IS PORK BAD FOR YOU?
Talk about confusing. In the world of natural, real food lovers, pork is a contentious subject! On one side, you’ve got people zealously arguing against pork because it’s not kosher or halal, and surely God had a reason for withholding it from His people. They cite a few studies that demonstrate that eating pork causes adverse reactions in the body, and the arguments aren’t without merit. On the other hand, you’ve got traditional cultures like the long-lived Okinawans for whom pork is a dietary mainstay — providing meat and cooking fat. And, of course, there’s the weight of the European agricultural heritage, where every home and small farm had a pig because pigs could do miracles — turn waste into fertilizer for gardens and food for us.
So, where was the truth? Is pork bad for you? Is it really unhealthy? Or is it a good, traditional food that’s an integral part of every self-sustaining homestead?
My first introduction into the world of Real Food happened not with the book Nourishing Traditions, but with The Maker’s Diet by Jordan Rubin. In his book, Jordan argues against pork. But, it didn’t sway me from eating it.
I love my uncured bacon and smoked link sausage too much forgo pork.
But the book did cast a shadow of doubt over my food choice. I simply had to console myself with pork-loving traditional Asian and European cultures and hope that I was doing the right thing.
Now, thanks to the latest issue of the Wise Traditions Journal (which you get when you become a member of the Weston A Price Foundation), I’ve finally got an answer that gives me true peace of mind about the whole issue.
In it, they do a dark-field live blood analysis of people eating various forms of pork.
WHAT IS A DARK-FIELD LIVE BLOOD ANALYSIS?
The blood is the tissue most easily monitored to show rapid changes in response to nutrients. Live blood analysis involves visual examination of a small droplet of capillary blood from the fingertip. The blood is put on a glass slide and observed under a high-powered light microscope, typically dark-field. This method offers a qualitative visual perspective of the blood cells and plasma, known as the “biological terrain” in integrative healthcare, which supports and sustains the cells and their vitality.
Analysis of the blood can reveal numerous conditions, including the stickiness of red blood cells (RBCs) and their tendency to aggregate and clot, as well as the formation of fibrin—the chief clotting protein—and aggregation of platelets. The presence or absence of these clotting factors can be readily seen using dark-field live blood analysis. Early blood clotting has been linked to chronic systemic biochemical inflammation, which is at the root of chronic disease.
Live blood analysis is described in detail in a previous article by the author.2 Moreover, the blood testing of adults consuming the traditional diet recommended by the Weston A. Price Foundation showed a much healthier biological terrain than those consuming the modern organic diet. There was considerably less RBC aggregation, platelet aggregation and fibrin in the blood.
So, the idea is simple. A test subject eats a particular food, and then you take a sample of their blood at set intervals after they eat. You examine the blood under a dark-field microscope for symptoms like coagulation. If the red blood cells aggregate, it’s bad — a sign of an inflammatory response to the food. If the red blood cells don’t aggregate but stay nice and separate, it’s good — a sign of no adverse bodily reaction.
IS PORK BAD FOR YOU?
In the small study published in the recent Wise Traditions journal, they performed this test on three adults who had been eating a traditional WAPF diet for an average of 45 months. Yes, it’s a small sampling. That doesn’t mean the test was “unscientific,” just that it’d have to be done on a much larger scale to prove conclusive. I will say, though, that the study helped wrap my mind around the pork issue once and for all. Here’s why.
The study looked at the blood of subjects before and after the consumption of various kinds of meats:
- Unmarinated pastured center-cut pork chop;
- Apple cider vinegar-marinated (twenty-four hours while refrigerated) pastured center-cut pork chop;
- Uncured pastured prosciutto;
- Uncured pastured bacon;
- Unmarinated pastured lamb chop.
WHY YOU SHOULD AVOID PORK
No matter how you think about it, pigs are a rather dirty animal. They are considered the scavengers of the farm (created to eliminate any waste on the farm), often eating anything they can find. This includes not only bugs, insects, and whatever leftover scraps they find laying around, but also their own feces, as well as the dead carcasses of sick animals, including their own young.
This in itself can explain why the meat of the pig can be so dirty or at the very least not so appetizing to consume. And while being ‘grossed out’ may or may not be a valid reason not to eat something it’s vital to understand a bit more about pork before reaching your own conclusion.
