The Vegetarians and Omnivores: What is The Best Diet Plan?
In the New York Times Bestseller: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Steven L.Hopp argues that “according to Consumers Union, over 70 percent of supermarket chickens harbored campylobacter and/or salmonella bacteria” (pg. 91). There are antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria now being found in the Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs).This means that a good portion of the meat supply that is available to us is tainted. Camille Kingsolver in Animal, Vegetable, Mineral states; “Cows and chickens that spent their lives in feedlots, fattening up on foods they did not evolve to eat, plus antibiotics, produce different meat from their counterparts that lived outdoors in fresh air, eating grass” (pg. 97). Which means, according to Camille Kingsolver, “all meat is not created equally” (pg. 97). How safe is the food that is available to us? Should we be eating meat at all? Are there other food purchasing options? These are just a couple of things to consider when deciding what is the healthiest diet. There are inherent dangers to being an omnivore in this 21st century so it may be healthier to be a vegetarian. Is it better to be a vegetarian or an omnivore? The best diet is neither vegetarian nor omnivore. Let us explore our diet options in America.
Bring up the subject of vegetarianism and you will usually find that people feel very strongly one way or the other about this topic. Some of this may in part be attributed to our primitive brain because as the movie Food Inc. points out, “We are hardwired to eat a diet high in fats, sugar, and salt” (Kenner). Primitive man, our ancestors, needed a diet high in protein, fats, and salt, in order to maintain the necessary muscle mass and energy stores for hunting and gathering his foods. Fats were needed to help get through times of famine or rough winters.
These needs are no longer the same since we have food readily available to us every minute of the day in the form of grocery stores, restaurants, and vending machines. Food is also available during the winter so no need for the extra fat padding either. Yet, we have never really adapted our eating habits to reflect our sedentary lifestyles. “Only 5% of adults in the United States are vegetarians” (Insel, Paul pg. 330). Not a significant number. Is their diet healthier? Some might argue that humans absolutely need meat in their diets.
Most omnivore diets contain meat, eggs, and diary. There are many types of vegetarians, some who only eat certain meats, and some who eat no meat but still eat dairy and/or eggs. For this paper we are going to look at the strict vegetarian, also called vegans by some, and exclude all meats, eggs, and dairy when considering the vegetarian diet. Is it possible to meet our nutritional needs without meats, eggs, and dairy products?
First let’s look at what these food sources provide: protein, carbohydrates, potassium, riboflavin, lipids, calcium, vitamin A and D, iron,...