Health and Diet
According to biologists and anthropologists who study our anatomy and our evolutionary history, humans are herbivores who are not well suited to eating meat. Unlike natural carnivores, we are physically and psychologically unable to rip animals limb from limb and eat and digest their raw flesh. Even cooked meat is likely to cause human beings, but not natural carnivores, to suffer from food poisoning, heart disease, and other ailments.
People who pride themselves on being part of the human hunter tradition should take a second look at the story of human evolution. Prehistoric evidence indicates that humans developed hunting skills relatively recently and that most of our short, meat-eating past was spent scavenging and eating almost anything in order to survive; even then, meat was a tiny part of our caloric intake.
Humans lack both the physical characteristics of carnivores and the instinct that drives them to kill animals and devour their raw carcasses. Ask yourself: When you see dead animals on the side of the road, are you tempted to stop for a snack? Does the sight of a dead bird make you salivate? Do you daydream about killing cows with your bare hands and eating them raw? If you answered "no" to all of these questions, congratulations - you're a normal human herbivore - like it or not. Humans were simply not designed to eat meat.
T. Colin Campbell, the former senior science advisor to the American Institute for Cancer Research, is outspoken on the diet/disease connection. He says, "The vast majority of all cancers, cardiovascular diseases, and other forms of degenerative illness can be prevented simply by adopting a plant-based diet." In Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating, he states, "I now consider veganism to be the ideal diet. A vegan diet - particularly one that is low in fat - will substantially reduce disease risks. Plus, we've seen no disadvantages from veganism. In every respect, vegans appear to enjoy equal or better health in comparison to both vegetarians and non-vegetarians."
William Castelli, M.D. says: "A low-fat, plant-based diet would not only lower the heart attack rate about 85 percent, but would lower the cancer rate 60 percent."
Our anatomy reveals that we are herbivores, as does our natural aversion to meat and the fact that it is harmful to our health. Meat-eaters are out of step with our evolutionary past. Our closest living relatives - the great apes - and ancestral human populations are and have been predominately vegetarian. They may eat the occasional rodent and some raw bugs, but the vast majority of their caloric intake is herbivorous. The key to human health lies in adopting a diet that is consistent with their anatomy and evolutionary history.
Luckily for us, it has never been easier to eat a vegetarian diet. Modern society has been able to provide a healthy vegetarian alternative for all of our favorite meat-based dishes, and more and more restaurants and grocery stores are offering delicious meat-free options.