1. letthemeatmeat:

    Late last year, there were a couple of popular articles looking at the surprisingly intricate ways that plants interact with their environments, Michael Pollan’s “The Intelligent Plant” and Kat McGowan’s “The Secret Language of Plants.” More recent (and brief) was Becky Ferreira’s “

     

  2. "Over the years, organic farmers have told me they relearned this important point: Many found out the hard way that they could not make their operations balance out — both biologically and economically (they’re the same in the end) — without bringing animals back into the equation. Handled right, animals control weeds and insects, cycle nutrients, and provide a use for waste and failed crops. Healthy ecosystems — wild and domestic — must include animals. Now there’s a chance we may realize how very important this idea is to the life of the planet."
    — environmental journalist Richard Manning (via sabelmouse)
     

  3. letthemeatmeat:

    If you knew very little about a debate except that two vegans were facing off against two omnivores over the topic of animal product consumption, and that the audience had a large proportion of vegans and vegetarians but was mostly meat eaters, which side would you expect to…

    Another question to ask: what do vegans plan to do with all the animals? Either they admit don’t know, reveal a naive Garden of Eden-like fantasy, or they openly own up to the intent to care for the existing animals until they die, but prevent them breeding. In other words: extinction of domesticated species (or wild species that they displace if you let them go free) is the practical end result of a vegan world.

    I don’t know about you, but personally I cannot see how advocating for the extinction of entire species is ethically superior to advocating for humane tending of those species (which must include maintaining the predator/prey balance if you want to sustain the situation into the future).

     

  4. Anonymous said: You say out GIT is herbivorous. Herbivores either have a four chambered stomach or an extended caecum and we have neither I don't understand.

    sabelmouse:

    despite NOT  having the aforementioned bits our intestines match those of herbivores?! 

    veganism removes the ability to logic from people’s brains.

    incontrovertible proof here! 

    You know I really wish Milton Mills MD’s (who is not an anatomist) “Comparative Anatomy of Eating” would fall of a cliff somewhere into a deep dark hole so that people would stop thinking their myths have any scientific basis.  That bullshit is far to easy to refute if you have even a basic grounding in human biology and evolution.  But don’t take my word for it, here’s a vegetarian (who happens to also be an anatomist and primatologist):

    adviceforvegans:

    No. I said our intestines match other herbivores which they do. Ours are very long but carnivores have short intestines so they can quickly get rid of the flesh they eat. We are biologically entirely herbivorous. 

    Intestinal absorption is a surface area, not linear problem. Dogs (which are carnivores) have intestinal specializations more characteristic of omnivores than carnivores such as cats. The relative number of crypts and cell types is a better indication of diet than simple length. We are intermediate between the two groups.

    source Humans are Omnivores John McArdle PhD

    (seriously go read the whole thing, he talks about jaws, saliva, evolution…  tldr take home? homo habilis ate meat, humans today eat meat, ergo we are omnivores, now stop.)

    Eat what you like, but enough with the pseudo science already.

     

  5. "

    Would that you could live on the fragrance of the earth, and like an air plant be sustained by the light.
    But since you must kill to eat, and rob the newly born of its mother’s milk to quench your thirst, let it then be an act of worship.
    And let your board stand an altar on which the pure and the innocent of forest and plain are sacrificed for that which is purer and still more innocent in man.

    When you kill a beast say to him in your heart,
    “By the same power that slays you, I too am slain; and I too shall be consumed.
    For the law that delivered you into my hand shall deliver me into a mightier hand.
    Your blood and my blood is naught but the sap that feeds the tree of heaven.”

    And when you crush an apple with your teeth, say to it in your heart,
    “Your seeds shall live in my body,
    And the buds of your tomorrow shall blossom in my heart,
    And your fragrance shall be my breath,
    And together we shall rejoice through all the seasons.”

    And in the autumn, when you gather the grapes of your vineyards for the winepress, say in your heart,
    “I too am a vineyard, and my fruit shall be gathered for the winepress,
    And like new wine I shall be kept in eternal vessels.”
    And in winter, when you draw the wine, let there be in your heart a song for each cup;
    And let there be in the song a remembrance for the autumn days, and for the vineyard, and for the winepress.

