Eat Meat, Just Source It Sustainably | Chris Kresser
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Eat Meat, Just Source It Sustainably

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Do you feel guilty eating meat? Have you been led to believe that a vegetarian or vegan diet is the most environmentally friendly? In two recent articles, Diana Rodgers dispels several myths about the sustainability of meat production, sharing why meat is magnificent and why it is necessary to eat animals. Her unique perspective as both curator of a working organic farm and registered dietitian allows her to assess the merits of meat consumption from both an environmental and nutritional perspective.

Is eating meat necessary?
Good quality responsibly sourced meat is key to good health for the body and environment. istock.com/LauriPatterson

In the first article, Diana covers water, carbon, and methane, the three most common environmental arguments for avoiding meat consumption. She explains that in grass-finished beef, almost all of the water footprint is “green water,” which is primarily rainfall, and that the total water requirements to produce a pound of grass-fed beef are actually much lower than crops like rice and sugar.

In regards to carbon and methane, emission estimates do not take into account the amount of carbon sequestration or methane oxidation. A properly managed pasture supports a healthy soil ecosystem that can take these compounds out of the atmosphere, giving grass-fed beef a net neutral or even slightly negative greenhouse gas footprint. I have written a little bit about this previously.

Read this if you’re feeling guilty about eating meat.

Diana also outlines global trends in food consumption and how our diets have changed in recent years as we have seen drastic increases in chronic disease. As consumers, Americans spend less money on meat today compared to years before, but twice as much on processed foods and sweets. Meat is an important source of iron and B12, two of the most common global nutrient deficiencies, along with many other nutrients.

In her second article, Diana shares her thoughts on the ethics of meat consumption. She argues that although avoiding meat consumption might outwardly seem to be doing the least harm, many more organisms are killed from the chemical pesticides and large machinery used on mono-crop fields of soy and other plant-based protein sources—and not in the humane way done in quality slaughterhouses.

She also addresses a number of common responses that she gets from vegetarians and vegans, calls attention to human social justice issues in farming, and finishes by asking us to reevaluate our notion of the most moral diet.

This is only my quick summary, and I would strongly encourage you to check out both of these excellent articles. Meat is an integral part of the human diet, and when we source it from a farm that uses proper grazing management, we support both our own health and the health of the earth. If you’re looking for great quality meat I would recommend ButcherBox.

237 Comments

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  1. Nature isn’t all Rainbows, Sprinkles and Unicorns:

    First, it’s inaccurate to say: we’re omnivores, therefore we don’t NEED to eat meat as the commenter Will stated – omnivore means BOTH plants and meat, not one or the other. But even putting a label on the entire human population saying that we’re humans so we should ALL be eating this way only shows how much further we have to go to teach people that we’re all different and all have different needs.

    I’m unsure how I would fare living off of blubber, eggs, whale meat and other fish like the Inuits. I like my veggies. Speaking of the Inuit, they live off the land and with the seasons. During the short months of summer (1-3 months) the focus shifts to ripened berries, tubers and dandelions, they get their fill on these but return to an animal centric diet come fall, winter and spring. Similarly, it’s much easier for those living closer to the equator to have a diet higher in fruit and fish, than and “meat” and even veggies.

    On that note of fish vs meat. Buddhists don’t consider the life of a fish or chicken any less than that of a cow, fly or human for that matter. A life is a life. Therefore, the few times a year when they need to supplement their otherwise vegetarian diet with meat, they do so with a goat or a cow. An animal that is large enough to feed their entire group, not just a few people.

    The only vegans I know are surviving off of diets higher in grain than I am comfortable with (my blood sugar does not like high grains, I’m not paleo, I still eat them occasionally) and processed foods like protein powders. Is there such thing as a whole food vegan? I know there are some (everyone’s different right!), but it’s rare and they’re also likely having to supplement with vitamins – another man-made modern day creation. I’ve seen many vegans and vegetarians having to revert back to eating meat because they couldn’t sustain health without it.
    —So if everyone should sustain health without eating meat then why can’t some people stick with the vegan/vegetarian diet? You would think they’d feel so incredible not eating meat that they could stick with it.

    On the subject of ethics and killing. There’s a species of birds where the mom lays her egg in another bird’s nest who also just laid eggs. The encroaching bird’s egg hatches before the other eggs. Now it’s adoptive mom is feeding it and it gains a couple day advantage over the step-siblings. Then this still blind little featherless intruder of a bird begins pecking to death the other birds when they’re just hatching so it can continue getting all the incoming food from its adopted mom. What the hell – (seriously that is so messed up)!! Mother Nature needs to teach these birds (and so many other animals) about ethics (not serious).

