Son of Grok

“Eat lots of lean meat!”?

January 30th, 2009
Lean as it gets

Lean as it gets

Ok doctors, society, health “gurus”, etc… can we finally put this one to rest? How many times have you heard “Eat lean meat” or “I eat a lot of lean meat”.  You know what? It is a really good thing that for once, people CAN’T follow advice really well and I will tell you why. Do you know what happens when you eat nothing but “lean meat”? You die.

No, I am not joking. Maybe exaggerating a bit but it is a real danger. It is known as Rabbit Starvation and most anyone who has spent a fair amount of time in the wilderness or out in the great unknown is familiar with it. You see, a rabbit is a very lean meat. Very very very lean meat. If you are stuck in the woods and eat nothing but rabbit (over a certain amount of time of course – You won’t die from eating a couple rabbits), you will actually die from protein poisoning. This is because you are not getting enough fat!

Vilhjalmur Stefansson spent a great deal of time with the Eskimos and other North American indigenous people. This is what he has to say:
“”The groups that depend on the blubber animals are the most fortunate in the
hunting way of life,” wrote Stefansson, “for they never suffer from fat-hunger.
This trouble is worst, so far as North America is concerned, among those forest
Indians who depend at times on rabbits, the leanest animal in the North, and
who develop the extreme fat-hunger known as rabbit-starvation. Rabbit eaters,
if they have no fat from another source-beaver, moose, fish-will develop
diarrhea in about a week, with headache, lassitude, a vague discomfort. If there
are enough rabbits, the people eat till their stomachs are distended; but no
matter how much they eat they feel unsatisfied. Some think a man will die
sooner if he eats continually of fat-free meat than if he eats nothing, but this is a
belief on which sufficient evidence for a decision has not been gathered in the
north. Deaths from rabbit-starvation, or from the eating of other skinny meat,
are rare; for everyone understands the principle, and any possible preventive
steps are naturally taken.”

Fat = Satiety people (or “feeling full”). Eat lean meat = Be hungry. No wonder everyone is running around starving following “conventional wisdom”.

Heck even our buddy and original purveyor of Grok’s existence Charles Darwin wrote in The Voyage of the Beagle”:
Yet the Gaucho in the Pampas, for months together, touches nothing but beef. But they eat, I observe, a very large proportion of fat, which is of a less animalized nature; and they particularly dislike dry meat, such as that of the Agouti. Dr. Richardson, also, has remarked, “that when people have fed for a long time solely upon lean animal food, the desire for fat becomes so insatiable, that they can consume a large quantity of unmixed and even oily fat without nausea:” this appears to me a curious physiological fact. It is, perhaps, from their meat regimen that the Gauchos, like other carnivorous animals, can abstain long from food. I was told that at Tandeel, some troops voluntarily pursued a party of Indians for three days, without eating or drinking.”

Rabbit Starvation has been the purveyor of many a failed expedition. It has been the bane of past explorers. The need for fat and the “hunger for fat” experienced on low-no fat diets is actually surprisingly well documented. Once again, one of those bits of health knowledge right under our nose that is shunned by today’s “conventional wisdom”.

Don’t get me wrong, lean meat is plenty delicious and healthy … AS LONG AS YOU ARE GETTING YOUR FATS (actually Rabbit is quite good)! Or, you could join the starving “low fat diet” masses.

P.S. Animal fat sources are chock full of saturated fats. That is NOT a bad thing. I can’t wait until we can finally put that pink elephant to bed too.

11 Responses to ““Eat lots of lean meat!”?”

  1. emergefit

    I will give up my (good) fats only when they pry them from my cold, dead fingers. Just a reminder,

    I wish the English dictionary would give dietary fat a new name, because it’s the name FAT, above all else, which makes people shun dietary fats. Perhpas we could call dietary fats, Grok Fuel. Maybe not. Thoughts….

