are the foundation of the Empire State. 

In light of Gov. Hochul’s [D] previously ill-conceived plan of housing migrants at Stony Brook University’s main and Southampton campuses, and other sites across Long Island, our local communities and officials must all be included in the discussion before any decisions are made. 

County and town officials are our partners and need to be treated as such. Strong local control, community input and funding from state and federal partners must be the first step toward crafting a plan to address the migrant crisis.   

New Yorkers are a welcoming people, and their change in mood is not one of the heart but in their lack of faith in the leadership of our state and nation. Midnight bus runs to motels and pop-up tent cities in suburban neighborhoods with inadequate services are not the answer.

The only solution comes with funding and proper planning. Plans where input from residents and approval from the town and local officials are required. Building consensus is not always easy, but it is the only way the New York State government will be able to solve this immediate humanitarian crisis and address the long-term impacts of uncontrolled migration until someone in Washington finds the courage to fix the crisis at our southern border.

Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk) is a New York State senator representing the 1st District.

MetroCreative Photo

By A. Craig Purcell, Esq.

A. Craig Purcell, Esq.

In our last column, we outlined the criteria for eligibility to seek compensation or monetary damages for injuries you sustained in an automobile accident due to another driver’s negligence. We also explained the initial steps necessary to make such a claim. Now it is time to discuss how to evaluate your claim and negotiate with the insurance company insuring the at-fault party who caused the accident. 

Indeed, the first question we, and other lawyers, are often asked is, “How much is my case worth?” Although cliché, the answer is virtually always “It depends.” The truth is that there is no simple or easy answer to this inquiry, nor is there a tried-and-true method to develop a reasonable value for a given case. There are simply no established valuations for any particular injury, no charts to refer to, or answers even Siri can provide you. Among the many criteria for estimating a case’s value are the following:

• The severity of the injury itself

• Permanent disability due to the injury

• Age and occupation of the injured person

• If employed, time missed from work

• Ability to perform functions for daily life in the future (i.e., household chores)

• Ability to enjoy recreational activities, such as sports, that you participated in prior to the accident

• Expenses not paid by your No-Fault insurance carrier.

Several additional factors are considered when evaluating a particular claim; however, those enumerated above are the most important. For example, if the injured person is a construction worker who hurts his or her back in a motor vehicle accident, the effect may be a long period of time out of work. A computer operator who suffers a fractured hand or wrist and develops carpal tunnel syndrome may be disabled for longer than someone in a different position. The same goes for a doctor, electrician, or many other professions. In conjunction with these issues, the pain and suffering caused by the injury leads claimant’s attorneys and insurance companies to come up with monetary damage ranges and amounts.

While this is clearly far from an exact science, lawyers who handle personal injury automobile accident cases have many references they can utilize to evaluate these cases. These include publications reporting recent jury verdicts around the state for particular injuries or even significant settlements. Thus, the personal injury practitioner can get a sense of how much a claimant may expect to receive for a particular injury in each county in New York State, or what an insurance company would be willing to pay for such injuries. 

However, the exact amount your case may be worth is highly subjective and unique to your specific circumstances. Therefore, the claimant and their attorney must discuss the above criteria applicable to the case and start negotiating with the insurance carrier. 

It must be understood that insurance companies are under no legal obligation to pay a claim, although if they do negotiate, they must do so in good faith. This basically means that the insurance company runs certain risks if it makes woefully inadequate offers to settle your claim.

Our next column will answer more often-asked questions, like “Why do I need so much automobile coverage, if I have homeowners’ insurance or an umbrella policy?”

A. Craig Purcell, Esq. is a partner at the law firm of Glynn Mercep Purcell and Morrison LLP in Setauket and is a former President of the Suffolk County Bar Association and Vice President of the New York State Bar Association.

Runners take off from the starting line on Main Street in Stony Brook Village at last year's race. Photo from Dan Kerr
Registration underway for SOLES for All Souls Race

By Daniel Kerr

Historic All Souls Church has stood on the hill at the entrance to Stony Brook Village since 1896. Although much has changed in the village since then, the simple beauty of the building and the interior have remained true to Stanford White’s vision. 

Interestingly, life expectancy back then in the United States was less than 50 years, and accessibility for the elderly or handicapped was not part of the design. On Sunday, October 1st, the 15th SOLES for All Souls 5K Race/2K Walk will celebrate the role of the National Landmark chapel in the community and raise funds to make it accessible to all. 

