Linus Pauling, the renowned American double Nobel Prize winner, argued that there was a time, when Homo sapiens belonged to organisms known as herbivora, or devourers of plants. He based his claim on the teeth in the human mouth. The incisors are necessary for cutting, the premolars and molars are suitable for grinding our food, and the canines or fangs, necessary for tearing meat apart, are virtually nonexistent. Evolution, he argued, has equipped us with teeth necessary for successful survival.
Only… things change.
Since the good old days when we were agrarian societies, some of us became hunters and gatherers. It is the hunters who created the problems. Not only our teeth but also our whole organisms were not well disposed towards it. For example, as we increased our consumption of meat, we run short of vitamin C. Previously abundant for millions of years in our daily diet, our bodies had no need to produce it’s own. Without the supplement, the ancient mariners developed scurvy and a number of other illnesses.
As for tearing food apart, we found a brilliant way out. Not only a knife and fork helped, but also the vast majority of the Western world developed a taste for hamburgers. Not only was tearing of food no longer necessary but the meat was already ground to a pulp, pre-masticated for easy absorption by badly equipped human mouths.
Only one problem remained.
Herbivores, which according to our teeth, we still are, tend to graze most of the time. We did so, for millions of years to assure our survival. Habits seldom change, and now that meat replaced the essentials of our daily diet we continue to eat most of the time, consuming vastly too many calories, and running terribly short of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, available only from the food we gave up, yet on which our bodies ‘grazed’ for the said millions of years.
It has been said that the North Americans and Western Europeans of the Human species are the most overfed and, simultaneously, the most undernourished species on Earth.
Over the years the so-called poor became fat, then obese, while the rich, with the possible exception of some Arab sheiks and Central American and African dictators, remained slim and healthy. Perhaps the poor became poor in spirit, rather than in cultivating their physical contours that would attest to their wellbeing. Don’t get me wrong. There are still poor in most western cities. They are the homeless, the rejects of our society, who huddle in dark corners, at night, to preserve their body heat. They are the true poor. Not those living on the handouts of affluent society of predominantly fat people.
Could it be that the real poor are the rich in spirit?
Perhaps the real Homo sapiens is different altogether, regardless of what we eat. See if you agree with Thomas’s observations in Key to Immortality. Perhaps human life has little to do with what we eat. Perhaps…
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