Derek Nance had a mystery illness. He had no appetite and was unable to keep down any food he ate. Doctors suspected allergies and so he changed his diet. He cut out wheat and dairy, no change. Nance took to the internet and found a few other diets to try, he tried everything, including going vegan, and nothing worked. He eventually came across a gentleman who had suffered similar symptoms and suggested he try an all meat version of a Paleo diet. Nance decided to give this raw meat diet a shot. Five years later, it is still working and he's never been healthier.
Curious about his life, Vice
had a few questions for Nance:
Vice: Can you tell me more about this diet? Whose idea was this?
So it was started by a dentist named Weston Price who in the 1930s studied the health benefits of eating more raw foods, including 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, All right, I’ll give it a try
Was there any deliberation?
Nance: 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?
Nance: No. Maybe what you get at first is a little diarrhea, but that’s just your digestive system adapting. After the first week, I felt absolutely great, and I never went back.
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.
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Dinner of lamb chunks and fat.[/caption]
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
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Rotted lamb pieces[/caption]
You also eat rotten meat. Why do you eat rotten meat?
It’s a probiotic. Half of the problem with my digestion was actually just lack of enzymes. My body just doesn’t produce enough enzymes to digest starchy foods. So the probiotic bacteria in rotten meat actually helps me to digest the food.
What’s the worst thing about this diet?
Being an outcast. My family thinks 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 tells me that if I eat raw meat, I’ll get some sort of pathogen.
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.
Sometimes, you've got to do what you've got to do. For more of the interview, head here.
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