Going plant based makes sense from a basic biology standpoint. As a person conditioned to enjoy the savory richness and convenience of animal protein, it makes less sense.
If you have heard the high praises and recognize the benefits of going plant based, but can’t kick your meat habit, you’re not alone.
The instances of animal cruelty and environmental damage are well documented, but for many, they just don’t strike a nerve.
If you’re like me, you can remember at least one time where you watched a PETA video, or a “go vegan” article only to buy yourself a cheeseburger within that same hour.
Here’s the problem many have kicking their meat habit – their emotions toward food they eat are stronger than what they feel towards the environment or other lifeforms.
The solution presented here is to attack that problem with science. It’s nothing complex. All it takes is a few images to Illustrate why we should be eating more plants and less animals.
Our bodies are designed to process plants, which is clearly shown by these pictures:
Check that out. Generally speaking, the more we are specialized towards plants, the longer the entrails are. It shows we fit squarely between two of our closest evolutionary relatives.
The chimp, the one with the shortest digestive tract in these images, has a diet that is only 2% animal based, while an orangutan is less than 1%.
Now let’s take a look at the digestive tracts of some carnivores:
Here’s one from a dog:
And from a Hayena…
The digestive system of primarily carnivorous species depend more on the acid in their gut to break down food. In turn the intestines end up needing to do less work so that part of their digestive system is relatively short.
In species that focus on a plant based diet, the intestines after the gut generally do more of the work. Plant fibers require different chemical conditions to break down properly when compared to animal tissue.
The digestive tracts don’t tell the whole story. Other pieces of our biological hardware are clear indicators that we are not designed to consume large amounts of meat.
We don’t have claws or fangs. If you look at any carnivorous vertebrae species, they have at least one of these things to help capture and devour their prey.
When you talk about the carnivorous habits of our primate family, eating meat is a special event. Most primates eat animals that almost seem like they want to get eaten – like grubs on the leaves monkeys like to eat.
You could argue that chimps arrange hunting parties to capture some prey, but the key word here is “party.” These are highly intelligent creatures looking for something interesting to do, and they are less concerned about the nutritional benefits. Remember, meat is still less than 2% of their diet.
By that alone, isn’t it fair to consider a diet that is a single digit percent worth of animal-based nutrients for us humans?
If you’re reluctant about going plant based perhaps it might help to think about eating meat like having a birthday party for yourself. It’s great every once in a while, but over time it gets old.
Having less than 10% animal products in our average weekly diet could be a huge win for us guilty flesh eaters out there. The challenge posed here is for you to redefine moderation when it comes to your meat consumption.
There is plenty of evidence here that Nature intended our diet to be mostly plant based. If you have been conditioned to have a meat-heavy diet, but want to eat healthier don’t panic. Go easier on yourself.
To get to that point of a single digit % of meat consumption, take things one step at a time, and track your daily progress. Be honest with yourself, and at the end of each day write down your best guess of what portion of your food in the last 24 hours consisted of meat.
How will you know that you are making progress at all? You’ll feel better! Maybe you won’t instantly, but give it a week or two and you will!
Take things step by step. It can be a more gentle transition than just cutting meat out cold turkey… mmmm turkey…
A rough guess is that animal products make up about 30% of the average American’s diet. That’s a lot of excess for most of us to trim down on.
If you can’t stop eating meat, give your body a lot less of it and it will reward you. Try 2/3 less meat and notice the change!
Give this method a try for a month and post in the comments below if you noticed a change!