    And since we’re on the subject, how about enough of the thunderstorms that cause forest fires and kill so many animals and destroy beautiful trees. Enough of the icy temps and snow that make it so difficult for those adorable penguins to survive and keep their babies warm in the antarctic. Enough of the lions that kill elephants too. I love elephants, they practically get eaten alive 🙁

    The reality is, nature isn’t all rainbows, sprinkles and unicorns, it’s brutal, it’s ugly it’s unethical.
    The bottom line is, there is no ethics argument to win here. Mother Nature isn’t ethical but it is sustainable.

    And on that note… that doesn’t mean we can’t be compassionate.

    • I hear what you are saying.

      Why not have people choose to do their own hunting, fishing for foods, instead of so much domestication of large ruminants. It would bring back a more natural balance, I believe.

      • I would do it right away if it was possible. Unfortunately, it’s been a while since we haven’t been living in a free world. Hunting season is limited to a couple of months per year, you have to pay for anything, you are limited, here you have to take the weapon license, etc..
        As long as the world will work like that, I’ll have to rely on domesticated cattle.

  2. All of these reasons why we shouldn’t feel bad eating meat…it still comes down to ethics for me. In my family, we believe that if we wouldn’t slaughter it ourselves, we have no business eating it. To us, that translates into eating foul and fish and that’s it. I have, and would, slaughter a chicken and I know I can provide a quick and painless end for a chicken. A cow or other larger animal… I wouldn’t even try. Anyone who picks up a steak at the market but would hurl at the sight of a cow being slaughtered…has absolutely NO business eating that steak. I have seen videos on “humane” cow slaughters, even kosher slaughters (in which it is prohibited to cause the animal pain)… I’m not convinced the deed can be done without fear and pain in a larger animal. In a survival situation, my ideals would change of course, but in everyday life, my ethics will always prevent me from purchasing that steak or pork chop, no matter how much it benefits the earth in the long run.

    • And anyone who can’t mass manufacture high end computer chips has no business being on the internet.

      Silly, isn’t it?

      Come on, I pay people to do things I don’t want to do. I don’t want to fix my plumbing, does that mean it’s unethical for me to take a shower?

      And, you say that because you _would_ kill a bird, that validates buying a bird for food? Well… If you had to, if it meant keeping your family alive, you _would_ learn to kill a cow. So that validates you for eating meat. You’re welcome.

  3. I love that you’re writing more about this, Chris!!!
    I’m a holistic nutritionist & a health coach in training and am currently getting clear around how I want to conduct my practice. I follow your work closely for insights I will be applying to my coaching practice.

    I was also vegan/vegetarian for years and got sicker & sicker until I had to open up my mind and diet more. Then I found Ray Peat and paleo/ancestral health & continued to do research & testing to heal myself. Like so many folks, veganism never felt normal unless I subscribed to some extreme dogma! Now I’m going to get my hunting license and take it to the next level.

    It’s just a shame folks get so heated & self-righteous that their minds close down to well-researched articles like this. Healing from multiple chronic ailments is ridiculously hard, if not impossible on a vegan diet and veganism is a modern-day luxury which just relies on too many blanket statements.

    Thank you.

    • “Healing from multiple chronic ailments is ridiculously hard, if not impossible on a vegan diet”

      Are you actually suggesting that meat heals multiple chronic ailments, while plants cannot?

      • I went through a serious chronic illness for 5 years. I ended up in a wheelchair. I relied heavily on the paleo diet because I was muscle wasting; that is, my body was burning its own muscle because it was under such massive stress. I can tell you with 100% confidence that I would not have made it without eating meat. The veggies were equally important to me, but they never could have sustained me. Now that I am recovering, and thankfully out of the wheelchair, I do not require nearly as much meat. One just cannot possibly judge another person without walking in their shoes. We all must make our own choices based on how we best survive this life. NOT taking another life for my own would have possibly meant certain death for myself. Isn’t that how it has been in nature since the beginning of time? That said, I absolutely believe in only eating organic, grassfed, pasture raised and humanely raised meat to the best of my ability. And if I had to hunt to survive, you bet I would.

        • A survey of naturally occurring and high Vitamin B12-containing plant-derived food sources showed that nori, which is formed into a sheet and dried, is the most suitable Vitamin B12 source for vegetarians presently available. Consumption of approximately 4 g of dried purple laver (Vitamin B12 content: 77.6 μg /100 g dry weight) supplies the RDA of 2.4 μg/day.

          To claim, meat only and not plants can cure, is false.

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4042564/

          • You’re talking dangerous nonsense. The vitamin B12 analogues found in some supposed plant sources such as nori will actually *reduce* the amount of bioavailable B12. Even vegans will tell you so:

            http://www.veganhealth.org/b12/plant#nori

            The only natural sources of bioavailable vitamin B12 are either animal tissue or fecal matter. Your choice as to which to eat!

