START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x

Are We All Born Meat Eaters?

Are We All Born Meat Eaters?

Back when I was a kid, my sister (the unrepentant animal lover) made the public declaration to our family that she was now a vegetarian. She was probably 15-years-old, which is old enough to make these sorts of choices without too much parental disdain, but my father begged to differ. While my father was hardly a meat enthusiast, he did relish the opportunity to use his love and trivia, with a bit of evolutionary science, to prove his point. Within a few days of my sister’s conversion to the vegetarian way, my father presented to us a chapter in a book (the name of the book is now long forgotten) that provided graphic illustrations of the human mouth and how the arrangement of our teeth provides evolutionary proof that we humans were meant to be eating meat. My father said the presence of the human incisors was hard-bitten proof that eating vegetables alone would be a disservice to our toothy architecture. Regardless of his persistence, and his illustrative proof, my sister did not budge and remained a vegetarian for several years.

Back then, in the 1980s, being a vegetarian was hardly the norm and barely accepted. Now we live in a far different culinary landscape with a plethora of options for casual and hardcore vegetarians (as well as vegans). However we also live in a time of sweeping food trends; ones that both reinforce and negate vegetarianism. While not the newest, but maybe one of the more enduring trends to date, is the “paleo diet” which consists of a whole lot of meat eating. The paleo diet, which is short for Paleolithic, is a lifestyle and diet that adheres to Paleolithic standards, which is short on processed foods, like breads and grains, and quite long on big slabs of beef and pork. Now eating your weight in beef and pork may not seem like a healthy option to anyone (let alone vegetarians), but paleo diet enthusiasts say a steady diet of meat, tubers, root vegetables and sometimes fish, along with a fair amount of exercise to keep things moving, will provide optimum health and get us back to our ideal form of being. John Durant, who is a paleo diet enthusiast and authoring a book on the diet told NPR, “For millions of years, we didn’t have an obesity problem because we ate foods that our metabolism was adapted to…we were active and lived a healthy lifestyle.”

While many paleoanthropologists admit that we humans did actually evolve to eat meat, and some even contend that a meat-based diet will help us get smarter, many nutritionists contend that too much meat (especially red meat) is a bad bet for personal health. And while there may be virtues to following a paleo diet, the average person doesn’t engage in nearly enough exercise (as our Paleolithic ancestors certainly did) to burn through the caloric and fat intake that comes from such a meat heavy diet.

What is your read on this Paleolithic approach to eating? Does it make evolutionary sense to eat like our cave dwelling ancestors, or is it just shoddy rationalization to eat like a brute?

Related:
Is It Ethical to Be a Vegetarian?
When Is It OK for Vegans to Eat Animals?
Can Eating Meat Possibly Be Good for the Planet?
Beyond Broccoli Argues Against Vegan and Vegetarian Diets

Read more: Eating for Health, Following Food, Food, Vegan, Vegetarian, , , , ,

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love

Eric Steinman

Eric Steinman is a freelance writer based in Rhinebeck, NY. He regularly writes about food, music, art, architecture, and culture and is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit among other publications.

319 comments

+ add your own
12:19AM PST on Dec 2, 2012

The child looking as if he is awaiting execution or the loss of computer rights by parental decree is still there...please Care2...do your phototogs have any normal looking children? Anywhere? Even some eating veggies look doomed.

More action on the Star Trek movie than in the comment section here lately. A little humour may bring back the crowds.

What is presented as Stir Fry at McDonalds?

Mayonnaise, ketchup....stir with a French Fry! There you have it, lean cuisine Mchealthy (their version) style. Or not...

12:18AM PST on Dec 2, 2012

See what a bit of humour can do for you. Somewhat like Canadian weather: snow and cold whether we like it or not and then in mid Spring it gets so hot and humid that we often out heat Cuba temperature wise all while mosquitoes the size of Texas and black flies the size of Ontario feast on your overheated body.
Shall I get on topic? Does it matter if we are or are not natural born meat eaters? The fact is that some of us eat meat along with our veggies and some of us don't. Eat what you want, try and survive the Christmas/holiday season (there are other holidays besides Christmas at this time). Does anyone ask if we are natural born fliers? Some of us get onto an aircraft and some of us don't despite the fact none of us are born with wings. The more adventurous take to paragliding or sky diving.

12:17AM PST on Dec 2, 2012

Testing...seeing if I have to login in yet again before making a comment. Sigh.

