Writer Kathy Freston, a frequent contributor to AlterNet on the topic of the human diet, has posted a new article on this great alternative media site about the evolutionary arguments against carnivorous diets. If you don’t believe in evolution you should stop reading here. For the rest of you, please check out the article. A few summary points from the piece are:
- We only recently (historically speaking) began eating meat, and that the inclusion of meat in our diet came well after we became who we are today
- Early humans had diets very much like other great apes, which is to say a largely plant-based diet, drawing on foods we can pick with our hands
- Research suggests that meat-eating probably began by scavenging — eating the leftovers that carnivores had left behind. However, our bodies have never adapted to it. To this day, meat-eaters have a higher incidence of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other problems
- In fact, our hands are perfect for grabbing and picking fruits and vegetables. Similarly, like the intestines of other herbivores, ours are very long (carnivores have short intestines so they can quickly get rid of all that rotting flesh they eat)
- Most of us are “behavioral omnivores” — that is, we eat meat, so that defines us as omnivorous. But our evolution and physiology are herbivorous, and ample science proves that when we choose to eat meat, that causes problems, from decreased energy and a need for more sleep up to increased risk for obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer
The link in the last bullet point will send you to another article by Freston on Huffington Post that speaks to the “protein myth” the meat industry propagates to manipulate people into believe meat is necessary in their diets.
I hope by being continually exposed to the truth on diets and how the human body actually works, people will reduce their consumption of meat. I’m not so naive to think that the world will become vegetarians overnight but a gradual reduction combined with continued education of our youth will make the world a healthier and more sustainable place.
I’ll be having a vegetarian dinner tonight. You should try the same.