Have humans really been designed to eat meat or is meat-eating something that rather derives from family habits and cultural traditions? That’s the issue Marta Zaraska discusses in her book saying that human beings were never supposed to be carnivores at all. In fact, her thesis becomes even more explosive facing the increasing demand for meat not only in North America and Europe but much more in Asia and especially in China where meat consumption has even quadrupled since 1980. The good news is that craving for meat could soon be resolved by offering a plant-based meat alternative instead which is not only a great but also a much more healthier option that animal-based meat.
“I encounter claims that humans were designed to eat meat — that it’s in our genes, that we have teeth made for eating meat, that we need meat to get all the right nutrients — all the time in casual conversation and in media in stronger and weakerversions.
In Meathooked: The History and Science of Our 2.5-Million-Year Obsession with Meat, science writer Marta Zaraska does a great job of exposing these claims as myths.
Vegetarian animals ranging from gorillas to water deer, she reports, have bigger, sharper canines than we do; our canines aren’t specially meant for processing meat. What we lack dentally is more important, in fact, than what we have. Gently open a (calm) dog’s jaw, and there at the back will be the carnassial teeth, “blade-like and sharp and perfect for slicing meat.” Lions and tigers, racoons and house cats — all carnivores — have them too. We don’t.
All the high-quality amino acid proteins we require are readily available in plants, Zaraska says, listing soy, buckwheat, quinoa and potatoes as examples.
Neal Barnard of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine even notes that when people switch from meat-eating to plant-eating, their intake of vitamins and other nutrients improves.
True, vitamin B-12 is an exception: It’s found only in meat, eggs and dairy. Vegetarians, then, still do fine (because of the eggs and dairy); vegans need to eat foods fortified with B-12 or take a supplement.
Meat isn’t necessary to keep us healthy.
Zaraska wrote Meathooked primarily to discover why humans across the world crave meat. Factors of biology, including certain genetic predispositions and culture, ranging from family habits and cultural traditions to the sexual politics of meat as explained by Carol J. Adams, all play a role, she says.
I think the meat-myth-busting, too, is a central contribution of the book — and I’d like to take it even further.
Zaraska raves about the fake meat she samples in the Netherlands (“succulent … rich in flavors”) and recommends that we all eat vegetables, legumes, fruits and grains rather than meat from animals. But a set of statistics laid out right at the start of the book frames her entire discussion in a grim way.”
Read the full article at npr.org!