- 4 Reasons Your Body Might Not Tolerate Meat Properly
- Follow-Up: My Fear of Meat
- Even if you are a long term vegan or vegetarian, it still is a great idea to stay informed on the plethora of benefits this lifestyle choice is bringing to you.
- 1. You’ll reduce inflammation in your body.
- 3. You’ll give your microbiome a makeover.
- 4. You’ll change how your genes work.
- 5. You’ll dramatically reduce your chances of getting type 2 diabetes.
- 6. You’ll get the right amount—and the right type—of protein.
- 7. You’ll make a huge impact on the health of our planet and its inhabitants.
- 11 Signs Your Body Might Not Be Properly Digesting Meat & What To Do About It
- 1. Bloating
- 2. Nausea
- 3. Excessive Portions
- 4. Poor Chewing
- 5. Occurrence Of Foodborne Illnesses
- 6. High Blood Pressure
- 7. Constipation
- 8. Dark Circles Under The Eye
- 9. Bad Body Odors & Breath
- 10. Fatigue
- 11. Muscle Loss
- Can Eating Meat Really Make Vegetarians Sick?
- Signs That Your Body Might Not Be Properly Digesting Meat
- National Burger Day: Symptoms of a Meat Intolerance
- Symptoms of a Meat Intolerance may include:
- Meat Allergy
- I Stopped Eating Meat and This Is What Happened During My First 12 Weeks
- 7. Choose a variety of red meats and animal proteins
- 8. Get social support and join new communities
- Here are some questions and answers about eating meat after being vegetarian or vegan
- How to avoid food poisoning
- Three top rules to avoid food poisoning
- Buying safely from the supermarket
- How to spot a dodgy cafe
- Use-by dates explained
- The different types of food poisoning
- Can I eat it? FAQ
- Does meat make vegetarians ill?
- Don’t lose it
- Heavy start
- One-sided diets with large seasonal variations
- Meat allergies
- The General Rule
- A Medical Look at the Pain
- Solutions to Beef Pains
4 Reasons Your Body Might Not Tolerate Meat Properly
I’ve always thought that my body couldn’t handle red meat was because I grew up eating 80 percent vegetarian. My family didn’t have a lot of money and our nightly dinners had six to 12 people at them, so expensive meat wasn’t an option. Plus, my mom’s a vegetarian and even though my dad was the primary parent for dinner, that definitely influenced our groceries. We ate a lot of grains, eggs, and plant-based proteins in our house and as an adult, I’ve mostly stuck to that way of eating. That is, until I met my boyfriend.
My boyfriend is a carnivore. Nothing makes him happier than a perfectly cooked ribeye steak. (The man will barely even order it in restaurants anymore, because he’s figured out the exact way to cook it.) He’s like Ron Swanson — he eats meat at basically every meal, and that works for him. It gives him the energy he needs, without sugar spikes, and helps him build muscle.
Can you see the problem here? We’re opposites. I’ve eaten more meat since we got together and I’ve found over the years that adding meat to my diet leads to gut upset (which is a polite way of saying farts and poops), and sluggishness. My body is pretty clear: Meat and I don’t get along.
Or so I thought. It turns out that the way our bodies respond to eating meat is a bit more complicated than “boyfriend likes, girlfriend doesn’t.” Here’s what health experts have to say.
1. We Are What We Eat (And What They Eat)
According to Dr. Steven R. Gundry, MD, medical director of the The International Heart and Lung Institute and The Centers for Restorative Medicine, the meat we eat these days isn’t “just” meat.
“Humans are omnivores and a such can eat and tolerate ‘meat’ without a problem,” Dr. Gundry tells Bustle. “As I show my NYT’s bestselling book, The Plant Paradox, you are what you eat, but you are what the thing you are eating, ate. If you feed a cow, pig, chicken or fish, soybeans, wheat, or corn, and give them antibiotics, the animal is not longer an animal that eats grass or bugs. Most of my patients who say they cannot eat or react to meat poorly, are reacting to the way the animal has been fed, not the animal protein, itself.”
As a result, a lot of nutritionists recommend eating only grass-fed beef and organic meats that haven’t had hormones added. (And here I was thinking it was just a marketing gimmick to get me to spend more money!)
2. It Might Be More About The Sides…
But in addition to what the animal was fed, the way we feed ourselves might also be a factor when it seems like your body can’t tolerate meat.
“Some meats, like fattier cuts of steak and burgers are more difficult to digest for anyone,” Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, and New York City- based performance nutritionist, tells Bustle. “A larger portion also means slower digestion, and sometimes when people eat meat they also eat it with other heavy foods, like meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy, or barbecue with mac and cheese. In these cases the foods you’re consuming meat with add to the symptoms.”
That one definitely resonates for me. Who doesn’t love fries with their burger or mashed potatoes with their steak? I mean, steak frites is even considered a complete dinner, in more than one culture! But when I think about it, I don’t really eat those heavy, fried foods except with meat. So maybe some of the problems I’ve had have more to do with those side dishes, and less to do with the meat itself.
3. It’s Probably NOT Your Gut Bacteria’s Fault
Also, it turns out I was wrong about my hypothesis about my gut not being able to tolerate meat because I grew up mostly vegetarian.
“We’re learning more about the gut microbiome every day, but we do know that it’s always changing, so while the makeup of it early in life is important, it does change,” Sass says. “In fact, we know that there’s a shift in the microbiome within three to four days of changing how you eat.”
4. You Might Be Allergic
Andrew Zaeh for Bustle
Finally, it’s possible that you might be straight up allergic to meat, which is a whole other issue. Maya Feller, MS, RD, CDN, CLC of Maya Feller Nutrition, tells Bustle that while meat allergies are rare, they do exist. Symptoms of a meat allergy are similar to that of other allergies people may be more familiar with: itching and burning around the mouth and lips, swelling of the lips, tongue, and throat, and even anaphylactic shock. A meat allergy can also cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
But just because your body feels a little icky after eating mean doesn’t mean you have a meat allergy. You might just be responding to one of the other reasons.
If you’re feeling like your body doesn’t tolerate meat properly, consider eating smaller portions, eating only grass-fed and hormone-free meats, and switching out those mashed potatoes for a side salad.
Follow-Up: My Fear of Meat
On a continued quest to learn more about my body and what my tummy is trying to tell me by rejecting the meat products I consume, I decided to consult my friend and trusted doctor, Dan DiBacco. I sent Dan my blog post from two weeks ago and asked him what his thoughts were. His reply email came back quickly and below is what he candidly shared:
“Wow. This is a tough one. Particularly because the food stuffs that are causing you the issues don’t have a common thread (ie wheat products making gluten intolerance a suspicion). The only real connection is protein derived from animal products. I’m unaware of any food intolerance specific to animal products besides lactose in milk.
Do any other dietary protein sources (nuts, cheese, etc) cause this issue? What about alcohol or anything else that causes this? Animal protein only?
One thing I’d consider is a potential ulcer or other digestive issue that is exacerbated by animal protein. I’m thinking much in the way diverticulitis is flared by strawberries. I’d say it’s worth discussing with a gastroenterologist. They may want to take a look (I’ve done it three times and it’s a cinch) at your innards.
In any event, an issue like this should not be ignored. Whatever the cause, it is obvious your body cannot digest animal protein. How and why this has developed would be a question for your physician. The bottom line is to not try to manage it by altering your diet until you’ve had a doc weigh in.”
Beyond this advice, I also decided to bring this matter my acupuncturist, Mona Chopra, who is a licensed acupuncturist and therapeutic yoga instructor and someone I’ve been building a relationship with. Her quick take, when sharing the same story, was that she didn’t feel that there was an immediate threat and the likelihood of me having an ulcer, or other serious issue, is nominal due to the fact that I don’t have any other symptom like stomach pain, that would normally lead one to think there might be something more serious going on.
She’s advised me to keep an eye on it and to thank my body for telling me when it’s not feeling well. I think we fail to remember that even when we’re not feeling well, that can be a good thing. Our bodies are communicating to us that something is not working properly.
Paying attention to these signs will help us learn more about our bodies and what keeps them healthy. So next time you’re feeling a little off, listen to what’s really going on and figure out the best way to respond. Consider taking a break by canceling your evening plans, seeking the council of a trusted advisor, or visiting a doctor to get a check-up.
I’ll likely be calling the Mayo Clinic gastro doctor that I worked with last year to get his take on things as well.
More on this subject at a later time…
Signing Off Paying Attention to the Signs,
- By Renee Woodruff
- Abdominal pain or cramping
- Excessive gas
- Sneezing/runny nose
- Garbanzo Beans
- Kidney Beans
- Great Northern Beans
- Three top rules to avoid food poisoning
- Buying safely from the supermarket
- How to spot a dodgy cafe
- Use-by dates explained
- The different types of food poisoning
- Can I eat it? FAQ
- Frozen chickens that are slightly soft to touch have already begun to thaw. Look for another or go to another store. And frozen chickens which look ‘dented’ may have been thawed and refrozen.
