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Diet of the Apes

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Essorant
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0 posted 01-14-2010 01:32 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant


Just wondering what you think about this

Do you go out of your way to eat more as an "omnivore", "carnivore", "herbivore" or "frugivore"?  Does it matter to you?  

Stephanos
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1 posted 01-14-2010 04:11 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

I tried to be a carnivore
but felt my gut was craving more
than marbled meat from steaming bone
upon a platter, perched alone
So I thought I'd munch just leafy greens
cellulose with vitamines
and stalk out stalks and entish boughs
to take my leave from fish and cows
But soon with time my fare grew bland
nibbling things which spring from sand
And even fruits so sweet to lips
would leave me hankering for hips
So then I thought "Why choose between
a blossom and a bloody spleen?
Why not aim to have the more?"
That's why I'm now an OM-NI-VORE.
Stephanos
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2 posted 01-14-2010 04:26 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

To comment on the article ...

Are they serious to suggest that the human mouth is not suited to chew meat, or the human digestive system not suited to digest it?  Since my career required A&P at the University, and pathophysiology, I must conclude that we have either evolved past the specimen of the authors' observation ... or they don't really know what they're talking about.



Stephen
Essorant
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3 posted 01-16-2010 02:09 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Stephanos,



Omni is "all". Not all is good
When choosing what we make our food.


I fear that you dismissed the article a bit too quickly.  I eat meat as well by habit, but still thought she made a strong point in that article.      

      
Grinch
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4 posted 01-16-2010 07:35 AM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch

I think Stephen is right to be a little sceptical Ess, I’m always sceptical too when I read an article that continuously repeats a blatant error – it sort of discredits everything else that they’re trying to get me to believe.

Ron’s mentioned this a few times in the past and I think he’s been spot on – if you recognise  serious factual errors in an article every fact becomes suspect.

Stephen, given what he does for a living, has no doubt recognised that the claims of clear links between meat eating and the numerous medical conditions mentioned throughout the article are factually incorrect.

He may also have noted that the vast majority of primates, far from being ‘frugivores’ are actually omnivores. Numerous studies have shown that chimpanzees regularly hunt, kill and eat small monkeys to supplement their diet. Granted there are some primates that don’t eat meat, the gorilla being one, however the gorilla isn’t a ‘frugivore’ either – it’s a herbivore.

My particular favourite though is this supposed “fact” offered as a reason not to eat meat:

For example, a one-pound steak broiled over a charcoal fire contains as much benzopyrene as 600 cigarettes. As far back as the 1940s, Benzopyrene has been directly linked to stomach cancer, leukemia and lymphomas.

“Meat cooked over a charcoal fire contains Benzopyrene.”  So far so good, that’s actually correct there have been numerous scientific studies to confirm that. “A one-pound steak cooked that way has as much benzopyrene as 600 cigarettes.“ Perhaps it has, but how much benzopyrene is too much? Studies of smoked meat by food standards agencies haven’t resulted in smoked meat being banned, the conclusion must be that the levels are safe. “Benzopyrene causes cancer.“ Benzo[a]pyrene is definitely classed as a carcinogen, at certain levels, so should we stop eating meat because it causes cancer?

No, because meat doesn’t naturally contain benzopyrene.

Benzopyrene is produced during the burning of organic material – in effect the smoke from the charcoal fire produced the benzopyrene which was detected in the meat.

If you accept this as an argument not to eat meat you’d unfortunately have to accept it as a reasonable argument not to eat fruit given that if you stuck an apple over a charcoal fire it’d contain benzopyrene.

BTW – While researching this I found out that burnt toast is extremely high in benzopyrene. My wife is likely to be upset at this news due to the fact that she’s possibly the largest UK producer of that particular product.

  
Bob K
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5 posted 01-16-2010 02:30 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     I don't know what man was born to eat.  Nor do I know that this sort of argumentation is actually terribly conclusive or useful since we have very limited knowledge of what man was born to eat or what man's body was designed to handle best.  As far as carnivores go, since people eat meat, they are at least functional carnivores and they don't have the sort of digestive system that you describe.  Nor do I think that dogs do, either.  They may gnaw on bones to get at marrow, but much prefer soft tissue.  Large cats and some reptiles are equipped to tackle some digestion of bone.  Canines and hominids don't seem to be able to do so, and yet seem to do fairly well avoiding bone.  We have an adaptable digestive system as we have a fairly adaptable brain.

     I'd like to see some societies that get along well on diets with under five percent protein, myself.  I don't know that we need protein levels as high as those that we actually get in western society, but I don't think that levels as low as five percent would be healthy for a very long time.  If you have nutritional research rather than simple assertions of truth to base this on, I'd be pleased to see them.  I know that when I was practicing aikido all those years ago, we had a number of vegan and macrobiotic folks who studied at the dojo.  My observation was that while they seemed to have at least as much energy as I did and perhaps more, they also tended to bruise easily and took a long time to heal from both bruises and other injuries, such as sprains and tears, and that these injuries happened to them at a somewhat higher rate than they did to the non-vegans and non-macrobiotic folks.  

