ES Op Ed: To Veg or Not to Veg
Editors Note: ES first heard of Evo Diva through my journey to another world, but I’ve known she’s been a food enthusiast for much longer. Enjoy her peer-reviewed rant.
As a non-evangelical tree hugger, I feel a quiet sense of responsibility to convert to vegetarianism. After all, over half of the water and over 70% of the agricultural production in the U.S. is put toward raising livestock. As with most things, America’s consumption has gotten out of control. Besides, cows are just so damn cute – what did they ever do to deserve the slaughterhouse?
However, as an evolutionary biologist, I know that our species is not at its supreme fitness when sustained on a diet lacking in animals. If veggies don’t do their homework, they might not be getting essential B12 and D vitamins that are easily obtained from meat. Vitamin D is important for calcium absorption and strong bones. B12 is important in proper brain function. Other studies have shown that infants nursing from vegan mothers will not develop properly. Our ancestors might have subsisted on fruits and nuts, but our species evolved on the motto: “Variety is the spice of life.” While our teeth structure still is best suited for fruits, our most striking difference from other animals is our brain size. Along with B12, protein is essential for neurological development. A likely scenario is that our ancestors were obtaining new sources of protein in animal food options and were able to grow larger brains.
So what’s a hippie like me supposed to do? While true vegetarians agree that going halfway doesn’t count, I would argue that it is my only option. Choosing cage-free eggs, free range meat, and eating vegetarian 4-5 days of the week is my way of reconciling this inner conflict and pissing off people on both sides of the fence.