People can eat a a vegan or almost entirely vegan diet and live quite healthily. Unlike you, most don't know what they are doing and believe that being a healthy vegan just means eliminating meat. Eating almost entirely raw vegan is particularly tricky, since our digestive systems are not set up to handle grains and many other forms of fruits and vegetables without some kind of preparation. Most often, such preparation involves heat or fermentation.
On the other hand, people COULD eat considerable raw meat and live healthily too. But most wouldn't because, once again, they would have no idea what they were doing. Eating only raw meat is in many instances even more tricky than eating only raw veggies and fruits, because, once again, our digestive systems are simply not set up to efficiently get nutrition from tearing off and wolfing down most common meats (with Sushi/seafood being a notable exception). If not cooked, meat must be somehow prepared and tenderized (such as curing. aging, marinating, pulverizing), in order for our digestive systems to properly extract all the nutrients.
Unlike what some would have us believe, we have NOT evolved as raw eaters of most forms of meat. Even the most conservative estimates tell us that man has been altering meat and other foods with heat (fire) for at least 200,000 years. Some estimates have us doing so as far back as 1.6 million years. I don't think evolution/adaption is so slow that our needs and habits should be the same as 200,000 years ago. I think we have had plenty of time to adapt to altering our foods with heat (cooking in other words) as modern man has been doing for eons now. I would also point out that our teeth are not the teeth of carnivores and are ill prepared for ripping and chewing raw meat.
Like you, I find the idea of eating most meat raw to be a repulsive chore - and, other than fish, not one I am inclined to perform. So pass me the sushi, perhaps a bit of wild/organic meat and some raw/steamed veggies and I will be just fine, thank you very much.
While I agree that a diet that is largely vegetarian is usually a healthy one and one which leads to longer lifespans if carefully managed, I disagree completely that a completely vegetarian diet is the healthiest. Almost all of the longest lived peoples on earth consume at least some meat. In my opinion, there are far too many unhealthy vegans who don't carefully manage their diets. In many instances, it is they who have made an unnatural diet into a fetish.
No doubt that healthy fat intake plays a role; however, one must also take into consideration the differences in poverty, sanitation (including potable water) and access to primary healthcare. On the other side of the coin, one of the very longest lived groups of people in the world are the Seventh Day Advenists in California who consume an almost entirely vegan diet.
It would appear that regardless of the meat or vegetable content, a diet that takes advantage of what nature has to offer that has not been too corrupted by man and avoidance of junk foods and processed, additive filled foods is the ticket to better health and longer life. As for myself, you can bet that meat will remain a part of my diet.
I absolutely agree, Grz. Though 7th Day Adventists consume a diet that is by far predominately vegan, the vast majority of them are lacto-ovo vegans and thus consume some dairy and eggs. I have no doubts at all that the inclusion of lacto-ovo foods contributes to their overall health and longevity.
Seventh Day Adventist are also very health conscious people as a group and they exercise and live a much healthier lifestyle than most. What sometimes gets lost in the debate over meat eaters versus vegans is that vegans tend to be much more health-conscious as a group as opposed to all of those who get lumped into the "meat eater" category. The stats would surely look much different if you took out all the sedentary, junk food eaters, processed meat eaters and highly medicated people in the meat eater group and instead compared meat eaters who lived healthily to vegans who lived healthily.
With the exception of the Innuit, who had to adapt to the available food and cold, barren envirnment, all of the healthiest and longest lived peoples on earth eat a combination of plants and meats, as one would expect natural omnivores to do. The ratios of how much meat and how much vegetables is in their diets may vary, but what is constant is that they get the benefits that are available from both plants and meats, consume high quality, unadulterated and nutrient dense plants and meats, and live healthy lifestyles in locations where there is typically less toxins and pollution.