Posted by: endithinks | November 27, 2007

On Returns and Omnivores

My students are back!  I didna lose a one.  I’m pretty excited about that. 

Today we started talking about healthy eating and diet and all that jazz and I’m always excited about that since eating healthy is one of my passions.  I’ve learned through the years that the surest way to feel better about oneself is to give oneself a oneself good oneself diet. (Sorry I couldn’t resist.)

We talked about how a variety of foods is the key to success and how the variety needs to include: whole grains, milk, lots of fruits and vegetables, meats, poultry, fish and breads.

One of the topics that we touched on was the idea that humans are classified as “Opportunists” as opposed to “Omnivores” which is a common misconception. 

Opportunists eat a variety of foods and supplement their diets with the occasional protein as it comes available.  Protein, read animal protein, is hard on the digestive system of Opportunists hence the once in a while aspect.  Also looking at the biology of humans we do not have the proper tools for being true Omnivores from the first part of our digestive system (human teeth are poor at chewing meat hence our need to cook and tenderize it, also our canines are more suited to rip plant material) to the stomach itself.  Chimpanzees are another example of Opportunists as they will eat protein once in a while either through coordinated hunting, or scavenging, but their majority of the diet is plant and fruit matter.

Omnivores such as pigs and bears can eat nearly anything and digest that variety in equal ease.  Pigs and bears can digest plant materials easily, protein and fruits all without putting any type of strain on their digestive systems. 

I may as well talk about the other two types of animal eating systems: Herbivores and Carnivores.

Herbivores are plant eating animals who only eat plant material.  They have grinding type of teeth that ground down the fibrous material like a mill and they subsist on those materials only.  Examples include cows, sheep, deer.

Carnivores are animals that eat other animals either through hunting or scavenging.  They only or the vast majority of their diet is meat (dogs are originally carnivores, but through domestication have adapted to a part grain based diet).  Carnivores have sharp teeth that are used to rip meat to pieces and little or no chewing takes place.  The digestive system of a carnivore is extremely hardy with the stomach acids having to work very hard to extract the nutrients they need.  Carnivores are experts and most of them cannot digest grains or plant materials very well.  Some examples are tigers, lions, and other major predators.


  1. I love this. Thank you for the definitions. Health and diet have been a passion of mine since chronic illness visited our family. Very interesting topic and so great that you are discussing this with your students. My daughter and I both feel that this should food should be a topic taught in every school.

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