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Somalia, October 2, 2013 in
ADDIS ABABA — Ethiopians continue to eat raw meat at family and festive occasions despite health risks that include exposure to tapeworms, salmonella and E-coli.
While most people are taught that eating raw meat is not good for you, the tradition persists in Ethiopia. Whenever there is something to celebrate -- like a wedding, or the end of one of the many fasting weeks for the large Orthodox community -- raw meat is eaten in large quantities.
The story goes that eating raw meat started during times of war. Fighters hiding in the mountains would have exposed themselves by making fire, and so ate their meat raw.
Temesgen Yilma is the owner of Yilma Restaurant, one of the most famous raw meat restaurants in Addis Ababa. He eats raw meat almost every day and claims that neither he nor his customers have gotten sick from eating it.
“Today we are the only butchery in the country having our own animal transport trucks and meat transport vehicle," noted Yilma. "And our meat is always inspected by the ministry of agriculture, it’s free of any tape worm or any other thing. It’s always inspected and its always healthy.”
The meat is delivered late at night or early in the morning to one of the hundreds of raw meat establishments in the city. The delivery time is important, to ensure the freshness of the meat and thus to prevent customers from falling ill.
But despite these precautions, eating raw meat still poses the risk of several types of infections. Akaze Teame is the medical director at the American Medical Center. He said that eating raw meat is not recommended.
“You will also be at risk of non-communicable diseases such as stroke and heart disease because as you’ve witnessed, most people when they consume raw meat they actually like it white, with a lot of fat on it," Teame explained. "So that puts the person at a much increased risk for heart disease and stroke as well.”
Whatever the health risks, for many Ethiopians raw meat remains one of the most popular dishes. And to prevent tapeworms, the most common and well-known consequence of eating raw meat, any meat lover can just walk to the pharmacy and buy pills without a prescription.
lol when I saw the heading for this thread, I thought you were going to post this article I read earlier today and thought about sharing here. I dry heaved through the whole thing (sorry to hijack your thread but it's the same topic really...):
This Guy's Eaten Nothing but Raw Meat for Five Years
Meet Derek Nance. Five years ago, Derek had some mystery illness that killed his appetite and brought up anything he ate. The doctors suspected it was an allergy thing so Derek changed his diet. First he cut the wheat and dairy, but he still continued losing weight. Getting desperate, he was soon online, chatting to people pushing all manner of lifesaving diets. Derek tried a Mediterranean diet (fish and vegetables) before ditching the fish and eventually becoming a vegan but nothing worked. Finally a guy who’d had similar symptoms recommended a carnivorous version of the Palaeolithic diet. With nothing to lose, Derek gave raw meat a try. That was five years ago and he now goes so far as to brush his teeth with animal fat. For reasons I don’t properly understand I wanted to watch Derek eat a meal and he obliged. I found him in Lexington, Kentucky and we talked about vital organs, rotten meat, and health, which is the main point of this according to Derek. He’s never been healthier.
VICE: Hi Derek, can you tell me more about this diet? Whose idea was this?
Derek: So it was started by a dentist named Weston Price who in the 1930s studied the health benefits of eating more raw foods including raw meats. He studied the Native Americans and a few of them who lived on a guts and grease diet. He found people in primitive communities were much healthier than we are today and I thought alright, I’ll give it a try.
So was there any deliberation?
Not really because I’d been sick for such a long time that I was willing to give anything a try. I had a couple of goats in my yard that I was using for milk and you know, I was tired of milking them so I slaughtered them. I ate both of those goats, all raw, and just switched over like that.
Did it make you sick?
No. Maybe what you get at first is a little diarrhoea but that’s just your digestive system adapting. After the first week I just felt absolutely great and I never went back
Derek’s dinner. Chunks of lamb and fat.
And you’ve eaten nothing else since?
Yeah, for nearly six years. I’m into lamb mainly. It’s just easy to go out to farms, barter over a decent price, slaughter it and throw it in the truck. It’s a lot harder to deal with beef because it’s a lot bigger. Pigs are kind of a no-no because they shoot them full of hormones and raise them on grains, which promote bacterial growth.
How do you avoid scurvy?
The organ meat of the animal actually contains vitamin C. And the thing about vitamin C is that you need more of it in a high carbohydrate diet, but if you’re eating carnivorously there’s enough in the animal flesh. So I just eat the organ meat and the connective tissue and everything else.
Derek’s hit of vitamin C. A jar of sheep organs and clotted blood.
What happens if you go to a friend’s house for dinner?
If I go to a friend’s house, most people will allow me to bring a little bit of my own food. Same with if I go out for dinner.
