Why: Practically all I Eat is Meat. ~ John Spina

Via elephant journal
on Jul 14, 2010
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Hooray for meat!

It’s a Dog-eat-Cat World out There.

ed’s note: Jack is a great guy, and in good shape, and a nice guy. He’s one of our interns from the University of Vermont. I’m a pretentious idealist vegetarian. He’s not. So I asked him to explain himself, and why he loves meat so damned much. He was generous in agreeing to do so. Let’s return the flavor and be respectful in our comments, y’all! ~ ed.


I am so sick of hearing how bad meat is, both morally and in terms of one’s health. It seems like everywhere I look, people are nitpicking problems with it.

Nonetheless, I love to eat meat—and do so just about every meal of the day. My reasoning, other than its incredible taste, is quite simply the food chain.

A rabbit, essentially the bottom of the food chain, can eat lettuce or a carrot but could never eat meat due to the restrictions of its body.  I on the other hand, at the top of the food chain, can eat whatever I want. There’s no argument that meat, in all its forms, is far more delicious than any vegetable.  Humans have literally evolved to eat meat, from our teeth, to our bipedal movement, even our mental ability to make tools—everything has evolved in order to eat, catch, carry, and kill our prey, which we have done very successfully for thousands of years—it’s called survival of the fittest.

I know that vegetables are healthy for you, but that’s not to say meat isn’t, too. I am 21 years old and have barely eaten vegetables my entire life (other than the few my mom forced down my throat at a young age) and consider myself to be quite healthy; I’m around six foot three, weigh 175 pounds, and have had very few health problems in my young life.

If anything, I think it is healthier and more natural to eat meat, providing tons of essential nutrients that many vegetarians then have to take in pill form or some other weird supplement.  Along that same line, many of the vegetarians I know speak of all the unnatural hormones pumped into the animals and their cruel treatment. While I don’t support the nasty nature of the meat industry these days, vegetables are just as unnaturally filled with pesticides and other chemicals to make them big, colorful, and ready for supermarkets.  All I’m saying is that you can still be just as healthy, if not more, than any vegetarian by eating meat.

So why deprive yourself?


On to the moral subject, I too am an animal lover.  My dog McKinley is just about my best buddy on the planet, and seeing the beauty and elegance of a deer or elk in their natural environment evokes the same awe-inspiring feeling as it does for most people.

However, a cow, a pig, or a chicken is in its natural environment on a ranch. They are so f-ing stupid they have no idea what is going on. Mentally it’s basically equivalent to a living plant; as long as it has food and water they’re content. Let’s be honest: these farm animals were raised, and are kept alive, for one purpose—me to eat. Don’t tell me any of those animals could survive in the wild by themselves.  If they didn’t get eaten, killed if you will, by some other large predator before winter, they would surely not make it though the cold months of the year when food is sparse. They are completely dependent on us now after hundreds upon hundreds years of being domesticated. I remember in elementary school my teachers—and I would guess many vegetarians today—would never rag on the Native Americans for hunting buffalo, and would remind us that the Indians used every part of the buffalo, wasting nothing.  Well guess what, we use every part of the damn cow as well.

We are just smart enough to domesticate them, providing a constant food source.

If you are a vegetarian, that’s great, just please don’t preach, or be one of those pretentious vegetarians (like Waylon ~ed.).  I am an extremely idealistic person, but at some point you must be practical and realize that eating meat is, and has always been a vital part of human life.

John Spina currently attends the University of Vermont in Burlington where he will graduate with a double major in history and political science in 2011.  He writes sports for the school paper, the Vermont Cynic, as well as publishes weekly articles in the Mountain Ear, a local Nederland paper, and works as an Intern for the Elephant Journal. He loves spending time outdoors with his dog, McKinley, and being home in Colorado working for the summer. PS, sorry I forgot to put my bio in posting


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71 Responses to “Why: Practically all I Eat is Meat. ~ John Spina”

  1. Ryan Oelke says:

    lol, what's that I hear in the distance?? The rage of vegetarians coming to a comment near you. 😛

    While I am also annoyed with pretentious vegetarians – and I was a devout vegetarian for 5 years, motivations including animal rights – I think the argument for some people eating meat could more refined and elegant 🙂 For example, metabolic typing shows reasons why some people should definitly eat meat, while others should avoid it. Bodies react differently. This is obvious amongst my friends, all very conscious living individuals. Some of us, no matter how well we eat as vegetarians, feel like shit without meat, and some us feel horrible if we eat a steak.

