“Meat is not man’s natural food, since he is not either a carnivorous or an omnivorous animal. Every argument drawn from comparative anatomy, from physiology, from chemistry, from experience, from observation, and when rightly used, from common sense—as well as the arguments from agricultural, the hygienic, the ethical, and humanitarian standpoints—all agree in proving that man is not a meat-eating animal and that if he does indulge in this practice, it is to his own detriment being such an unhealthful, unnatural, and abnormal habit.” ~ Dr. Hereward Carrington
I was raised believing meat, dairy, and eggs are essential for health.
As a competitive athlete in college, my impression was that I needed meat and eggs for protein, and milk for calcium and vitamin D.
After 24 years of eating this way, I learned these foods may not be essential for maintaining health. When I began studying plant-based nutrition, I was fascinated to discover how easily we can obtain all of our nutritional needs while eating only plant-based food.
As I researched further, I noticed most of the common chronic diseases and degenerative conditions afflicting man are closely associated with eating animal-derived food sources. This piqued my interest so much that I had to dig deeper and unearth the reasons why the foods we believe to be so healthy could actually be harming us.
I was startled when I accessed more information about the human anatomy and how we compare to true carnivores and omnivores. From an anatomical perspective, humans are not designed to be omnivorous. In fact, our anatomical design resembles that of a frugivore (fruit eater) or herbivore.
We have small canine teeth to tear apart the cellulose fibers in vegetables. Omnivorous animals use their fangs and sharp teeth to break down bones and cartilage. We do not have claws that can penetrate flesh or harm animals—we have soft, porous nails for peeling fruit.
We are equipped with a long, plant-friendly digestive tract. Omnivores have short tracts allowing for them to digest and excrete animal-derived food sources easily. We sweat through pores in our skin, while omnivores sweat through the tongue and have minimal sweat glands.
Our salivary chemistry is alkaline, while an omnivorous animal’s is acidic. Our body requires fiber to stimulate peristalsis, an omnivore’s does not. Our brain chemistry is fueled by glycogen, while an omnivore requires fats and proteins for brain functioning. We even see in full color-scale like other herbivores and frugivores—omnivores and carnivores do not.
Every component of our anatomy supports the notion that we are not omnivorous or carnivorous mammals. We were simply not created to eat meat. All evidence points directly to us being put here on Earth to eat fruit, some leafy green vegetables, and nothing else other than the occasional nuts, seeds, and sprouts.
The article, “Evolution and Prostate Cancer” (1), was featured in the Winter 2000 edition of the Prostate Cancer Update journal published by the James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute of Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. The lead author, scientist Don Coffey, Ph.D., explains:
“In nature, animals that are carnivores—meat-eaters like lions—do not have seminal vesicles. The only animals that have both prostates and seminal vesicles are herbivores—veggie-eating animals like bulls, apes, and elephants. We are the huge glaring exception to this rule: Men have seminal vesicles, too. In other words, man—a meat-lover—has the makeup of an animal that should be vegetarian. The fact that humans eat meat seems to be a mistake that nature never accounted for.”
We seem to be the only mammal with seminal vesicles who consciously chooses to indulge in animal-derived foods. We are also among the only mammals who develop prostate cancer.
In an October 2008 publication in the peer-reviewed Nutrition In Clinical Practice journal, “The Cause of Atherosclerosis” (2) by Dr. William C. Roberts explains how carnivorous and omnivorous animals do not develop atherosclerosis. These animals can eat endless amounts of fat and cholesterol and their arteries will not clog up.
In studies on herbivorous animals, however, atherosclerosis was easily produced when monkeys, rabbits, and rats were fed high cholesterol, high saturated fat diets comprised of eggs and meat. Humans choosing to eat animal-derived foods are experiencing an epidemic of atherosclerosis. There is a reason why true carnivores do not develop this condition, while humans continue to suffer from atherosclerosis.
Whether we are frugivorous, herbivorous, or omnivorous—beyond arguing over what we were created to eat—we cannot deny the harsh fact that meat consumption is killing us. Excess animal protein and cooked meat carcinogens, such as heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, are linked to many degenerative diseases. These include: Alzheimer’s; cancers of the breast, colon, prostate, and female anatomy; cardiovascular disease; diabetes; erectile dysfunction; macular degeneration; multiple sclerosis; and osteoporosis.
Dietary cholesterol and saturated fats are damaging the endothelial cells lining our circulatory system. Trimethylamine oxide (TMAO), a metabolite generated when bacteria in the gut digest choline sourced from chicken, eggs, and fish, and L-carnitine found in red meat, is seriously injuring our blood vessels. Malignant tumors are forming from a mammalian molecule known as Neu5Gc, found in most animal-derived foods. Infectious diseases are spreading through the food supply. Never before have we been so plagued with sickness.
Our addiction to flesh foods is the Achilles’ heel sabotaging the human species. Meat consumption is carcinogenic, health degrading, and can be directly linked to nearly every disease afflicting man.
Somewhere on the path of human evolution we were led astray into adapting the habit of eating flesh foods. While in some regions of the world our ancestors relied on meat for survival, today with advances in technology and transportation we no longer need to exploit animals for food. We are smarter now, and have a wide enough variety of plant-based foods available to diversify our palate and consider meat obsolete.
While science continues to provide evidence of how eating animal-derived foods negates good health, and our anatomical design is most closely aligned with a frugivorous or herbivorous animal, a surplus of misinformation continues to circulate about whether or not we should be eating meat.
We do not emerge from the womb craving flesh. In fact, no human child would ever look at an animal and perceive it as a food source—as carnivores do naturally. We are influenced to start consuming meat by our parents, and the notion is ingrained in us as we mature. Most children are repulsed by the taste of milk, and spit meat out when it’s first introduced to the palate.
