The food our ancestors ate would have depended on what era they lived, their geographic location, as well as the season, the climate and the weather, but anthropologists say that our early ancestors were actually predominately vegetarian.1
It’s true that our bodies have adapted to tolerate a little bit of meat – we would have needed to scavenge when times were hard – but we have never eaten the type and the amount of meat that is typical of the standard American diet. And it is doing us no good at all.
The proof of this is in the overwhelming research that shows that when we cut out animal products we reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes and some kinds of cancer.2
It is interesting that some people cite being cavemen as a reason to eat animals, but they forget all about this justification when it comes to all other areas of their life! Cavemen (and women) did not jump in a car to drive to a store; they didn’t shop online or message their friends on their phones.
If people choose to give up on the modern world and live in caves, we respect that choice but it is illogical to stick to what they mistakenly think was a ‘caveman’ diet while driving around in an SUV.
We know a lot more about nutrition and health than our ancient ancestors, and we know the impact that our food choices have on the environment and on other people. If they ate a little bit of meat just to avoid starving to death, that is understandable. For us, though, finding healthy delicious plant-based foods is simple, and our bodies thank us when we fuel them with plants.
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2 Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, ‘Position of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Vegetarian Diets’, 2016 [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27886704]