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Are We Really Carnivores?

Our anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, and psychology all indicate that we are not carnivores. To say that carnivores eat carnage or flesh does not accurately portray such creatures. Animals that live on other animals usually eat raw meat, straight from the carcass, with relish. Carnivores consume most of the animal, not merely the flesh, eating the muscle meat as well as the organs and lapping up the warm, fresh blood and other bodily fluids with gusto. They delight in the guts and their partially digested contents. They even crush, split, and eat the smaller bones and their marrow and gristle (collagen or cartilage). Dogs, for instance, require far more calcium than humans, for animal flesh is extremely acid forming. The calcium (an alkaline mineral) in blood and bones offsets the acidic end materials of flesh foods. They also require much more protein than humans When you note the vigor with which dogs devour whole animals, you can be sure that what carnivores need for their nourishment is quite delicious to them.   Most of us love animals as fellow creatures on Earth. We do not salivate at the idea of crushing the life out of a rabbit with our bare hands and teeth, and the thought of eating one in a freshly killed state is repulsive. We certainly do not enjoy chewing on bones, gristle, entrails, chunks of raw fat and flesh, and the hair and vermin that inevitably accompany them. We can not imagine slurping hot blood, getting it all over our faces, hands, and bodies. These behaviors are alien to our natural disposition and are actually sickening.  The sights and smells of the slaughterhouse and even the butcher shop are those of death. Many people find them unspeakably abhorrent. Slaughterhouses are so objectionable to most people that no one is allowed to visit. Even the employees find slaughterhouse conditions impossible to make peace with. Slaughterhouses have the highest employee turnover rate of any industry. Meat eating does not fit in with our concepts of kindness or compassion. There is no humane way to kill another creature.

We kill our animals by proxy, finding the actual carcass or corpse to be a thing of disgust. The vast majority of adults agree that if they had to kill the animals in order to eat, they would not eat meat ever again. We disguise animal flesh by eating only small cuts of the muscle and some organ meats. Even then, we prefer to cook them and camouflage them with condiments.  We disguise the reality of meat by changing the names of the foods from what they really are to something more acceptable. We do not eat cow, pig, or sheep, but rather eat mutton, pork, ham, beef, steak, and veal. We do not speak of eating blood or lymph, but we salivate at the thought of a “juicy” steak. We distort reality even further by giving animal qualities to our natural foods. Hence we refer to the “skin” of the fruit, eat its “flesh,” dig out the “meat” of the nut, and even slice the “cheeks” or “shoulders” off fruit when we cut two sides away from the pit. These animal allusions minimize the horror of eating true flesh, but those of us who have not been desensitized are still aware of it.

The Evidence
When we weigh the evidence, we see that too many considerations exist in physiology, anatomy, aesthetic disposition, and psychology for us to even seriously entertain the notion that we were designed to eat flesh. By the time you finish this chapter (substantially derived from the writings of T.C.Fry), I think you will agree that human beings simply are not equipped to be carnivores.

Humans vs. Carnivores
The following is an incomplete list of the major differences between humans and carnivorous creatures:
• Walking: We have two hands and two feet, and we walk erect. All of the carnivores have four feet and perform their locomotion using all fours.
• Tails: Carnivores have tails.
• Tongues: Only the truly carnivorous animals have rasping (rough) tongues. All other creatures have smooth tongues.
• Claws: Our lack of claws makes ripping skin or tough flesh extremely difficult. We possess much weaker, flat fingernails instead.
• Opposable thumbs: Our opposable thumbs make us extremely well equipped to collect a meal of fruit in a matter of a few seconds. Most people find the process effortless. All we have to do is pick it. The claws of carnivores allow them to catch their prey in a matter of seconds as well. We could no more catch and rip the skin or tough flesh of a deer or bear barehanded than a lion could pick mangos or bananas.
• Births: Humans usually have children one at a time. Carnivores typically give birth to litters.
• Colon formation: Our convoluted colons are quite different in design from the smooth colons of carnivorous animals.
• Intestinal length: Our intestinal tracts measure roughly times the length of our torsos (about 30 feet). This allows for the slow absorption of sugars and other water-borne nutrients from fruit. In contrast, the digestive tract of a carnivore is only 3 times the length of its torso. This is necessary to avoid rotting or decomposition of flesh inside the animal. The carnivore depends upon highly acidic secretions to facilitate rapid digestion and absorption in its very short tube. Still, the putrefaction of proteins and rancidity of fats is evident in their feces.
• Mammary glands: The multiple teats on the abdomens of carnivores do not coincide with the pair of mammary glands on the chest of humans.
• Sleep: Humans spend roughly two thirds of every 24-hour cycle actively awake. Carnivores typically sleep and rest from 18 to 20 hours per day and sometimes more.
• Microbial tolerance: Most carnivores can digest microbes that would be deadly for humans, such as those that cause botulism.
• Perspiration: Humans sweat from pores on their entire body. Carnivores sweat from the tongues only.
~Written by Dr. Douglas Graham (from Chapter 1, The 80/10/10 Diet, Balancing Your Health, Your Weight, and Your Life, One Luscious Bite at a Time)


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