Is raw meat a health hazard or could it possibly be healthy?
Most people are very leery of raw meat becasue they are afraid of getting food poisoning, am I right? Why is it that most cultures around the world eat some form of raw meat. Raw meat is very important to our health, and if you find the right source, there is no need to fear the raw stuff!
“Almost all traditional societies incorporate raw, enzyme-rich foods into their cuisines—not only vegetable foods but also raw animal proteins and fats in the form of raw dairy foods, raw fish and raw muscle and organ meats. These diets also traditionally include a certain amount of cultured or fermented foods, which have an enzyme content that is actually enhanced by the fermenting and culturing process.” ~Sally Fallon
We all know vitamins are important for one reason or another. Meats are known to be high in the famous B vitamins. Though, did you know that meats can actually contain more B vitamins in their raw state?
Studies have demonstrated that Vitamin B-12 is heat sensitive and normal cooking can destroy as much as 89% of it.
The WAPF article named “Vitamin B12:Vital Nutrient for Good Health” starts off by saying “One of the most important nutrients we get from animal foods is vitamin B12″.
That says something important, don’t you think? If we are eating all our meat cooked, then how is our body getting enough vitamin B12? This is where eating raw meat comes into play! Vitamin B12 helps repair the DNA from radiation, so it protects us from cancer. Vitamin B12 deficiency is linked to Multiple sclerosis, depression, infertility, heart disease, and even asthma. Research has shown that taking vitamin B12 supplements can actually block vitamin B12 absorption. This means you need your vitamin B12 from food!
Although historically described as one of the most stable of the B vitamins, large amounts of vitamin B6 are lost during most forms of cooking and processing. (even more of a reason to eat raw meat!)
When food is heated in the context of simple home cooking, the acidity of the food often determines how much B6 is lost or retained. In general, the more acidic the food, the poorer the B6 retention.
Also, in the context of the home kitchen, the freezing of foods high in B6 can result in the loss of approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of the total B6 content. (fresh from your farmer to your plate is always best!)
Because foods high in B6 are typically not eaten raw, (you can change that! and you don’t need a lot to get the amount of B6 your body needs!) a good solution to these processing problems is to consume plentiful amounts of foods high in B6. The Worlds healthiest foods. I have the book too.
In the book “Ten Days to Optimal Health” there is a lot of emphasis on vitamin B6 specifically. Vitamin B6 is extra high in raw milk and meat. The book explains that candida and digestive disorder have a string link with a vitamin B6 deficiency.
After reading that, I realized that it is very important to incorporate raw meat on the GAPS diet, especially if you cannot drink raw milk or raw kefir (thats still me).
Vilhjlmur Stefansson was an anthropologist who traveled and stayed with the eskimos. He learned a thing or two from them about eating raw and fermented “decayed” fish. Yumm, right?
There were several grades of decayed fish. The August catch had been protected by logs from animals but not from heat and was outright rotten. The September catch was mildly decayed. The October and later catches had been frozen immediately and were fresh. There was less of the August fish than of any other and, for that reason among the rest, it was a delicacy – eaten sometimes as a snack between meals, sometimes as a kind of dessert and always frozen, raw.
Dr. Weston A. Price witnessed cultures who were in fabulous health. Do you know what one of their secrets were? Raw meat. They didn’t eat all their meat raw, but it was an important part of their diet.
Near the Nile river, “the women are often six feet or over, and the men seven feet, some of them reaching seven and a half feet in height. […] The liver is so sacred that it may not be touched by human hands. It is accordingly always handled with their spear or saber, or with specially prepared forked sticks. It is eaten both raw and cooked.”
He also saw the “excellent facial and dental arch development of the Samoans” [For them] sea foods used here included many shell fish which were gathered and sold largely by the young people. The octopus, the sea crab and the beche-de-mere eaten raw were used.
On the WAPF website there is an article called “Feeding the Family When Its Too Hot to Cook“. I want to highlight one of the key points about raw food.
Fit in some raw animal protein and fats (from high quality sources), preferably daily, such as raw dairy foods (milk, cream, kefir, unheated yogurts, ice cream), raw fish (ideally fermented), and raw muscle or organ meats (such as steak tartare, freezing meat for at least two weeks before consumption to eliminate parasite risk), and egg yolks. Contrary to today’s practices, in native diets animal products are typically consumed raw or fermented more often than vegetable foods.