- Frozen vegetables, such as peas, which are frozen into a solid mass have probably been semi-thawed and refrozen – don’t buy them. Spinach is an exception to this rule.
- Frozen food cartons that are wet, damp or sag in your hand have also probably begun thawing – don’t buy them.
- If you find frozen or chilled foods left standing unattended in the aisle, go to another store.
- Don’t buy frozen foods if they’re stacked above the ‘load line’ in horizontal freezers (usually a blue or black line with the words ‘load limit’ written above it) – they may be at too high a temperature.
- Cans that look swollen or dairy products, like yoghurt, with the foil cover bulging may be going off.
- Don’t buy leaking cartons, cans, bottles or other containers.
- Don’t buy products with broken or imperfect seals or badly dented cans.
- If a vacuum-packed product isn’t tightly packed, and the packet is loose around the product, don’t buy it.
- Check for mould on foods such as cheese and crumpets – don’t buy them if you find it.
- Check use-by dates and dates of packing, particularly on meat and dairy products.
- Shop last for chilled and frozen food. Keep them in an insulated cooler or wrapped in several layers of paper until you get home. Make sure meat products are packed separately from other groceries. Take these kinds of groceries straight home to the fridge or freezer.
- If you find things wrong in your local store report it to the store manager. If they don’t take action, shop elsewhere next time and let your local authority know. Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has contact details for your local food enforcement agency.
- Dirty floors, counters and tables – they can carry bacteria and attract pests. If people can’t keep their premises clean, chances are they don’t do much better with the food.
- Staff with dirty hands or fingernails, dangling jewellery and long hair not tied back.
- Staff wiping surfaces or equipment with a non-disposable cloth – or not disposing of it afterwards. Just because a cloth looks clean doesn’t mean it is.
- Staff using the same set of tongs for different types of food – for example, salads and meat.
- Staff not washing their hands after handling raw meat.
- Wearing the same gloves when handling different foods or handing you your change and docket – this defeats the purpose of gloves.
- Dirty crockery, cutlery or glasses – including chips and cracks.
- Lukewarm foods that should be hot and cold foods that aren’t quite cold. Hot foods should be kept above 60°C (steaming hot) and cold foods below 5°C to stop most bacteria from multiplying.
- Unrefrigerated pre-packed sandwiches.
- Foods that aren’t cooked right through – watch out for pink bits in the centre of hamburger meat and pink uncooked chicken (particularly near the bone).
- Raw and cooked foods, such as salads and meats, touching each other in display units.
- Food displayed uncovered or unwrapped on counters.
- Condensation dripping from display cabinets onto foods.
When I gave up meat 12 years ago, as my body naturally refused to take it any more I had no idea what I was in for!
Skyrocketing energy levels, painless weight loss and a newly found feeling of joy and happiness are just some of the things you experience (or read about), but there is so much more to it!
And if you are someone, who still needs a good amount of proper motivation to take the step and stick to the decision, then an educational piece of writing like this one might be the uplifting read you need today!
Even if you are a long term vegan or vegetarian, it still is a great idea to stay informed on the plethora of benefits this lifestyle choice is bringing to you.
To start reaping these benefits today, , featuring 145 perfectly balanced recipes that will boost health, skyrocket energy and weight loss.
It’s just great for fueling your enthusiasm and the ability to stand up for yourself when carnivores challenge you with their ‘scientific facts.’ 😉
1. You’ll reduce inflammation in your body.
If you are eating meat, cheese, and highly processed foods, chances are you have elevated levels of inflammation in your body. While short-term inflammation (such as after an injury) is normal and necessary, inflammation that lasts for months or years is not. Chronic inflammation has been linked to the development of atherosclerosis, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and autoimmune diseases, among other conditions.
In contrast, plant-based diets are naturally anti-inflammatory, because they are high in fiber, antioxidants, and other phytonutrients, and much lower in inflammatory triggers like saturated fat and endotoxins (toxins released from bacteria commonly found in animal foods). Studies have shown that people who adopt plant-based diets can dramatically lower their level of C-reactive protein (CRP), an indicator of inflammation in the body.
2. Your blood cholesterol levels will plummet.
Elevated blood cholesterol is a key risk factor for heart disease and strokes, two of the leading killers in the United States. Saturated fat—primarily found in meat, poultry, cheese, and other animal products—is a major driver of our blood cholesterol levels. Cholesterol in our food also plays a role.
Studies consistently show that when people go plant based, their blood cholesterol levels drop by up to 35% . In many cases, the decrease is equal to that seen with drug therapy—with many positive side effects! People who require cholesterol-lowering drugs can further slash their cholesterol levels and cardiovascular risk by adopting a plant-based diet.
Whole-food, plant-based diets reduce blood cholesterol because they tend to be very low in saturated fat and they contain zero cholesterol. Moreover, plant-based diets are high in fiber, which further reduces blood cholesterol levels. Soy has also been shown to play a role in lowering cholesterol, for those who choose to include it.
3. You’ll give your microbiome a makeover.
Also Check Out ‘The One Catastrophic Threat In Meat You Possibly Never Considered’
The trillions of microorganisms living in our bodies are collectively called the microbiome. Increasingly, these microorganisms are recognized as crucial to our overall health: not only do they help us digest our food, but they produce critical nutrients, train our immune systems, turn genes on and off, keep our gut tissue healthy, and help protect us from cancer. Studies have also shown they play a role in obesity, diabetes, atherosclerosis, autoimmune disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and liver disease.
Plant foods help shape a healthy intestinal microbiome. The fiber in plant foods promotes the growth of “friendly” bacteria in our guts. On the other hand, fiber-poor diets (such as those that are high in dairy, eggs, and meat) can foster the growth of disease-promoting bacteria. Landmark studies have shown that when omnivores eat choline or carnitine (found in meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and dairy), gut bacteria make a substance that is converted by our liver to a toxic product called TMAO. TMAO leads to worsening cholesterol plaques in our blood vessels and escalates the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Interestingly, people eating plant-based diets make little or no TMAO after a meat-containing meal, because they have a totally different gut microbiome. It takes only a few days for our gut bacterial patterns to change – the benefits of a plant-based diet start quickly!
4. You’ll change how your genes work.
Scientists have made the remarkable discovery that environmental and lifestyle factors can turn genes on and off. For example, the antioxidants and other nutrients we eat in whole plant foods can change gene expression to optimize how our cells repair damaged DNA. Research has also shown that lifestyle changes, including a plant-based diet, can decrease the expression of cancer genes in men with low-risk prostate cancer. We’ve even seen that a plant-based diet, along with other lifestyle changes, can lengthen our telomeres—the caps at the end of our chromosomes that help keep our DNA stable. This might mean that our cells and tissues age more slowly, since shortened telomeres are associated with aging and earlier death.
5. You’ll dramatically reduce your chances of getting type 2 diabetes.
An estimated 38% of Americans have prediabetes—a precursor to type 2 diabetes. Animal protein, especially red and processed meat, has been shown in study after study to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. In the Adventist population, omnivores have double the rate of diabetes compared with vegans, even accounting for differences in body weight. In fact, in this population, eating meat once a week or more over a 17-year period increased the risk of diabetes by 74%! Similarly, in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study and Nurses Health Study, increasing red meat intake by more than just half a serving per day was associated with a 48% increased risk in diabetes over 4 years.
Why would meat cause type 2 diabetes? Several reasons: animal fat, animal-based (heme) iron, and nitrate preservatives in meat have been found to damage pancreatic cells, worsen inflammation, cause weight gain, and impair the way our insulin functions.
You will dramatically lessen your chances of getting type 2 diabetes by leaving animal products off of your plate and eating a diet based in whole plant foods. This is especially true if you eat whole grains, which are highly protective against type 2 diabetes. You read that right: carbs actually protect you from diabetes! Also, a plant-based diet can improve or even reverse your diabetes if you’ve already been diagnosed.
6. You’ll get the right amount—and the right type—of protein.
Contrary to popular perception, this excess protein does not make us stronger or leaner. Excess protein is stored as fat or turned into waste, and animal protein is a major cause of weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, inflammation, and cancer.
On the other hand, the protein found in whole plant foods protects us from many chronic diseases. There is no need to track protein intake or use protein supplements with plant-based diets; if you are meeting your daily calorie needs, you will get plenty of protein. The longest-lived people on Earth, those living in the “Blue Zones,” get about 10% of their calories from protein, compared with the US average of 15-20%.
7. You’ll make a huge impact on the health of our planet and its inhabitants.
Animal agriculture is extremely destructive to the planet. It is the single largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, and is a leading cause of land and water use, deforestation, wildlife destruction, and species extinction. About 2,000 gallons of water are needed to produce just one pound of beef in the U.S. Our oceans are rapidly becoming depleted of fish; by some estimates, oceans may be fishless by 2048. The current food system, based on meat and dairy production, also contributes to world hunger—the majority of crops grown worldwide go toward feeding livestock, not feeding people.
