Can you spot the rabbit? Join Jeremy and I on a mid-winter snowshoe hare hunt and cook over fire.
Watch our 5 day survival challenge!!! LINK:
*TO THE VIEWER, snowshoe hare or varying hare are plentiful in the North. They often fall prey to wolves and foxes. Removing one or two hare from the population helps increase the strength of the overall population. As the season is open in the fall and winter, it helps reduce overcrowding and therefore reduces the stress on other living things like plants and vegetation. Life without balances is often catastrophic. By not removing animals at the bottom of the food chain, it becomes more stressful for those below it such as plants. Nature intended for the chain to be complete from bottom to the top.*
Interactive hare spotting challenge (find the rabbit!): 29:40
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Nothing but protein for a year study:
Taking rabbits in this way is both time and energy intensive. Having the advantage of a packed snowmobile trail is a huge advantage freeing us from using snowshoes. But even then, we’d still need to produce at least 3 rabbit each per day to meet our minimum caloric requirement.
This assumes that there are 47 calories in an ounce of lean meat, and that a rabbit is 16 ounces total. This produces 752 calories per rabbit. If you didn’t eat the brain and organs, instead of 3 rabbits the total bumps up to 4. No doubt, this might be possible to accomplish on a great, or even just a good day, but repeating it in succession day-after-day for a week, month, or year, is unlikely.
This not withstanding, eating just lean meat, will wreak havoc on the human body and it’s digestive system. As we found on The Wilderness Living Challenge, so called “rabbit starvation,” or the act of eating nothing but lean meat, with no, or very little fat, is something the body quickly rejects.
Despite this, we know that the Inuit or Eskimo, of the far North, and explorers to the region, habitually subsist on mostly meats. So how is this possible?
In a year long study published in 1930 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, it was found that a diet of just meat was possible, with one important caveat. That type of diet should be high in fat, rather than just lean meat.
In this particular study, the two male subjects ate beef, lamb, veal, pork and chicken consisting of muscle, liver, kidney, brain, bone marrow, bacon, and fat. In other words, they ate the whole animal. This is something modern man is not accustomed, preferring to substitute these organs and marrow for more palatable alternatives like nut and vegetable oil or more preferred fats from pig and cow. But refined fats from nuts or vegetables require massive harvesting and processing, something prehistoric man was not able to utilize.
The men in the experiment ate 800 grams of meat per day in 3-4 meals. The protein ranged from 100 to 140 grams, the fat from 200 to 300 grams, and carbohydrates from 7 to 12 grams. Translated into calories, the totals amount to 1-2% carbohydrate, 15-25% protein, and a whopping 75-85% fat. The carbohydrates came from only the glycogen in the meat.
Both men were reported to be in good health after a year and only lost a few pounds of body weight. There was however, a significant initial change in body weight due to a so called “shift in water content of the body.” This was caused by the body dumping water as it went into ketosis.
Their diet only became an issue when the amount of fat they consumed dropped below 55%. By adding more fat, the problem disappeared. During the course of the study blood pressure and vitamin concentrations all remained normal.
So while nothing but meat is possible for subsistence, it’s not enough just to get lean meat such as rabbit. Even if you could track down sufficient calories from meat, that would need to be balanced with ample fat.
That’s just a friendly reminder that as always, in nature, there is no free lunch.
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