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Welcome to the MEATrition History Database - The largest collection of information about the Carnivore Diet to date!
Welcome to the MEATrition Carnivore History Database!
This has been a painstaking process but a labor of love for over the past few years as I've built this website from the ground up. The history of this database is that I found @bitstein's justmeat.co website and loved the easy access to pdfs to books on the carnivore way of eating. I ended up messaging him and added suggestions, and later I added wikis I had built for Reddit on a variety of topics. However, I finally decided I wanted to not only provide the books, but also read them and summarize or quote the most important parts of them. Eventually, I realized there were far more than just books, and the best way to organize hundreds or thousands of possible anecdotes over all of time would require a chronological database with tagged entries that could be searched, shared, and talked about.
This database has links to other databases, which are called "collections' on Wix, the website maker I'm using. I have the following collections: Authors/people, Books, History, Ancient History beyond 2,000 years ago, Diseases, Foods, Ethnographic Tribes, Topics and more. These are best represented by going through the history database which has a collection of all of them, however, there are dedicated links to each database collection under the Menu.
The topics in the history database cover a wide gamut, as you can see with the filters at the top of the screen - but in fact there are over 150 topics, I just surfaced the most important ones. If you click one of the filter buttons, it will filter the database to all entries tagged with that. Most entries have 2-4 topics.
There is a search bar that searches the title, author, text fields through the database. Have a rare question about the carnivore diet? Enter a keyword and see what you find!
Furthermore, there are ways to sort the history database - click Recently Added to see what I've added most recently. Click Oldest/Newest to sort the database by chronological order. There is a also a sliding bar you can use to select a 5 year date span to quickly see what was going on then. You can click Clear Year to reset that. Finally, at the bottom is a page changer, and each page has 10 entries.
You can open up an entry by clicking the blue link at the top of each event. That will open up a larger view of the post, with links to the book and author, and a field to add a comment if you so desire. You can share these individual links, or you can click the Twitter icon to post a formatted post to Twitter. You can also post the link to Reddit, I have two subreddits possible, but you could also change the subreddit if you want when it loads.
One more thing - I opened Membership up on the site and I'm allowing qualified posters to add entries to the database. https://www.meatrition.com/add-history you can go there to see directions on the standards I want for your posts and join the site and add whatever is missing.
If you enjoyed this work or feel this knowledge is worth knowing - please share links from the website. It's ad-free and built for the entire carnivore and nutrition science community, and for the most stringent skeptics. Share, join, contribute!
Claudius Galenus makes errors in explaining diabetes which retards progress in knowledge for 1500 years.
Claudius Galenus (born 131 A.D.) saw two patients and introduced two ideas: first, that diabetes is a weakness of the kidneys, which can not hold back water and also are thirsty for fluid; second, that the urine consists of the unchanged drink. Galen's great authority maintained these errors for about 1500 years, and retarded progress in the knowl edge of diabetes.
Greeks and Romans depended on a grain-based diet but would suffer from eye disorders, stinking disease, and distended bellies indicating vitamin deficiency.
Greeks and Romans consumed a diet which was mainly based on cereal (carbohydrate), olive oil (lipid/fat) and wine . Milk, which could not be kept in a warm climate, was made into cheese, forming a major source of their protein intake . Such a diet would have provided for the fibre and carbohydrate needs, but seems to be somewhat lacking in protein and perhaps also in vitamins. Indeed, reports of medical ailments from the time often refer to eye disorders, “stinking disease” and distended bellies, suggesting that vitamin deficiency, symptomatic of modern day problems in areas of the world that depend heavily on grain as a staple part of their diet, may have been prevalent .
