'What is this ghass phoos? It is not natural for human beings.’ I have heard this comment so often...usually followed by some nonsensical argument which substitutes loudness for logic. There is a contention that men are men only if they eat meat. Here is a rational argument for you next time you meet one of these sorts—provided you can make yourself heard above their shouting.
Machines that have similar functions have similar mechanical components. Machines that have similar mechanical components usually use similar fuels to provide energy . Obviously, each machine works best on the right fuel. If the wrong fuel goes in, some machines break down immediately. Others take some time and break down gradually. Yet others break down, but don’t show it until a final cataclysmic collapse.
If the body is a machine , what fuel does the human body use? Which machine is the human body closest to? Is the human body the same as that of any meat eater in nature? Here are some interesting physiological comparisons :
No skin pores, perspire through tongue
Sharp front teeth for tearing, no flat molars for grinding
Intestinal tract three times body length, so decaying meat can pass out rapidly
Strong hydrochloric acid in stomach to digest meat
Perspires through skin pores
No sharp front teeth, have flat rear molars
Intestinal tract 10 to 12 times body length
Stomach acid 20 times weaker than in meat eaters
Perspires through skin pores
No sharp front teeth, has flat rear molars
Intestinal tract 12 times body length
Stomach acid 20 times weaker than in meat eaters
Does this chart mean that the human cannot eat meat? Of course not. But it does clearly indicate that we are far less like evolved as true carnivores than we are herbivores.
The illiterate use the catch word ‘omnivore’ to explain their meat eating. It s a meaningless word. Both carnivores and herbivores can eat meat. Squirrels can eat meat, chimpanzees can eat meat, humans can eat meat—in fact, even cows can eat meat! Indeed, cows and pigs are fed meat by meat producing factory farms! (Remember Mad Cow disease? That’s what happened as a result.) Both carnivores and herbivores can eat plants. Cats and dogs in the wild first eat the vegetable stomach contents of their herbivorous prey. Dogs which are supposed to be carnivores eat a great amount of grass and vegetable protein. Dogs, humans, squirrels or even cows can digest both animal or plant protein. The term ‘omnivore’ is not a scientific category but is used merely to indicate what an animal usually eats. We may be wrongly classified as omnivores because of our species’ food practices but that doesn’t take into account what we might be physically best evolved to eat.
All primates have evolved to be fruitarians or herbivores. Yes, we can eat meat, as do chimpanzees in the wild, but this is actually not a common occurrence for them and meat does not constitute a necessary or significant component of their diet. That humans can eat meat doesn’t mean that they must eat meat, nor that they are equally evolved or physiologically as well adapted to subsist healthily on meat as compared to a plant food diet. ‘True carnivores’ like dogs, for instance, can live normal lives on a vegetarian diet, but this does not make them herbivores. Similarly, we are still biologically vegetarian creatures according to the evidence of physiological constitution, evolutionary history and the facts suggesting that our health fares best on a vegetarian diet.
Anthropological evidence shows we have evolved from frugivorous apes. Of course, like chimps, we can eat meat and insects, but such foods provide a mere two per cent of their calories. We have chosen, for reasons that are no longer necessary or essential, to consume 40 to 50 per cent of our calories from slaughtered animals or animal products. Yet in the wild, our bodies, were best equipped not to catch prey but to forage for fruits, roots and insects. Just because we can eat meat doesn’t mean that we are as capable as evolved carnivores in being healthy on a largely meat diet. Cats can be fed diets up to 60 per cent meat with no apparent threat to their cardiovascular health. Humans can’t.
Clearly, the anatomy of the human digestive system is engineered to digest plant-based foodstuffs high in fibre and complex carbohydrates and only small amounts of protein. Constipation and indigestion are less of a problem when people’s diets are free of meat. The balance of the key metallic elements, sodium and potassium that we need goes completely wild when we eat animal flesh. The sodium increase gives high blood pressure which is rare in vegetarians. The amounts and chemical kinds of fats in animals (cholesterol and triglycerides) are very different from those found in plants. No cholesterol is found in plant foods. The unnecessary amounts of protein consumption from meat makes for excess protein that causes kidney damage .
The best way to judge whether the human body is vegetarian or not is to check what happens to it after eating meat. Here is a report of the National Cancer Institute: ‘Observable Signs of Metabolic Stress after a Meal of Animal Flesh’. These include: a) white blood cell count increases causing esinophilia; b) red blood cells become more ‘sticky’ and ‘sludge’ in small blood vessels; and c) levels of hormones (cortisol), estrogen, prolactin increase. To summarize the argument: the flesh we consume does not appear to be anywhere near the kind of diet we have evolved to flourish on as shown by the immediate body reactions to meat.
So meat is actually an inferior ‘fuel’ for the human machine since it generates many acidic waste products when metabolized. A high carbohydrate, low fat diet enables athletes to be stronger and have more physical endurance.
Trust your own body’s reaction. People frequently report an increase in energy levels and waking activity after switching from a fatty meat diet to a vegetarian or vegan diet. Fatty foods, particularly a heavy meat diet, makes one sluggish and tired. After eating a meal of animal fats, there are distinct biological reactions that cause a kind of metabolic stress. These hormonal changes could, possibly, account for a change in our energy level as prolactin and estrogen are known to affect one’s overall activity rhythms. It is common to hear meat eaters complain of a constant mild tiredness, a tiredness that people may simply assume is ‘normal’ but which could be a general symptom of any number of nutrition-related problems (e.g. hypoglycemia, deficiency in magnesium, vitamin B-complex, folic acid, pyriodoxine, vitamin C or lactose intolerance etc.).
Yes, we can eat meat, but not without huge costs. The scientific evidence is pretty clear that the best diet for human beings in terms of health and longevity is vegetarian.
To join the animal welfare movement contact email@example.com
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