Please do not eat rotten meat to get high

Man with ponytail biting into raw meat
Photo: Barcroft Media / Contributor (Getty Images)

Whatever happened to good ol’ weed? The Devil’s Lettuce? That sweet Mary Jane? Everyone seems to have forgotten about the glories of grass, as evidenced by some netizens who are eating rotten meat to get high. I wish I didn’t have to say this, but please do not try that at home.

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IFL Science reports that some folks are consuming meat that’s been decomposing for months or even years. I’m talking visible bacteria colonies, funky colors, slimy texture. Decidedly putrid meat. Practitioners call it “high meat” because eating it apparently, well, gets you high. Like this gentleman, for example. (Watch at your own risk—I only made it through a few seconds of the video before I got grossed out and had to turn it off.)

While cooking meat has obvious merits—namely, flavor and food safety—fans of “high meat” report a feeling of euphoria that comes after eating the rotten meat. As IFL Science explains, no one knows if this is due to a placebo effect, dehydration and delirium after an explosive gastric response, or something else. Some practitioners even claim to prefer the taste, which is often described as cheesy. I don’t eat all that much meat, but I know it shouldn’t TASTE LIKE CHEESE. Others report health benefits, including a “Viagra effect.” The New Yorker cites two such individuals:

A regular serving of decayed heart or liver can have a “tremendous Viagra effect” on the elderly, Vonderplanitz told me recently. The first few bites, though, can be rough going. “I still have some resistance to it,” Torma admitted. “But the health benefits! I’m fifty-two now. I started this when I was forty-two, and I feel like I’m in my twenties.”

So, who started this thing? One of The New Yorker’s sources mentions being inspired by Indigenous Canadian peoples. (One researcher published a 1953 paper describing an indigenous community that ate meat “raw and after considerable putrefaction.) The practice may also be informed by kiviak, a traditional winter foodstuff consumed by Greenlandic Inuits.

Here’s the problem: kiviak is essentially a seal’s carcass stuffed with whole birds and left to ferment—but fermentation is very different from spoilage. And while fermented foods and raw meat both have significant places in the culinary lexicon, intentionally consuming rotten meat exposes you to a glorious buffet of harmful microbial life. That can lead to acute food poisoning, causing nausea, vomiting, and even death. In conclusion: despite the purported benefits of “high meat” touted on blogs, on Twitter, and in Reddit threads, I am officially advising against the practice. Just smoke some reefer, man.

Staff writer @ The Takeout, joke writer elsewhere. Wrangling dogs and pork shoulder in Chicago.

DISCUSSION

Anyone who thinks this is a good idea, ought to be encouraged to do so. They should take a good ol’ drink of swamp water to wash it down with, and finish it off with an after dinner tidepod.