Reducetarianism is a long word. Way too long for such a simple concept. I am not the one that came up with it. Were it up to me, it would be Lessmeatism which is why I used it in the title here and will continue using it so you can follow. I prefer words that everyone can read and understand which can therefore find their way in the public's vocabulary a lot easier. Using a word like reducetarianism to describe the practice of eating less meat makes it unnecessarily difficult to discuss a topic that really is simple. Adding complexity only achieves the result of making the topic inaccessible to those that are daunted by the very word.
Lessmeatism as a means to get to veganism
I made it very public that I will be going vegan last week and I will be honest, I am overwhelmed by two things. One is the supporting comments I am receiving and the other is the amount of information I will need to achieve that goal. I want to be realistic about it, because otherwise I don't think I can get to where I want to get, so I am taking a step by step approach by changing my diet around the information I learn as I go deeper in the rabbit hole. I call it the rabbit hole because just like Alice's wonderland, the world of animal farming continues to throw wonders at you the more you learn about it. Like, who knew that even type 1 eggs, aka "free-range", are no guarantee of cruelty free farming. The law still allows for free-range farms to adapt the mass production model without ever having to tell you about it when selling you their produce. So during my journey towards a plant based life, I will be changing one item at a time in my diet, essentially a lessmeatistic diet, until it will be totally plant based.
In the meantime, I am of course also receiving feedback from "concerned" people who want to argue that this is unnatural and damaging to my health. Now I am not the sort to dismiss someone else's statement simply because it is inconvenient to me or opposite to my statement. That is as intellectually lazy as believing everything others say, neither of which lead you to a true understanding of the world. So I looked into the natural diet of the human species. It tund out you can do that in two ways. One is to look at the diet of people in the world today who still live off what nature provides naturally, no farming. The second way is to look at archaeological evidence of what early humans ate.
The natural diet of the human species
Our biology and physiology is the product of the environment in which early humans evolved and moved to. Much like I studied cat and dog domestication history to gain a deeper understanding of what their digestive system is build for and nutritional requirements actually are, there is no reason that same model and logic cannot be applied to humans. The first striking and incredibly obvious thing is that it is always an unequivocally a diet based on what is local, with the occasional foreign delicacy only when someone visits and brings gifts. And even then, sometimes those culinary gifts are not well tolerated. Take milk for an example. Some humans developed a genetic mutation that allowed them to digest lactose in adulthood and they spread the practice of milking cows wherever they went, without necessarily spreading the gene. The dairy industry is built on the false premise that milk is good for you and totally ignores the fact that 65% of people still cant digest milk in adulthood and that nature only makes milk for babies, and we all knew this before I wrote it here for you. Continuing to consume milk beyond infancy is a statement in favor of continuing to breastfeed from your mum into childhood and adulthood, and that's just creepy.
Back to the natural diet of the humans species. Besides the local produce factor, the natural diet also is dictated by a very basic mathematical rule. If your diet obeys this mathematical rule, you survive, thrive and multiply, if not you do not have enough energy to produce another one of you. The rule is
Energy gained from food > Energy used to obtain food
I am going to ask you to do a very easy thought experiment*. Give your friend a jar of capers or olives, or a bag of oranges or lemons. Which method would require you to use more of your own energy? a) chasing your friend till you catch them and take the food from them, or b) going to the nearest caper/olive/orange/lemon tree and picking a fresh batch for yourself?** Remember that once you know the location of such a tree, it won't move and you can pick fruits without killing the plant so you can come back for more as many times as you wish (well, unless some modern day idiot decides the tree is inconveniencing him).
Of course, even early humans and tribes today are know to consume meats. Meat and animal products are very energy dense when compared to plants. If your climate is getting colder and you have no fur to protect you from it, the fur you get from an animal and the fat your put on can protect you from the cold. So when opportunity knocks they open the door. I recently read an article that said roughly that since early human remains are almost always found with spearheads and other tools and bones associated with killing animals, early humans must have been hunters. I have a problem with that. Early humans evolved in the planes of Africa where our size and physical ability, compared to the other animals of the time, makes us food. We don't have large canine teeth to bite with, nor large claws on our hands. The earliest spearheads were more likely to have been necessary as defense from being eaten rather than hunting. Think about it. We definitely cannot outrun the predators and we are much slower (easier target) than the other animals on the menu and have no physical defense. We had to come up with a device to fend off the attacks. Our very survival is proof that we found a way to not get eaten some time between leaving the tress and becoming hunters.
