This is a rather controversial subject. Most anthropology experts agree that our teeth seem to be designed as omnivorous, meaning that some of the teeth are ideal for vegetation, while others seem to be for eating meat. Certainly our metabolism is capable of processing meat, though it’s a little more difficult to process than most veggies and fruits.
In the religious realm, many cite the Biblical book of Genesis where, just after the creation of man, God tells them that they can use the plants for food. However, after the flood account, he tells Noah that they can use the animals for food as well.
I think that mankind was originally made to eat meat for reasons of survival. Do we still need to be eating it, though?
Well, this question is phrased incorrectly. Nothing has been ‘made’ to do anything… Rather, body design is a result of natural selection. If you look at human evolution, those individuals which began to include meat in their diet consequently had more protein available for their bodies to use. This catalysed brain growth and allowed the human population to spread (they were no longer reliant upon areas with particular nutrient-rich plants). Looking at our closest relatives (chimpanzees and bonobos), they all include meat in their diet – spiders, ants and snails quite regularly and occasionally they hunt vertebrates such as squirrels and monkeys.
So what is healthy for the modern human diet? Our digestive systems certainly are not designed to digest meat eaten 3 times a day. A more healthy diet includes meat eaten infrequently – maybe twice a week.
However, given the environmental cost of meat production I choose to avoid all meat products altogether. I would guess that everyone reading this post is amongst the worlds richest and most privileged (http://www.miniature-earth.com/), so I wonder how much we really need all this meat that is consumed. We are not desperate for protein, and there are lots of alternatives. About 85% of the world’s soya production is used for animal feed – imagine if soya was used directly as a protein source how much more efficient it would be and therefore how much less forest would be cut down to produce the soya in the first place!
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