Are humans really omnivores? I think some people will automatically consider this question to be rather silly. I mean, isn’t it simply common knowledge that we are?
Throughout my childhood and young adulthood, I never once thought to ask myself that question. We are all taught it as indisputable fact that humans are omnivores. We have it drummed into us that a healthy diet is a balanced one that contains animal products, grains, greens and fruit. To be honest, even after I turned vegan, I still just assumed that our species was an omnivorous one. To be sure, I no longer believed the hype about needing to eat from all the so-called food groups, I just thought that, as an omnivore, we have a choice as to what and how we eat and that our physiology is well-capable of cutting out certain foods and thriving while doing so.
Shucks, it wasn’t until some years after switching to a raw vegan diet that I finally began to wonder whether the whole “humans are omnivores” notion might possibly not be true. I’m going to skip to the chase and tell you now that the conclusion I’ve reached is that we are most definitely not omnivores and that this is possibly one of the greatest untruths that humans all over the planet appear to have accepted as unquestionable fact.
To elaborate, let me start with some simple comparative anatomy. If one looks at mammal species, who, in their natural habitats, very clearly fall into the category of omnivore, and then compare them to ourselves, there are many strikingly obvious differences.
Comparative Anatomy Reveals Differences Among Omnivores, Carnivores and Frugivores
The most obvious of these is probably our glaring lack of sabre teeth and claws. Just like their carnivore counterparts, every mammal omnivore species, without exception, is well-endowed with powerful claws and teeth capable of ripping through the hides of even the toughest-skinned animals. They all have muscular, up-and-down-moving jaws, specifically well-suited to clamp onto prey. These are animals with vicelike grips. Our own teeth and jaws are comparatively very weak, and, unlike any other true omnivore species, our jaws are able to move from side to side as well as up and down.
Internally, they lack resemblance to us, too. Their whole digestive system differs radically from our own. From their acidic saliva and abrasive tongues to their stomach acids being significantly more corrosive to that of humans, they have no problems digesting the fur, feathers, bones and teeth of the cadavers they devour.
Unlike humans, who have a long, convoluted and puckered intestinal tract, the intestines of omnivore mammals are relatively short and straight. Anatomically, this makes it easy for such animals to eliminate any larger pieces of incompletely digested food. With us humans, it’s a different story. If any larger chunks of food reach the intestinal tract undigested, there is great risk of such morsels being trapped in one of the many pockets and folds there. Eventually, if things sit there for long enough, this can and does lead to colon cancer, something virtually unheard of within the true omnivore realm.
These are just a couple of the most obvious of the many differences between us and the true mammal omnivores. I wish not to dwell on the anatomical side of things though, as in my opinion, there are other blatantly obvious reasons as to why we are not actually the omnivores we have falsely labelled ourselves as. Take, for example, our gut reaction when we come across the corpse of a dead animal. To further underline my point, let us imagine that we haven’t yet had breakfast and are feeling somewhat peckish. Will that dead possum or dead squirrel set your mouth salivating? Will the smell of decomposition make you feel hungry or nauseous? The true omnivores would not hesitate; the smell of rotting flesh is something that appeals to them, one and all, and if hunger is present, you can be sure none would fail to seize the opportunity to satiate their appetites. In order for flesh to hold any appeal at all to most people, it must first be butchered, chopped, cleaned, greased, seasoned and cooked!
Human Beings’ Behavior Differs From Omnivores’ and Carnivores’ Behavior
If things aren’t clear by now, imagine that you are out for a stroll in the countryside and come across an animal caught on a barbed-wire fence. My bet is that, provided one can do so without causing oneself any injury or putting oneself at risk, the instinctive reaction of the vast majority of people would be to do what one can to help and free the animal in question. Unless there is something deeply deranged about us, none of us really enjoy seeing animals in distress. Given the opportunity, most of us would not hesitate to lend a helping hand.
This is diametrically opposite to the natural instinct of any true predator, who you can be sure would not hesitate to take advantage of any weaker animal in an obviously vulnerable position. True omnivores prey on the elderly, the frail, the injured and the young. We, on the other hand, find the young of pretty much all species to be cute and adorable. It’s a rare and warped mind that will approach them with ill intent. Our unquestionable, true and heartfelt instinct is to protect and care for them, especially if and when they are clearly in need.
