'How to Help a Meat Head'
Three (False) Reasons People Eat Meat
Meat is supposed to be good nutrition. Undoubtedly, it is a source of concentrated calories, primarily of fat and protein. Once, during times of scarcity, that quality may have been valuable, but in our obesity-plagued society, few people need more calories. Meat has been touted as a good source of iron, zinc, and B12 – but I have never seen anyone with deficiencies of these nutrients due to eating too little meat – have you? On the other hand, everywhere I look I see problems from too much meat.
Plants are loaded with minerals, including iron and zinc, which they obtain from the ground (earth).2 Vitamin B12 deficiency is very rare and this vitamin can be obtained from bacteria which synthesize it, and from supplements (purchased in a natural foods store).3
Meat tastes good. Really? If it tastes so good then why don’t people salivate over plain boiled chicken? Why don’t you find, featured on the menu of the finest restaurants “baked beef with no added sauce or salt?” The truth is meat is flavorless, at best; either bland in taste – or at worst, repulsive to the human tongue and nose. The only way most people can stomach the taste of meat is to cover the natural flavors up with sauces made of sugar, salt, and spices – like ketchup, barbecue sauce, steak sauce, sweet and sour sauce, and marinara sauce. The tips of our tongue have taste buds that respond to salt and sugar.4 Our noses savor the aromas of plant-derived spices. So much for meat tasting good – it is the toppings we like.
Throughout history, meat at the dinner table has been considered a sign of success.5 The strongest and bravest members of a society captured the most game. (This was almost exclusively a male venture). Hunting serves as a test of manhood, after all, chasing and killing animals is much more difficult and dangerous than picking raspberries or pulling up potatoes. Successful hunters obtain status (and as a prize, more women and more desirable ones). Even today people refer to the accomplishments of a successful breadwinner in the family as “bringing home the bacon.” Fortunately, today, in 21st century society, bringing home meat has lost all status. In fact, more intelligent people view this activity as a sign of stupidity – akin to cigarette smoking and the two-martini lunch – two offensive behaviors not too long ago considered status symbols.