Meat or Non-Meat Diets?
Meat is very nutrient dense food. The change in overall median incomes allow for red meat, which is still a luxury, to be consumed more. In low median income countries, they get their nutrition mainly from a cereal diet quite often supplemented with chicken, that is less nutrient dense, so evolution tailors them for being of a smaller stature. The environment that people find themselves in tailors them for a certain construction. In place where meat and dairy are more commonplace, the people within such areas are generally much larger than those where they are not. But, humans have been constantly growing in size due to the abundance of foods, faster in meat producing or using countries than those who do not. A combination of meats and dairy produces the opposite effect. In older times things like pastry in pies were just to hold the meat, not normally eaten except by the commoners and pets, so a leader would have a high nutrient diet compared to those around them and their line would generally be more durable and stronger, at least for a while. Excess usually killing them off, not their diet.
As you get older though, all foods especially meat and dairy start to become a problem rather than an advantage, and the more environmentally conditioned commoners can live longer than their royal counterparts. Lactose, gluten, fibre, meat, nuts, all can cause serious problems for some people, but the problem is rarer than the marketing world suggests, and many diets are condition by what they are informed as bad, rather than being bad for the average person. Soya and almond milk as an alternative to cow milk may be asking for problems, but cow’s milk is quite recent, the UK changing from goats and sheep to cows about the 17th century. Goat and sheep milk has about 40% less lactose than cows, the extra maybe pushing against the thresholds for intolerance.
Human are currently omnivores, the ability to consume a wide range being a developed advantage. Some creatures have evolved into what may have backed them into a corner as far as this goes. But with most evolutionary things, exposure to a food will usually build up a tolerance over the generations, removing it completely, OK in a time of plenty, but eventually causing major problems if you have lean times where a low nutrient food is a poor policy and only certain foods are available, or unknowingly consuming a non-tolerated food. The move for lactose free, gluten free, nut free and meat free products where people are not in fact intolerant maybe evolving first into intolerances, then into allergies to them. The fact that people can be desensitised to certain things suggests this is true.
In Northern climes, complete crop failures were common, so adopted the less efficient but more reliable meat lines for protein, supplementing them with crops compared to better or hotter climate areas that had the reverse, some problems with meat quickly going off finding their way into religions.
Nutrient dense foods are those that have the requirements for the human body in the best proportions. The best thing a person can eat as far as nutrients go is eat another human, but people tend to object to this, so the next best is a similar animal of some sort. Red meat will give you the most of these, as it’s about 25% protein. Nuts are somewhere near 10% protein so you need to eat 2 1/2 times as much. Grains are similar, but most are processed. Green salads and those not containing some animal produce tend to be very low in protein, some less than 2%, so for a typical 8-ounce steak you’d need to eat 20oz of nuts or grains and about 7lbs of greens. Saturated fats have a bad name, but recently a lot of the in-depth research found that much of the past research was faulty or faked and that there may be no truth to the basis that they are bad for you. People have cut out dairy and are now paying the consequences, such as osteoporosis, eating instead cocktails of chemical mixtures of unhealthy unsaturated fats. Most spreads are naturally white or grey, needing colouring to make them yellow. Many people are lacking in iron and anaemic, but the main cause for iron overdose is not meat, but taking vitamins for your health.
Meat is an expensive way to provide protein compared to grains, and is now less safe as farmers choose to maximise their profits by overloading and over use of antibiotics and doing such things as feeding cattle meat products to produce bulk. BSE was a direct result of this practice as cattle’s biology is not suited to weed out rogue meat-based proteins. But with genetic modification, over use of pesticides and single crop specialisation, crops are following suit, a disaster waiting to happen. So far pest and disease evolution hasn’t caught up yet, but it will, and crops having little genetic diversity will cause havoc when something evolves to use this advantage, like elms in the UK where as much as 95% were wiped out within 20 years. Imagine wheat, corn or rice suffering this loss.
What you are and what you do has consequences, and a change in an environment changes you in ways, some good, some bad. Evolution is still happening, and our environment is adapting us, having a philosophy that only good can come from a change, being one more of wishful thinking than the end or future results of badly thought out or arbitrary changes.
John Stuart Mill said ‘Let not any one pacify his conscience by the delusion that he can do no harm if he takes no part, and forms no opinion. Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing. He is not a good man who, without a protest, allows wrong to be committed in his name, and with the means which he helps to supply, because he will not trouble himself to use his mind on the subject.’
Cattle Meat produces about 1000lb per acre or about 260lbs of protein, plus parts of the body give other necessary compounds that cost much more to create synthetically. They need careful attention, quite in the form of antibiotics.
Sheep produces about 500lb per acre and 50lbs of wool or 130lbs of protein, plus parts of the body give other necessary compounds that cost much more to create synthetically. They need careful attention, quite in the form of antibiotics.