KNOW THE FACTS PIG FARM
Pork is one of the most consumed meats in the world. China is the largest producer of pigs that were first domesticated way back around 7500 B.C.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that more than 100 viruses come to the United States each year from China through pigs. There are some obvious concerns about this. Aside from not needing more viruses to fight off, some of these viruses can prove to be downright dangerous to humans.
Of course, you’re probably familiar with H1N1, better known as ‘the swine flu.” This too is a virus that has made the leap from pig to human.
But H1N1 is not the only disease to fear from the pig. There are other sicknesses you can get from eating the meat of the pig.
Pork meat is loaded with toxins, more so than most other meats like beef and chicken.
IS PORK MEAT TOXIC?
There are reasons that the meat of the pig becomes more saturated with toxins than many of its counterpart farm animals. The first reason has to do with the digestive system of a pig.
A pig digests whatever it eats rather quickly, in up to about four hours. On the other hand a cow takes a good twenty-four hours to digest what it’s eaten. During the digestive process, animals (including humans) get rid of excess toxins as well as other components of the food eaten that could be dangerous to health.
Since the pig’s digestive system operates rather basically, many of these toxins remain in their system to be stored in their more than adequate fatty tissues ready for our consumption.
Another issue with the pig is that it doesn’t have any sweat glands. Sweat glands are a tool the body uses to be rid of toxins. This leaves more toxins in the pig’s body.
I don’t have to tell you that when you consume pork meat, you too are getting all these toxins that weren’t eliminated from the pig. None of us need more toxins in our systems. In fact we should all be doing what we can to eliminate and cut down on toxin exposure. One vital way to do this is by choosing what you eat carefully.
TRICHINELLOSIS, PORK MEAT, AND YOUR HEALTH
Did you know that pigs carry a variety of parasites in their bodies and meat? Some of these parasites are difficult to kill even when cooking. This is the reason there are so many warnings out there about eating undercooked pork.
One of the biggest concerns with eating pork meat is trichinellosis or trichinosis. This is an infection that humans get from eating undercooked or uncooked pork that contains the larvae of the trichinella worm.
This worm parasite is very commonly found in pork. When the worm, most often living in cysts in the stomach, opens through stomach acids, its larvae are released into the body of the pig. These new worms make their homes in the muscles of the pig. Next stop? The unknowing human body who consumes this infected meat flesh.
And while no one particularly wants to consume worms, trichinellosis is a serious illness that you should do virtually anything to avoid.
Common Symptoms of Trichinellosis:
- Swollen eyes
- Muscle pain
- Aching joints
- Coordination problems
- Heart issues
- Breathing problems
These symptoms of trichinellosis can really put you out of the game for quite a while. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) these symptoms can last for weeks and in more serious cases months on end.
The CDC recommends thorough cooking of pork as well as freezing the pork meat prior to cooking to kill off any worms. I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel good about eating anything that I first have to kill off its worms to eat.
In fact, it’s been theorized that trichinellosis is the exact cause of Mozart’s rather sudden death at age 35. An American researcher theorized this after studying all the documents recording the days before, during, and after Mozart’s death. He found that Mozart suffered many of the above listed symptoms and he, himself, had recorded in his journal the consumption of pork just forty-four days before his own death.
(If you want to read more on this intriguing story you can find it in the Archives of Internal Medicine’s June 2001 issue.)
But that’s not all….
Pigs carry many viruses and parasites with them. Whether by coming in direct contact with them through farms or by eating their meat we put ourselves at higher risk of getting one of these painful, often debilitating diseases (not to mention put our bodies on toxic overload.)
Pigs are primary carriers of:
- Taenia solium tapeworm
- Hepatitis E virus (HEV)
- PRRS (Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome)
- Nipah virus
- Menangle virus
Each of these parasites and viruses can lead to serious health problems that can last for years to come.
What you choose to eat is up to you. Myself, I choose to stay away from unclean pork (and shellfish.) The reasons discussed here are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to eating pigs and your health.
Do your own research, carefully consider what the Bible so many years ago warned us about, then make your own educated decision about what you choose to feed yourself and your loved ones.