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Are we designed or 'meant' to eat meat?
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    artbeat's Avatar
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    Default Are we designed or 'meant' to eat meat?

    http://www.ecologos.org/anatomy.htm

    To: psychoceramics@zikzak.net
    Subject: psychoceramics: The Comparative Anatomy of Eating
    From: Ernie Karhu <ekarhu @ suneast.East.Sun.COM>
    Date: Tue, 26 Mar 1996 08:38:09 -0500
    Sender: owner-psychoceramics

    NOTE: this author uses the term "herbivore" in the most general sense of eating only plant material, and, unfortunately, does NOT differentiate between the more-restrictive, more common, application of the word "herbivore" to refer to grazing animals only; e.g. cattle, sheep, goats, etc., which have quite special, unique adaptations necessary to eat and properly digest only grasses and leaves, and are therefore quite different in digestive physiology than the frugivorous (eats primarily fruit) apes, in which classification the human species really belongs.[LF]




    The Comparative Anatomy of Eating

    by Milton R. Mills, M.D.




    Humans are most often described as "omnivores". This classification is based on the "observation" that humans generally eat a wide variety of plant and animal foods. However, culture, custom and training are confounding variables when looking at human dietary practices. Thus, "observation" is not the best technique to use when trying to identify the most "natural" diet for humans. While most humans are clearly "behavioral" omnivores, the question still remains as to whether humans are anatomically suited for a diet that includes animal as well as plant foods.

    A better and more objective technique is to look at human anatomy and physiology. Mammals are anatomically and physiologically adapted to procure and consume particular kinds of diets. (It is common practice when examining fossils of extinct mammals to examine anatomical features to deduce the animal's probable diet.) Therefore, we can look at mammalian carnivores, herbivores (plant-eaters) and omnivores to see which anatomical and physiological features are associated with each kind of diet. Then we can look at human anatomy and physiology to see in which group we belong.

    Oral Cavity

    Carnivores have a wide mouth opening in relation to their head size. This confers obvious advantages in developing the forces used in seizing, killing and dismembering prey. Facial musculature is reduced since these muscles would hinder a wide gape, and play no part in the animal's preparation of food for swallowing. In all mammalian carnivores, the jaw joint is a simple hinge joint lying in the same plane as the teeth. This type of joint is extremely stable and acts as the pivot point for the "lever arms" formed by the upper and lower jaws. The primary muscle used for operating the jaw in carnivores is the temporalis muscle. This muscle is so massive in carnivores that it accounts for most of the bulk of the sides of the head (when you pet a dog, you are petting its temporalis muscles). The "angle" of the mandible (lower jaw) in carnivores is small. This is because the muscles (masseter and pterygoids) that attach there are of minor importance in these animals. The lower jaw of carnivores cannot move forward, and has very limited side-to-side motion. When the jaw of a carnivore closes, the blade-shaped cheek molars slide past each other to give a slicing motion that is very effective for shearing meat off bone.

    The teeth of a carnivore are discretely spaced so as not to trap stringy debris. The incisors are short, pointed and prong-like and are used for grasping and shredding. The canines are greatly elongated and dagger-like for stabbing, tearing and killing prey. The molars (carnassials) are flattened and triangular with jagged edges such that they function like serrated-edged blades. Because of the hinge-type joint, when a carnivore closes its jaw, the cheek teeth come together in a back-to-front fashion giving a smooth cutting motion like the blades on a pair of shears.

    The saliva of carnivorous animals does not contain digestive enzymes. When eating, a mammalian carnivore gorges itself rapidly and does not chew its food. Since proteolytic (protein-digesting) enzymes cannot be liberated in the mouth due to the danger of autodigestion (damaging the oral cavity), carnivores do not need to mix their food with saliva; they simply bite off huge chunks of meat and swallow them whole.

    According to evolutionary theory, the anatomical features consistent with an herbivorous diet represent a more recently derived condition than that of the carnivore. Herbivorous mammals have well-developed facial musculature, fleshy lips, a relatively small opening into the oral cavity and a thickened, muscular tongue. The lips aid in the movement of food into the mouth and, along with the facial (cheek) musculature and tongue, assist in the chewing of food. In herbivores, the jaw joint has moved to position above the plane of the teeth. Although this type of joint is less stable than the hinge-type joint of the carnivore, it is much more mobile and allows the complex jaw motions needed when chewing plant foods. Additionally, this type of jaw joint allows the upper and lower cheek teeth to come together along the length of the jaw more or less at once when the mouth is closed in order to form grinding platforms. (This type of joint is so important to a plant-eating animal, that it is believed to have evolved at least 15 different times in various plant-eating mammalian species.) The angle of the mandible has expanded to provide a broad area of attachment for the well-developed masseter and pterygoid muscles (these are the major muscles of chewing in plant-eating animals). The temporalis muscle is small and of minor importance. The masseter and pterygoid muscles hold the mandible in a sling-like arrangement and swing the jaw from side-to-side. Accordingly, the lower jaw of plant-eating mammals has a pronounced sideways motion when eating. This lateral movement is necessary for the grinding motion of chewing.

    The dentition of herbivores is quite varied depending on the kind of vegetation a particular species is adapted to eat. Although these animals differ in the types and numbers of teeth they posses, the various kinds of teeth when present, share common structural features. The incisors are broad, flattened and spade-like. Canines may be small as in horses, prominent as in hippos, pigs and some primates (these are thought to be used for defense) or absent altogether. The molars, in general, are squared and flattened on top to provide a grinding surface. The molars cannot vertically slide past one another in a shearing/slicing motion, but they do horizontally slide across one another to crush and grind. The surface features of the molars vary depending on the type of plant material the animal eats. The teeth of herbivorous animals are closely grouped so that the incisors form an efficient cropping/biting mechanism, and the upper and lower molars form extended platforms for crushing and grinding. The "walled-in" oral cavity has a lot of potential space that is realized during eating.

    These animals carefully and methodically chew their food, pushing the food back and forth into the grinding teeth with the tongue and cheek muscles. This thorough process is necessary to mechanically disrupt plant cell walls in order to release the digestible intracellular contents and ensure thorough mixing of this material with their saliva. This is important because the saliva of plant-eating mammals often contains carbohydrate-digesting enzymes which begin breaking down food molecules while the food is still in the mouth.

    Stomach and Small Intestine

    Striking differences between carnivores and herbivores are seen in these organs. Carnivores have a capacious simple (single-chambered) stomach. The stomach volume of a carnivore represents 60-70% of the total capacity of the digestive system. Because meat is relatively easily digested, their small intestines (where absorption of food molecules takes place) are short -- about three to five or six times the body length. Since these animals average a kill only about once a week, a large stomach volume is advantageous because it allows the animals to quickly gorge themselves when eating, taking in as much meat as possible at one time which can then be digested later while resting. Additionally, the ability of the carnivore stomach to secrete hydrochloric acid is exceptional. Carnivores are able to keep their gastric pH down around 1-2 even with food present. This is necessary to facilitate protein breakdown and to kill the abundant dangerous bacteria often found in decaying flesh foods.

