Humans: Herbivores, Carnivores Or Omnivores?

herbivore

carnivoreomnivore“A fair look at the evidence shows that humans are optimized for eating mostly or exclusively plant foods, according to the best evidence: our bodies.”  This quote is the lead-in to an article I ran across on Monday, shortly after I blogged about the paleo diet falling short of sound nutritional basis because it promoted the consumption of meat.  In this extensive article by Michael Bluejay, he cites medical, scientific, anthropological and anatomical experts in making an overwhelming case that we humans were put on this planet to eat primarily plant-based food.  He also provides an interesting psychological examination of why so many people desperately hang on to the contrary view, despite the overwhelming, credible evidence.  The chart below is his summary of just the anatomical evidence supporting the fact we should be plant eaters.  You can read his entire article here.

Humans are biologically herbivorous

Carnivores

Omnivores

Herbivores

Humans

Facial muscles

Reduced to allow wide mouth gape

Reduced

Well-developed

Well-developed

Jaw type

Angle not expanded

Angle not expanded

Expanded angle

Expanded angle

Jaw joint location

On same plane as molar teeth

On same plane as molar teeth

Above the plane of the molars

Above the plane of the molars

Jaw motion

Shearing; minimal side-to-side motion

Shearing; minimal side-to-side motion

No shear; good side-to-side, front-to-back

No shear; good side-to-side, front-to-back

Major jaw muscles

Temporalis

Temporalis

Masseter and ptergoids

Masseter and pterygoids

Mouth opening vs. head size

Large

Large

Small

Small

Teeth: Incisors

Short and pointed

Short and pointed

Broad, flattened and spade-shaped

Broad, flattened and spade-shaped

Teeth: Canines

Long, sharp, and curved

Long, sharp and curved

Dull and short or long (for defense), or none

Short and blunted

Teeth: Molars

Sharp, jagged and blade-shaped

Sharp blades and/or flattened

Flattened with cusps vs. complex surface

Flattened with nodular cusps

Chewing

None; swallows food whole

Swallows food whole and/or simple crushing

Extensive chewing necessary

Extensive chewing necessary

Saliva

No digestive enzymes

No digestive enzymes

Carbohydrate digesting enzymes

Carbohydrate digesting enzymes

Stomach type

Simple

Simple

Simple or multiple chambers

Simple

Stomach acidity with food in stomach

≤ pH 1

≤ pH 1

pH 4-5

pH 4-5

Length of small intestine

3-6 times body length

4-6 times body length

10-12+ times body length

10-11 times body length*

Colon

Simple, short, and smooth

Simple, short, and smooth

Long, complex; may be sacculated

Long, sacculated

Liver

Can detoxify vitamin A

Can detoxify vitamin A

Cannot detoxify vitamin A

Cannot detoxify vitamin A

Kidney

Extremely concentrated urine

Extremely concentrated urine

Moderately concentrated urine

Moderately concentrated urine

Nails

Sharp claws

Sharp claws

Flattened nails or blunt hooves

Flattened nails

From The Comparative Anatomy of Eating, by Milton R. Mills, M.D. * “Body length” measured from neck to anus, as with the other animals

God bless

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Melt Your Cellulite

celluliteAdiposis edematosa, dermopanniculosis deformans, status protrusus cutis, and gynoid lipodystrophy?  I’m sure you’re all familiar with those, right?  How about orange peel syndrome, cottage cheese skin or…….cellulite?  Aha, now we’re making progress!  Yes, they’re all the same condition, the irregular deposits of subcutaneous fat experienced by 80-90% of women past puberty.  The causes and severity are blamed on a host of sources including genetics, hormones, metabolism, circulation, inflammation and……diet.  One of the theories presented is that cellulite is a sign that your body is polluted.  This pollution – which results in a build up of fat-encased toxic deposits under your skin – is now widely believed to be due largely to the toxic by-products of the food we eat.  Anecdotal evidence suggests that this may, in fact, be the case as there are several claims of cellulite “melting” away with raw food or plant-based diets.

Recent clinical studies now offer some hard evidence that cellulite is effected by diet.  Researchers measured the effect a chemical called spermine has on cellulite by introducing a spermine-trapping molecule (sulfo-carrabiose) topically on the skin.  The result was a significant drop in thigh volume, circumference and cellulite.  What are the top two contributors of spermine in our diet?  Ground meat and lunch meat (ham, turkey, bologna and salami).

celluliteIn another recent study, researchers measured the level of adiponectin present in the troubled areas of women who had excessive cellulite and in those who had little or none.  The results consistently and significantly demonstrated that higher levels of adinopectin were directly related to less cellulite.  During the study, they determined that a vegetarian diet was responsible for a 19 % increase in adinopectin levels.  Even more notable was the fact that despite being provided with the exact same number of daily calories, the vegetarian group lost more weight, lost more inches from the waist, had lower cholesterol, less subcutaneous fat and less belly fat.

