The other night I went to my favorite buffet as I was craving a juicy rare steak. As I always did, I requested that they make me a rare steak as they do not serve it on the buffet rare. Since my last visit at the restaurant, there was a new manager. Prior to this visit I was able to get my steak cooked the way I like it. The new manager was not obliging. His argument was the danger of E. coli infection.

This experience got me to thinking about the excessive concern with E. coli, Salmonella, and the various food borne illnesses. While not intending to minimize the threat or the need for caution, I wonder if our concerns for these things have not grown to an extreme.

Everything in life has risk and we naturally weigh the risk against the benefits. Sometimes the only recognizable benefit is the enjoyment that we experience. While there may be some risk in eating a rare steak, even cooked foods can be contaminated. Improper cleaning of utensils, storing of food, refrigeration, etc can contribute to contamination.

Does bacterial contamination mean that you will get sick. I venture to say that it is generally the individual's particular health condition rather than the bacteria itself that makes one sick. It is how your own immune system reacts to the bacteria. A healthy immune system prevents bacterial infections by destroying infectious microorganisms that do invade the body.

All sickness is caused by one of two things, lack of proper nutrition and stress. That is to say if your immune system is healthy thru proper diet, reduction of stress and adequate exercise, the risk of bacterial exposures to your system will be limited. A healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and a balanced diet helps curb stress which is the real cause of disease and illness.

It is interesting to note that the it is getting difficult to get a rare steak in restaurants. I surmise that the establishments are fearful of lawsuits. As a side note: Do a google search for ‘Chris Masterjohn’ and read his interesting article on the health benefits of eating a rare steak.

If the restaurants are concerned with law suits, I would suggest that these establishments devise legal waivers that one would have to sign alleviating the proprietor from liability. This, of course, would only be necessary if you were to incur illness from a personal request for a rare steak if the restaurant did not as a rule serve steaks rare.

While not wanting to advocate lack of caution, I do suggest balance and common sense. There are many factors in life we cannot avoid. People come in contact with bacteria, viruses and diseases every day. There is also the unforeseen occurrence that befalls us all.

You could be driving home from work and have an accident that could land you in a wheel chair or be fatal, yet you do not stop driving. If we live in avoidance of all risks and dangers we would have to live in a bubble like David Vetter, a boy born with severe combined immunodeficiency who spent his entire 12 years inside a sealed plastic bubble which protected him from infections.

So in conclusion, I suggest that you live a healthy lifestyle. Exercise regularly (30 minutes at least 3 times a week), eat a balanced diet, take a multi-vitamin. Be sure to get plenty of sunshine, drink lots of water, avoid toxins, and practice stress reduction exercises.

If you do these things along with keeping a positive attitude you will probably have a healthy immune system. Then go ahead and eat, drink and enjoy a rare steak.

Doran Roggio offers articles and resources on healthy lifestyle, & natural healing and cooking & recipes at &