    "
    — Kahlil Gibran
    On Eating and Drinking
     

  6. scyrafeeus:

    Here we go!

    (via sabelmouse)

     
  7. itstimetochangethings:

    Love this, but they really don’t eat bugs or lizards or something?!

    Gorillas are largely vegetarian, but yes you’re right, they do (at least the lowland gorillas do) eat insects, preferably ants and/or termites.

    Also worth noting that chimpanzees, who’re closer related to humans, are omnivores who hunt smaller primates & birds.

    (via itstimetochangethings-deactivat)

     

  8. sabelmouse:

    Abstract

    A randomized, controlled school feeding study was conducted in rural Embu District, Kenya to test for a causal link between animal-source food intake and changes in micronutrient nutrition and growth, cognitive, and behavioral outcomes. Twelve primary schools were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 groups. Children in Standard I classes received the local plant-based dish githeri as a midmorning school snack supplemented with meat, milk, or fat added to equalize energy content in all feedings. The Control children received no feedings but participated in data collection. Main outcome measures assessed at baseline and longitudinally were 24-h food intake recall, anthropometry, cognitive function, physical activity, and behaviors during school free play. For cognitive function, the Meat group showed the steepest rate of increase on Raven’s Progressive Matrices scores and in zone-wide school end-term total and arithmetic test scores. The Plain githeri and Meat groups performed better over time than the Milk and Control groups (P < 0.02–0.03) on arithmetic tests. The Meat group showed the greatest increase in percentage time in high levels of physical activity and in initiative and leadership behaviors compared with all other groups. For growth, in the Milk group only younger and stunted children showed a greater rate of gain in height. The Meat group showed near doubling of upper midarm muscle area, and the Milk group a smaller degree of increase. This is the first randomized, controlled feeding study to examine the effect of meat- vs. milk- vs. plant-based snacks on functional outcomes in children.

    (via gravity-rainbow)

     
  9. spiritfawn:

    Humans are Naturally Herbivorous

    • The anatomical evidence tells us that we’re optimized for eating mostly or exclusively plant foods.  The only way to come to another conclusion is to ignore the bulk of the anatomical evidence, which is what many critics do.  (They either use inferior evidence, such as disputed assumptions about the prehistoric diet, or they cherry-pick the anatomical evidence while ignoring the bulk of it.)
    • Most plant-eaters eat small amounts of non-plant foods, usually insects (either intentionally or inadvertently).  Critics of this article zero in on this tiny non-plant consumption as though they’ve made some sort of point.  The small non-plant consumption of plant-eating animals doesn’t mean that they’re “omnivores” in the classical sense, and certainly doesn’t justify the idea that humans are adapted to a very mixed diet of plant and non-plant foods.
    • “Omnivore” doesn’t mean 50% plants and 50% animals.  Many critics consider chimpanzees to be omnivores but 95-99% of the chimp diet is plants, and most of the remainder isn’t meat, it’s termites. (see below)  If humans are omnivores, then the anatomical evidence suggests that we’re the same kind:  the kind that eats almost exclusively plant foods.

    • The animals most similar to us, the other primates, eat an almost exclusively vegan diet.

    • Saying we’re omnivores because we’re capable of eating meat is just silly.  We’re capable of eating cardboard, too.  And by the “capable” argument, then cats are omnivores too, since nearly every commercial cat food has plant ingredients.  (Check the label.)  Nobody would ever make the argument that cats are omnivores based on what they’re capable of eating.  But they sure make that argument for humans, enthusiastically.

    • Our so-called “canine teeth” are “canine” in name only.  Other plant-eaters (like gorillas, horses, and hippos) have “canines”, and chimps, who are almost exclusively vegan, have massive canines compared to ours.