    And let's not forget The Dalai Lama gets down on meat;)

    Of course, we can still get better at raising farm animals, not just good for them but also good for our meat.

  2. Ryan Oelke says:

    actually, "self-righteous" is what I more commonly run into the pretentious vegetarians. Sorry. Words matter;)

  3. elaine says:

    I have been an "almost vegan" for over a year, and am pressured by other vegans to REALLY commit (in other words, to preach the gospel about stopping the enslavement of animals and to say that I am morally opposed to people eating other animals or riding horses or keeping pets or eating honey or…). Truth is, I'm not. Specifically, I see no moral problem with people raising animals for food and you are 100% right that domesticated animals have been raised for one very noble purpose: food. I no longer eat meat; I eat very very little dairy. This is my protest against factory farming which I do believe is incredibly cruel. As you absolutely correctly point out we ARE in the food chain and we ARE animals. To choose to be vegan is a CHOICE and a very unnatural one at that. It seems undeniable that people evolved to eat meat; it is no more immoral for a person to eat meat than for a lion to do so. That said, MOST people should eat less meat and more fruits and veggies for health and environmental reasons. I'm an almost vegan by choice and healthily so and TOTALLY in your corner!

    • Blake says:

      What she said.

    • Wendy says:

      Elaine I agree with you. I am Vegan but my family are not, they eat meat that is raised ethcially, organically and without any nasty drugs, etc. I also have my own chickens again fed organically and no medicines my family enjoy the eggs. Factory farming is barbaric and that is my argument too.

  4. Ryan Oelke says:

    Yes, his claiming that he is healthy at 21 is not impressive, nor would it be if a vegetarian said the same at 21. Plenty of 21 years old, no matter their diet, can report good bills of health.

    That being said, there are plenty of folks at all ages, vegetarians and meat eaters, who are in excellent health.

  5. Joyous Living says:

    ahhh the hubris of youth. Been there done that. I find it funny that you ask us to leave you alone about your choice to eat meat you seem to want to convert others to your thought process….pot this is the kettle…
    In the end we have to make our own way…
    Ryan's comment is a better argument….
    You know when I think about it what I hear is a child stomping his foot and saying NO NO NO I'm right…you doth protest too much…if you are so right and feel so OK with your choice what does it matter if we get you or not? We have reasons for converting others to our philosophy and lifestyle — we believe in saving life and that stupid or not all animals have rights…
    PS — wow you are healthy at 21??? so impressive…UHMMM seriously dude — write this article when you are 40 or 50 and we'll talk.

    PPS if "stupid" were a criteria for why some animals are food…I have met some people that make it so I might be able to make an argument for cannibalism. If I were you I might let other better versed meat eaters argue your case.

    • Padma Kadag says:

      Now Now be easy on the Lad!!!

      • ARCreated says:

        why? because he's young? He sounds like he can handle it…if you aren't willing to take the heat don't start the fire 🙂
        I'm not being that hard on him at all…

    • wow the PPS was a little ridiculous even by my standards. If you think any animals have the rational and mental capacity for retro or introspective thought like any human I will be shocked. I truly believe that they do not understand their situation nor their surroundings. Otherwise, I am not demanding that I am right, I fully support people being vegetarians if that is what they want. What I was trying to say is that eating meat has been apart of the human experience basically forever, why do vegetarians these days feel the need to be so active in condemning meat and demanding that their decision is so morally correct.

      • ARCreated says:

        why??? because they don't think like US that makes US better? this is exactly the thought process that bothers me. I suggest you watch "EARTHLINGS" …. at one point in our horrible history Africans and native americans were treated no better than animals simply because the high and mighty egotists that ran into them didn't understand them or their ways. (I might argue some people still don't think that certain races are capable of thought the same way as they are…) so just because someone or some animal doesn't think like we do they don't have feelings? If you follow that logic to it's natural conclusion then educated, artistic people COULD argue that they are BETTER than "stupid" people and they are nothing more than meat.
        To use the "stupid" as an argument, for me, is irrelevant. Just because an animal (this includes humans) doesn't understand their situation does not give the person in charge the right to kill or harm them…in my opinion it actually makes the person with a greater intellectual capacity responsible for caring for and protecting the "weaker" individual.

