Genesis 1:29 - "I give you every seed-bearing plant ... They will be yours for food."

Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food." (Genesis 1:29)

Does this define the intended human diet?

This verse clearly identifies the food that God designed for humans. It is clear that humans were intended by their Creator to eat fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and roots, and not animals.

One might argue that the previous verse also gave humanity permission to eat any kind of fish or animal: "Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." (Genesis 1:28) 

However, this does not say that the fish, birds and animals will be our food as this verse clearly says. It says that humans may "rule over" them. The correct interpretation of this statement is not that we would kill these creatures, but that we would care for them.

To "rule over" does not mean that we maliciously rule over them, and take advantage of them. A king or a government, for example, may rule over the people. But their purpose is not to hurt the people but to care for and help protect the people.

This applies to fish, birds, and animals. God asked that we care for these creatures. That we help protect them. Not kill them for our food unless it was necessary for survival.

This is confirmed by our digestive system. Like most plant-eating creatures, we have long intestines that ferment our food. We harbor gut bacteria that digest plant-based foods with precision. This is similar to horses, goats, and so on. Carnivorous animals have short, fat digestive systems that process raw meats quickly and efficiently. Also, our teeth are primarily grinding teeth, suited for chewing nuts, seeds, roots, fruits, and vegetables. Carnivorous animals have sharp, razor-like teeth designed to tear flesh.

We find later in Genesis that God did permit the offering and eating of animals later on. But this was not necessarily His preference. Because there was little fruit, grain and vegetable foods available in the dry Middle East, they needed to kill animals for food. He thus permitted them to eat limited kinds of animals. But these were to be eaten only after they completely drained the animal's blood and offered it to Him.

God's preference as communicated with the above verse is that we eat fruits, vegetables, grains, roots, and baked foods, after first offering them to Him. For example, we find God's statement from Isaiah:
"The multitude of your sacrifices— what are they to me?" says the LORD. "I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats." (Isaiah 1:11)

Is bloodshed required for survival?

Plant-based foods provide all the vitamins, minerals, proteins and fats that our bodies need: They also prevent disease. Research has found that plant-based foods contain hundreds and even thousands of phytonutrients that prevent cancer and many other diseases. The reason plant-based foods do this is quite simple: God intended humans to eat plant-based foods, as indicated by this verse in Genesis.

Since these foods can be eaten without shedding the blood of innocent animals, the vegetarian diet was the preferred diet for many of the Prophets. This includes Daniel, Isaiah, John the Baptist, Jesus, as well as Jesus' followers - with the exception of fish.

It is clear from Biblical statements that following the exodus, when Moses and his followers were traveling through the desert with little to eat, that animals were okay to consume if the blood was thoroughly drained. 

But it is clear that before and after the exodus, the prescribed food for humans remained plant-based.

Yet as always, God still gave us the choice to follow His wishes or not.