Here is something I've been struggling with: I fully believe in the paleo diet, and it makes more sense to me than any other lifestyle/diet I've heard of. In fact, as a child, I would often think about what a caveman would do if....(sort of like WWJD, but different). When I first heard about this way of living, I knew it was for me. The only problem is, I'm not a meat lover. Actually, lean meat is fine; fat and organ meats and all those nasty bits gross me out. When I am cooking grassfed beef, if I smell the fat roasting or browning, I almost gag. Even at the end of a fast, when my body is clean and my brain is clear and I'm not having cravings for anything in particular, I'd rather eat a plateful of root veggies than a fatty piece of meat. My question is, if this diet is the best one for my body, and the diet my body has evolved to thrive on, why do these things turn me off so?
I say this with total respect and in no way trying to zing you.
Your post concerns me. Talking about 'When my body is clean" is a real alarm dinger. We are a dirty, smelly species. There is never a time when some part of your bowel isn't flecked with shit (pardon my language). You can starve yourself to death and still be full of crap.
My instinct based on an imagination and the tone of your post would lead me to wonder how much you fast, how much you supplement and what is your dietary history? For instance I've never met a person with a strong, negative reaction to meat who had good digestion. Usually you eat meat, you get sick, you eat meat, you get sick. Your body builds up Pavlovian response to eating meat. Combined with the need to fast for cravings and purity etc... Have you thought about things like H. Pylori that suppress acid, cause digestive problems that might make meat hard on you and cause you to not like it? (Not saying it IS that but something along those lines)
All that said if you rule out problems like that, and have your fasting etc... under control you can be really healthy eating roots, small amounts of fish and lots of veggies. The only hack I'd offer is that waxy potatoes are higher in protein than starchy and might be a better choice to stop you from losing lots of muscle without animal protein.
How we perceive food is shaped not only by biology, but by culture. If you just look at ethnic cuisine, there is so much diversity. Many variables play a role in our dislikes and likes in regards to food. What our mothers ate at at the pre-natal stage has been hypothesized to play a role in obesity and sensitivity to sugar!
Cultural norms: Organ meats are commonly consumed in various societies around the world. I'm not sure where you are from but in the United States where I live, muscle meats are far more popular...and organ meats are sometimes throw away or put into dog food. In a society where hunger is an issue, eating and not wasting any part of the animal is a common practice. It is perceived as gross by many because it is seen as throw-away parts.
Convenient Supermarkets: If you live in a "developed" country, chances are that you grew up buying meat the market (or your parents did if you were vegetarian/vegan). This makes people very disconnected with their food. They buy food in packages, with everything pre-cut, feet and heads sliced off. Most people in the US probably don't even know where the sirloin cut comes from on a cow. So you're probably "grossed out" because meat just looks like a random slab of grinded, bloody animal that you hardly recongnize as a "whole" real food. Vegetables and fruits look a lot more fresh because of the lack of packaging and processing.
Emphasis on dieting and weight loss/misinformation: Here on the US, there is a dieting and weight loss everywhere...and based on past "nutritional advice" many of us have been taught that meat is unhealthy, dirty, wrong, and the precursor to disease and death. Oh the horror! So vegetables, fruits, the wonderful whole grains were promoted and vegetarianism and veganism exploded. So many of us started to associate greasy burgers with obesity and plant foods as "clean and pure". Whenever people here talk about overweight people, it's often shaming them for eating so much fat that will "clog their arteries"
I think it might take a little getting used to, but I don't think there is anything wrong with you. I think it's probably just that your environment pre-paleo made you think of meat as "dirty" or wrong.
And I prefer chicken (despite people here being against it!) over beef anyway! I also prefer fish to almost any other protein. You can still be paleo if you don't want to marry bacon:)
There's no one way to eat paleo. There's no requirement to eat tons of fatty meat, as long as how you eat works for you. Look at the modern-day hunter-gatherers, diets vary from 100% animal product (i.e. the Inuit) to nearly 0% animal products (i.e. some tribes in PNG). They're all essentially paleo.
I think Stabby's right about the conditioning aspect. Most of us have some to some degree. Heaven knows I still can't eat gross and disgusting liver or other internal things and I've been trying to work on that for years. I am getting better with it but I am having to force myself. I know that's conditioning and I want to recondition myself and that takes some work. I ate marrow for the first time at last year's AHS and thought I would die. It ended up being delicious but the texture grossed me out and I felt like a 7 year old. Now I've forced myself to buy marrow bones and eat them at home and while it still feel gross to me I'm getting better with it. It really does taste good and I'm just focusing on that and working on the negative reactions I'm having to the texture.
As far as the fat/lean stuff goes my favorite protein sources are flank steak and chicken breast both which are very lean. I add fat from other sources. Other than a rib eye steak I don't like fatty meats at all. I don't eat them. I eat what I like and adjust my macros with some additional fats if necessary.
I don't think not liking some things necessarily means anything. You can teach yourself to like new things if you want to. That's totally possible. And if you don't want to a nd just want to eat fish or whatever else you like to eat that perfectly fine too.
