Why are the weirdest people online obsessed with organ meats?

The photo shows a pile of hearts and other organ meats.

A Greek butcher shop that sells offal. Photo via Getty Images.

There are many interesting facts about Evie Magazine, which calls itself a conservative alternative to the main women’s magazines. There are, of course, his many weird and wrong claims about COVID vaccines and COVID vaccines in general, which seem destined to wash away a certain kind of disease denial for a young, female audience. The magazine also features a variety of other essays on feminism (bad), “classical” femininity (good), and so on. But amidst so many odd little wares, nothing is stranger, or more fun, than Evie’s obsession with meat – more specifically, of viscera. And, as it turns out, the organ meat lifestyle – consuming liver, kidneys, intestines, hearts, testes and other edible organs from animals – is a passion that is now uniting the anti-vaccine world, Joe Rogan’s audience, the called alt-right, conservative channels like Evie, and overall a new and presumably slightly constipated brand of meat influencer.

Evie has published many articles extolling the virtues of meat and denouncing vegan alternatives. Almost all of them point to a 2021 blog about incorporating offal like hearts and liver into the diet. The insistent consumption of meat, and the promotion of organ meat specifically, also fit into Evie’s larger project: rejecting any whiff of liberalism – beyond hamburgers, acknowledging the existence of trans people – and embracing a “traditional” lifestyle. or “classic”, in this case the classic lifestyle of a medieval king addicted to gout.

As with many things Evie does, it is also the result of a strange effect in which much larger cultural forces spread. The “carnivore diet” – or more specifically, a diet centered around organ meat – has proven to be a meeting place for a variety of extremely online and highly bizarre people, all intent on showing how to live, and many promoting a regressive diet. worldview or another in the process.

As VICE wrote in 2017, the paleo diet — with lots of meat, but with nuts and some vegetables — began to emerge at the time as the diet of choice for right-wing and libertarian public figures like billionaire vampire Peter Thiel. Soon after, Mikhaila Peterson, daughter of clinical psychologist and extremely odd manosphere personality Jordan Peterson, began promoting the so-called “Lion Diet,” which is much more extreme, consisting only of ruminant meat, salt, and water. (Eating a gazelle would be fine, but an apple would not.) Both Peterson and Fuller claimed that this diet cured them of many autoimmune problems; objective assessments of the diet tend to point out that it is nutritionally unbalanced and profoundly unsustainable. (The family made other extreme medical claims: In 2020, Jordan Peterson also spent eight days in an induced coma, an unorthodox “detox” treatment for what Peterson and his daughter said was a benzodiazepine addiction. Experts VICE interviewed on (the time questioned some details of Mikhaila’s claims about the care she received in Canada before going to Russia and said that such an extreme method of weaning from an addictive medication is rarely used, to reduce the likelihood of relapse.)

The carnivore diet, which is now all the rage online, goes a step beyond paleo and is more complicated than the “lion diet,” often cutting out most food groups besides meat, fruit and honey. It is, as Dazed Digital recently pointed out, still awash with far-right associations, equating meat with both traditional masculinity and red-pilling, even though there are a large number of female carnivore diet influencers.

“The Carnivore Diet is the red pill that wakes you up to reality” wrote a meat influencer on Twitter, who goes by Carnivore Aurelius. “It’s difficult at first. Her eyes have been closed for so long, so the light is blinding. But it exposes you to the fact that society is structured around lies. It all starts with the diet. This movement is unstoppable.” More recently, he celebrated: “Everyone is waking up to seed oils, birth control and tap water poisoning them. Great global awakening happening now. Beautiful to watch.” (Seed oils — which include almost all vegetable oils — are another recent target of the extremely online.)

There are a variety of carnivore diet influencers on Instagram and TikTok, all insistently energetic, very red, and constantly at the gym or doing something strenuous outdoors; their food is a wash of red dishes, bulging muscles, and proclamations about the last time they ate a vegetable. One is the Liver King, aka Brian Johnson, an intensely muscular man from Texas who eats a variety of raw liver, testicles and an incredibly specific brand of hype, declaring himself “CEO OF THE ANCESTRAL LIFESTYLE”. (As he told Buzzfeed, speaking in exuberant third person, “You know what the Liver King says? Start with the liver, sleep great, move like the Liver King, eat like the Liver King, protect like the Liver King. Live like the Liver King. the ancient man, and you will have the hormonal profile that is double or triple that of the well-groomed modern man.”)