Raw meat is eaten by cultures around the world
Raw meat is more popular then you think!
ceviche: marinated raw fish (Central and South America)
hoe: thinly sliced raw beef or seafood (Korean)
carne cruda: finely minced raw beef (Italian)
sashimi: thinly sliced raw fish (Japanese)
carpaccio: thin sliced raw beef with vinaigrette (Italian)
steak tartare: mined raw beef with capers, seasoning, and egg yolk on top (Eastern Europe)
conch: raw snails
kibbeh nayeh: minced raw beef or lamb mixed with bulgur and spices (Aleppo)
poke: raw yellowfin tuna or octopus with soy sauce, sesame oil, seaweed and chili pepper (Hawaiian)
oysters: raw oysters
chee kufta: “raw meat patty” made with raw lamb or beef (Armenian and Turkish)
crudo: raw fish, lemon juice, olive oil sea salt (Italian)
kitfo: “steak tartar” with spiced chili powder, and herbed butter sauce (Ethiopian)
poisson cru: raw tuna with lime juice, scallions, coconut milk, cucumbers, tomato, and shredded coconut (French Polynesian)
mett: raw minced pork (German)
sakura: raw horse meat
yukhoe: raw “hoe” mixed with asian spices and sauces (Korean)
kuai: finely cut strips of raw meat or fish (Chinese)
gored gored: Minced beef marinated in spices and ghee (Ethiopian)
Call this guy wacko or amazing!? He sure is an inspiration for those looking to heal an illness or those who just want to eat raw. To make his long story short, he had stomach cancer and tried to kill himself so he ate raw meat, though it did just the opposite. Eating raw meat gave him vibrant health, and he is now able to teach and share his knowledge today. His website is wewant2live.com. I’m also eyeing his books We Want To Live and The Recipe for living without disease.
Here is a video about this cool guy!
Spoiled meat (high meat) is a superfood!
Yep, you read that right. Spoiled meat, or also known as high meat, is full of probitoics like kefir, cheese, yogurt, fermented veggies, kombucha..etc. So why have you never heard about the heal benefits of rotten meat? This is probably because our culture tends to stay away from excessively smelly food. We have also developed a culture who is obsessed with cleaning up all bacteria (antibiotics, hand sanitizer, “wash your hand when you are sick”). Really, you are better off eating fermented food and rolling in the mud to boost your digestive system. Spoiled meat is just one way to do that.
I’m not saying to go jar up your leftover dinner steak and leave it in the fridge for 3 weeks, but you can sure try I tried this with pureed buffalo liver. After 21 days of sitting in the fridge it was sure smelly. I planned on freezing it in small pieces so I could choke them down really quickly while plugging my nose. I only got to eat about 1 spoonful before my mom found it and dumped it. You can imagine I was disappointed but slightly relieved to find out I didn’t have to eat it! I don’t think that will be the end of my spoiled meat journey…more to come!
Here is a really cool video about the health benefits of spoiled meat.
Why people do get sick from raw meat?
According to Americangrassfedbeef.com:
Grass-fed beef is much less likely to harbor acid-resistant E.coli. A diet consisting primarily of grain creates an acidic condition in a cow’s digestive system, and the bacteria that survive this pH level are resistant to a human’s stomach acid. The result is not pretty. However, a natural diet of grass does not create this acidic environment, and study after study has confirmed that there is much less E. coli in grass-fed meat products. (Read News from Mother: Why Grass Fed is Best for more information.)
“When you pasteurize or cook something, the bacteria feed on it. Then you have a toxic byproduct”. Davis University in Northern California spiked both raw milk and pasteurized milk with 5 specific strains of bacteria that are grown in raw milk. Since the lactic acid is raw, the bacteria could not grow. Though when they spiked pasturized milk, the bacteria grew in an instant. That was dangerous but raw milk and meat is not! So when you cook the raw milk or meat and then the bacteria feeds on it, there are toxic by-products. Otherwise the bacteria help you.” ~Aajonus Vonderplanitz
My favorite part is when Aajonus takes a big bite of his raw chicken in front of the doctors! Can you imagine digging into a nice raw chicken leg? He specifically says it is not just any chicken, but one that is free range and pastured on a local farm. The source does matter a lot when you eat raw meats!
