Special Diets/Raw Food
My name is Dustin King and I started my Paleo journey several weeks ago. I can honestly say the results have been nothing short of amazing. I am not hardcore working out, just following the diet and changing my life. I have more energy than ever, not staying sleepy all the time, and losing weight and getting healthy. I am very excited to say the least. I do not look at this as a "diet" but rather a lifestyle change. Luckily, I am an avid hunter and fisherman so the idea of eating wild appeals to me anyway.
What that said, I ran across this raw paleo deal. I love sushi but not so sure about the eating of other raw meats. Is their no health concerns related to this? Surely you guys are not eating chicken raw I would not suspect? I can see eating raw deer meat as I have actually done that a couple of times but not on a regular basis. I am just looking for some reassurance that eating raw beef and such is not going to have me throwing up and dying lol!! I appreciate any info you can provide.
All rawpalaeo newbies go through this sort of phase. I was like that, too. When I first started, I did not know anyone personally who had done a raw, palaeolithic diet, so I was convinced I would die from eating raw meats, given all those stupid media scares re bacteria and parasites. That didn`t matter to me, though, at the time, since I felt like I was dying anyway given all my then health-problems and none of the other diets, even cooked-palaeo, had worked for me at all. I was then duly surprised to find that I was actually getting much healthier on the raw, palaeolithic diet. It took me 3 further years to get up the courage to also try eating raw, rotting meat because I was still convinced of the media-scares re bacteria, and I duly found that it, in some ways, provided even bigger health-benefits than raw, fresh meats. Many, many others have had similiar experiences to me.
Basically, there are certain cautions re raw meat. One should try to eat high-quality raw meats. That means that the relevant animal has to have eaten a raw diet that is natural for that animal. So raw, grassfed beef is way healthier than raw, grainfed beef etc. Raw wild game and raw, wildcaught seafood are the highest quality raw animal foods, since not only do such wild species eat higher quality foods than if they were domesticated, but also, due to natural selection re genes, less inbreeding etc., their meat is way healthier as well than even the best-fed domesticated species. "Organic" status is rather irrelevant as many organic farmers still feed their animals on poor-quality foods like grains. The only thing that matters is what the relevant animal was fed on - not just for reasons of health, but because unhealthy meats, such as grainfed meat, usually taste disgusting even to seasoned rawpalaeodieters.
Most rawpalaeodieters would not consider eating raw chicken. This is not because the chicken is raw, but because most chickens, even organic-raised chickens, are raised on very unhealthy diets consisting of soy, grains, 100% vegan diets and the like. Some rawpalaoedieters are able to raise and eat pasture-fed chickens which have had access to worms, insects and the like, but many of us live in cities so don`t always have that opportunity. I`ve been fortunate in that I have had access to raw wild mallard duck which is amazing re taste and healthy nutrients.
I would suggest you become a member of rawpaleoforum and read the posts of that forum, so you can read about how people enjoy eating raw meats. This should give some social encouragement and debunk the various anti-raw myths you are bombarded with via the media all the time.
You ought to read up any online information about the hygiene hypothesis. This theory is now increasingly becoming mainstream and focuses on the health-benefits of bacteria and parasites. Here`s one link:-
If all the media-scares re bacteria were true, then rawpaleodieters would be regularly reporting incidences of mass food-poisoning within the rawpalaeo community, but no such events have ever been reported. Reports of parasites are extremely rare which is unsurprising since most farmers routinely give their animals anti-parasite drugs all the time. Still, that doesn`t explain why those rawpalaeodieters who eat mainly raw wild game also hardly ever report getting parasites. The number of reports re parasites are very rare, and those people reported getting no serious symptoms therefrom, and such parasites are easily gotten rid of with modern anti-parasitical drugs, anyway.
At this stage, I ought to mention that there is a "loony fringe" element within the raw, palaeolithic diet who claim to "see" parasites in every single piece of raw meat they eat and spend thousands on totally unnecessary anti-parasite "beam-rays" and other New-Age rubbish. These deluded people believe in the dangerous myths spouted by that fraud Hulda Clarke. They are however a tiny minority within this community, thankfully.
