On the surface it may seem that we are in the golden age of the vegan. Everywhere you look, “meatless this and meatless that” are all the latest craze. Like sport, various companies are sprouting up and offering alternative plant-based “meat” options that are praised for their close-to-indistinguishable similarities with animal flesh. Of no surprise, more than 80% of the top meat producers are now making vegan alternative products, according to a list released by the National Provisioner. And the question must be asked: Can and should vegans trust the source of some of the newly trending plant-based alternative meat substitutes?
Remembering ignorant nostalgia of when I was first transitioning out of consuming animal products, simply deciding to do so in an effort to loose weight and not feel dis-eased. I wasn’t trying to be spiritual or deep about making the transition. I just figured I had nothing to loose. I was pleasantly shocked to find that I could find just about any food I loved to eat with animal, “vegan”. I ate it all, as long as it was “vegan”. Honestly, I don’t know if I would have ever made it through the full transition if I did not have foe meat and alternative dairy options. So, there’s a part of me that remembers fondly the enthusiasm having “options” inspired in my journey.
It’s almost like Hip Hop. When Hip Hop first hit the scene, it was a pure expression. It was poetry. It wasn’t extra’d out. Now the industry is extra’d out. And the same goes for how I feel faux meat companies are now. I mean, a “plant-based” burger that “bleeds” ? Wowzers, that’s kinda gross if you ask me. Just close your eyes for a moment, and imagine the mindset of the individual(s) who came up with the bright idea to simulate blood in something that’s supposed to, by nature, not bleed. So, the mentality to slaughter and consume butchered beings, flesh, is still very much present. I know, all of the above is definitely subjective. I appreciate your allowing for a bit of personal interjection.
And beyond my personal opinion, It is well known that many of the same commercial meat corporations and companies that are now producing “vegan” alternatives have been notoriously shameless in profit-making, sometimes even making the news for some under-handed, unsanitary, immoral practices that leave peoples’ lives in danger once contaminated meat hits the grocery shelves. Despite the idealistic commercials, which portray deep concern and care, these companies have made the choice to venture into producing plant-based meat products because it’s a growing billions of dollars market.
In 2019, Barclays predicted that this industry could hit $140 billion dollars within the next decade. According to the team of Barclays analysts, the rapid pace of growth implies the animal-free industry could capture about 10% of the $1.4 trillion global meat industry.
In fact, according to the list released by National Provisioner in 2019, some of the worlds top meat producers are now selling vegan meat and dairy alternatives, 80% to be exact. Tyson has invested millions in companies such as Beyond Meat and cellular meat producing companies such as Future Meat Technologies. The company is also planning on rolling out its own vegan meat alternative product soon. Cargill Meat Solutions controls more than 20 percent of America’s domestic meat market. It is also the largest poultry producer in Thailand. Cargill has invested in companies that create cellular meat that is cultivated and grown and is slaughter-free as well as other companies which specialize in producing plant-based meat alternatives.
Depending on your perspective, the above is an excellent occurrence or a dreaded phenomena to be avoided at all costs. Many can and do say, “hey, at least we have options now...” — tasty options at that. While, others can, have and will question the integrity of not just the products themselves, but the companies which caters to and profits from the consumers’ desires.
Many times the strive for profit will and can contaminate the pure essence of an expression. If we were to base our decisions about today on historical context, we can unequivocally say companies and corporations, whose main driving existence is profiting, have no real concern about the consumers’ health and genuine wellbeing. Scores of commercial packaged foods are full up of fillers, chemicals, additives, added sugars and salt, which prove to be addicting, dragging down any healthy disposition one once possessed. Only now, as people begin to be aware of the importance of wellness and are making decisions that have a political impact on these companies’ profits, are these companies and corporations offering up alternative options. So, clearly the motivation is profit driven. I just don’t know if I can trust the irony of it all, though I am curious. And we all know what happens to the cat in the curiosity story.
ARE VEGANS VEGAN TO BE ENLIGHTENED?
Honestly, when I first became vegan, I did not do it because I cared so much about animal rights or even because I didn’t enjoy eating meat. Many years later, I find even the thought of consuming animal flesh disgusting. It turns my stomach every single time. So in relationship to faux products that move, act and so closely resemble the animal flesh, I’m truly frightened and turned off when the item I’m consuming is too close to the real thing, when I can hardly tell the difference. This is a call to alarm for myself. Maybe it’s OCD or paranoia, but I am predicting in the near future that some of these companies and corporations will be busted for either cross-contaminating their vegan products or that their “vegan” products are not truly vegan.
THEN THERE’S THE ISSUE OF HEALTH
When I researched what many faux meats brands, I discovered that many of the products or are made of, more times than not, ingredients that are also used in animal feed and even some industrial uses. And we all know, again that the longevity of the animal is not of primary concern to those who produce and sell the feeds, profit is. I know that as a dynamic human being, I require a dynamic consumption. I don’t need animal flesh to enjoy variety. However, I am unwilling to consume a whole bunch of empty fillers or plant protein that is commercially processed and as a result proves to be indigestible, all in the pursuit of replacing a flesh hamburger, which, brings me to the overall solution.
FINALLY, MAKE YOUR OWN, IT’S ALL STILL PROCESSED
I can completely understand why before going vegan one would grocery shop for hamburger meat to make a burger. I mean who has a cow in possession and is willing to slaughter it and process and grind it down into hamburger meat? But to make your own plant-based burgers are easy. All you need to do is use various plants, legumes, seeds, grains and nuts to create your own slamming plant-based alternative to animal products. Once you settle on a recipe that suits you, you can make plenty and have them on standby. This way you can be familiar with every detail that goes on your plate and ultimately into your system.
Check out the complimentary recipe below for an all live, vegan curry “burger”. Do keep in mind it’s ALL LIVE, aka RAW VEGAN. But it works out great. If you wanted to, you could bake it yourself and see if it will work for you. Until our next connect via LIVE, LOVE LIFE, Luv Your Living Lifestyle. And don’t be shy about leaving your own comments below about what you thought about this blog post or any additional information you’d like to provide.
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