Episcopal Bishop of Long Island Lawrence Provenzano stated, “Accessibility is an integral part of welcoming everyone in our communities into our parishes and we are proud to support this fantastic event with its goal to make All Souls a place that can truly serve everyone.” 

Three of the winners from last year’s race. Photo from Dan Kerr

Herb Mones, an All Souls Church member, and both president of the Three Village Community Trust and Land Use Chair for the Three Village Civic Association, recently observed “SOLES for All Souls is vital to raising the necessary funds for our accessibility project. I am hoping that the entire running and walking community turns out to support our efforts.” 

Richard Bronson, MD, former Suffolk County Poet Laureate, remarks, “How many times have I entered All Souls Church, felt its sanctity, marveled at its quiet beauty while listening to recited verse at the Second Saturday Poetry Reading? How can one not wish to participate in the SOLES for All Souls Race/Walk, an event that will raise funds to make this treasure accessible to all…and it is good for one’s health.”

SOLES For All Souls is perhaps the most inclusive race/walk on Long Island.  Serious runners compete for gold, bronze, and silver medals in age groups from under 13 to over 80 and receive their hard-won medals in an Olympic-style awards ceremony. Dogs are welcome to accompany their masters and students from Stony Brook University and others often come in costume. Senior citizens with walking sticks line up at the starting line along with parents pushing their kids in strollers. 

Looking back on last year’s race, East Patchogue resident and Overall Winner Adam Lindsey commented, “I love the opportunity to run in Stony Brook Village. The hills are the right amount of challenging yet very fun with lovely scenery. All Souls is such an integral part of Stony Brook Village, and it is a joy to run in a race to support them.” 

Port Jefferson Station resident Margaret Kennedy shared, “I look forward to this race every year, eager to see familiar faces and the creative costumes. The matched pair of peanut butter and jelly comes to mind. It is the camaraderie and fellowship that keeps us coming back to collect a new color in our t-shirt rainbow. Everyone is welcome, whether running up the challenging hill or walking with a team. This race is truly a labor of love.” 

The event is also a food drive for St. Gerard Majella’s food pantry. Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine encourages runners and walkers to feed the hungry: “I am proud to support the SOLES for All Souls and I urge everyone to donate to the ‘Lend a Hand, Bring a Can’ food drive. There are so many of our less fortunate neighbors who experience food insecurity and they rely on donations to feed themselves and their families. If we all chip in and do our part, we can help so many people in need and make a real difference in our community.”     

Registration for SOLES for All Souls 5K Run/2K Walk is through the ACTIVE.COM website (Search: SOLES for All Souls) or register on Race Day at the Reboli Center for Art & History, 64 Main St., Stony Brook from 7:30 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.; the race/walk begins at 9 a.m. Complimentary pre and post event stretching will be provided by Progressive Personal Training.  Local musician Bill Clark will perform throughout the morning.  

Please call 631-655-7798 for more information on the event or if you would like to be a sponsor. Donations dedicated to Handicap Accessibility Project can be mailed to All Souls Race, P.O. Box 548, Stony Brook, NY 11790.

Daniel Kerr is the Director of SOLES for All Souls Race/Walk.

On July 25, Legislator Stephanie Bontempi (R – 18th L.D.) recognized Trisha Northover, pictured with her son Tristan, as this year’s Women Veterans Appreciation Day honoree for the 18th District. Photo from Leg. Bontempi's office

By Rita J. Egan

One local veteran has come a long way since she left Afghanistan, and she credits the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the local American Legion Post and her nursing career for her success.

U.S. Army veteran Trisha Northover spent her younger years traveling between her dad’s home in Kingston, Jamaica, and her mom’s in Greenlawn after her parents’ divorce. She said in her early 20s, a friend’s father, a firefighter, died on Sept. 11, and the effect that his passing had on her friend helped Northover find her passion.

Photo from Trisha Northover

“I saw the impact that it had in her life,” the veteran said. “She became a totally different person after she lost her dad, and I wanted to do something.”

At 24, she joined the army. Interested in a medical career, Northover said she learned everything she needed to know about medicine in the military. Initially, she studied basic EMT skills and then nursing. After 18 months of training, she became a licensed practical nurse.

She spent nine years and nine months in the army, primarily stationed at West Point, where she had her son Tristan, now 16. Working at the academy’s hospital and clinic, she cared for the cadets. 