The Yellow Turban Rebellion was initiated by Daoist adepts who proposed an alternative world view to restructure society from the Yellow Heaven. The struggle was not against society per se as much as it was frustration at the loss of an “idealized, primitive agricultural community…or a nostalgia for a prefeudal or Neolithic communal society” -- abstain from food (especially the Five Grains)
While traditional Chinese mythology depicted cooking and agriculture as key elements of civilization, the Daoists created a “counter-narrative” to justify the idea of grain avoidance. (Campany,Robert Ford. Hong Ge. 2002. To live as long as heaven and earth: a translation and study of Ge Hong’s traditions of divine transcendents. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 16)
For example, the Confucianist Xunzi and Legalist Hanfeizi describe Suiren as cultural folk hero:
In the earliest times … the people lived on fruit, berries, mussels, and clams – things that sometimes became so rank and fetid that they hurt people’s stomachs, and many became sick. Then a sage appeared who created the boring of wood to produce fire so as to transform the rank and putrid foods. The people were so delighted by this that they made him ruler of the world and called him the Fire-Drill Man (Suiren 燧人). (Hanfeizi 49, tr. Campany 2005:15)
In contrast, the Zhuangzi “Mending Nature” chapter mentions Suiren first in a list of mythic sage-rulers – Fu Xi, Shennong, Yellow Emperor, Tang of Shang, and Yu the Great traditionally credited with advancing civilization – but depicts them as villains who began the destruction of the primal harmony of the Dao. Campany (2005:16) calls this “the decline of Power and the ever-farther departure from the natural Dao into systems of social constraint and what passes for culture.”
The ancients, in the midst of chaos, were tranquil together with the whole world. At that time, yin and yang were harmoniously still, ghosts and spirits caused no disturbances; the four seasons came in good time; the myriad things went unharmed; the host of living creatures escaped premature death. … This condition persisted until integrity deteriorated to the point that Torchman [Suiren] and Fuhsi arose to manage all under heaven, whereupon there was accord, but no longer unity. Integrity further declined until the Divine Farmer and the Yellow Emperor arose to manage all under heaven, whereupon there was repose, but no longer accord. Integrity declined still further until T’ang and Yu arose to manage all under heaven. They initiated the fashion of governing by transformation, whereby purity was diluted and simplicity dissipated. (tr. Mair 1994:149)
“Now, the people of mysterious antiquity, they reached old age because they remained in leisureand never ate any grains.” (From Most High Numinous Treasure)
The Yellow Turban Rebellion was initiated by Daoist adepts who proposed an alternative world view to restructure society from the Yellow Heaven. The struggle was not against society per se as much as it was frustration at the loss of an “idealized, primitive agricultural community…or a nostalgia for a prefeudal or Neolithic communal society” (Girardot, N.J. 1983. Myth and Meaning in Early Taoism. Berkeley: University of California Press.)
Yellow Turban Rebellion
“Retiring to a mountain, then as now, would require an inordinate amount of training, planning and discipline. Following Maslow, the aspirant’s first concern, especially in times of famine and strife, would be nourishment. This essentially puts the person back in the same situation as before the advent of agriculture. The Daoist masters in some sense decide that in the face of continually crumbling social orders, with intermittent prosperity, to have done with the charade and to face the situation on their own terms. To be able to minimize or abstain from food (especially the Five Grains) and to thrive by way of subtle arts would be tantamount to freedom from the feudal system.” (Dannaway, Frederick R. (2009)Yoked to Earth: A Treatise on Corpse-Demons and Bigu)
The Yellow Turban Rebellion, also translated as the Yellow Scarves Rebellion, was a peasant revolt in China against the Eastern Han dynasty. The uprising broke out in 184 AD during the reign of Emperor Ling. Although the main rebellion was suppressed by 185 AD, pockets of resistance continued and smaller rebellions emerged in later years. It took 21 years until the uprising was fully suppressed in 205 AD. The rebellion, which got its name from the colour of the cloths that the rebels wore on their heads, marked an important point in the history of Taoism due to the rebels' association with secret Taoist societies. The revolt was also used as the opening event in the 14th-century historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
Tchang Tchong-king, the greatest of Chinese physicians, describes diabetes in the year 200.
Chronological order here shifts the narrative to the Far East. According to Iwai, the first oriental description of diabetes was given in the year 200 by Tchang Tchong-king, perhaps the greatest of Chinese physicians. “There is a disease called ‘the disease of thirst,’ in which polyuria is the characteristic symptom. One may drink as much as ten liters per day, which is recovered in the urine.”
