Does eating a rare steak = eating blood?


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    M neverendingjourney posted Fri, 25 May 2007 00:38:00 GMT(5/25/2007)

    Post 6 of 1141
    Joined 1/29/2007

    I always wondered about this when I was still a JW. I just assumed that it was improper for a JW to eat any meat that wasn't thoroughly cooked, especially steak. I though everyone could see that the red juice contained blood, which, if eaten, amounted to a violation of the prohibition against eating blood. Shortly after I was baptized I was shocked when a brother ordered a "bloody" steak for dinner. The middle of the steak was pink and it oozed out red "juices" from the center. Not long afterward I saw an elder preparing his steaks the same way. When I asked him about it, he got defensive and told me that the society had published an article telling us not to speculate about such matters and that they would let us know which foods were inappropriate for a Christian (such as blood sausage) to consume. I began to do some research, and I never found any explicit prohibition against eating rare steaks, so I let the matter slide, but I never found a satisfactory answer.

    As I grew older and began to think for myself, I realized that it didn't really matter how well the steak was cooked. If the meat had blood in it and I managed to cook it until it was burned to a crisp, the blood would still be there. It would just be cooked along with the rest of the steak. I began to see that eating a rare piece of steak shouldn't matter because if organ transplants were okay, then eating even an uncooked steak would be okay as well. You see, using the same blood transfusion equals eating blood logic, if you allow an entire liver, for instance, to enter your body via an organ transplant then what would be the difference if you ate an entire raw, uncooked liver.

    Of course, this began to raise a whole host of questions. Should we be so legalistic about the blood issue (to the point that the Society goes through procedure after procedure, fraction after fraction, deciding which are conscience issues, which are entirely okay, and which are prohibited outright) if it is impossible to eat meat without eating blood? If God (assuming that there is a God and that he/she directed the writing of the Bible) intended for there to be such an absolute prohibition on humans allowing blood to enter their systems, why didn't he just outright ban eating meat in the first place? If I cut my tongue or bite my cheek while eating and I end up swallowing some of my own blood, haven't I sinned against Jehovah? Should I be disciplined because of it?

    I'd like to hear if any of you ever wondered about this when you were still in the org. and what answers, if any, you received. Thanks

    M BrentR posted Fri, 25 May 2007 00:41:00 GMT(5/25/2007)

    Post 508 of 1580
    Joined 12/9/2006

    Yes it does but don't tell the JW's that. They would have to create yet another hypocritical rationalization.

    Scully posted Fri, 25 May 2007 00:45:00 GMT(5/25/2007)

    Post 12399 of 13474
    Joined 11/2/2001

    Apparently Ted Jaracz likes his Filet Mignon rare.

    JH posted Fri, 25 May 2007 00:47:00 GMT(5/25/2007)

    Post 12283 of 12421
    Joined 11/11/2002
    Apparently Ted Jaracz likes his Filet Mignon rare.

    I heard that he loves drining bloody marys.....

    F Bumble Bee posted Fri, 25 May 2007 00:47:00 GMT(5/25/2007)

    Post 999 of 3113
    Joined 12/31/2004

    I was always told it wasn't blood it was "meat juice". lol

    Of course you are right - eating the steak rare or well done (yuck), if the blood is there, it's there, no matter how it's cooked.

    BB (of the Medium Rare Steak class)

    Scully posted Fri, 25 May 2007 00:52:00 GMT(5/25/2007)

    Post 12400 of 13474
    Joined 11/2/2001

    If they were truly going to be sticklers regarding the dietary laws against eating blood, JWs would be going to a Kosher butcher for their meat, not to any old supermarket.

    M Finally-Free posted Fri, 25 May 2007 02:36:00 GMT(5/25/2007)

    Post 3964 of 9733
    Joined 7/15/2005

    I brought the subject up numerous times when I was a JW, when it was obvious that the rare steaks were lying in a pool of blood. I was told in no uncertain terms that it was not blood, but juice, and obviously there was something wrong with me because I couldn't tell the difference.


    Scully posted Fri, 25 May 2007 03:06:00 GMT(5/25/2007)

    Post 12404 of 13474
    Joined 11/2/2001

    Yeah, I heard that rationalization too, Finally-Free. I guess if it's not flowing out of a wound, it isn't blood.

    It's probably why a lot of JW kids don't have microscope kits - we can't have them going around checking "meat juice" for red blood cells and stuff like that.

    F jgnat posted Fri, 25 May 2007 03:24:00 GMT(5/25/2007)

    Post 12355 of 24338
    Joined 7/4/2002

    Not raised a JW here, but mom reduced our EWWWW factor by telling us the same thing. She said the butcher injected the red juice in to the animal after it was killed.

    Me, I wasn't so smart. I dissected a fish for my children as a science lesson before I cooked it. I couldn't get them to touch it after that.