              • No, it’s simply true, and bacteria are not generally considered “animals”.

                I’m not sure exactly what point you were trying to make, but in case you didn’t know: animal feces actually do often contain a certain amount of real B12 since it is synthesized in the gut by some types of bacteria. This occurs in humans too, but the B12 produced by this method is not directly available to us because the synthesis occurs at a later stage of digestion than where absorption of B12 would occur. Therefore, two passes through the gut are necessary to derive B12 this way (at least in humans).

                So, yes — for vegans who want a natural source of B12 but don’t want to eat animal tissue, there IS another alternative (and it’s not seaweed!). Any takers?

          • Apparently the argument for veganism is now down to , “We can fly industrially grown non-traditional foods around the world and/or process it drastically and that’s a natural way to get a healthy, sustainable diet.

            OK…..

            • Nori seaweed is a traditional Japanese food.
              It is prolific grower and very light weight when it is dried.

              It is not flown, but put on a ship, to be honest, it is much lighter weight than the t-shirts and all the other unneeded plastic crap and other “stuff” from China, so unless you buy nothing from China, I would probably not complain too much about someone buying 20 sheets of nori at store, weighing a whopping 1.8 oz. and will last them the year.

              As fish is being rapidly depleted, nori may be a whole food source of at least, EPA, but not preformed DHA, in the diet.

              So, not local, but more sustainable than fish and is a source of iodine for those who don’t get iodine residues from eating dairy.

          • I am sorry, but all the experts: Dr. Greger, Dr. Klaper, both vegan doctors have already noted seaweed is not a reliable source of B-12, and you want to get more than just not be clinically deficient, because you want your homocysteine levels to be optimal.

            Vegans and vegetarians, I am 98% plant-based ant take a B-12 supplement. TAKE YOUR B-12. Check with
            nutritionfacts.org with Dr. Greger, these expert on vegan and vegetarian health!!!

      • If the chronic ailment is B12 Deficiency, then yes, including meat in the diet can fix that problem. Something a plant can’t do 🙂

        • Animals are given a lab derived B-12 supplements, too, so meat eaters are getting B-12 from a pill, second hand, including most grass-fed animals who are in the barn or out in the field drinking chlorinated water in troughs, and eating some dry forage. Just not enough B-12 ( bacteria) to ensure they pass it on to you.

          Also, while the B-12 supplement by plant-based eaters is absorbed very well, animal products absorption can be as abysmal as 9-50%.

          • Please stop shaming others for taking a B-12 supplements, when the animals are doing the same thing.

            But more importantly, it is critical for people to get B-12 and would not want someone forgoing meats etc… to ignore their B-12 due to this type of shaming.

            Please care enough about others and stop this.

          • You are arguing feedlot cows again. Which is exactly not what this article or discussion is about. But you have to do it, it’s called the false dilemma fallacy, to make your point. Either one is a vegan or they eat the worse CAFO meat possible. No, there are other choices and you know that by now. Be honest.

            Shifting the target is a debate tactic used by people who want to win more than they want to discover the truth.

            • This is from Missouri extension for beef farmers:

              B vitamins

              Included in the B-vitamin complex are thiamin, biotin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, folic acid, vitamin B12 and choline. Once the rumen becomes functional, bacterial synthesis is considered to supply the normal requirement of cattle for B-vitamins. Milk is a source of B-vitamins for the calf.

              The lack of a trace mineral, cobalt, CAN RESULT in a vitamin B12 deficiency in cattle. This is because cobalt is a part of the vitamin B12 compound and is essential for rumen bacteria to manufacture this vitamin.

              Choline supplementation of rations for fattening cattle has appeared to increase performance in Washington State trials, but has not been effective in most other areas of the United States.

              Another source:

              http://eerainuh.com/supplementation-of-vitamin-b12-in-cattle-and-sheep-to-prevent-deficiency/

              Vitamin B12 Deficiency in animals is the end result of insufficient Cobalt intake. Cobalt is acquired from the pasture and soil as animals feed and is used to make Vitamin B12 by micro-organisms with the rumen (2nd stomach). Vitamin B12 is then absorbed in the small intestine and transported throughout the body by the blood, with excess being stored in the liver. A female animal will provide B12 to a growing foetus, but will not supply any of the vitamin in its milk.
              The amount of Cobalt available to animals varies as a result of several different factors. The amount of Cobalt occurring naturally in the soil varies according to the type of rock from which the soil is derived.

              Better to be safe than sorry many GF farmers just inoculate animals with B-12.

        • Actually, doctors do not treat B-12 deficiencies with meat.

          95% of deficiencies happen in meat eaters, because they are not properly absorbing B-12.

