Why People Say it’s Okay to Eat Meat

By : | 1 Comment | On : March 30, 2014 | Category : Why

As a vegetarian running a vegetarian website, every day I see people online making the argument for and against eating meat. One thing I’ve noticed is that meat eater’s come up with weak reasons justify eating meat, but there is one reason I never see them mention, and it’s the one they don’t want to admit.

First let’s take a look at the vegetarian point of view: Why you should be a vegetarian.

Health

fit woman eating salad
There are many reasons to eat vegetarian or vegan. Start by looking in the mirror. Are you at a healthy weight? Do you look and feel good most of the time? Do you wake up energized? Or do you wake up tired and sluggish?

How is your general health? Is your blood pressure within a healthy range? Are your cholesterol and blood sugar ranges normal? If they’re not, consider what you’re eating on a daily basis.

How do you feel after eating? Do you feel energized, as if you’ve fed your body what it needs? Or are you tired and dragged out? Do you often need a nap after eating? Is that what food is supposed to do for us, make us tired and sleepy?

Not really. Food should nourish and feed the body and leave us energized and refreshed. The human body is a machine and needs fuel that keeps it running in peak condition. When we’re fat, with high blood pressure, Type II diabetes, high cholesterol and other unhealthy conditions, it’s like a car engine that hasn’t been tuned or isn’t running on the optimal type of gasoline it needs to run efficiently. Your body is the same way. It needs the right kind of fuel to run at peak efficiency, and when you’re eating high-fat meat, or meat that’s been fed antibiotics throughout its life, that’s simply not the kind of fuel the human body evolved to run on.

You are what you eat”; you’ve certainly heard the expression thousands of times. Have you ever really thought about how true that saying really is?

In some ways, we do become what we eat, literally. Have you ever seen an example of your blood plasma after eating a fast food hamburger? What was previously a clear liquid becomes cloudy with the fat and cholesterol that’s absorbed from eating a high-fat hamburger.

And when you think about it, we also become what we don’t eat. When we switch from eating meat to a vegetarian-based diet, we become less fat, less prone to many types of cancers. Our cholesterol can improve. When we’re leaner and eating fewer animal products, then many other health and fitness issues are reduced. The incidence of Type II diabetes is reduced. Blood pressure falls into normal ranges. When you’re healthier, you’re taking fewer medications. Even if you have a prescription drug benefit in your health plan, you’re still saving money with fewer co-payments on medications.

Animal suffering

Women protesting against animal cruelty
Possibly the most powerful argument for vegetarianism is animal welfare. Many refuse to eat meat because of the inhumane treatment of the animals that are mass-produced to feed the population. Animal farming on the scale that it needs to be to satisfy U.S. consumption is grotesquely cruel. When you eat meat, you’re eating the flesh of an animal whose life has been artificially shortened by overfeeding it to get it to a slaughterhouse earlier. They’re kept in small pens and cages, where they endure chronic stress. If they bear their young live, their babies are taken from them, sometimes a day after they’re born. They’re fed growth hormones and antibiotics and kept from the natural behaviors and actions that characterize the normal life span. Pigs aren’t allowed to root. Calves are kept immobile. Chickens are kept in cages, their beaks seared off with a burning hot knife to thwart aggressive behaviors that are the result of unnatural confinement.

For others it’s even simpler: they don’t want their food to be the result of denying an another being the gift of life.

Do you really think the flesh of the animal is separate from its spirit and its energy? The agony and stress they endure in their shortened lives infuses every cell of their bodies. Consider that depression and stress can make humans ill, can infect our muscles and organs. Is an animal so very different? That’s what goes in your body when you meat. No wonder depression has become a modern epidemic!

We don’t need meat or milk for survival. We’re no longer a hunting society; we’re merely a consuming society. Isn’t it time we all started thinking differently of what we consume to nourish our bodies? We’re evolved from herbivores, and yet we’ve veered off our own evolutionary path. One can make a case for hunting and eating meat when it’s the only means for survival. But that’s no longer the case and our options are plentiful. Do they have to include the flesh of suffering animals? How can that possibly be considered nourishment? Meat is not a necessity, it’s just a craving.

This is the conclusion I reached when I made my decision to stop eating meat when I was a teen over 20 years ago.

Religion

Temple statues
Some are vegetarian because it’s part of their spiritual beliefs. However, most people I know who adhere to vegetarianism for religious reasons are not doing so blindly. They understand the reasons why vegetarianism is important in their faith, that their spirituality encompasses compassion for living, sentient beings and a higher level of consciousness. For them vegetarianism not a ritual, it’s an act of spiritual purification and love.

Meat-eaters: Why you should eat meat.

Protein

This point by meat-eaters has been beaten to death and it’s not worth going over again here. We all know that there is more than enough protein for humans in plant-based foods. Just ask a 400 pound gorilla (they’re vegetarian).