Galen says on usage of broad beans as food: "Our gladiators eat a great deal of this food every day, making the condition of their body fleshy – not compact, dense flesh like pork, but flesh that is somehow more flabby."
In terms of diets, we also know that specific types of athletes were fed in ways that matched their needs and improved their performance. One such form of sport was the ancient gladiator, and here we learn from Galen, that beans were highly recommended in order to build bulk into such athletes. Galen even goes so far as to state that the bean should be boiled long enough in order to avoid flatulence .
On broad beans: “There is also much use made of these, since soups are prepared from them, the fluid one in pots and the thick one in pans. Our gladiators eat a great deal of this food every day, making the condition of their body fleshy – not compact, dense flesh like pork, but flesh that is somehow more flabby. The food is flatulent, even if it has been cooked for a very long time, and however it has been prepared, while ptisane gets rid of all flatulent effect during the period of cooking.”
Galen is unimpressed with vegetables calling them "all unwholesome" and of "little nutriment to the body."
Whilst Celsus  provides us with a clear rank order for their nutritive value, Galen  seems unimpressed with vegetables as a whole, stating that they give “little nutriment to the body” and that they are “all unwholesome ”.
“Of vegetables the turnip and navew and all bulbs, among which I include the onion also and garlic, are stronger than the parsnip, or that which is specially called a root. Also cabbage and beet and leek are stronger than lettuce or gourd or asparagus” .
“Not only do we eat the seeds and fruits of plants, but also the plants themselves, often whole, but often only the roots, branches or young shoots, according as there is a pressing need for each. It is clear that, as well as giving little nutriment to the body, these are all unwholesome except, as I said, the spiny plants that have just emerged from the ground”.
Celsus preferred beef while Galen preferred pork in terms of providing the best nutrition.
In the early days, athletes relied on their trainer to make sure that their dietary needs were met. However, it was not long before medical doctors took over, and the first sports physicians were created. In a report from Philostratos we learn .
“...The Sicilian style of fancy food gained popularity; the guts went out of athletics and, more important, trainers became too easy on their pupils. Doctors took the lead in introducing permissiveness, setting it up as an adjunct to their treatment...from these Doctors athletes learned to be lazy and to exercise after sitting around stuffed with enough food to fill an Egyptian or African meal sack; they gave us chefs and cooks to please our palates. They turned athletes into gluttons with bottomless stomachs.”
However, whilst it was popular or fashionable to have a physician designing your diet, it seems that these medical doctors did not always share the same opinion about what the athletes should eat. Celsus, who was not trained as a medical practitioner, although he wrote a great deal about medical practices, and Galen, who was medically trained, did not agree on the type of meat that was the “strongest”, that is to say the most nutritious, for an athlete. Celsus preferred beef whilst Galen, who was particularly enthusiastic about the advice given, considering him to be an expert on diet and exercise , gave the Olympic gold, so to speak, to pork, which he felt was the most nutritious form of meat. Maybe this was based on his own positive experience with pork when he was a medical practitioner in Pergamon where he took part in the training of gladiators.
Ancient athletes would most likely not have been able to afford very much protein in the form of meat, and would as a consequence not have eaten meat on a daily basis. However, we know from Celsus  and Galen  that meat in the form of terrestrial and aquatic livestock was considered nutritious, and was classified among the “strong” foodstuffs. Celsus and Galen [19,22] could not, however, agree as to which meat was the “strongest”, Celsus  favoured beef, whilst Galen  never misses a chance to sing the praises of pork, which alongside fresh milk was his favourite food.
“Among food from domesticated quadrupeds pork is the weakest, beef the strongest. And so also of game, the larger the animal the stronger the food yields” 
“Flesh, when well concocted, produces the best blood, especially in the case of animals such as the pig family, which produce healthy humour. Pork is the most nutritious of all foods, and athletes provide a very visible test of this. For when, after identical exercises, they take the same amount of a different food on one day, straightway on the following day they appear not only weaker but also obviously less well fed.”
“Beef itself gives a nutriment that is neither small in quantity nor easily dispersed; yet it produces blood that is inappropriately thick” .
