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Old 06-18-2012, 05:28 PM   #1
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Default How bad really IS red meat?!

So I've recently noticed that if I eat red meat, I feel sick.

No ifs and or buts, I just feel like I'm dying.

Sometimes I'll fall asleep almost instantly and wake up in sweats and shivers with a headache.

Other times, just like right now, I'm basically not functioning, at all, laying on the couch with a massive migraine.

I just don't get it.

I used to eat red meat ALL THE TIME. And my doctor actually suggested I do so because of my anemia.

I had bloodwork done last year at about 190lb. Everything was fine, other than the anemia, no other problems.

Can I have developped an allergy? Is this a sign of anything else?

Has anyone gone through with this? I called my doctor and was only able to get an appointment for September

I'm gonna get off the eating of red meat entirely, and keep taking iron supplements, but how dangerous is it? I'm a little panicked right now because this is one of the worst migraines I've had in a very long time. To the point that my typing of this text is driving me mental.

Any help is appreciated, thanks so much for everything guys! xoxo
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Old 06-18-2012, 06:24 PM   #2
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I have no idea how "bad" it is, but it certainly sounds like it's not agreeing with your body! I haven't had red meat in about 4 years. I've only ever had a problem with anemia during my second pregnancy and iron pills did the trick.
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Old 06-18-2012, 06:42 PM   #3
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I'm from Calgary, so for the most part, red meat is in my blood... oh Alberta beef... Anyways, I too have iron-deficient anemia, despite red meat being in my blood (... that doesn't make any sense, haha) and although I could never give red meat up entirely (because of the whole Albertan thing) I get the same tingly, sweaty feeling when I have red meat (even if it's just a small amount in a bolognese sauce). I don't know if it's because of the way our bodies break down the proteins or what, but I understand what you're saying/feeling. The best thing is to "wash" it out (drink lots of water) and allow your body to digest it. Although red meats are a high source of iron (and given that I also have IBS) my doctor has recommened I stick to my green veggies for my iron intake (plus my supplements of course) and that's probably the best thing you can do (if you're trying to get more iron in your diet). But yep, I know what you mean. And if for some reason you have to have red meat (as I do sometimes because, well, again, I live in "Cowtown") make sure you have lots of water and chew it up really well - although red meat was the prime source of food in the caveman days, it's just not the same anymore. I hope you feel better soon!

Oh, and I guess to answer your actual question, I don't think red meat is "bad" for the average person. It all depends on how your body breaks down the food... I imagine it is similar to a lactose or gluten intolerance/sensitivity (which I have both of...).

Oh, I would also maybe double check to make sure the piece of meat you had wasn't spoiled, and didn't give you food poisoning or something (any vomitting?). If you still are feeling really crappy in a few hours, maybe head to a nearby clinic.

EDIT: I'm sorry this was so long, I know you have a migraine... I don't blame you if you don't read it all.
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Last edited by EricAnn; 06-18-2012 at 06:43 PM.
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Old 06-18-2012, 07:22 PM   #4
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How much red meat are you eating? I notice ill effects from red meat only when I eat too large a portion.

It is my understanding that chicken and pork are not given growth hormones, but beef cattle often are. If you react to beef and not pork, it's possible that you're sensitive to these hormones (or just have an allergy to beef.

Also, there are a lot of food sources asn high or higher in iron than red meat (just search with google).

Another option is the iron itself. From what I understand (and this is just what I've heard people say, so confirm with your doctor in case it's urban legend) that iron from foods and from supplements can cause the side effects you describe, especially in a person who is anemic. My aunt was prone to anemia when she was young, and she always said the treatment sometimes felt worse than the disease (that's not true of course, anemia can be very serious).

You might consider contacting the health department, they sometimes have free or inexpensive dietitian services (or if your insurance covers it, you may be able to see a dietitian). Doctor's don't get much training in nutrition, but a dietitian or a diabetic counselor would have experience in nutritional therapy and it's side effects (which getting insurance to pay if you're not diabetic, can sometimes be tricky. Although some insurances will pay for nutrition counseling for other diagnoses - such as maybe anemia).


I think it sucks that insurance doesn't usually cover dietitian visits, but unless you've got killer great insurance, it really pays to look around for free and discounted services (the health dept and the united way are often the best sources of finding affordable local services).
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Old 06-18-2012, 07:32 PM   #5
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Where is the meat from? Are you preparing it from scratch? Are you eating or drinking anything along with the red meat? Is it every single time you are eating it?
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Old 06-18-2012, 07:41 PM   #6
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IDK about the red meat thing... but I just went to donate blood yesterday, and was turned down because my iron was too low (not surprising, I can usually donate every-OTHER time because of this). The guy said that a trick he's heard - he doesn't know if it REALLY works, or if it is just coincidence - is to eat pepperoni to get your iron up. Otherwise, green/leafy veggies are your best bet. If it's the hormones in the red meat, you could try and see how you react to organic meat? Good luck! Hope you dont' have to give up the deliciousness of steak and burger!
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Old 08-05-2012, 02:45 PM   #7
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Separating the myths from fact

There are a lot of misconceptions out there about health and nutrition. Most of us grew up hearing that cholesterol and saturated fats were bad for us. We’ve also heard that carbohydrates are bad for us. I’ve read recent articles demonizing insulin. What is right and what is wrong? I’d like to write a series of posts separating fact from fiction on various topics in nutrition. Interested? Have a question you’d like me to tackle? Let me know.

—————

For my first post I plan to talk about fat, cholesterol, and chronic diseases. Earlier this year an article came out stating how red meat consumption was tied to cancer and heart disease. As a vegan and as a person committed to health, I appreciate seeing research being done in this area, and initially I was glad to have yet another reason to be glad I gave up red meat years ago.