    Leolaia posted Fri, 25 May 2007 03:29:00 GMT(5/25/2007)

    Post 9211 of 16188
    Joined 9/1/2002

    There may be some blood depending on how the meat is prepared beforehand (the Society, after all, does not require kosher standards for meat), but the red color of raw/rare meat is mostly from myoglobin -- not blood. It's a very similar molecule to hemoglobin (it transports oxygen to the muscles), but not the same thing.

    M neverendingjourney posted Fri, 25 May 2007 03:45:00 GMT(5/25/2007)

    Post 8 of 1141
    Joined 1/29/2007


    Thanks for the explanation. I wish that I had discovered that on my own or that a JW had explained that to me back when I was still a active. However, am I correct in understanding that the meat we buy off the supermarket shelf contains blood, even in very small amounts? That's how I understand it, but I'm not very informed on this topic. If so, it seems to go against the Society's strict prohibition on blood transfusions. If we're going to go ahead and eat small quantities of blood in our steak, what the hell, we might as well allow larger quantities of blood to be inserted into our bodies to save our lives. The approach on the blood in meat issue seemed to be a more modern, liberal approach to the blood doctrine, while the blood transfusion issue was and is a very legalistic, Pharisaic, fundamentalist approach. I could never reconcile the two positions in my mind.

    F cognizant dissident posted Fri, 25 May 2007 06:01:00 GMT(5/25/2007)

    Post 495 of 2949
    Joined 1/6/2006

    When I was a child I asked my mom about the bloody meat/steak also. She gave me the "it's not blood, it's just meat juice", story. I honestly believed that and never questioned it my entire life until I went to university and took first year human anatomy and biology for nursing. During our section on blood and blood vessels, someone asked the teacher (who had a doctorate in biology) why the the cut meats still bleeds days and weeks after the animal has been butchered and bled. Apparently, bleeding the animal does not allow all the blood in the tiniest capillaries to escape. Blood travels through capillaries one cell at a time, that is how tiny the capillaries are. After the meat has sat for a while or is cut again, the blood still trapped in the capilliaries can leach out of the cut or disintegrating/decomposing capillaries.

    Granted, it is not just blood. The blood is also mixed with other interstitial and extrastitial fluid leaking out of the muscle and organ tissue, and myoglobin as Leolaia pointed out. But there are definitely red blood cells in that fluid giving it the reddish color. A simple mircroscope and slide would reveal the truth of this to any witness. Red blood cells are very easily indentified even to a non-expert.

    I was so shocked by this "revelation" that all JW's had been eating blood all along. I honestly never knew this. I immediately realized that even if God did give the Israelites commands to bleed all their meat, it was only meant to be a symbol of the sacredness of the life they were taking. It was never meant to be a literal command that one must not injest one drop of blood. This was reinforced when we talked about how blood cells were formed in the bone marrow. I can remember many a witness greedily sucking every drop of marrow/blood out of the chicken bones they were eating. Yet, children with cancer had to die rather than receive bone marrow transplants. The "truth" just started to fall apart for me after that. Their doctrines fell one after the other, just like dominoes falling, click, click, click.


    Leolaia posted Fri, 25 May 2007 07:43:00 GMT(5/25/2007)

    Post 9212 of 16188
    Joined 9/1/2002

    Yes, there is blood in meat ... that is why orthodox Jews go through great lengths to remove it. But the question remains how much blood tends to remain in our meat supply after draining, and this is still an open question. This is pretty dated, but Paul D. Warriss of the ARC Meat Research Institute wrote the following in "The Residual Blood Content of Meat," published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture in 1977:

    "There seems to be no unequivocal experimental evidence to support the widely held view that the efficiency of bleeding out of slaughter animals affects the eating or keeping qualities of meat. Neither are the effects of different slaughter procedures on bleeding efficiency clear, due partly to confusion over the relationship between the residual blood content of meat and the amount of blood lost at slaughter and partly to differences in the methodology used by various authors. As yet no really accurate and specific technique for determining whole blood in meat has been described".

    Another article by Warriss later in the year in the same journal ("Haemoglobin Concentrations in Beef") gave the results of one experimental study:

    Haemoglobin was used as an index of residual blood in beef muscles from various sources. Factors determining the amount of residual blood appear to operate in a similar way throughout the carcass musculature. Only one in 60 samples of M. longissimus thoracis et lumborum showed any evidence of poor bleeding and the increased blood content was very small. M. psoas major from cows and bulls contained significantly higher amounts of haemoglobin than those from steers, and in the case of cows this appeared to be due to their greater age, more blood being retained in the muscles of older animals. It is estimated that between 1.1 and 4.3% of the total blood volume of the live animal is retained in the musculature of a normal steer carcass and that the average residual blood content of normal butcher's meat is about 0.3%.

