It’s finger-lickin’ raw: meet the former vegan who switched to a diet of uncooked meat (and lumpy milk that’s been left to ferment for a fortnight)
Fresh delivery: Jones flaunts his bag of grass-fed minced beef, wrapped in plastic
Former vegan Jones Hussain switched to eating raw meat on a quest for better health. He tells Nick Gascoyne rotten liver and fermented cow’s milk have revolutionised his well-being and cured his acne.The message from government food scientists? Don’t try this at home …
Jones Hussain likes his meat raw. Not slightly pink, or even blue – but eaten straight from its plastic packaging. Chicken is one of his favourites. Just like anyone else, he still needs to prepare his food, but not with a marinade of spices or a sear from a flame: the former vegan starts by scraping the skin away from the chicken thigh with his teeth, pulling away the connective tissue that sticks to the cold flesh.
Then, piece by piece he bites the goo-coated meat, ripping it from the bone and then carefully transferring it to a bowl. This dish is a rare treat for Jones due to the time it takes to get ready. The tendons, not weakened by the heat of an oven, hold tightly to the pink flesh.
Although he finds it annoying at times, this laborious process is worthwhile, according to the 20-year-old health activist, who says: “Minced beef is easier to digest and uses less stomach acid, so from that perspective it is my favourite – as I eat it more often and have become more used to it. It also costs less. But, from a flavour perspective, raw chicken is tastier, better and more complex.”
Jones, from Stockholm, Sweden, has always been fixated on improving his health and his peculiar raw primal diet is a result of that. Even from the age of 13, sugar has been voluntarily off-limits for Jones after he read about its testosterone-reducing effects. Most children of similar age would devour an entire bag of Tangfastics without a single mouthful wasted thinking about trivial things like health and nutrients.
His attitude towards food as nothing more than sustenance serving a medicinal purpose has taken him through many phases throughout his life. Before taking his first mouthful of raw beef in November 2019, he was vegan for nearly two years, during which he strictly ate plant products.
“When I became vegan, it was always for health reasons. I started thinking, well, there are blood vessels and flesh, and I found it disgusting,” Jones says. “I eventually came to my senses and started eating cooked meat again.”
This remarkable U-turn evolved into transitioning to raw meat after being inspired by YouTube videos and books by raw food activist Aajonus Vonderplanitz.
“I was being told that raw meat is actually very beneficial to our health. So what I said was, okay, I’m going to eat this raw meat now and If I get sick, well, then society and the government and all these health institutions are right. But, if I don’t get sick, well, then they’re lying and these raw food activists are telling the truth,” Jones said.
After consuming several kilos of raw beef liver that month, Jones didn’t fall ill or die from a serious case of food poisoning. Even his acne started to disappear Jones said.
“I never took the drug Accutane to fix my acne, which is just synthetic vitamin A. I went straight to the raw liver. The thing is liver contains a lot of vitamin A, which is natural and works even better.”
Jones is now completely dismissive of the germ theory. Soon he began to expand his diet to include chicken, lamb heart, bone marrow and even testicles.
“I used to cut up frozen chicken liver that I put in a bowl and stored in the fridge,” he says. “I would then take a piece every day to eat. Sometimes I would cut off more than I should, so what happened was, day by day, it became fermented or as people would say, rotten or putrid. So, a week went by, I was still eating it. Two weeks went by, and I was still eating it. By this point, the liver had turned brown and green. I finished the bowl at the end of the month and guess what? Nothing happened to me at all. I just got nutrients in and I got a few bacteria.”
Jones admits fermented meat tastes pretty bad, and he does miss the flavour of a cooked, well-seasoned steak, but he argues the health benefits of the raw primal diet far outweigh sacrificing taste: “Well, I’m much calmer. I noticed much more hair growth. My mind is clearer. I have lots of energy. I sleep better. It’ll be easier to talk about the benefits I don’t experience.”
The primal diet does allow raw fruits and vegetable juice but surprisingly water is substituted for a glass of un-pasteurised cow’s milk, which has been left at room temperature fermenting for roughly two weeks. “It’s just superior to water in every way. It’s incredibly nutritious and the tastiest thing I’ve ever consumed. It’s a little bit sour. It’s fatty. And from the consistency, depending on the bacteria and temperature, it’s kind of like Jell-O,” says Jones.
Registered dietitians, like Daniel Preiato, who received his Bachelor of Science in nutrition and food studies from New York University, have argued that there’s limited evidence to support the claim that raw meat is superior; any benefits of eating raw meat are outweighed by the risk of contracting a foodborne illness from bacteria and parasites.
Jones objects to these claims, going as far as to say that these parasites are healthy. The thought of ingesting a tapeworm strikes fear in us, but to Jones, these horror-inducing passengers are his friend: “Parasites are good for you. What they do is eat dead tissue and help digest our food. They basically perform the function of the microbiome and perform it better. Unless you are on a highly processed, carbohydrate diet, parasites aren’t dangerous for you.”
Reactions from across the dinner table of washing down raw meat with lumpy fermented milk have been met with awe and fascination from his friends, said Jones, but his parents haven’t always seen eye-to-eye on his dietary choices: “My family, well, my mother sometimes thinks a demon has possessed me, but apart from that, my father and uncle don’t really have objections anymore.”
Aiming for financial freedom and wanting to spread his message to the world, Jones has written a book called The Six Health Commandments, which he promotes on his site Excellentlyhealthy.
With the hope of gaining a ‘deeper knowledge of health’, 24-year-old San Zangana, bought Jones’s book and ditched his medication prescribed for infectious bowel disease in exchange for a strict carnivore diet.
“Becoming healthy is not about taking pills and supplements, it’s about eating good, healthy food. I was able to change my perspective on many things, things I thought I knew but I actually didn’t,” says San.
The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) strongly advise against eating raw food and that it’s important to cook food thoroughly to kill any harmful bacteria like campylobacter, salmonella, listeria and some types of E. coli. There are an estimated 2.4 million cases of foodborne illness a year in the UK with an annual cost of £9 billion to the economy.
The FSA Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor Robin May said: “Foodborne disease is a major cause of illness in the UK population and imposes a significant burden on both infected individuals and the economy.”
With a future goal of studying medicine, Jones said he wants to continue spreading his journey to excellent health: “I don’t think there is anything more convoluted than health. There is no bigger lie than health right now. When it comes to answering what is healthy for human beings, it has become one of the biggest misinformation topics in our history.”