- How would you even get past the gag reflex to try this out?
Internet fads and memes are usually pretty harmless, but sometimes they cross into genuinely dangerous territory. For example, take the Tide Pod eating thing that plagued social media some time back.
But this latest thing leaves Tide Pods in the dust. It’s not only potentially more dangerous, but also infinitely more disgusting.
Apparently, some people have gotten it in their heads that it’s a good idea to eat raw spoiled meat. And we’re not talking about a steak that went old a couple days ago, either – this is about meat that’s in advanced stages of decomposition.
We’re talking about meat that’s green and brown and swarming with bacterial colonies. You know, the genuinely rotten stuff that wouldn’t look out of place on a death metal album cover.
Some of these people claim that they just prefer their meat a little bit decomposed. They say that it just tastes better that way.
But other are after a special kind of high that you can supposedly get from this “high meat,” as they call it. Reportedly, the rotten meat produces a sense of euphoria after consumption.
We’re going to go out on a leg here and say that’s probably because you’re experiencing some kind of food poisoning previously unknown to science.
Is It Real?
But could it be that there’s actually something to “high meat?” Can you really get high from eating a rotten chunk of beef?
According to Singaporean dietitian Naras Lapsys, it is possible that consuming decomposed meat could produce an altered state of consciousness. But that’s generally not a good thing.
“If you’re leaving [meat] out for anything from days to months to years, who knows what kinds of bacteria are going to grow, and some of those bacteria might have chemical properties that are going to give you a high, or hallucination, or a feeling of euphoria,” Lapsys told Vice.
So, yes. You might start feeling all kinds of weird things when the indescribable things growing on your rotten steak start attacking your system.
Not Worth the Risk
That said, there is absolutely no scientific evidence that you can get high from eating “high meat.” But there’s plenty of evidence that you could seriously mess up your stomach – or worse.
Lapsys says eating spoiled meat is a “lucky dip.” You might get high, or you might start spewing the contents of your stomach out of orifices you didn’t even know could do that.
“[Letting meat spoil or rot is] a completely uncontrolled process, so you just don’t know what kinds of bacteria could be growing on the meat. There’s all sorts of bacteria—salmonella, shigella, E. coli—all of these things that our human body might really struggle with breaking down.”
“If we’re eating rotten foods, the question is: will our stomach acid do a good enough job to stop them from poisoning us? And the answer is often no,” he explained.
And when your stomach fails you, you usually get food poisoning. In case you’re lucky enough to have never experienced that before, it comes with an absolutely hilarious list of symptoms including dehydration, explosive vomiting, volcanic bowel movements, and potential damage to your large intestine.
If you’re particularly unlucky, you might get botulism. It’s an illness where certain food-borne bacteria start creating nerve toxins inside your body.
“Symptoms of botulism usually start with weakness of the muscles that control the eyes, face, mouth, and throat. This weakness may spread to the neck, arms, torso, and legs. Botulism also can weaken the muscles involved in breathing, which can lead to difficulty breathing and even death,” says the CDC.
Is ”died from intentionally eating rotten meat” something you really want on your obituary?
It’s All About Control
Granted, there are plenty of foods that are prepared through controlled decomposition and bacterial activity. We call this process fermentation.
Some fermented yummies that people enjoy on a regular basis include sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, and kombucha. There are even extreme cases, like the Icelandic delicacy hákarl – raw shark meat that’s left to ferment underground for up to four months.
But there’s one key word here – control. Fermentation is a carefully controlled process, and most fermented foods are prepared in precise conditions over a very specific amount of time.
If you just leave your meat sitting around, it might ferment if you’re lucky. That’s probably how humans came up with fermentation in the first place.
But in nine cases out of ten, the meat will simply rot. And at that point, you really should just throw it out instead of trying to get high off of it.
If there’s any positive takeaway from this story, we suppose it’s taught us a lesson about human psychology. If we hear we can get high from something, we will try it – no matter how disgusting it is.
But seriously. Don’t.