So as the countdown to Vegfest London continues, this week I got to talk to Marta Zaraska – Science Journalist and author of ‘Meathooked’. ‘Meathooked’ takes a look at the human obsession with meat, and questions why humans eat meat at all. So I decided to find out a little more about what exactly Marta will be discussing at VegFest.
“I’ll be talking about why so many people find it difficult – or simply don’t want to – try vegetarian diets. Despite all the data we now have about the negative effects of meat-based diets on our planet and health (and the animals, of course), meat consumption is still going up, even in developed countries. Just a few days ago there was new data released that showed meat consumption in US in 2015 – it went up again, reaching a staggering 193 lbs/year, up from “just” 184 lbs in 2012. In my talk I’ll address all the reasons that keep people hooked on meat – from its taste (a unique mixture of umami, fat, and the flavors of the Maillard reaction), its role in our evolution, culture, history, etc. I’ll also look for solutions – how can each of us use science to make it easier for ourselves to reduce meat consumption, go vegetarian or vegan? What can be done on the level of a society or a country to lower meat consumption considerably?”
Marta also explains how she has something for everyone, as her talks target meat-eaters, vegetarians and vegans. Everyone can feel like they’ve taken something away after listening.
“I’ve had everyone in the public from meat-lovers to vegans. For meat-lovers it can help them understand why they found it so difficult to let go of meat, and find strategies (if they so wish) to reduce their consumption. For vegetarians and vegans it can help them realize why not everyone follows in their steps, and why so many people react with anger if prompted to let go of meat.”
‘Meathooked’ was released in February of this year, and is introduced as ‘The History and Science of our 2.5-Million-Years obsession with Meat’. So is Marta happy with the feedback she has received so far about the book?
“I am. There were some critical voices, of course, there always are. But I’ve had great reviews in big outlets such as the Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Discover magazine, New Scientist, etc. And last but not least – my book was named by the prestigious journal Nature as one of the top science picks in the spring.”
What a fantastic achievement! So what’s next for Marta and ‘Meathooked’?
“I’m mostly writing articles these days, for the Scientific American, the Washington Post. And soon Meathooked will be coming out in Japan and then in Poland, so I’ll have more work once again.”
You can find out more about ‘Meathooked’ here.
Catch Marta on Saturday 22nd October, 12pm, at the Activists Summit at VegFest London!