Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Are meat substitutes worse than meat?


For today's post I asked Melissa (@MarketMelissa) to talk meat substitutes. Melissa conducts our Market Foodtraining tours on various topics including "Vegetarian Foodtraining."

While I am not a vegetarian, I do believe there are major issues with the meat supply in this country. In my perfect world we would all be eating only organic chicken, wild fish and an occasional serving of grass-fed beef. I also think we could benefit from including more vegetarian meals in our diets. Research has shown vegetarians tend to have lower risks of heart disease, obesity, cancer and Type 2 Diabetes than meat eaters. What has me stumped is the rampant use of meat substitutes by many non-meat eaters.  It strikes me as strange that those not eating meat seek out things that are meat-like, but that isn’t the focus of this post.

In case you’re unfamiliar with them (lucky you), meat substitutes AKA “faux meats” are foods that aren’t meat, but aim to aesthetically resemble meat in texture, flavor and appearance. They provide vegetarians with something meat like and a good dose of protein. For years, many cultures have used seitan (wheat gluten), tofu, legumes and tempeh in place of meat in vegetarian diets. These foods are fine. What I am not ok with are the recent wannabe meats that are inexpensive products made from processed soy, cottonseeds, wheat and oats, better known as textured vegetable protein (TVP). Other processed forms of soy are also being used. You will see them on food labels as soy protein isolate, and soy protein concentrate. You can find these ingredients in Boca’s Original Meatless Chik’n nuggets, Morningstar Farms Meal Starters, Boca’s Italian Meatless Sausage, Amy’s Quarter Pound Veggie Burger and many more. Make sure to read your ingredient lists.

My issues with too much of this processed soy are: 91% of soy grown in this country is genetically modified – meaning it is chemically manipulated and loaded with pesticides. Most processed soy is industrially produced using hexane, which may lead to damage of the nervous system if consumed in very large quantities (organic brands, such as Amy’s uses hexane free TVP). Soy contains estrogen-like compounds called phytoestrogens. Doesn’t it seem logical that mangling hormones may pose a problem? And it does, there is evidence that processed soy forms can interfere with thyroid function, cause infertility, disrupt menstrual function and increase risk of breast cancer. While these risks are potentially from consumption of large quantities of these items, it still makes me nervous.

I cringed a bit when I saw the segment on Oprah with Kathy Freston filling her shopping cart with faux meats. Aside from the issues I mentioned these products contain a sizable amount of sodium. Four Morning Star Farms Chik’n nuggets serves up 600mg of sodium and four ounces of Boca’s crumbles contains 540mg of sodium. What concerns me the most, however, are the ingredient lists. I spend my day encouraging clients to eat whole foods and scrutinizing food labels before putting them in their carts. I therefore cannot in good conscience recommend something that looks like this:
Ingredients: (Morning Star Farms Chik’n Nuggets)
TEXTURED VEGETABLE PROTEIN (SOY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE, WHEAT GLUTEN, WATER FOR HYDRATION), WATER, ENRICHED WHEAT FLOUR (FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMIN MONONITRATE, RIBOFLAVIN, FOLIC ACID), BLEACHED WHEAT FLOUR, CORN OIL, CORNSTARCH, CONTAINS TWO PERCENT OR LESS OF WHEAT STARCH, SALT, METHYLCELLULOSE, MODIFIED CORN STARCH, DEXTROSE, AUTOLYZED YEAST EXTRACT, POTASSIUM CHLORIDE, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS FROM NON-MEAT SOURCES, SUGAR, MALTODEXTRIN, DISODIUM INOSINATE, SOYBEAN OIL, HYDROLYZED SOY PROTEIN, ONION, PAPRIKA, DRIED YEAST, INULIN FROM CHICORY ROOT, CARAMEL COLOR, TAPIOCA DEXTRIN, XANTHAN GUM, SODIUM ALGINATE, SPICES, YELLOW CORN FLOUR, PAPRIKA EXTRACT FOR COLOR, ANNATTO EXTRACT FOR COLOR, BAKING SODA, GARLIC, TOMATO POWDER, CELERY EXTRACT, WHEAT FIBER, LACTIC ACID, SAFFLOWER OIL, BARLEY EXTRACT, CITRIC ACID, NIACINAMIDE, EGG WHITES, NONFAT DRY MILK, SUCCINIC ACID, DISODIUM GUANYLATE, IRON (FERROUS SULFATE), THIAMIN MONONITRATE (VITAMIN B1), PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B6), RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2), VITAMIN B12.

