Some Notes on Parasite "Dangers" in Raw Mammal
Meat and Fish for Eaters of Raw Diets, 
Including One Cautionary Tale

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I have a feeling that many of us are rather interested in any stories involving raw foodists and harmful parasites (such stories seem to be extremely rare as well!). As you are likely aware, several systems of raw foodism (RVAF diets), see almost all bacteria, viruses and so-called "parasites" as beneficial and not particularly harmful to a person (or animal) as long as they are following Nature's and God's natural laws and rules for eating (e.g., eat only natural, unprocessed, raw, fresh foods from the plant and animal kingdom.)  Rather, these organisms are seen as Nature's "cleanup crew", sent in by God to clean up damaged tissues and accumulated toxins within the body.  

There have been some advocates of this point of view outside of the raw foods diets arena as well.  Over the past 100 years, a significant number of highly credentialed and highly qualified biologists and biochemists (as well as a few medical practitioners) have also aired a very similar view: that most microorganisms are not inherently dangerous or harmful or invasive, but rather are simply responding to signals from the organism and tissues involved, to the effect that some "house-cleaning" is needed.   Or, in more severe cases, a number of such experts have maintained that the body may even be sending signals that it is dying or already dead, thus signaling Nature's cleanup crews to begin their work of disassembling the body and its tissues. In effect, the argument here is on about the primacy of "bugs" versus terrain, which harkens all the way to the classic debate between Louis Pasteur and Andre Bechamp. It is interesting to note that Pasteur capitulated on his deathbed, finally admitting that terrain has far more precedence in determining initiation and progress of an illness than any pathogenicity of a microorganism.  

As might be inferred, much the same debate exists in some quarters about so-called human parasites which belong to the helminth and arachnid families, among others, many of which are often called "worms" or "internal parasites" (tapeworms, roundworms, whipworms, trichina, etc.) in the vernacular.  Some raw foods advocates insist that almost all, or all, "wormlike" parasites are beneficial, and not harmful.

A True Story of a Parasitic Infection Suffered by a Raw Foodist
Raw lobster and the meat of wild mammalian predators seems to have fallen into a bit of a fear zone after a famous Instincto (a RVAF food movement, accused of being cult-like, centered in France), RVAF guru (he authored one book on Instincto eating) fell extremely ill (horrible, deadly, nasty parasites, according to his specialist!) in 1997 after recently ingesting three things which may have been iffy:

  • he had been drinking muddy water from what had been described as a bird shit-filled tiny stagnant duck pond, although a later report from someone who has seen the pond testifies that this pond was rather clean, and did not contain any obvious duckshit, nor any other kind of shit, and that it was not regularly frequented by ducks or other large aquatic birds.  However, the victim (a human/mammal) himself did urinate in the pond at times, but he did not shit in it.
  • he had, two days earlier, trapped and eaten a wild mongoose (a predator) in Hawaii, and eaten much of its liver raw, as well as some other parts and meats of the mongoose (also raw)
  • he had, a day or two earlier, eaten a raw lobster which had supposedly been caught near a municipal sewage outlet in a California bay
I have been fortunate in being able to do a lot more research on this topic and have learned a lot more about this particular episode from multiple and highly reliable sources since I first penned the note.  Since, lobster aside, many raw foodists are very interested in parasites (if only because of all the dire warnings we receive, especially from overly zealous amateur iridologists!), I figured I would pass along this updated and verified information.

1) The name of the guy who did this to himself was Zephyr, who more recently has called himself Ano. 

2) Blood tests done after the whole nasty episode confirmed unequivocally that the agent was trichinosis and the experts involved concluded that the likely source was the mongoose liver.  The lobster was given an apparent clean bill of health.  While it is quite widely agreed among many folks and observers that the source of the trichinosis must have been the mongoose, the source was not confirmed by any blood tests nor by any other laboratory tests.  However, since lobster is not known to carry trichina, nor pond water (at least according to the literature), it is extremely likely that the mongoose caused the trichinosis.  So, no doctor ever said definitively that the mongoose must have been the source.  However, Dr. Michael Klaper, the parasite specialist involved, did say at the time that it was very dangerous to eat wild carnivores, and especially the detoxifying organs (liver!) of such animals. 

3)  Ano is alive and well and very healthy today and living in Hawaii and his body has fully rebuilt and repaired, and he bears no remnants or damage from the incident, as best anyone can tell.  It seems he is still eating a raw diet. He has since done other rather wild dietary experiments, but all much tamer than the disastrous event of eating the mongoose!  I have recently received confirmation that Ano is definitely still eating a raw diet, one he would call "instinctively raw".  Again, he is now in excellent health.