Perhaps no one in the meat space is more influential than Paul Saladino, the self-proclaimed MD Carnivore. (Saladin’s credentials are that he is, says his Facebook bio, “Trained in medicine at the University of Arizona and the University of Washington. Certified as a Specialist Physician in Nutrition and Psychiatry.” Licensing records in California, where Saladino lives , however, show that your license to practice is currently listed as a “delinquent” for non-payment of fees and that “no practice is permitted,” according to the state medical board of California.)

On his extremely active TikTok and Instagram pages – both banned once, according to Saladino – he makes a variety of claims – for example that spinach and beans are essentially toxic, that hygiene products like soap, toothpaste and shampoo are unnecessary and, above all, that organ meats are crucial. “They include everything your body needs to thrive: vitamins, minerals, peptides, proteins and growth factors,” proclaims the website of Saladino’s supplement company, Heart and Soil. “That’s why our ancestors were strong, virile and vital! That’s how they thrived generation after generation in the world’s most hostile environments.” If you can’t access beef heart, for example, on a daily basis, the company sells vials of encapsulated organ meat supplements, ranging from $28 to $52 per vial.

Two notable things have happened in Saladin’s world in recent years: First, he was Joe Rogan in 2020, elevating him to a new level of ratings and fame. (Rogan himself went on a carnivore diet soon after, triggering a round of “explosive diarrhea,” as he detailed in a subsequent episode of the show, elaborating, “with regular diarrhea, I’d liken it to a fire you see coming up a city block.” or two away and you have time to get away, while this carnivorous diet is like out of nowhere fire is coming through the cracks, your doorknob is on fire and all hope is lost.” Just like our ancestors, presumably, soon before many of them died of dysentery.)

As the pandemic progressed, Saladin also used his new Rogan-inspired range to become increasingly dismissive of the effectiveness of vaccines. He is not explicitly anti-vaccine, tweeting in August 2021 that they “can help prevent some serious complications from Covid,” for example. But he has also repeatedly suggested that “metabolic health” is more important in preventing severe COVID outcomes and stated that “natural immunity” is better than the kind created by vaccines. (The claim that “natural” immunity is superior to vaccination is a common point of anti-vaccine discussion.) In other words, of course, a piece of liver, or a supplement in a bottle, will do more to fight Covid, one claim that many health freaks did during the pandemic, in one form or another.

Unsurprisingly, the carnivore diet has also become the reach of the body hacking crowd, seeking to “optimize” themselves by engaging in extreme dieting. One of the best known is Dave Asprey, the inventor of Bulletproof Coffee, which was introduced to the diet by Saladino. Asprey has become more overtly anti-vaccine, stating on Facebook, “Show me an mRNA vaccine that stops cardiovascular disease, diabetes or cancer, with a clean safety record, and I’m in. Willing to wait until then!” he is also posts shared with approval from the anti-vaccine organization Children’s Health Defense, by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., in particular a post praising fringe medical group America’s Frontline Doctor—all a kind of turducken pseudoscience.

Above all, the insistently carnivorous and very online crowd exists both to eat meat and to create buzz and attention for themselves by posting about it (which explains why Hills Heidi Montag, another Saladin devotee, was recently seen munching on a raw bison heart in a sandwich bag for the paparazzi, which she claimed she was eating for fertility).

The meat world is sprawling and full of self-styled iconoclasts, and their commitment to crash diets and bending common sense is as strong as their commitment to broadcasting every move they make, every morsel they eat, and every resulting bowel movement online.

Today, then, the anti-vaxxers, the Instagram doctors, the podcasters and the anti-feminists meet at a long table, urging each other to swallow the toughest bits, the weirdest cuts. Their commitment to not wasting edible food is admirable, and as a metaphor, well, the whole thing couldn’t be more fitting.

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