S1E11 - FAKE (meat) NEWS!
The skinny from an actual vegetarian on the diet craze that's supposedly going to save the world.
Welcome to The Whole Phil podcast, I am your host, Phil Reese, the DJ, that's my Facebook name, Really Phil Reese, that's my Twitter, Phillip J Reese, that's my Instagram, my dot com and my real life. Tweet me right now, hashtag #getyourwholephil and tell me about yourself. I am a loving, lovable, chubby, queer, sober, spiritual, vegetarian, feminist radical leftist web developer, and deejay in DC. This is the podcast where you get your whole Phil. I talk about whatever I want, with whomever I want, and do whatever I want, because there's no rules, no format, and no fucking censors. Let's start the show.
Today is Saturday, February 22, and we're talking about fake meat.
Plant based food is having a moment, and as a vegetarian, lots of you omnivores have asked me how I feel about these foods.
I went full vegetarian in the Spring of 2010 -- I'm coming up on my 10th vegeversary! I had been pescatarian for almost 3 years at that point. Ten years ago, Boca and gardenburger were about the only options for me if I wanted to have a burger, so we've definitely come a long way. Today, any type of junk food meat you can imagine has a popular plant-based analog. From chicken nuggets, to tofurky bacon and deli slices, to fish sticks, holiday turkey, and yes, the famous Beyond Burger and Impossible Burgers that have all the look, feel and taste of good old-fashioned pink slime processed ground round, right down to the bleeding.
Meat analogs, as they're called by the industry, are plant-based processed foods meant to mimic the experience of eating processed meat-based foods. The most important function they perform is allowing people flirting with a plant based diet the ability to try it out without changing their eating habits.
These fake meats aren't made for us long-time veggies. They're for you, the omnivores who can't imagine your life without kielbasa, bacon, nuggets and Whoppers. Meat analogs are all the heartburn and preservatives of a regular junk food binge without the guilt that another living creature with feelings and a family was herded into a dark stinky room, terrified, and shot in between the eyes with a glorified nail gun, where it may or may not have died instantly, and if it didn't, was then subjected to unspeakable pain and torture before it was served up for you where you promptly and thoughtlessly gobbled it down without even a thought in under 3 minutes.
But as far as being a "healthy alternative" to meat, that's debatable. If your diet consists of delicate, unprocessed, small farm raised, grass fed beef and lamb, and no junk food, switching to meat analogs is NOT healthier for you. But if your diet consists of at minimum 3 fast food trips a week, you may want to consider it. These plant based proteins are definitely highly processed and full of weird stuff, but if you're a junk food buff, absolutely none of that stuff is any worse than what you're already putting into your body. Side-by-junk-food-side, beyond burgers are lower in calories, cholesterol and saturated fats, pound-for-pound than your local dive's burger. However, they have tremendously higher sodium and other additives (all plant based and natural, but additives nonetheless) not present in your Angus burger, all while being devoid of iron and b vitamins.
A bigger impact you may be having, though, is on the environment. According to NBC news, Beyond and Impossible patties require 87-99% less water, 93-96% less land, and 89-90% less fossil fuel emotions to get to your plate than traditional burgers. With no methane-leaden cow farts involved. But these emissions statistics are still five times higher than traditional fresh veggies and legumes.
After a short break, we'll talk about these fresh veggies and legumes.
I want to pause for a moment to encourage you to keep this discussion going. If you like what you hear here, please share my podcast on social media or text the link bit.ly/findwholephil to your friends. We can keep this conversation going on Twitter, I'm @reallyphilreese, use the hashtag #getyourwholephil. If you're new, subscribe at the bitly link I just mentioned, and give me a rating wherever you subscribe. Thanks, fam.
Now on with the show.
Yes, if you're eating like the average middle class American, substituting meat analogs into your already processed-food heavy diet is relatively better for both you and the environment, though they are at least twice the price. But this is missing the point. Both you and the environment would be even more better off if we all ate a hell of a lot less meat and fake meat and a hell of a lot more fresh vegetables and legumes. Remember the lack of iron and b vitamins in these foods? Spinach, beans and peas, asparagus, leeks and dried apricots are all high in iron and b vitamins.
If you're worried about protein, you have a complete protein any time you combine a grain (which has half the amino acids of a complete animal protein) and a legume (which has the other half). Some legumes, like peas and soy/edamame already have all the protein, as do some grains like chia and buckwheat. All of this is FAR FAR FAR lower in calories, saturated fats, cholesterol AND sodium than any meat OR meat analog, and are far far better for the environment too, especially in terms of fossil fuels required to farm and distribute.
If you're a junk food eater looking for a low barrier of entry route to vegetarianism because it means you are helping your body, the environment and opt out of a system of misery and torture for animals, a great start is to switch to these meat analogs in place of your processed foods. But it should be a stop on the way to an actually healthy diet of fresh, unprocessed fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes. And ultimately that is best.for your body, the environment, animals AND your wallet.
Thank you to Josh V. for suggesting this topic.
That's it for today. I hope you're enjoying the show. If you like what you hear, please subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts, just search Whole Phil or go to bit.ly/findwholephil, and please drop me a rating. Tweet me at @reallyphilreese with topic ideas you think I should cover. [DJ GIGS Thur Fri sun] Learn more about my upcoming DJ gigs at my website phillipjreese.com. And remember, be good to yourself, love yourself, and we're all in this together.
Some of my facts and figures come from: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/fake-meat-better-you-or-environment-n1065231 https://www.theguardian.com/food/2019/jan/27/the-trouble-with-fake-meat-beetroot-burgers-food-substitutes
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