Parasites, in Closing -- My Views
My own feeling is that while many so-called parasites are really helpful or at least harmless, there are probably indeed a few parasites (trichinosis, etc.) which are not helpful, but rather, in large quantities, can be very harmful to the body. Personally, I would never eat meat from a mammalian predator, due to this risk.

Incidentally, many of us have eaten the raw meat and livers of wild deer with no ill effect, so the issue is not about eating wild (herbivorous) game raw, but rather wild carnivores (or perhaps even omnivores) raw. Actually, perhaps the only effect that we may get from ingesting wild deer raw is perhaps a quicker immunity to (or peaceful coexistence with) organisms such as the Lyme spirochete and the rickettsial organisms such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, both of which, I seem to remember, find a population reservoir in deer.  And, of course, we also get to become friendly more quickly with any endogenous viruses living in such wild animals.

What Does Aajonus Vonderplanitz Have to say About This Incident?

I had shared my initial post (to the Live-food e-mail list) on the parasite story above with Aajonus Vonderplanitz, the founder of the Primal Diet system, who is also a consultant on RVAF diets.  Aajonus replied to my e-mail in short order, offering his own thoughts and giving me permission to post his reply to the Live-food list.

His reply is interesting, as I have usually held the reservation that there may be a few parasites, such as trich, which may be harmful at times.  Aajonus goes somewhat further, and seems to feel that even trich in large quantities is basically not harmful, but helpful (whereas conventional parasitologists and epidemiologists would say that perhaps 50 to 100 trich larvae or fewer at one time might be relatively harmless, and that more could be dangerous).  I must muse on this one for a while -- I can offer no final answer.  I feel we do not have enough evidence yet for a totally sure answer!  Incidentally, I do agree with Aajonus that it appears now that Ano must have eaten the gallbladder as well, from what he described to Aajonus (below).

I would like to share Aajonus' excellent letter, posting it as his reply to my story above, since I feel folks deserve to hear a viewpoint that is even wider than mine.  So, since I have his permission to forward his letter, here it is (below)!

Incidentally, I agree that my final phrasing might incite a bit of hysteria among the paranoid regarding consuming the (raw) flesh of carnivores, and especially the consumption of their organs of detoxification, and yet, I think one might agree that such a precaution is perhaps wisest unless one knows what the carnivore has been eating, especially since we do have rather unlimited access to animal products from animals other than carnivores!

Incidentally, as noted above, many of us have eaten the raw meat and livers of wild deer with no ill effect, so the issue is not about eating wild (herbivorous) game raw, but rather wild carnivores (or perhaps even omnivores) raw. 

I want to thank Aajonus for his careful and thoughtful reply!  Here it is!

(Please note that he has included snips of my original posts in his reply, as well)

At 10:07 AM 12/28/00 -0800, Aajonus wrote:
Hi, Vinny,

Vinny had written:
It turns out that I did not take good notes from my sources.  He apparently ate primarily the liver, and some meat from other parts of the mongoose as well.

Aajonus replies:
I communicated with Ano. He wrote that he ate something small that was terribly bitter. The gallbladder is the only gland that fits that description.

Vinny had written:
since lobster is not known to carry trichina, nor pond water (at least according to the literature), it is
extremely likely that the mongoose caused the trichinosis.

Aajonus replies:
Trichinosis can occur in any animal that has eaten animals in which Trichinella is indigenous, such as, pork, bears and some marine animals.  I have not found any source that said mongoose have been found or even known to develop trichinosis. Trichinosis should not be feared. It is the fastest final-phase detoxification in degenerative tissue where cells were made from animal that naturally contain latent Trichinella larvae; one of natures recycling organisms. Ano had eaten some of these creatures in his life.  Ano did not consume plenty of eggs and meat during his trichinosis detoxification and therefore did not recover.  Consequently, he consumed medication that destroyed the Trichinella.

Vinny had written:
However, Michael Klaper did say at the time that it was very dangerous to eat wild carnivores, and especially the detoxifying organs (liver!) of such animals.

Aajonus replies:
This is a supposition with which I do not agree. I have known people who have eaten plenty of wild carnivores, including liver, and did not get sick.

Vinny had written:
He has since done other rather wild experiments, but all much tamer than the disastrous event of eating the mongoose!

Aajonus replies:
The phrase "disastrous event of eating the mongoose" incites hysteria. The fact that Ano ate the gallbladder, full of bile, probably caused his intense diarrhea and cramping. Bile is a very acrid substance that causes severe irritation to tissue which is not well-protected with stable raw fats.  Ano consumed very little fat for someone who lived primitively.  Ano may have been harboring active Trichinella for some time prior to this incident.  The caustic bile may have caused enough damage to warrant Trichinella to have a huge feast of degenerative tissue within Ano's body. My experiments with animals with trichinosis showed that they recovered wonderfully as long as they consumed a lot of meat, eggs and butter (some were not able to eat butter).

Healthfully, Aajonus

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