          They are prescribed usually a dissolvable B-12 supplement that is directed absorbed in the mouth.

      • If the chronic ailment is B12 Deficiency, then yes, including meat in the diet can fix that problem. Something a plant can’t do 🙂

    • With all due respect, Diana is a dietitian and beef farmer.

      She is not a life-long ecologist, or environmental scientists, who dedicated their lives to researching the effects of eating and farming on the environment.

      Her information, is misleading and flawed. The global environmental experts do not agree with her assumptions.

  4. I am so proud of all you people who have commented against slaughting animals. There are some wonderful comments. A few years ago a friend of mine, a professional photographer was hired to take photos of the process in a slaughter house. I am still having nightmares of the images that were taken. The fear of the shacking cows and the way they are killed would put many people off eating them. Eating meat is a choice and I choose not to and have done for years, it does not matter whether meat is raised in health farms or raised in hell in the commercial farms I personally feel that no animal should be born to die for human consumption.

    • I agree that plants have feelings too. If you place something hot near them they move away from it because they don’t like to be burnt. You vegans should be ashamed eating plants as they have a right to live and die naturally like animals. I eat only flavoured air which I get hanging around cafes and other aromatic places. I may be very thin but my ideologies are still in place.

      • Do you realize how many organisms had to die to flavor that air? You should be ashamed of yourself. Go buy a mask and start eating happy thoughts and sunshine.

    • Everything depends on something else’s death to survive, even plants. Death and life are entirely interconnected and we can not have one without the other. I studied shamanism for a while and I found very quickly that ALL things have some level of awareness, even stones. It’s how we treat that awareness and how we honor the beings that die for us that is the key to being humane about our diet.

    • I’m so happy to see this comment. As an organic gardener for 30 years, I came to love my plants. I thanked them for giving me their LIVES, because yes, WE KILL THEM to eat them. Or we eat their babies (seeds, flowers etc) Read the Secret Life of Plants…might do us all well to understand that things we eat die, not just animals plants too

      • Interestingly incomplete analogy.
        Artificial insemination aside, can you give the young slaughtered animal life? No, you cannot.

        Planting a seed, nurturing it until it is about to be fit for compost, but eating it instead, no way correlates to your:

        “might do us all well to understand that things we eat die, not just animals plants too”

        I sincerely congratulate you for being an organic gardener, but comparing the natural death of an edible plant, with the killing of young livestock, that isn’t about to die, is mind boggling.

        By the way I love the book you recommended, stunning.

    • It is true, but most crop plants being annuals or biennials, would not live past their second year. So, if we did not pick them, their lifespan would soon come to an end.

      Fruit and nut trees, berries, are not killed by harvesting their bounty, it is a symbiotic relationship. Most plants want animals to eat their seeds so they spread and have better chances of survival- next generation.

      But it is true plants have defenses which help people and other animals, not overeat their leaves, stems etc. so they can survive long enough to spread their seeds.

      Lastly, most children and people do not cringe at picking a dandelion, sweet potato, or carrot out of the ground, but would certainly do much more than just cringe, if being asked to kill a 1,200 pound steer or cow with a knife.

  5. Veg and vegans have no business on this thread. Chris is not a vegan and therefore does not recommend that diet, so please go troll somewhere else.
    No ominivore here is interested in your deficient opinion.

      • When I visit the plant-based site and hear contrary views (trolls if you will), I welcome the spirited and healthy debate.

        If you are confident and at-ease in your position, it should not bother you to hear opposing views.

      • I am a proud daughter and granddaughter of farmers my Dad college degree in agricultural science and study in veterinary medicine.

        When I had to watch my grandfather endure a debilitating stroke, it was devastating for me.

        Then, a near repeat of history by my father: he has been experiencing terrible peripheral artery disease pain and haddesperate need to have plaque removed from his carotid artery. Surgery went great-yeah!

        These events led me to question, my own possibility of repeating history in the family with the unprocessed omnivore diet my Dad and grandfather ate, which definitely was advocated as healthy during this time.

        Investigating and, coming to conclusion, Dr. Esslestyn’s Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease diet struck a chord with me, most scientific, and has given me the best health I have ever had, even though I have always eaten, mostly whole foods and pursued athletic endeavors.

        So, this is who the your troll is.

        • It is easy I know to not understand who a comment is directed toward with all the replies below comments.
          My response was to Stella and not to you.
          This is how the thread went. I am sorry you read it in the wrong way. I never called you a troll. You have every right to be proud.

          stella

          August 10, 2016 at 9:46 am
          “Veg and vegans have no business on this thread. Chris is not a vegan and therefore does not recommend that diet, so please go troll somewhere else.
          No ominivore here is interested in your deficient opinion.”

