My uncles used to ask my father if he caught anything when he came back in from hunting. He would reply he did not “catch” but he killed a squirrel or a deer. That violent act of killing happens each time before someone consumes meat. Most people only picture the act of shooting in the wild and not the killing that goes on at slaughter houses.
I recently listened to a controversial interview with John McDougall, MD. It was controversial in that there was a media storm of John’s outburst and animated expressions. His very clear message was overlooked and instead, they focused on his delivery. The interviewer was trying to trap Dr. McDougall into saying a little meat consumption was ok. His argument revolved around the Neanderthals and Hunter Gather Societies. There is no argument that they did consume animal flesh. And likewise there is no argument that they also consumed fruit, tubers, and starches. There is strong evidence that the majority of calories came from vegetables. So why are so many people arguing for the animal flesh and not the vegetables?
Tradition was the young men went out on the hunt leaving the women, children and older folk to supply the camps with food by gathering fruits and starches. The men walked, ran, and tracked the game for miles in order for the animal to get fatigued so the kill could take place. This is why we as humans evolved to be able to cover great distances by foot, i.e. born to run. I digress. Covering all those miles translated into burning tremendous calories to obtain one animal that may or may not have made it back to the village. They needed to expend many more calories per pound of food hunting than gathering. Civilizations survived because of starches not animal flesh. The Inuits living in northern Alaska endured extreme environements and expended tremendous energy to support a high animal flesh diet. They had limited exposure to vegetable but most likely were able to store starches. They also expended tremendous energy keeping warm! Contrary to early studies there was significant cardiovascular disease in this population. The environment directed their diet not food or health choices.
How does this translate or support eating animal flesh today? Even in the era that my father hunted, (1938-1995), the animal meat obtained through hunting was a supplement to the animal meat raised on the farm. He and his buddies would go out for a week in hopes of getting deer and sometimes there was no success and other times perhaps several deer were killed. That was divided among several families. Even with a hunting camp, tree stands, and riffles, the calories expended per animal calories killed was significantly higher than going to the grocery store. No-one survived by hunting alone.
Today, the Standard American Diet and heaven forbid, the Keto diet, has animal flesh at every meal with essentially no caloric out lay other than standing at the stove or grill. The hunt is reserved for a parking spot at the grocery store, and the effort may only be reaching for the bag of animal flesh delivered out of the window from a drive through. The caloric expenditure to the caloric consumption has drastically reversed.
We are arguing over the preservation of our wants not our needs. We are trying to justify old habits and traditions. We are consuming animals mindlessly without regards to their origin, our health, or the health of our planet simply because of desire not need. How much is safe? How much is too much? At what degree can we push the envelope before we cause disease and destruction? I believe we are already there. The crash is already occurring with our nations health and the planet. We must select another route to avoid the crash. Hospitals are overwhelmed caring for the crash victims with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. All resources are aimed at caring for the victims and the consequences of the crash.
Consider taking another route. One less traveled but with much less pain and suffering. Enjoy the gathering of fruits, vegetables and starches. Listen to the words of the wise men like Dr. John McDougall and eat your vegetables.