Nowadays, despite (or maybe because of) the tremendous flow of information we have access too, many people still believe in myths that have been around for years and years. Because what we believe has a huge impact on the way we behave and on the choice we make in our everyday life, it is important to debunk some myths that might cause us to make wrong choices due to a lack of awareness. Here is one of those myths:
Human Beings Need To Eat Meat
The irony is that many of us still think we must eat animal products in order to have balanced diets and be healthy. We still think heart attacks and high blood pressure are regrettable but more or less inevitable byproducts that come with living well and growing old. We think that the best we can do for heart attacks is to take cholesterol-lowering drugs, and that the best we can do for high blood pressure is take medication to bring it under control. These illnesses have become so much a part of the American scene as to virtually be institutions. We don’t realize to what extent our destinies lie in our own hands, and on our own plates. We don’t realize how powerfully and inexoraby our food choices lead us toward or away from these afflictions. – John Robbins, The Food Revolution
If you were asked whether human beings are carnivores or not, you would probably answer yes, they are. Or at least you would say that human beings are omnivore. However if we take a close look at our anatomy, it is actually similar to the anatomy of herbivores. (for more information see Steve Pavlina’s article Are Humans Carnivores or Herbivores?).
There are usually two main reasons to explain why we are eating meat:
- Because we like it
- Because we need meat to stay healthy
However, it is not true to say that we need meat to be healthy. Actually, researches show that vegetarians are healthier and live longer than people who eat meat.
Now some people scoff at vegetarians, but they have only 40 percent of our cancer rate. They outlive us. On average they outlive other men by about six years now. – William Castelli, M.D., Director, Framingham Health Study, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Nowadays, there are many ways we can substitute meat in our diet and I believe there will be more and more coming in the future. Once we realize that the second reason “we need meat to stay healthy” is actually a lie, we are only left with one reason: because we like the taste of meat. Then, the question we should logically ask ourselves is: “Does my love for meat exceed the consequences of eating meat?” It’s a question only you have the answer to.
Here are some consequences you might want to consider:
- Eating meat has a negative impact on your health. “Researchers have found that the likelihood of a vegetarian reaching the age of 80 is 1.8 times greater than that of the general population – even after adjusting for smoking. And cancer rates for vegetarians are 25 to 50 percent less than those of the general population – even after controlling for smoking, body mass index, and socioeconomic status.” – John Robbins, The Food Revolution
- Eating meat has a negative impact on the environment. By the way, if you are someone who cares for the environment, stop eating meat is the best thing you can do for the environment. “The FAO concludes that overall, livestock production is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, a bigger share than all the SUVs, cars, trucks, buses, trains, ships, an planes in the world combined”. – John Robbins, The Food Revolution
- Billions of animals are killed every year to satisfy consumer’s need. In order to increase productivity and meet consumer’s increasing demand, animals are living under harsher and harsher conditions.
Some people are offended because in some countries there is a custom of eating dog meat. I would say why not? Many people consider pigs smarter than dogs but eating pigs is still considered normal. Why? Because they are not as loyal as dogs? Or because they are not as cute as dogs? Because their meat tastes better? It doesn’t really make sense. (9 Ways Pigs Are Smarter Than Your Honor Student)
Peer Pressure – Everybody Does It
Most of us have been used to eat meat since our childhood and meat has become a part of our daily life. It is very difficult to accept the truth that we actually don’t need to eat meat at all. It is far easier to close our eyes and pretend not to know, or just to refuse to acknowledge the truth and enjoy delicious meat. Even if you believe you should not be eating meat, the peer pressure such as the way your friends, family, colleagues, the society perceive vegetarians, the fact that a large majority of people consume meat or the way being vegetarian could affect your relationships, will definitely give you the excuse you need to close your eyes and ignore the truth while enjoying your steak.
A Little Story Where You Are The Hero
Here is what I’ve been asking myself recently while trying out vegetarianism to see how honest I was with myself:
You are living in a farm where you have access to any kind of food you want. Nobody around you is a meat eater. Knowing that meat is not necessary and a vegetarian diet is healthier, what do you do? Do you go and kill animals yourself to eat their meat just for the taste? If you answer no and you are actually eating meat it means you are
1) An hypocrite not being honest with yourself
2) Lacking courage to face peer pressure and stop eating meat
Whether I like it or not this is the truth. What about you? What is your truth? How would you answer to that question?
After two weeks of vegetarianism I’ve been thinking of what I should do next. Knowing what I’ve just shared with you in that article, my mind is still trying to come up with many reasons why I should keep eating meat. It doesn’t want to see the truth. And it’s much more easier to eat meat in a society where a large majority of the population eat meat. Meat is available everywhere, everybody eats meat and I like it so why not? I’m pretty sure that as you are reading this article, you too are coming with thousand of reasons why eating meat is okay, why what I’m saying in this article is total bullshit. Everybody is eating meat anyway right? So what’s wrong with that?
Now, let’s just now imagine that 99% of the population where vegetarians. What would you do?
What People From the Future could say about us
I sometimes think about what would someone from the future say about us. I won’t be surprised if he said something like “In the 21st century people were savages. They were killing animals by billions while they perfectly knew that they could go without meat, and that it would even be healthier for them. They knew it was an environmental disaster too. It really doesn’t make sense to me why they would do that. They invented all those incredible technologies like the Internet that revolutionized the whole world but they were still acting like savages.”
It might not be a good comparison, but I believe that they could see us as we now see people who were living when the slavery still existed. It is very hard for us to understand how people at that time could tolerate slavery. People were as smart as we are now. It doesn’t make sense. Why would they do that?
Recently, I was happy to find that quotes from Leonardo da Vinci proving that he is as smart as me 🙂
I have from an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men such as I will look on the murder of animals as they now look on the murder of men. – Leonardo da Vinci
Everything we do, say or eat as an impact on our environment. Living consciously means increasing our awareness and taking full responsibility for our actions. It is never an easy path and most of us would rather stay in the darkness than accepting the truth. Knowing new things might force us to reconsider our way of living and either make change that we don’t want to make, or not living in accordance with our values by refusing to make those difficult changes. Sometimes not knowing is just easier. What about you? Which pill do you choose? The blue pill or the red pill? Personally, I’m still thinking.
The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Our World, John Robbins
The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth: The Surprising, Unbiased Truth About What You Should Eat and Why, Johny Bowden
The New Becoming Vegetarian: The Essential Guide To A Healthy Vegetarian Diet, Vesanto Melina, Brenda Davis
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