Equally important, animals raised for food are sentient beings who suffer, whether raised in industrial factory farms or in farms labeled “humane.” Eating a plant-based diet helps us lead a more compassionate life. After all, being healthy is not just about the food we eat; it’s also about our consciousness—our awareness of how our choices affect the planet and all of those with whom we share it.
All this is super exciting, right? And it’s easier to get started than you thought! With the right recipes and foods, transitioning to veganism can be a breeze! Download The Complete Vegan Recipe Solution with 145 nutrient-dense recipes that are delicious, filling, and designed with YOUR HEALTH in mind!
11 Signs Your Body Might Not Be Properly Digesting Meat & What To Do About It
Meat can be a really healthy, protein-packed staple in your diet, but it doesn’t necessarily work for all body types and metabolisms. Knowing if there are signs your body doesn’t digest meat well can help you eat smart and feel more comfortable. There are certain foods that trigger an intolerance or sensitivity, and unless recognized, you might experience irregular bowels, head pains, body aches, and other debilitating symptoms.
As a certified health coach, I learned that there’s no one diet that fits all. Eating meat isn’t a requisite for a healthy and happy lifestyle, and while someone might thrive when eating a meat heavy diet, another person might notice pains and abdominal discomfort. Anything that throws the body out of balance can cause problems, and food is a common trigger for such instability. If you find that you can’t tolerate meat, it’s not a diet buster, as you can still find protein and iron in plant-based sources and will probably feel a lot better. Here are 11 signs that your body can’t process meat well, and you should avoid it as best as possible.
If you notice bloating after eating meat, it could be a sign of malabsorption and be representative of a failure to digest food properly. Abdominal distention and an overall feeling of fatigue after eating meat is a large enough reason to eliminate it and see if you feel better.
According to Rachna Govani, CEO and co-founder of Foodstand over email with Bustle, “nausea, heartburn, and indigestion” could be to blame for not digesting meat well, and these symptoms can prove to be incredibly uncomfortable. If you feel sick to your stomach during work, you’ll have a harder time concentrating and being productive. Swap meat for a salad for lunch.
3. Excessive Portions
“One reason people may have trouble digesting meat is that portion sizes are usually much too large,” explains Govani. “A portion of meat should be ~3 oz or the size of your palm. But if you’ve ever gone to a steak house (or literally any restaurant), the serving sizes are at least double. Consuming portions that are too large could be a culprit,” Govani adds.
4. Poor Chewing
“People may not be able to digest meat if they are not chewing their food enough. It’s harder for the stomach to break down meat than plant foods,” explains Govani. “This is why we recommend people join our One Bite at a Time challenge, which will teach you to chew more, slow down, and eventually eat more appropriate portion sizes that could help control some of these painful experiences,” adds Govani.
5. Occurrence Of Foodborne Illnesses
If you’re not able to digest meat well, you might find yourself getting sick more often, especially with foodborne illnesses, such as Salmonella and E. Coli. If your immunity is decreasing, it could be due to eating meat and a failure to digest properly.
6. High Blood Pressure
“One important problem you may not feel – high blood pressure. High blood pressure can be silent, and still cause damage,” says Neil Grimmer, founder of Habit over email with Bustle. “Eating more vegetables tends to lower blood pressure. But a vegetarian DASH diet is the best. If you are one of the millions of Americans with high blood pressure, this may be a good sign that you’d do better cutting back on meat,” Grimmer adds.
“Every person has a unique digestive system that functions based not only on their genetics but also heavily on their dietary habits as well. I’ve found more and more clients complaining about indigestion and constipation post red meat consumption which may be related to a variety of factors,” says Elizabeth Ann Shaw, MS, RDN, CLT, over email with Bustle. “For instance, depending on the cut of meat, some are exceptionally high in fat. Fat takes longer to digest in the body so it may cause indigestion based on the other foods you are consuming during the meal. Constipation may be a result of the high iron typically found in red meats which can be constipating for some,” Shaw explains.
8. Dark Circles Under The Eye
Dark circles don’t just come from a poor night’s sleep. Apparently, not digesting meat properly can mess with your beauty regimen, too. “If you get dark cycles under your eyes after eating meat, especially the next day it’s a sign the meat has not been digested properly,” says nutritional expert and author of “The Earth Diet,” and “10-Minute Recipes” published by Hay House, Liana Werner-Gray, over email with Bustle.
9. Bad Body Odors & Breath
“Bad breath and body odor are both signs that your body isn’t digesting meat properly. If meat isn’t digested properly, the smelly odor can go back into the digestive system which eventually makes its way to the skin and breath,” explains Werner-Gray. “If this is the case try taking digestive enzymes to help break it down so it doesn’t accumulate a bad smell in your gut,” Werner-Gray recommends.
“If you feel really sluggish and tired after eating meat it’s a sign your body doesn’t properly digest meat. It’s a sign that the meat is stuck in your bowels and actually draining energy from your body working it off to digest it,” advises Werner-Gray. Furthermore, “if you feel like you have a brick in your gut for days after eating meat, it’s a sign you are not digesting meat properly,” Werner-Gray adds.
11. Muscle Loss
According to Dr. Partha Nandi M.D., F.A.C.P, creator and host of the Emmy-award winning medical lifestyle television show, “Ask Dr. Nandi” and Chief Health Editor at WXYZ-TV (ABC) Detroit, over email with Bustle, “signs that your body doesn’t properly digest meat include nausea and vomiting and fatigue after eating meat. Also, you may experience loss of muscle, problems with your immune system and liver.”
If you notice any of these symptoms after eating meat, it might be wise to alter your diet and try more plant-based foods to see if there’s an improvement. It might seem scary to give up meat, but your healthy lifestyle won’t suffer if you know how to eat right and fuel yourself.
Can Eating Meat Really Make Vegetarians Sick?
So do people who forgo meat then temporarily lose their ability to digest it, or is that just a myth?
People choose to give up meat and become vegetarians for myriad reasons. Sometimes it’s to cut back on the cholesterol and saturated fat found in their favorite meat products; other times it’s because they’re opposed to the environmental and moral impact of the meat industry itself. Likewise, there are just as many reasons why a number of vegetarians decide to go back to an omnivorous lifestyle. As a vegetarian, I’ll freely admit that there are times when few things sound more satisfying than a big ol’ cheeseburger. But part of my reluctance to return to the world of meat (other than, you know, my reasons for becoming a vegetarian in the first place) stems from the potential havoc something like a cheeseburger would wreak on a digestive system that hasn’t confronted red meat in many years.
The Digestive System Doesn’t Like Change
Within the human gastrointestinal tract lie tons of bacteria called “gut flora” that help break down anything that’s consumed. Some types of flora build up more than others, based on one’s regular diet. The same is true of the enzymes that GI tract cells secrete and that also help with digestion. So if someone stops eating meat for a significant amount of time, it’s possible that the amount of enzymes dedicated to animal-protein digestion might reduce a little to compensate for the increase of other food groups in the system. But that’s by no means a permanent condition. “The gut senses what it needs to secrete,” says Rania Batayneh, a nutritionist and wellness coach based in San Francisco. “If you haven’t consumed a type of food in a long time and you eat it, it just might take a longer time to digest, especially with meat.”
Toni Bloom, a registered dietician who teaches sports nutrition at San Jose State University, also believes it has more to do with the diet shift. “Anytime you put something different in there, it can upset the balance. It’s not a bad thing; it’s that your body has to adjust,” she explains. Basically, making radical changes to one’s diet is going to throw the digestive system for a loop, at least in the beginning. Take someone who subsides mostly on junk food: One day, he decides to eat more healthfully and fills up on salads, whole grains, and beans instead. Even though he’s adopted a much better diet, it’s likely he’ll experience bloating, gas, and nausea—the same symptoms vegetarians often report after eating meat again for the first time—for the first few days. That’s because his system has to work harder than usual to break down those unfamiliar, fibrous substances.
But not only is the human body resilient, it’s a fast learner, to boot, and it gets used to the change in diet relatively quickly. The same holds true for former vegetarians—many of them stop experiencing symptoms not too long after they begin eating meat again.
Considering the Bigger Picture
Not all vegetarians-turned-omnivores feel sick after their first meal back, because we don’t all have the same diets and therefore don’t digest everything the same way and with the same results. Vegetarians who eat a balanced diet (that means not relying solely on cheese and bread) tend to consume less fat than their meat-eating friends, simply because animal proteins have high saturated fat contents compared with plant proteins, like lentils. So a vegetarian who goes from a low-fat diet to a cheeseburger might have more physical issues than one who chooses a lighter return meal. “Saturated fat can cause a lot of discomfort in digestion, because it’s very heavy on the system and a lot of saturated fat comes from animal products,” Batayneh shares.
Bloom notes that it’s important to consider how reintroducing meat into one’s diet affects the rest of his or her food choices. “If someone’s making chicken a bigger part of dinner, my guess is, they’re also having a smaller portion of ,” she says. “It might not be the fact that they added chicken, but that they’re eating less produce or grains.” Just as eating a big piece of fatty meat increases one’s chances of stomach upset, so does focusing too much on one food group and throwing off the gastrointestinal tract even more.
