With vegetarianism and veganism trending, many people are convincing themselves that plant-based foods can suffice when it comes to daily nutritional needs, removing all traces of meat from their diets. Unfortunately, these people may be experiencing vitamin deficiencies and suffering decreased brain volume, fatigue, and confusion.
One of the greatest and most harmful nutrition myths is that meat doesn’t belong in a healthy diet. Meat consumption is blamed for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity. But if you want to point fingers at the culprit behind these health issues, point at sugar. Blame the overconsumption of carbohydrates like grains and potatoes that break down into sugar in the body.
For more than two million years we were primarily meat eaters. Only in the last 10,000 years did the human diet shift, with the cultivation of grains and legumes. But are we more suited to this diet lower in meat? In the last 10,000 years we’ve gotten smaller in stature and brain size. With a heavily grain- and sugar-based diet, we are suffering increased rates of obesity, cancer, diabetes, and osteoporosis. We’re also experiencing alarming incidence of skin problems, heart disease, and inflammation of all kinds.
Licious politely disagrees with the anti-meat argument. Our genes were developed before the agricultural revolution, when we were not only meat eaters, but enthusiastic ones at that. On top of that, the human genome has changed less than 0.02% in the last 40,000 years. Our bodies were genetically programmed for optimal functioning on a diet including meat, and that programming has not changed.
By nature, humans are meat eaters, and our bodies are designed for it. We have incisors for tearing meat, and molars for grinding it. If we were meant to subsist on vegetables alone, our digestive system would be similar to that of the cow, with four stomachs and the ability to ferment cellulose in order to break down plant material.
You can work yourself to the bone trying to gain muscle or bulk up, but if you don’t nourish your body properly, you might as well toss your training schedule and start long distance running. You have to fuel your body with the right nutrients to achieve sufficient muscle repair and recovery to make gains.
You can take protein supplements, but the best source of protein is meat. Meat also contains vitamins and minerals that aid in muscle growth like zinc, which assists in muscle repair, and iron, which boosts energy levels and combats fatigue. Meat also contains creatine, a nitrogen-containing compound that improves protein synthesis and provides muscles with energy, encouraging muscle gain.
The degenerative health conditions that are prevalent now weren’t around when the cavemen were living off meat, vegetables, fish, nuts, seeds, and fruits. In hunter/gatherer societies, 45-65% of energy requirements were derived from animal sources, and heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes – the diseases that plague society today – were not a problem. With the introduction of grains and processed foods, these diseases reared their ugly heads at alarming rates.
For most of us, a meal is not a meal without a delicious cut of meat at the center of it. We love meat, and meat loves us back with a host of critical health benefits. So be true to your human nature and to your taste buds. Don’t cut meat out of your life. It has way too much to offer.