    Because of the relative difficulty with which various kinds of plant foods are broken down (due to large amounts of indigestible fibers), herbivores have significantly longer and in some cases, far more elaborate guts than carnivores. Herbivorous animals that consume plants containing a high proportion of cellulose must "ferment" (digest by bacterial enzyme action) their food to obtain the nutrient value. They are classified as either "ruminants" (foregut fermenters) or hindgut fermenters. The ruminants are the plant-eating animals with the celebrated multiple-chambered stomachs. Herbivorous animals that eat a diet of relatively soft vegetation do not need a multiple-chambered stomach. They typically have a simple stomach, and a long small intestine. These animals ferment the difficult-to-digest fibrous portions of their diets in their hindguts (colons). Many of these herbivores increase the sophistication and efficiency of their GI tracts by including carbohydrate-digesting enzymes in their saliva. A multiple-stomach fermentation process in an animal which consumed a diet of soft, pulpy vegetation would be energetically wasteful. Nutrients and calories would be consumed by the fermenting bacteria and protozoa before reaching the small intestine for absorption. The small intestine of plant-eating animals tends to be very long (greater than 10 times body length) to allow adequate time and space for absorption of the nutrients.

    Colon

    The large intestine (colon) of carnivores is simple and very short, as its only purposes are to absorb salt and water. It is approximately the same diameter as the small intestine and, consequently, has a limited capacity to function as a reservoir. The colon is short and non-pouched. The muscle is distributed throughout the wall, giving the colon a smooth cylindrical appearance. Although a bacterial population is present in the colon of carnivores, its activities are essentially putrefactive.

    In herbivorous animals, the large intestine tends to be a highly specialized organ involved in water and electrolyte absorption, vitamin production and absorption, and/or fermentation of fibrous plant materials. The colons of herbivores are usually wider than their small intestine and are relatively long. In some plant-eating mammals, the colon has a pouched appearance due to the arrangement of the muscle fibers in the intestinal wall. Additionally, in some herbivores the cecum (the first section of the colon) is quite large and serves as the primary or accessory fermentation site.

    What About Omnivores?

    One would expect an omnivore to show anatomical features which equip it to eat both animal and plant foods. According to evolutionary theory, carnivore gut structure is more primitive than herbivorous adaptations. Thus, an omnivore might be expected to be a carnivore which shows some gastrointestinal tract adaptations to an herbivorous diet.

    This is exactly the situation we find in the Bear, Raccoon and certain members of the Canine families. (This discussion will be limited to bears because they are, in general, representative of the anatomical omnivores.) Bears are classified as carnivores but are classic anatomical omnivores. Although they eat some animal foods, bears are primarily herbivorous with 70-80% of their diet comprised of plant foods. (The one exception is the Polar bear which lives in the frozen, vegetation poor arctic and feeds primarily on seal blubber.) Bears cannot digest fibrous vegetation well, and therefore, are highly selective feeders. Their diet is dominated by primarily succulent lent herbage, tubers and berries. Many scientists believe the reason bears hibernate is because their chief food (succulent vegetation) not available in the cold northern winters. (Interestingly, Polar bears hibernate during the summer months when seals are unavailable.)

    In general, bears exhibit anatomical features consistent with a carnivorous diet. The jaw joint of bears is in the same plane as the molar teeth. The temporalis muscle is massive, and the angle of the mandible is small corresponding to the limited role the pterygoid and masseter muscles play in operating the jaw. The small intestine is short ( less than five times body length) like that of the pure carnivores, and the colon is simple, smooth and short. The most prominent adaptation to an herbivorous diet in bears (and other "anatomical" omnivores) is the modification of their dentition. Bears retain the peg-like incisors, large canines and shearing premolars of a carnivore; but the molars have become squared with rounded cusps for crushing and grinding. Bears have not, however, adopted the flattened, blunt nails seen in most herbivores and retain the elongated, pointed claws of a carnivore.

    An animal which captures, kills and eats prey must have the physical equipment which makes predation practical and efficient. Since bears include significant amounts of meat in their diet, they must retain the anatomical features that permit them to capture and kill prey animals. Hence, bears have a jaw structure, musculature and dentition which enable them to develop and apply the forces necessary to kill and dismember prey even though the majority of their diet is comprised of plant foods. Although an herbivore-style jaw joint (above the plane of the teeth) is a far more efficient joint for crushing and grinding vegetation and would potentially allow bears to exploit a wider range of plant foods in their diet, it is a much weaker joint than the hinge-style carnivore joint. The herbivore-style jaw joint is relatively easily dislocated and would not hold up well under the stresses of subduing struggling prey and/or crushing bones (nor would it allow the wide gape carnivores need). In the wild, an animal with a dislocated jaw would either soon starve to death or be eaten by something else and would, therefore, be selected against. A given species cannot adopt the weaker but more mobile and efficient herbivore-style joint until it has committed to an essentially plant-food diet test it risk jaw dislocation, death and ultimately, extinction.

    What About Me?

    The human gastrointestinal tract features the anatomical modifications consistent with an herbivorous diet. Humans have muscular lips and a small opening into the oral cavity. Many of the so-called "muscles of expression" are actually the muscles used in chewing. The muscular and agile tongue essential for eating, has adapted to use in speech and other things. The mandibular joint is flattened by a cartilaginous plate and is located well above the plane of the teeth. The temporalis muscle is reduced. The characteristic "square jaw" of adult males reflects the expanded angular process of the mandible and the enlarged masseter/pterygoid muscle group. The human mandible can move forward to engage the incisors, and side-to-side to crush and grind.

    Human teeth are also similar to those found in other herbivores with the exception of the canines (the canines of some of the apes are elongated and are thought to be used for display and/or defense). Our teeth are rather large and usually abut against one another. The incisors are flat and spade-like, useful for peeling, snipping and biting relatively soft materials. The canines are neither serrated nor conical, but are flattened, blunt and small and function Like incisors. The premolars and molars are squarish, flattened and nodular, and used for crushing, grinding and pulping noncoarse foods.

    Human saliva contains the carbohydrate-digesting enzyme, salivary amylase. This enzyme is responsible for the majority of starch digestion. The esophagus is narrow and suited to small, soft balls of thoroughly chewed food. Eating quickly, attempting to swallow a large amount of food or swallowing fibrous and/or poorly chewed food (meat is the most frequent culprit) often results in choking in humans.

    Man's stomach is single-chambered, but only moderately acidic. (Clinically, a person presenting with a gastric pH less than 4-5 when there is food in the stomach is cause for concern.) The stomach volume represents about 21-27% of the total volume of the human GI tract. The stomach serves as a mixing and storage chamber, mixing and liquefying ingested foodstuffs and regulating their entry into the small intestine. The human small intestine is long, averaging from 10 to 11 times the body length. (Our small intestine averages 22 to 30 feet in length. Human body size is measured from the top of the head to end of the spine and averages between two to three feet in length in normal-sized individuals.)

    The human colon demonstrates the pouched structure peculiar to herbivores. The distensible large intestine is larger in cross-section than the small intestine, and is relatively long. Man's colon is responsible for water and electrolyte absorption and vitamin production and absorption. There is also extensive bacterial fermentation of fibrous plant materials, with the production and absorption of significant amounts of food energy (volatile short-chain fatty acids) depending upon the fiber content of the diet. The extent to which the fermentation and absorption of metabolites takes place in the human colon has only recently begun to be investigated.

    In conclusion, we see that human beings have the gastrointestinal tract structure of a "committed" herbivore. Humankind does not show the mixed structural features one expects and finds in anatomical omnivores such as bears and raccoons. Thus, from comparing the gastrointestinal tract of humans to that of carnivores, herbivores and omnivores we must conclude that humankind's GI tract is designed for a purely plant-food diet.

