"If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud." ~ Emile Zola

21 September 2010

The Big Fake Meat Debate

In the veggie community, discussion about whether or not folks can "stomach" meat substitutes and how a *true* veggie can eat them (due to the opinions some have about the similarity fo their taste, texture, and smell to the "real thing") has come up quite a bit. So I thought I'd chime in.

I have no problem with fake meats, and I eat them quite a bit. Their texture and smell don't in any way remind me of meat, nor does their taste.




I find the texture, smell, and taste of meat to be highly unique and unreplicatable. I don't eat "faux meats" to "pretend to eat meat" or because I am hungry for meat but want to avoid eating it. I eat them because they are yummy, protein-packed, and time-saving. I never ever get hungry for meat after nearly 13 years of being vegan and 2 of being veggie before that. My palette and mouth don't ever think that anything I eat is 'like meat' cause it's such a foreign concept to me anymore (that doesn't mean I don't recognize the taste of the real thing- I do).

When I think, "Mmmm, I could sure eat a Celebration Roast or veggie burger right now," I am getting hungry for the specific yumminess of that food, not any sort of meat at ALL. In my mind and spirit, there is no connection between 'fake meats' and the real thing . There is no way any kind of veggie food could "fake" the blood, flesh, suffering, and terror of the real thing. And in fact meat "substitutes" are meant to save other beings from ever becoming that in the first place. I don't even consider them "fake meats" unless I use the term to explain to someone with no familiarity what such a food is.

To me, they are just a protein source and way of changing things up a bit. Bring on the BBQ Veggie Riblets! ;)

6 comments:

VeggieAmanda said...

Sadly for me, I don't have to worry about this debate any longer b/c most veggie burgers and meat subs have wheat/gluten in them. :-( However, I agree with all of what you said. Even if you were eating them to replace the taste of meat, you are still saving something from suffering and you are not consuming death!

Laur said...

agreed.
I never had any interest in meat, and never want it or look for anything like it.
I mostly eat beans and nuts and seeds and stuff, 'cause they're cheaper, but I LOVE veggie burgers, seiten, etc.!

silentlotus creations said...

Thank you both for reading, and for the validation! ;)

kxm said...

Agree completely. I'm not a huge fan of "fake meat" products, but they are what they are...which is to say, not meat, and some are tasty, convenient, and fast.

I think they also serve another use in that they can help people make the transition to vegetarianism. A lot of folks are just kind of lost as to where to begin, so they provide a nice little crutch/safety net/sense of familiarity/ability to not feel "so weird" (i.e., they can have a 'burger" at the bbq rather than a bowl of twigs and berries...) that make it less intimidating to try something different.

I like some of the products, but my diet definitely doesn't revolve around them, and, frankly, a lot of the 'debate' about stuff like this just drives me nuts (not your comments, K--the stuff about being a "true veggie") because I think the underlying Puritanical streak can keep people away from trying something new (i.e., going veg) because they feel like if they aren't 100% pure, they're going to be judged by both vegetari-/vegans for whom they will not pass muster and by meat-eaters who will label them hypocrites.

It's one thing to discuss the issues, another when they're used to define who is part of the "real" group and who isn't. It's one thing if you tell people who eat chicken and fish that it is inaccurate to call themselves vegetarians (say you don't eat red meat, please--you make my life so much more difficult!!), but sliding much further down that slope ends up being more alienating than welcoming. I hope that comes off with the gentle tenor I desire, and not harshly.

My overall point is that, while there are legitimate issues to be discussed, I prefer things to remain positively focused (how to make your diet/life more compassionate), rather than taking the judgmental, Puritanical bent that tends to create this mountain of thresholds that must be attained before one can be anointed as a blessed member of the in crowd. This latter tendency among veggies has created a lot of antagonism within the veg community, as well as with the omnivore general population, and, frankly, just stresses me out too much. :-D

kxm said...

Agree completely. I'm not a huge fan of "fake meat" products, but they are what they are...which is to say, not meat, and some are tasty, convenient, and fast.

I think they also serve another use in that they can help people make the transition to vegetarianism. A lot of folks are just kind of lost as to where to begin, so they provide a nice little crutch/safety net/sense of familiarity/ability to not feel "so weird" (i.e., they can have a 'burger" at the bbq rather than a bowl of twigs and berries...) that make it less intimidating to try something different.

I like some of the products, but my diet definitely doesn't revolve around them, and, frankly, a lot of the 'debate' about stuff like this just drives me nuts (not your comments, K--the stuff about being a "true veggie") because I think the underlying Puritanical streak can keep people away from trying something new (i.e., going veg) because they feel like if they aren't 100% pure, they're going to be judged by both vegetari-/vegans for whom they will not pass muster and by meat-eaters who will label them hypocrites.

It's one thing to discuss the issues, another when they're used to define who is part of the "real" group and who isn't. It's one thing if you tell people who eat chicken and fish that it is inaccurate to call themselves vegetarians (say you don't eat red meat, please--you make my life so much more difficult!!), but sliding much further down that slope ends up being more alienating than welcoming.

SilentLotus Creations said...

Khrys, thank you for the comments! I agree 100% with everything you said. You articulated my view about the "debate" thing perfectly- it's an issue that I feel strongly about. I have actually been working on a post about it. :)