Our ancestors ate meat and our bodies are designed for meat

Do you ever think about how far we’ve diverted from the path of our prehistoric ancestors and they’re eating patterns? Consider how the earliest humans evolved, and what they ate. They were hunter-gatherers and did not evolve with the characteristics of carnivores. Humans aren’t made to tear animals apart and eat their flesh. When you look at carnivorous animals, such as wild cats, you can see their teeth are designed to rip and tear, not chew.

But we have canine teeth!

Head this one before? Yes, humans have canines but so do many other herbivores. The canines on a mountain gorilla are quite impressive. Question: what does a 400 pound gorilla eat? Anything it wants. And what it wants to eat are fruits and leaves.

Humans evolved from vegetarian creatures. Even our digestive systems are not particularly suited to eating meat. Eating meat is a relatively recent development in human history, most likely born of opportunity and necessity. Perhaps earliest man observed carnivores eating meat, and if they couldn’t find any of the natural foods they were used to eating, such as vegetables, berries, nuts and grains, then they might have assumed that eating meat would at least sustain life.

But initially we emulated the creatures we evolved from, herbivores like apes. Even to a prehistoric mind, apes would have looked similar to man, walking primarily upright, with arms and hands. We naturally would have foraged for our food, eating roots and berries, fruits and nuts. We would have watched the apes peeling bananas, or crushing nuts on stones to get at the meat of the nut.

We would have been living more moment-to-moment, constantly foraging for food. Hunting, after all, requires thought and planning. Eating meat requires preparation and most importantly, fire. Until man discovered fire, he was primarily vegetarian, living in what was the natural order of things. Vegetarian eating is a more natural way of eating, in addition to being healthier. It’s a way that’s in balance with the planet, and doesn’t seek to dominate it and conquer it.

The “caveman” or “paleo” diet

There’s a lot of hype around the paleo diet, a diet based on the purported eating habits of Paleolithic humans. It’s a meat-based diet that suggests 64-68% of calories be derived from animals.
Cave wall drawing of laptop computer
The diet is largely based on theory and many academics consider it a fad to sell books. But if man was primarily a vegetarian, at what point in history did we start eating meat?

It must have felt unnatural at first, to eat animal flesh. After all, we’re not so far removed from animals ourselves. Perhaps it even felt cannibalistic. There might not have been that much intellectual distinction between humans and other animals. When humans were pure vegetarians, they were living in harmony with the earth and with the other creatures cohabiting the planet with them. Their closest animal relatives, apes, were vegetarians. Eating the products of the earth, like plants, grains and fruits that they could gather and eat would have seemed the natural order of things.

But necessity is the mother of invention. Prehistoric men who lived in frozen geographies, or who lived in an area that became devastated by fire, would have eaten anything to survive. Just like the soccer players whose plane crashed in the mountains of Chile, and were forced to eat the flesh of other players who died in the crash, earliest man at some point had to make the choice for survival, and that could have consuming meat for the first time and changing human history – and health – forever.

We can imagine that men first ate meat that had been charred or cooked by virtue of being caught in a natural forest fire. They might have subsequently eaten raw meat, if necessary, but we can also imagine that our earliest digestive systems rebelled against eating raw meat.

Imagine having eaten raw foods and vegetables for eons, and all of a sudden, incorporating meat products into your system. You may have heard friends who were vegetarians tell stories of trying to eat meat and becoming violently ill afterwards.

Biologists will tell you we’re really not designed to eat meat, but we adapted to it. However, in the timeline of human history, eating meat is a relatively recent evolutionary development.

To me, the human body designed for vegetarianism. Why do I say that? If you eat a vegan diet for a year, you’ll be fine. Thousands of people live this lifestyle year in, year out. Now, what if you only eat meat for a year? Chances are that you’ll be dead in a few months.

Animals are dumb

Brown cow
It’s a ridiculous reason to eat meat but one I see meat-eaters use often. Especially when criticizing another nation for allowing the killing of dolphins or cats and dogs for food. Somehow pigs, cows and chickens are okay to kill and eat because they aren’t as “intelligent.”

I guess their thought is that smart animals are allowed to live and animals that are not as smart can die.

There are so many holes in this argument that I don’t know where to begin. It’s just not worth writing about. Using this argument as justification for eating meat is what’s “dumb.”

The real reason people eat meat.

It’s obvious that human beings don’t need meat to survive. The only reason people eat meat is because they like the taste. That’s it.

Think about life for a moment: feeling the warm sun on your face in the morning, breathing fresh air, having children. Life is a gift.

To take that gift away from another for sake of taste is selfishness to the highest degree. That’s why some meat-eaters attack vegetarians and vegans, it comes from their own insecurity. They don’t like being inferred as selfish and don’t want to think about it. And they don’t want anyone to take away their meat.

That’s why the come up with all sorts of reason why eating meat is okay, but they don’t want to face the real reason.

Your convictions.

If you’re a vegetarian, you know your reasons for choosing this lifestyle. No need to defend yourself or argue with meat-eaters. When they attack your lifestyle they’re just being insecure about their own moral choices.

Comment (1)

  1. posted by Laura Plumb on March 30, 2014

    Terrific article. Thank you.

     

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