          Reply

          Andrew

          August 10, 2016 at 11:54 pm

          “Such a balanced opinion, makes me wonder who the troll is.”

          My reply is under Stella’s castigation, not yours.

    • The reason we are here, is Chris puts out a lot of articles, directed towards plant-based eaters. Such as Why You Should Think Twice About Vegan and Vegetarian Diets? and Why Vegans/Vegetarians Should Supplement with DHA (he initially gave vegans an unsafe DHA dosing prescription).

      These come up on our google searches, and I will be honest, it is hard not to respond to what you know as inaccuracies that have important consequences for global warming and climate change.

  6. I was a vegetarian for about 30 years and recently started eating meat because if I try to live on beans and grains I will be a Diabetic in no time at all. A small amount of beans and or grains I can tolerate but any more than that my blood sugar goes up to high. And that goes for fruit as well. I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and soy products aren’t good for my Thyroid. So what does that leave me with? Lot’s of food, actually, as long as it isn’t grain and beans and soy.

    • I hear you.

      I personally, am not telling people, they cannot eat meat.

      But, if you are going to eat meat rather than beans, what about small fish, wild game, omega-3 eggs, or organic and humanely raised chickens that have less impact on the environment?

      And, I know everyone is different, but beans, in human studies, increase insulin sensitivity rather than reduce it due to many of its unique qualities: high levels of resistant starch,and its stimulation of amylase enzyme when eating eat.

      excerpt from something I am working on…
      Legumes, owing to their high nutritive value, are increasingly being used in dietetic formulations in the treatment and prevention of diabetes on account of their antidiabetic potential… It is concluded that the various legumes not only have varying degrees of antidiabetic potential but are also beneficial in decreasing the risk factors for cardiovascular and renal disease.

      (taken from abstract of, Antidiabetic potential of commonly consumed legumes, a review, Crit Rev Sci Nutr. 2014)

      Good luck and good health to you!

  7. This entire article is based upon environment and nutrition – but nothing about ethics. Humans are omnivores, they do not require meat to survive. All of the nutritional needs can be obtained for plant life and some seafood (as necessary). The comment about “humane slaughterhouses” is an outrageous oxymoron. If you believe that all animals have as much right to live as human animals, you do not have to eat meat – it is your choice only. Why not use the argument of cannibalism for obtaining necessary nutrition – of course this would go against most religions (individual beliefs of what is right or not). So trying to peddle the justification for humans to kill and eat animals, especially with all the waste of unused uneaten animal products left at all of the stores, to those that believe it is not right to kill other animal lifeforms (because it is not necessary) is a poor argument at best and ignores the value of other life forms that are not labeled the “human animal”.

    • Yet another insecure vegan with the need to justify his unhealthy habit. I’ve been there – for 14 years. The human body is resilient and will compensate as long as it has reserves. Once they’re gone, you will slowly start feeling tired for no reasons and then more and more issues will show up. For some people it takes a few months, others years and others decades but eventually, it will catch up with you. We are the descendants of hunter-gatherers not cows. And denial is not a river in Egypt!

      • Jamie, there is a difference between a vegan and a non meat eater that eats animal by products such as dairy products and unfertilized eggs (you know, the eggs that are sold at all of the stores) which contain additional supplements such as the b vitamins and other complete nutrients. You choosing a complete vegan diet is probably a mistake for you, but you do not have to kill other animals to get all of your nutrients.

        • Fyi, I was never a vegan. I was a “non meat eater” as per your term. I ate eggs, cheese and fish. At the time, also too many soy products like soy milk and tofu – ugh!
          It took me close to 10 years to rebuild my system.
          Good luck on your journey!

      • I am sorry that a vegan diet did not work for you.

        But, many people do well on a 90-100% whole plant food diet with B-12 (no refined foods, i.e. oils, sugars, other processed foods)

        Some long term vegan examples, simultaneously whole food plant-based: Dr. Klaper, Dr. Greger, Dr. Ellmsworth Wareham 102, practicing heart surgeon, in his 90’s), and many Loma Linda plant-based eaters with a range of vegan, vegetarian and 95+% plant-based, for those interested in seeing what they have done for 20, 40, 50+ years eating this way.

    • Yes why don’t we stop animals say Lions etc from eating meat to make the world more humane. You animal lovers turn the truth around to suit your beliefs. Humans have been eating meat throughout evolutionary history and to deny that is delusional and denies history.

      • Graeme, where do i start? Ok to keep it simple for you, lions and all other cats are carnivores as their bodies require most of their nutriments from other animals or other protein rich lifeforms. Also, many live on seafood, not animal meat, if they are near waters that provide that source. We are not carnivores, never have been. We are omnivores – look it up.

