Welcome to Are you what you eat…or are you?mini-series about how we project our personality through food.
One of the most popular memes on the r/RawMeat subreddit depicts Jesus taking a long and anxious puff on a freshly lit cigarette. “God is watching as we set fire to meat after creating it as the perfect fuel for humans,” the caption reads. Is the oven sacrilege? This is the founding principle of this community. Modern diets have been corrupted by an elusive cabal of global industrialists – Big Pharma, Big Farming, Big… Beyond Burgers? beef.
The denizens of r/RawMeat seem to be misrepresenting the young and masculine, and their forum unfolds like a pamphlet for a deep new epicurean crusade. One post shows a dinner of slimy minced liver; another derisively refers to those who cook food as “food burners”. Men have sifted through countless questionable food movements and fitness motives to crack the code of peak performance. But after the dust settled and the barrels of whey protein were tossed aside, these guys decided that the truth had been writhing in front of them all along.
“I wouldn’t call myself a conspiracy theorist, but I don’t trust everything,” says Alex, a 19-year-old from Sweden who posts frequently on r/RawMeat and does not reveal his last name “for security reasons.” Last year, Alex switched to a raw food diet. “Just think about it: if everyone was healthy and in good shape, why would we need hospitals? Medicine? Health care?”
It’s hard to fathom just how big the raw food community is. I’m certainly not the only person to have eaten a cartilaginous cube of horseback sashimi during a trip to Japan. (Grassy and playful. Not bad, to be honest.) And beef tartare can be found in any French bistro that caters to millennials. But the boys on the subreddit are far more fanatical about their diet than us casual contributors. R/RawMeat has about 1600 subscribers and new posts appear every couple of days. Most of them repeat the dogma that raw food is better for our bodies and our brains; that the unseasoned blood of animals makes us strong, courageous, and free from disease; and that the mainstream dietary philosophy that supports basic food hygiene is completely wrong. To live a raw food lifestyle, you need to open your third eye. After that, who knows what you might see.
“I suffer from quite severe anxiety and depression. Whenever I eat a lot of raw food in my diet, this decreases. I get a lot more enjoyment out of my life and concentration,” adds Alex. (It’s worth noting here that no formal nutritional research or professional nutrition advice has identified or advocated a link between eating more raw meat and feeling smarter, stronger, happier, or healthier.)
Immerse yourself in the community and you will witness all sorts of eccentric epicurean decisions. Mostly we are talking about beef; raw poultry or pork are not as popular. Sometimes adherents snack on something relatively conservative, such as a raw steak, while other times, lunch dishes are much more esoteric. For example, completely unvaccinated beef.