LOOKING for: Health question about meat consumption?

TyGeRROctober 14, 2000

This is more of a vegetarian lifestyle/health question than a recipe request. My boyfriend has been vegetarian(lacto-ovo) for about a year now, and last night we had some baked beans cooked with pork. Now he's experiencing bad cramps. He remembers this happening a few other times, when he mistook a product for being vegetarian when it contained a small amount of meat.

We're wondering if the body's tolerance for meat products lowers after being vegetarian for some time, or if this is just a coincedence?

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A lacto-ovo vegetarian is a person who is a vegetarian, but does consume the animal products of eggs (ovo) and milk (lacto). It's as simple as that. A strict vegetarian is called a vegan. Vegans eat no animal products, no meat, fish or poultry, no eggs or dairy. They also avoid foods with animal products such as baked products made with butter. There are other classes of vegetarians, and more are arising all the time as people continue to modify their diets towards a lessening reliance on meats.

I think I have referred to lacto-ovo vegetarians in other answers without clarifying what it means. I will try to be more careful in the future to be sure the terminology I use is defined for you.

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    Bookmark   October 14, 2000 at 8:06PM
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Jenny S

TyGeRR -

Yes, absolutely - the body does lose its 'tolerance' for meat products after awhile. I've had this happen to me; we were at a barbeque, I had brought along my trusty Boca burgers, but just couldn't resist the bratwurst...believe me, I suffered for it! Never again!

-- Jenny

    Bookmark   October 15, 2000 at 12:09AM
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Another note, although not regarding meat. I believe that for most people, whether officially diagnosed as lactose intolerant or not, do develope some degree of sensitivity to dairy over the course of their lives. I believe that, when ingested in sufficient quantity, most dairy products produce a degree of digestive difficulty in almost everybody, and that sensitivity increased with age.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2000 at 3:31PM
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I think MollyM is right about the dairy. I remember in my biology classes, we were discussing the fact that people are the only animals able to process lactose past childhood, because other animals, in their natural environments, are only exposed to milk until they are weaned. There is an enzyme in your digestive system that enables the breakdown of lactose. If you are not exposed to dairy for some time, your body will stop making that enzyme, and once it stops, it usually won't start again. Some people (esp. people of African ancestry) can never manufacture this enzyme. This is also why you are not supposed to feed an adult cat milk unless you have been feeding it milk since it was a kitten pretty regularly.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2000 at 7:04PM
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Flash (Darlene)

Once a person's body hasn't digested animal products in a while, it has a difficult time when it has to digest them. But a body would adjust if a vegatarian diet was gradually changed to a meat diet (not that I would encourage that because of my strong beliefs). My husband is not a vegetarian, but I am, so we do not have meat in the house and he rarely eats animals. When we eat out, he sometimes orders meat. He can digest seafood and chicken, but usually gets sick when he eats beef.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2000 at 8:53AM
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One time I accidentally had something with lard in it after eating no meat for over 3 years. I vomited all night, but don't know if it was related. It certainly dissuaded me from ever wanted to try meat again!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2002 at 6:52PM
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Having studied diets as a Nurse for over 30 + years, I have come to this conclussion. Over eaters of meat have stinky bowl movements as the body does not produce enough of its many chemicals to process the over indulgence and "it".

"it" passes into the small and large bowel and out! This can also happen with over indulgence in veggies! eggs! milk products!

An animal that eats meat has a digestve system that looks like a pipe with a bulge in the last 3/4. We have a system that circles, up down and out!

Hope this helps you understand why the "prok" or any other consumption will cause your body to do a number. When you hear of people who feel bad, just ask what they have ate in the last 24 hours????????????????????

    Bookmark   February 13, 2002 at 11:09AM
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When my husband and I married several years ago, I had been a vegetarian for quite some time. He had grown up in a home where, if no meat was served, it was not a meal! I told him that I would not pressure him into being a vegetarian; it was his decision to eat meat, and not mine. I did, however, tell him that if he wanted to eat meat at home, he would be responsible for preparing and cleaning up! Needless to say, he ate less and less meat as time went on. Being newlyweds, we did not indulge in the restaurant thing very often; so the only meat he really consumed was the rare meal at his parents' home! Over time his views changed about vegetarianism; he started to peruse some of my books about the cattle industry, and PETA stuff, which made him reconsider his position. He began to obstain from meat almost completely. On a rare occasion his mom would pressure him into eating something she had made ("but this USED to be one of your favorites!!!!"). .. . and invariably, he would regret it later! Now his parents either just don't cook when we visit; or his mom makes it a point to repeatedly tell us exactly how vegetarian the meal is (are we supposed to feel guilty or something? I swear, she thinks we don't do our civic duty because we don't eat animals!)!!!
I do suspect, though, that at first she was lacing the food with chicken or beef broth--because for a time I started getting sick, too (as did our vegetarian son!). It has been years since any of that came up, though (In his parents' defense: they have been cooking healthier since his dad's quad bypass. . . .).