Think Skinless Chicken, not Bacon Cheeseburger
So how does a vegetarian who wants to eat meat again minimize his or her chances of digestive problems? Both Batayneh and Bloom believe that gradual changes and small portions are key. Bloom suggests starting with a few pieces of meat on a salad or making it a side dish so that the diet is changed as minimally as possible for the first few days. Batayneh tells her clients who make the switch to eat fish and lean poultry, like chicken and turkey, because those are the easiest kinds of meat to digest; opt for lean cuts of pork and beef as well. She reminds them to keep portions small and incorporate them into the vegetables and grains they already eat regularly. “Have the same things you’re used to when adding something a little different, to ease the transition,” she says.
For any vegetarians out there who want to take a break from vegetarianism, take comfort in knowing that digestive issues aren’t set in stone and that your systems will return to stasis after a few days. On the other hand, that also means that a cheeseburger, steak, or any of those other meaty foods you’ve been craving probably shouldn’t be your welcome-back meal if you want to avoid bloating and nausea. Instead, opt for something simple and light—your stomach will greatly appreciate it, even if your taste buds don’t.
See: The Perfect Gourmet Grilled Cheese: 25 Delicious Recipes To Try
Signs That Your Body Might Not Be Properly Digesting Meat
February 8 2018
For a lot of people, it is hard to resist the temptation of a nicely cooked steak or a juicy hamburger. Despite the fact that meat is full of nutrients, it also contains a number of natural chemical toxins, saturated fat, and elements that make it difficult for us to digest. Eating too much meat can lead to serious consequences from increasing the risk of diabetes to heart disease and even cancer.
Let’s see how many of these you have been experiencing.
We all have different digestive systems, and they are based on our genetics and dietary habits. Depending on the cut of the meat, some are quite high in fat. Fats take more time to be digested by the body, and that’s why they can cause indigestion the next day. Constipation can be a result of the high iron that is normally found in red meats (beef, pork, or lamb). Besides, red meat is low in fibre, which is essential for regular bowel movements.
Tip: Some studies reveal that eating too much red meat can increase the chances of developing bowel cancer. Try to eat red meat only in conservative amounts (100-200 g just twice a week) with lots of vegetables or grains. Try to avoid eating liver and kidneys. Switch to seafood or chicken, and choose boiled meat over fried.
Constantly feeling hungry
If you feel hungry all the time even though you’ve just finished a meal, it can mean that you’ve been having too much protein. When you don’t have enough carbs, your body’s blood sugar goes down, and you don’t produce mood-regulating serotonin, the chemical that makes you feel hungry.
Tip: If you realize that you always feel hungry, try to snack on Greek yogurt with berries or hummus with wholegrain crackers instead of a sandwich for lunch. Try to cut out meat for several days, and see if you feel better and fresher.
Dark circles under the eyes
Don’t get tricked into assuming that dark circles under the eyes come from lack of sleep or tiredness. It turns out that not digesting meat properly can disrupt your beauty routine. If you get them a lot (especially the day after you eat meat), then it’s a sign that the meat was not digested.
The compromised gut lining allows meat particles to pass through the gut wall and right into the bloodstream undigested, and they are regarded as “foreign” invaders. The body will try to produce certain antibodies to eliminate the foreign substance, and the reaction to this can be dark circles under the eyes, a symptom which is usually overlooked by health professionals.
High blood pressure
If you experience high blood pressure, this can be a sign that it’s time to cut back on meat. Processed and cooked meats contain a high level of sodium because they are normally cured, seasoned, and preserved with salt. Besides, chicken skin and red meat are high in saturated fat. All these can lead to worsening hypertension and even developing coronary heart disease.
Tip: Try to lower the amount of meat you consume, switching to vegetables instead. If you can’t resist, try to switch to leaner meats and seafood as they are normally lower in fat.
Bad breath and body odour
Experiencing bad breath and body odour is a sign that your body is not digesting meat properly. If meat is not digested well, a smelly odour goes back out of your digestive system and eventually makes its way into your skin and breath. If you keep having these unpleasant problems, try taking digestive enzymes to assist in breaking the meat down so it doesn’t accumulate in your gut.
Weakened immune system
When your body doesn’t digest meat properly, you might get sick more often than usual. Your immune system can be affected because of the natural sugar (called Neu5Gc) found in red meat, and it is very hard for our bodies to digest. This sugar is normally produced by carnivorous animals and allows them to sustain their meat diets. Our bodies do not produce it, and that’s why we treat it as a foreign substance, which sets off a toxic immune reaction. This reaction can cause a lot of other problems, with cancer being the most serious.
Tip: Try to have more nutritious food like quinoa, nuts, green vegetables, and fruit. They provide essential antioxidants, fibre and protein, and they ensure that all your macro and micronutrient needs are met. So if you have to eat meat, be sure to balance it with the healthy foods listed above as a side dish or a salad. Don’t forget to include some exercise and enough vitamin D to support your immune system.
If after eating meat you start to feel very sluggish or tired, don’t brush it off as normal behaviour. It means that your body isn’t digesting the meat, and it is simply stuck in your bowels. When it’s stuck, it diverts all your energy to your digestive system. Also, if you feel like you are carrying something like a brick in your gut for days after eating meat, it’s time to switch completely to something green and fresh — fruit, fresh smoothies, and raw vegetables.
Nausea is a common symptom of not digesting meat well as it can be a reaction to certain bacteria in meat. Some pregnant women find that eating meat causes them to feel extremely nauseous. It could also simply be that something (perhaps an overworked organ) in your body is rejecting meat.
Tip: If switching to salad doesn’t help and you feel nauseous or experience cramps between 4 to 26 hours after you eat meat, you should see a doctor immediately.
Meat products are one of the most difficult foods for the human body to digest because the protein contained in meat (especially red meat) is harder for us to break down, and this can cause bloating. Large amounts of fatty foods like meat make your stomach empty slower, which also causes bloating or discomfort. Improper digestion of meat can lead to the accumulation of toxins in the body.
Tip: Instead of going for a steak, go for fish or chicken. These animal products are easier for us to digest. Always have vegetables (steamed or raw) as a side dish or a salad. If you stop eating meat, you will most likely get rid of bloating for good.
Sourced from Brightside.
National Burger Day: Symptoms of a Meat Intolerance
Tomorrow is National Burger Day so many people will be celebrating by sparking up the barbie and having a juicy burger unless you have a meat intolerance. For most people, meat is an excellent source of minerals, vitamins and protein in their diet. Red meat is a great source of iron for people’s diet.
However, meat does not agree with everyone and can cause people uncomfortable symptoms. If you experience symptoms after consuming meat you may have a meat intolerance. Allergy Test Australia can confirm if you have a meat sensitivity with a food intolerance test.
It is important to note that some people may have an allergy to meat, in this instance, you will need a food allergen test and will need to visit your GP or health professional to obtain a food allergen test.
Symptoms of a Meat Intolerance may include:
If you have a meat intolerance or simply don’t eat meat it is very important to replace meat with other foods that provide your body with protein. It may be worthwhile finding out what your recommended protein intake is so that you are eating the correct amount. We would recommend the following substitutes that are all high in protein:
When it comes to managing a meat intolerance, it is important to start taking an intolerance test with Allergy Test Australia. You need to confirm what type of food intolerance you have before you can move forward. Once you find out which meats are causing you trouble you can opt for a meat free diet and in doing so you can stop uncomfortable symptoms from affecting your body.
When you remove meat from your diet, it is important that you continue to get iron, zinc, protein etc. We have a professional nutritionist in-house that can help you create a suitable diet plan once you receive your results to ensure you are eating a healthy balanced diet.
If you need any help our expert customer service team are on hand to speak to you 24 hours a day, 5 days a week via Live Chat. You can get in touch here: www.allergytestaustralia.com
We hope you enjoy your meaty or non-meaty burgers tomorrow. #NationalBurgerDay
Once a meat allergy is diagnosed, the best treatment is to avoid the trigger. Carefully check ingredient labels of food products and learn whether what you need to avoid is known by other names.
Be extra careful when you eat out. Waiters, and sometimes the kitchen staff, may not always know the ingredients of every dish on the menu.
Anyone with a food allergy must make some changes in what they eat. Your allergist can direct you to helpful resources, including special cookbooks, patient support groups, and registered dietitians who can help you plan meals.
Managing a severe food reaction with epinephrine
A food allergy, including a meat allergy, can cause symptoms that range from mild to life-threatening; the severity of each reaction is unpredictable. People who have previously experienced only mild symptoms may suddenly experience a more severe reaction, including anaphylaxis. In the US, food allergy is the leading cause of anaphylaxis outside the hospital setting.
Epinephrine is the first-line treatment for anaphylaxis, which results when exposure to an allergen triggers a flood of chemicals that can send your body potentially into shock if not treated promptly. Anaphylaxis can occur within seconds or minutes, can worsen quickly, and can be deadly.
