ES Op Ed: To Veg or Not to Veg

food chain

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.

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  • MonkeyBoy February 19, 2008  

    I’m with you, but it all depends on your motivations. If you’re doing it for health or environmental reasons, then less is definitely better than more. Good on you for cutting back and living a more moderate lifestyle.
    However, if you are coming from the animal rights side, then there really isn’t a way to be half a murderer.
    Quothe the PETA “Don’t you unfeeling people realize that cows are fully sentient beings, with their own language! (Fun Fact: ‘Moo’ is like Aloha or Shalom, with a bunch of different meanings.)”

  • gansie February 20, 2008  

    i’m w/ EvoDiva too. i try to eat plenty of meals that don’t include meat. and its actually very natural. salads, pasta, pizza, egg dishes – all yummy and don’t have to be meaty to be filling.

  • Jeff February 21, 2008  

    My rule with meat: if a friend of mine purchases and lovingly prepares meat, you bet your ass I’m going to eat it. Otherwise, meat purchasing is reserved for high-end restaurant where the options are a) pasta again and b) incredible fish. Oh, and if you’re visiting San Francisco.

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