Why do Vegans eat fake meat? First of all, it’s not fake. The word ‘meat’ has been appropriated by the animal-meat industry, and has become associated with animal flesh by the means of promotional saturation. But that’s only one use of the word ‘meat’, and appropriated customary usage does not automatically bestow entitlement. As mentioned in my previous blog-piece, the Merriam-Webster dictionary has this to say about the word ‘meat’:
The earliest meaning of meat, dating back to Old English, was simply “food,” especially “solid food as distinguished from drink.” The word is today more commonly associated with the flesh of an animal, typically mammalian. Some people would prefer that the word be used only in the narrower sense.
However, meat been used for non-fleshy things for over a thousand years, and has numerous shades of meanings in this regard (such as referring to the edible portion of nuts), making it unlikely to be confined to the ‘edible flesh of a mammal’ sense anytime soon.
For the sake differentiation to animal-meat, the term plant-meat (or plant-based meat) is a legitimate description to use. What isn’t legitimate, is to call it fake, or alternative, or “not the real thing”. It’s meat in the proper use of the word. We’ve all been heavily influenced by the animal-meat industry’s use of that word, but they do not own it exclusively, although they’d like us to think that they do. Plant meat is the “real thing”, too.
Secondly, most Vegans I know, myself included – and I understand this might not apply to every single one of us – didn’t stop eating animal-meat because we didn’t like the taste of it. We stopped eating it, because of where it comes from. We don’t look at a lump of flesh in a polystyrene tray in the supermarket, and think no further than what our eyes can see. We see much more than that. We see the whole back story of a living, breathing Being, and what that Being went through to become a lump of flesh on a polystyrene tray in the supermarket. It nauseates us. The enjoyment of food begins with the right thoughts about it. There is nothing right about animal farming, and sending 60 billion animals to slaughter each year (trillions, if we count aquatic animals). It’s not food that has any pleasurable associations for Vegans, and repulses us, rather than excites us.
However, we still like chewy, savoury, fatty, filling food. Non-vegans living in places where there is access to plenty of food don’t eat animal-meat because of the protein, the iron, or the B12 – they eat it because it’s chewy, savoury, fatty, and filling. The protein, iron, and B12 appeal is just thrown in by marketing departments to make it sound like a ‘must-have’, to encourage their consumers. True, animal-meat does have some nutritive value, and it can be a necessary addition to the diet in some circumstances, plus its denseness satiates us quickly. However, where there is plenty of other food available, getting satiated quickly on animal-meat can work against our long-term health, as fewer plant foods are then eaten, along with the vital nutrients they contain.
On the topic of B12, it’s modern diets that lack it, not just plant-based diets. Wild herbivores don’t need to take a B12 supplement, but farmed animals raised on pasture need to be supplemented with cobalt so that they can make B12. I haven’t yet looked into what cocktail of supplements the animals raised in intensive farming feedlots get given. To read more of what I’ve written on B12, see the link below. For all the other BS about what plant-based diets lack, there is rebuttal aplenty on these sites:
Nutrition Facts https://nutritionfacts.org/
or, New Zealand’s ‘The better Base’ https://thebetterbase.com/ (with meal plans and recipes)
So, to Lucy Zee, who wrote a review of Burger Fuel’s new No-Chook vegan burger in Stuff, with the conclusion that “Fake meat tastes good, but real meat, sadly, just tastes better” – you may have your preference, but plant-based meat isn’t fake.
Lucy then went on to query why we need ‘fake’ meat at all, by finishing with “Can we just tell people exactly what they’re eating, not remind them what they wish they could be eating?” Lucy, et al, no Vegan ever wishes that they could be eating animal-meat. If familiar descriptions and tastes are used for plant-based meat, the ease of familiarity is the only reason. It has nothing to do with a secret desire to eat anything that comes out of a mass-murder slaughterhouse. The thought revolts us, and the story that comes along with it breaks our hearts. Plant foods don’t do that.
Vitamin B12 blog
Supplementation in cows so they can make B12 –
Historical references to the words milk, cheese, and meat in the Merriam-Webster dictionary
Lucy Zee’s review of Birger Fuel’s new No-Chook burger
Header pic: Beyond Meat’s Mediterranean Skewers