That's how I felt about meat when I was pregnant. In the first trimester fatty meat cooking smells would almost make me throw up. In many times and places meat was lean, scarce or expensive. There are traditional dishes from all over the world that are mostly vegtables with some meat, bones or meat fat for flavor. Eat what you like! You can google recipes or check out some ethnic cookbooks. The tradional cuisines of China, India, Thailand, Turkey, France, Italy etc will offer lots of ideas for mostly vegtable with some meat or fish dishes (just ignore the wheaty parts). Sally Fallon's cookbook Nourishing Traditions is a great resource for traditional foods from around the world. I second the other comment that there is no one way to eat paleo.
I have always loved the taste of meat. I do not remember a moment when I would say "no" to meat. When one of my friends told me she wanted to be a vegetarian, I knew I would never be able to follow. I would rather give up everything else but meat.
I will be honest with you - I don't think you know what real meat taste like. I don't know where you live, but meat does not taste the same in different countries. In the States it is very very hard, almost impossible, to obtain good tasting meat. Even if it is grass fed and organic. Sorry, but this is true.
If you ever tried a grass fed lamb that lived in the mountains and was killed one hour earlier (gruesome scene, I know) you will never forget the taste. You will crave it for the rest of your life. Nothing tastes quite the same. In fact, you should not put any sauce on it - it will ruin the taste.
As for liver, etc. My mom makes the best beef liver I have ever tried. I cannot make liver like that. Liver and onions... make my mouth water. And the way she makes kidneys - I would eat them all day long and ask for more. So it all depends on the way you cook it and the quality of meat.
I'd call it psychological. You've not indicated any digestive issues and, as you say, it would be a strange physical problem to have. When I was a child I felt pretty much the same. I really liked lean (and processed) meats but as soon as it got too close to the animal I'd be gagging before I even tasted it. Either fat, or skin on the chicken, or the meat being on the bone. It was mostly the texture, but it was reliably difficult for me to hold down. When we did have organ meats I could eat it under sufferance but certainly wasn't in love.
It was essentially a decision at some point in my adult life that this is what I should be eating that made the difference. It's hard to say whether it's because of how it's being cooked, or simply because I'm choosing to prepare it for myself (a surprisingly powerful influence on tastes), or any of a number of other factors. But now, even if I occasionally gag a little on something, it doesn't affect my enjoyment of a meal. I assume it's a hangover from having found these things disgusting for so long - maybe I just get a perverse pleasure from eating these things now!
I didn't try my first beef hamburger until I was 20, and then it was a few more years before I had steak, and didn't eat red meat on a regular basis until I was almost 30. Yeah, early on those things tasted and smelled nasty to me. I'm sure a lot of it was conditioning from my upbringing, but a holistic nutritionist I had hired for a while (which I kinda recommend for anyone who wants to develop a really personalized diet) said that was more likely because of my anemia, zinc deficiency, and low stomach acid. As I've worked to correct those things it has gotten much, much tastier.
I don't think you have to worry about WWACD because they would've either simply gotten hungry enough to eat whatever was within arms reach or they would have keeled over from starvation. Our modern food world is quite the novel and unprecedented thing, you can choose from thousands of options at just about any grocery store, and I think it is that massive variety and food surplus that leads us to these sorts of mental games and hoping some sort of intuitive oiuja board will guide us towards the correct choices, but for much of our history if it looked edible and didn't immediately kill the guy sitting next to you, chances were it was dinner. Foraging and hunting someone would have likely been limited to maybe a dozen (purely speculative number) or so foods in any given season. There have been times that my menu has gotten quite simplistic, mostly steak, greens, and maybe a potato, and my whole focus changes from right vs. wrong, to hungry vs. not hungry.
I have similar feelings towards meet, especially the smell of fatty meat cooking. Before paleo I was a vegetarian for 20 years and started eating fish about 5 years ago. I love fish and have no problem with it. I really hate the taste of cow, but do ok with buffalo. Go figure. I am looking into Pyroluria as a possible cause. One of the symptoms is difficulty digesting protein, dislike of protein and history of vegetarianism. I have some of the other symptoms as well. I know there is no concrete evidence Pyroluria is real, but I think it is worth looking into. I think some people have a hard time digesting protein just like some people have issues with dairy, gluten etc. There is no one size fits all paleo diet. Every body is different. You can thrive on just lean meats and fish with, vegetables, just like many ancient societies did. You have to listen to your body and experiment adding and subtracting things. Use paleo more as an elimination diet until you find what works best for your body.
Mostly psychological. I have always loved meat although eat lots of fish too but never liked liver. A traditional British dish was liver and onions. Steak and kidney pie has the kidney in it which again I never liked. So I have similar issues with organ meat just from for some reason not liking it from childhood. I bought some liver a few weeks ago and to throw it away.
Always loved fat though. That is the bit that tastes best and I think the UK and Americans could do with eating more fish and animal fats than they have been doing.
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