The Reality of Rabbit Starvation
When rabbit season opens and you start bringing home meat for the table, your first thought may be that you could subsist on rabbit alone thanks to its deliciousness. Although rabbit mean certainly is enjoyable, it is necessary to incorporate other items into your rabbit meals. Luckily, rabbit goes good in a lot of recipes with a lot of sides, so having a well-rounded rabbit meal is not too challenging to accomplish.
Though it is praised for being a lean meat, this is actually both a beneficial and problematic quality of rabbit meat. In fact, rabbit meat is so lean that it is actually too lean to live on without the addition of fats and carbs to the diet. We as humans need healthy fats in our diets in order to survive and thrive, but rabbit is not a source of that due to its incredible leanness. Therefore it must be eaten as part of a diet that includes other meats as well as vegetables and fruits in order to avoid compromising one's health.
Photo: Cully's Kitchen
The problem with extremely lean means such as rabbit is that eating too much of them actually deprives the body of the energy it requires in order to function. Over time, a diet that is high in protein but lacks fat and carbohydrates can actually send you into a something known as rabbit starvation where your body will go into a state of wasting that can lead to your eventual demise. Even though your belly may be full, you will find that feeling is fleeting and your hunger will return rapidly. Beyond that, you can actually become quite weak and fall ill, losing weight and muscle mass, while at the same time stretching your stomach as you fill it with rabbit in a desperate attempt to sate hunger. At the same time, diarrhea, headache, and general malaise will occur as your body starves for fat.
The way the human body works is through burning fats as energy. It is possible to burn protein but this presents issues that can compromise your health over just a short time. Using protein as fuel causes the liver and kidneys to have to work harder due to the by-products created when protein is burned. At the same time, the brain is impacted because it requires glucose. The process of creating glucose from protein can be performed by the liver, but at a huge energy cost, which further contributes to the concept of rabbit starvation. Also created during the process is ammonia which is a problem in itself as it takes even more energy to process, which can tax your liver to the point of failure. At that point, the ammonia will make its way into your bloodstream and go on to compromise your nervous system. This is known as hyperammonemia and is bad news for your brain. Ultimately all of this combined can cause health problems within just a few days and death within weeks.
The bottom line is that though we enjoy rabbit meat, we do not need to enjoy it exclusively. This does not just apply to us, but also to our rabbit dogs. In the event that you happen to include rabbit meat in the diets of your rabbit dogs, it cannot be their sole source of sustenance or else they, too, will wind up falling ill. Although to may think it is silly to even suggest a diet made up exclusively of rabbit, you never know when survival mode may force you into eating in such a manner. If you and/or your dogs were to ever wind up in a situation where you must survive on rabbit alone, be sure to consume more than just the meat. Organ meat can be consumed as well as any fat present within the body, such as in the vicinity of kidneys. Even skin can be eaten once fur is removed. Best of all, however, is a diet that includes fruits and vegetables in addition to the rabbit meat we enjoy.
What is your favorite rabbit meal? Which vegetables do you most enjoy with your rabbit meat meals? Let us know in the comments.