    Summary

    Facial Muscles

    CARNIVORE: Reduced to allow wide mouth gape
    HERBIVORE: Well-developed
    OMNIVORE: Reduced
    HUMAN: Well-developed

    Jaw Type

    CARNIVORE: Angle not expanded
    HERBIVORE: Expanded angle
    OMNIVORE: Angle not expanded
    HUMAN: Expanded angle

    Jaw Joint Location

    CARNIVORE: On same plane as molar teeth
    HERBIVORE: Above the plane of the molars
    OMNIVORE: On same plane as molar teeth
    HUMAN: Above the plane of the molars

    Jaw Motion

    CARNIVORE: Shearing; minimal side-to-side motion
    HERBIVORE: No shear; good side-to-side, front-to-back
    OMNIVORE: Shearing; minimal side-to-side
    HUMAN: No shear; good side-to-side, front-to-back

    Major Jaw Muscles

    CARNIVORE: Temporalis
    HERBIVORE: Masseter and pterygoids
    OMNIVORE: Temporalis
    HUMAN: Masseter and pterygoids

    Mouth Opening vs. Head Size

    CARNIVORE: Large HERBIVORE: Small OMNIVORE: Large HUMAN:
    Small

    Teeth: Incisors

    CARNIVORE: Short and pointed
    HERBIVORE: Broad, flattened and spade shaped
    OMNIVORE: Short and pointed
    HUMAN: Broad, flattened and spade shaped

    Teeth: Canines

    CARNIVORE: Long, sharp and curved
    HERBIVORE: Dull and short or long (for defense), or none
    OMNIVORE: Long, sharp and curved
    HUMAN: Short and blunted

    Teeth: Molars

    CARNIVORE: Sharp, jagged and blade shaped
    HERBIVORE: Flattened with cusps vs complex surface
    OMNIVORE: Sharp blades and/or flattened
    HUMAN: Flattened with nodular cusps

    Chewing

    CARNIVORE: None; swallows food whole
    HERBIVORE: Extensive chewing necessary
    OMNIVORE: Swallows food whole and/or simple crushing
    HUMAN: Extensive chewing necessary

    Saliva

    CARNIVORE: No digestive enzymes
    HERBIVORE: Carbohydrate digesting enzymes
    OMNIVORE: No digestive enzymes
    HUMAN: Carbohydrate digesting enzymes

    Stomach Type

    CARNIVORE: Simple
    HERBIVORE: Simple or multiple chambers
    OMNIVORE: Simple
    HUMAN: Simple

    Stomach Acidity

    CARNIVORE: Less than or equal to pH 1 with food in stomach
    HERBIVORE: pH 4 to 5 with food in stomach
    OMNIVORE: Less than or equal to pH 1 with food in stomach
    HUMAN: pH 4 to 5 with food in stomach

    Stomach Capacity

    CARNIVORE: 60% to 70% of total volume of digestive tract
    HERBIVORE: Less than 30% of total volume of digestive tract
    OMNIVORE: 60% to 70% of total volume of digestive tract
    HUMAN: 21% to 27% of total volume of digestive tract

    Length of Small Intestine

    CARNIVORE: 3 to 6 times body length
    HERBIVORE: 10 to more than 12 times body length
    OMNIVORE: 4 to 6 times body length
    HUMAN: 10 to 11 times body length

    Colon

    CARNIVORE: Simple, short and smooth
    HERBIVORE: Long, complex; may be sacculated
    OMNIVORE: Simple, short and smooth
    HUMAN: Long, sacculated

    Liver

    CARNIVORE: Can detoxify vitamin A
    HERBIVORE: Cannot detoxify vitamin A
    OMNIVORE: Can detoxify vitamin A
    HUMAN: Cannot detoxify vitamin A

    Kidney

    CARNIVORE: Extremely concentrated urine
    HERBIVORE: Moderately concentrated urine
    OMNIVORE: Extremely concentrated urine
    HUMAN: Moderately concentrated urine

    Nails

    CARNIVORE: Sharp claws
    HERBIVORE: Flattened nails or blunt hooves
    OMNIVORE: Sharp claws
    HUMAN: Flattened nails

  2. #2
    my3labs's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Anatomy of Herbivores vs. Omnivores

    I read something similar to this recently. VERY good information. I've been using this with my mom who is on the verge of at least becoming a vegetarian.
    You are not required to complete the task of repairing the world, neither are you free to abstain from it.
    --Pirke Avot

  3. #3
    FR
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    Default Re: The Anatomy of Herbivores vs. Omnivores

    I agree with this article. I once was arguing with someone (a vegetarian at that) who had some sort of degree in biology and did not agree with this assessment. I was thinking to myself, what a waste of money on an education and subsequent degree if you cannot clearly agree to this. Someone then brought up, but carnivores and omnivores do not have eyes on the side of their head, that they are focused in a straight manner. I again thought to myself, haven't these people ever seen a snake before? Although a human may not match every single possible characteristic of a typical herbivore, we share damn near every characteristic with an herbivore (as shown by the referenced article) whereas we share almost none with an omnivore, or carnivore. Humans are nothing more than behavioral omnivores as stated in that article. I almost fall out laughing when a person says that we have omnivorous canine teeth. Oh really? Our teeth resemble that of a dog? Dogs are omnivores and our teeth are nothing like theirs. In fact, the only animals humans could possibly dig into and chew raw are insects, just like any other herbivore could. Humans may have not had enough intelligence during our early stages of development to realize we are natural herbivores, and thus survived on plants, insects, and animal scraps left behind by true omnivores and carnivores.

  4. #4
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Anatomy of Herbivores vs. Omnivores

    A contrasting (but still pro-vegetarian) viewpoint here:

    http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/omni.htm

    To me, it doesn't really make any difference whether humans are naturally omnivorous or vegan. The important point is that we can be healthy as vegans.

  5. #5
    Mozbee
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    Default Re: The Anatomy of Herbivores vs. Omnivores

    I just love the summary!

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    (Ab/i/gail) AbFab's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Anatomy of Herbivores vs. Omnivores

    Quote harpy
    To me, it doesn't really make any difference whether humans are naturally omnivorous or vegan. The important point is that we can be healthy as vegans.
    I agree. Not just healthy, but THE healthiest! (if it's done right). But I love these herbivore-carnivore-omnivore-human facts so we can show those who harp on about it being natural to eat meat, like WE are the abnormal ones, that actually, no, it's not, not for us humans. All the evidence for me points to veganism being THE most obviously natural way to be. I do accept, that when your food choices are severly limited, meat can be the only way to survive, but for the majority of us, we have a choice. Thank goodness for that.
    Vegans go all the way.

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    Kiran's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Anatomy of Herbivores vs. Omnivores

    Talking about mouth movement.. something worth noticing!! Consider herbivores animals like cows, Horses, deer, donkeys etc. Have you observed how these drink water?? They never put their tounge outside. They are capable of drinking water just using their mouth movement and don't need additional assistance from their tounge.

    On the other hand, consider carnivores like Lions, tigers, hyenas, dogs and cats. These drink fluids using a recursive tounge movement. They put their tounges outside lick the water, and the tounge goes in. The process is repeated and tounge goes in and out till the animal feels sufficient.

    Hence meat eating humans belonging to that category. They are to be classified that way. It is upto to each indivigual to decide if he wants to be a herbivore or a carnivore. Personally, I cannot imagine me drinking like carnivores. It seems disgusting for humans. I am hence proud to be a vegan.
    Life is like a boomerang: What goes around comes around - "Karma"rocks!

  8. #8
    Mozbee
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    Default Re: The Anatomy of Herbivores vs. Omnivores

    I suppose it depends aswell, how desparate the animals hunger is for mouth lubricant!