How is this extensive list of unpronounceable ingredients healthier than eating meat? Or, how is it even remotely healthy?

So what would I recommend? The food industry has made quite a market out of these faux meats and sausage, ground meat, chicken, burgers and meatballs are available in meatless versions. There are certainly better companies than others out there. Field Roast Grain Meat Co. doesn’t use any processed soy and their ingredient list is far superior to the others. 
If you want to enjoy some meatless meals, I say go back to the basics. Try tofu, seitan, and tempeh. These natural sources of soy can be great options and take on the flavor of your sauce, which can keep things interesting. Just make sure you look for non-GMO varieties (for soybeans too). Organic brands won’t use GM soy. Utilize beans, legumes, and grains naturally high in protein such as quinoa - all natural sources of protein and fiber. The bottom line is you don’t need to incorporate processed meat substitutes into your diet if you choose to go vegetarian. Fill your plate with “real food” veggie options, something that can benefit all of us.
Do a pantry check; did you find anything you wouldn’t expect with TVP, soy isolates or soy protein concentrate? Do you eat soy? What types? Do you think it’s strange that people who have meat-less diets want things meat-like? Is this like non-alcoholic beer?





52 comments:

  1. YES YES YES!
    Thank you for this. I don't eat soy, and I'm a vegetarian. I find that the meat "replacers" are so overprocessed, I don't touch them. I do, however, have organic black bean tempeh that's grown and made locally -- I know what's in it, and it's nothing that I can't pronounce.

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  2. Local and pronounceable- good criteria.

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  3. Wow, that was one long list of ingredients. I make it a rule not to buy anything that has a name that either requires quotation marks (i.e., "chicken" nuggets) or an alternate spelling, like in the product you mentioned. That's a straight up clue that it's not real food. I'm not a vegetarian, but I don't eat a whole lot of meat - or meat substitutes really. Instead I'd rather eat real meat occasionally (once or twice a week), and the rest of the time I eat things like eggs, beans, cheese, pasta, and actual vegetables. Thanks for highlighting some of these seemingly healthy foods that sometimes really aren't!

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  4. I'm with you guys. I don't eat much meat either and there are so many other protein options without having to turn to processed soy. Lauren, that tempeh sounds amazing.

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  5. I have to agree with you, being a vegetarian I do not use these fake meat products that much myself. I do eat them sometimes when I go out to dinner, there's a few chinese restaurants near me that use them. They can come in handy in a pinch and I think they are fine for an occasional treat. And yet I know a lot of people are eating these fake meat and cheese products everyday. But after all, they are still processed foods. If you look for the organic label I believe you are free of GMO issues.

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  6. Great post! Its sad how manipulative the food industry can be, "hey, look its meatless! No meat means it's healthy!" or "Gluten-free! Look at you, you healthy eater you!". Okay I guess what I'm saying is I don't think there is any substitute for whole foods. Someone once described to me her version of a rule of thumb. If you can't cover all the ingredients with your thumb then its not real food or certainly unlikely to be good for you.

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  7. I am a vegan, but I hate faux meats. If i wanted something that tasted like sausage than i'd have some lean, humane, grass-fed meat! If my clients are vegan or want to move towards a plant-based diet (which i definitely believe in, but do not preach) I show them how to highlight grains, vegetables, legumes and fruits, real, whole foods, over faux meats!

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  8. Anna, I hear you many products fly by under a "health halo" that should be removed. Love the literal "rule of thumb" I say rule of pinky. Elizabeth- we're on the same page. A good diet (vegetarian, vegan, flexitarian) should be made up of whole foods not mangled foods.