        • ARCreated says:

          Killing, Raping, Lying, Cheating all these things too have been a part of the human experience basically forever does that mean they are OK? that we just keep doing them because someone else has always done them?
          I feel that humans have the CHOICE….and as we continue to choose what does the LEAST harm the happier we will be…(I also enjoyed http://www.worldpeacediet.com/course.html which further explains why CHOOSING to obstain from meat can help us all)
          I am married to a meat eater. I love him and think he is a wonderful human being…and he understands why I don't eat meat…and honors that and respects that…and works to lessen his impact on the meat industry…I don't think eating meat makes any wrong or bad anymore than not eating meat makes anyone automatically a good person…it's respect and awareness that do…
          This is what I tell my carnivorous friends…if everyone just lessened their meet consumption a little…if everyone ate one meal a day that was vegan we could lessen the demand and begin to see changes in the industry…letters and protests are pointless we have to hit them in the wallet.

          • ARCreated says:

            For ME…I will continue to be vegan no matter what the source as it is purely a spiritual discipline no different than a monk that shaves his head or sitting in meditation. It is a conscious choice to practice ahimsa the best possible way I can. And if some jerk Veggies are puffed up and annoying you don't play or pander to that mind set by returning the self righteousness…Rise above…do things conciously, ,lovingly and for the best of all.

  6. Joyous Living says:

    so why deprive yourself???

    I just re-read the post and read that line…WHY?
    because sometimes we put others in front of ourselves. sometimes what we want isn't what is best for the world. sometimes something that "feels" good isn't good. sometimes being disciplined is more important than pleasure.

    I don't consider it deprivation: karmic, clean, alive, natural…I can go pick a tomato from my garden — I don't have any cows to slaughter.

    and finally it is spiritual: it's like a really long lent where you clear your mind and body of things you "like" and instead turn to what you NEED.

    If you must eat meat then at least balance it out and eat a little less – your poor freakin' intenstines.

    and finally I would argue that when you have cleansed your palate that there are MANY vegetables that outshine flesh in the taste and nutrient department…hands down.

    Much love….I too once ate meat and couldn't ever imagine giving it up…be open to the possibilities and perhaps consider that youth is on your side or perhaps against you…it's hard to say 🙂

  7. christopher says:

    Not a vege either, but come on…

    "While I don’t support the nasty nature of the meat industry these days"

    Unless he is visiting and buying from his local ranchers who he has confirmed to be free from a whole range of "nastiness" that is common place among large and small ranchers alike, he is fooling himself in the same way he is about the ranchers using the whole cow.

    • I agree, personally. If Jack can check out the factory farm industry personally, and avoid burgers etc from such places in restaurants, and only buy more humanely raised meat from local farmers who he knows are kind and responsible people, that would be a great first step.

    • elephantjournal says:

      I do. While i do eat the occasional steak or hamburger at a restaurant, I try to buy as much of my eat from local ranchers near my house in Steamboat Colorado. I have seen the horrors of the American meat industry and it is quite disturbing. That being said, you can not expect the 300 plus million people in America to be able to afford meat like that or go completely vegetarian, its just not realistic. I think we can absolutely make steps towards making the industry more humane, but considering the influence the industry hold in our country it will be incredibly difficult and "self-righteous" vegetarians need stop trying to force their views upon the rest of the public eating meat when the problem is big business. PS this is John Spina

      • christopher says:

        Glad you are engaged in your food. That's awesome.

        "I think we can absolutely make steps towards making the industry more humane, but considering the influence the industry hold in our country it will be incredibly difficult and "self-righteous" vegetarians need stop trying to force their views upon the rest of the public eating meat when the problem is big business."

        Big business changes when dollars move.
        People's dollars move when their tastes change.
        Their tastes change, most of the time, due to advertising.

        Vegetarians have a right to advertise their point of view just as much as big business or meat lovers do.

        Going around calling them names is kind of pointless, unless you aim to hurt them.