  9. #9
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Did humans always eat meat?

    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

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    Default Are we designed to eat meat?

    I have only been veg*n a couple of months now, and one of the debates that i find really interesting is whether or not humans are designed to eat meat.
    It seems to me that there is a lot of evidence that the human body was designed to digest plants, not meat, and that anatomically we're more like herbivores than carnivores. However I know that a lot of veg*ns disagree with this opinion.
    I'd be really interested to hear others opinions on this matter.

    I found a really interesting table online at http://michaelbluejay.com/veg/natural.html
    Last edited by Korn; Feb 7th, 2006 at 11:29 AM. Reason: This was the first post in a similar thread...
    - Claire Xx

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    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are we designed to eat meat?

    Hi Griggsy, I just merged your thread with a similar, existing thread.
    We also have this thread:
    Did humans always eat meat?

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    Default Re: Are we designed to eat meat?

    I think we evolved from primarily herbivorous primates. However, from the reading I've done on human evolution, it seems our early ancestors (Australopithicines and such) were herbivores that would eat meat opportunistically. In other words, we'd eat meat when available but really didn't go after it as such. As much as some people want to picture man as a mighty hunter, we mostly got meat we scavenged or could easily overpower (grab that lizard!). So, humans and our early ancestors almost unquestionably ate meat, but it probably amounted to less than 5 percent of the total diet.

    Cheers,
    rant

  13. #13
    Pilaf
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    Default Re: Are we designed to eat meat?

    I'd like to point something else out, here...

    Modren day omni doctors, scientists and historians arrogantly claim that "without the protein found in meat, our early ancestors' brains would not have developed to the points they are today."

    Such comments reveal their damning arrogance and ignorance.. the protein is what caused the brains the develop, NOT the meat itself. Protein can be derived quite easily from plant sources. So maybe their vaunted wisdom is a little outdated. Maybe it was only the protein, which we happened to get from meat (or maybe not). Scientists and doctors always ignore the obvious - that nutrients contribute more to health and evolution than some of the foods they're derived from. It's much the same as the argument that dairy is essential because it's full of calcium...when most vegans learn that calcium is easily found in many plant sources, but they say "the calcium in dairy makes strong bones and teeth!" (yeah right)

  14. #14
    ♥♥♥ Tigerlily's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are we designed to eat meat?

    Whether humans are designed to eat meat or not, it does not justify the cruel, unnecessary conditions we treat animals!

    Peace, love, and happiness.

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    Tiggerwoo
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    Default Re: Are we designed to eat meat?

    Quote Tigerlily
    Whether humans are designed to eat meat or not, it does not justify the cruel, unnecessary conditions we treat animals!

    Couldn't agree more Tigerlily. Very apt!

  16. #16
    Seaside
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    Default Re: Are we designed to eat meat?

    What I often remember when one of the cats is licking my nose (ow!) is that contrary to popular belief, cats do not have hairy tongues for grooming purposes. Those scratchy hairs are for cleaning the meat off the bones of their kills. If humans were natural carnivores they would have hairy tongues too, and not just sharp teeth!

  17. #17
    Bleeeeeeeeeep! PinkLogik's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are we designed to eat meat?

    If it's not necessary to eat meat (which us vegans prove on a daily basis by merely existing, albeit mostly healthfully) then it's unnecessary to subscribe to animal suffering.

    That table was interesting Korn, never seen that before. But it confirmed what I already believed and have read about before. We are not physiologically designed to digest animal proteins, at least in the quantities that most people today consume. It's no wonder there is alot of illness - that and food additives (chemicals), salt and sugar....

  18. #18
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are we designed to eat meat?




    The Natural Human Diet

    Physical characteristics are our best evidence as to what we are meant to eat.


    The Comparative Anatomy of Eating

    Meat and Your Health


    ...and finally a copy of a quote from this site:

    In 1990, William Clifford Roberts, the distinguished editor in chief of The American Journal of Cardiology, wrote:

    Although human beings eat meat we are not natural carnivores. We were intended to eat plants, fruits and starches! No matter how much fat carnivores eat, they do not develop atheroschlerosis. It's virtually impossible, for example, to produce atheroschlerosis in the dog even when 100 grams of cholesterol are added to its meat ration. (This amount of cholesterol is approximately 200 times the average amount that human beings in the USA eat each day!) In contrast, herbivores rapidly develop atheroschlerosis if they are fed foods, namely fat and cholesterol, intended for carnivores...

    Thus, although we think we are one and we act as if we are one, human beings are not natural carnivores. When we kill animals to eat them, they end up killing us because their flesh, which contains cholesterol and saturated fat, was never intended for human beings, who are natural herbivores.

  19. #19
    GoatBoy
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    Default Re: Are we designed to eat meat?

    thsi is the stuff i keep on saying

    Where are the natural killing tools on our body?
    Why do we need it cooked to stop it from being poisonous?
    Why does it sit in our stomach longer than other foods?
    Why is it high in cholestrol?
    Why don't we have teeth like canines, felines and other carnivourous animals?
    I mean, how many meat eating primates are there? (not many, we are close to apes and they just eat fruit and grass)

    of course I only say this when people tell me I'M unnatural, I don't like being a preachy vegan, it does more harm than good.

  20. #20
    Abe Froman Risker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are we designed to eat meat?

    Quote GoatBoy
    Why do we need it cooked to stop it from being poisonous?
    I don't think that's true, I could be wrong, but I think it's only because it's not eaten 'fresh' that it needs to be cooked.

  21. #21

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    Default Re: Are we designed to eat meat?

    Quote GoatBoy
    Where are the natural killing tools on our body?
    The brain, of course!

    [snipped questions]

    of course I only say this when people tell me I'M unnatural, I don't like being a preachy vegan, it does more harm than good.
    Well, I think the truth is that we did evolve to eat more meat than our more markedly herbivorous primate ancestors. You can go back 15 million years to find a strongly frugivorous, herbivorous line. And now our closest relatives get 87-99% of their calories plants.

    But somewhere along the line we diverged. Our small intestines are longer and our colons shorter than those of our relatives who are designed to eat considerably more fiber. Also the total length of the GI tract is smaller in the human than in the apes. Nobody is sure when this change took place but some estimate it had to be prior to 160000 years ago. A short part (around 9%) of the last 15 million years.

    Although our guts changed, our digestive kinetics seem to have remained the same compared to our closest relatives. So although we are different, we are also still similar in this important way, which is very different from that of a carnivore.

    In the human, for some reason, energy needs increased while energy density also increased. This is different from the chimp (who eats mostly fruit and has a small body and a well-developed brain) and the gorilla (who eats mostly leaves and has a huge body and a not-as-well-developed brain but spends much more time eating than the chimp).

    Up to some percentage, animal foods are tolerated by the primate body. In the pre-human, more reliance on animal source foods for certain amino and fatty acids allowed for less reliance on plant foods for those particular dietary requirements. They also might have been important for child development, because on a very high fiber diet it may be difficult for children to take in enough energy and satisfy all their requirements.

    At least, that is what Katherine Milton says.

    It seems clear to me that we did adapt to lower fiber foods and this was well before agriculture so animal foods would have had to have played an important role.

    But the most important thing nowadays seems to me that we have the brains and the knowledge to make better choices. We are so lucky that we have these choices!

    Another thing to consider is that the first 90% of our last 15 million years is probably more relevant to a lifetime of freedom from disease than the last 10%, and I say this because

    1.the most longevous populations seem to be have more strongly plant-based than animal based diets

    2.There does seem to be a trend of greater disease rates with lower fiber and higher animal food in the diet.