Once you’ve been diagnosed with a food allergy, your allergist will likely prescribe an epinephrine auto-injector and teach you how to use it. Check the expiration date of your auto-injector, note the expiration date on your calendar, and ask your pharmacy about reminder services for prescription renewals.
If possible, have two epinephrine auto-injectors available, especially if you are going to be far from emergency care, as the severe reaction may reoccur. Epinephrine should be used immediately if you experience severe symptoms such as shortness of breath, repetitive coughing, generalized hives, tightness in your throat, trouble breathing or swallowing, or a combination of symptoms from different body areas such as hives, rashes, or swelling on the skin coupled with vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain.
Even if you are uncertain whether a reaction calls for epinephrine, you should use it, as the benefits of epinephrine far outweigh the risk.
Common side effects of epinephrine may include anxiety, restlessness, dizziness, and shakiness. If you have certain pre-existing conditions, you may be at a higher risk for adverse effects with epinephrine.
Your allergist will provide you with a written emergency treatment plan that outlines which medications should be given and when.
Once epinephrine has been administered, immediately call 911 and inform the dispatcher that epinephrine was given.
Other medications may be prescribed to treat symptoms of a food allergy, including antihistamines and albuterol, but it is important to note that there is no substitute for epinephrine: It is the only medication that can reverse the life-threatening symptoms of anaphylaxis. These other medications can be given after using epinephrine, and antihistamines alone may be given for milder allergic reactions per your food allergy action plan.
Managing Food Allergies in Children
Because fatal and near-fatal food allergy reactions, like other food allergy symptoms, can develop when a child is not with his or her family, make sure your child’s school, daycare, or other program has a written emergency action plan with instructions on preventing, recognizing, and managing these episodes in class and during activities such as sporting events and field trips.
If your child has been prescribed an auto-injector, be sure that you and those responsible for supervising your child understand how to use it. See an allergist for expert care and relief from meat allergy.
This page was reviewed and updated 5/8/2019.
I Stopped Eating Meat and This Is What Happened During My First 12 Weeks
Zack StarikovFollow Jul 15, 2015 · 4 min read
I didn’t think giving up meat was going to be easy but it never even occurred to me that it would hurt as much as it did. A bizarre run in with a pig while on a walk with my pug got me to give up eating meat. You can read the story here. My first 12 weeks of meat free!
Week 1: I felt great. I couldn’t understand why people claimed it was so hard to stop eating meat. I pretty much just ate tuna salad sandwiches, pasta, and peanut butter sandwiches. No complaints since all three are favorites.
Week 2: I started feeling sluggish. I started wondering if I was getting sick.
Week 3: I felt worse than I had the previous week. I was tired everyday and I felt as if I was gaining weight. I was angry most of the day and feeling anxious. My girlfriend claims the littlest of things agitated me.
Week 4: Girlfriend talked me into eating more vegetables. I started eating things like kale, chard and brussel sprouts. None of this tasted good to me but I ate it because it turns out pasta has too much sugar. Eating tuna everyday can lead to mercury poisoning. Apparently peanut butter is high in calories and too much of it can make you fat.
Week 5: I found myself spending more time in the bathroom. Not eating meat and eating more vegetables, tofu and seitan really started messing with my stomach. Perhaps it’s the stomach issues that made me really miss meat and regret my decision. My body started to hurt pretty badly and all sorts of muscle aches developed. Nighttime sleep came with chills and sweats.
Week 6: I started getting headaches and vomiting. My mood shifted from angry to sad. The chard still tasted disgusting but the brussel sprouts and kale started to grow on me. My body still didn’t feel right and I was spending a lot of time in the bathroom.
Week 7: The headaches and vomiting still occurred every couple of days. I started feeling less sad and more hopeful. My craving for meat decreased a little. Nighttime chills and sweating at night decreased as well. My body still ached but not as much.
Week 8: I felt as if I finally started recovering from having been sick with the flu. I was still spending a lot of time in the bathroom but the headaches seemed to have gone away. Chard still tasted gross but surprisingly was easier to eat than the previous days. Kale and brussel sprouts tasted better and my mood changed for the better.
Week 9: Bathroom trips not as frequent. Headaches disappeared. Chard still gross but edible. According to the girlfriend my skin was looking better. Had to tighten my belt because my jeans felt a little loose. Feelings of being more energetic and actually sleeping which I was having a lot of problems with.
Week 10: Happy and positive. Started choosing to use stairs instead of elevators and escalators. Sleeping almost 7 or 8 hours as opposed to half of that. Just feeling better. Bathroom trips still much more frequent than when I was a carnivore. Not feeling heavy after meals and definitely losing weight. Kale and brussel sprouts actually started to taste good and the chard surprisingly still gross.
Week 11: Feeling good. Bathroom visits under control. Pipes seem to flow better than all those times when I ate meat. Sleeping well. Enjoying Kale and brussel sprouts. Still eating chard despite the gross taste.
Week 12: Meat still looks good when seeing an ad for a steakhouse but the craving feeling extinguished. Feeling happy. Feeling good. Sleeping well. Developed craving for grilled brussel sprouts after not having them for 4 days. Feeling healthy.
Thoughts: Recently I read about how all sorts of chemicals are injected into the animals we eat and all the chemical processes used to make the meat look a certain way. It makes me wonder if what I experienced was a possible drug withdrawal from the chemicals I had gotten addicted to during my 33 years as a carnivore. I’m not really sure why I had such severe headaches that caused me to vomit or why I got the chills and the sweats at night after cutting meat out of my diet. Although I did not mention this earlier but aside from eating kale, brussel sprouts and disgusting chard I also made sure to eat hummus, fruits, other vegetables, brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal, beans, tofu, seitan, tuna fish once in a while, peanut butter, whole wheat bread, avocado, walnuts, brasil nuts, and drinking almond and cashew milk. Since giving up meat I have lost about 11 lbs and according to my girlfriend I am less irritable and moody…
If you need any advice on how to stop eating meat (break the habbit of eating meat, finding food alternatives, or overcoming pressure from peers about eating meat) please feel free to reach out and get in touch. I’d love to help in anyway I can.
Here are some other tips for what to do if you have orthorexia.
7. Choose a variety of red meats and animal proteins
The truth is, humans evolved eating a much more varied diet than most of us eat now. The variety is what provides us with the macro- and micro-nutrients our bodies need. I am guilty of eating the same foods over and over again, but I’m trying to get into the habit of ordering different types and cuts of red meat and other animal proteins when I order online.
U.S. Wellness Meats is such a great source for offering a variety of meats and cuts.
Leaving veganism or vegetarianism is a huge life change; many people say that veganism is less of a diet and more of a lifestyle. For me, the experience meant re-building my identify and finding new communities to join. The paleo and primal communities are filled with ex-vegans, including Mark Sisson and Chris Kresser who have each created empires around conscious food choices.
A simple search on Facebook for “recovering vegans” will result in groups of people who have gone through this experience and have experienced vegan health risks. Life transitions as big as this are always made easier with the support of others. I also have a Clean Eating Support Facebook group where questions on this topic are always welcome.
Here are some questions and answers about eating meat after being vegetarian or vegan
Do vegans eat meat?
No, vegans do not eat meat or any product that comes from an animal. Many vegans also avoid wearing clothes or using any other products that come from an animal, such as leather.
Do vegans eat fish?
No, vegans do not eat fish.
Do vegetarians get sick when they eat meat?
Vegetarians or vegans won’t get sick when they eat meat, but they might feel sluggish or have a stomachache if they eat too much too quickly.
How do vegetarians start eating meat again?
Start slowly and with small amounts. Some people might find it easier to eat fish or ground meat to start.
Do vegetarians lose the ability to digest meat?
Vegetarians or vegans might not be making as much digestive enzymes, so it’s not a bad idea to take digestive enzymes when you reintroduce meat.
Will eating meat again make me gain weight?
It depends. If you are underweight after being on a vegan or vegetarian diet, then you might gain weight once you eat a more balanced diet. Eating meat, however, won’t make you overweight in the context of an overall balanced, healthy approach.
Can I be a vegetarian that eats fish?
Vegetarians technically do not eat fish, but I would encourage you to be less concerned about rules, and more concerned about supplying your body with the nutrients it needs. So, if you want to eat fish, then eat fish!
I hope you find this post helpful! Have you had experience reintroducing red meat back into your diet after deciding to transition away from being a vegetarian or vegan? Let me know other suggestions in the comments below.
How to avoid food poisoning
Nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea are generally not anyone’s idea of a good time, but the 4.1 million Australians who come down with food poisoning every year experience such symptoms. And it’s not uncommon for the cause to be home-cooked food!
On this page:
Don’t let raw meat or juices come into contact with food that’s going to be eaten uncooked.
Three top rules to avoid food poisoning
Whether the food comes from your kitchen or the local café, the basic rules of avoiding uninvited guests such as Escherichia coli O157 H7 (better known as E.Coli) or Bacillus cereus are the same.
