I have had a lovely time over Christmas and James and I visited my family in Germany for a week. We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my family and enjoyed exchanging what we have been up to and all the changes that have happened in our lives.
The downside of visiting Germany for me is that the meals here tend to consist of mostly meat, bread and cheese. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day the meals consisted of two types of meat, some red cabbage and dumplings. I knew the dumplings were definitely not an option as they contain flour, so I was left with red cabbage and meat. I have not eaten much meat in the last few years and tended to stick with duck or very small portions when I did, but in this case, it was mostly meat! The experiment began.
The first night I felt okay. The meat options were duck and goose and I had mostly duck, which is lighter than the darker meat of goose. It was on the second night that I struggled. I must also point out that I had also not been eating my usual raw vegetables or fruit during the day—the shops were all closed and there was nothing to be found in the fridge that was green. The second night consisted of venison. It was a wild, organic venison and had taken hours to prepare.
The minute I sat down at the table, my stomach was squirming. More meat? Really? I mean, I can cope with one day but two in a row and no vegetables to go with it?
I ate it anyway and tried to tell myself that it would all be okay. It wasn’t. I started to feel quite irritable at first, then tired and somehow I just felt exhausted. It was strange but my emotions started to get affected too. I felt sad, angry and frustrated about things, for no real reason.
The next morning, I decided to figure out what was going on and why this reaction was so extreme. I knew that meat was acidic on the body but to experience such extreme tiredness didn’t make sense. What I discovered was quite interesting.
When we eat meat, we need large amounts of stomach acid to digest that meat. This is stimulated by our pancreas and aids in the breakdown of the meat. If we don’t have enough stomach acid, we will simply not digest the meat properly and it becomes a toxin to the body. The body simply shifts the meat through the body as quickly as possible as it can’t actually break it down.
Now as Endo women, I reckon many of us suffer from low stomach acid. The main reason is that we tend to have overloaded our poor stomachs with painkillers and drugs, which hamper that natural balance.
What was more interesting was the reason we have low stomach acid, which can be mostly due to a lack of iodine. Now, this is where it got really interesting. The reason we have low iodine is because of a similar ingredient used in foods called bromine. Bromine is found in bread products and it fills the receptors in our body, where the iodine was meant to go. This means, we become low on iodine and it is hard to get that level back up again.
Low iodine = low stomach acid. However, the low stomach acid has an unfortunate side effect. It means, the meat and potentially other foods are simply not being digested properly, which means they sit in our digestive system and rot. Rotting stuff lead to breading grounds for fungi, which inevitably add to the toxic load in our bodies. This is not a good thing!
No wonder I felt so exhausted! My body was simply struggling with what to do with all this undigestible matter!
The interesting thing I discovered about low iodine levels in the body work is that they are also indicative of cyst growths in our breasts and ovaries. It was mentioned on a number of sites that if we supplement with iodine we can actually decrease cyst growth! I will research this one a little further for us in a separate blog post though. Iodine is also a contributor to low thyroid production, which many of us also suffer from.
Do you suffer from low stomach acid? Do you notice that you get exceptionally tired when you eat meat? Does the sight of meat gross you out? It would be interesting to see if we share this symptom with endometriosis.
This Post Has 17 Comments
Thanks for sharing. That is really interesting 🙂
Here is a good article about stomach acid and the digestion of meat:
I hope it helps!
Good article Mel! I Also agree with stomach acid issue. I also think that preparing meat in a way to make it more digestible would help maybe? Like stewing it for a long time. I can think of a lot of traditional recipes of gorgeous stews. Also maybe the evening is not the best time to eat meat as it is when our digestive system is less efficient. I also think that mixing meat with lots of cabs is not a good idea, it’s certainly better to it eat with stewed veggies (very easy to digest) and starting meals with a small salad with a natural vinegar dressing would prepare the stomach for good digestion.
As per usual I think modern day food preparing is contributing to our bad digestion. …
Thank you Mel for your great article!
Interesting video and thoughts. It is a pleasure and thanks for commenting 🙂
Hi Melissa, thanks so much for the work you do for us endo ladies, I really appreciate it! I agree with the things you’ve written here, as I too felt my symptoms worsen over Christmas after eating meat. I saw this speech though that created an awakening for me, a shift within me, and gave me more reasons for making better food choices in the future:
Thought I would share.
I love red meat but can really feel a difference in my body after I eat it now that I mostly eat white meat only. I just feel really heavy, bloated and lethargic. A friend of a friend recommended taking iodine for ovarian cysts, it was in a pill form and had a weird name that I can’t remember. I thought that she didn’t understand that I had Endo, not just cysts, but maybe she was onto something…
Oh, I am slowly realising that it all is one massive puzzle and we just gotta find the middle piece 🙂
I suffer from low stomach acid as well. I have not eaten pork or red meat since I was a toddler (I’m 33 now). It just would not ‘stay down’. I seem to manage turkey and chicken just fine though. I also have a hiatal hernia which doesn’t help. It was actually my gastroenterologist who told me I have low stomach acid. I never thought that endometriosis and low stomach acid would go hand in hand.
I can sooo relate! It is hard when you have to prepare it and eat it! 🙂
I came to the same realisation and having a large amount of it has made it so much easier to not miss it too:)
Good point about bad food combining – definitely makes it worse to combine meat with carbs!
I would look at any fungal connections you might have that could be causing excessive weight loss – junk food is definitely not the answer, as I am sure you have found out 🙂
Look into getting a good bowel cleanse and adding good probiotics. You are probably also not eating enough good fats – coconut milk is brilliant for this 🙂
Pleasure Julie 🙂 Glad cutting out meat has helped you too.
Good point and makes good sense 🙂
I would also like to add, meat is also very hard for the liver to process and while the liver is busy breaking down the fats ( or added horomones) it isn’t filtering out the bad estrogens and other toxins. Melissa I think that would explain the mood swings. Your horomone levels are higher when your liver is working overtime. This has given me mood swings in the past.
Melissa, Thanks for your post. I have decreased the amount of meat in my diet, especially around my cramping time, due to pain in my GI tract. I’ve gotten to the point that I’m eliminating all animal products from my diet. I also have to take armour thyroid for my hypothryoidism, so that was an interesting fact, too. Thanks for everything you do for us endo girls! 🙂
This is making a lot of sense to me actually. I have felt the same way after eating meat and meals with heavy carbs. I’m also seeing a possible connection to my adrenal gland tumor and seroma problem: sudden wt loss, decreased energy, etc. I actually don’t care for meat so I eat loads of greens. However since I have been trying to increase my weight, I have been hitting the fast food hard and attributing the nausea and vomiting to the tumor/cyst/whatever prob! Very interesting. Thanks
Hmm… The iodine connection is very interesting!! Thanks, Melissa
so glad you have written about it! The same thing happen to me. Poland is Gemany’s neighbour so even our tastes are similiar. My Christmas was also mainly meat, gravy and cakes. So I also added lots of gluten to all the meat I consumed. And I must tell you that comming back from Christmas was a very painful road. Yeah, I was tired, I was exhausted and in pain.
What’s more interesting, I was responsible for preparation of some meals so I needed to fry and roast some meat and I was a nighmare. It make me nausea.
Eating meat forst time in 4 months wasn’t tasteful at all. I realized that I don’t miss it and what’s more important – that I don’t need it!