No Meat May

Everyone knows that you can’t “be a man” unless you eat meat, right? With vegan women being 80% of the vegan population, it certainly is something that many men believe. What if it’s not true though? What if ingesting the stress hormones of fearful animals meeting their death is in fact really damaging to masculinity? A quick look at some “macho” vegan men should be enough to reassure you that meat and masculinity are no longer connected.

Maaka McKinney is a NZ Armed Forces soldier and he says “Living a plant life as a man is powerful, pure and clean. The life of a warrior is one of discipline and determination. It’s the power of green that feeds my energy my determination my strength! The food we choose to eat shapes who we are physically and mentally… enjoy the benefits of green, live a plant life.”

Whilst it is believed that our stone age ancestors hunted in male groups, the truth may be quite different. Evidence is showing that women were party to these hunts too. It has also been shown that tribes would be fed more by the gatherers than the hunters. Hunting parties often didn’t catch large prey. Smaller animals made up the bulk of any hunt and the stone age diet was largely fruits, grains and vegetables. Ancestral humans are likely to have eaten only 5 kg of meat a year, compare that to today’s recommendations of 200g per serving and you can see our bodies were not designed to eat this much meat.

A recent survey said that 2 million years ago our ancestors were apex predators with a 70% animal diet. How far back is that ancestor? It is not homo sapiens, who only turned up maybe 195,000 years ago, this ancient ancestor evolved in a very different world to that of homo sapiens.There are quite a few definitive species in between, so this is no evidence of our “natural” diet.

So what can I eat then? This is the cry of the reluctant omnivore and one that is swiftly answered by this website! Have a look at our recipes for some inspiration. What can you buy instead of meat? Check out these great alternatives. There is much hype about 3D printed steaks, which will not be vegan, but they might help save our planet’s precious resources. They are also not available in NZ at the moment. There are a growing number of burger chains offering meat alternatives to their meat patties

Yet fragile masculinity is still caught up in this idea that you have to eat meat to be a man. Nothing is further from the truth. Society has led us to believe many damaging things, including that men are only allowed to express certain emotions. This has led to generations of men unable to express their love adequately. Yet tenderness is such a huge strength, one that is only “allowed” to women, which leaves men in a difficult position. How to express your love for your family?

The truth is that emotions are human and both sexes must be allowed to express themselves in appropriate ways. Compassion is one of humankind’s biggest strengths and a great way to express this is to feel compassion for our fellow creatures who inhabit our planet. For the majority of vegans, this is why they are vegan. They have compassion for animals and do not want to eat them. For a vegan there is no difference between a dog or a pig, a cow or a cat. Vegans will love all species and not eat them.

As animal agriculture becomes an increasing environmental problem, as the idea of eating meat is caught up in so many other beliefs, it is time to reassess what makes us human. Why is eating meat such a huge part of our identity? For many it represents wealth and success, yet this is simply a social construct that has no place in the modern world. We are better than that. We can think for ourselves and choose a stronger, more compassionate way to live. We need to live in harmony with our environment. The old paradigm of “man’s dominion over the natural world” is especially harmful and needs to change. >