1. Avoid the temperature danger zone
Bacteria thrive at temperatures between 5°C and 60°C. In ideal conditions, their numbers can multiply and reach dangerous levels in just a few hours. So, store cold food below 5°C and hot food above 60°C. See our fridge temperature guide for more details on safe food refrigeration.
2. Avoid cross-contamination
At home, the most likely sources of harmful bacteria are raw meat and unwashed fruit and vegetables. Don’t let raw meat or juices come into contact with food that’s going to be eaten uncooked or defrosting meat drip onto other food in the fridge. Always wash your hands before starting to prepare food – and wash them again after handling raw meat.
3. When in doubt, toss it out
Most food-poisoning bacteria and their toxins have no taste or smell. The smell of putrefaction is usually due to relatively harmless bacteria called pseudomonas. So it might not be obvious that food’s contaminated. See our FAQs on what’s safe to eat (below) for the answers to your commonly asked dodgy-food-in-the-fridge questions.
Buying safely from the supermarket
We’d hate to think Australia’s big (or little) supermarkets aren’t always practicing due diligence when it comes to food safety, but an ounce of prevention is definitely worth a pound of cure when you’re filling up your trolley.
What to watch out for
Don’t buy frozen food cartons that are wet, damp or sag in your hand.
How to spot a dodgy cafe
Avoiding contaminated food in a restaurant can be especially tricky. The place may look squeaky clean, but that doesn’t mean it is. If it looks like hygiene is not high on the list, however, it probably isn’t.
Use-by dates explained
Foods that have a use-by date should be eaten or frozen before the end of the date shown. You shouldn’t eat them after this date and it’s illegal for shops to sell foods once a use-by date has passed.
Foods that have a best-before date are less perishable, and this date gives a guide to how long you can expect the food to keep its quality (not safety). It’s OK to eat (and sell) these foods after the date has passed. Use your common sense – although they’ll often be perfectly acceptable, they may sometimes not be as good-quality as they once were.
Bread can have a ‘baked on’ date or even a ‘baked for’ date, instead of a best-before date.
All dates only apply if the food has been properly stored and transported, so if the packaging looks damaged or otherwise suspect, give it a miss.
Infants, babies and people with weakened defences are more susceptible to food poisoning.
The different types of food poisoning
We’ve used the term “bacteria” here to refer to the micro-organisms that grow on food and can infect anyone who eats it. Strictly speaking, these harmful bacteria are known as “pathogens”. Many other bacteria are harmless.
The symptoms of “food poisoning” are sometimes caused by toxins produced by bacteria and other times caused by bacteria themselves infecting the body. The most common symptoms are vomiting and diarrhoea, usually preceded by abdominal cramps and sometimes a headache.
Usually it takes large numbers of food poisoning bacteria to cause illness, as our body’s natural defences can usually take care of most smallish invasions. But infants, babies and people with weakened defences (such as those who are already sick, the elderly and those on immunosuppressive drugs) are much more susceptible. Preparing food for anyone in these categories demands extra care.
In Australia, the bugs that commonly cause problems are:
Just one drop of contaminated chicken juice can make you very sick. It usually strikes within 8 to 72 hours of eating contaminated food. You’re likely to feel really awful for a couple of days, and may not fully recover for weeks.
Likely sources in the home are meat, poultry dishes, casseroles and the like that are cooled slowly and inadequately refrigerated. It can cause intense abdominal cramps and diarrhoea that begin 8 to 22 hours after eating the contaminated food. The illness is usually over within 24 hours.
It’s often caught from seafood produced in warm coastal waters. Oysters and other seafood eaten raw are a likely source. The illness is usually mild or moderate and lasts about two to three days.
Staphylococcus aureus from the human body can grow and produce its toxin in foods like home-made pasta and fermented sausage – typically foods that get a lot of handling during preparation. Wash your hands!
This is usually caught by eating contaminated poultry that’s not adequately cooked. It’s mostly spread by cross-contamination, and just low numbers of the bacteria can cause illness, with similar symptoms to salmonella. The effects will last for several miserable days.
This can be a problem in cereal-based products, mashed potato, vegetables, minced meat, liver sausage and soups, and it’s often associated with fried or boiled rice. There are two forms of poisoning, caused by two different toxins. A fairly mild form that presents with diarrhoea develops within 8 to 16 hours and usually lasts for about 24 hours. A more severe form starts within 30 minutes to 5 hours of infection and generally lasts for less than 24 hours. It produces nausea and vomiting and occasionally abdominal cramps and/or diarrhoea as well. It’s often associated with fried or boiled rice.
Escherichia coli (E. coli)
E. coli don’t often cause illness, but the bugs are very common. They are found in the guts of animals, including humans. Most E. coli are harmless and normally serve a useful function in the body by suppressing the growth of harmful bacteria and by producing appreciable amounts of vitamins. But the presence of E. coli in food is an indication of faecal contamination and the possibility of the presence of far worse bacteria that could cause serious illness. Unfortunately not all E. coli are harmless. The strain E. coli O157 is particularly dangerous for two reasons. Doses of just a few cells can result in illness, and the toxin it produces is extremely potent, causing anything from mild diarrhoea to serious urinary and gastrointestinal complications, including internal bleeding. As with other strains of E. coli, E. coli O157 is normally found in cows’ and other animals’ guts and gets into meat in the abattoir. It’s a relatively new type of infection, first recognised in Canada in 1985.
Can I eat it? FAQ
Q: Is it OK to cut the mould off cheese?
A: Mould on cheese can be tricky – some, like blue cheeses and the rind on camembert, are obviously meant to be mouldy. But when it comes to small mould patches on normally-not-mouldy hard varieties, you need to be able to cut away at least a 1cm chunk under and around the mould because it may have penetrated further than you can see.
Always throw away any food that’s very mouldy. Cutting or scooping the mould off soft cheeses is very risky – its invisible threads can go well below the surface. It’s safest to chuck them, as the moulds can produce toxins that can damage your liver, kidneys and immune system.
Q: Can I scrape the mould off jam, tomato paste, sour cream, cottage cheese, cream cheese, yoghurt, fruit, vegies and bread?
A: The same goes for all soft foods like these, other processed foods and soft fruit and vegies – invisible mould can go deep and any toxins produced can be dangerous: the safest place is the bin. Hard fruit and vegetables with small patches of mould are probably OK to use if you follow the 1cm rule. Many people say they’ve been cutting the mould off bread their whole lives with no ill effects. It’s true that in the case of bread the risk is small because you’d have to eat a lot of bread mould to do much damage, but it’s still better to throw it out. Toasting the bread may kill the mould, but won’t do anything to toxins that have already been made.
Q: I found an old can of peaches at the back of the cupboard. Is it OK?
A: If the can is still in good condition – no rust, corrosion, dents, holes or swelling – it’s probably fine. Some canned foods can last for years, though planning to use them within 12 months will mean you’ll eat them at their best (and baby foods should be used within 12 months). The older a can gets the more likely the contents will start to lose quality – flavour, texture, colour, aroma or nutritional value.
Q: What about those dented or rusty cans – are they OK?
A: You have to use a bit of common sense with dents – small dints in otherwise new and undamaged cans may be fine. However, cans that are damaged enough to let in air are extremely dangerous, and even a small dent could be enough to damage the seams where the can is sealed. Since you can’t tell for sure, it’s safer not to eat from a dented can. Rusting can happen when cans aren’t stored in dry enough conditions, and a small amount probably won’t damage the can enough to affect the contents. If there’s a lot of rust it’s safest not to use it. Food from a bulging can should definitely not be eaten.
Q: There are some chops in the freezer with whitish spots. They won’t make me sick, will they? And how long can I keep meat in the freezer?
A: The whitish spots are freezer burn – dry patches caused by air getting inside the wrapping. It won’t make you sick – you can just cut the spots off either before or after cooking. But as for the prehistoric nature of the chops, as a general rule only keep lamb chops for about six to nine months in the freezer (beef steak about six to 12 months, an on-the-bone roast for six months, pork chops four to six months, mince or diced meat two months, sausages only one to two months and bacon one month). Always date-mark things as they go into the freezer and try to check the dates regularly.
Q: What about weevils and moths in flour and other dry goods – is it OK just to sift them out?
A: Apart from the yuck factor (which rules this out for most people, but clearly not for those who asked us this question), there are good reasons not to use flour or other dry goods that have been infested with weevils, moths and the like. Some insects can produce harmful chemicals, and a heavy infestation can also encourage mould growth, which in turn can produce dangerous toxins. So the bottom line is: if it moves, chuck it out.
Q: I’ve heard cooked rice is a risky food – how long can I keep it in the fridge?
A: It’s not so much a question of how long you can leave it in the fridge (a couple of days is probably OK), but more about what happened to it before you put it there. Raw rice can contain bacteria called Bacillus cereus, which can survive cooking and can cause serious food poisoning. If cooked rice is left too long at room temperature or in a too warm fridge, the bacteria can multiply. B cereus produces toxins that aren’t killed by reheating, so reheating dodgy rice won’t help. So, if you’re storing cooked rice, cool it quickly, keep it in the fridge – and make sure your fridge is cold enough (4°C or lower).