A couple of other things:- while raw meats are indeed healthy, there are two caveats:- taste-change and detox. It is unfortunate but inevitable that, due to past heavy psychological/social
conditioning against eating raw meats, that most people feel like heaving when faced with eating raw animal foods in a big way for the first time. Most standard-cooked-dieters can eat a few types of raw animal foods here and there without issues but cannot stand the thought of eating other kinds.My father was like that, he loved the taste of raw shellfish and raw dairy but was literally scared out of his mind at the thought of eating raw beef or other raw meats.
All such reactions are purely psychological. There are numerous tribes in the world, such as the Inuit or the Nenets, who have never had issues with eating raw meats simply because they were fed raw meats from early childhood. There are various ways to get round this and get used to and start enjoying the taste of raw meats:-
1) Eat raw animal foods in a public setting. This is really important as, if one sees other people eating raw meats with you and one can see that it is permissible to eat raw animal foods in public, then it becomes much easier to get used to it all on a psychological level. I would recommend sushi restaurants, especially sashimi restaurants, and oyster bars. I know some raw-eaters who go to Korean restaurants where one cooks one`s own food on one`s table, and they just pretend to cook the food and eat it raw.
2) Cook all your own foods and add whatever sauces you want. Then, every so often, reduce the cooking-temperature by 1 degree Celsius, and remove a little of the sauce, until eventually you get used to and enjoy the taste of raw animal foods on their own at room-temperature.
3) My way of adapting was to initially have 90% of my diet consisting of raw foods that I enjoyed and 10% of my diet consisting of raw foods I hated. I had always liked the taste of raw wildcaught fish/shellfish so I started with those mostly and had 10% of my raw-animal-food-intake consisting of raw, fresh grassfed beef. I would also go in for buying tiny amounts of a very wide range of raw animal foods to see which ones I could stand and which ones I would take longer to get used to and enjoy. Over time, I would gradually start liking the taste of more and more types of raw animal foods. I would suggest that you start with raw, grassfed meats. Then, once you get used to those, try raw organ-meats like raw liver/kidney/tongue/marrow/suet/heart etc. This is because former cooked-dieters are mostly used to eating cooked foods which are very nutrient-poor, so nutrient-rich foods like raw organ-meats take longer to get used to. I normally recommend starting with raw wild game-meat/organ-meats some time after eating raw organ-meats from grassfed animals as the former are even richer in nutrients, but you seem to handle raw deer meat quite well already.
Obviously, there will always be some raw animal foods you cannot stand. I, for example, loved the taste of raw carp at first but now cannot stand the stuff. This is perfectly natural, so don`t expect to like the taste of all types of raw meats in time.
Re detox:- When people transition to a raw, palaeolithic diet they usually experience a detox. This is inevitable as the body becomes overwhelmed after decades of eating cooked foods, so that, as soon as it experiences a period wherein it isn`t constantly getting vast amounts of heat-created toxins from cooked food(such as when fasting for long periods or when suddenly transitioning to a raw, palaeolithic diet), it immediately starts detoxing. Such initial detoxes can last for a few days or a few weeks. My own experience re my first detox was that I had 2-3 days wherein I had to go to the toilet every half hour for 3 days and developed green diarrhea during that period. Then I had a detox once every 2 to 4 months from then on, each lasting from 2 to 7 days in length, whereby I experienced minor flu-like symptoms like a warm forehead, a runny nose, and lots of fatigue. Such detox episodes decreased in terms of frequency, duration and severity, until they stopped completely after 2 years. Genuine detox episodes do not necessarily coincide with eating specific foods, so if you are experiencing health-problems always after eating a particular raw food, then it`s far more likely to be an allergy. An allergy to raw dairy on a RVAF diet is extremely common, for example.
One last thing:- Most people who try this sort of diet are like me, in that they were in very bad health originally and had failed with all other diets before trying the raw, palaeolithic diet as a last resort, and succeeding.You seem to be relatively healthy already. In which case, I should mention that, other than general health, a raw, palaeolithic diet is extremely good at slowing down age-related decline. Advanced glycation end products are one of half a dozen types of heat-created toxins caused by cooking, and AGEs, as they are called, are regularly mentioned in scientific studies as being heavily implicated in causing age-related conditions such as Alzheimer`s, osteoarthritis and many other similiar conditions. Here`s a very small sample of the thousands of studies out there on this subject:-
On a more anecdotal note, I know someone who regularly visits gatherings for raw animal foodists and he noted that the middle-aged and older among them all look on average ten years younger than cooked-food-eaters of the same chronological age.