Where you get your meat matters
There is no doubt that if you believe in a WAPF or paleo diet, meat and seafood is crucial for body growth, repairment, development, and maintaining a vibrant healthy body. But you cannot just go and eat any seafood or meat and expect yourself to stay healthy. The conditions the animal is raised in and the feed it is fed are probably the most important when sourcing meat to eat raw and cooked.
You best bet is to contact a local farmer that lets his animals run around in a nice healthy field or a fisherman who catches wild fish in the sea. To find good sources take a look at http://www.eatwild.com/, http://www.localharvest.org/, or even contact your local WAPF chapter leader http://www.westonaprice.org/local-chapters/find-local-chapter (they would love to hear from you and help you!). Be sure that your meats are fed 100% grass, your chickens are pastured, and your fish wild! Here are some good Farmers and Fishers who know how to raise the healthiest animals so you can eat then raw if you choose!
“Grass-fed beef is low in saturated fat, yet high in omega-3 fatty acids, beta carotene, vitamin E, folic acid and antioxidants. Conjugated linoleic acid, thought to reduce the risk of breast cancer and diabetes, also is higher in pastured beef.” Americangrassfedbeef.com
“Do you feed antibiotics or hormones?
No, none of our animals are fed antibiotics or growth hormones throughout the course of their lives. Many companies do add these to the diet, especially if they are keeping many animals together in small areas. We do not.
Are the cattle finished with grain?
Never. From the moment our animals are weaned from their mothers, they consume high quality forage for the rest of their lives. Not only is grain-finish counter to the values of grass-fed farming, but a change to a starchy grain diet can undo omega 6:3 ratios and CLA values in 30 days.” USwellnessmeats
“Our bison are raised pretty much exactly like bison should be raised! They are free to roam and we rotationally graze them so they move just like a wild bison herd. Actually, about 95% of the bison in America are put into a FEEDLOT to fatten them. Why take a good product and ruin it with the corn-fed fat and all the feedlot problems. Bison are pretty miserable when they are forced to be confined and eat all that rich corn.
Grass-fed is extremely lean by nature. We have just about the leanest meat around. However, it might interest you that you can enjoy the lean version (90%) as well since the fat in grass-fed bison is actually very good for you, essential actually. Most Americans and even 85% of the children in America are deficient in Omega 3 fat. Grass-fed bison has as much as a wild salmon.” Northstarbison.com
“Wild salmon that are harvested from Alaskan waters contain no antibiotics or other added chemicals. According to The Audubon’s Living Oceans Campaign, “farmed salmon are fed more antibiotics per pound of ‘livestock’ than are any other farmed animal.” In fact, 23 million pounds of antibiotics are used annually in US animal production. Regulating the overuse of antibiotics is a serious problem in the fish farming industry, where salmon are raised in remote locations like Chile and British Columbia.” Vitalchoice.com
How to eat raw meat?
1. Leave out at room temp for 20-60 minutes until it is room temperature (you don’t have to worry about bad bacteria taking over when the meat is raw and clean). Remember spoiled meat is actually better for you 😉
2. Eat raw meat and fish with a side of fermented food, a fermeted drink, or dip in a fermeted sauce (traditionally prepared soy sauce, kefir, kombucha, fermented veggies, pickles, enzyme rich vinegar, beet kavass, etc…). Traditionally raw food was eaten with some sort of fermented food just in case there was a pathogen present in the raw meat or fish. The good bacteria will take over and kill off the bacteria or pathogen.
3. All raw meat comes with risk, but you can greatly reduce your risk by eating 100% grass fed beef, buffalo and meat, wild caught fish, and pastured chickens and pork. Everything in life comes with risks, so the best thing to do is educate yourself and then give it a try. Remember cultures all over the world eat raw meat!
4. Prepare your meat by freezing, searing, marinating, or fermenting to be safe. Make sure to use a sharp knife.
5. Search any of the traditional names of raw food dishes such as steak tartar, ceviche, mett, etc for recipes. Or just keep it simple and salt and pepper a plate of raw meat like I do
Ways to keep meat “semi-raw”
What I mean by “semi-raw” is that eating raw meat or seafood other than straight from the sea or farmer is not technically considered “raw”. If you can, get your meat without being frozen. If you uncomfortable with doing that, there are menu choices to “prepare” raw meat below.
