Friday, April 27, 2012

Meat Does a Body Good

In high school, I became aware of how terrible factory farms were. It made me feel sick every time I ate anything other than poultry or seafood, so I started eating less meat. Over the years I changed my eating habits and learned more about, well, food. I learned how truly important it is to be nourished, how much we are affecting the environment around us, and the massive amount of toxins our bodies accumulate on a daily basis. And if you are eating nothing but sugar, fat, and sodium, with fewer nutrients for your body to work correctly, you are basically killing yourself slowly.

Many respectable people in my circle of influence, or their circles, often say vegetarian diets are the healthiest. Some of these same people don't look very healthy. In the vegan vs. omnivore debate, I often hear people say, "Just because we've been doing it [eating meat] for thousands of years, doesn't mean it's okay." Oh please. This isn't a question of morals. I think it's totally hypocritical if you eat [kill] plants but say eating meat is wrong, because plants are living things too. I think they're JUST as deserving of life and happiness, so if I had a choice, I wouldn't eat plants or animals. But I have to in order to be healthy.

Nancy Ann Tappe is a very wise woman that I've learned a great deal from, and she believes eating meat is part of our DNA, so, naturally, we're supposed to eat meat.  After hearing the experiences of former vegans and vegetarians, and with all the knowledge I've absorbed, I completely agree. Why does fat taste so good to us? How can Eskimos live off primarily meat and be healthier than most Americans? Why can we only get certain nutrients vital for our bodies (like collagen or cholesterol) from eating animals? Why are we the only species in the world that contemplates if we should eat animals, when other animals eat other animals simply to survive without a second thought? Well, I guess we are already killing ourselves slowly in several ways, so why not?

I realize that humans aren't equipped to eat and digest raw meat like carnivores, especially those who come from a long line of vegetarians, but we also had the brain capacity to create fire and figured out how to cook. Why are spices so good for us?

We can't avoid the fact that it is in our DNA. It's built into our species, just like fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Our species survived by eating as much meat as possible because more energy with less work made it much easier to live. Actually, we probably ate just about anything in sight. Judging by ancient Egyptians having impacted wisdom teeth, how we have lots of vestigial organs, how it takes vegetarian-diet-only advocates 14+ years to switch, it's very obvious our bodies are slow to change. It's not natural to quit cold turkey.

So following that logic, how do we know that our bodies weren't better equipped to eat raw meat in the past, but slowly changed as we started cooking food? Our teeth can grind lots of things, not just vegetables. Hell, they were suited for grinding bits of sand with our food, so why do we even bother washing plants? I wonder if that would solve our wisdom teeth problem?

Now I don't agree with factory farms, wasting food, or anything like that. I think it is entirely possible to raise an animal and kill it in a respectful manner, with the intention of eating it to be healthy. What's wrong with that? I think a major issue is that most meat is raised purely for profit, so corners are cut every chance they get, just like any other industry.

Another thing is that conventional meat (cereal-fed livestock) is very fatty because they aren't grass-fed, so that's why it's usually bad for us. The excess fat IN the meat is the real culprit of heart disease, let alone the additional fat and empty carbohydrates. You can see the fat in the meat, which is called "marbling". The fat naturally tastes better to us, but we aren't supposed to be eating more fat than protein, OR cut out fat altogether. If you hunt wild game or eat grass-fed livestock, you will be eating more protein than fat, infinitely healthier than either side of the spectrum, in my opinion.

Avoid "Moderately Abundant" marbled meat, no matter how good it looks.

I believe the reason why us humans became the dominant species is because of our amazing ability to adapt. We are able to eat many different things to enable our bodies to do many complex processes, enabling us to survive and thrive. So I think we have to eat a variety of food in order to be healthy. Maybe if you spent your whole life eating terribly and need to cleanse your body by eating nothing but plants, fine. But I can't stand it when people say it's healthier, or more ethical, to eat a plant-based diet.

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