  8. Nathan Gates says:

    I'm not sure why elephant saw this as fit to print. Oh, wait, a poorly thought out pro-meat treatise- a great way to drive traffic and make meat eaters look like buffoons. There is a great discussion to be had on this, and occasionally elephant hosts such discussions- but this was designed for sheer shock value. This isn't an argument so much as a ill-informed, half baked rant. Shame on the editors for allowing this to be posted. Not because of the opinion itself, but for the lack of quality argument on behalf of the opinion.

    • Wow. This isn't shock value–this is a fair representation of most of America. I think 6% of Americans don't eat meat? I thought it was a good, helpful example for we on the righteous side of this debate to remember that we're not talking to folks who think much about it, or know why they should care. And they aren't bad people. Jack is a sweet guy. We're not going to change his habits, or anyone like him, by being agro.

      • Nathan says:

        Look. My quibble is not with Jack. I don't judge the moral righteousness of a person based on their consumption habits. I try to not judge the moral righteousness of others, period. The question is: what does this unresearched, uneducated rant contribute to the readers of the Elephant community? Is it really providing a valuable perspective, one that we may have never heard before? See, the argument posted here is the same one held and espoused by innumerable friends, relatives and co-workers of mine. If this opinion is new to some, then Boulder is wedged far more in a bubble than I thought.

        There is a vigorous debate to be had over the ethics of eating and consuming all manner of things. It has gotten a lot more interesting and nuanced in recent years, thanks to the "good meat" movement, for lack of a better term. Posting this merely inflames warriors on both sides. I am not surprised that it was posted, though, as it seems like intentionally provocative posts on animal consumption always generate a lot of interest.

        So, I am saying that I think this post is about attention, not dialog, and it is condescending to presume that people who think deeply on this issue aren't confronted with similarly ignorant arguments as this all the time. I don't read Elephant to be reminded of what is as obvious as the air.

    • Let's try and keep things kind, btw. We're really a forum for respectful, thoughtful comments…even if you're disagreeing, which we more than welcome.

    • Nathan Smith says:

      Elephant isn't a peer reviewed journal. It's just a blog. Traffic and conversation are the stuff blogs are made of.

      • Nathan says:

        Yes, but for a site that bills itself as a "mindful" blog- this sure seemed like a post to inflame decidedly unenlightened commentary.

        • elephantjournal says:

          Not sure what your complaint is against me, the editor, but thanks for talking. I basically did think this was a great out of the bubble–Boulder, elephant, vegan–pov from a good guy. That's it. It's good for us to remember that 96% of Americans or whatev don't agree with our righteous point of view.

          Not sure why it pains you so much to present an honestly, commonly held point of view that doesn't agree with our choir. Our mission is not, as Nate says, to garner traffic and comments, merely, although those are great ways of measuring traction with readers, of course. Our mission is to bring together different points of view, ignorance, right, wrong…and hopefully all wake up a bit together, or at least think more deeply about our own often unquestioned points of view.

          If I'm still missing something, and I'm sure you'll think I am, you are genuinely, seriously invited to write something, we'll post it to this forum, say whatever you like, it can be researched and/or opinion. If you think we're missing some insight, add it to this forum.

          • Nathan says:

            OK. The fundamental problem is that this piece was written to inflame. It was not written from an open, let's discuss, type of stance. It ended with a warning- essentially- I'm not open to discussion, if you want to discuss it, I'll consider you pretentious. I mean, it contained this:

            "However, a cow, a pig, or a chicken is in its natural environment on a ranch. They are so f-ing stupid they have no idea what is going on. Mentally it’s basically equivalent to a living plant; as long as it has food and water they’re content. "

            I dunno, I thought a plant was alive. I also know that a pig is measurably more intelligent than the writer's beloved dog.

            My point is, when you allow this kind of argument to take up space on your site, don't expect it to be received with kid gloves. That's all. I love to talk about this stuff- with lots of people, often ones with vastly different opinions than my own. But this piece wasn't written for discussion, it was written to inflame. If it was written for discussion, the writer might have showed up in the comments. He didn't.

            I appreciate your responses, but I maintain that this post adds no value to the readers.