But don’t you get sick of eating the same thing all the time?
No, there’s something that happens during the adaption process. About three weeks in I noticed this real strong blood-like taste in the back of my throat and then all of a sudden I started getting strong cravings for it. The idea of cooked meat no longer appeals. It just tastes burned. And herbs and spices too, I used to season the meat and those just no longer appeal either.
Ok, and you eat rotten meat. Why do you eat rotten meat?
It’s a pro-biotic. Half of my problem with my digestion was actually just lack of enzymes. My body just doesn’t produce enough enzymes to digest starchy foods. So the pro-biotic bacteria in rotten meat actually help me to digest the food.
Derek lets chunks of lamb rot in a jar before he eats them.
Better than Yakult.
Have you ever explained your diet to a vegetarian?
Well my girlfriend is vegetarian.
Joanne, you’re a vegetarian?
Joanne: Yes, well more omnivore with vegan tendencies. I’ve tried Derek’s diet—we had lamb tenderloins once and they were delicious, but I’m a vegetarian for compassionate reasons.
Derek and Joanne.
So you guys talk about your difference in opinion?
Yeah and I understand his reasoning because for him this is his health. I think I can eat anything and it doesn’t affect me. That’s a big difference between us.
And Derek, you’re comfortable personally slaughtering animals?
Well if an animal lives in accordance with its nature, I have no problem ethically slaughtering that animal. But if you raise that animal in a pen and when it’s sick just shoot it up with antibiotics, I have real problems with that. It’s not just unfair on the animal; it’s unfair on the people who eat it.
After dinner Derek takes me down to his basement to his Jeffrey Dahmer fridge. After butchering a sheep this is where he hangs all the bits as he eats it over a few weeks. Tonight the fridge contains a few legs and a head.
“It’s a Shetland sheep, it’s got a very mild, sweet flavour. I crack open the scull and eat the brain. It’s kind of a delicacy so I’ll wait until the weekend to get into it.”
What’s the worst thing about this diet?
Being an outcast. My family, they think I’ve lost it. They literally think I’m off the deep end insane and I don’t know why. Eating raw meat is just something they can’t accept. My father has a master's in biology and he tells me that if I eat raw meat I’ll get some sort of pathogen.
Joanne: Yeah that’s weird. I’m not even allowed to mention Derrick’s diet around them. They say, “that’s wrong! He’ll die” and they just get really emotional about it.
Will you ever stop this diet?
No, not by choice. If they haul me away, kicking and screaming then maybe.
And you’ve recently become a butcher. Can you tell me about that?
Well, I was going out to farms for years slaughtering my own animals and one of the guys at these farms needed some help so I offered. Now I’m learning the trade from the ground up and I get lots of scraps to snack on. Before I was an electrician but I’ll do anything. Joanne runs a vegan juice bar so sometimes I’ll help out there. That’s just life.
Very interesting article Saffs, thanks.
one step short from cannibalism....
How your breath smell like after eating raw meat?
That adaan dude sounds like a very interesting soul to meet.
He is a very humble man.
Whats more interesting why the mountainous Amhara and Tigrayans adapted to eating raw meat. The clip mentioned war and their is some truth to it. When Imaam Axmad Gurey (aun) successfully captured the fortresses of Gondar and Axum, the scattered and defeated forces of the Abyssinians were forced to eat raw meat so they did not expose themselves while cooking with fire.
Khadafi that is an interesting tale. Is there any Gabay's you know of that speak of such?
Somaliphilosopher, Everything about Ethiopia & Somalia is legendary and full of mystique, no hard historical accounts exists. But the Amhara &Tigrayans themselves say that the habit became wide spread around year 1500, that is when Axmad Gurey became the first Muslim to capture the highlands.
Kolley gabayo laga sameeyay arintaas ma og'i
Ahmed gurey got his *** whopped by the Abyssinian christian king later after being surprised initially, so stop gloating for this one hit wonder.
It is correct that he was killed but we can not deny that he captured the highlands of Gondar and Tigray and wa the first muslim to do so,most historical accounts say so. It was during his time that indigenous muslim jeberta of Wollo and Tigray got established. Eventually the tide turned when the brother of the famous Portuguese sailor Vasco Da-Gama came to the rescue with well equipped catholic Jesuit soldiers. Ironically history repeats itself. When Somali soldiers, 500 years later captured the pre Dire-Dawa pass and were aproximtly 40 km from Addis guess who came to the rescue? Russians and Cubans! Though religion might have not played a role, we can not deny that Identity is always affiliated with it.
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