Turning to the Witnesses to explain meat ‘juice’?

July 9, 2012

(Image by schlymay on flickr)

This post concerns a different kind of juice than we normally deal with, if you’re not into meat, squeamish or have better things to do, we advise looking through the rest of Juice Nation.

A Juice Nation operative, on the way to what would prove to be his final mission, expressed a belief that was met with derision and laughter. It was a belief that his mother had fostered in him, while raising him on a tiny farm on a beleaguered island in the Atlantic Ocean, that the red liquid that comes out of raw and rare meat is juice, not blood.

The thought nagged in my mind after the mission and I conducted some typically cursory web searches. In dedication to the memory of that operative I will relay the findings of a cursory search, so you don’t have to, including the contribution of Jehovah’s Witnesses to this field of ignorance in juice lore.

A couple of years ago Daven Hiskey published a referenced and confidently written piece, on a strange website called ‘Today I Found Out’. In this he argues that only an ‘extremely small amount of blood remains in the muscle tissue’, what you get is water mixed with myoglobin, ‘protein, that stores oxygen in muscle cells, very similar to its cousin, hemoglobin, that stores oxygen in red blood cells’. Hiskey describes ‘red juice’, this mixture of water and colourful, tasty, essence of food seems pretty similar to the juice we’re used to from fruit and vegetables. While Hiskey’s factoids (I didn’t read the definition of factoid he provided, I used the facetious definition ‘things that might be made up’) were interesting and seemed to be pretty basic meat facts my own inability to accept that I hadn’t been mopping up chips in blood all this time left me suspicious.

Readily available information to support my delusion didn’t jump out at me, my search terms were probably pretty weak, the only other useful resource seemed to be a Jehovah’s Witnesses forum. Having had a look through again today, I still can’t tell if the people who use the forum are all anti-JWs or a mixture of believers, doubters and haters. The thread ‘Does eating a rare steak = eating blood?’, an unreferenced anecdotal collection of factoids, provided some contradictory positions.

BrentR: Yes it does but don’t tell the JW’s that.  They would have to create yet another hypocritical rationalization.
Bumble Bee: I was always told it wasn’t blood it was “meat juice”. lol…
Finally-Free: 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.

At this point, I began to wonder if the fallen operative had been raised as some kind of Jehoavah’s Witness, to think that drinking someone’s blood or getting a transfusion was abhorent. My beliefs that his mother had misled him out of some delusion were strengthened. A familiar idea emerged, however.

Leolaia: 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.

This seems closer to Hisken’s view, if a bit of blood is mixed in with the juice, that’s no big thing. Anyone who’s drunk a lot of juice will invariably have drunk some juice with a bit of blood in. Who to trust, a bunch of strangers or a bunch of strangers who share my preconception?

cognizant dissident: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. …

A stranger, with claims of training in medical mysteries. Leolaia (citing 40 year old research) goes on to claim that only around 0.3% of the animal’s total blood is left in commercially available meat, suggesting that the liquid is a lot more juice than blood. But really, who the heck is Leolaia?

After this tawdry research, which convinced me that my friend and fellow operative’s mum was probably right and that ‘Millions Now Living Will Never Die’ was originally the name of a JW tract which has now been changed to ‘…May Never Die’ in reprints.


(Image by whologuy on flickr)

4 Responses to “Turning to the Witnesses to explain meat ‘juice’?”

  1. James said

    Actually the sources are included in the article you reference, if you scroll down. And to give more detail from the article, “Red meats, such as beef, are composed of quite a bit of water. This water, mixed with a protein called myoglobin, ends up comprising most of that red liquid.

    In fact, red meat is distinguished from white meat primarily based on the levels of myoglobin in the meat. The more myoglobin, the redder the meat. Thus most animals, such as mammals, with a high amount of myoglobin, are considered “red meat”, while animals with low levels of myoglobin, like most poultry, or no myoglobin, like some sea-life, are considered “white meat”.”

    In addition, according to Merriam Websters, a factoid is also “a briefly stated and usually trivial fact.”

  2. Baboo said

    Thank you for that insightful piece JN – I wonder whether you have come across ‘Clamato’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clamato
    V. popular in Canadia I believe.

    • Awesome, we’ll get some Clamato ordered and give it a go. We’ve thought about meat based juices before although memories of Bovril make it seem a taboo too far.

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