        • Yes, we are omnivores and that means eating both plants and animals.
          Your sound rather in need of some nutrients with your sarcastic and catty comments.
          You don’t have a case on this thread. Lost cause!

        • “Also, many live on seafood, not animal meat”

          Ummm… you do realize that what we call “seafood” (fish, molluscs, and crustaceans, mostly) are types of _animal meat_, right?

          Do you suppose these things just float about in the water and photosynthesize?

          Do you also suppose that clams, snails, and such make up a significant part of a lion’s diet, even if it does live near water?!

          I suggest you take an introductory biology course — it might help you to make a rational argument.

    • Ethics? what do you think happens to millions of animals whose habitat is turned into deserts by big agro?

      Seriously…you may not need animal protein the survive, but you need it to thrive. Oh wait, you included animals in your vegan dystopian world.

      • You confuse ethics with large company greed in destroying the environment. So you think killing animals is the solution to stop this corporate greed? Really? You actually connect the two? You are really out on a limb trying to get to this ridiculous cause/effect argument.

    • Don’t worry about the population problem. The earth will be taking care of that shortly unless we do it ourselves. :/

  8. The authors statement that “green water” is used for raising animals for slaughter may be true for her operation, but it is not true for many. My sister lives near a major cattle ranch in Colorado and they are using well water – sourced by a reducing aquifer to water the cattle. Here in Northern California, due to our Mediterranean climate, i.e. No rain from May to October, either aquifer or reservoir water has to be used to feed all animals, plants and people.

    • Yes!

      And this water requires a lot of energy (CO2) because it is mostly pumped from the thaw of Sierra Nevada.

  9. This is all crock, not taking into consideration the human dietetic nature that John Hopkins anthropologists discovered namely that humans both anatomically and physiologically are not carnivorous meaning humans are not made to eat animals, and there is no humane way to kill an animal. Paleo therefore is folly and not based on science in the least bit, you can try to self justify but it is not much different than trying to prove that a car designed to run on gasoline runs fine on diesel, it may run but not like it should and the same with the human body, it may operate on meat but not like it was designed to.

    • Except for those of us who can not tolerate any amount of grains, rice, soy or beans. Seriously. I am sick as a dog if I eat any of those things but do really well on veggies and some meat. My doctors are blown away. I’m 58 and have been essentially “paleo” for about 15 years now. I’m on one medication (progesterone) and otherwise in pretty darn good health. My husband is older than I am, also eats a mostly “paleo” diet and is in similar or better health as stated by his doctors. Diet really is not a one-size-fits-all thing. As far as I can tell, humans are really scavengers rather than carnivores or vegetarians. We seem to be designed to survive on a variety of diets as is shown by all the various populations around the world who live on everything from vegan diets to nearly entirely flesh. Diet is really not a simple thing at all.

  10. I’m still confused how much protein – no matter from what source – an adult needs? The “recommanded amount” seem to be changing!

    In your Paleo Book, you Chris imply that we should let our body tell us “how much” …Oh really!?

    Yet, our “protein tolerance” changes, as we get older, and maybe also our need for it. I no longer can tolerate the daily amount of protein I used to eat (ca. 50-60 gr for my 126 lb- 5.7 frame) although I would like to… without feeling just not well the next day! The less protein I eat, the better I feel!

  11. Next thing you know you’ll be telling us the animals WANT to be killed because they understand their role in the ecosystem is to die so that we may live.
    You seem to be arguing that microbes have feelings too and that any comprehensive assessment of the ethics surrounding meat-eating must take that fact into account. If it is indeed the case that every microbe must be counted and if pastured cows result in fewer microbe deaths than organically grown grains, well, that’s beyond my pay grade.
    Also, what if a technologically superior race from another planet decided it wanted to consume humans raised on grass-fed beef? Would you accept your fate? I didn’t think so. Thus, your position is inherently hypocritical, isn’t it? As long as you are at the top of the food chain, you adhere to it. But as soon as you confront a reality wherein you are not, you’ll sing a different tune.
    I accept that you believe you need meat to feel good plus you like how it tastes. But arguing that it’s the ethical thing to do leaves me cold. I’ll stick with Buddha on this one.

    • There is no evidence that Buddha was a vegetarian, but evidence that he did eat meat. Many schools of Buddhism each meat. The Dalai Lama eats meat for health purposes but attempts to keep his consumption to a minimum. The point is that any modification of ecosystems leads to animals dying, and that grassland ecosystems from which animals are used for human consumption lead to no more deaths than other systems. And yes, there is a food chain, there always has been as always will be – it is called nature.