          • I am in the comments and I am absolutely open for discussion. I am a very opinionated person who is not afraid to shout that opinion. I knew posting this would get people riled up, especially on EJ, but I believe the point of journalism and especially blogging is the dissemination of ideas, not the reaffirmation of our already firmly established views. The point of posting this on a site like EJ was to show that most people around the world do eat meat and are very put off by vegetarians trying to change our own views. The problem with the meat industry is not in people eating it but in the way animals are treated in large industrial meat factories. Being a vegetarian does not change that at all, and if you were really concerned get out there and protest, send emails to companies, send letters to congressmen. Don't try to change the individual meat eater

          • That's Jack, Now. Jack, sign off for yourself with your name.

  9. Soy Sauce says:

    Pigs are actually super smart. Like fourth smartest animal smart.

  10. Carlos R
    I just wish Jack was older than 21; I hope his health in 19+ years still has him defending meat. — signed, not a vegetarian either 🙂 (but I love them equally.)

    Shakti Dancer
    ya he is still young-give him a few more years and his "few" health issues with be big health issues.

    Ryan Oelke
    I can blame people for giving superficial responses to his article, given that it was superficially written. To be expected. That being said, there are plenty of people who have excellent bio health markers at all ages who eat meat, including myself. 21 is for sure not a good age from which to make health claims, I agree:) But that doesn't change the fact that you can be extremely healthy and eat meat, just as you can being vegetarian.

    He should eat more vegetables though;)

    Elaine R
    shared. I'm in your corner Jack!

    Meg M
    Paleo diet is optimal IMO. Meat is definitely a part of that. I was a vegetarian back in my 20s, and then I saw the error of my ways 🙂

    Ryan Oelke
    ‎"can't blame" not "can". oops.

    Carrisa C
    OMG, Meg… you and me both. I am actually working on an article about this exact same thing. I was a vegetarian too, but my hubby and child both have special dietary needs, so we've explored the Paleo diet and had tremendous success!! It's taken me a long time to get used to eating meat again tho. But we have a local farmer that provides us with good quality, humane raised meat. So at least I feel better about it.

    Deborah Wickham
    Indeed we did evolve to eat meat. However, there were not 6 billion and counting human beings on this planet. In the 'good old days' of the Paleolithic, we had to catch, kill and process every piece of meat that passed our lips. How many meat eaters today are prepared to do that? Anyone informed of environmental issues surely knows that our current… See More consumption of meat is not sustainable to the Earth's health, be it by methane production of grazing herds, or the over fishing of the seas. It's all very easy to feel smug about only buying organic, humanely reared produce, but by far the greatest percentage of meat purchased is not produced by these methods.

    Rod Meade Sperry
    i'm going with Mark Bittman ("Food Matters") all the way.
    49 minutes ago · LikeUnlike · · Flag

    ‎> They are so f-ing stupid they have no idea what is going on.

    Seriously? If he really believes that, then he has a *lot* of living left to do before his words should ever be published. Is EJ having such a hard time finding contributing writers that they'd resort to this level of ignorance? It's really changed my idea of what I thought EJ was about. I don't take issue with an argument in favor of meat – but this one is based on arrogant ignorance. Very disappointing.

    Gina M
    aren't there any professional writers who need a gig that y'all can hire to do research and offer thoughts based on something other than opinion?

    Stephanie, I personally thought it a great reminder of the work we in the choir have to do vis a vis education. I actually thought it delightful to hear a rather "standard" set of arguments, thoughts, and lack-of-thoughts (assumptions) all together in one rather normal, sweet young man. These are the people we need to talk to, not judge on and get aggressive at.

    • Padma Kadag says:


    • elephantjournal says:

      Wow a lot to reply to in this one. First of all, to Stephanie the ignorance thing is exactly what i was talking about when i wrote pretentious vegetarians, though someone corrected me in saying I should have said self-righteous. As I mentioned in a comment above, animals have no capacity for introspective thought, they do not understand their situation or their surroundings. Because my opinion differs from yours does not make me ignorant, I have traveled the world, including community development in small rural villages in the Apolobamba mountain range and Mandidi rain forest in Bolivia, which helped define this strong meat eating opinion of mine, as well as study Buddhist art and philosophy in the Kashmir region of northern India which also helped cement my decision to eat meat. Not to mention next year I will have a double major in history and political science from the university of Vermont. – John Spina