    3. Eskimos are not longevity champs, in fact the only sources I can find shows that pre-1950s, lifespans exceeding 40 years were rare. Nowadays they might make it to 60.

    Evolution selects for reproductive success and not freedom from disease for 80-100 years (or more). We can surely make it to 20 on a diet comprised mostly of animals foods. But we may be more likely to make it to 80-100 without cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc. on a well planned diet comprised solely of plant foods provided we take supplements for B12 and possibly D2.

    That's my position and I'm sticking to it.

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    Default Re: "Meat - we were meant to eat it"-advertisement

    I agree with the ad... we WERE meant to eat meat. But not now - we have become independant and intellectual and KNOW that it is wrong to eat animal products. So the main catchcry 'Meat... we WERE meant to eat it' really is promoting veganism.
    Last edited by Korn; Sep 5th, 2006 at 10:55 AM. Reason: This post came from another thread

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    Default Re: "Meat - we were meant to eat it"-advertisement

    Our biology is that of a plant eater though...

  24. #24
    Oliver Oil
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    Talking Humans are naturally herbivores. It says so at Wikipedia.

    Extract from their "omnivore" page:

    "Humans are often mistaken for omnivores, however they are naturally herbivores whom have become accustomed to the eating of meat for convenience of lifestyle. The fact that humans have been eating meat for the past several thousand years has led to some evolutionary changes in humans geneticism which favours the consumption of meat. Thus causing them to be developing into an omnivorous species. Given several thousand more years with current human diets, the transformation may have successfully occurred genetically, and humans would fit fully into the classification "omnivore".[citation needed]"

    Sorry if this is old news. It just gave me a warm glow inside when I read it. Maybe an all-vegan world is possible after all - through enforced genetic re-engineering?

  25. #25
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Humans are naturally herbivores. It says so at Wikipedia.

    Quote Wikipedia
    "The fact that humans have been eating meat for the past several thousand years has led to some evolutionary changes in humans geneticism which favours the consumption of meat."
    It's a fact that many humans have been eating meat for several thousands of years, but it's also a fact that many humans have not (eg. for religious reasons), which make such a statement misleading IMO...

    Quote Wikipedia
    Thus causing them to be developing into an omnivorous species.
    I disagree in that too. Even if humans would have been 'accustomed to the eating of meat' (which I also disagree in: lots of diseases are associated with eating meat), that would mean that humans would have been 'omnivores' pr. definition... even if a human can eat something, it doesn't mean that he needs to or are 'designed to' eat it.

    Quote Oliver Oil
    Maybe an all-vegan world is possible after all - through enforced genetic re-engineering?
    A vegan world is possible if humans want a vegan world, there's no need for any genetic/physical/biological changes at all...
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

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    Default Re: "Meat - we were meant to eat it"-advertisement

    Quote aidan View Post
    we WERE meant to eat meat.
    No we were not. The teeth of carnivores are adapted to eat they flesh of their prey. At the front of the mouth the teeth are sharp and pointed. There are four which are longer than the others. These are called the canine teeth. I don't think nature/god/evolution has equipped humans with such a powerful canine teeth sturucture. The typical canine teeth structure of a carnivore is shown below.

    Life is like a boomerang: What goes around comes around - "Karma"rocks!

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    Default Re: Are we designed or 'meant to' to eat meat?

    That looks like one of your old avatars, Kiran.
    "Do what you can with what you have where you are."
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    Default Re: Are we designed or 'meant to' to eat meat?

    The thing that is so unique about human beings is that we are not "meant" to do anything. For whatever reason we have an amazing freedom to do what we want.

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    Default Re: Are we designed or 'meant to' to eat meat?

    I think all this talk of what we were "meant" to do is irrelevant. It seems like a way for meat eaters to defend their meat eating, their way of "doing harm". Man has the intelligence to choose between different ways of eating the way that other animals cannot, and surely decades of healthy vegans have shown that man can choose to live without meat quite happily.

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    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are we designed or 'meant to' to eat meat?

    It seems like a way for meat eaters to defend their meat eating, their way of "doing harm".
    Sure - it shows a lack of real arguments pro eating meat. They look at what some humans did at a certain point in history, and say that we're meant to do the same today, but won't use the same fake arguments to say that we should eg. eat insects or have much shorter lives. I saw a documentary recently saying that 9000 years ago, humans had a life expectancy of circa 24 years only, but have never heard anyone say that we're not 'meant to' become 30 or 60 or 90 years old...
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  31. #31
    Seaside
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    Default Re: Are we designed or 'meant to' to eat meat?

    "People often say that humans have always eaten animals, as if this is a justification for continuing the practice. According to this logic, we should not try to prevent people from murdering other people, since this has also been done since the earliest of times." ~ Isaac Bashevis Singer (author, Nobel 1978)

  32. #32
    Jugurtha
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    Default Re: Are we designed or 'meant to' to eat meat?

    I believe that we are naturally omnivorous, that meat would have made up a small percentage of our diets and that the choice to become a vegan is an ethical one. I concur with Marika5 (above).

    In the first post in this thread Milton R Mills MD says:

    One would expect an omnivore to show anatomical features which equip it to eat both animal and plant foods. According to evolutionary theory, carnivore gut structure is more primitive than herbivorous adaptations. Thus, an omnivore might be expected to be a carnivore which shows some gastrointestinal tract adaptations to an herbivorous diet.
    The devil is in the detail here - note especially the 'might' in the last sentence. Equally, one could propose: an omnivore could be expected to be an herbivore which shows some gastrointestinal tract adaptations to a carnivorous diet (convergent evolution is the principle I'm working by here).

    It's also disingenuous to say that 'carnivore gut structure is more primitive than herbivorous adaptations.' It is simpler simply due to the pressures of natural selection - when somethings works well it doesn't tend to change.

    Bears are more closely related to cats and dogs than humans. The comparison that needed to be drawn is between us and other primates. Any other is specious.

    Humanity's tool usage means we don't need carnivorous teeth and claws.

    There are many debatable points throughout the piece (and the table Korn posted; generalisations...) - I'm not going to go through all of them.

    Please note I am not attacking veganism - I think it is an admirable ethical stance - I am debating sloppy reasoning.

  33. #33
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are we designed or 'meant to' to eat meat?

    Hi Jugurtha, and welcome!

    I believe that we are naturally omnivorous, that meat would have made up a small percentage of our diets and that the choice to become a vegan is an ethical one.
    If meat 'would have' made up a small percentage of human diets (we know that both meat eating and non-meat eating cultures have existed for thousands of years), wouldn't that suggest that you believe that humans were, and not are natural omnivorous?

    Humanity's tool usage means we don't need carnivorous teeth and claws.
    Here are some common definitions of 'natural':

    "Produced or existing in nature; not artificial or manufactured"

    "Occurring in nature"

    "Existing in nature or created by the forces of nature, in contrast to production by man; not made, manufactured, or processed by humans"

    If humans don't have carnivorous teeth and claws, and we need tools in order to kill animals, and man made tools definitely are within the definition of 'culture', and not 'nature', isn't the only logical conclusion (whether we at some point in history were natural omnivorous or not) that we are not natural omnivorous anymore?

    Human evolution started with Australopithecus Afarensis (3-4 million years ago) - and apparently, they were herbivores. 1-2 million years ago Homo Habilis apparently started to include meat in their diet. We know that today, hundreds of millions of people are not eating meat, and this has been going on for thousands of years.