      • In the Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra, which presents itself as the final elucidatory and definitive Mahayana teachings of the Buddha on the very eve of his death, the Buddha states that “the eating of meat extinguishes the seed of Great Kindness”, adding that all and every kind of meat and fish consumption (even of animals found already dead) is prohibited by him.
        He even went on to predict that future monks will concoct spurious writings and falsely claim that Buddha allows the eating of meat.
        I take solace in knowing (or if you prefer believing) that there is such a thing as spiritual wisdom and that almost all of the Eastern teachers have advocated a vegetarian or vegan diet. But, even if that were not the case, my five senses signal loud and clear that, in some sense, I am the animals, that I am intimately related to all sentient beings and that, at a minimum, I ought not kill them.

  12. Christine

    I agree with Samantha…
    We don’t need meat to survive as there are plenty foods one can eat such as beans, etc..
    I am of middle eastern descent and I believe the middle eastern diet that we eat is our staple to healthy eating.
    Mind you I am not a vegan I eat red meat maybe 1 x a year. Chicken 1 to 2 times a week.
    But overall, giving the body a break from animal protein and eating more plant based foods along with fruits and veggies makes for a healthy system.

    Take care…

  13. Eat plants, eat meat, eat fish, etc. Do it as naturally as possibly. Be a student of sustainability, e.g. learn to grow & consume your own vegetables.

    Respect the choices of other to eat whatever they want. Too much energy is wasted on which eating habits are best. Just focus on your own healthy eating in ways that work symbiotically within our natural environment.

  14. Humane way to kill….. Haha
    What is humane about killing a helpless animal that doesn’t want to die? Maybe if I put a bolt gun through her brains or an electrifying clamp on her head I could be considered a humane murderer? If you want to eat meat then start with your own dog, cat, horse etc!

  15. You would lose your bet here where I forage every day and can live off wild plants which are in abundance.
    The article claims that it is necessary to eat meat! Well there’s another myth, millions don’t eat meat and I am perfectly healthy and fit from a lifetime without.
    To claim that eating animals is necessary shows an ignorance of the English language, it is not “necessary” at all, in fact it is a lie.

    • Samantha, I honor the way in which you protect God’s creatures.
      And…
      May I ask you out if you are familiar with the biological process of methylation?
      Briefly, It is a process by which ALL cellular functions are dependent. This is pretty hard, to achieve without the nutrients in meat. Especially for those of us who are genetically challenged – on the autistic spectrum.
      Also, Could you help me to understand how one would nurture their connective tissue, tendons and ligaments without the collagen found in meat.
      Thank you for caring, Bhagavati

    • Hi Samantha

      I really liked what you wrote.
      Is there any chance we can talk!?
      I have a few questions to ask you.

      Thank you

      Christine

    • I don’t usually respond to these things but the are scientific evidence to show that vegetarians and vegans are less healthy than people who eat a variety of sustainable meat and fruits and vegetables in a balanced way do your research and look at the evidence for yourself on the long-term health of vegetarians who don’t eat meat or fish or eggs exedra

      • I don’t need to look at industry paid for research.
        I have my own life experience.
        I suggest you look to some real research outside of industry.

      • I think the key is to the types of foods you eat, whether eating meat or not:

        Eating whole plant foods is a must

        Vegetarians eating

        beans
        vegetables, including starchy vegetables
        fruits
        seeds (flax, chia, hemp)
        whole grains (oats, brown rice, wild rice..)
        b-12 supplement (possibly algal supp.)

        and eliminating oils, sugars and processed foods

        keeps vegetarians and other plant-based eaters healthy and eating chips, sodas, crackers, sugary desserts, and more than modest levels of eggs and dairy won’t.

        This is what research strongly suggests.

      • Out of curiosity in these studies: how much meat, dairy eggs were they eating as percentage of calories?

      • Randy Voll, just because there is a scientific study, doesn’t necessarily mean it is worthwhile.

        Scientific studies gave the world hydrogenated fats which for decades have been a metabolic disaster.

    • I’m so glad you are healthy and have never experienced a debilitating illness. Not everyone can say the same. You are right in what you say- for yourself! Everyone has their own journey and must make their own choices. You cannot possibly judge unless you stand in someone else’s shoes. That said, There are absolutely better ways of sourcing meat, and that is extremely important.