Bottom line, there is now clinical evidence to support the anecdotal experience that a vegetarian diet can melt away cellulite through a combination of limiting the presence of spermine and boosting the stores of adiponectin.  Here is a short video from Dr. Greger that describes some of the clinical findings in more detail.

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Here’s To Your Health!

meat healthOver the weekend, a tennis buddy of mine shared an article with me from Rodale (“Where Health Meets Life”) titled 9 Appalling Facts about Meat.  In it, Leah Zerbe reports  on myriad “disturbing meat industry facts”, including the presence of “dangerous strains of hard-to-kill superbugs”, antibiotic over-use, “half of the U.S. supermarket meat sampled contained staph infection bacteria”, Prozac in chicken meat, meat laced with “harmful veterinary drugs and heavy metals” and “potentially deadly E. coli“, among others.  Most of this information is not new, it’s been around for awhile.  I covered it months ago in “Eating Meat And Behaving Badly” and “Grocery Meat Loaded With Bacteria” but, as the Rodale article points out, there seems to be an increasing public sensitivity to “germaphobia” and meat is an easy target.

What really struck me about the article was the closing remark:

Want More Info?

To learn more about sourcing meat from happy animals and to avoid the perils of the food system, check out:

vegangorillaConsidering the risks mentioned above, why would you want to learn more about sourcing meat at all?  The fact is, millions of people are happier and far healthier, without any risk of all these “nasties”, because they simply choose not to eat meat.  And don’t even try the hackneyed line, “But where do you get your protein?”   Just refer to my vegan friend and you’ll see that a plant-based diet will provide more than enough protein to build adequate muscles.

The “killer” for me was the concept of sourcing meat from “happy animals“.  How happy can an animal be that’s going to have its throat slit, be bludgeoned to death, shot in the head, boiled alive or thrown live into a grinding machine, or have its testicles ripped off manually, its neck broken,  or be skinned alive?  Please, give me a break.  If you want to pretend this stuff doesn’t happen or you choose to ignore the fact that it does, or you feel there is some “humane” way to slaughter an animal to fill your belly just because you like the taste (when there is absolutely no nutritional requirement to do so), it’s certainly your right, but understand, you’re making a clear public statement about the kind of person you are.  Kudos to my friend who shared this article, he’s decided to cross meat off his nutritional list.

God Bless

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Relationships & A Plant-Based Diet

Following up on my post yesterday about letting yourself go physically (Bait ‘N Switch?: A Relationship Warning), at the peril of your love relationship, here is another remarkable story of what a plant-based diet can do to remedy the situation.  Remember, it’s your choice!  (Source: ForksOverKnives.com)

My Experience Going Vegetarian, Then Vegan

Patrick570x299Web My Experience Going Vegetarian, Then Vegan

I love food.

I love to talk about it, shop for it, make it, and I really love to eat it. This did not always make for a very healthy lifestyle, but I’ve made significant changes over the years. I became active, lost weight, and moved to a vegan diet.

Since becoming a vegetarian in 2009, I’ve had many discussions about the love of food, nutrition, and diet. Some endurance athletes I know say they could never be vegetarians because they “need the protein.” Others say they are mostly vegetarian but could never give up their beloved dairy.

In 2011, I went on a vegan diet. In just a few months after eliminating dairy from my diet, I could already see and feel the positive impact. I sleep great, have more energy, and no longer feel sluggish or bloated. I have never felt better in my life.

After taking this additional step, I noticed my discussions about my diet shifted in tone. Most people I talked to “get” vegetarianism. We could all benefit from giving up meat, they say, but why would anyone give up all animal products? No eggs? No milk? No cheese? No way!

Although I personally felt much better eliminating all animal products from my diet, watching Forks Over Knives in November 2011 provided me with the means to better articulate the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle.

I see now with clarity why eating a plant-based diet is the best option for my overall health and wellness. I understand now how eliminating meat and dairy doesn’t just make me feel better, it can prevent and even reverse afflictions like heart disease and diabetes. I don’t know about you, but my idea of good health does not involve pills, stents, or bypasses.

I am a marathon runner and a triathlete. I work out 6-8 times per week and get all the nutrients I need (including protein) from a plant-based diet. Some world-class vegan athletes like ultra-marathoner Scott Jurek, Ironman Brendan Brazier, and Ultraman Rich Roll agree. These guys are at the top of their games and they’re doing it without eating animal-based foods.

My passion for food remains firmly intact, but now I get to create nutritious, great-tasting meals every day without worrying about the unhealthy consequences.

God Bless

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