Regardless of your religious or scientific beliefs, there is very little reason to be a vegetarian on the basis of health. Let's say you believe God created us at the top of the food chain with a hydrochloric acid based digestive system designed specifically for meat eating with no ability to absorb fiber from plant-origin foods like species who are meant to be vegetarians can. Quite honestly you're going against God's will with your vegetarianism. Was Jesus (i.e. God's son) a vegetarian? No. Do animals have souls? No. Following the Christian doctrine puts meat at the absolute top of the menu.

But let's say you're a Scientologist. You should be banished from humankind. Your procreation is populating our world with the offspring of retardation.

Let's say you're not a Scientologist, but rather, into science in a secular, non poorly-written-science-fiction way. If this is you, just look at our diet since the dawn of human existence. Darwinian evolution has created the modern human genome on countless thousands of years of ingested meat. The Paleolithic period is the famous example, representing the hunting and gathering lifestyle, longstanding throughout human civilization. But anywhere you look in our immense history you will find culture after culture built entirely on the meat diet.

I promise the Native Americans along the plains weren't hunting soy buffalo. If you lived near water, you fished. If you didn't, you hunted. If you didn't do either, you died. Every culture that's ever lived subscribed to a diet of meat with occasional roots or berries of some sort. There's no argument to the fact that the human body is designed to be a carnivore. Now, whether we were always designed to fit this diet, or the body simply adapted to a million years of meat eating is both questionable, and doesn't matter. What matters is that as of today, the human body is best fit for the digestion and absorption of meat. Anyone who remains disinclined to eat it, is henceforth categorized into the weird human subpopulation that remains the only group of creatures since the dawn of time that turned their back on the natural biology governing their existence.

If you're a vegetarian on the basis of animal rights, good for you. I can get over this.

Question: Tell me the benefits of eating meat.

Answer: That's kind of a tall order. I understand that you're probably a hostile vegetarian offended by my genius dismantling of your weird cultish diet. That was a joke. But also serious. So how about I just give you a couple of the more important examples? I don't want to spend all day on this one. Is that fair?

Let's start with the biological value of protein, which is by far your most important dietary constituent. The best protein you can possibly eat is that which has an amino acid makeup most similar to that of your own living tissues. This means animal and animal derived proteins only. Plant proteins are more difficult for your body to use because the amino acid composition of your living tissues is roughly not at all like botanical foliages. Granted, you can combine several different plant proteins at once to create a meat-like amino acid concerto, but that's a phenomenal waste of time.

Now we'll talk about metabolism. Though you're not yet aware of your passion, hemoglobin is one of your favorite things in the world. It transports oxygen through the blood to your working tissues (hugely critical to metabolism). If hemoglobin levels get low, you've got physical problems and probably won't leave bed. If hemoglobin levels are extra high, you're crazily full of energy and perhaps blood doping for a major athletic event. The take home message is this: hemoglobin is both great and critical. Also, each hemoglobin molecule requires 4 iron ions, and guess where those ions are coming from? Meat! Red meat in particular has loads of iron in the most bioavailable "heme" form. This is pretty much just because it's all bloody. It's actually exactly because it's all bloody. "Heme" means blood. And if you don't eat it in this form, chances are pretty high that it's just going to get oxidized, and that doesn't help you.

There are more reasons why meat is fantastic, but those are a couple of the big ones.

Question: Then why have I seen studies say that vegetarians on average are healthier than non-vegetarians? Explain that!

Answer: Why are you vegetarians all so hostile? Yes. Yes, I will explain. And the reason I have to explain this is because of those studies. I'm aware that you've seen them and that's the problem. Not all publications are tier-1 medical journals. These studies are all heavily confounded by the fact that most of them aren't even studies. They're observations. And these observations never control environmental or behavioral contributions to the results. Consider that health related behaviors exist. It's not easy to be a vegetarian, nor is it easy to work out religiously. If someone is self disciplined enough to stick to a vegetarian diet consistently and faithfully, statistically, the odds are largely in their favor that they do other health related things as well. They exercise more often, spend more time outside doing physical activity and recreational things, drink less, and so on. It's not the exclude-crucial-dietary-elements diet that's contributing to overall health, it's the behavioral patterns that accompany the character type who's willing to dedicate the focus and energy into something they think is healthy. That's real literature though. Additionally, when you compare this to a group of people who regularly eat food at stadium sports, you're not coming out with very realistic data in the first place.

Plus you still have to consider the opposing argument, which also happens to be backed by rational literature. Not counting the obvious limits of nutrients available compared to an all-inclusive diet, you have most people overdoing it on the soy thing. Though soy protein has an amino acid composition that resembles what the body needs more, there's several health risks associated with using it as your primary protein source. It influences the growth of estrogen positive tumors, imbalances in estrogen and testosterone levels, and is associated with early onset of dementia. So soy ups your chances of estrogen-linked cancer, and endocrine and brain dysfunction. Coupled with virtually nothing beneficial, I have a hard time seeing the appeal. But again, animal rights people are off the hook. That's the only excusable reason though.

1/23/06: Last week, The American Heart Association pulled all their soy recommendations. Since 2000, they regarded soy as a healthy food- and food packaging could put "recommended by the American Heart Association" on soy containing products. But last week we saw them revoke all their comments, expressing their concern that soy is no longer considered a healthy food. The research showing early onset of dementia, estrogen positive tumors and hormone imbalances kind of overpowered the fact that it was mediocre protein.

It's not just me saying this anymore. Enjoy meat.