Chicken thighs, you are so tasty, but I will regret this later!
July 19, 2012 12:33 PM   Subscribe

Why does (dark) chicken meat sometimes (but not always) make me feel ill? Slightly TMI descriptions inside.

Sometimes when I eat dark chicken meat, it makes me feel stick to my stomach later (usually starts about a half hour afterwards, lasting for a few hours). This means I feel queasy/naseous, with some stomach cramps and maybe heartburn, but I don't experience any more severe GI effects (ie, no vomiting or diarrhea).

This has started in the last few years. I typically have a pretty tough stomach - the only other thing that typically causes me gastro distress is gluten (I have non-celiac gluten sensitivity). I have no trouble with chicken breasts or other kinds of fatty meat - dark turkey meat is fine, as are red meat and fattier cuts of pork. It's just dark chicken that's the problem.

This doesn't always happen with dark chicken meat - maybe about half the time I eat it. Some examples of dishes that have made me feel ill later:

- Chicken satay from a Malaysian restaurant.
- a whole chicken cooked in a slow cooker (the breasts were fine)
- Grilled thigh meat from a Thai restaurant
- Sadly, this recipe for street cart-style chicken and rice.

Examples of dishes that have recently NOT made me feel ill:

- Chicken I roast myself, or rotisserie chicken from a supermarket.
- Braised chicken thighs (ie, chicken adobo or cacciatore), made myself

The only thing I can think of is that some of the dishes I've had that made me sick seemed (but were not) a bit undercooked when I ate them, so it may be a psychosomatic, "ew, gross" thing. I know it's not sneaky gluten, because this happens sometimes when I cook for myself, totally gluten-free - and anyway, it's a different sort of reaction.

I'd like to figure out what's causing this so I can avoid it - whether that means I just stop eating dark chicken meat altogether or figure out how I can cook it so it doesn't make me sick!
posted by wholebroad to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Based on the fact that you don't always experience this, and that it seems to happen when a) you eat out b) you use a slow cooker and c) you mix up chunked chicken meat with other ingredients, there seems to be 2 explanations:

1) you're eating undercooked chicken
2) you're eating food in a restaurant that may contain gluten (it's really hard to know what food comes into contact with in a restaurant behind the scenes)

The solution: cook your own food, and make sure it is well-cooked.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:01 PM on July 19, 2012

Satay may include soy sauce, which is not gluten-free.
posted by mlo at 1:09 PM on July 19, 2012 [5 favorites]

I have the same problem sometimes, with dark chicken meat and with eggs. I have a feeling that for me, it's mostly psychosomatic - it has more to do with the taste and texture than the meat itself. Chicken thighs cooked firmer, with plenty of seasoning, don't upset my stomach, usually. Flabby, sulfurous-tasting chicken meat upsets my stomach every time.
posted by WasabiFlux at 1:37 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Where are you getting your chicken? I ask because I've noticed differences between different sources/breeds/farms.

BTW I would also recommend breaking the chicken down before putting it in a crock pot. That allows things to cook better/more evenly.
posted by melissam at 3:40 PM on July 19, 2012

Also heartburn triggered by a specific food or foods could be eosinophilic esophagitis.
posted by melissam at 3:42 PM on July 19, 2012

I have the same problem. I always chalked it up to the grease and the possibility that it wasn't cooked right.

Could also be oil that has gone rancid, but you don't notice the flavor. (Some people can't, apparently.)
posted by gjc at 5:38 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

A friend of mine recently discovered that she gets sick whenever she eats corn-fed chicken - but feels fine when she eats grain-fed chicken. Not all poultry is labelled here, but she actively seeks out the grain-fed now. I would never have thought to consider that; maybe it's something similar for you?
posted by VioletU at 5:58 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

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