Freeze: a general rule is to freeze for 14 days to kill all parasites. Freezing meat and seafood technically takes away some of it “rawness” making it not 100% raw. This is because it denatures the food slightly. Though if you have no choice, frozen is the best way to go. (I eat most of my raw meat and fish previously frozen because that is how I get it from my farmer).
Sear: heat up a skillet with some high heat oil (lard or coconut oil) and sear the outer edge of the meat or fish. This way the meat will have that “cooked” taste you are used to and warms up the meat.
Marinade: use a acid (lemon/lime juice) or alcohol (vodka or wine). Beware that this does “cook” and denature the meat so it is not considered “raw”. The longer it goes, the more “cooked” it will become.
Ferment: You can also ferment your meat or fish which actually enhances the enzymes. If you use a salt base to ferment this will also “cook” or denature the meat partially.
“We like to think of fermented foods as ‘super-raw,’ because they contain very high levels of enzymes (formed during the lacto-fermentation process) that more than compensate for the enzymes destroyed by cooking.” ~Mary Enig
There is a name for the raw meat diet, like every other diet out there. Its called Raw Paleo. Start slowly to introduce raw meats and fish. You don’t have to go overboard and eat only raw meat, but it is fun to find new healthy foods! Raw meat is a health food if it is sourced from a good farmer. Don’t be scared of all the health claims that raw meat will kill you, because actually it may actually do the opposite!
Not that this would matter, but eating raw meat is becoming popular among a few celebrities like Demi Moore, Uma Thurman, Natalie Portman and Gordon Ramsay. They claim that they have more energy and a better completion. Looks like this is going to be a good trend setter for raw meat.
How Raw Meat has helped me?
I started eating raw meat daily about 2 months ago, though I have eaten raw fish for about 3 years before that. The reason I did not eat raw meat and fish all the time was because I was scared. Scared of parasites, E. coli, bacteria, and all those scary health claims linked to raw meats.
After going to a raw food class put on by a friend who eats all his food raw (mostly raw meat and dairy), I was sold on it. I started the night I got home eating a piece of previously frozen raw mahi. The following weeks I tried raw beef heart diced, raw bison liver, raw lamb liver, raw marrow (my favorite!), raw salmon, raw salmon livers (also a favorite!), raw fish eggs, raw cod, raw flank steak, and my staple raw ground beef or bison.
The reason why the ground meat is a “staple” is because it is the easiest to eat and requires the least chewing. You will soon learn that eating raw meat sometimes can be time consuming if you don’t choose the right cuts. I’m still learning what cuts are best, but for starters, raw ground beef, raw fish, and raw fish or chicken livers are the easiest, most pleasant texture and tastiest to eat.
I actually feel a lot better eating raw meat. I do not eat 100% raw meat, but I try to get at least 1 meal every day where I eat raw meat as the main part. I always look forward to that meal because I feel so much better afterwards. I went though a minor detox for a few weeks but now my skin is clearer, my breath smells better, my digestion smoother, and my energy is up! I love seeing how my body responds in positive ways!
Raw meat can be eaten on the GAPS diet. Introduce it slowly just like any other food. Cooked meat is allowed on the GAPS diet because it is easily digested, though raw meat is too.
Is Raw Meat healthy?
In my opinion YES, but of course you have to buy from the right source! If you feel that your body could benefit from eating raw meat, talk to a trusted farmer first. If you drink raw milk, then eating raw meat is very similar because it is not pasteurized (heated) to kill the bacteria and enzymes. Its really yummy too
*please remember: I am not a medical professional nor do I hold any dietary/medical license. This website is not intended to diagnose or cure disease. I suggest that you speak with a holistic healer or medical professional before making any drastic diet or lifestyle changes. This site provides information from my healing journey and information researched about nutritious cooking and holistic healing. Please seek professional advice if you are unsure about your current health needs and before making any substantial changes.
Vitamin B 12 photos or raw and cooked meat: taken by Courtney from the Polivka Family