    Our ancestors have had periods where most of them did not eat meat, periods where some/many/most of them ate a least some meat, and today, humans can 'catch', 'kill' and digest plants without tools, but in order to catch and kill animals, we are dependent tools that are 'manufactured' (read: not occurring in nature, but produced by humans = not within the definition of natural)... and therefore not natural omnivorous?

    Some people will say that it's natural to eat meat because we are capable of digesting it. But being capable of doing something doesn't mean that it's natural or that we are 'meant to' do it. There are many vegan bodybuilders out there, they are all capable of beating me up, but let's hope that we agree that this doesn't mean that it's 'natural' for them to do it! Plus - and this is important - if we are natural omnivorous, why is it that...


    Human anatomy is much more similar to herbivores than carnivores.
    Mixed diets of plants and animals promote heart disease, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, and every other major degenerative disease.
    Physical performance is superior on all-plant diets.
    (From Eating meat isn't natural)


    The comparison that needed to be drawn is between us and other primates.
    Frankly, I don't think any comparison is needed at all, because even if someone would prove that some primates would eat other animals, or other members of their own species, that wouldn't mean that you or I should do the same. Plus, why look at another species - we could look at our own, and if even we should follow a philosophy saying that 'it's natural for us to eat what others living beings, similar to us are eating' why not look at humans, living today, and simply acknowledge that there are hundred of millions of humans who don't eat meat - they are more similar to us than primates, so if we need someone similar to us to back something up, look at all the vegetarian humans. They are living, today, they are humans, so all guesswork about what some prehistoric human ate millions of years ago isn't needed. Whatever we did or ate in the past, we know that we have developed into a species that can survive perfectly well without including any meat or other animal products in our diet, so my personal opinion is that we should ignore what some humans may or may not have been doing thousands or millions of years ago. That's what our ancestors, Homo Habilis did when they - unlike their ancestors, Australopithecus Afarensis - included meat in their diet.

    It's normal to mix the term 'natural' with 'normal'. It may have been normal to eat meat ******** years ago, but in a way that's irrelevant: it's normal to eat meat today, so if 'normal' should be a reference, we don't need to look into the past...

    If we would have been 'designed to' eat meat (maybe our ancestors at some point were?), we still need to face the fact that cosnuming meat is associated with a lot of health problems - and many environmental issues (with today's population). In another thread about the same topic, Vagetarian wrote that "In my opinion the most "natural" diet is the one that let's a person survive as long as possible in the environment where he/she lives with the resources of that environment" - which makes a lot of sense, but I'd add a few extra premises: one of them being health. 'As long as possible' isn't always good: I'd rather become 90 years old and have a healthy, happy life, than become 120 and spend the last 30 years in agony. But - it doesn't matter which of these criterions we look at: in both cases, avoiding meat is the best solution, and can a diet that makes humans live shorter and become more ill really be the natural solution?


    That was the long version. Here is the short version:
    Something isn't natural if it needs man made tools, or isn't occurring naturally in nature
    We don't even need to be 'natural' (chairs don't grow on trees either!)
    We don't need to do something even if we are capable of doing it, and this was true for our ancestors too (but some of them may have killed in order to survive)
    The fact that we don't have or need carnivorous teeth and claws (because we can make tools) doesn't mean that it's natural for us to use the tools we can make in order to kill.
    Natural, or 'designed to' is different from 'normal'
    If both humans and animals are more healthy and happy without killing each other, why bother about what may or may not have been natural or necessary for human ancestors living under totally different conditions?



    PS - we also have these threads:
    Was meat-eating essential for human evolution?
    B12: How natural is the vegan diet?
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  34. #34
    Jugurtha
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    Default Re: Are we designed or 'meant to' to eat meat?

    Korn,

    thank you sincerely for your welcome and your comments. There are a few concerns you raise that I would elaborate upon.

    When I said we are naturally omnivorous, I meant over a time scale of millions of years - evolution is not a process that occurs quickly.

    We're an opportunistic species with a remarkable ability to adapt to our circumstances. Chimpanzees (our closest relatives on the planet today) utilise stalks of grass to 'fish' termites out of their mounds. The grass grows - it is a natural resource, but is used as a tool by the chimpanzees. By sitting at the termite mound and catching termites, it means that the chimpanzee expends less energy in amassing nutrients - in particular protein - than it would were it to have to forage over an area, which in turn means that it is more likely in the genealogical stakes to pass on its DNA: survival of the fittest.

    I believe that it's wooly thinking to try to link veganism to our biological ancestory. The firmest ground upon which vegans stand is ethical. Humanity knows enough about nutrition now to not have to rely on animals for protein or products. We don't have to deny where we come from to be where we are.

  35. #35
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are we designed or 'meant to' to eat meat?

    Quote Jugurtha View Post
    When I said we are naturally omnivorous, I meant over a time scale of millions of years - evolution is not a process that occurs quickly.
    While our ancestors may have been natural omnivorous, this doesn't imply that today's humans are.

    There are a few problems associated with such a time span:
    Scientist don't agree in what humans did or how they lived a few million years ago, or if all (vs. most, some) of our ancestors lived they way they did or ate what they did.

    Even if they know that some pre-humans ate eg. fish, this doesn't mean that all our ancestors did: Take a look at these findings, for example.
    My main point is that even if human ancestor may have eaten meat without all the health issues meat eaters experience today, this doesn't mean that humans living today are natural omnivorous, does it?

    We're an opportunistic species with a remarkable ability to adapt to our circumstances.
    ...and we don't have the claws etc. that animals 'designed to' eat meat have, so we obviously aren't naturally equipped to kill other animals (anymore). Since we are not, is it then natural for us to do so?

    Chimpanzees (our closest relatives on the planet today) utilise stalks of grass to 'fish' termites out of their mounds. The grass grows - it is a natural resource, but is used as a tool by the chimpanzees.
    That would suggest that we are capable of eating animals that only needs a stalk of grass to be killed, which raises two questions:
    Is it natural (or 'are we designed') to eat insects, just because we are capable of doing it?
    We don't need to look at termites, we can catch ants with our bare hands, but does this mean that people who think we should to everything are capable of, just because we are capable of doing it, suggests that our ancestor ate insects, or that it's natural for humans to eat termites or ants, or that we should do it? There is no link between 'capable of' and 'natural', but IMO there's a link between 'not capable of' an unnatural.

    By sitting at the termite mound and catching termites, it means that the chimpanzee expends less energy in amassing nutrients - in particular protein - than it would were it to have to forage over an area, which in turn means that it is more likely in the genealogical stakes to pass on its DNA: survival of the fittest.
    We don't need to look at grass, chimpanzees or termites...

    1) I'm not a chimpanzee.
    2) As we all know, getting enough protein without eating termites is not a problem - look here.

    Is it relevant that chimpanzees, who are not humans, are capable of eating termites? I'm a human, I can eat ants without using tools, but does that really tell me anything at all about what's natural for me - eg. that I'm natural omnivorous, or that humans are 'designed to' eat ants? Or to eat meat? A human hand is capable of catching an ant, but are we meant to eat ants? I don't think so.

    I don't think we are meant to make bombs either, in spite of the fact that we have the brains and tools to make them.

    Women have been suppressed by men throughout history - nobody is denying that - but this doesn't mean that it's natural to do it because that's 'where we're coming from'.

    We don't have to deny where we come from to be where we are.
    I don't think anyone is denying that some/many of our ancestors or close relatives have eaten some/a lot of meat - or termites, or even other humans...