Northover was deployed to Afghanistan for 10 months as a combat medic during Operation Enduring Freedom, and she said she witnessed back-to-back traumas during her deployment. For her service, she has received a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, NATO Medal and Army Commendation Medal. For her unit’s service in Afghanistan, they received a Meritorious Unit Commendation award.

​American Legion

When she returned to Greenlawn, Northover said she learned firsthand how helpful American Legion Post 1244 members are. Struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, Northover said it took some time to find a full-time job.

“I didn’t have a lot of support financially,” the veteran said. “I was still figuring it out.”

Northover added post members brought her and her son Thanksgiving dinner the first year she returned from Afghanistan. She soon became a post member, and recently, the 42-year-old was named post commander.

Being involved in a post and talking to fellow veterans who have had similar experiences is vital, Northover said. She described it as “a camaraderie like no other.” 

Photo from Trisha Northover

“We’re all being pulled in a million directions, but spending time in the company of the members of my posts, working for them, doing different things, it gives me a sense of purpose, and it honors my service if that makes sense,” she said. “It gives me an outlet for my service because a lot of times when you come back, you feel like you’re not a part of a team anymore, and being in the American Legion absolutely gives me the feeling of being a member of a team and working toward a mission.”

With her membership in the American Legion post and her job as a licensed practical nurse at the Long Island State Veterans Home at Stony Brook University, Northover has the opportunity to meet older vets. She said she always does her best to take photos and converse with them. She always thanks them for their service, especially World War II vets.

“These men are living history,” she said. “We study the war in the history books, and so much in the world literally changed because of that war, and to be with the men who were fighting — they’re leaving us. They’re not going to be here forever.”

While she still experiences tremendous anxiety, which made working at other jobs difficult at times, she said the veterans home has been a supportive place to work as they understand her PTSD.

Getting help

In addition to being able to talk with fellow vets at the American Legion and at her job, Northover credits Veterans Affairs for helping her manage her disorder with different types of therapy, from talk therapy to acupuncture. The disorder, she said, is a result of her time in Afghanistan.

“It was something that I’ve had to really work on to be able to not only talk about, but to not feel a certain way when I even talk about it,” Northover said.

She added the post-traumatic growth she has gone through has made her more resilient. “I know that I survived that so there’s not much that I can’t overcome,” the vet said.

Northover said the VA has realized traditional treatments aren’t for everybody, and patients can receive treatment outside of the VA hospital, including equine therapy and working with service animals.

“I don’t think a lot of people realize that they can change the quality of their life,” she said. “We can’t necessarily not have PTSD or not have insomnia or the trauma, but you can get to a point in your life where you can live a life that’s still full and purposeful if you really just accept the help that is offered.”


At the end of July, Northover was among fellow women veterans recognized at the Suffolk County Legislature’s General Meeting in Hauppauge. She said she was honored and humbled.

Trisha Northover and Leg. Stephanie Bontempi

“These women have done so many wonderful things not only in their personal and military lives but for their community, so it was really great to be honored,” she said. 

Northover discovered she was chosen when a member of Suffolk County Legislator Stephanie Bontempi’s (R-Centerport) staff emailed her. Northover was nominated by Mary Flatley, a fellow American Legion Post 1244 member and a former recipient of the same county honor. 

Flatley described Northover as a fantastic person with many great ideas for the post. “She’s a very grounded person and selfless,” she said. “I’m happy she’s our commander.”

She added, “I think Trisha is going to prove herself as an outstanding leader.”

In a statement, Leg. Bontempi said, “When I learned about Trisha’s accomplishments as a soldier and her dedication to helping her fellow veterans, I knew she had to be this year’s honoree. Trisha served our country with distinction, and to this day she is making a difference in many lives.”

Northover said it’s an honor when people thank her for her service, and the recognition from the county made her feel that her service was validated even further. 

“I had to reconcile a lot of things, and if it was worth it, within my own self, to go through what I went through in terms of the war,” the veteran said. “Having moments like this have really reinforced to me that people are really grateful and thankful that I did what I did because I fought for freedom and America.”

Former New York State Assemblyman Steve Englebright begins his Aug. 18 talk on Joe Reboli’s paintings. Photo by Beverly C. Tyler

By Beverly C. Tyler

At the Reboli Center in Stony Brook on Friday evening, Aug. 18, former New York State Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) presented a love letter to Long Island and its people through the landscape paintings of Joe Reboli. 