Because industry propaganda has supplanted the preposterous idea in our mind that animal-derived foods are vital for development and growth, we force this way of life on our kids. We are not born omnivores, we adapt to eating this way by means of cultural conditioning.
The human body is miraculous, and through adaptation we still manage to sustain life eating in opposition of our anatomic design, but—as with any species who eats an unnatural diet—we eventually degenerate in the process. We are seeing evidence of this today as the majority of our population is sickened and not well. The human adaptations allowing us to accommodate these foods in our diet are only possible through DNA mutations.
I have been eating plant-based now for seven years. This means no dairy, eggs, or meat. I also abstain from drinking alcohol, and I do not eat gluten or soy. In addition, I do not take supplements. My blood levels and digestion are perfect, and I never get sick. I also maintain a muscular physique and exercise daily.
The most common discussions I engage in regarding my diet and lifestyle are about our ancestors eating meat—how cavemen survived eating meat; that we need the animal protein, cholesterol, iron, and vitamin B12 in meat or we will die; how there will be an overpopulation of farm animals if we stop eating them. Also, people often insist plants are also alive and by eating them we inflict the same pain on them as animals experience during slaughter.
My position is not to tell anyone they are wrong; I aspire only to enlighten.
Under the lead of professor Fabian Kanz, a group of researchers from the Department of Forensic Medicine at the Medical University of Vienna in Austria conducted a study on bone samples from the remains of 22 men whose graves were unearthed from a gladiator cemetery in the ancient Roman city of Ephesus.
The team analyzed the collagen and mineral content in these samples and discovered the men ate vegetarian diets consisting mostly of vegetables and grains. Gladiators from ancient Rome are widely believed to have been the strongest humans to ever inhabit Earth. This study (3), published in the October 2014 helps us to better understand that our strength is generated from the nutrients provided by plants.
There are no nutrients found in animal-derived foods not also abundant in foods sourced from plants. We obtain plenty of protein, and sufficient amounts of iron, eating only plant-based diets. There are also plant-based sources for vitamin B12.
Compassion In World Farming devised a strategic plan for 2013-2017 to promote fairer, kinder farming worldwide. In their presentation (4), they announce there are a total of 70 billion animals in factory farms around the world at any given time. Where demand is high, there is always supply. To argue of the potential overpopulation of farm animals as a result of us curbing the demand is missing the point. There is already an overpopulation of farm animals.
While world leaders consistently attend meetings trying to find ways to reduce carbon emissions, and population reduction programs are introduced to diminish population growth in regions all over the world, we are blind to the greatest threat to our existence—animal agriculture. The enormous population of farmed animals being raised for food are producing more manure and waste than all humans combined, while emitting more carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane than we are responsible for worldwide.
These animals also use far more land and water than humans, and require more food to live. By abstaining from eating meat, the mass breeding of these animals would no longer continue and their population would be reduced drastically. This would help us restore the water aquifers, free up land for other uses, and find ways to feed the world’s hungry.
Of all the arguments in support of eating meat, I enjoy discussing the liveliness of plants. Yes, plants are alive. If they were not, there would be no benefit from eating them. The compounds in plants constituting the life force within them—anthocyanins, antioxidants, bioflavonoids, biophotons, cells, minerals, phytonutrients, polyphenols, vitamins, and water—are not damaged when they are harvested. Only after cooking, oxidization, or processing do we lose the energy in plant-derived foods.
By eating plants, we continue the cycle of life. When animals are killed, the life force within them dies. The flesh immediately begins to decompose. This is why meat manufacturers inject their product with preservatives and food coloring agents to alter the appearance. Once inside the human body, meat produces harmful metabolites and byproducts that contribute to cancer and other diseases. Plants help generate neurotransmitters, feed healthy bacteria, and aid our bodily systems to assure healthy organ functioning.
For those who truly cannot distinguish between the two, Dr. Richard Oppenlander explains the difference between plants and animals in his book, Comfortably Unaware (5). He states:
“Plants are living structures with chlorophyll-containing cells. They take carbon dioxide out of the air in exchange for producing oxygen. They do not have blood, brains, organs, nervous systems, or feelings. Contrary to this, animals are living organisms that have saturated fat and cholesterol associated with all of their cells and tissues. They do have blood, organs, brains, nervous systems, and feelings.”
Eating fruits, picked green leaf vegetables, seeds, nuts, and a limited amount of certain grain-like foods, does not require the killing or uprooting of any plant. We are not harming the planet—or plant—by choosing to eat this way.
1.) Coffey, Don, De Marzo, Angelo. Evolution and Prostate Cancer. Prostate Cancer Update. Winter 2000
2.) Roberts, William. The Cause of Atherosclerosis. Nutrition In Clinical Practice. Vol 23, Issue 5, 2008
3.) Lösch, Sandra, Negahnaz Moghaddam, Karl Grossschmidt, Daniele U. Risser, Fabian Kanz, and Clark S. Larsen. “Stable I sotope and Trace Element Studies on Gladiators and Contemporary Romans from Ephesus (turkey, 2nd and 3rd Ct. Ad) – Implications for Differences in Diet.” Plos One. 9.10 (2014)
4.) Compassion in World Farming, “2013-2017 Strategic Plan for Kinder, Fairer, Farming Worldwide” (2013)
5.) Oppenlander, Richard A. Comfortably unaware: global depletion and food responsibility: what you choose to eat is killing our planet. Minneapolis, MN: Langdon Street Press, 2011. Print
Author: Jesse Jacoby
Image: YouTube/Annoying Orange
Editor: Travis May