A Lesson Learned from Bears (On Healthy Eating)


When I think of the Grizzly Bear, I picture a very large muscular animal with sharp teeth and claws. The sort of animal you respect and wouldn't want to come face to face with in the wild. They are classified as carnivores (although they are technically omnivores) and it comes as no surprise. Just based on their sheer size and power you think "meat eater" immediately. Grizzlys have been known to prey on very large mammals---moose, deer, elk, bison, caribou, even black bears! They're hunters.

So imagine my surprise when I learned at the Toronto Zoo a couple of weeks ago that their diets consist mostly of plants. Yes, they eat meat, but as much as 80-90% of their diet is actually plant based.

If you've read my thoughts on healthy eating and diet, you know I'm not anti-meat. I do however think that we've seriously over emphasized it in our culture. People are quick to point out our need for protein and dairy, but fruits and vegetables are seriously lacking from our plates. I think this has a lot to do with advertisement and industry. Meat and dairy are big industries.

The fact of the matter is...we're omnivores. Which means we ought to be eating mostly plants. Your body generally doesn't need meat everyday. As a society, we tend to eat too much of it and what we do eat isn't always the best quality. And it drives me a little crazy to hear someone say they're eating healthy because their spaghetti has "grains and veggies" (ie sauce and noodles). Eating canned carrots isn't the same nutritionally as eating raw carrots. Cooked plants have very little nutrients left in them once heated. Then start adding other ingredients (like sugar and preservatives) or stripping it down (like white flour) and there's really not a lot left thats "good for you."

I've admitted to being hypocritical when it comes to healthy eating, but I do care about it and I found this little fact interesting. So I guess this is a lesson learned for me from the Grizzly Bear. If he eats mostly plants, surely I need to eat mostly plants??? I mean look at him...

Recommended book on this topic: The Omnivores Dilemma by Michael Pollan

1 comment:

  1. Amen! I feel the same way. Sadly, I think (like you said) our over consumption of animal products stems from ad campaigns. Michael Pollan's 'The Omnivore's Dilemma' is my favorite book :)