For as long as I can remember, it has been a trend to mock vegans and vegetarians as being tree-hugging, weirdos who lack the nutrients from meat to think rationally. But recently, documentaries like What the Health, Forks Over Knives, and Food choices have been flooding media outlets, like Netflix and Hulu, and showing promise for a changing culture.
I personally feel these documentaries do a pretty decent job of explaining the health benefits of a plant based diet, as well as the economical and ethical hazards of such industries, within the small amount of time human beings allot for their attention span. However, like most things in life, I feel this topic could be stripped down to its biological basics and examined in a much simpler way.
Humans all too often lose sight of the fact that we, too, are simply animals. We are not magical creatures with no correlation to the rest of the animal kingdom or with our very own special rules. We are simply another species on this planet. Whether you believe a higher power created you, or billions of years of evolution sculpting you into the amazing specimen you are today, your biology is of no accident.
Humans tend to be incredibly egotistical in thinking they can out maneuver their God, evolution, Mother Nature, whatever you want to call it, and live within their own set of rules. And, why not? There will always be someone there getting paid to tape them back together when they inevitably fall apart. All too often nutritionists, doctors, or any other kind of health specialist, try to solve our symptoms instead of preventing the disease. There is a reason why humans have a cornucopia of crazy diseases unlike anything seen in wild animals and that’s because we live outside the intentions of our biology unlike anything else in nature.
Studying human biology without studying evolutionary biology is like trying to understand how a finger functions without understanding it’s attached to a hand, arm or body. Perhaps it’s because I’ve studied animals my entire life that this concept seems so clear to me. There are no other species on the planet that are constantly sick the way humans are. The only animals that come close are those that live in close proximity to humans and share similar foods. If that’s not proof enough that we are spitting all over the masterpiece that is our own creation, I don’t know what is.
One doesn’t have to look much further than understanding the differences in the anatomy/physiology of carnivores, omnivores, and frugivores, to understand what a human diet is supposed to consist of to be healthy. Maybe people who argue against vegan or vegetarianism argue that humans aren’t herbivores either. However, let’s just make it clear that no vegan or vegetarian is arguing that we are that either. A herbivore is an animal who grazes and has a very different biology than our own as well. But frugivores are animals, such as the great apes and humans, built to live MOSTLY on fruits, nuts, vegetables, and seeds.
In brief, humans do not have the teeth, jaw, stomach, digestive track, salivary glands, or the enzyme uricase to break down the toxins inside flesh the way carnivores and omnivores do. Meat is naturally toxic for all animals because of its decaying process. However, carnivores are equipped with short digestive tracks (much shorter than humans), acidic saliva and gastric juices, and extremely large liver and kidneys, built to quickly break down the toxic meat and rid it of the body before going rancid.
A human digestive tract is substantially longer than both a carnivore and an omnivore, but indeed quite smaller than a herbivore. A human stomach is also more equipped for absorbing more nutrients than both omnivores and carnivores by holding our food in the stomach longer. Because food stays longer in our stomach, meat is then allowed to decay before being expelled from our body. It takes a tremendous strain on the much smaller human liver and kidneys to try and eliminate meat waste, in addition to the poisonous amount of time the meat takes to pass through the body.
Probably the most impactful piece of information for many humans is to understand that all other meat eating species produce an enzyme called uricase that breaks down the toxic uric acid in meat. Humans (along with all other frugivores) do not make this enzyme. Which means we absorb those toxins after consuming meat, leading to its build up and the cause of arthritis, osteoporosis, rheumatism, gout, bursitis and other avoidable and painful illnesses. Some scientist’s hypothesis that there is some greater evolutionary reason for frugivores losing this enzyme, but in my humble opinion these theories are incredibly outlandish and reaching.
Everything about our human anatomy screams gatherer. Our long arms and rotating joints for reaching, swinging and other flexible movement. Our fingers and thumbs for grasping and picking. Our far inferior strength to most animals our size or larger. Our human body is not built to run fast enough to catch prey or equipped with bodily weapons to kill and devour as indicative of other predators. Our ability to eat meat gives us an evolutionary step up to those animals that can only survive on either meat or plants. In harsh climates, we will be able to survive on meat if we need to. But, surviving isn’t thriving. And history has shown us time and time again that human health increases when the consumption of meat decreases.
Most of us in America are not in a survival situation anyways. If you are, eat meat! But if you have the time and resources to read this blog, chances are you are not in a survival circumstance and do have access to the foods you were meant for. So, stop asking people to feel sorry for you when you get sick 3+ times a year and think that is normal. Or hooked on copious amounts of medications because you are too bullheaded to change your habits. Stop being frugal with the fruits and veggies your body desperately needs, and you will start living the healthy life your body was made for.
(picture from above is from the below site.)
Humans are designed to eat mostly fruit. We’re frugivores, just like monkeys and chimps. We have the same physiology, the same stomach acidity, the same tooth structure, the same sweat glands, etc. The evidence that shows we humans are primarily fruit eaters is so overwhelming, that it just goes to show how influential our educational indoctrination truly is.