During the 1920’s animal remains started to be used by feed manufacturers. 1985 BSE jumped to cows. 1994 first cases of CJD from infected meat. 1996 minister says probably link to BSE and European Commission bans UK meat, although still present on the continent, just hidden by their farming communities and governments. 2000 European Commission allows UK meat into EU again although similar outbreaks in France and Germany produced no restrictions. So much for EU vigilance, fairness and control.
Cotton produces about 800lbs of usable material per acre, no protein, and little otherwise. They need careful attention with pesticides as they usually are a mono-species crop, so wide open to evolutionary competition. About 94% is genetically modified.
Peas yields about 10,000lbs per acre, at about 5.5% protein this gives a level of 550lbs of protein per acre and little otherwise. They need careful attention with pesticides as they usually are a mono-species crop, so wide open to evolutionary competition. Only a small percentage are genetically modified, but those that were showed and increased allergic reaction in some people and a lowered immune response.
It might be a problem that transfers to other GM foods, only appearing as a problem over time, most GM being introduced first in the US in 1994, 28 years ago, but becoming widespread in 2000, 22 years ago. There have been many changes in the past decade, but direct linking of things can take half a century to establish. In the 1920’s the first real medical links to smoking were being established, with a major report by British epidemiologist Richard Doll in 1948 on the dangers, that resulted in 1964 and U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry declaring a definite link to lung cancer 44 years later. We now know there are many other diseasesand complaints linked to it, although now many people are using e-cigarettes that started entering as an alternative in about 2009-2010. Some black-market liquids contained lipids and THC that have caused serious lung damage, but due to the length of time things take to develop the risk may not be apparent until about 2030. How contracting Covid-19, especially the earlier variants, affects those who vape is totally unknown.
Soya beans produce about 11,600lbs per acre, at about 13% protein this gives a level of 1,660lbs of protein per acre and little otherwise. Tofu is typically about 14% protein. They need careful attention with pesticides as they usually are a mono-species crop, so wide open to evolutionary competition. About 2/3rds of all crop production is soya and 80% of it is genetically modified. The return is around about $300 per tonne, costing $100 per tonne to produce and production has increased by 14-fold over the last 50 years. The biggest number of allergies are found amongst those who have problems with soy products.
The idea that meat uses 100 times the level of plant matter for food and other useful compounds is a myth put about by people who have a theoretical knowledge of a lot of things, but have no knowledge at all of practical farming. Their farming knowledge is from the armchair in a big city with a latte by the side. Their attitude is ‘trust me, I’m a pillock.’
There are things for and against meat production, most problems ignored due to people’s enthusiasm to introduce ‘a meat free society,’ but there are dangers. I read an article by such a person who stated that there are no drawbacks to such a move, and that crops gave 100 times the return on food per acre as meat. Obviously, they were being very selective in cases and calculations they chose to confirm this, making sure no available evidence to the contrary was mentioned to compromise their fixed ideology and beliefs. It puts a whole new light to the phrase ‘if it disagrees with veganism it’s sacrilege, so evidence can be safely ignored, if it agrees with veganism then it is superfluous, as we already have the true belief.’ Even ignoring the latest evidence to come from the medical field, ‘that vegan women tend to have lower bone density on average than non-vegan women,’ so may be likely to suffer more from osteoporosis later in life, or skeletal problems likely to start at an earlier age. The daily intake for calcium is around 1300mg per day. Calcium is a mineral necessary for the growth and maintenance of strong teeth and bones, nerve signalling, muscle contraction, and secretion of certain hormones and enzymes. Two of the highest vegetables in calcium are spinach, kale and pak-choi. To get the necessary level a person needs to eat around 1kg of cooked spinach or kale a day, 1.4kg of pak-choi, 1 litre of milk, 170 grammes of cheddar cheese (about ½ a pack worth). Carrots are 3.4kg of raw ones, cucumbers you need to eat 7.5kg.
The campaign against dairy foods have been found to be full of faulty science, saturated and unsaturated fat differentiation highly suspect, just as good and bad cholesterols are open to wild doubts and poor interpretations, the evidence being very shaky and subject to directed interpretations, but many doctors and scientists still refuse to admit this, claiming low fats spreads are better than butters, even though now the figures show poorer outcomes on the former, refusing to accept this idea and the figures. There is still the push for high carb, low carb, low fat and low sugar diets, even though people are becoming fatter all the time from them with a myriad of new problems, substituting new problems for old rather than replacing or removing them. In a time of better and more abundant foods than at any time in the past, we are in the thralls of the poor nutrition stakes with new and wonderful diseases developing and increasing, many previously limited to the destitute and starving of the past, but now being a problem of choice.