The Scourge of Vegetarianism: Or, Why Everyone Should Eat Meat

Ari: What the fuck are we doing here, man. I’m on Atkins, I need protein.
Vince’s girl: Ah come on, there’s plenty of protein in mong beans.
Ari: No no, I’m talking about real protein. You know, like men protein, you know, from the flesh of slaughtered animals. (..)
Vince: Meat is murder…
Ari: Even broccoli screams when you rip it from the ground!

Ari Gold, Entourage, ‘The Script and the Sherpa’ (S1E05)

Ari Gold pretty much has it bang on the money here. Meat is protein. Meat is the reason human evolution occurred, it’s the reason we function today, and no vegetarian substitute ever tastes as good as meat. So straight off, I’m going to say that vegetarians have it totally, completely, 100% wrong. Here’s why.

Firstly, the evolutionary perspective. If you ask any anthropologist, it’s pretty damn obvious that we have meat to thank for the fact that we are the rulers of the planet today, instead of dragging our knuckles along the ground with our fellow primates (see ‘Meat-eating was essential for human evolution, says UC Berkeley anthropologist specializing in diet‘). It’s even more important for babies, who need the stuff for growth and brain development. So by denying meat from your diet, you are not only punching evolution to the ground and kicking it in the face, you’re hurting babies. Face it: we didn’t climb to the top of the food chain to eat a friggin’ soy loaf with a side of rice crackers for dinner.

This baby was offered a soy-loaf with a side of rice crackers. He declined.

If evolutionary theory doesn’t convince you (in which case you’re probably a creationist and we don’t give a shit what you think anyway. Seriously, why are you reading this?), then there is the fact that a vegetarian diet has some very real cons. Sure, it may sound nice to reassure yourself that you don’t have rotting animal carcass simmering in your stomach juices (mmm), but the fact of the matter is that not all vegetarians are health-conscious, well-informed nutritionists. Nine times out of ten, poor meal planning or just a lack of time leads to vegetarians missing out on omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, calcium and iron. Cutting through all the boring stuff, these nutrients – which are common in a meat-eating diet – are known to help with helping to make DNA, personality disorders, transporting oxygen, strengthening your bones, and producing and maintaining cells. At this point many vegetarians will cry out, claiming that their iron/oxygen/lame levels are higher than when they ate meat. This is NOT the case for the majority of vegetarians and vegans who regularly suffer from a lack of these nutrients and associated health problems, so clearly you are just a special snowflake!

Now, one of the reasons many people become vegetarian is because they are concerned about animal welfare. This is a fair enough point… to an extent. You see, sanctimoniously referring to chickens bred for food to the holocaust (yes, someone actually said this to me once as I was eating a chicken burger – I nearly brained him), or talking about the cruelty of a cow being killed to make mincemeat, not only totally turns meat-eaters off from ever talking to you, it makes you look like an idiot. Yes, pigs being kept in cages where they can barely move is cruel. Yes, chickens having their beaks clipped off is cruel. But my problem with the smug “we are pro-animal rights, you are a kitten-squasher” PETA-style of thinking, is that those same people who proclaim that killing animals is cruel would not hesitate to stamp on a cockroach, swat a fly or squish an ant. Where do you draw the line, people? Does the ‘living beings should not be killed merely for human satisfaction’ rule only extend to creatures that you find cute? Spiders have mothers too, you know…

“A human can be healthy without killing animals for food. Therefore if he eats meat he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite.”
Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy, Russian author (1828-1910)

Shut up, Tolstoy.

Finally, and for me what is the most important point: meat is delicious. Think of all the classic, home-style, heart-warming comfort foods that always make you feel better – spaghetti bolognaise, ribs, chicken schnitzel, heck, even potato salad has bacon in it sometimes. Notice there was no ‘steamed tofu vege-pie’ or ‘black beans with green beans and more beans plus a steamed carrot’ on that list. This is because vegetarian food is incredibly hard to make interesting, and dining out as a vegetarian is difficult – just ask my friend Tanya who recently had to make do with a tasty meal of vege-balls while the rest of us had salmon and steak at a university function. While vegetarian food may not in itself be bland, it generally lacks the flavour and satisfaction of a meat dish.