    • Our early ancestors from at least four million years ago were almost exclusively vegetarian. (source)

    • Among animals, plant-eaters have the longest lifespans, and humans are certainly in that category (and yes, this was true even before modern medicine).
    • The idea that a switch to meat-eating is what sparked early humans’ brain development has no more evidence to support it than the competing theories (such as that it was a switch to cooked foods that did the trick), and certainly doesn’t square with what comparative anatomy tells us.
    • Many humans who eat meat try disingenuously to exploit the fact that humans are unable to digest cellulose, and discard it during the digestion process. However, cellulose is neither beneficial nor damaging to us in any way, so our inability to digest it is irrelevant.
    • If your lower jaw moves from side to side—and you grind and chew your food—then you are unequivocally herbivorous. The jaws of carnivores/omnivores only move up and down, vertically. They don’t chew; they just rip and swallow.
    • Many anthropologists and reputed medical experts attest to the fact that humans are completely herbivorous, plant-eating creatures. Dr. William Roberts, editor-in-chief of The American Journal of Cardiology and a professor at Baylor University, states, “Human beings are not natural carnivores. When we kill animals to eat them, they end up killing us because their flesh—which contains cholesterol and saturated fat—was never intended for human beings who are natural herbivores.”
    • Humans, historically and scientifically, have always been near the bottom of the food chain. Killing during a one-on-one confrontation without weapons, and the ability to consume bloody raw flesh right from the bone without having it cause disease later on in life, have always been the only true factors in determining physiology and placement in the food chain.

    This infographic is based on the theories of Milton Mills MD. He is neither a comparative anatomist, a primatologist, anthropologist nor gastroenterologist. In other words, none of this is in his area of speciality.

    In very simple terms, humans are omnivores because we eat meat. You can find fossil evidence of this going back before we were Homo sapiens, to Homo habilis. If one group of H. habilis ate meat & another didn’t, and H. habilis was optimised anatomically for a vegetarian diet, then the non-meat eating group would’ve out competed the meat eating group, their offspring would’ve been vegetarian, & so on. Basically, if you want to say humans aren’t omnivores you going to have to argue against the entire Theory of Evolution via Natural Selection. I don’t think you want to do that - Creationists have been trying for years and not succeeded.

    For a more complete takedown of the salient points of Milton Mills MD’s notions, here’s a piece by an actual anatomist, who also happens to be a vegetarian. http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/omni.htm

    Eat what you like, just don’t try & justify it with bad science. We don’t like bad science.

    Personally I agree that the majority of Westerners eat too much meat. But then, well, we eat too much of everything…

    (Source: filthgirl, via gonewithdreaming)

     

  10. An Open Letter to Vegans

    sabelmouse:

    pleading-eyes:

    Let’s real talk for a moment.

    If you choose to be vegan or vegetarian, I totally, one hundred percent, support you. If you want to tell people about how healthy you feel since you went vegan/vegetarian, great! Share your experiences and tell people all about your dietary choices if you want. That’s totally cool and I think it’s great for people to get their opinions heard.

    But please, for the love of scientific integrity, don’t LIE TO PEOPLE.

    I am so sick and tired of hearing vegan/vegetarian scare tactics and blatant misinformation. YES the human body CAN digest meat and we are PERFECTLY adapted to it! Eating meat was a crucial part in evolving the large brains we have today! It was the intake of animal fat and protein that gave us the nutrients we needed to evolve our larger brains. It’s what separated our ancestors from the other great apes.

    "But the human digestive tract is nothing like that of other carnivores! We more closely resemble herbivores! Clearly we were meant to eat veggies, not meat!"

    Let me show you something.

    This is a human’s digestive system:
    image

    The argument I often hear is that a human’s digestive system is “too long” for a carnivore. That most carnivores have shorter digestive systems, and that our longer digestive tract is evidence of our true herbivorous nature!

    Well let’s look at a carnivore’s digestive tract to compare:
    image

    Does that look shorter than our digestive system? Sure! But then by your claims, your digestive system should more closely match that of an herbivore, right? Okay, let’s take a look.

    image

    What’s THIS shit? Multiple stomachs? Food is partially digested and regurgitated throughout the day? That doesn’t sound anything like how we process and digest our food. Not only is an herbivore’s digestive system FAR longer than ours, it has a whole bunch of extra organs that we DON’T have! This is even LESS similar to us than the carnivore!

    Okay, so if we don’t perfectly resemble either of these examples, how do I explain the discrepancy? Easy! Human beings are OMNIVORES. We evolved to eat both meat and plant matter. Early humans were not picky in this regard. They hunted animals, they gathered whatever vegetables, tubers, nuts, and berries were available. If they could keep it down, they probably ate it.