Q: Is there anything wrong with wilted carrots and celery?
A: They’re just suffering from dehydration (water loss) so they’re safe to use. Revive them in cold water for an hour or so, and just watch out for any mouldy bits that may be a problem. You need to be able to cut away at least a 1cm chunk under and around the mould because it may have penetrated further than you can see. Old vegies will have lost some of their nutritional value, though.
Q: Can I cut the slimy outside off rockmelon and eat the middle?
A: As long as it’s a large, unpeeled piece, and the slimy bit was only a minor part of the whole, you should be able to safely cut it off. Be generous when cutting away, as the rotting part could leave unpleasant flavours behind in parts that still look OK. And eat it promptly, then and there – don’t turn it into fruit salad for later or take it for lunch, for example. However, there are exceptions to the cut-the-slime-off rule: pre-cut, pre-prepared foods, like fruit salad or bagged lettuce, and, in particular, slimy bean sprouts. The slime on these foods may contain dangerous bacteria.
Q: Is it OK to rinse off slippery ham and use it?
A: The ham is slippery because there are bacteria multiplying on its surface. You’ve no idea what they are, so treat slime as a warning and bin it.
Q: Is it safe to eat chocolate when it gets that white mouldy-looking stuff on it?
A: This is just from temperature changes – the cocoa butter and sometimes the sugar start to separate from the chocolate. It won’t hurt you and you may not even notice it when you eat it, but once it’s gone too far (you’ll know when you try some) the chocolate will have a very strange and not-very-pleasant grainy texture.
Q: My favourite restaurant is always happy to send the leftovers home in a doggy bag – can I eat them?
A: Food in a doggy bag has likely had a tough time. It’s been sitting around on your plate cooling down, it’s been contaminated by you while you were eating it, and then it’s been carried home before finally being put in the fridge, so it is a risk. Experts advise that if you are going to risk it, make sure it spends no more than four hours between the time it first landed on your plate and when you get it home into the fridge, which could be tricky – and it should always be reheated really well.
Q: I left a bottle of opened mineral water on my desk on Friday. Is it still OK on Monday?
A: Bottled water is likely to be safe to drink a few days after opening, as long as the cap was on and you hadn’t drunk directly from the bottle. Drinking directly from the bottle is likely to contaminate the water with bacteria from you mouth. So if you don’t plan to drink the whole bottle within a few hours, it’s better to pour what you want into a cup, then store the bottle in the fridge.
Q: My leftover spaghetti bolognaise has been lurking at the back of my fridge for the best part of a week – can I reheat it tonight?
A: Leftovers should be eaten or frozen within two to three days of cooking, so it would be safest to throw it out. After about four days, potentially harmful micro-organisms may have reached risky levels. The two to three-day rule assumes your sauce was cooled quickly after cooking and then kept in a clean, covered container in the fridge (which was 4°C or less.). If you haven’t eaten it within two or three days you can still freeze it and reheat it – thoroughly – later. But once it’s been reheated, any leftovers should be binned.
Q: When I got home from the supermarket my frozen food had started to defrost – can I put it back into the freezer?
A: It depends. Small pieces of meat, fish or poultry may have completely thawed, and should not be frozen again without cooking. If they feel chilled to touch, you could refrigerate them and use them quickly – that day or the next. If they don’t feel chilled, it would be safest to throw them away. Larger items of these foods can be re-frozen, provided they still are mainly frozen and the defrosted bits still feel chilled. Some items may not be as nice on second chilling – ice cream, for example. If in doubt, throw away the food, especially if it’s a hot day. A cool bag kept in your boot for frozen foods is a good idea – and the super-organised might like to use frozen ice bricks, too.
Does meat make vegetarians ill?
Most of us who know vegetarians have heard scary stories: A vegetarian accidentally gets a bit of pepperoni on her pizza slice or her soup contains chicken broth and she gets very ill.
Do our bodies really react so strongly to meat after avoiding it for a while? Or is this just a vegetarian myth?
We’ve put the question to scientists.
If our scientists are right, they say there’s no reason to fear a catastrophe if a vegetarian chomps into the wrong pizza. But a vegetarian who decides to start a new life as a carnivore with a huge T-bone steak might risk an upset stomach.
Don’t lose it
Few researchers have studied the consequences when vegetarians fall for temptation or simply make a mistake. However, Professor Birger Svihus of the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB)’s Department of Animal and Aquaculture Sciences can make some educated guesses based on his general knowledge of the human digestive system.
“There’s no reason to believe we get sick. I can’t conceive of our bodies losing the capability to tackle meat,” he says.
Are his enzymes up and running? (Photo: colourbox.com)
“The nutrients in meats also have to be digested when we eat other foods. The enzymes that the body produces to break down meat proteins are also used to metabolize plant proteins.”
Professor Bjørn Skålhegg of the University of Oslo’s Department of Nutrition concurs. Nothing would indicate that the bodies of vegetarians should reject meats.
“A person might have a little problem if he or she started right out on a huge steak. Their body might not have sufficient levels of the right enzymes. Along the same lines it can be hard to digest any large meal after a long fast or period of starvation,” he says.
You might also have this problem if you start to eat other kinds of foods that you haven’t eaten in a long time.
The lonely geek who does nothing but heat up frozen pizzas day in and day out might experience some intestinal discomfort if he suddenly starts eating a lot of fruit and vegetables.
Skålhegg thinks most of us would soon get accustomed to the new additions to our diet.
Svihus points out that meat is actually relatively easy to digest.
“Proteins are generally hard to digest but compared to other sources of protein, meat is rather easy,” he says.
We might not always feel this way, but the human body is tough. It’s a very robust and adaptable machine that can tackle all kinds of challenges.
One-sided diets with large seasonal variations
“We tend to forget human history,” says Svihus. “Just 50 years ago many people had very unbalanced diets from day to day. And there were big variations from season to season.”
“In the late summer they had vegetables and in the autumn there was a meat surplus. But the last rutabagas stored in their cellar would be consumed by March. In March, April and May they had almost no vegetables. Fresh fruit wasn’t available after Christmas.”
Human beings are adapted to these kinds of regimes.
“The body is prepared to consume most of what it can get. Our survival has depended on being able to eat whatever was available,” says Svihus.
This means that little in our physiology and our ancestral history should cause vegetarians to have problems if they eat a piece of meat.
“Despite that, there can be some differences between various types of vegetarians. Some have eaten eggs and milk all along, whereas vegans avoid everything from animals. I don’t believe that a vegetarian who has eaten eggs or dairy products would get sick from chicken broth,” says Skålhegg.
He says that in that case, the reaction would have to be due to a food allergy.
A very few – less than one percent of the population – are allergic to meats from common livestock, such as pork and beef. If a vegetarian has this kind of allergy, she could have a reaction from just a speck of these meats.
But an allergic in a cases like this would be more typical of a common allergic reactions, with symptoms such as congested air passages and a runny nose or eyes. Skålhegg doubts that a vegetarian who originally didn’t have this kind allergy would develop one and become more sensitive to meat.
He thinks we should keep our cool and resist the onslaught of disparate warnings about nutrition and diet. After all, humans are omnivores.
“We don’t need to get hysterical. If it’s food we can usually eat it.”
Read the Norwegian version of this article on forskning.no
Translated by: Glenn Ostling
Is there anything better than sinking your teeth into a juicy steak? It’s one of the great pleasures of life, and it’s why the cattle industry is massive. Americans eat a lot of beef, and men lead that charge. We know what we like, and by God, we live in a land of indulgence. The problem is that the beef doesn’t always love us back. If you’ve ever had a sudden and violent trip to the bathroom shortly after downing a porterhouse, you’re not alone. It turns out that red meat has an impact on a lot of people. Rather than force you to choose between a delicious meal and intestinal drama, maybe we can learn about what’s really happening here If you understand the problem, then a solution shouldn’t be far behind.
Before we jump in, let’s go with a little disclaimer. We’re going to focus on beef because it’s more common, but most of this applies to any red meat.
The General Rule
Really, there are a lot of things that can contribute to gastrointestinal distress. It ranges from genetics to infections to more things than will fit in this one little discussion. We’re going to cover as much as we can, but it makes the most sense to start with the most prolific problem and go from there.
In the vast majority of cases, meat pains are caused by eating more protein than your body can process in a standard digestion cycle. You can think of it kind of like a combustion engine. If you inject too much fuel, it won’t all burn, and you’ll have some come out in the exhaust. The problem is that your digestive tract can’t recycle unspent protein and send it back through for another round of digestion. That would be disgusting.
So, the generic problem is that you eat more protein than you can handle. That causes a bunch of protein to enter the large intestine. That’s where most of the bacteria in your body can be found, and their primary purpose is to handle leftovers. The problem with giving them a massive buffet of beef is that they create byproducts of their own. Normally, you can handle those byproducts, and it’s no big deal. But, when they get to go into overdrive, the buildup of bacterial waste is enough to make your belly hurt. It gives you bloating, gassiness and a projectile power behind your eventual defecation.
