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This Guy

2 Oct

I don’t know about you, but as the years go by, I get more and more frustrated when people jokingly imply that I must eat nothing but all raw meat, all the time. Additionally, more than a few people I have met have genuinely assumed that’s what the definition of a paleo diet is. I have patiently explained to them that human beings have had fire for a very, very long time and thus have likely adapted to digesting cooked meats (and other cooked foods) preferably. Indeed, it is much easier for our bodies to extract calories and nutrients from cooked meats, so switching to a diet based on cooked meats is quite likely what lead to our species’ drastic increase in body and brain size from our earlier Australopithecus ancestors.

rawBut then a guy like this comes along who just throws a wrench in the whole thing for the rest of us. Apparently this guy, Derek Nance, has been eating locally-sourced raw meat (most of which he butchers himself) for the last 6 years or so. He started doing it after a mysterious health condition left him unable to deal with almost any other foods, even after he cut out grains and dairy. In the article, he says that he suspects he had an imbalance in his intestinal flora which has been remedied by A) not eating any starches or sugars to promote bad flora and 2) replenishing his internal ecology with the bacterial cultures found in semi-rotting meat.

I’m not gonna lie, his theory about the flora is a good point. Also, before you get nauseous, remember that most of the meat we eat has also been “aged” for a period of time, since the beginnings of decomposition break down tough fibers and increase the flavor of the meat. Also if you’re a fan of salami and other charcuterie, many of the gamey flavors common to those meats come from similar controlled-decomposition reactions. And I do respect him for sourcing all his animals himself and being a proponent of healthy farming practices.

But I am still going to reiterate that his exclusively raw-meat approach is not the normal paleo approach, and if any smart-asses come at you with this article, just throw some more science at them.