     I was envious of their energy levels and of their ability to keep a trim weight.  I was not envious of their record of injuries and of their somewhat longer than usual recovery time.  I don't know what your observations have told you about this sort of stuff.  The macrobiotic diet has always been reported to be useful in dealing with cancer.  I have never seen that tested, and I'm not sure that any real test would be ethical.  Settling that question would probably have to be done on the basis of retrospective matching samples or some such.  If you could find identical twins with the correct variables, that would be useful.

     I think that actually living a vegetarian lifestyle is something that has only recently become a possibility, when fruits and vegetables have become available out of season to people who want to consume them.  Otherwise, one ate what was available from what one could either grow or buy, and the means of storage didn't allow many fruits or vegetables to survive the winters in good shape.  Perhaps root vegetables in a root cellar, or carefully packed apples or some canned fruits and vegetables put up at home.  There was good reason to depend on smoking and salting for meat and fish.  They were an important part of a person's diet, as was bread.  Fortunately legumes kept well in dried form and when mixed provided a source of complete proteins.  There were fairly constant problems with vitamin deficiencies, however, because of the lack of fresh fruit.

     Not many people could actually afford to give up meat or fish.

     My wife and I haven't been able to get back to England in almost five years, but the last time we were there, when you saw a salad bar in most restaurants, they were almost universally white, filled with Potato salad, and macaroni salad, and perhaps tuna salad and egg salad, and they were almost universally bereft of anything that looked, smelled, or tasted like a vegetable.  I hear there is change afoot.

     On our honeymoon, we spent a week on Skye, where we ate at a vegetarian restaurant with a recommendation by the vegetarian society.  I ordered Pasta Primavera.  It turned out to be mushy spaghetti with overcooked peas in a white sauce, all spooned over rice.  The side vegetable was an order of roasted potatoes.  

     Evidently, somebody had read them the vegetarian principles from a book of theory, which they roundly agreed with, and sought them to adapt them to the best of English Cuisine.  The spirit was enthusiastic.  They needed a cookbook.

     I tried vegetarian life for a few years and enjoyed getting away from meat, since I tend to like animals as a whole, but I found myself relapsing.  I try to keep meat itself at a reduced level in my diet, though I do eat it, and will eat eggs and milk products.  I do my part in poultry birth control in this fashion, and cheese and milk punish me for each and every transgression, so we have reached a wary compromise.

     I'm wary of saying that everybody who wants to eat meat should have to go out and hunt it themselves, since I get nervous about people with guns stalking about the terrain.  I'm never sure where they'll draw the line as to what or who's in season at any particular time.  I'd rather have people do it that don't have so much fun with the process.  I'd rather keep joy and killing with a discrete social gap between them as much as possible.  You never know.
Essorant
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6 posted 01-16-2010 05:16 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Grinch,
  
quote:
I think Stephen is right to be a little sceptical Ess, I’m always sceptical too when I read an article that continuously repeats a blatant error – it sort of discredits everything else that they’re trying to get me to believe.


But that is not what I was speaking about, Grinch  I simply said that I feared he wrote it off a bit too quickly, not that it shouldn't be questioned or argued.

Even if I agreed with you about it having the kind of errors that you suggest, I still wouldn't think it should be written off so quickly.  When something is put forth with a sincere heart, to me that earns attention and respect, even if has mistakes.
quote:
He may also have noted that the vast majority of primates, far from being ‘frugivores’ are actually omnivores.



I don't think that is true.   At least if you respect this definition, which is the one I agree with:

A frugivore is an animal that feeds primarily or less commonly exclusively on fruit. This method of feeding can be more efficient than consuming the stem, roots, or other vegetative portions of a plant, due to higher concentrations of sugars, vitamins or proteins that many plants put into fruit.


Being a frugivore doesn't mean there are no exceptions (most primates eat insects too), but fruits and fruit-like plant-products are the primary diet, and it is from frugivores that we inherited our predominately "frugivore"  anatomy.   Indeed, our fingers and teeth do correspond much more with the less violent behaviour of picking and eating fruits, vegetables, and nuts, than tearing the flesh of animals.  We inherited an anatomy adjusted more for a diet of plant-products than anything else.  That doesn't mean that we can't tolerate or choose meat, and it doesn't mean meat is "wrong", but I think it does mean that meat is far less important and also far less healthy for our primately bodies.  If you take away meat, you can still have a surpassingly healthy -even healthier- diet if you have enough plant-products available.  But take away the plant-products, and the same may not be said for meat.  Fruits and fruit-like plant-products are still the primary and healthiest source of food for primates, including humans.    


quote:
Numerous studies have shown that chimpanzees regularly hunt, kill and eat small monkeys to supplement their diet. Granted there are some primates that don’t eat meat, the gorilla being one, however the gorilla isn’t a ‘frugivore’ either – it’s a herbivore.