    • elephantjournal says:

      to Gina, if you would like to buy a subscription to EJ along with all of your friends, then yes Im sure they will pay someone to do heavy research, but while its a blog its mostly opinion, Im an unpaid who is not afraid to voice my opinion and was actually very excited to post this op-ed piece purely to remind everyone in the EJ community that there is a wide range of values and ideas, Im not saying I am right I merely putting it out there that there is another side to the argument other than the hundreds of articles on EJ ripping meat and meat eaters. – John Spina

  11. Gina, until we have a sustainable business model (when's the last time you or I paid to read something online?), the answer is no. http://www.elephantjournal.com/member will transform this site from opinion into journalism.

  12. Nathan Smith says:

    Where's Jack?

    So, just to pile on a bit: the "top of the food chain" business is a bit overwrought. We're not really the top of the food chain, except in our ability to make tools, use language, build societies, and so on. As far as pure biology is concerned, we're omnivore primates. Mainly scavengers. Like vultures, crows, raccoons, or cockroaches. So, the fact that we are evolutionarily equipped to eat anything is not exactly a sign of our greatness.

    Instead, the real justification we have for being more noble than the beast is our capacity to use reason. But, then, what does reason tell us we ought to do vis-a-vis diet? That's the moral or ethical question. (Not how cute or cuddly or awe-inspiring we find barnyard animals.) BTW, I'm not 100% veggie and I don't think there is a moral argument for the superiority of vegetarianism. But it's important to be aware of the reasons we use to justify the things we do. If we don't do that, then we're not worthy of our own nobility.

    Thanks for putting this out there, Jack. It would be nice to hear back from you.


  13. Vanessa says:

    Thank you for publishing this. People are natural omnivores that thrive on meat and animal fat. Cattle grazing on pasture are far more sustainable than mono-cropped soy and wheat which has to be processed in a factory.

    See Weston A. Price and The Vegetarian Myth and Real Food.

  14. christopher says:

    I cry foul. Not to the meat eating, but the source of the article and Elephant.

    This is the only article on Elephant attached to Mr. Spina's name that does not have his credentials attached on the bottom, which is what caught my eye. Every single article on Elephant is followed with Author background.

    But more importantly, after reading a number of his other articles on here, the writing style and complete lack of research in this one isn't his voice, at all. All of Mr. Spina's articles are fully developed, well written points of view.

    I don't buy that it was written for anything other than a reaction.

    • Brilliant: our first conspiracy theory on elephant. Many of his articles on ele haven't been edited. This was was, but only for grammer and spelling, not for content. AT ALL.

  15. Megan Shannon says:

    This piece completely detracts from Elephant Journal's credibility as an outlet for thoughtful, well-reasoned, socially conscious submissions. If you want to present a counter-argument to vegetarianism, Spina, then do your research. I come to Elephant Journal to hear points of view that I can't hear in the conservative, insular state in which I live.

    • Megan, speaking for myself, I don't think that was Jack's point, or our point in publishing. Our point, again, was simply that Jack is pretty well representative of the 96% or whatever of the US that is not vegetarian. Folks who eat meat don't feel a need, necessarily, to research their reasons for eating meat.

      And that, as vegetarians or vegans, is what we need to talk to. We don't need Jack to "know what he's talking about." We need to know who we're talking about. He was willing to be open and straightforward, unapologetic in this forum as he in in daily life. Now it's our task to find ways to educate him and others, if so inspired, in a fun way that they'll want to pay attention to.

  16. Patricia Kelly says:

    The issue of vegetarianism is in part a cultural one. Would you say that peoples who are are from cold climates should be vegetarians too? All of the peoples evolved to live in cold climates had meat as a staple of their diet. And in many of those peoples, there was very little disease until processed foods and a modern diet was introduced. I did not understand why, no matter how hard I tried, I was not healthy on either a vegetarian or vegan diet – which I lived on the better part of 10 years.