I seriously doubt that the average true omnivores have any qualms about taking lives. It’s a harsh world out there in nature, and all animals do what they can to stay alive. Humans, on the other hand, although we can become desensitised to the suffering and pitiful pleas of other animals, never do so to our benefit (or the benefit of the animals concerned)! If one grows up in the kind of environment where animal exploitation is a regular part of one’s day-to-day life, becoming desensitised to their suffering is a natural defence mechanism but not one without long-term psychological effects. This is made very clear by the behaviour of humans who work in slaughterhouses and are surrounded every day by the violence they participate in. These people very frequently end up with troubled, nightmarish sleep, one of the many symptoms of PTSD. Being surrounded on a daily basis by blood, violence and the screams of animals walking the green mile will have its negative effect on everybody involved. It is not at all uncommon for such people to take the violence home to their families and neighbourhood, too.
All too often, you’ll hear someone who’s adopted the omnivore mindset comparing themselves with lions whereas, in reality, they have virtually nothing in common with them. Despite the fact that lions are not even omnivores but obligate carnivores, there’s pretty much nothing about their behaviour that is remotely comparable with our own docile, domesticated, civilized habits! A lion’s code of ethics encompasses many things our criminal-justice system has outlawed or, at the very least, society, in general, would frown upon were anyone to begin exhibiting the same behavioural patterns or living by their rules. Like dogs, who sniff each other’s butts when they greet each other. Males will sometimes take females by force, and it is not unheard of for lions to even kill the offspring of another lion tribe. I once unwittingly watched a video on YouTube of three lions feasting on a baby elephant. The poor baby was still alive, thrashing and crying as the lions ripped pieces of flesh from her side. These kinds of acts committed by a human would be clearly recognised as immoral by all decent people. Reasoning that we should be eating meat simply because other animals do so is a poorly thought-through conclusion to reach and one that makes no real sense.
Sure, humans everywhere have been eating more varieties of food than any other species on this planet. That part is not up for debate. By this fact alone, we are clearly the most-omnivorous species on the planet! This is solely by habit, though, not by design! And whenever any member of any given species eats inappropriate foods, there are always negative consequences. Take, for example, cows, who, at various points in time, have been fed grossly ill-suited fodder, with offal and other unseasonable ingredients being mixed with their feed. This is a real extreme, instigated by greedy people who had no morals at all toward the victim animals they were systematically abusing and exploiting, but it serves to prove the point. Many of the animals concerned ended up suffering from what was commonly christened as mad cow disease, which was really nothing more than a natural consequence of a very unnatural diet.
Human Beings Have Consumed the Wrong Foods for Many Generations
The human species has been eating the wrong kinds of foods for untold generations. OK, admittedly, these have not been as detrimentally bad as the unfit foods those poor cows were forced to eat. After all, if we’re lucky, we still get to live to what is considered to be an old age. We’re still able to procreate and raise our young, but those are but the bare necessities. Beyond that, it really doesn’t take much to realise the madness inherent within human society, or human “sillvyzation,” which I consider a much more fitting word! I believe that we are all suffering from “mad human disease” and pretty much nothing about the way we are living equates to the way that we should be living. It would be very easy for me to move off topic here. I’m going to restrain myself though.
I do believe that eating a more species-specific diet is a huge part of what we need to do in order to help bring back some kind of sanity to this world. There’s something about eating the flesh of other beings that I find particularly diabolic and barbaric. I’m convinced this longstanding bad habit has ultimately led to the impairment of human brain function, causing us to be less than the vibrant beings who we really should be or who we have the potential of being.
So if we are not omnivores and certainly not carnivores (I’ve heard it said that a tiger’s tongue is so abrasive that, if one should lick your cheek, it would feel rather like the rub of sandpaper and could, quite possibly, cause it to bleed!) then what category is it exactly to which we belong?
What Is the Natural Human Diet?
It’s clear to me that modern-day vegetarianism has next to nothing in common with the diet of any other species. I’m not aware of any other species that pushes the baby of other species aside to steal their milk and regularly steals eggs from the nests of birds while, at the same time, refusing to kill and eat any other animals.
Then there’s the vegan movement, which is making great efforts to steer people away from all animal products. This, in itself, is a huge forward stride, but, strictly speaking, veganism is not a diet. On the contrary, it, too, is a uniquely human endeavour and more a statement of awakening and understanding that no one has the right to forcibly confine another or decide when their life experience should be terminated. It is really about working on one’s circle of compassion to encompass our fellow earthlings and a cessation of the human-supremacy view shared by the collective unconsciousness of mankind. This view sorrowfully believes that this planet is ours and that we have every right to do whatever the hell we want with it.
