Is Veganism the Modern-Day Evolution?
Author : Amal Rahiman
Have you ever considered Adam and Eve to be vegans?
They had a whole Garden of Eden to themselves, laden with lush berries and juicy fruits.
There was not a lamb roast or a turkey dinner to be seen, yet the Garden of Eden was heavenly.
And heavenly abundance is what Earth can be filled with if we only stop the inhumane production and distribution of meat.
There are several myths surrounding veganism, one of which is stating that human beings are inherently carnivores (or omnivores), and that has happened through natural evolution.
However, even if we all agree that meat-eating did in fact, make us humans, we need to look at where those eating habits have brought us. It has brought us to a day and age of an assortment of deadliest of diseases and deteriorating environmental health.
This simply proves that there must be something fundamentally wrong with the meat-eating lifestyle that has caused this catastrophe.
If we as humans were meant to live on with the same habits as our ape-like ancestors, then why would every aspect of nature revolt through the cries of climate change, global warming, animal extinction, loss of biodiversity and increase of newer diseases?
The human diet has constantly evolved based on the immediate circumstances that humans needed to endure.
This raises questions such as: Is man a natural omnivore? Or a circumstantial carnivore?
Let’s find out.
The early gatherers or early civilizations depended mainly on nature’s fruits, seeds, and leaves. Their diet was vegetarian, with few rare instances of meat acquired through hunting. It was more of an occasion, or a celebration to eat meat, rather than an essential meal.
Their essential meal was completely vegetarian.
The reason they had started to depend more on meat is because of environmental changes, making lush green grounds dry enough for crops to be unable to grow. As they went out in search of better food, they came across meat, but even then, it was a rarity. Their preference was for fruits, seeds, leafy vegetables, and other plants.
With such a huge dependence on a vegan diet, early gatherers were still able to invent their hunting tools and discover how to cook a meal with fire. This goes to say that we don’t really NEED animal protein to be smart, as many myths say so. Our brains are capable of developing from proteins gained from a plant diet as well.
There’s also another reason the dependency on meat grew over time. In the early periods of time, meat was considered a sign of wealth. As mentioned before, it was a meal fit for an occasion for the common folks. But for the wealthy, meat was a staple diet. As human beings are always looking for ways to improve their current lifestyle, being able to include more meat in their diet was a sign of prosperity, and thus began the demand for meat.
From another perspective – physically we are more inclined towards being a herbivore than a carnivore.
Compared to absolute carnivores, we do not have sharp claws and pointy canines to tear through the skin. We also have a longer intestine to digest the fiber that is present in plants. Carnivores on the other hand have a shorter intestine as the level of fiber is significantly lower.
Nutrient-wise, we all know the importance of vitamin C in our diets – which increased twofold during covid times. The biggest and main source of vitamin C is from fruits and plants – another similarity we have with herbivores. This does not affect carnivores as they are able to produce this super vitamin. But human beings, like herbivores, need it from an external source.
Having said that, let’s talk about Vitamin A. There are 2 types – preformed vitamin A derived from animals, like retinol, and the other from plants, called carotenoids. Of the 2, large quantities of animal-derived vitamin A can actually be toxic to human beings (you might have seen the warning labels in retinoid creams or acne medication – medications that are heavy in vitamin A). On the other hand, the livers of carnivores can handle such large amounts of vitamin A, thus being safe for them. But our human bodies are more equipped to be like an herbivore instead.
Instinctually, imagine having to eat an unfamiliar animal, such as a raccoon, or a ferret. It’s a reflex reaction to gag at the very thought. However, eating an unfamiliar fruit or vegetable does not bring about this response (maybe it does for a turnip, but it cannot be as bad as picturing a ferret roast). We are naturally more drawn toward fruits and vegetables. It is our instinct to be so.
With all this talk about evolution, let’s for a minute pause and think about our current situation. Food scarcity, no land to grow crops, global warming, frequent droughts and regular flooding, unpredictable rainfall, and so many more calamities. Climate change is the most talked-about natural disaster that we are living through, with the biggest cause being the production of dairy and meat.
The next closest contributor is the fuel industry. Burning fossil fuels is necessary to grow, process, and distribute meat to different parts of the world.
And does that do us any good? When you come to think of it, the answer is no.
A meat-heavy diet has been linked to increased diabetes, heart diseases, obesity, cancer, and many other ailments. Evolution didn’t do this; we as human beings consciously chose this lifestyle.
And it is now our turn to pay for our actions.
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