Meat is a major part of our diet. With animal right activist groups being a hot topic in the media recently, many groups have been publicly shaming those who eat meat. Now I’m not one to feel guilty about eating meat. I never have or never will; it’s just how I was raised. But I understand that there are many people who are on the fence about whether or not they should consume meat, who are getting sucked in by absurd campaigns by groups like PETA, or who feel ashamed/guilty about eating meat. So when Katie from On the Banks of Squaw Creek wrote a list of ‘8 Things to Keep in Mind for Guilt Free Meat Eating” and was looking for bloggers to write posts for each of the 8 topics I knew I had to participate! Below is the list as well as the links to the posts for each topic. My post for #2 Eating Meat Made Us Smarter starts down below the picture.
8 Things to Keep in Mind for Guilt Free Meat Eating.
1. We’ve been eating meat for 1.5 million years. Home Again Finnegan
2. Eating meat made us smarter. (See below.)
3. We were born to eat meat. Corn, Beans, Pigs and Kids
4. Meat provides us with nutrients we can’t easily get elsewhere. Farm Girl Facts of Life
5. Farms are lowering their carbon footprint. My Other More Exciting Self
6. 96% of farms are family farms. Kansas Cattle Ranch
7. Farm animals are not the same as pets. Kellie for Ag
8. Bacon, steak, and thanksgiving. On the Banks of Squaw Creek
Raw vegan, vegetarian, Paleo diets have gained quite popularity in the recent years. Along with this brought an anti-meat and anti-farming outbreak. All of a sudden those who farm and eat meat are known as evil and murderers. But they shouldn’t be quick to judge; research shows that some 2 billion years ago our ancestors evolved to start eating meat. Once they started eating meat literally made us smarter, it allowed more energy to go towards the brain and evolution rather than digesting food. Let me explain further…
Now I don’t believe that all vegan, vegetarians, etc. think this way, but there is a portion that does. Although it is an individual’s choice on what diet they chose I truly believe they are lacking the proteins and vitamins that come along with eating meat, which cannot be replaced no matter how many vitamins, supplements, or meat substitutes they ingest. These nutrients are a major reason why meat made is smarter.Yes, there is an obesity epidemic is the US, but this has nothing to do with eating meat. That has to with lack of exercise, large portions, and poor dietary choices (unbalanced diet).
Before evolving to eat meat, humans relied solely on a diet of fruits and vegetables that they could scavenge. Our ancestors had to consume copious amounts to attempt to fulfill their energy needs. Fruits and veggies are very good for you, but are not high in calories, fats, and proteins. This is why they make great side dishes, they give you the vitamins you need while the main meat dish gives you your energy needs. Think of it this way: everyone’s heard that celery has negative calories. Meaning by the time you eat and digest it, it took more calories to do so than what you get from the food. There are many more fruits and vegetables that are ‘zero/negative’ calories. Now think if you only had fruits and vegetables to consume and remember this is 2.3 billion years ago. Everything was manual labor; there were no cars, no heat, etc. You would have to constantly be eating to attempt to keep up with your energy needs. Which is why previous to eating meat our brains were small and our bellies we big – because all of the energy was focused in our midsection rather than in our brain.
This quote from Kurt Friese describes this evolution perfectly: “humans are designed to be omnivores: we have eyes in the front of our heads (not the sides), large teeth, keen eyes and a digestive system that can handle it. We are predators, not prey. After all, when mankind crossed the Bering Straits we were not chasing the mushroom, we were chasing the mastodon.” As the quote stated humans are designed to be omnivores, therefore fruits and vegetables are still a vital part of our diet. They are a necessary addition to a meal, and go great paired with a nice, juicy steak!
As meat became regular in our ancestors diets it allowed for more evolution. As pointed out in an article published by NPR. They became smarter with larger brains and began to develop more modern ways. The two most important: fire and tools. Fire allowed for heat and for food too be cooked. Cooking the food changes the chemical composition allowing for the release of more nutrients in most cases. Heat also allowed for easier digestion of foods because it breaks down a lot of the fibers and muscles in the meat. It also allowed for a somewhat more sanitary diet, since previous to fire all meat was consumed raw and heat potentially killed pathogens on the meat. Tools allowed our ancestors to kill their prey easier as well as butcher it. This is noted by tool marks on animal carcasses rather than teeth marks. Tools also helped in other ways in day-to-day life.
Our jaws and teeth have evolved over time as well. Teeth were larger and more flat billions of years ago due to a plant-based diet. Once we started eating meat teeth became more pointed to allow for chewing through tough meat and ripping it from the bones. A lot of evolution has gone into the size and shape of the teeth and jaw. Today we have a nice balanced smile, including some flat teeth for grinding and pointier teeth for biting into tougher foods.
Now I recognize that everyone has the right to their own opinion. But people need to realize that other people’s opinions are going to differ from their own. People should not be attacked for eating meat or raising animals for slaughter. It’s part of life, it’s part of evolution, and it’s part of a well-balanced diet. Farmers are just doing their job, they are doing the best they can to work quickly and efficiently to provide the world with both meat AND vegetables (and fruit). Remember no farmers = no food (of any kind).