Englebright, a geologist also running against Anthony Figliola (R-East Setauket) for Suffolk County’s 5th Legislative District, opened for each of us who attended a new, personal and intimate view of Reboli’s paintings.

In his opening comments, Englebright touched on the importance of Reboli’s work as a local artist. 

“Joe Reboli speaks directly to us through his paintings, through his art,” Englebright said. “Joe also speaks now and forever to all who would live here in our community. I believe that open space is the beginning of our story. It’s what attracted the first colonists here, and … I believe that Joe’s paintings suggest that open space should continuously be an important part of our story.”

Englebright noted that he was initially surprised and then intrigued by Reboli’s detail in painting the most ordinary features of nature, including rocks and mud, in how they form and react to the forces of wind and waves. 

The first and largest painting was described thus:

“It is likely the Montauk Till — I call it an ice contact deposit — which means that the upper third of the painting is the till that was dropped directly, melted directly, out of the ice, and it included all of the different grain sizes — everything from clay to silt to sand to pebbles to cobble to boulders — that range of that spectrum of different grain sizes is all contained inside of that pumpkin-colored fill,” the former state assemblyman elaborated. “But when the waves break on it, they take away the small stuff, and we have a lag deposit of the boulders and cobbles.”

Englebright also noted the simple beauty and the importance of what Reboli included in his works. “Joe’s paintings speak to us regarding our exquisite coastal heritage,” he said. “Each of his natural images is a journey into nature’s splendor.”

Describing the middle painting, Englebright added, “This is quite amazing. It is a remarkable painting. Avalon is lovingly cared for, and Joe painted this before Avalon was there. They are either red oak or chestnut oak.”

Englebright described the third painting as “the convergence of a manmade feature and a natural feature. The pushed-down fence invites you into the natural world.”

With a series of slides of Reboli’s paintings, Englebright noted how Reboli placed fences, gates, chairs and even old rusting gas pumps into his images of the natural world. Sometimes, they were items that we could imagine belonged in an area of human habitation. In others, such as the images of rusting gas pumps juxtaposed in the foreground of a beach scene, Englebright suggested Reboli illustrated the permanence of the natural world over manufactured objects.

Noting that “respect for this place is infused into Joe’s paintings,” a few of Englebright’s thoughts show Reboli’s love of Long Island. “With the body of his work, Joe Reboli’s Long Island is imaginative, inviting, and I ask the question: Is he not Long Island’s most imaginative storyteller through his paintings?”

Englebright concluded, “Many of Joe Reboli’s paintings have become iconic images representing our sense of place. Joe’s paintings have defined what it means to be a Long Islander. Joe Reboli’s paintings enable us to focus upon the beauty of our community’s natural wonders. Joe’s body of work is breathtaking in its expanse and its beauty,” adding, “Joe painted sites and landscapes that should be saved for all time.”

Beverly C. Tyler is a Three Village Historical Society historian and author of books available from the society at 93 North Country Road, Setauket. For more information, call 631-751-3730.

Sundown on the Bluffs, Kings Park Bluffs, Kings Park

New York State is preparing to distribute $4.2 billion to communities statewide, and Long Islanders must begin to make an aggressive push for that money.

Voters statewide approved the 2022 Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act by a more than 2:1 margin. Here in Suffolk County, our residents approved the referendum 64-36%.

During a listening tour event on Thursday, Aug. 24, state officials outlined their plans for dispersing the funds. Qualifying projects include flood mitigation, marshland restoration, stormwater infrastructure, farmland protection, open space preservation and much more.

Here in Suffolk County, we are experiencing all of these issues.

Vulnerable waterfront properties along the North Shore are increasingly at risk from harmful erosion at our bluffs. Low-lying areas are at ever-greater risk of flooding, compounded by more frequent and intense precipitation events and outdated stormwater infrastructure.

Too often, commercial corridors are developed with little or no community giveback. Consequently, communities along major state routes — such as 25 and 347 — are suffocated by overcommercialized lots with limited access to parks or recreation space.

Meanwhile, the few remaining farmlands and open spaces are in constant danger of deforestation, development and displacement.

This $4.2 billion state bond package represents a much-needed pool of cash that can help offset these regional trends. And while the state has committed to directing 35-40% of the pot to disadvantaged communities, competition for the remaining chunk of the pie will be even fiercer.