If you think this doesn’t make you salivate, you’re lying to yourself. Stop lying.

So for those of you who think you’re doing the world a huge favour by not eating meat, please get over yourselves. Meat-eating played a fundamental role in shaping human evolution and making us what we are today, it keeps us healthy, and more importantly, it’s incredibly tasty. Homer Simpson said it best when he reminded Lisa “all normal people love meat… you don’t win friends with salad.”

N

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6 responses to “The Scourge of Vegetarianism: Or, Why Everyone Should Eat Meat

  1. Hahaha oh man, I would’ve expected myself to be offended since I was a vegan back in my wild blue hair high school days. Maybe it was the blue hair but my iron and protein levels dropped. I was fatigued all the time. Then a doctor told me it was just not possible to be a vegan and get all the calories and proteins needed. So I have to admit, N kinda has a point 🙂

  2. I have nothing constructive to say- I don’t really have thoughts on vegetarianism, everyone’s free to eat what they want, but I am annoyed when parents inflict it on their children since there does seem to be a nutritional advantage to meat consumption in younger years.

    Anyhow, thought this quote was both funny and relevant:

    We vegetarians love the environment. carnivores are sick freaks.
    How can vegetarians possibly love the environment.. you keep eating all the fucking plants

    We vegetarians love the environment. Carnivores are sick freaks.
    How can vegetarians possibly love the environment? You keep eating all the fucking plants!

  3. Thanks for the comments guys! Yeah Carmen I’m inclined to agree with you on the childhood one – give them meat while they’re growing up, and if they decide they want to become vegetarians at least it was their choice. I’ve met waaaaay too many pale weedy kids around whose parents have forced it on them since birth :S not cool.

  4. Nic, love your writing and the baby caption made me snort with laughter. Get that this is taking the piss, but because you brought Tolstoy and I into this, I must voice my rebuttal.
    1) In terms of evolution stuff, apart from the fact that I don’t really see ‘survival of the fittest’ in Western culture anymore thanks to medicine and birth control, isn’t evolution about change?? I believe that humans who are able to remain healthy on a much more sustainable vegetarian diet are acting progressively, given current environmental issues.
    2) Nutrition: 9/10 meat eaters actually consume too much protein, which can actually lead to some (yay, kidney stones!). We overestimate how much protein we need. A mere 150g of chicken is actually MORE than the recommended daily . Yeah, poor planning is definitely nutritional suicide for a vegetarian. But I don’t think it is any different for a carnivore. Once you carnivores can show me that you have a perfectly balanced diet, not deplete of any of the nutrients found in the veggies you cannot consume due to the excess of protein you have devoured…. well, then we can have a discussion about vego’s poor nutrition. Finally, anecdotal evidence I know, but my iron/general bloodwork improved drastically once I become a vegetarian.
    3) Where do we draw the line at animal welfare? I think this comes down to the personal choice thing. I’m sure most people would ultimately prefer their existence not to rely on the death of other creatures, but it comes down to balancing our ethics with our desires. I am happy killing mosquitos and ants and spiders and so I do. However, I would never be able to kill a sheep or chicken or kangaroo, so why on earth should I pay for it to happen, in the most dispicably torturous way I can imagine??? This is why I ate seafood but not meat as a ‘vegetarian’, I am personally okay with the killing of fish and delicious calamari.
    4) Taste. You’ve clearly never had the joy of eating any of my tofu curries.

  5. Tanya – I like to think of eating meat as a friendly nod to our ancestors, who got us to this level of “medicine and birth control”. Who knows which species would have been allowed to evolve and become even smarter and better than us, had we not spit roasted (lol) or char-grilled them to a tender and juicy portion?

    E

  6. Tanya, I’m sorry to break this to you, but tofu can never compare to bacon. Never.

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