One Nebraska man is taking meat-eating a bit too far: he’s on a raw meat diet.
Despite the risks of salmonella infection or other dangerous bacterial strains, Nebraskan Weston Rowe has been living off raw meat and ice cream for the past three years. And he says his carnivorous diet is energy efficient and worth every penny.
The 39-year-old said he is in better mental and physical shape as a result of the diet than he’s ever been before, according to the New York Post. Rowe eats raw beef, liver and chicken, all sourced from local farms. And it costs him about $140 per week.
Man Says He Used to Spend Same Amount on Junk Food
Rowe claims his weekly food expenditures now are equivalent to the amount he used to spend on junk food. That suggests this is not his first extreme diet. Still, for his part, Rowe acknowledged that switching to raw meat and raw eggs is “controversial.” Yet he insisted that, sickening as his diet may sound to some people, he’s never yet gotten sick from it himself.
Rowe also occasionally eats raw fruit and cooked potatoes. But his typical lunch would make most dietitians gasp. He downs a pound of raw meat with a half-pound of raw, unsalted butter and raw eggs. And he prefers his raw meat unseasoned.
Rowe does indulge in dessert. Every day, he has homemade ice cream composed of farm-fresh cream, milk, eggs and honey.
The Omaha resident says his friends and family have gone along with his decision, if not necessarily adopted it for themselves. However, he knows many people, including food experts, are against it.
Raw Meat Diet Is Rife with Risks
Rowe says he hasn’t yet come down with an infection from his diet. But advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests he is playing with fire.
Salmonella are bacteria that typically cause salmonellosis – which involves diarrhea, fever and stomach pains – but which can also cause typhoid fever or paratyphoid fever. People can get infected with the bacteria from eating contaminated food or touching contaminated animals, their feces or their habitat.
The CDC recommends cooking meat to a temperature high enough to kill germs. That varies by the type of meat, but under no circumstances does the CDC recommend eating raw meat.
According to the CDC, salmonella infection causes 1.35 million Americans to fall ill, 26,500 to be hospitalized and 420 to die every year.
E. coli bacteria – particularly the pathogenic O157:H7 strain – also cause people to get sick. The bacteria are known to be present in many cattle, Penn Today reports, and most cows carrying it show no outward signs.
Moreover, both salmonella and E. coli double in number every 30 minutes if left out unrefrigerated. Cooking meat thoroughly can kill the bacteria, but eating it raw gives them a fighting chance to wreak havoc with your gastrointestinal tract.