A common veg*n argument is that we’ve all just been tricked into eating meat by our cultural programming. However, that notion is exactly contrary to my experience.
Granted, this sort of self-analysis is fraught with potential errors, but I don’t think the argument I’m about to make is easy to dispute.
To my mind “meat”, or the idea thereof, came to be signified as a mere proxy for protein. Secondarily, the significant component of “meat” was “fat”. Conversely, fruit and vegetables were not associated with a macronutrient sign, but a proxy for vitamins and minerals. Starches, grains, et cetera were signs for the other macronutrient, “carbs”.
With my mind employing these shortcuts in concert with dietary guidelines (most notably, the demonization of fats), I tended to eat small amounts of meat. I ate meat because I enjoyed eating meat, but with a hint of fear that the fats would get me. Also, I thought that protein could be sourced from soy, black beans, nuts, et cetera so I didn’t really need meat.
All in all, my cultural imprinting lead me to assign labels of “unhealthy” or “superfluous protein” to meat categorically. At the same time, I assigned labels like “nutritious” and “healthy” to the fruit and vegetable category. Thus, it seems as though culture would have me become a vegetarian. While this wasn’t powerful enough to override my enjoyment of meat, it was powerful enough to consciously limit my meat intake and consciously favor fruits and vegetables. In that light, I have to call shenanigans on the veg*n “culture makes you eat meat” argument.
Without further ado, here are some learning aids that I’m employing to rid my mind of the flawed semiotic value of meat as a concept reduced to protein and fat. Meat isn’t about fat and protein! Let the propaganda reversal begin…
Behold the massive amounts of vitamins and minerals!
Edit: The data are from http://nutritiondata.self.com/ after finding them through a search. The serving sizes are whatever the defaults were as the results of the search. While serving sizes are helpful and interesting for certain purposes, the point of the article wasn’t comparison or a basis for implementation in portion sizing (as the RDV are suspect to begin with), but simply to plant the idea of meat as a source of vitamins and minerals without reference to fat and protein.