  16. I don’t think the argument or reasoning for many vegans is sustainability, or even largely environmental factors, but more the choice not to slaughter an animal just to eat.. I don’t disagree that we can’t be meat eaters, but in this modern age we can very easily for-go eating meat in favor of a vegan diet, and yes, get all the Iron and B12 we need. Foods are fortified and we supplement so much, wth vitamin, minerals, protein shakes etc, that we are probably getting too much anyway.
    There is no value in challenging anyone to live of the land for example, for there is very often a convenience store just around the corner for the vast majority of the human population. I doubt very much many people who do eat meat would be ready to catch and slaughter the very pork or lamb chop they eat, or even gut a fish caught from a river. The majority of the planets population live in cities, so what would people know about farms or wildlife. How many have actually seen or been around cows?
    In truth, there is very little intervention in the slaughtering of animals, and meat production. We just don’t live in that kind of environment anymore. Most of this is automated. I think the sooner we get away from the arguments that you need to eat meat and can’t be a healthy on a vegan diet, the better.. It’s just not true..
    Grass fed, grain fed, farm fresh, free range, all terms coined to distract us from the fact that on a massive scale, animal slaugher needs to take place to feed the people. There is too much, ‘i’m right, your wrong’..
    Meat doesn’t have to be an integral part of the human diet, and to try and source it from a farm that uses proper grazing management, while keeping up with the demands of the ten of thousands and more, giant superstores is just a nice though, but because of the current demand, and population, this is never going to happen.. Not only would we not have the space, but the cost to the large corporations would render the process too expensive and unmanagable.
    Then would come the need to fertilize in order to regenerate grass. There is also livestock rotation in order to allow the grass to re-grow.. If you have ever been on a larger farm you would see this is a very intensive and time consuming ordeal. Hense the growth of factory farms, and grain fed animals..
    I hear what Diana is saying, but the reality is far from her idealistic views..
    I am a healthy happy vegan, I can grow my own food, buy organic, but yes, do supplement if needed. There is no shame in it, after-all, it’s in my best interest..

  17. Hunting and eating wild meat is the most suztainable of all. Number one the large hunting community fights to retain as much land as possible in the natural state. The land is treated the way it evolved and the hunting community is its own management eternally guarding gains poaching and land abuse. No pesticides or chemicals are involved and the nutrition is almost exactly what our Metabolism evolved to match. I live in southern Georgia and I have a permanent challenge to Vegans and Vegetarians to live off the wild land in competition for a month eating only what is wild. A $20,000 bond is required, forfeited for those apprehended stealing any farmed produce. Your group will eat vegetation and ours will eat game and vegetation. In South Georgia you won’t last one month. Most are not trained or competent to hunt so grass based agriculture is the least harmful and most beneficial form of sustenance for the environment. Remove animals and replace it with factory style production plantings and we are on the road to unsustainable land degradation and eventual desertification. A simple data set documenting the drastic decline in natural soil nutrients and conditions over the past fifty years shows where we are headed with current mass agriculture. However many single landowners are independently developing more natural agricultural systems which are the way forward to avoid worldwide famine.

    • I agree David; your philosophy follows the natural order of things. And more now than ever, we need to realize that healthy soil is our biggest heat sink and so important in our fight against climate change… conventional agriculture in incredibly damaging. If you are able to run this ‘experiment’ please be sure to publish the results.

    • Love this comment, and couldn’t agree more! It is unfortunate that people become so self-righteous about meat consumption that they attack others who are actually putting in the work to conduct studies. We have been eating animals for so long that continuing to do it feels pretty natural for a lot of us. Being a self-righteous vegan is actually a modern privilege and simply means you haven’t gotten sick enough to see the bigger picture.

      • You mean your bigger picture! How righteous, oh is that what you are accusing others of? Well if the cap fits!

    • As I have already told you, you would lose your bet. You haven’t a clue what you are talking about and masses of vegetarians or vegans would outlive your deleterious protein dense diet.

    • This is funny…

      However,
      we are the only animal that cooks and has numerous amylase genes, enzymes. This affords us to eat many nutrient rich, calorie rich foods our primate relatives, do not, and anthropologists give credit to the growth of our bigger brain.

      When legumes (lentils, beans) went from wild to domesticated plants; humans found a very rich protein, b-vitamin rich food source that expended much energy to harvest/hunt than meat.

      This agriculture afforded humans more time and could now, focus more on brains, rather than just brawn and challenge that bigger brain of ours.

      So, I would agree that without cooking and agriculture, plant based eaters are at a disadvantage for calories in the woods-no doubt.

      But we are the only species that cook and have domesticated crops, that is part of our history, too.

      • Meant to say beans expend less energy than hunting for meat.

        I also will admit meat eating is also partially, given credit for our larger homo sapien brain; however, whether it was from more from scavenging or hunting is still a hot debate with anthropologists and…

        later when cooking and legumes came along gave humans another protein and b-vitamin rich choice

    • I would recommend people, look for a local organic CSA farmer you can buy directly from, the longer they have been in business the better to create healthy soils.

      These organic farmers enrich the soil, and it ensures you are eating more nutrient rich vegetables, fruits, etc… eating locally and seasonally, and it edges you to try new vegetables you may not buy on your own in the store, enhancing the soil and environment around you. Bonus, buying directly from farmer can save you a little bit of money on organic produce.

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