We Know We Should Eat Less Meat, So Why Aren’t We Doing It?

By now, the warnings on meat consumption are pretty clear.

The United States’ over-indulgence in meat is not only bad news for our health, but also for our planet, not to mention the animals themselves. A new study out last week put it even more bluntly: if we ate less meat and more fruits and vegetables, we could save millions of lives thanks largely to the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions associated with livestock production.

Of course, none of this is particularly breaking news. We’ve known about many of these risks for some time. And though our overall level of meat consumption has leveled off in recent years, we’re still eating more meat than almost anywhere else in the world. At the same time, global demand for meat is on the rise. And no one seems to know why.

Science journalist, travel writer and vegetarian Marta Zaraska’s quest to find out is at the heart of her new book, Meathooked: The History and Science of Our 2.5-Million-Year Obsession With Meat. In it, the France-based writer offers a historical and psychological context for mankind’s love affair with all-things-flesh that should prove surprising and occasionally disturbing to even the most informed of carnivores.

So what is it? Why can’t we put the burger down already? The Huffington Post recently interviewed Zaraska to learn more.

What was the biggest surprise, to you personally, that you uncovered while researching this book? You traveled to countries including the Netherlands, India and Benin to get at the heart of this.

There were so many it’s really hard to pinpoint just one. I was definitely surprised by how big a role meat played in human evolution — to the point that scientists say that it has actually “made us human.” —> Read More