Only later does it make sense to say that humans went out hunting. One has to be cautious even there as it is a risky activity that they would not have carried out capriciously on a daily basis. Hunting expeditions would have carried big risk of being killed, and still does when you don't use guns. They had no devices to refrigerate their food and even caching meat would have been risky as it would attract predators and scavengers.
Additionally, the absence of plant food in archaeological finds is dubious evidence to present in favor of humans as hunter. Its not like cooked plants are as good as bone at becoming fossilized. It is like you're expecting a boiled broccoli tree to preserve as well as a cooked bone. It defies any logic we all have from the experience of food today. The simple act of stepping on both is enough to explain the lack of plant based food in remains, not to mention that if the whole plant is edible there will be absolutely nothing of it to find after it has been eaten. You do find plant material such as seeds, nuts or their shells. Evidence is in fact that early humans' diet was predominantly vegetarian.*** Tribes today, similarly do not depend on meat and animal products but consume them opportunistically because it is a bigger struggle to obtain them than it is to go for a walk and pick a few berries and leafs along the way.
Malta would have been no exception. Just go on a walk in the Maltese countryside and look for edible plants. Prickly pear trees, wild grapes, wild carrots, wild asparagus, wild oats, marrow trees, borage, common nettle, fennel, carob, birdsfoot, olives, capers, clover pods, broadbean, dandelion, and chicory are just a few of the plants with edible parts you can run into on a country walk in Malta today.
All the evidence points towards the conclusion that meat and animals products would not have been and should not be consumed as regularly and in such quantities as we do today. Anyone who tells you otherwise might not have your best interest at heart.
An epidemic of non-communicable disease
If anthropological evidence weren't enough to convince you that the human body was not build for the western diet's overindulgence on meat and animal products maybe this will convince you. Obesity, heart disease, and hypertension are what we call non-cummunicable disease (NCDs). Diet is the most important factor to contribute to the epidemic of such diseases. Besides refines sugars and processed foods, meat and animal products are the other major contributors to such diseases and these also come with other complications such as increased risk of inflammatory diseases.
If you don't care about animals, care about yourself. Eat Smart.
I have been accused of not being an animal lover in the past because I present arguments that never, not once, mention animal cruelty and suffering. I understand that not everyone is an animal lover and not everyone can empathize with an animal. It just means that you need different motivation. There is no reason why I can't or shouldn't work with that. You don't have to be an animal lover to reduce your consumption of meat and animal products. Even self-preservation and some information will lead you to that conclusion. Just don't get your information from sources sponsored by the meat and dairy and egg industry because they have a vested interest in selling you their product to make more money and to make more money they inevitably have to cut corners at every turn. There are many industries that want you to continue believing that milk is good for you and that you need it because they sell them products such as antibiotics, hormones, animal feed and all sorts of disgusting concoctions.
You know who makes no profit from the information they make available to you?
Non-profit organisations like, you know it, us. The MSPCA makes no money from telling you the above. I make no more money from spending hours of my free time researching content to make sure I am not lying to you and questioning my own thoughts about it, than I would by just making it up because we make absolutely no money from this. The only ones who make money from selling you false information are those selling you their products. That alone is argument enough to question everything they tell you. If anything, it is others that stand to gain from what we are telling you. Two types of people stand to gain in fact. You, because you can potentially have a healthier life and a cleaner environment, and local small scale farmers who desperately need your support to maintain their livelihood and access to farming land. You want to slow down the construction industry and the petrol station boom? Buy local veg produce. If their livelihoods are sustainable through your support, local cultivators won't have to sell their land to speculators who want to turn Malta into a concrete jungle. You don't only have power with your vote, you can engineer society with your money too.
On that note I will end my giving of the day on the topic. I hope you all have a great Worker's Day tomorrow and that you don't overindulge in the festivities.
*A thought experiment is one that involves a hypothetical situation and a question about it, which you can reliably deduce the right answer to, that could be verified if you could carry out the actual experiment.
**In case you couldn't make up your mind on the answer here it is. Cashing expends more energy than walking and you can tell this by the faster heart rate you get from running. Stationary foods require less energy to harvest than hunting.