12:28AM PST on Nov 24, 2012

Give me Strength, Understanding, Serenity and above all Calm...after ten years or more of using the scroll bar am attempting The Mouse...the wheel (and not a medicine one...), right click, left click...this may well affect my sanity! Patience...above all else...patience...and the vaudeville hook for the kid in that photo!

7:57AM PST on Nov 15, 2012

Paul, If I had been less informed, and had taken your unsolicited and sarcastic advice to have a colonic to detox my mind.... I could be in the hospital or dead by now.
You know nothing of my medical history. I have a twisted colon and diverticulosis, and an enema could very easily puncture the diverticulae or wall of the colon, causing me to require emergency surgery. I've been advised by 2 gastroenterologists who saw the photos of my last colonoscopy, NOT to even have another colonoscopy.

It's irresponsible for you to be prescribing medical procedures without knowing the history or condition of the person to whom you are advising such invasive procedures.
It's equally irresponsible to be calling someone a liar when you know NOTHING about them and cannot judge their true condition or their personal experience.

So consider yourself 'put in your place' as you requested....and quit before you turn everyone against naturopathy with your arrogance and intolerance.
Perhaps you could use your time to give yourself a colonic to clear your mind...since we know by the location of your brain that it could benefit from a good cleansing.

6:03AM PST on Nov 15, 2012

cont'd:


No one else needed help understanding what I said. I'm quite precise and clear when I communicate.

5:49AM PST on Nov 15, 2012

"BM did an MD diagnose your permanent immune system damage and cite the vegetarian diet as the reason? What was his diagnosis, prescription and prognosis."
Yes after blood tests... the start of pernicious anemia...which my mother got from a veg diet and died a year later of multiple complications. My body was also in a highly inflammatory state with a super histamine reaction.

"BM, what was the diet that you were on and which of the three in attendance recommended it?"
It was over 20 yrs ago...no meat or animal products. I learned conclusively that I can't digest beans, have an intolerance to the excessive amounts of gluten and cellulose in a vegan diet.
I was malnourished and lacking in all nutrients, and it sent my body into a highly inflammatory state.
That was 20+ years ago, and I've healed myself as well as I could with a diet of whole organic foods that I prepare from scratch.
I don't condone an exclusive diet with excesses of some things and the exclusion of entire food groups.... and I never will. People have to eat what makes their own body healthy.

Your offensive intolerance is not representative of good science or a humane heart.
Thankfully for the human race.....people like Salk and other medical pioneers had open minds that permitted them to broaden their creativity, and gave them the potential to help the human race instead of remaining steadfastly ignorant of all possibilities.

No one else needed help understanding what I said. I'm quite precis

9:33PM PST on Nov 14, 2012

"Imagine that pioneers were crossing the Rockies over the Oregon Trail via horse drawn wagons in 1843 using plastic saddles and nylon horse harness. Did i get something wrong here, Dee what do you think ?"...........well, Gerald, I DO recall seeing John Wayne sign a "Peace Treaty" with the "Injuns" using a Paper Mate ballpoint pen once, and in another movie, there was a shadow from a 747 just beyond the wagon train. I must have missed THE DUKE riding in an Abetta Endurance Saddle, though.

"Doc" is throwing out a "gauntlet" about being put in his place. Actually, none of us are so rude as to tell him where we think that place is, and surprised Customer Support hasn't explained it to him yet. I think I "get it" now, though. He claims to be a N.D., and spends more time in Care.2 in this discussion alone than most actual doctors do in their offices, treating actual patients. I'm betting he doesn't HAVE any, so hence his need to garner them on an internet site, maybe? Remember the old adage, "If ya' can't dazzle 'em with brilliance, baffle 'em with "B.S." (substitute the proper word there)?


7:17PM PST on Nov 14, 2012

Marilyn someone has reading comprehension problems, it is the vegan diet that caused your nutritional - - - not vegetarianism. I always understood that from reading your posts.

5:56PM PST on Nov 14, 2012

Hi BM

Are you sure BM because here is your chance to put me in my place and teach everyone about how hazardous eating as a vegetarian can be?

Doc Blake

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

Just skimmed through all 368 comments and fascinated that only one (other) person called you on the …

Grow your own organic veggies where possible. Only buy free range RSPCA eggs.

Will take care of our water usage.

Watch our diet and lifestyle

thanks for sharing

Story idea? Want to blog? Contact the editors!



Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.