    The word 'natural' can be confusing, because while a stone is considered natural, and a nuclear bomb is not, we can also say that it's 'natural' for a person in desperate need for food to do whatever he can to get some nutrients, and there have been many situations throughout history which may have 'forced' humans to kill in order to survive. If I lived 10,000 years ago, was in the middle if a hunger catastrophe, and had a family who was starving, maybe it would feel 'natural' to eg. eat insects, because the only other alternative was death. So, while humans may have learnt to kill and create tools in order to survive, because it was a natural reaction to a specific situation in their life at some point, this doesn't make it 'natural' to kill. There have been incidents of cannibalism among non-cannibals, and all these people involved in these situations may have died if some of them wouldn't have been eating some of the others, but that doesn't make us 'natural cannibals' - it only says something about what humans may do in a life/death emergency situation.

    Of course, a lot more people have been eating meat from non-human animals than from humans throughout history, but this only says something about how common/normal meat eating has been, and tells us nothing about being natural omnivorous or that we are meant to eat meat.

    "History is more or less bunk. " (Henry Ford).

    I wouldn't eat meat even if it could be proven that all other humans - living and dead - were meat eaters... I don't want to, I don't need to, and the animals certainly don't want to become food. Unlike lions, tigers and bears, I'm definitely not designed to kill animals, birds or fish. The idea of killing an animal feels totally un-natural to me.

    It doesn't feel like I'm 'meant to' do it, which is all I need to know - plus: by being a vegan - even if one would be the only one on the planet - in two million years from now, someone could look back and say that the first known case of humans living on a vegan diet was found two million years ago!



    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  36. #36
    frank language's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are we designed or 'meant to' to eat meat?

    Why can't there be some mainstream paper about this; no matter how right-on Neal Barnard is, he's not a "real" doctor like Dr. Mercola! (That is,omnivores complain there are no mainstream voices in our camp, only fringey fanatics like Dr. Spock and John Robbins.)

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GoatBoy
    Why do we need it cooked to stop it from being poisonous?

    Steak tartare isn't poisonous. (Help! call poison control; I just ate steak tartare!)

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    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are we designed or 'meant to' to eat meat?

    Quote frank language View Post
    Why can't there be some mainstream paper about this; no matter how right-on Neal Barnard is, he's not a "real" doctor like Dr. Mercola! (That is,omnivores complain there are no mainstream voices in our camp, only fringey fanatics like Dr. Spock and John Robbins.)
    There are loads of 'real' doctors in' our camp'. What is it with Benjamin Spock and John Robbins that makes them fanatics?
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

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    Default Re: Are we designed or 'meant to' to eat meat?

    I'm just saying that when I've cited them and quoted [John Robbins or Dr. Spock, for instance], people want to know why it wasn't the top story on ABC News. Instead the top story ends up being toxic spinach, and the newspeople conveniently downplay that the source of contamination was runoff from animal agriculture.

    The world isn't ready for vegans; it may be trendy to be a vegan, but it's too extreme a "lifestyle choice" for most people. And in truth, any progress we're making is "too little, too late;" the environment is going to hell in spite of stopgap measures like importing less bottled water from Fiji and filtering tap water instead.

    Life expectancy continues to rise, no matter what people eat. And last I looked, even the Bubonic Plague has only temporarily slowed world population growth.

  39. #39
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are we designed or 'meant to' to eat meat?

    What you describe reminds a bit of how the US (and other) governments are elected: it's very hard to get a lot of support and media coverage if you represent a small political party, which means that people have to decide if they're going to give up their opinions and vote for a bigger party, or if they're going to be stubborn (in a positive sense) and keep believing in what they believe in.

    Lots of stuff that's 'big' now only caught interest by a small minority at some point. Rock. Interest in environmental issues. Internet. Christianity, Buddhism.... the list is long.

    The reason that vegan issues aren't the top stories in media is because media is controlled both by the desire to get a lot of viewers/readers, and because the representation of vegans working in media probably is the same as in the rest of the world.

    Frankly, I don't think you're improving this situation much by saying that the only vegan doctors you mention are 'fringey fanatics', or claim nonsense like 'you can only be a member of the forums if you agree with everyone else' or describe other vegans as 'weird obsessive-compulsive people'. From the outside, it looks like you're not improving the situation re. progress for vegan viewpoint at all...

    Vegan doctors are fringey fanatics because they're not the top stories on ABC news? Maybe I just don't understand what you are trying to say.

    Back to the request for a 'mianstream paper' - are you looking or stuff like this (see below)?

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/en...&dopt=Abstract

    It is the position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada that appropriately planned vegetarian diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Approximately 2.5% of adults in the United States and 4% of adults in Canada follow vegetarian diets. A vegetarian diet is defined as one that does not include meat, fish, or fowl. Interest in vegetarianism appears to be increasing, with many restaurants and college foodservices offering vegetarian meals routinely. Substantial growth in sales of foods attractive to vegetarians has occurred and these foods appear in many supermarkets. This position paper reviews the current scientific data related to key nutrients for vegetarians including protein, iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin D, riboflavin, vitamin B-12, vitamin A, n-3 fatty acids, and iodine. A vegetarian, including vegan, diet can meet current recommendations for all of these nutrients. In some cases, use of fortified foods or supplements can be helpful in meeting recommendations for individual nutrients. Well-planned vegan and other types of vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of the life-cycle including during pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence. Vegetarian diets offer a number of nutritional benefits including lower levels of saturated fat, cholesterol, and animal protein as well as higher levels of carbohydrates, fibre, magnesium, potassium, folate, antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, and phytochemicals. Vegetarians have been reported to have lower body mass indices than non-vegetarians, as well as lower rates of death from ischemic heart disease, lower blood cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and prostate and colon cancer. While a number of federally funded and institutional feeding programs can accommodate vegetarians, few have foods suitable for vegans at this time. Because of the variability of dietary practices among vegetarians, individual assessment of dietary intakes of vegetarians is required. Dietetics professionals have a responsibility to support and encourage those who express an interest in consuming a vegetarian diet. They can play key roles in educating vegetarian clients about food sources of specific nutrients, food purchase and preparation, and any dietary modifications that may be necessary to meet individual needs. Menu planning for vegetarians can be simplified by use of a food guide that specifies food groups and serving sizes.
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  40. #40
    Mahk
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    Default Re: Are we designed or 'meant to' to eat meat?

    Quote frank language View Post
    Why can't there be some mainstream paper about this; no matter how right-on Neal Barnard is, he's not a "real" doctor like Dr. Mercola! (That is,omnivores complain there are no mainstream voices in our camp, only fringey fanatics like Dr. Spock and John Robbins.)
    I'm not exactly sure what you mean here frank language, but Dr. Neal Barnard, M.D. is very much a real doctor. He may not be as well know as the anti-vegan Dr. Mercola you mentioned, because he doesn't shamelessly self promote himself with a cult-like, 3-times-a-week newsletter of propaganda. He also doesn't launch fake members to our forum who are actually spammers sent to plant enticing come-ons to lure people to his snake-oil merchandising site (which has received reprimands from the FDA). Korn warned us of this behavior in another thread, recently.* I'd also in no way call him a "mainstream voice" in the medical community, he's actually quite the opposite. His number of beliefs that go against mainstream science and medicine could easily fill an entire book, but just to give you a small sampling of some of his claims:

    -vaccinations are bad
    -magnets cure disease
    -pasteurized milk causes autism in kids
    -we should eat 5 raw egg yolks a day and not worry about salmonella/cholesterol
    -fluoridation of water is evil...