“Lambs also have flesh that is very moist and productive of mucus. But that of adult sheep is more productive of residues and more unwholesome. The flesh of goats is unwholesome too, with bitterness” .
Poultry was also considered a nutritious foodstuff, although here size mattered. Celsus  ascribed poultry to the “medium” class of foodstuffs, whilst Galen was not so generous in his appraisal, preferring once again to extol the virtues of pigs and terming poultry meat as “poorly nutritious”.
“Likewise of those birds, which belong to the middle class, those which rely more on their feet are stronger food than those which rely more on their wings; and of those birds which depend on flight, the larger birds yield stronger food than the smaller, such as fig-eater and thrush. And those also which pass their time in the water yield a weaker food than those which have no knowledge of swimming” .
“The family of all winged animals is poorly nutritious when compared with that of terrestrial animals, especially pigs: you would find no flesh more nutritious than theirs” .
Fish too were classified as a “middle” foodstuff by Celsus , although here preference was given to the oily fish such as mackerel in comparison with bass and mullet. This is in accordance to general recommendations today concerning intake of oily fish like salmon and tuna, although the reason given here is to prevent heart diseases. Galen goes one step further in his assessment of fish, telling us that they are not appropriate for athletes but should rather be reserved for those who are weak and ill.
“The fish most in use belong to the middle class; the strongest are, however, those from which salted preparations can be made, such as the mackerel; next come those which, although more tender, are nevertheless firm, such as the gilthead, gurnard, sea bream, eye fish, then the flat fish, and after these still softer, the bass and mullets, and after these all rock fish” .
“But from all the above fish the nutriment is best for those who are not in training, and the idle, frail and convalescent. People in training need more nutritious food, about which there has been previous comment” .
“...the best milk is just about the most wholesome of any of the foods we consume”.
“For cows´ milk is very thick and fatty, while milk from the camel is very liquid and much less fatty; and next to the latter animal is that from mares, and following this, ass´s milk. Goat´s milk is well proportioned in its composition, but ewe´s milk is thicker” .
“Its continued use also harms the teeth, together with the flesh surrounding them, which they call “gums”. For it makes these flabby, and makes the teeth liable to decay and easily eaten away. Accordingly one should rinse the mouth with diluted wine after consuming milk, and it is better if you put honey with it” .
“Moreover it is neither unwholesome nor very markedly productive of thick humour, a common charge against all cheeses. A very fine cheese is the one highly regarded by the wealthy in Rome (its name is bathysikos), as well as some others in other regions” .
“Among pulses, beans and lentils are stronger food than peas” .
“However, they [Figs] do not produce firm, strong flesh like bread and pork do, but a spongy flesh, as the broad bean does” .
Avoiding grains was the primary medical cure for eliminating the sanshi 三尸 “Three Corpses” or sanchong 三蟲 “Three Worms”, which are evil spirits believed to live in the human body and hasten death. If one is to attain long life, the three worms have to be starved, and the only way to do so is to avoid all grain
Avoiding grains was the primary medical cure for eliminating the sanshi 三尸 “Three Corpses” or sanchong 三蟲 “Three Worms”, which are evil spirits believed to live in the human body and hasten death. Livia Kohn (Kohn, Livia (1993), The Taoist Experience: An Anthology, State University of New York Press. p. 148) describes the Three Corpses as “demonic supernatural creatures who feed on decay and are eager for the body to die altogether so they can devour it. Not only do they thus shorten the lifespan but they also delight in the decaying matter produced by the grains as they are digested in the intestines. If one is to attain long life, the three worms have to be starved, and the only way to do so is to avoid all grain.”
I have personally observed for two or three years men, who were foregoing starches, and in general their bodies were slight and their complexions good. They could withstand wind, cold, heat, or dampness, but there was not a fat one among them. Therefore, by giving up starches one can become immune to weapons, exorcize demons, neutralize poisons, and cure illnesses. On entering a mountain, he can render savage beasts harmless. When he crosses streams, no harm will be done to him by dragons. There will be no fear when plague strikes; and when a crisis or difficulty suddenly arises, you will know how to cope with it.