    "Desaturase enzyme deficiencies are usually present in those people of Innuit, Scandinavian, Northern European, and sea coast ancestry. They lack the ability to convert alpha-linolenic acid into EPA and DHA, two omega-3 fatty acids intimately involved in the function of the immune and nervous systems. The reason for this is because these people's ancestors got an abundance of EPA and DHA from the large amounts of cold-water fish they ate. Over time, because of non-use, they lost the ability to manufacture the necessary enzymes to create EPA and DHA in their bodies. For these people, vegetarianism is simply not possible. They MUST get their EPA and DHA from food and EPA is only found in animal foods. DHA is present in some algae, but the amounts are much lower than in fish oils. (135)"

    • Ryan Oelke says:

      Yeah, I wanted to bring up this point, which seems kind of obvious once you think about it – thousands of years of ancestry at a geographical location, etc. 50% of my genes are Scandinavian and Norther European, so as one important factor, it's no surprise I do much, much better with meat in my diet.

  17. While kind of a half-way vegetarian (no beef or pork for many years, but have backpedaled on poutlry), I have very mixed feelings on the subject. On the one hand, I think being fully vegetarian, or even vegan, would be a good thing–not because I think there's anything inherently wrong with eating meat, but because the extent to which my fellow Americans eat meat is completely and utterly unsustainable, making both factory farming and deforestation (alas, "free range" is not something there's an unlimited amount of) inevitable. At the same time, I loath the self-righteousness of most vegetarians and vegans, who would accomplish a hell of a lot more, in my opinion, if they cared more about animals and "ahimsa" than their own inflated egos. As such, I tend to be offended by both sides in this kind of argument.

    • And yet, while some of this piece is certainly not very well-thought out, and I disagree with almost all of it, on the offense-o-meter, it's nothing compared to that unbearable "yoga teachers are vegetarians" thing Elephant published yesterday–the kind of artical guaranteed to make vegetarians puff up like blowfish (as a number did in comments on Facebook–while hilariously claiming not to be judgmental) while making everybody else think "if that's what vegetarians are like, I'll have another piece of chicken, please…" (that's: vegetarian ego 1, animals 0) .

      (And by the way, I just know that the reason other people are able to leave long comments at Elephant and I have to break mine up in pieces like this is that Waylon's trying to get back at me for pwning him on the PETA issue)
      (Just kidding…)

    • Great point. We never ever get harshed on for publishing vegan, vegetarian articles…even ones that are equally un-researched or righteous, opinion-based.

  18. candice says:

    As an "almost vegan" for 10 years, I couldn't care LESS about this guys point of view. What? You're into meat and don't eat vegetables? You're healthy at 21? Sorry. Mind not blown. Yep some people are going to eat meat. Yep some people will choose not to. Nonetheless, I wish meaties could come up with something better than "it tastes good." There's a whole list of things you can eat that are bad for you and "taste good." It sounds so……neanderthalic. Not you personally, oh article writer, but the greater sentiment in general.

    At least this article produced a litanny of comments that were well worth the read!

  19. lisa says:

    My problem with this immature post is the total lack of education and information regarding human evolution. To think that the ONLY reason humans are bipedal is to eat meat is pretty far fetched. I do realize that historically humans would hunt and/or scavange. But, the WERE NOT eating meat every day. They were probably lucky to get meat a few times per month. For you to be gluttonous over your meat choices on a daily basis and attempt to attribute that to natural selection certainly shows your age… and talk about "dumb"!! AHHHHHeM! There might be someone else a little dumb in this chat room. Humans are frugivorous you ninny. Fruits, vegetables, nuts and SOMETIMES meat. Carnivorous have very sharp teeth made for ripping meat apart with their jaws. Not humans. Sounds like you need to take an anthropolgy class or two before you write your next article. Good luck staying healthy little one. This post is laughable. p.s. i eat meat a couple times per month, consciouslly and feel that my body does need a little here and there. Certainly not every day.

  20. Ryan Oelke says:

    Waylon, brother, I love you and want you to succeed at all you do, and EJ has SO much potential. I'm not in the least charged by this post emotionally, AND I think there is objective helpful feedback you and the crew need to hear and consider, not simply right it off, though I understand completely that some folks have not given this feedback in the cleanest manner, so that makes it a little harder to read.

    1. What are your standards right now? Not what will they be if you had money, but what are they. Clearly communicate that to your audience. And this will not be done well in a simple reply in a comment. You need something more substantial. If when you do this, it shows that this post meets those standards, then great. If it does not, you need to make changes. And even if it does and a lot of your audience turns away, you should consider that in your current strategy. Simply telling them/us to accept it won't fly.