  2. Son of Grok

    I totally agree. Eating “FAT” makes people think that they will store “FAT” which couldn’t be more wrong. Maybe we do need to rename it. Oh, and I can see it now “Grok Fuel”… we can put it in one of those fancy energy drink cans with all the lightning bolts and stuff on them… only it is a can of… well… fat! Lol.

  3. Roger De Rok

    Rabbit is tasty. I think I’m going to buy some this weekend. Was this post a result of our recent conversation?

  4. Son of Grok

    It is more of the result of me watching a lot of “Survivorman” lately. lol

  5. Robert M.


    Adipose tissue (distinct from vegetable oils).


  6. Son of Grok

    Robert M,
    All very true but Fat is already too well known as “fat”. What if we called it “the goods”. Hey man, pass the goods! These are some good goods! mmmmmmmmmm. lol

  7. Angel

    People are wimps. If people were willing to eat the *whole* rabbit – the way my cat does when he catches rabbits – and not just the muscle, they’d get some fat. But I guess most people are too squeamish to eat rabbit fur/skin. I don’t see the appeal of rabbit fur as food, but I guess that is why I am not a cat. He also eats entire birds, including feathers (usually). Feathers are usually greasy – I wonder what their fat content is? I’m guessing FitDay will be no help there. :)

    I’m gonna stick with lard for my fat needs. It’s filling and attached to pork chops, my favorite food.

  8. TrailGrrl

    Fat is where it’s at. People forget that fat is a fuel for the long haul. Uber-distance biker John Stamstad used to chug vegetable oil right out of the bottle on his long-distance cold weather treks. Not that I recommend vegetable oil, but you get the idea. He knew that to go day in and day out that his body needed more than carbs.

    When we were growing up we ate chicken with the skin on (fried in lard, until our mom’s got on the Crisco bandwagon), gravy, and had a pot for bacon grease sitting on the stove. And food tasted really good then, too. Our parents felt guilty if we didn’t have homecooked meals. There were two kinds of milk… white and chocolate. Yogurt was not in anyone’s refrigerator until the 70’s Yubi Yogurt craze, and even then it wasn’t really for “health” reasons. If you wanted a raw egg in your milkshake or malt they put it in for you. Sure there was Butternut bread, bologna, Miracle Whip, and ho-ho’s packed in your lunch, but mostly you ate good food, not rabbit food (although my grandma sure knew how to skin them!).

  9. Dana

    TrailGrrl: Oh, there’s good yogurt. I am LCing rather than strict paleo, I would miss certain kinds of dairy too much, but I’ve found that just LCing I like plain yogurt a lot better than I used to–and always full-fat. I won’t touch lowfat yogurt with a ten-foot pole now. I also ignore the “low-carb” yogurts they’re trying to sell us. I learned from a LC writer that because of the action of yogurt bacteria, most of the lactose in milk is eaten up and turned into lactic acid during the yogurt-making process. And I never have a problem with weight gain eating the stuff. :)

    I grew up in the early 80s to early 90s, unfortunately as the low-fat craze was really getting going but my dad is Cajun, grew up a farm boy and wouldn’t have that nonsense when he was home from the ship. My stepmom was also country growing up and couldn’t let go of it completely; we had Crisco but we had animal fats too. I feel extremely fortunate that I’m not growing up now.

  10. paul

    Great post, and a fantastic site, it is so hard in the world of lean and fat free foods to live paleo. I have converted a large number of my crossfit/personal training clientele to low grain carb/paleo with great results

  11. McSalty

    Haha, just found this post googling “eating lean meat makes me hungry.” I just had nearly a pound of very lean steak for dinner with barely any sides — yet 20-30 minutes later I had this sensation of irresistible hunger and craved cheese or milk. I’ve fasted for two days before, and this hunger was ironically far more intense than anything I’ve ever felt while not eating.

    Thanks for the post — I was utterly baffled as to how I could still be hungry. Next time I’m ordering ribeye ;)

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