Person can't seem to digest meat...possible solution?

Answered on April 10, 2014
Created April 10, 2014 at 7:46 PM


I have been on a paleo template as per Chris Kresser for a couple of years now. My wife has been a long time vegetarian. She grew up constantly having stomach pains. At one point she was hospitalized for 7 days for stomach pain. The doctors had no idea what the problem was. They ended up releasing her without a plan and without any analysis of what happened. She eventually deduced that her not liking meat that much may be a sign that she doesn't digest meat well. After she gave up meat, the stomachaches went away. For the couple of years that we have been together, meat is revolting to her. When it accidentally ends up in her food, she is typically close to vomiting. However, we have been travelling Central America for almost a year and something has changed. She almost feels like her body is asking for meat again. She likes the smell of some of the things I eat that have meat. That never happens. She is the intuitive type so she takes hints from her body seriously, as we all should :)

What can we do to make the transition smoothly? Part of decision to be veg is ethical, so we are only going to eat free range chicken to start. She is worried about stomach pains again. Is it possible she lacks the enzyme to digest certain proteins from meat? Would it be beneficial to take supplemental enzymes? Or is there a way to naturally boost production? Or am I way off? What are your thoughts?

She can eat fish, both cooked and sushi, but if you push it too much (like more than 2x a week) she begins to have loose and frequent stools. She almost definitely has a sensitivity to eggs as the same bowel process occurs but much quicker.

Thoughts? Advice? I would prefer she grow accustom to eating ruminant animals like cow. for their omega 3 offerings, for their less killing of animals (the ethics question), for healthy servings of sat fat, etc. She has no interest and I'm not really interested in pushing it.

We will be living on the east coast and to be honest, I'm torn on eating fish as a ethical flexitarian myself. I trust the farmers i get my chicken, goat, and cow from more than the fisherman at the market. I eat Small Pastured Operation cow first, then free range eggs and chickens second, then sustainably caught fish third. Part of me just wants to go fishing during Salmon season, catch a couple, clean it up, freeze it, and have salmon available for months at a time. Part of me also just wants to find out why she can't eat meat regularly.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

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1 Answers

Medium avatar

on April 10, 2014
at 08:17 PM

Betaine HCL and other digestive supplements are a good bet. Use a lot at first then wean her off of it with small portions of easily digested meats until her body gets the signal and makes its own stuff again.

I personally find that if I eat my meat alone or with a small helping of non-starchy veggies it digests more completely. When I eat it with a large meal, it doesn't go so well.

I listen to my body too. I get a craving for meat when my stomach is completely empty and I have little interest in a "meal" at this point. I just want my meat for the day. This is usually in the morning for me, but could be any time. I usually eat meat only once per day and in this way, alone on an empty stomach as per my body's signals.

Others with more knowledge on the subject will chime in but I believe that salt and certain fats stimulate bile production.

I find it need only be a small portion of a healthy diet. Just enough to get your total protein up to 50-100 grams a day without the addition of grains and legumes.

Also, also, try eggs sans the whites. Plain yolk digests nicely for me but not whole eggs, so I avoid the whites.

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