INTERVENTION: AMERICA’S ADDICTION TO MEAT
Imagine its a Monday and you’re working late. As you’re about to leave, a hunger attack strikes. You then realize you skipped lunch and haven’t ate in hours. On the drive home a commercial comes on the radio. It’s an advertisement for a restaurant chain. They advertise this juicy 1/2 pound 100% all beef burger. It’s loaded with fresh Wisconsin cheddar, lettuce, tomato, sautéed onion, ketchup, and a zesty special sauce. Pair it with an order of cheddar bacon ranch fries all for $11.99. This image becomes visible in your head. Your mouth starts to water and you decide that this burger needs to be in your body.
Lets look at the definition of addiction. Addiction is the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity. If you’re a meat eater, the opening paragraph may have made you want a burger. This happens all the time. It can happen by listening to an add, watching an add or looking at a picture of an add. Subconsciously these adds are in your head. They keep you wanting. Adds are just a small part in the role of food addiction. When people find out I eat plant based, I always get a similar response. People usually say “ I think it’s awesome that you eat that way but I could never give up meat. It tastes so good”! There is a problem with this statement that people do not realize.
Humans taste saltiness, sweetness, sourness, bitterness, and umami. You can look this up in any anatomy book. People do not realize meats like wings, steak and burgers do not taste good by themselves. It is pretty dull. Wings are always covered in some sort of sauce loaded with sugar and are also dipped in ranch or blue cheese. Steaks are marinated in different ways. A lot of the times they are seasoned with sugar, salt, herbs and spices. The same goes for burger patties. (Guess where herbs and spices come from? Plants! Another reason why plants are the shit!) Burgers are also seasoned many ways. When they get to the bun, they are covered with more sugar loaded condiments. Sugar is another factor that plays into the role of meat addiction.
There are plenty of studies now showing sugar to be addictive. Sugar is added to many foods that people consume on a standard american western diet. We now can prove that sugar affects the same area of the brain that drugs (such as cocaine) do. The more sugar consumed, the higher the tolerance becomes. More sugar is consumed to try and get the satisfaction that was reached at a previous point in time. The reward system of the brain is completely taken over. You just keep wanting more and more. Sugar is also another issue in America in its self but lets save that for another day. In the mean time watch the link below to find out more about sugar. (For the record, this doesn’t apply to the sugar in fruit)
People on a standard American diet will argue anything to justify their precious meat. Another big argument I have heard people use is our ancestors. “Our ancestors have been eating meat for years! We evolved to eat meat!” This makes me want to repeatedly headbutt a wall over and over again! It may be worse than the where do I get my protein question. Why do people think our ancestors ate so much meat? Is it because we have found sharp tools next to fossils? Does this automatically make our ancestors great hunters? When ancestors are talked about, it is usually from the paleolithic era. The paleo diet has been debunked a few times and it makes perfect sense. (Dr. Mcdougall has a video discussing this here.) Lets put the science aside and just use some logic.
Our ancestors were not out by the grill cooking chicken breast, 1/2 pound burgers, or BBQ ribs. They sure as hell didn’t kill a cow and say “ Hmm, I think I’ll just have the sirloin today.” No meat eating animal would do any of that. They would eat every part they could from what they killed. The blood would be drank and all the guts would be eaten. I hate to break it to you, but even our ancestors were biologically plant eaters. Just compare yourself to meat eating animals. We are slow. We don’t have claws or teeth to tear flesh from bone. Our teeth are flat and our jaw grinds side to side. The human species is pretty low on the food chain without weapons. I won’t say our ancestors didn’t eat meat at all. If they did, it was most likely raw. There is something else to realize. Our ancestors fought to survive. Most did not live long lives. Food was harder to get. Eating some meat to survive is one thing but eating it because it gives you a high and you want it is another. Americans are not fighting for survival. We are fat as fuck. The only thing Americans are fighting is trying to catch their breath walking to the fridge.
I stumbled across some insane numbers that put into perspective how meat crazy Americans are. According to The National Cattleman’s Beef Association the total amount of beef consumed in the U.S was 24.807 billion pounds! The total number of cattle and calves in the top 5 states is around 24 million. This is an insane number of cows that are mass produced just in the states. This isn’t even counting poultry and fish. I bet a third of that number goes to waste. I know some of you may be thinking “But Max, if we don’t eat the cows then the world would be over populated with them.” Yes this argument is real and if you ever hear someone say it punch them in the throat for that kind of stupidity. The addiction to meat is causing way more than early death caused by cancer and heart disease. It is destroying the planet, and for what? So Americans can keep feeding their meat addiction in which they have no biological need for, and the meat industry can continue to make billions!
These were just some of many points on this topic I wanted to write about. There is more that plays into all of this. From studies funded by meat and dairy industries that focus on reductionist research to MD’s giving nutrition advice. The good news is that people are waking up a little. The vegan/plant based movement grows bigger each year. I would like to end this blog with a quote I now live by. I do not remember who it came from but it stuck with me. It goes something like this. “Eat to live, don’t live to eat.”