Picture Source: Mercy For Animals
“When you actually look at the way our digestive systems are constructed, we have the anatomy and the physiology of a strict plant eater or herbivore. We don’t have any adaptations in our digestive system or in our physiology that is adapted to eating or consuming animal flesh. And that’s why we can’t consume animal flesh without the aid of technology. But when you look at the jaw structure, jaw mechanics, our esophagus, our stomach and the length of our intestines, it’s clear that we have the anatomy of a committed herbivore.”
The quote above comes from Dr. Milton Mills, an internal medicine physician who, in the video below, explains that human beings aren’t really built to digest meat, or, at the very least, they have a choice. More and more research is pointing towards the benefits of consuming a plant-based diet.
“Studies are confirming the health benefits of meat-free eating. Nowadays, plant-based eating is recognized as not only nutritionally sufficient but also as a way to reduce the risk for many chronic illnesses.” – Harvard Medical School (source)
Instantaneously, the title of this article alone will receive instant backlash, and that’s normal. We’ve literally been brainwashed into the idea that our body requires meat to survive, and this just simply isn’t true. The science actually points to the fact that meat is simply a choice, and like milk, our body actually has to adapt to be able to digest it. We lose enzymes that are used to digest protein from meat and fat if we don’t eat meat for a while. If one went vegan for a year and chose to eat meat again, it would sit in the stomach a little longer because the body has to put the necessary mechanisms into place in order to try to digest it.
An article by Rob Dunn written for Scientific American by titled “Human Ancestors Were Nearly All Vegetarians“, goes into great detail about this issue, from an evolutionary perspective, brining up multiple details and points about how our guts might be evolved to stick to a vegetarian diet.
Whether you subscribe to the theory of evolution, or creationism, a bit of both, or anything else it, is irrelevant to this article. This article does not go into these complexities as that is an entirely different subject, with lots of information, examination and factors to consider.
The belief that our ancestors exclusively consumed meat is false, and a great example of how many can believe a theory, or have a belief system and accept it as absolute fact when there is evidence to the contrary.
The majority of the food eaten by primates is plant-based, not animal, and there is research suggesting that it’s been that way for a long time. Our ancestors were clearly not the meat-eating caveman that they are so often portrayed to be, and even if they did eat meat, that doesn’t mean that we are genetically wired to do the same.
“It’s difficult to comment on ‘the best diet’ for modern humans because there have been and are so many different yet successful diets in our species. Because some hunter-gatherer society obtained most of their dietary energy from wild animal fat and protein does not imply that this is the ideal diet for modern humans, nor does it imply that modern humans have genetic adaptations to such diets.” – Katherine Milton, anthropologist at the University of California, Berkeley (source)
And just to reiterate, human beings could be a completely separate species from those who theorize we are the product of evolution. Evidence from various disciplines clearly suggests that there is much more to the story and the origins of humanity that we’ve been told, taught, or discovered.
“I want to convey to my fellow physicians that food truly is medicine and that a great body of evidence supports using a whole-food plant-based diet for the prevention and treatment of our leading chronic diseases. I also hope to dispel common nutrition myths and teach basic, practical nutrition counseling skills for use in the primary care setting. It’s important to acknowledge that many physicians themselves do not practice healthy lifestyle habits, from diet to exercise to stress reduction. It would serve our patients well for more of us to become role models of health, but even if we cannot, we still have a responsibility to counsel our patients on the lifesaving tools of nutrition and lifestyle change. Most of our patients trust our advice.” Michelle McMacken, internal medicine physician, Assistant Professor of Medicine, NYU School of Medicine Director, Bellevue Hospital Weight Management Clinic (source)
You can read more about her here.
Here are some related CE Articles for you to check out to further your research, if interested:
Everything You Need To Know About Getting Your Protein From Plants
9 Things That Happen When You Stop Eating Meat
Were Those Who Roamed The Earth Before US Nearly All Vegetarian?
By the way, this isn’t vegan “propaganda.” We have a tendency to label things, and emotional react to things which takes us away from focusing strictly on the information. These days, information from all fields are bound to conflict with multiple belief systems we all hold, an open mind can serve us well!
That being said, here’s another great quote,
“Veganism is a very fine form of nutrition. It’s a little extreme to tell a person who is using flesh foods that you’re going to take everything entirely away from them. When I was in practice in medicine, I would tell the patients that the vegetable based diet was the healthy way to go, and to keep away from the animal products as much as possible. People are very sensitive about what they eat. You can talk to people about exercising relaxation, good mental attitude and they will accept that. But you talk to them about what they are eating and people are very sensitive about that. If an individual is willing to listen, I will try to explain to them on a scientific basis of how I think it’s better for them.” – Dr. Ellsworth Wareham
Video Source: Mercy For Animals