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Ask Marilyn: Is it Natural for Humans to Eat Meat?

S.S. of Richardson, Texas, writes:

Marilyn: I come from a strictly vegetarian family and have been vegetarian my whole life. I have always wanted to try meat, but my parents have been extremely opposed to this idea. They argue that eating meat is not natural because the human body is not designed to consume meat. I argue that the human body is also not designed to consume ice cream or cookies. If I am allowed to eat those foods, then I should be allowed to eat meat as well.

I have two questions. Firstly, is the human body meant to eat meat or not? Second, should I or should I not consume meat in light of the situation?

Marilyn responds:

Yes, it is natural, normal, and healthful for humans to eat a variety of meats and plants. If you're a vegetarian, it's harder to get all the nutrients you need, but you can do it with special attention and effort. (In particular, vegetarians need to focus on getting enough protein, iron, calcium, zinc, and vitamin B12.) The stricter the vegetarianism, the more difficult this becomes. Yet vegetarians are happy to make that effort for the principles they hold dear.

Efforts to analyze human anatomy to determine whether we are "meant" to eat meat aren't necessary. Consider: If we had discovered the fossilized remains of an animal from the distant past, and we wondered what it ate, looking at all the various factors may help. After all, we don't have a time travel machine to go back to the era when that animal existed. If we did, we would learn the facts quickly. Aha! It does it meat! Or it eats only certain meats or plants, etc. With humans, we don't need that time travel machine, and we don't need to wonder. We know! It's obvious that humans have been omnivorous since at least the dawn of homo sapiens.

That said, I believe you should not eat meat while you are living in your parents' house, either at home or elsewhere. If they've done enough unbiased research to know how to stay healthy while maintaining a vegetarian diet, you should respect their wishes. No harm will be done.



Ask Marilyn: Is it Natural for Humans to Eat Meat?
 
 
 
 

 

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