Joe Rogan’s post UFC dinner would set many doctors’ pulses racing. But while the medical establishment recommends limiting your intake of red meat and processed meat, the 54-year-old UFC commentator, podcast host and comedian loves himself some four-legged fun.
Rogan is a big fan of hunting, questioning mainstream medical consensus and trying experimental diets like The Carnivore Diet (which he says gave him four weeks of boosted energy levels and two weeks of diarrhea).
Because the Standard American Diet Experiment has led to a country rampant with obesity and diabetes (whether that’s because of the diet itself or people not following it we’ll leave up to you to decide), both Rogan – and now millions of people – are willing to question whether the food pyramid we grew up with was really stacked correctly.
Though Rogan hasn’t literally said “fuck you” to medical guidelines, he loves a steak, and he loves questioning conventional wisdom – something we really need more of in this world, even if those doing it need to sometimes do so a bit more carefully (to Rogan’s credit this is something he says he trying to do better).
Though there’s something to be said for Rogan’s curious attitude – and while our fast food and carb-heavy culture are clearly due for a re-examination – we are facing a growing problem of underqualified nutrition gurus proposing wild solutions which we don’t know the long term effects of either.
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Their appeal – and the appeal of rigid diets like Keto or Carnivore – are completely understandable: when you lose faith in one thing, it makes sense to try and put your faith in another (no one likes drifting around aimlessly).
Rogan, who is a notable source of Instagram food porn, appears to have been convinced by the reading he has been doing on meat, and the pro-meat guests he’s had on his podcast over the years, and seems to be open-minded (putting it mildly) to the idea of replacing a lot of your carbs (though not all of them, as some people do) with protein, often in the form of meats like elk.
That said, Rogan isn’t an extreme carnivore diet advocate. After he tried it for a month last year he said: “What is it like if you extend that to 90 days, or 365 days?…Is it going to start breaking your body down? I don’t know.”
“I don’t know that it’s a way to eat all the time.”Joe Rogan
What he does know, is that mentally, sometimes it’s helpful to just go all in on something, saying: “We need a certain amount of rigidity occasionally, that’s how you get shit done.”
Anyway: back to last night’s post UFC fight night meal. Last night, Rogan took to Instagram to share his post UFC fight night dinner, which he ate at @jgsteakhouselv. His meal had many people salivating, despite the fact that it took up (at our estimate) two-thirds of a week’s worth of recommended meat consumption, according to the NSW Cancer Council’s generic guidelines.
The dinner consisted of two steaks, two green peppers, chilli, bone marrow and toast. At our estimate, the meal consists of four servings of meat (going off the Cancer Council NSW’s measurement of one medium steak equalling two serving of red meat).
Cancer Council NSW recommends you eat no more than 7 serves of meat a week. By this estimate, Rogan has blown out almost two-thirds of his entire week’s allowance of red meat, in one plate.
To Rogan’s benefit, he has also included bone marrow in his meal (he also probably exercises more than the average person). Bone marrow is thought to support joint function, decrease inflammation and promote skin health. Liver King would be proud.
Even if we thought it was a lot of meat for any man, Rogan’s fans were impressed by the meal, writing comments like: “F*ck,” “Yum,” “Incredible” and “Flinstones dinner.”
Another said: “This beats the leftover pizza I just smashed.” Others drooled over the bone marrow.
To be fair, even if you are recommended to limit your intake of red meat and processed meat, eating high-quality, grass-fed beef like the kind Rogan often consumes is almost certainly better for you than smashing junk food like frozen pizza or Mac and Cheese.
However, that doesn’t change the fact that judging by the current mainstream scientific consensus, it’s better for you to replace your Mac and Cheese and frozen pizza with seasonal fruits and vegetables, or legumes (if your stomach tolerates them), or another approved non processed food, to get you some balance in your diet, rather than loading up on steak beyond the nutrition guidelines (especially if you don’t have such an active lifestyle as Rogan, or the same access to a team of doctors and nutritionists).
The worst offender for your health, really, out of the two (red meat and processed meat) is processed meats like Salami.
Some argue we should be grateful for people like Rogan who are willing to put their bodies on the line to try new things and improve the sum total of human knowledge of what works and what doesn’t. Others argue they ought to be more responsible in the example they set.
Whatever your take, it’s important to remember that different people’s bodies can respond differently to exactly the same fuel or stimuli. So it’s impossible to create a perfectly tailored, one size fits all nutrition guide.
That doesn’t mean the basic guidelines are useless though. It’s well documented that eating too much red meat and processed meat can increase your chances of colorectal cancer – despite the other benefits that come with meat.
If you want to read up on it more, the American Institute For Cancer Research recommends that: “If you eat red meat, limit consumption to no more than about three portions per week.”
It also states: “Three portions is equivalent to about 350–500g (about 12–18oz) cooked weight. Consume very little, if any, processed meat.”
“The amount of red meat specified was chosen to provide a balance between the advantages of eating red meat (as a source of essential macro- and micronutrients) and the disadvantages (an increased risk of colorectal cancer and other non-communicable diseases).”
The American Institute For Cancer Research adds: “Red meat is a good source of protein, iron and other micronutrients. For those who consume it, lean rather than fatty cuts are preferred. Poultry and fish are valuable substitutes for red meat. Eggs and dairy are also valuable sources of protein and micronutrients.”
“This recommendation is not to completely avoid eating meat. Meat can be a valuable source of nutrients, in particular protein, iron, zinc and vitamin B12. However, eating meat is not an essential part of a healthy diet. People who choose to eat meat-free diets can obtain adequate amounts of these nutrients through careful food selection.”
“People can obtain adequate protein from a mixture of pulses (legumes) and cereals (grains). Iron is present in many plant foods, though it is less bioavailable than that in meat.”