Residents and officials across Long Island have grown increasingly frustrated and alienated by our state government in Albany. Getting our hands on some of these funds could begin the path toward reconciliation.

Throughout the Aug. 24 meeting, the state officials present emphasized the collection of public input as a necessary component for identifying new projects. That is why we must all take the time to scan the code above and share the climate challenges we face. The survey remains open until Sept. 13.

Whether our particular hamlet or village is experiencing worsening flooding, heightened coastal erosion, limited open space or any other environmental hardship, we must take the time to alert the state and request funding.

The potential to tap into $4.2 billion doesn’t come around often. This money represents a generational opportunity to remediate some longstanding issues and counteract our regional decline. We cannot afford to squander this moment.

Let’s scan this code and share the extent of our challenges here at home. Let’s scan the code and tell our state government how desperately our community cares about and needs this funding.

Let’s all scan this code because our community’s future welfare and prosperity depend on how we act today. From the North Shore to Albany, may the voices of our people ring loudly.

Processed meats increase risks of cancers, stroke and diabetes. METRO photo

By David Dunaief, M.D.

Dr. David Dunaief

Many of us are starting to plan for Labor Day weekend, whether this means preparing for cookouts or getting ready for the new school year. It’s a good time to provide some food for thought — pun intended. 

The barbecues associated with this weekend usually include hot dogs, hamburgers, sausages, bacon, poultry and fish. Sounds mouthwatering, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, there are more and more studies that implicate processed meats as a potential cause of diseases, including several cancers, heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Processed meats are those that have been cured, salted, fermented or smoked. A short list of processed meats includes hot dogs, ham, pepperoni, bacon, sausages and deli meats, among others. While these are barbecue and picnic favorites, more importantly, deli meats are often used as sandwich staples for adults’ and school children’s lunches. Turkey and roast beef were typically in my lunch box when I was growing up. The prevailing thought at the time was that deli meats that were made without nitrates, nitrites and preservatives were healthy. Unfortunately, more recent studies show otherwise.

Does processed meat increase stroke risk?

In a large, prospective cohort study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2011, results showed a 23 percent increased risk of stroke in men who consumed the most processed meats. Deli meats, including low-fat turkey, ham and bologna, considered healthy by some, were implicated. The 40,291 Swedish participants were followed for about ten years.

The increased risk could be attributed potentially to higher sodium content in processed meats. Another mechanism could be nitrates and nitrites. Interestingly, participants were mostly healthy, except for the processed meats. Thus, processed meats could interfere with the benefits of a heart-healthy diet, according to the authors.

How do processed meats affect cancer risk?

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has been aggressive about communicating the connection between processed meats and cancer. They’ve run television ads, including ones encouraging us to “break up with bacon,” and a billboard portraying a cigarette pack with hot dogs, not cigarettes, sticking out the top. The message read, “Warning: Hot dogs can wreck your health.”

Let’s look at some of the studies that have prompted these warnings.

In the large prospective Multiethnic Cohort Study, there was a 68 percent increased risk of pancreatic cancer in participants who ate the highest amounts of processed meats compared to the lowest (1). Participants were followed for seven years. The authors believe that carcinogenic substances in meat preparation, not necessarily fat or saturated fat, were probably the reason for increased risk. Pancreatic cancer is deadly, since most patients don’t have symptoms; therefore, it’s not discovered until its very late stages. It has destroyed the lives of some extremely physically fit people, like Patrick Swayze who died at the age of 57.

Processed meats also increase the risk of colorectal cancer. In a meta-analysis, there was an increased risk of 14 percent per every 100 grams, or 3.5 ounces (approximately one serving) of processed meat per day (2). Two slices of deli meat are equal to one serving. A deli’s turkey sandwich includes about five servings of processed meat in one meal. 

In the EPIC trial, a prospective study with more than 420,000 participants, processed meats increased the risk of colorectal cancer by 35 percent (3). The absolute risk of developing colorectal cancer was 71 percent over ten years for those who were age 50. Interestingly, fish actually decreased the risk by 31 percent, making fish a better choice for the barbeque.

Other cancers implicated in processed meats include lung, liver and esophageal cancers, with increased risks ranging from 20-60 percent according to the NIH AARP Diet and Health study (4). A separate analysis of the EPIC trial showed that there was a greater than two times increased risk of esophageal cancer with processed meats (5).

