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700Marta Zaraska is the author of Meathooked: The History and Science of Our 2.5-Million-Years Obsession with Meat, which was just published this year (2016).

Marta  writes about science and health for some of the most influential and prestigious publications, including Scientific American, The Atlantic, and the Washington Post. And now that she's been published on the Plant Yourself Podcast, I suppose she's reached the height of achievement 😉

In the face of overwhelming evidence that excessive meat consumption is causing many of our health problems, as well as contributing to environmental catastrophe, Marta didn't write another book detailing the benefits of cutting back or eliminating meat from our diets.

Instead, she asked a different question: Why are we so hooked on meat?

It turns out that the answer is multi-faceted, and fascinating. And, to those of us seeking to lessen the grip of flesh on our collective hearts and minds, empowering.

We discussed:

  • the origins of meat eating in “cheating” bacteria
  • why the “meat eating gene” APO E4 actually means its carriers should avoid meat
  • the short-term / long-term tradeoffs inherent in many of our genetic adaptations
  • why we love the smell and taste of well-done meat
  • the British Medical Journal's double standard regarding tobacco and animal agriculture funding
  • the nefarious effects of industry funding on study findings
  • “the truth about nutrition is boring” – why science journalists can't sell stories on the benefits of broccoli
  • the half-truth that “humans evolved to eat meat”
  • meat-eating and bigger brains
  • the paleo fallacies (“if you want to have 10 kids and die at 35, paleo is a perfectly reasonable diet”)
  • can humans taste protein in food?
  • are protein cravings in humans real?
  • peanut butter and potatoes compared to meat
  • why men love to hunt (and why they don't boast about catching birds and rabbits)
  • food sharing, meat spoilage, and the origins of politics
  • meat and the enforcement of gender food taboos
  • the Hummer vegetarian ad
  • why extreme veganism is counterproductive if you want to achieve global change
  • the psychology of meat eating, cognitive dissonance, and the “meat paradox”
  • the power of “eating scripts” and why fake meats are important
  • and much more…

Enjoy, add your voice to the conversation via the comment box below, and please share – that's how we spread our message and spread our roots.


Meathooked, by Marta Zaraska, at amazon

David Simon on Meatonomics – The Plant Yourself Podcast

Don Matesz on how human evolution was Powered by Plants – The Plant Yourself Podcast

The Meat Paradox – Marta's article in Scientific American (behind a paywall – even science writers have to make a living ;H)

The Hummer G3 anti-vegetarian ad:

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for your generous support of the podcast.


Check out my online TV show, Triangle Be Well. This week I talk about installing behavioral tripwires to enable and empower our best selves.

I can help you navigate the medical system and adopt a healthy lifestyle

I'm available for one-on-one consulting and coaching to help you navigate the medical system, make informed decisions, take control of your health destiny, and achieve true wellness and not just medical management of disease.

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The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.

It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.

You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website,


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2 comments on “Marta Zaraska on Why We’re Meathooked and How to Unhook Ourselves: PYP 172

  1. Hi Howard,

    What a great episode this was with Marta Zaraska. Listening to it reminded me of a question I’ve been meaning to ask for, well, years. When she talks about every study which make the claim that meat is healthy can be linked back to the meat industry, HOW does one go about doing this? In the natural living world I often see this advice, but can you tell those of us who are laymen exactly how to trace a study back to its donor source? I’m sure many other readers would like to know how to do this as well. I’d like to be able to point out that these studies are biased, but I have no proof, really. I mean, me just saying that they’re all linked to industry just makes me sound like I’m spewing pseudo science too, you know? Maybe you could even do a show on the topic? How to really find out if a study has ties to industry. Thanks, Howard! LOVE the show. You’ve inspired me to go from vegetarian to vegan and I’m loving it.
    Thanks a lo

    1. Howard says:

      Wow, Michele, what a wonderful thing to hear!

      It’s a great show topic – and a hard thing to pin down. There are a lot of ways to launder influence, and the recent trend toward stricter reporting of potential financial conflicts of interest means that industry is getting cleverer about hiding their influence.

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