Now, we’re talking about protein in general, so couldn’t you have this problem from eating too much chicken, or even spinach? The answer is, yes. Any source of protein can lead to this pain, but beef is one of the most protein-dense foods that you can eat. Still, the overall protein problem is why having a side of beans with a bunch of meat is usually worse on your gut than a side of potatoes (or whatever). If you learn nothing else from what you’re reading, let this be the thing you remember. The problem is too much protein, so skip a protein shake and eliminate beans on steak night. That’s the very easiest way to handle an upset stomach stemming from red meat.
There’s more to this story, and it’s the part you probably won’t like. This protein digestion issue is a function of metabolism. It’s why not everyone experiences the same level of discomfort when they go HAM on some burgers. It’s also why you can expect the issue to get worse as you get older. There’s no escaping it. Old age slows the metabolism, and that lowers the amount of beef you can comfortably handle. It doesn’t mean you’ll for sure have to give up beef in a few years, but you might have to learn about portion control. As sad as you might feel right now, it’s better to know these things ahead of time. It gives you a chance to savor your meals before you have to give them up.
A Medical Look at the Pain
So, in general, eating too much beef will hurt. That’s a simplified look. In reality, the varying medical conditions that can afflict anyone all factor into this equation, so now we’re going to explain the bulk of those conditions. And, no, this isn’t one of those times where the internet is just going to tell you that you have cancer. That’s actually one of the less-likely scenarios.
Technically, everyone is protein intolerant if they over-indulge. That said, the level of beef a person can handle depends a lot on your unique physiology. So, on a technical level, protein intolerance still mostly leads to too much protein in the large intestine and the microbial fallout of that situation. What’s different with someone who has a specific protein intolerance is how the body reacts.
For starters, people who are more susceptible to beef pains tend to produce a smaller amount of enzymes that break down the proteins. If you make fewer enzymes, you process less meat. It’s pretty easy.
What you should also understand is that intolerance can be the result of a shortage of just one enzyme. There’s a whole slew of different proteins in red meat. If you can handle all but one of them, you’re still going to spend some extra time on the pot.
Ultimately, a protein intolerance is like any other food intolerance. You can relate it to lactose intolerance. In both cases, your body can’t digest the food and your large intestine makes you pay. The only difference is the specific chemicals that you struggle to digest.
Even though the symptoms can overlap, beef allergies are fundamentally different from intolerances. With an allergy, your body is straight-up rejecting some of the compounds specific to beef. Now, beef allergies aren’t always that narrow. A lot of proteins can be found in every red meat, and it’s common for someone with a beef allergy to be allergic to other red meats. The point is that a beef allergy is causing you distress in a different way.
In a little bit, we’re going to discuss ways to combat meat pains. If your problem is a beef allergy, most of those remedies won’t help. You either need a lot of antihistamines or no beef in your diet. Simple remedies don’t apply.
One of the ways you can distinguish an allergy from intolerance is in symptoms. A beef allergy can definitely cause indigestion and vomiting. It can also cause difficulty breathing, itchiness or rashes. In a lot of ways, beef allergies look like any other allergies. Just keep in mind that difficulty breathing should never be taken lightly. It is possible for a beef allergy to cause anaphylactic shock, and that’s extremely deadly. If you struggle to breathe, go see that hospital.
Here’s the truly terrifying bit. Beef allergies can develop later in life. Being able to eat it fine so far in your life is no protection against future allergies. The worst part is that these allergies can be caused by an infection. There’s a tick in the eastern U.S. that carries a specific disease. If you catch that disease, one of the common side-effects is red-meat allergies. The change is permanent, and in many cases, the allergies are severe. If you live anywhere where Lone Star ticks can be found, you take them seriously. Those bastards have taken many of our fellow men down. Don’t be the next victim.
Other Health Conditions
Aside from intolerance and allergies, there are almost countless health conditions that can exacerbate beef pain. They range from ulcers to stomach cancer. We’ll skip the part where we terrify you with an endless list of ways you might suffer or die in the future. You can to to WebMD for that. Instead, let’s generalize. If you have a health condition that affects digestion, the chance that beef is going to hurt you goes up. It’s pretty obvious, right? Beef is one of the very hardest foods to digest. Keep that in mind if you’re dealing with digestive stuff.
In plenty of cases, getting a handle on the underlying problem can alleviate red meat symptoms and get you back to a happy diet. In others, you might have to deal with the red meat in order to alleviate chronic indigestion. It’s not fun, but there it is. Hopefully, the next section will generate some options for you.
Solutions to Beef Pains
We’re men. We’re not just here for common sympathy as we all clutch our stomachs after eating that 40 oz steak. We want solutions.
Eat Less Beef
It’s so simple, it’s stupid. It’s also borderline intolerable for a lot of us, but we can’t ignore the basics. If eating too much protein is the problem, scaling back on consumption seems like the easiest way to deal with it.
This is actually more interesting than it seems. It turns out that a lot of intolerances go away if you leave them alone for a while. If beef pains are getting worse and worse, take a serious break from red meat. It’s tough, but a month without the excess protein can help your gut reset a bit. For a lot of people, periodic breaks are enough to completely overcome intolerance.
Keep in mind the scale. We aren’t talking about dropping from 30 beef meals a week down to 12. If you want a biological reset, you have to completely cut the beef for at least a month. Otherwise, you’re just denying yourself delicious meals for no gain.
Cook it Longer
This might be even more painful advice than eating less beef. Any steak cooked above medium-rare is obviously sacrilegious. That said, science is on the side of the well-done brigade.
Do you know why we call it red meat? Yes, because it looks red. But, the reason it looks red is because of the presence of myoglobin. A bloody steak doesn’t actually have blood running out of it. Instead, myoglobin is strongly present in the meaty tissues. This is the protein that moves oxygen around the cells of a cow, so it’s definitely in every slab of beef on the planet. It’s also one of the hardest proteins for your body to digest. When you cook your meat longer (so there’s less red juice and more clear juice), you’re denaturing the myoglobin. When it loses its red color, it’s easier to digest.
As painful as it is to admit, taking the red out of the meat is one of the easiest ways to make things easier in the stomach.
Get a Butcher
Finally, this is enjoyable advice. You can reduce digestive problems by getting fresher beef. The chemicals used to preserve processed meat (mostly salts and nitrates) make digestion a little bit harder. So, if you trade some of your burgers, deli meats and jerky for fresh-butchered beef, you’re making everything easier.
The trick is to get a big freezer and buy in bulk. A quarter-side of beef usually includes more than 70 lbs of various cuts and delights. None of it is processed. It tastes better than what you’ve been eating. It’s vastly healthier, and you can often get it at a lower price point. If you go the extra mile and get grass-fed and finished beef, you’ll cut the fat concentration too. If you can’t resist a good marbling, then a grass-fed, grain-finished cow is your weapon of choice. Aside from the marbling, it’s equally healthy and easier to digest.
Now, your fresh beef is still protein-rich, so you need to keep everything else in mind, but cutting preservatives never hurts when it comes to meat. Unless you eat it rotten. But, that’s why you got the freezer.
Remember how metabolism is a big part of this whole digestion equation? Even if you aren’t in your early 20s anymore, a good workout regimen will keep your metabolism high. That accelerates your digestive process and enables your body to handle more protein without getting overloaded. This doesn’t mean that walking to the mailbox is enough to stuff your face with all the steak you can eat. Instead, you can look at it the other way. Until a reasonable portion of beef stops hurting your gut, you need to up your game.
Obviously, you need to take your total health into account, but the reward of some delicious red meat could be the extra motivation you needed to elevate your workout game.
See a Doctor
The last remedy we have is the most boring. If you have a digestive problem you can’t resolve with a little extra fire, slightly smaller portions, and hefty workout, you might need professional help. That’s just the way these things go sometimes. There’s no chance that you can properly customize your lifestyle for maximum beef consumption until you properly understand how your body handles it. It’s like GI Joe taught us in the 80s: knowing is half the battle.
In case it isn’t clear, the true solution to red-meat pain is to combine all of these tips. Control your portions. Take a break if your body needs it. Never let up on the exercise (that’s important for so many reasons). Let a doc look at you and see what exactly is happening. Learn more ways to cook your meat. And, of course, get better meat. That last one should be something you do even if your body handles steak like water. Not only will these tips help you survive your favorite indulgence, but they’ll also help you be healthier in general. So, for all of that, you’re welcome.
That about covers it. Red meat can definitely hurt. Sometimes it’s worth the pain, but if you take the time to figure out why it doesn’t always agree with you, you might be able to craft a strategy to take the pain out of the equation. Before we call it a day, it’s time to drop the hardest truth you’ll hear today. For all that we joke, your problem with well-done steak is actually you. If you can’t stand it, it’s probably because you don’t know how to cook a steak without burning it and turning it into jerky. Here are some tips to save you from yourself. If you still just can’t do it, then make sure you have a good bathroom plan when you indulge.