In this video, I wanted to share a piece of rather disgusting, viral news published just a few days ago, and use that to draw a bit of perspective. This will not be one of my typical evidence-based videos, but rather an opinion piece.

As published in USA TODAY, a man was tucking into a meal on his flight from Melbourne to Wellington on February 26th, when he bit into a human tooth that was in his portion of rice.

The passenger was quoted by the Australian Associated Press as saying, “I threw my guts up, for the rest of the flight I was not well; just the idea of having someone else’s body part in my food is not nice.”

Look, I don’t blame the dude, that is, after all, cringe-inducing. And certainly calls into question Singapore airlines’ food hygiene protocols.

But, this dude’s reaction is not too dissimilar to what you witness from people confronted by other cultures, such as those in Taiwan, Vietnam, Korea, and China, who consume cat and dog meat, as actually pictured here!

Or people who consume fried tarantulas in Cambodia, grasshoppers in Thailand, wasp-filled biscuits in Japan, or grub worms in Australia. Take a look at that squirt!

Or how about sheep’s head, as shown on the right, baked with the teeth kept in. As part of a traditional dish, of Armenian origin, called “khash”, which can also include the feet and stomach.

Which is not too dissimilar to a dish of European origin called “head cheese”. Which is often made from the head of calves or pigs, usually minus the brain, eyes and ears… keyword there being “usually”. Though, sometimes the tongue, feet and heart are also included. And, as clearly pictured, the teeth.

Now, granted, in the case of khash or head cheese, I would assume that the teeth are in no way intended to be consumed. That seems like it would be a choking hazard.

I would think that any teeth would eventually be removed during the preparation process, even if they’re initially cooked while intact… but accidents can and do happen! No doubt teeth may, sometimes, find their way into a final product. Much like that tooth, through some combination of poor hygiene and carelessness, accidentally found its way into that Aussie dude’s rice.

But, a tooth is a tooth is tooth. They’re all made from some combination of calcium, phosphorus, and other minerals. Regardless if that tooth comes from a human, a sheep, a cow, a pig, or from the Loch-Ness-fuckin’-Monster… it’s a damn tooth!

Folks cringe when they discover that even today there are tribes, such as the Korowai of West Papua, that are believed to consume human flesh. A culinary practice that had endured up through the 19th century by a variety of indigenous people, such as those located in the South Pacific.

It’s all conditioning, I know, but as a vegan, I always find it curious when people experience such an intense visceral reaction to putting one particular body part or animal in their mouths, but not another. There’s an obvious disconnect, in my opinion.

For instance, chewing on the muscle tissue of a deer? That’s a-ok!

But, chewing on a bull’s testicles in a dish know as Rocky Mountain oysters? Instant retch!

Unless you like having a bull’s nuts in your mouth. You never know with some people, and that dish does exist after all!

And who knew a cup o’ balls contained so much protein.

Anyway, that news article about the tooth incident just got me thinking about this disconnect that people have, especially with the dude being quoted: “just the idea of having someone else’s body part in my food is not nice.”

I mean, are, say, the ribs of a cow, the breast of a chicken, or the loin of a pig NOT body parts?

All were cut from the corpse of a slaughtered animal, no?

All were once part of a whole body, but are now “in your food”. Yet, they don’t cause the psychosomatic illness that an accidental tooth in the mouth, or the flesh of a dog or cat, or fried spider induces in the majority of folks. Outliers excluded, of course. As there will always be outliers.

Frankly, it’s all disgusting to me! Whether it be a human’s or sheep’s tooth, a chicken’s leg, or flank of a cat.

At this point, having gone nearly 17 years without a bite of meat, the mere thought of it repulses me.

Luckily, that can remain just a thought. As it is established that an appropriately planned vegan diet is healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may even provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases, such as ischemic heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, certain types of cancer, and obesity.

Regardless of what ‘doctor mushrooms’ may have told you.

Anyway, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic, so do leave them below.

And for the folks in my audience who eat meat, are there any meat dishes, from any culture, that you find cringe-worthy? Be honest. And how do you reconcile that disparate reaction?

And are there any meat eaters in my audience who genuinely do not enjoy consuming animal flesh? If so, what is stopping you from going vegan?

Let’s get some discussions going.


Yikes! Singapore Airlines passenger finds a human tooth in his inflight meal

Passenger on Singapore Airlines Flight Shockingly Bites into Someone Else’s Tooth in His Rice

Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Vegetarian Diets.

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