But that behaviour is under abnormal pressures, hardly what I would call "regular", Grinch.  And the word supplement proves that you know better:  It is obviously not the primary or preferred diet.  No monkey would choose or prefer to eat another monkey when it could have a good banana.  

Yes, the gorilla is indeed an exception, just as flightless birds are among birds.   But that doesn't change the fact that eating fruit is primary among most and that plant-products in general seem primary among all.
    
quote:
No, because meat doesn’t naturally contain benzopyrene.


I think I lost you Grinch.  The author specifically says" The situation becomes even more dire when meat is cooked over fire".   That doesn't seem to suggest that she thinks it naturally (on its own) contains the benzopyrene.   She is giving a context (being cooked over fire) and using it as an example of another risk, not saying that is the same risk for any context of eating meat.  

[This message has been edited by Essorant (01-16-2010 06:28 PM).]

Essorant
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7 posted 01-16-2010 05:29 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/6248975.stm
Grinch
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8 posted 01-16-2010 06:03 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch

http://www.beyondveg.com/
Stephanos
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9 posted 01-16-2010 09:33 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Essorant,

Someone who presents the benefits of eating more vegetables, fruits, grains, whole foods, organic foods and non-processed foods, I will readily hear.  My wife is very passionate about such benefits, and the study of them; and my own diet and health are the better for it.  Given my occupation, I see the detriment of eating "McEverything", and the benefit of good nutrition.  And while there's a lot of disagreement out there about specifics and what is best, I still think there's a fairly discernable consensus that appeals (no pun there) to common sense, apart from the fringes.  

I'm just convinced that the healthiest diets are not prohibitive of certain entire food groups ... but prescribe moderation and balance including all of them.

I suspect that most people who vigorously campaign for meat-free diets probably have an ethical problem with eating meat, with their proposed health detriments functioning as a way to persuade those who don't share the same ethic.

That doesn't mean there aren't some serious problems with the mass food-production industry, including the meat industry.  Those things could certainly be talked about.  There are scores of documentaries about these disturbing aspects of utopian food production, with more or less accurate things to say about it.

I wasn't discounting everything offhand.

But the poem was cute wasn't it?    

Stephen        
Bob K
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10 posted 01-16-2010 11:03 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



The poem was cute and amusing.  Thank you for the effort, and I hope you had at least half the joy in writing it that I, for one, had in reading it.  Bob Kaven
Essorant
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11 posted 01-16-2010 11:50 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Stephanos

quote:
Someone who presents the benefits of eating more vegetables, fruits, grains, whole foods, organic foods and non-processed foods, I will readily hear.  My wife is very passionate about such benefits, and the study of them, and my own diet and health are the better for it.  Given my occupation, I see the detriment of eating "McEverything", and the benefit of good nutrition.  And while there's a lot of disagreement out there about specifics and what is best, I still think there's a fairly discernable consensus that appeals (no pun there) to common sense, apart from the fringes.  



Then we might not be disagreeing about that much, Stephanos.  I just agree with the further point that primates are predominately frugivorous.  Fruits are the top-foods for most, followed by other plant-products.   Meat is never on equal levels of frequency or importance and it is usually insects compared to the mass and frequencies of animals eaten by humans.  The lopsidedness of fruits and vegetables being much more healthy therefore makes sense in the context of being a primate.

(But I am not ignoring Grinch's reference either.  I appreciate it and hope to study it more closely.)


quote:
I'm just convinced that the healthiest diets are not prohibitive of certain entire food groups ... but prescribe moderation and balance including all of them.


But I think you would still acknowledge that some foods are not necessary (such as candy) and some are much more important (fruit and vegetables).   That is basically all I am pointing out.  I think fruit and vegetables are simply much more important and that that fits into the picture of their importance to primates in general.

Here is a list of the percent of foods a chimp eats, for example.    Fruit comes in at first place: it is frugivore.  It is also obviously an omnivore.  But, as an omnivore it certainly doesn't put animal-meat on the same levels as fruit and other plant-foods.  


quote:
But the poem was cute wasn't it?
  


Yes, I did enjoy that verse.
You knew I was a versivore, didn't you?         


[This message has been edited by Essorant (01-17-2010 12:38 PM).]

Grinch
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12 posted 01-17-2010 04:52 AM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


quote:
I'm just convinced that the healthiest diets are not prohibitive of certain entire food groups ... but prescribe moderation and balance including all of them.


I agree entirely.

.
Stephanos
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13 posted 01-19-2010 02:11 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

now pass the potatoes.
 
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