Well, not so fast!

Disclaimer: If you are a vegan/vegetarian and you’re upset that I’m going to talk about how the saturated fat and cholesterol found in red meat ISN’T really that bad for you, stop reading now. Or, skip to the bottom where I talk about the reasons why I continue to consume a meat-free diet regardless.

In the 70s, a study was done correlating heart disease with consumption of cholesterol and saturated fats. It included data from six countries. What the author of the study failed to include was data from 16 other countries that showed a not so significant correlation.

Somehow the cholesterol-saturated fat-heart disease link came to be accepted as fact. Even the US Dietary Guidelines published in 2010 still recommend cholesterol consumption of less than 300 mg per day and minimal consumption of saturated fats.

But why? Various studies (here’s a list) have shown that dietary cholesterol has a very minute impact on serum cholesterol. In the body, cholesterol is an important component of cells and is involved in cell synthesis. It is the precursor to the steroid hormones - estrogen, testosterone, among others. The liver makes and recycles cholesterol. If it were really that bad, wouldn’t cholesterol circulating in the body be sent to the kidneys to be filtered out of our systems completely? Well, it isn’t and it’s not. Cholesterol can be found in two forms, esterified or non-esterified. Most dietary cholesterol is the former variety, which happens to be poorly absorbed into the body. Thus cholesterol in the diet has little impact on serum cholesterol. The amount of cholesterol in our bloodstream is actually more a marker of inflammation in the body rather than an indicator of dietary adequacy.

What sorts of things can lead to inflammation? A sedentary lifestyle, smoking, chronic stress, and excessive intakes of refined sugars can all take a toll on our bodies over time, resulting in increased serum cholesterol.

As for saturated fat - what good does it do in the body? For one, dietary saturated fat helps the body use calcium. Saturated fats synthesized within our bodies strengthen the membranes of our cells, and also protect the nervous system. The brain is 60% fat, and the only strong research evidence against dietary fat inhibiting brain function describes the effects of trans fats and omega-6 fatty acids - the latter of which is found in red meat, but less so in grass-fed animals. An imbalance of the ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 acids in our body is yet another risk for chronic inflammation. For further reading on the issue of saturated fats, I recommend this article from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

My only remaining question is, why aren’t more people talking about this? Major sources of “reliable” nutrition information continue to promote low fat, low cholesterol diets for disease prevention. At the hospital where I’m interning right now (and I think it’s a safe presumption to say this is true at nearly all hospitals), patients can be put on a “heart-healthy” diet, which is low in fat and cholesterol. Is it really any more healthy for the heart than a standard diet containing appropriate and balanced quantities of all the various nutrients? Well, eating too much of any food can lead to overweight and obesity. But does a higher proportion of fat or cholesterol in one’s diet singularly raise the risk for chronic diseases? I’m going to have to say no.

Vegans, vegetarians, you can tune back in. Although I just made the case for cholesterol and saturated fats (coconut oil and palm kernal oil are vegan saturated fats, by the way), I am still opposed to eating red meat. This is a personal decision I have made from ethical and environment standpoints. Excess consumption of livestock has indeed been shown to be harmful to the environment, based on the amount of energy required to raise and feed these animals. As far as ethics go, I am personally against eating animals regardless of whether or not they have been raised “humanely.” I don’t think there’s any truly humane way to slaughter a living being. Additionally, much of the animal products consumed by humans today contain growth hormones, about which we really have no idea how they could impact our health long-term. So that’s my reasoning.

What health benefits does a vegetarian diet have, then, if not to reduce cholesterol and saturated fatty acids? A well-planned diet tends to be high in fiber, fruits, and vegetables, rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. It makes me feel good physically and my conscience is clear. But I never mean to impress my views upon anyone, it is really a personal choice. All I can do is educate and share knowledge to the best of my abilities. This article reflects my educated opinion, based on current research.
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Old 08-05-2012, 02:59 PM   #8
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It sounds like you have a meat intolerance. I actually had this in the last couple of years. Every time I would eat meat it would go right through me. I don't know why as I've always loved my meats... beef, lamb, chicken, pork. I went through a period where it might be 1 or 2 hours after eating or 4 or 5 hours and my tummy would rumble and I wouldn't feel well, start to get shivers and shakes and felt I might have a temperature... go to the toilet and it went through me that fast... I would sit for a while and then feel I need to do some more. After washing my hands and putting cold water on my face, I'd be as good as gold. But it just seemed to happen when ever I ate meat. I ended up buying vegetarian meat products which didn't have the same affect. But I have been back to eating lean meats and haven't had any issues in recent times.
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Old 08-05-2012, 03:09 PM   #9
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I was a vegetarian for decades but have poor iron reserves and have found that a return to being an omnivore and especially eating red meat has helped me a lot. Demonizing people's food preferences and ways of eating is something I abhor (although for me donuts really ARE demonic lol and I have banned them for life).

Much of what we have been told in the recent past is good or bad nutritionally has proven to be myth or incorrect, in my opinion.

I will continue to eat red meat and to think for myself.

Very good posties on this thread.
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Old 08-05-2012, 10:23 PM   #10
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Oh my, I had lost this thread somewhere in the bunch that I subscribed to lol

Thank you all so much for your answers!! My what a smart bunch of folks in this community. I applaud you.

Turns out I haven't been eating much red meat, and have been sticking to chicken or turkey and have been feeling great.

I did have a little piece of lamb in a meal my mom cooked and it made me sick, so I decided not to have it at all.

My appointment is soon, but I'm going to stay off it until the doctor refers me to a specialist.

I have tried organic meat, and same reaction.

The only thing i ever do while eating meat is maybe drinking water if I'm thirsty. I don't really drink anything other than that.

Thanks again for all the answers!
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