Beasts of Prey

By: Travis Weisse  

Since 2015, a small subset of cryptocurrency enthusiasts has been living in accordance with a peculiar dietary regimen: zero carb (ZC), or total carnivory. Its leaders posit the all-meat diet as the logical extension of Bitcoin’s libertarian economic philosophy to the dietary realm. Just as Bitcoin is a digital revolt against the modern banking system, so too is meat maximization intended as a rejection of (portions of) the industrial food system in a return to an imagined pure and natural past. This paper will place this extreme dietary fad in historical context, locating its predecessors in such diets as Paleo, Atkins, and the Eskimo diet to illuminate the role of high-protein diets in the American social ecosystem over the past hundred years. Though each of these diets was shaped by historically specific circumstances, their underlying politics and philosophies have remained remarkably consistent over time. The history of American carnivores is a history of subcultures defined by obsessions with masculinity, musculature, affluence, and liberty, and a strained fascination with evolutionary identity, race, and nature.

"Diet", " Food History", " Meat"
Food Policies, Politics, and Cultures, 2018 Special Focus: Digital Food Cultures
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Travis Weisse