I have personally observed for two or three years men, who were foregoing starches, and in general their bodies were slight and their complexions good. They could withstand wind, cold, heat, or dampness, but there was not a fat one among them. I admit that I have not yet met any who had not eaten starches in several decades, but if some people cut off from starches for only a couple of weeks die while these others look as well as they do after years, why should we doubt that the (deliberate) fasting could be prolonged still further? If those cut off from starches grow progressively weaker to death, one would normally fear that such a diet simply cannot be prolonged, but inquiry of those pursuing this practice reveals that at first all of them notice a lessening of strength, but that later they gradually get stronger month by month and year by year. Thus, there is no impediment to the possibility of prolongation.
Therefore, by giving up starches one can become immune to weapons, exorcize demons, neutralize poisons, and cure illnesses. On entering a mountain, he can render savage beasts harmless. When he crosses streams, no harm will be done to him by dragons. There will be no fear when plague strikes; and when a crisis or difficulty suddenly arises, you will know how to cope with it.
“The Daoist Immortals are often described as “abstaining from grain” (bigu) as part of their training and progression in the Dao… Likewise, the “abstention from grain” of Saints must be seen to be a fundamental technique of achieving immortality, perhaps only inferior to a magical plant or elixir that would instantly fulfill the same function as the practice of bigu.” (Dannaway, Frederick R. (2009)Yoked to Earth: A Treatise on Corpse-Demons and Bigu)
The “cutting off” of grains, which were the basic staple food for the peasants, was a rejection of the sedentary life and the peasant condition as such. This refusal should not solely be interpreted in the light of the miseries endured by farmers, but also in a much more fundamental way. Agriculture has occasioned, since Neolithic times, a radical break with the way of life that prevailed for almost the entire prehistory of humankind. Agriculture has also been the main culprit of the imbalances of human civilization over the last ten thousand years or so: the systematic destruction of the natural environment, overpopulation, capitalization, and other evils that result from sedentariness. (Schipper, Kristofer (1993), The Taoist Body, translated by Karen C. Duval, University of California Press. p. 170)
“What becomes evident in the study of the tensions between Confucians and Daoists is a fundamental difference in their assessments of the prehistorical period of China. The Confucian’s viewed primordial times as period of starvation, of violence and wilderness, to loosely paraphrase and translate Levi (1982), contrasted to the Daoist view of a golden-age of uncontrived Eden-like bliss. “Zhuangzi praises that idyllic age with these words: ‘Spirits and gods show their good will and nobody dies before his time’” (Levi 1982). This is anathema to the Confucian view that it took a civilizing divine-potentate to rescue humanity from it’s own ignorance and helplessness in a brutal wilderness. This expresses a fundamental cosmological orientation that is the foundation for much of the social movements in China, perhaps even into modern times.“ Ancient man imbibed dew” and “fed on primordial breath and drink harmony” and ate not the toilsome, vulgar crops of the red dust that are exemplified in the Five Sacred Grains (wuku).” (Dannaway, Frederick R. (2009)Yoked to Earth: A Treatise on Corpse-Demons and Bigu)
Gary Taubes wrote in his new book The Case For Keto a paragraph that I want to dedicate this database towards:
"I did this obsessive research because I wanted to know what was reliable knowledge about the nature of a healthy diet. Borrowing from the philosopher of science Robert Merton, I wanted to know if what we thought we knew was really so. I applied a historical perspective to this controversy because I believe that understanding that context is essential for evaluating and understanding the competing arguments and beliefs. Doesn’t the concept of “knowing what you’re talking about” literally require, after all, that you know the history of what you believe, of your assumptions, and of the competing belief systems and so the evidence on which they’re based?
This is how the Nobel laureate chemist Hans Krebs phrased this thought in a biography he wrote of his mentor, also a Nobel laureate, Otto Warburg: “True, students sometimes comment that because of the enormous amount of current knowledge they have to absorb, they have no time to read about the history of their field. But a knowledge of the historical development of a subject is often essential for a full understanding of its present-day situation.” (Krebs and Schmid 1981.)