So, as I wrote in my previous post – My First 4 Months on Zero Carb – I have been eating a diet of only pork for almost 2 months. The reason is because it was the only meat I could find that was both affordable and low in histamines. However, a friend (thank you, you know who you are!) recently sent me a Precision Xtra Ketone and Blood Glucose Meter, so I could start testing myself and see how the Zero Carb diet was affecting me.
When I started testing my blood sugar, I was very surprised to discover that my fasting glucose level was running between 120-140, with a few post-prandial readings as high as 150! Optimum for people eating a carb-based diet is between 70-90. However, for people on a low-to-no carb diet, levels can be a little higher like 100-110 without it posing any threat to one’s health. In fact, this phenomenon is so common among Low and Zero Carb practitioners that Dr. Petro Dobromylskyj wrote a blog post explaining it titled Physiological Insulin Resistance.
Several others in the Zero Carb group I participate in Principia Carnivora who are Type 2 diabetics also noticed that pork seemed to cause their blood sugars to rise beyond the healthy range, between 150-200. Understandably, these kinds of numbers were making them a bit uncomfortable. One woman decided to do an elimination diet by eating only one kind of meat each day. This is how she pinpointed pork as the primary culprit in her higher than normal glucose readings. Chicken also raised her blood sugar someone higher, but nowhere near as high as pork. Beef seemed to be the best of all the meats she tested.
Because of its unusual effect on blood sugar, I decided to take a closer look at pork to see if I figure out why it might be doing this. I ended finding an interesting study done by the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) which showed that fresh pork in particular – as opposed to marinated or aged pork – caused the red blood blood cells of the person who ate it to agglutinate and stack together in an abnormal fashion.
I also learned from Dr. Peter D’Adamo that pork contains a lectin which is a known panhemaglutinan and will agglutinate all blood types on contact. This may account for the observations made in the WAPF study. I wrote a whole post explaining this in more detail titled Pork.
Interestingly, Dr. H. L. Newbold and Dr. James Salisbury – who both prescribed all-meat diets to their sick patients – found that pork was a less than optimal choice. Newbold reports that his patients simply felt less than well after eating pork, but he does not give much detail beyond this.
Salisbury, on the other hand, says that if one tries to live off of only pork for too long, they will develop what he called “meat dyspepsia.” As far as I can understand, meat dyspepsia involves a sort of reverse peristalsis, in which the meat would try to come up rather than go down like it was supposed to. Today, we might call this gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) or simply indigestion.
Salisbury’s understanding of this came from personal experience and clinic observation. He hired a group of young healthy men to eat only one food at a time with him for periods of up to 2 months in order to determine how it would affect the body. What he found was that all meats – except for beef and lamb – would eventually result in this meat dyspepsia if eaten exclusively for too long. He says,
“Good fresh beef and mutton stand at the head of all the ailments as foods promotive of human health. Eggs, fish, pork, veal, chickens, turkeys, and game come merely as side dishes: they may be subsisted upon singly for a limited time without bad results. All of these, however, if subsisted upon alone for too long a time… may eventually produce meat dyspepsia… in meat dyspepsia there is more or less distress… about the stomach…”
I found this extremely interesting because I seemed to be experiencing more digestive issues with pork the longer I ate it. I did not seem to have much trouble during the first few weeks, but then I started to have increasing trouble with nausea and burping beginning about 2 hours after eating. Because of my histamine sensitivity, I was thinking that my digestive issues were histamine-related.
The pork I was getting was being processed within three day of slaughter, but I was wondering if maybe that was still too many days. I also wondered if perhaps too many histamines were being formed in the meat after I put it in the freezer or while I was thawing it out before cooking. I was feeling confused and a bit overwhelmed by the whole situation to be quite honest.
But after reading the above excerpt from Salisbury’s book The Relation of Alimentation and Disease, I decided to to see if my awesome butchers at The Meat Shop could get me some lamb for comparison. Well, they came through for me once again and got me some fresh lamb that was processed and frozen within 3 days of being slaughtered. This was perfect because now I would be able to test whether or not my reaction to the pork was a histamine issue, or just an issue with the pork itself.
Well, you can imagine my delight when – several hours after eating the lamb – I felt no nausea or digestive distress whatsoever! WOOO-HOOO!!! I cannot tell you what a profoundly negative effect bad digestion can have on one’s mood and mental outlook. Okay, so now that I have clarified this – which is HUGE – I just need to figure out how to create the money I need to be able to afford the lamb on a regular basis.
I was equally delighted to find that after only 2 days of eating lamb, instead of pork, my fasting blood glucose levels have dropped to between 96-113 which is a significant improvement. My post-prandial blood sugar reading last night was was 117.
Based on what Drs. Newbold and Salisbury similarly observed with both themselves and their patients, I imagine that beef would work just as well as lamb for me… if I could find some that was processed within only a few days of being slaughtered and was low in histamines. While I have not yet located a source that fits this criteria, I am sure it is out there somewhere (Ask, and It is Given!), and it is something that I am definitely looking forward to enjoying in the future.
P.S. If you want to learn more about Dr. Salisbury and his Beef and Hot Water diet, I recommend reading Elma Stuart’s book What Must I Do to Get Well? It is a far better presentation of his diet and how to apply it in one’s life than Salisbury’s own laboriously scientific work.