Mostly, when people adopt veganism and ditch the animal products, they tend to seek out plant-based alternatives to the meat, dairy and eggs. Since veganism is beginning to snowball, increasingly more of these products are appearing on supermarket shelves. Although it’s great that such products are helping break the stranglehold that animal farming has on this planet, if you really stop and think about it, they are still rather macabre food choices, artistically designed to resemble the flesh and secretions of animals. It’s really as if one is still trying to be an omnivore and eat from all the supposed food groups but do so without killing anyone. OK, that’s not totally without its merit, and studies in recent years have shown that vegans live longer than those who eat corpses, but it’s not the end of the line, and since vegan diets can vary quite significantly, certainly not what I would consider to be a species-specific diet.
Human Beings Are Frugivores, or Fruit Eaters
So, once more, we are not carnivores and not omnivores. Clearly, we are not really herbivores either. We don’t have multiple stomachs, and much as our jaws can move from side to side like the ruminants, they are still not well-suited to spending the day chewing cud. That really leaves us with only one other option: frugivore!
There are relatively few mammal species that fall into this category, but among them are all the hominids, more commonly known as the great apes; the bonobo; orangutan; gorilla; etc. And since we humans are classified as one of the great apes, too, it should come as no surprise just where I am headed here!
Frugivores thrive mostly on raw fruits, succulent sweet plants, shoots, the occasional root, nuts and seeds. Yes, there are documented cases of chimpanzees pack hunting, but it’s also clear that any animal flesh they eat makes up only a very small percentage of their diet. Besides, it should also be noted that chimps have much larger and stronger canines than humans!
When it comes to the bonobos, with whom we also share 99 percent DNA, it’s well-worth noting that, unlike chimpanzees, they don’t aggressively hunt and are a much more social and caring lot. Indeed, sometimes even as much as 90 percent of their diet consists of in-season fruits, with the rest being plant matter, seeds, bark and an even smaller percentage being insect larvae and earthworms.
We humans are a unique species (which species isn’t?), so I am not proposing we begin religiously aping the exact eating habits of any other particular species. I certainly don’t think we should include insects and earthworms in our diet! Our closest relatives regularly eat a lot of different foods we would find both unappealing and frankly, unpalatable. Our own individual digestive system is comparatively delicate, and we’d likely end up with severe indigestion were we to attempt to eat many of the leaves and fibrous plants these animals digest with ease.
If we can focus on the fact that much of their diet consists of fruit though, this point alone should serve us far better than focusing on the common notion that lions, with whom we have so little in common, eat flesh.
Fruit Naturally Appeals to and Magnetizes Human Beings
Fruit is naturally appealing to us. Its vibrant colours, its tantalising fragrance, its sometimes peculiar texture, and its sweet essence are basically, the extreme opposite of flesh. Flesh, in its raw natural state, appeals to very few of us! Whereas animal flesh and secretions deaden our senses, numb us to the suffering of others and sully our internals, fruit, on the other hand, heightens our senses, brings about more awareness and cleanses us internally. It’s not only the most cleansing of all foods, it’s also, by far, the easiest of foods to digest, helping dissolve any blockages throughout the body.
Unfortunately, because humans are suffering from mad human disease, most people are unable to recognise the benefits of eating a diet high in fruit. Their gut reaction will be any one or a combination of the following: “There’s too much sugar!” “It would lead to diabetes!” “It will make you fat!” To be sure, there is a lot of nonsense out there! People mistakenly confuse the natural sweetness of fruit with the highly unnatural processed sugar they’re more familiar with. In reality, though, you’ll never find an overweight diabetic fruitarian! You will, however, find people who have lost weight and cured their diabetes through adopting a raw, vegan and fruitarian diet!
In fact, all manner of human health issues can be dissolved and eradicated through making fruit the mainstay of one’s diet. Not only that, but focusing on fruit as one’s main or sole source of food is a benefit to the whole planet. Our eating fruit encourages us to get out there and plant trees! There’s never been a time in recorded history when the world has needed more trees planted. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, produce oxygen, prevent soil erosion and water loss, provide a home for birds and insects and offer shade throughout the heat of the day. If they offer fruit, all the more benefit! What child doesn’t like to climb trees and eat fruit directly from their branches? What a contrast to getting one’s food from the slaughterhouse floors!
Frugivorism is a return to sanity.