    I guess whether this is an acceptable amount depends on one's own standards. Those who eat kosher care about it a lot, the Society doesn't give the matter a single thought.

    I posted some rather brutal links here last year on slaughterhouses and how animals are really slaughtered (inhumanely) and what most JWs don't realize is that in many cases, animals are killed by strangulation. The Society makes such a big deal about the scripture in Acts that says "abstain from blood" but that very same passage also says "abstain from things strangled", and apparently this is of no concern at all to the Society.

    F cognizant dissident posted Fri, 25 May 2007 08:17:00 GMT(5/25/2007)

    Post 500 of 2949
    Joined 1/6/2006


    I actually believe that it is totally irrelevant how much blood is left in the meat. 1% or .3%. The society has said in the past that Christians would not accept and contaminate their bodies with one drop of transfused blood. Amount is not the argument. They have never answered the question as to why it is permissable to eat drops of blood left in the meat from properly bled animals and yet is not permissable to inject one drop of blood into our veins by way of trasfusion to save a life. I am referring to pre 2001 blood doctrines.

    When the 2001 blood articles came out outlining permissable minor fractions and forbidden major components the whole thing just became ludicrous to me. (A fraction and a component are synomous yet the society tries to differentiate the usage. This is theocratic wordplay at it's finest and would be laughable if people were not DYING over this nonsensical drivel!) Arguing the percentage of blood left in the meat falls into the same category. It is a distinction without a difference.


    Axeman posted Fri, 25 May 2007 08:18:00 GMT(5/25/2007)

    Post 33 of 53
    Joined 9/15/2006

    Yes it does if your straining out gnats and swallowing Camels. It is not about eating blood but respect for the giver of life You can kill an animal but you can't claim its life That belongs to God. So symbolicly( is that a word ) you achknowledge this by pouring it out on the ground. Blood represents life only when a life is taken that is one reason why the WT ban on transfusions is crap No one has to die to donate blood. If you make blood the focus like the WT does you come up with ridiculous sanctions like the one in a WT question from readers which banned the use of leeches in medical procedures because they eat blood.

    F cognizant dissident posted Fri, 25 May 2007 08:50:00 GMT(5/25/2007)

    Post 502 of 2949
    Joined 1/6/2006

    Also great points Axeman. Banning leaches. Absurd! Do no witnesses stop to ask themselves if Jehovah didn't want leaches to eat blood then why would he have made them? Or when witnesses refuse to buy cat or dog food with blood by products in it do they ask themselves how wild cats and dogs bleed their kill before they eat? It is just insanity! I equate banning blood transfusions with "drinking the kool-aid" now. So JW's are proving themselves a cult by agreeing in advance and putting it in writing that they will drink the kool-aid if asked.


    F Crumpet posted Fri, 25 May 2007 08:57:00 GMT(5/25/2007)

    Post 5824 of 6495
    Joined 10/21/2004

    Thanks for the scientific clarifrication Cog Dis! I bought the whole meat juice theory as well and my favourite steak is bloody fillet.

    If I cut my tongue or bite my cheek while eating and I end up swallowing some of my own blood, haven't I sinned against Jehovah?

    Yep I used to wonder this too as well as did John the Baptist bleed the locusts he lived off when he roamed the desert?

    F cognizant dissident posted Fri, 25 May 2007 09:03:00 GMT(5/25/2007)

    Post 504 of 2949
    Joined 1/6/2006

    Bleed the locusts! LOL. Crumpet is funny! Also little kids are smarter than the average witness!


    F horrible life posted Fri, 25 May 2007 09:16:00 GMT(5/25/2007)

    Post 1373 of 3102
    Joined 6/29/2005

    When I was in hygiene school, I had a woman with horrible gum disease. I was cleaning, and she would continue to dab her gums with a tissue. OVER and OVER. I kept telling her, to leave it, and I would rinse her. I wasn't getting anywhere, with her hand reaching up, her head lifting off of the chair, and then looking at the tissue. OMG Then it hit, she is a JW. I asked her, YEP, I was right. I didn't tell her I used to be.

    I made an excuse, and went to tell my instructors what was going on, and I was going crazy. They came over to watch, and told her to relax, that I had everything under control, and was she in any pain. She told them no, that she was a JW, and not allowed to eat blood. The instructors told her, I couldn't work on her if she continued her lift,dab, and look habit. She couldn't stop, so they asked her to leave. Thank GOD!!

    F cognizant dissident posted Fri, 25 May 2007 09:20:00 GMT(5/25/2007)

    Post 506 of 2949
    Joined 1/6/2006

    Great story Horrible Life. I thought of a great question for that dub. So what do JW's do who have ulcers and are bleeding right into their stomachs! For god's sake! Get out the stomach pumps STAT! They are eating blood!

    Cog (I crack myself up sometimes)


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