    We have an entire thread on Dr. Mercola's antics here.

    *[Korn, is this a common ploy?]

  41. #41
    cobweb
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    Default Re: Are we designed or 'meant to' to eat meat?

    Frank Language I'm sorry for you that see us all as weird, it must be terribly hard for being a vegan as you have such a low opinion of vegans/veganism.

    I see 2 real, bona-fide, medical doctors quite regularly who would love for all their patients to become vegans. They are impressed at my low blood pressure and high levels of iron and b-vits, even though I am over my ideal weight. They are not 'flaky' vegans but they see the 'diet' part of veganism as being the optimal way of eating - if done properly of course with a good nutritional balance .

  42. #42
    frank language's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are we designed or 'meant to' to eat meat?

    Now, I cited Dr. Mercola because he's a bigger quack than most--and therefore an easy target.
    Quote Mahk View Post
    His number of beliefs that go against mainstream science and medicine could easily fill an entire book, but just to give you a small sampling of some of his claims:

    -vaccinations are bad...
    -fluoridation of water is evil...
    I'm inclined to agree with these; vaccinations are overused--as are antibiotics--and fluoridation of water can cause serious health problems, as cited in this link (not affiliated with Dr. Mercola.)

    Quote cobweb;
    I see 2 real, bona-fide, medical doctors quite regularly who would love for all their patients to become vegans. They are impressed at my low blood pressure and high levels of iron and b-vits, even though I am over my ideal weight. They are not 'flaky' vegans but they see the 'diet' part of veganism as being the optimal way of eating - if done properly of course with a good nutritional balance
    To address cobweb's comment: I'm sorry if you see my remarks as self-deprecating; I'm really parroting the way "normal" people see vegans. (The people who "don't eat anything.") I also see doctors who congratulate me for lowering my cholesterol so radically in such a short period of time, and for losing weight, although they'd never dream of giving up dairy products, which my GP insists are "a good source of protein and calcium."

    Since I'm not ache-and-pain-free, no one who knows me feels my lifestyle is worth trying. And most people I've ever met say, "I could never be a vegan because..." [fill in the blank.] It's too extreme for most people, that's all--no right or wrong--and the "step-on-a-crack, break-your-mother's-back" vegans are a real turnoff to "normal" people, where their guidelines for living start looking like superstition. I've been accused more than once of veganism being my "religion."

  43. #43
    Abe Froman Risker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are we designed or 'meant to' to eat meat?

    Quote John View Post
    The thing that is so unique about human beings is that we are not "meant" to do anything. For whatever reason we have an amazing freedom to do what we want.
    In my opinion nothing was either designed or 'meant' to do anything, otherwise we would all have a purpose and an overall goal - I suppose this constitutes a religious comment but thats the fault of the thread title.
    "I don't want to live on this planet any more" - Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth

  44. #44
    Mahk
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    Default Re: Are we designed or 'meant to' to eat meat?

    Quote frank language View Post
    --and fluoridation of water can cause serious health problems, as cited in this link (not affiliated with Dr. Mercola.)
    Thanks, but over a third of those hyperlinks on that link merely link back to a different page of the same site! That's like giving yourself as a reference on your resume. The other "facts" are addressed well by the last link I give in our fluoride thread. Any further discussion on fluoride should probably be carried over to there.

    Also, I think I kind of get your point now, at least better than before, that people tend to lump us together with freegans, extremists, etc. But it doesn't matter what other people think of us, what matters is how we think about ourselves.

    I hope you feel better and have less aches and pain.

  45. #45
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are we designed or 'meant to' to eat meat?

    Since I'm not ache-and-pain-free, no one who knows me feels my lifestyle is worth trying.
    Although many (non-vegan) doctors recommend people eg. with arthritis staying away from animal products, they misunderstood something very basic if they think that veganism is a cure-all diet for all kinds pains and ahce. 'The vegan lifestyle isn't worth trying unless it cures all kinds of ache and pain'... Never heard that one.

    And most people I've ever met say, "I could never be a vegan because..." [fill in the blank.] It's too extreme for most people
    You keep posting quotes from most people as if you agree with them... wouldn't it better if - if YOU think veganism is 'too extreme' for most people - that you explain us why you think so? And, if you are only referring to that they assume that it's too extreme for them (which they of course do, based on how media presents veganism etc) please write that you think they believe it's too extreme for them. Eating vegan isn't more extreme than eating a standard diet, but it's less normal - simply because there are less vegans than non-vegans.
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  46. #46
    cobweb
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    Default Re: Are we designed or 'meant to' to eat meat?

    I don't even think it's particularly true nowadays, lots of people are leaning more towards veganism, it's becoming a lot more 'mainstream' (thank goodness).

  47. #47
    Tibetan Snake's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are we designed or 'meant to' to eat meat?

    Also, I think I kind of get your point now, at least better than before, that people tend to lump us together with freegans, extremists, etc. But it doesn't matter what other people think of us, what matters is how we think about ourselves.

    I hope you feel better and have less aches and pain.

    my folks thourt that Veganisam was just a phase I'd come out of in 1985, the only way to knowingly come out of it for me is to sees my beating heart,
    My father had crippling Gout, took pills still had it, stoped eating all meat and hay no Gout and no pills. His docktor had never neard of such a thing in all his years as a GP. Not eating meat is a fact in his Gout free life now. My father that is not his GP.
    As for should we or shouldn't we? we can be lasy and will eat what ever is closest to us and takes the least enagy to get untill we get realy realy nafft off with eating it and go and get something els, untill we became Agreculturilists ( not that long aog ) and dominated our environment and stoped the need to be GATHERERS and hunters.
    The closest beeing to us is the Gorilla and if it weren't for some of our speeces then they wouldn't be dooing to badly, as Vegans.
    My feet realy hurt ( bad shoose for to meany years ) My trigger finger realy hurts ( lack of use ) My back realy hurts ( T1 and T2 are realy close together ) haveing to move things that way 500kg on shitty shopping trolly wheels for to meny years, bending twisting lifting pushing pulling. I won't go on...............
    DON'T BEEMOAN THE DARKNESS LIGHT A CANDLE AND SHOW THE WAY.

  48. #48
    frank language's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are we designed or 'meant to' to eat meat?

    Quote Tibetan Snake View Post
    My father had crippling Gout, took pills still had it, stoped eating all meat and hay no Gout and no pills. His docktor had never neard of such a thing in all his years as a GP. Not eating meat is a fact in his Gout free life now. My father that is not his GP.
    Most people with gout are just told to "limit" the amount of meat they eat, or the kinds of meat. Gout is a form of arthritis (sometimes called "gouty arthritis") caused by the formation of uric acid crystals in the joints. Sufferers are told to avoid foods high in purines (a lot of which are meat and animal products) but never told they'd feel better if they abstained from all meat.

    Congratulations to your father that he found the way!

  49. #49
    Tibetan Snake's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are we designed or 'meant to' to eat meat?

    Hoorah
    DON'T BEEMOAN THE DARK. LIGHT A CANDLE AND SHOW THE WAY.

  50. #50
    VeggieFrank
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    Default Re: Are we designed or 'meant to' to eat meat?

    i take issue with this black and white argumentation. the basic premise here seems to be, if we're omnivore, we should eat an omnivore diet, but if we're herbivore, an herbivorous diet is what we should consume.

    while i understand the reasoning from, perhaps, a health or a philosophical perspective, it adds nothing to the pro-vegetarian arguments of doing the least harm to other creatures and the environment (and ultimately oneself.)

    these, in my opinion, supersede.

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