Why I Don’t Eat Pig Meat:
I am frequently asked about consuming pork and pig meat products. I personally have never eaten pig meat products as my parents raised me following many Jewish cultures as our intention was and still is to live like Jesus lived. Back then I followed the nutritional law because I was told so. As an adult, I have researched both Biblical practices as well as nutrition and toxicity.
My personal health philosophy is to consume maximal nutrients and minimal toxins while honoring and worshiping God with my body, mind and spirit. After researching Biblical principles, the nature of pigs and their poor detoxification systems I have decided not to endorse the use of these animals as food.
They are great trash cans as they consume anything that falls their way, but I don’t believe they were intended for human consumption.
The Hebrews Were Warned About Pig Meat:
The Hebrew people have avoided pork and pig meat products as a dietary principle discussed in the bible. Leviticus clearly states that pigs, because they do not chew their cud, are an unclean meat. Modern science has shown that pigs carry a very high toxic load making them unsafe for human consumption (1).
“And the pig, though it has a divided hoof, does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you.” Leviticus 11:7
The bible warns the Hebrews about unclean foods and the rationale for the uncleanliness. Pigs are a dirty animal that ruthlessly scavenge anything they come in contact with on the farm. They are known to not only consume food scraps, insects and their own feces but they will also cannibalistically eat their own dead carcasses. They have been known to kill and eat their young at times as well.
Pigs are Scavengers that Harbor Parasites:
Due to their scavenger lifestyle they harbor enormous amounts of viruses and parasites. Pigs are known to be primary carriers of the following pathogenic organisms that can create very serious health problems (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7).
Taenia solium tapeworm
PRRS (Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome)
Hepatitis E virus (HEV)
A Consumer Reports investigation found that 69% of all raw pork samples tested were contaminated with high amounts of volatile microorganisms such as Yersinia enterocolitica (8). This bacteria causes fever and gastrointestinal stress and could potentially cause a fatal infection.
Why is Pig Meat so Toxic:
Animals that “chew the cud” as it says in the bible are called ruminants. These animals hardly chew their food when it is first swallowed. But they have four stomachs that digest and regurgitate food through a special process that allows complete digestion. The major ruminants are cows, sheep and goats (9).
The digestive system of a pig is unique in that it metabolizes food very quickly through one stomach in a process that takes about four hours. A cow takes twenty four hours to digest what’s eaten and it is able to get rid of excess toxins during the digestive process. The pig’s digestive system doesn’t allow for this and the toxins are carried into the fat cells and organs of the pig itself.
Pigs also do not have sweat glands. Perspiration is a key method the body uses to for detoxification and the pig is not designed to perspire. When we consume pig meat we get all of these pathogenic microorganisms and environmental toxins into our system.
Pasture-Fed Pig Meat Products:
Pasture-fed pork products are much safer as they should naturally have lower parasite loads and a better ratio of omega 6: omega 3 fatty acids and anti-oxidants. However, the animal is just not designed to eliminate toxins effectively.
Many of these toxins are not neutralized even with high heat cooking methods. The high heat cooking methods produces heterocylclic amine formation in the meat and damages much of the essential fats which makes the pork, ham or bacon highly carcinogenic (10).
From the perspective of minimizing parasite load, the healthiest way to consume pork is to cook it at very high temperatures. However, from the perspective of limiting free radicals, cooking at a high temperature is a significant factor in the development of chronic disease. One really does not win either way.
Was God Giving us a Health Message?
Much of the biblical books of Numbers, Leviticus & Deuteronomy has to do with health principles designed to minimize infection. This is very logical as infection was the greatest health threat to entire tribes and cities in the pre-medical world.
The Old Testament narrative has much to do with seeing the Israelite culture survive and thrive in a hostile world. It is quite logical that God would warn his people about available animals and their relationship to tribal health.
Was the bible message to avoid consuming unclean meat necessary for reducing infection and serious health problems? Based on the nature of the pig and the toxic load they carry it seems to be the best advice for optimal health.