Eat Real Food
Click on the photo for an easy Veggie Burger recipe you can make at home in just five minutes
There's a lot of talk lately about how healthy or not healthy meat substitutes are, and how they may or may not lesson the impact on our environment.
However, just because a company's marketing strategy is to call their products "plant-based" doesn't mean that they are healthy and actually made from 100% plant substances. It just means that it isn't real meat.
Personally I feel that eating fake food is kind of like eating fast food; if you have it once a year it's not going to kill you.
But I'd rather abstain from eating meat or just make a veggie burger from real ingredients, and there are some great products out there with all organic, 100% vegetable ingredients.
Making a habit of eating fake food often isn't healthy eating by any means. It might not even be better for the environment and it's certainly not going to make you more healthy by eating it.
Fake food doesn't have live enzymes and nutrients. Fake food has added ingredients, preservatives and fillers. Fake food is a gimmick.
Here's the ingredient label from Beyond Meat's "burger":
You might notice the chemically manufactured ingredient methylcellulose, a main ingredient in laxative products, and you'll also find it in construction materials, gel capsules, toothpaste, shampoos and personal lubricants, among other things.
It acts as a filler and binder in Beyond Meat. Is it food? No. Is it edible? Kind of, in small doses.
The next chemically manufactured ingredient in Beyond Meat to consider is Potassium Chloride.
While potassium chloride is used in de-icing, lethal injections, and fossil fuel drilling, don't let that scare you because here are the primary culinary uses: "It can be used as a salt substitute for food, but due to its weak, bitter, unsalty flavor, it is often mixed with ordinary table salt (sodium chloride) to improve the taste to form low sodium salt. The addition of 1 ppm of thaumatin considerably reduces this bitterness. Complaints of bitterness or a chemical or metallic taste are also reported with potassium chloride used in food."
In the label above, there are two ingredients that might be considered real food. Beet powder(added only for color) and pomegranate fruit powder. I suspect that the ratios of these ingredients are small.
So, why are people eating this stuff, when you can easily make your own veggie burger at home, in five minutes, for a fraction of the cost of any meat substitutes?
Because of marketing. We're being sold on the premise that these engineered fake food products are better for you and better for the environment. They're not.
If you want to help the planet and eat healthier and more nutritious foods, buy more organic vegetables and buy them from local farms when you can. If you have access to farmers markets, it's worth taking a look at what they have to offer, even in the winter. You can taste the difference in quality and freshness when you bite into a carrot, or a yummy watermelon radish straight from the grower.
(There's a great winter market at Easton's Beach in Newport, RI, the Aquidnet Growers Market that takes place every Saturday through the winter from 9-12:30.)
If you have access to a Whole Foods, organic vegetables are usually half the price of what they would cost in a large chain supermarket- (really)...and often they're from local farms, in season.
Here's a recipe for a veggie burger that actually does taste like meat, and you can make it in five minutes if you have a food processor.
It's full of organic protein and is simple to make.
I believe that food will eventually come full circle. We'll buy from small farmers and eat in season. But for now, crack open that food processor, whip up some food at home and enjoy experimenting. If it's real food, it's already perfect.