    And during the winter months, when vegetation was scarce, our ancestors relied almost exclusively on animals for sustenance. This is well studied by archeologists and anthropologists and probably a whole bunch of other kinds of ‘ologists!

    Our digestive system is the reason you don’t have to keep throwing up your food and re-eating it all day, or keep constantly grazing, just to get through the day like herbivores do. You can skip a meal or two if you have to, and if you ate a particularly filling and nutrient-dense meal beforehand, you’ll be perfectly okay with this! This is the carnivore part of your digestive system at work.

    "But our teeth more closely resemble herbivores than carnivores!"

    image

    And again missing the point. Our teeth do not particularly resemble a carnivore’s, this is true. But they’re not a perfect match for herbivores either. We are OMNIVORES and will not perfectly fit in either category. Now while it’s true that in a lot of ways our teeth ARE closer to herbivores than carnivores, let’s not forget that carnivores use their teeth for hunting and tearing meat. Human beings did not. We used tools to hunt and cut our meat. We had no evolutionary need to develop sharp teeth for tearing meat when we had primitive spears and knives. Cooking meat also made it easier to tear.



    "But there is no nutritional need for animal meat that can’t be gotten from plants!"

    Not true. Not true at all.

    Now this is a bit of a funny technicality, because we live in an age where you can take supplements for just about anything, or get foods that are artificially enriched with whatever nutrients you’re missing.

    But looking at things from a natural perspective, there are essential fats and proteins that you can easily get from one serving of meat, that you’d need MULTIPLE servings of MANY different types of vegetables to get. Not only this, but vitamin B12 is exclusively found in animal products (because only specific bacteria can produce it, and they are found in animals), and is necessary for our nervous system, our blood cells, and for DNA production. If you’ve ever felt fatigued, moody, depressed, or have trouble remembering things while on a vegan/vegetarian diet, then you’re probably not getting enough B12. Luckily, today you can just take a supplement and not have to compromise your diet.

    This does not change the fact that there is a REAL, natural need for animal meat in the human diet. Just because you choose to substitute it does not change this fact.

    "But carnivores can create their own vitamin C in their bodies! We can’t, so we’re dependent on plants for vitamin C or we get sick! Clearly this means we’re herbivores!

    Oy. Come on. We’re OMNIVORES. We need both meat AND plant matter. This does NOT make us strictly herbivores.

    We actually have the enzyme to create our own vitamin C just as carnivores do, but it’s broken in humans and doesn’t work as it should. (L-gulonolactone oxidase)

    Evolution isn’t a perfect design, so somewhere along the line, we lost our ability to create vitamin C. However, as we are OMNIVORES, we are able to get our necessary vitamin C from plant matter, while still getting other essential nutrients (like protein, fat, and vitamin B12) from meat.


    "But what about the moral reasons for being vegan/vegetarian?"

    If you want to be vegan/vegetarian for moral reasons, more power to you. I think it’s admirable for you to take up the cause, and I agree that our food industry is despicable and needs a major overhaul. If you want to be vegan/vegetarian because of your objection to society’s push of unhealthy foods, good for you! It’s difficult to stick to a non-traditional diet with the way we’re constantly bombarded with all sorts of unhealthy foods everyday. It’s admirable of you to take the extra effort for your health.

    So please, stop LYING to people about our biological make-up. You’re only undermining your own points and pissing off potential meat-eating allies (such as myself!) in your fight for cruelty-free farming and/or healthier food options!

    "Shouldn’t we at least discourage meat-eating for health reasons?"

    If you want, but if you dive in and do the research, more and more (and here’s one more, my personal favorite source to recommend on the subject) experts are coming out and saying that grains are actually far more harmful to the human diet, and that we did not evolve to eat them. That they may be the reason for our obesity epidemic, the boom in diabetes, and a host of other metabolic syndromes.

    So replace meat (fat and protein) with grains (carbs and sugars) at your own risk.

    Thank you for your time, and I’m sorry for this rant. I really just needed to vent.

    very good post this. 

    Yes, omnivore ≠ carnivore.  Distortion of (or outright fibbing about) biological facts doesn’t help anyone.