— Plant Based News (@PlantBasedNews) January 14, 2022
Fake meat: delicious alternative or disgusting processed food?
Many meat-eaters make fun of it, vegans on social media are not sure how to feel about it—and I actually enjoyed trying some of these products.
To be honest, I grew up eating meat. My grandparents in Bulgaria were farmers. I was traumatized as a child when I visited the local slaughterhouse. Little Robert knew that something was wrong with that. But little Robert played along.
As an adult, I enjoyed a vegan lifestyle for a few years before relapsing into eating meat. And I use the word relapse on purpose. It never made sense to me to eat meat, but I still did it.
Then I started working for Elephant Journal and felt stupid for eating meat. Inspired by my colleagues and several articles, I decided to make better choices again.
I stopped eating meat—and some of my friends started making fun of me again. But that’s fine.
I lost some weight, felt healthier, and, most importantly, didn’t miss anything. I actually have a few new favorite recipes and enjoy eating food again.
And some of my vegan friends who are far more mindful than me might ask, “What makes you love these fake meat options?”
First of all, I can’t deny that I grew up with fast food. It’s ridiculous how much unhealthy food I consumed in my life. I always knew that Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) wasn’t good for me or the planet, but that didn’t stop me.
The same goes for all types of sausages. I grew up in Frankfurt, Germany. You might have heard about so-called “Frankfurter sausages.” I was socialized loving them; it’s part of our culture. But I always knew that looking at what’s in these sausages shows us that they are nothing but disgusting and unethical.
And then, I discovered fake meat. My local supermarket offers a huge variety of plant-based alternatives. There are schnitzels, sausages, burger patties, ground beef, and anything else meat-eaters love—just without killing animals.
— Robert Busch (@RealRobertBusch) January 19, 2022
I am well-aware that fake meat is not necessarily healthy. But to be honest, when I eat a burger, I am not aiming to improve my health. I know that this is not healthy. But, and that’s the important part to me, nobody had to die for my unhealthy pleasure.
After buying all these fake meat products at the supermarket, I saw an advertisement from Burger King. They just launched their plant-based options. I had to try them.
As a teenager, I was almost addicted to Burger King, but I haven’t visited any of their restaurants in more than a decade. So, why not give it a try?
I almost feel ashamed about myself for saying this, but I loved it. It tasted even better than what I remembered from years ago. It was a good burger, and nobody had to die.
And it goes much further than that.
Next time my buddies want to go to a fast food place, I know that there are options for me. And I am not talking about the one veggie burger that is just on the menu for the looks; there is actually a variety of meat-free burgers to choose from.
I don’t feel excluded anymore.
Not to forget the fun I am having when I prepare a plant-based meal for a friend who hates veganism but has to admit that it actually tastes good.
Maybe it’s unrealistic to expect everyone to stop eating meat; maybe we could try harder. I don’t know the answer to that. But everyone choosing a plant-based option once in a while instead of the meat option already helps.
There is only one thing that really bothers me about fake meat. We are talking about money.
Why is the fake meat sausage more expensive than the real one? Why is the plant-based burger not cheaper than the ones with meat?
Seriously, these meat alternatives are made of vegetables and soy—how on earth can that be as expensive as real meat?
And I get it; these new products are not produced in high quantities (yet), which causes a higher price per unit. But what if the entire food industry shifts toward plant-based options? It would cause these products to become cheaper over time.
My hope for the future is that fake meat options end up being cheaper than regular meat. As mentioned in the beginning, there are good reasons not to eat meat even if we don’t care about animals and climate change. But there is one thing that makes almost everyone change their choices: money.
I am not expecting my vegan friends to start hanging out at KFC or Burger King regularly, but I hope that my meat-eating friends start having plant-based burgers in the near future. And if they make that choice out of convenience or to save money, I am totally cool with that.
Of course, it would be best if we could all grow our own foods, not use any plastic containers, and stay away from processed foods—but how did that work out during the last decades?
Something needs to change about the way we look at food. And if that includes offering fake meat at fast-food chains, why not?
Little Robert would have been super thankful for these options 30 years ago.
What’s your take on this? Please let me know in the comments or in a mindful article.