Anyway; I guess what I am saying is that, yes! Those who obstain from meat consumption usually get sick when contaminated with a suspicious product. People are different, though; so the reactions vary from person to person. I have gotten sick from eating vegetarian food that was grilled on the same grill as meat (thanks for the notice, kind host!). Now, I always check! You can never be too careful.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2002 at 6:49PM
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Hubby and I stay away from 'meat' because it is a big source of fat. When we do eat it we eat a very small portion. Keeps our waist-line down!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2002 at 8:59AM
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I guess I basicly have the same question: I too have been a lacto-ovo vegetarian for a little over a year now and last night I also had some major stomach cramps that kept me up all night. I figure it is because I may have eaten meat last night. I guess I just want to know biologically why this happens. Could anyone tell be why, or where I can find out why?

    Bookmark   March 28, 2002 at 5:36PM
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The human body is not designed for processing meat--that's why most of our teeth are blunt--for grinding and chewing on fruits and veggies. This is why doctors recommend not introducing meat into a child's diet for the first six months to a year; because their stomachs are not srong enough to learn to process it yet. People that do eat meat usually eat it on a regular basis; and they have been doing so since early childhood. Their bodies have been conditioned to accept the meat and process it to the best of their abilities. They have trained their bodies to process the meat through gradual introduction, followed by consistent consumption. Once meat is removed from a diet, especially for an extended amount of time, the body loses some of its ability to process it--the system's not used to it anymore.
The degree of illness experienced when meat is suddenly re-introduced varies from person to person. A few factors to consider are: 1)how long has meat been absent from the consumer's system, 2)was that person a rigid vegetarian who read every label to check for animal broths and fats, etc., and, 3)how much meat was ingested? The degree of the reaction also depends on the sensitivity of the person's stomach, too--whether it is prone to reject spicy stuff or stuff with too much fiber; or if they started out with a relatively hardy constitution.
I know that personally, I have a pretty strong stomach. I rarely have any funky reactions unless someone has accidentally (or spitefully!) slipped me food that was tainted with animal products. I get pretty sick even if I eat portabellos that are grilled on the same grill where meat has been cooked (if it isn't well-cleaned!). But then I haven't had any meat, animal fat, or broth or anything for several years (I do still consume a small amount of cheese; and sometimes I will eat cake that was baked with eggs; so I fortunately have few reactions to dairy!).
I have also read that the body does react the same way when dairy is removed from the diet. Generally, our bodies were not intended to process any milk other than what our own mothers have produced for us. But after that supply dries up, we no longer need to get the nutrients provided in breastmilk from breastmilk because our bodies are strong enough to eat the foods in which those vitamins and nutrients naturally occur. Apparently we should all be lactose-intolerant; but I suppose our bodies just follow the same conditioning as it does with meat consumption.

Anyway; I hope that that novel has helped you understand why you probably had stomach cramps! When that happens to me, I find that eating dry toast with a glass of water helps to alleviate the stress. Sometimes even the water alone helps to flush the meat from your system.
I hope you find some of this helpful!!!


    Bookmark   April 2, 2002 at 2:00PM
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My understanding is: Different foods require different enzymes for digestion and that the digestive tract actually senses what enzymes are required from the "food" therein. The body has to have these enzymes on hand in order for disgestion to take place. People who don't eat meat are training their bodies not to make certain enzymes (sense it's a waste to do so). If they subsequently eat meat, the the digestive tract is ill-prepared and you get what you get.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2002 at 4:33PM
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I, too, have heard that we stop producing enzymes that process certain foods if we don't eat those foods, but I found this link on a vegetarian site that disputes it....

Here is a link that might be useful: Will meat sicken vegans

    Bookmark   May 4, 2002 at 8:46AM
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