Is there an association between type 2 Diabetes and processed meats?

In one of the most prestigious and largest meta-analyses involving the Health Professionals’ Follow-up Study and the Nurses’ Health Study I and II, results demonstrated a 32 percent increased risk of type 2 diabetes in participants who had a one-serving increase of processed meat consumption per day. 

This data was highly statistically significant and involved over four million years of cumulative follow-up. Interestingly, the authors estimate that replacing processed meat with one serving of nuts, low-fat dairy and whole grains would reduce risk substantially (6).

I believe warning labels should come with processed meats; however, this is unlikely to happen. Therefore, you need to be your own best advocate and read ingredients. It is not just processed meats on the barbecue this Labor Day weekend that are concerning, but the long-term effects of eating deli meats that are even more worrisome.


(1) J Natl Cancer Inst 2005;97 (19): 1458-1465. (2) PLoS One. 2011;6 (6):e20456. (3) J Natl Cancer Inst. 2005 Jun 15;97 (12):906-16. (4) PLoS Med. 2007 Dec;4 (12):e325. (5) J Natl Cancer Inst. 2006 Mar 1;98 (5):345-54. (6) Am J Clinical Nutrition 2011;94 (4): 1088-1096.

Dr. David Dunaief is a speaker, author and local lifestyle medicine physician focusing on the integration of medicine, nutrition, fitness and stress management. For further information, visit or consult your personal physician.

Blueberry Key Lime Cheesecake Bars

By Heidi Sutton

No dessert menu is complete without an array of treats, and these creamy, homemade Blueberry Key Lime Cheesecake Bars are the perfect way to put a sweet finishing touch on your celebrations. Or go for a crowd pleaser with this Cherry Cheesecake Lush Dessert and its smooth, velvety texture and plump, juicy cherries.

Blueberry Key Lime Cheesecake Bars

Recipe courtesy of Inside BruCrew Life blog

Blueberry Key Lime Cheesecake Bars

YIELD: Makes 24 servings


Nonstick cooking spray

30 vanilla cream-filled cookies

1/4 cup butter, melted

3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup sour cream

1/3 cup key lime juice

1 tablespoon key lime zest

1/4 cup flour

3 eggs

green gel food coloring (optional)

1 can (21 ounces) blueberry pie filling, divided

1 container (8 ounces) whipped topping, thawed

key lime slices (optional)


Place baking sheet on bottom rack of oven. Fill halfway with water. Heat oven to 325° F. Line 9-by-13-inch pan with foil and spray with nonstick spray.

Using food processor, pulse cookies until crumbly. Stir together crumbs and butter. Press evenly into bottom of prepared pan. Beat cream cheese until creamy. Add sugar and sour cream, and beat again until smooth. Add key lime juice, zest and flour, and beat until mixed thoroughly. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat gently after each. Add green food coloring to cheesecake mixture, if desired. 

Spread cheesecake batter evenly over crust in pan. Add 1 cup of blueberry pie filling over top of cheesecake. Use butter knife to gently swirl pie filling into cheesecake. Do not let knife go through to crust.

Place pan on oven rack above tray of water. Bake 45-48 minutes. Remove immediately and place on wire rack for 1 hour then place in refrigerator until completely chilled. Cut into 24 squares and serve with whipped topping, remaining pie filling and key lime wedges.

Cherry Cheesecake Lush Dessert

Recipe courtesy of Lemon Tree Dwelling blog

YIELD: Makes 12 servings


1 cup vanilla wafer crumbs

1 cup finely chopped pecans

1 cup butter, melted

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 cup powdered sugar

16 ounces whipped topping, divided

2 small boxes cheesecake-flavored pudding

3 cups milk

1 can (21 ounces) cherry pie filling

1/2 cup. chopped pecans


Heat oven to 350° F.

In medium mixing bowl, combine vanilla wafer crumbs, finely chopped pecans and butter.

Press into 9-by-13-inch baking pan; bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.

In separate mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar and 1 1/2 cups whipped topping. Mix until smooth; spread evenly over cooled crust.

Combine cheesecake pudding mix, milk and 1 1/2 cups whipped topping, and mix until smooth. Spread evenly over cream cheese layer in pan.

Top with pie filling, remaining whipped topping and chopped pecans and serve.