    2. You don't need money to have editorial standards. I agree that a sustainable model is crucial and you should totally ask for the support of your audience. BUT, you have an intimate relationship with them and it behooves you to listen to what they expect from you right NOW lest you lose them. While I'm no longer an official member of Buddhist Geeks, they do NOT pay anyone to write, yet they have high quality articles with clear standards and constant submissions. You do need money to run your business, but to say you won't have editorial standards until you have money is a sure way to not get the money you need. If people don't like what they are reading they won't pay you on the hypothetical possibility that you'll improve your standards later. Everything you do must be good now and if you can't do something good, don't do it until you can.

    Believe me, you know that I understand more than most folks here what it takes to build a business and to struggle with the pains of sustaining yourself. I know this emotionally to my core. I say all this because I think you can totally succeed, but there are real points of consideration for you to ponder here.

    Again, if this post 100% meets your site's standards and vision both now and for the future, then totally ignore my comments:) However, my sense is that is not 100% the case based on the feedback of others and the comments coming from EJ, which I assume are yours mainly, which indicate that you yourself would like different standards. My main point more than anything is just to open the door to you about how to do what you're doing, that it's not a simple open/close discussion. The specifics that I shared can be tossed to the side in the end, though I think they are worth considering.

    So, take this for what you want. Lots of love to you and the EJ crew.

  21. terry says:

    Here's a good video on meat: http://meat.org

  22. DJW says:

    As a UVM Political Science alum, I would like to distance myself as far as possible from both John's views and his ridiculous lack of ability to reason. Do yourself a favor and take Prof Wertheimer's class on Public Policy and Ethics, learn to form a coherent argument and rewrite this piece. A pro-meat eating article would be welcome on this forum, I think, if it were done in a thoughtful way.

  23. Daniel says:

    Wow! A lot of emotion coming out here. Also, a lot of shouting down. Perhaps talking about meat here is akin to yelling fire in a theater. Maybe it was just wrong. I am a sometimes reader of Elephant having seen some interesting articles but I get tired of the same refrains.

    The Elephant, what is it. A religious site, a yoga site, a go along to get along site. Heck, we have those in all flavors. Why not one more just for this particular point of view. We can all get together and agree to agree on everything. That does not do much to inspire outsiders to look inside. From my vantage point Elephant sometimes looks like a scrape-book collection gathered hither and fro. A little Daily Report, a column from Huffington Post, some carping on commercialism, denial of our sexual nature and some talk of the ephemeral plane.

    Is that change? Well, good luck Waylon. Our world needs to change and change is difficult. It usually ends up in compromise that leaves everybody equally upset.

    PS: what does this comment have to do with eating meat? Nothing.

  24. Lindsey says:

    Meat doesn't taste as good as saving the environment feels. 🙂

  25. Dylan says:

    While different points of view should be welcomed to important discussions such as these, I am disappointed with the quality of this argument. I am a vegetarian and don't disagree that it is natural to eat meat, but the problem is, I am sure everyone here is aware, sustainability. Corporate agriculture (whether mono-culture potato fields or pig farms with nearly one million sows) is not natural. What makes humans unique (or what should) is our ability to reason and from this our ability to make responsible decisions that effect not only us individually, but the planet as a whole. Unless you are certain that the beef on your plate came from a nearby ranch that raises animals humanely, or that tofu came from soybeans other than Roundup Ready strains, you probably should not have it there. That we are at the (near) top of the food chain should have much less an impact on our decisions of what to ingest than what the overall impact on the planet will be as a result of these decisions. The inadequacy of this pseudo-argument can be summed up with the statement: "Mentally it’s basically equivalent to a living plant…" As we all know, plants ARE living.

  26. […] by the Elephant Journal started a somewhat of a controversy on facebook that even I had to respond. Why: Practically all I Eat is Meat. ~ John Spina {via Elephant […]

  27. Kara N says:

    Except that the human body is actually NOT well suited for eating much meat. Also, the fact that you CAN do something doesn't mean you SHOULD do it. This is not a highly cognitive statement. Do you also rape, because it makes so much biological sense and you CAN do it?

    You should also probably go back and reread Darwin. HTH.

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