One of the most controversial subjects in IBS and the nutrition world is the consumption of red meat.
It is easy to fall prey to popular marketing and copious articles about avoiding meat. I have personally read about how red meat can be a triggering food for IBS.
Yet, eating red meat was part of my healing program and worked beautifully to bring my body and digestive system back into balance.
In fact, cutting out red meat and animal products can actually cause digestive issues by throwing off mineral balance in the body.
Before I started eating red meat again I was a vegan who ate a lot of raw food. I figured this had to be the healthiest diet for my gut. Yet I found that I was feeling worse and worse.
The bloating and nausea worsened with this diet. But I couldn’t believe that such a healthy, anti inflammatory, plant based diet could be the cause.
When I started eating meat again I was barely able to digest lettuce. However, taking hydrochloric acid (HCL) and enzymes for the first two weeks helped me digest red meat without a problem, which for me was nothing short of a miracle. (Warning HCL can be dangerous if you take too much, so it’s important to work with a professional while taking it).
After two weeks I no longer needed HCL and I felt a lot better after incorporating meat into my diet and cutting out nuts, which was my previous protein source.
The healing power of red meat
The purpose of this article is NOT to tout red meat as a cure all. Healing diets are extremely individualized. My aim is to point out that your own experience should dictate what’s healthy for you NOT popular opinion or the latest health trend.
I believed the healing hype of a vegan, raw food diet, despite the fact that my experience told me that it was the wrong approach for me.
It was a classic case of listening to others and ignoring the signals of my body.
Why meat is demonized?
The high fat content in meat can be a problem for some IBS sufferers.
This is because the liver is not producing enough bile to digest fats. Eating foods that support the liver and encourage bile production can help the body to digest foods and fats it couldn’t previously handle. Read about increasing bile production here and here.
The anti-meat media campaign started in the 1970s when saturated fat came under fire for being the source of health problems like inflammation, constipation, cancer, weight gain, high cholesterol, and heart attacks.
In response to this, food companies started taking fat out of food and replacing it with sugar to make up for the lost flavor. But despite eating low-fat foods, Americans still have rampant problems with diabetes, cancer, obesity and heart disease.
I believe that the real nutritional cause of digestive (and other) health problems is the consumption of sugar and grains. These foods destabilize blood sugar, are hard to digest, tax the liver by spiking insulin and are the primary food source for bad bacteria and yeast.
Grains also contain proteins like lectins and gluten that can compromise gut lining, cause inflammation and antagonize the immune system.
People tend to overeat sugar and grains and become addicted to them. Taking them out is often hard.
But replacing grains with red meat and animal protein can help with symptoms of hunger, blood sugar fluctuations and withdrawl.
And eating red meat greatly reduced my constipation symptoms, despite popular belief.
The health benefits of meat
Lack of animal protein can create a deficiency of vitamin B12 and zinc, which can cause digestive issues. Iron deficiency can cause other health problems.
Anne Louise Gittleman writes about the dangers of a vegan diet in her book “Why Am I Always So Tired?”
Meat consumption can help rebuild organ lining, repair body tissue and the adrenals and balance blood sugar. It helps produce antibodies that will protect the body from infections by strengthening the immune system.
Avoid this type of meat
Commercial meat that’s been raised in cruel, factory-farmed conditions, fed GMO grains and shot up with hormones and antibiotics should be avoided. Processed meat like deli meat is also much less healthy.
Grass fed, organic and pasture-raised meat can be expensive but if food is your medicine, it’s worth the price. This type of meat is full of healing omegas as well as A and B vitamins.
It is important to properly combine protein, which is best eaten with no grains and non starchy veggies.
Moderation is key
A healing diet that incorporates meat should also include plenty of greens and veggies. Eating nothing but steak, eggs and bacon is not balanced. A little bit of high quality protein can be a great compliment to a salad or veggie dish.
For some vegans, meat can be the missing piece in their recovery.
They may argue that eating meat is cruel, but I argue that it is cruel to make yourself sick with nutritional deficiencies.
When choosing a healing diet, it is most important to be your own health authority. Your experience is your best teacher.
Angela Privin is proof that IBS is NOT an incurable disease or a disease at all. IBS is a body out of balance. It’s an invitation for change. After solving her own IBS mystery more than a decade ago Angela trained as a health coach to help others.
Angela uses both science and intuition to help people figure out what’s out of balance in their body. She works with lab tests, dietary changes, supplementation and nervous system rebalancing. Get help rebalancing your digestive system and solving your IBS mystery here.