After the recent WHO declaration that red and processed meats cause cancer, people say to me: “Humans have been eating meat for thousands of years. So why can’t I have a burger once in awhile?” Well, other than that being an ‘appeal to tradition’ fallacy, I’m not that interested in what humans have done in the past. I’m interested in what is the healthiest diet for humans while minimizing the impact to animals and environment. And the diet that covers all three happens to be a 100% plant-based diet (vegan).
Okinawans live very long lives. They eat 96% plants and 4% animal products. “So hey Will, why are you oblivious to or ignoring this fact and why are you against eating animals? You know like say 5% of your diet.”
Well there are few reasons. In this video below by Dr. Greger there are people who live even longer than Okinawans. The Adventist vegetarians in California eat 100% plant-based. So going that final few yards to 100% seems to be worth it not just for health and other reasons as well.
Our biology doesn’t seem suited to eating animals. We have more amylase enzyme for digesting starches, weaker stomach acid for digesting flesh, longer intestines and more. The fact that we get so sick from eating animals makes perfect sense to me. Instinctively we don’t look at animals as prey that we want to hunt down and eat with our bare hands. Instead we go to the supermarket and get a shrink-wrapped product, take it home and cover it with barbecue sauce (from plants by the way). See this chart I recently posted: http://www.werone.co/images/05_Humans_Are_Frugivores_750.jpg
With 7+ billion people (and growing), eating even this smaller percentage of animals that would still be billions of animals (land and sea) every year being killed. Most land animals live horrible lives in confinement and then are killed after a few short months. Many sea animals are swept up in the nets and are pulled out of the water to suffocate. I’m happy knowing animals don’t have to suffer for my dinner plate.
Raising even this many animals requires insane amount of forests to be clearcut (for grass fed), water usage, waste and methane production. Lots of other animals are killed as they are seen as ‘competition’ eg. wolves, bears, coyotes, etc. More facts about animal agriculture can be found at www.cowspiracy.com/facts
On a practical note, it’s hard for most people to practice moderation. If you’re only going to eat a few percent of your daily calories from animals why not go 100%? I love the food I eat now and have no desire whatsoever to eat animals. I’m not depriving myself of anything. I think it’s easier to go 100% than say 95% as you keep all your unhealthy habits from being removed for good and it’s easy to let this expand to 10% and more.
I find it really interesting that when people find out that something is this unhealthy (like the red/processed meat causes cancer finding) to eat they just want to cut back, as opposed to say cutting our cigarettes and avoiding asbestos. Would those people let their kids have a few cigarettes and day and only spend a couple hours in an asbestos-laden school building? But for some reason it’s okay to do this with cancer-causing foods (not to mention heart disease and diabetes inducing as well). Those addictions and habits are strong!
So believe me when I say that I’ve given this a tremendous amount of thought on many levels. It all seems so clear and logical to me. I hope one day you will all agree with me.