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  9. My rule of thumb: No fake foods! That includes faux meats, artificial sweeteners and wannabe butter.

    Good food should taste like itself, and as a lifelong vegetarian I find that there are PLENTY of tasty, nutritious great foods to eat when eating a plant based diet.

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  10. I try to only eat real food, aka the non-processed stuff. So nope, I don't eat fake meat. My menu mostly includes real veggies, fruit, beans, fish, tofu, tempeh, nuts and gluten free grain. I prefer not to eat foods with an ingredient list if possible.

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  11. I definitely agree with this, and think that processed meats should be few and far between. I'm vegan, and I use these products occasionally, but my reasons for not eating meat still remain, whether or not their counterparts contain processed food. Eating a whole foods diet really is crucial to health for vegetarians/vegans, but that's actually the case whether you eat meat or not.

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  12. It's so refreshing to hear from many of you who have adopted a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle that you haven't relied on faux meat. Proof that it can be done!

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  13. What a great post! People often think that being a vegetarian is always healthy. That is definitely not the case at all.
    I am not a vegetarian but do not eat a lot of meat. I use tofu, nuts, and beans quite a bit which, I agree, is what a vegetarian should be focusing as their protein source.

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  14. I'm not a vegetarian, and I have always wondered what draws people to meat substitutes anyway. The ingredients lists are long and scary for all sorts of meat and meat substitute products out there. And the whole GMO soy thing is awful. Soy is in practically everything these days! Our society is sure making food more complicated than it needs to be.

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  15. what do you all think about the fake "chikn'" quorn. I tried one of their products in college and had such a bad reaction to it that I got sick for hours. I have always found it weird that there is fake meat. is it just a comfort familiarity thing?

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  16. I completely agree I cringed at that oprah segment

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  17. Nice post! I was going to buy those fake chicken nuggets until I saw the laundry-list of ingredients. I didn't even bother to read them all - just seeing a paragraph made my eyes cross and I put them back on the shelf.

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  18. another brilliant post and my thoughts exactly! THe more I learned about processed soy products, the less interested I've become. I used to buy morningstar farms burgers ALL the time but not anymore. I choose to make own veggie burgers from whole food ingredients. So much tastier and way better for me! I also found it so ironic that the vegan show on oprah showed so many processed vegan choices! I wanted to be liek....THAT IS NOT HOW TO EAT VEGAN! SO disturbing. I am sending this post to one of my clients now!

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  19. I'm glad I wasn't the only one horrified by that Oprah episode. It's really sad that is the information being given to the public.

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  20. Great post!

    A few years ago, I "cleaned up" our diet and eliminated a lot of meat and processed foods. I honestly haven't tried a lot of meat substitutes, but I did eat Morningstar products before the "clean up." Once I took a closer look at the ingredient list, they just weren't an option anymore.

    I buy organic tofu at the Farmers' Market, and we eat a lot of beans. I also add walnuts to my oatmeal in the morning. I didn't see the Oprah show, but it's sad that the emphasis seemed to be on processed foods. There are so many easy, cheap, and whole food vegan options.

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  21. Melissa, thank you for including that (gross) ingredients list from Morning Star -- what a wake up call! I think people get "duped" into thinking that an option like morning star chik'n nuggets is healthier than chicken nuggets on a kids menu or at a fast food restaurant, but it's hard to say which is the lesser of the evils! I am with you that it is very strange that people would give up meat, then search for an artifical alternative.

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  22. "It strikes me as strange that those not eating meat seek out things that are meat-like" - I couldn't agree more. I have always been weary of meat-substitutes, I have hypothyroid so I was aware of the issue that the estrogens could pose, but I was not aware that so many "health food" companies used so many crazy ingredients! My motto: If you see a long list of ingredients, put it back on the shelf."

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  23. I rarely eat meat substitutes, but I do consider Quorn nuggets a treat sometimes. (I know, gross)

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  24. Organic soy and tofu-YES! Faux meats-NEVER!

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  25. I've been a vegetarian for 11 years, a vegan for 4 of those. I did not give up meat for health reasons, but because the way farm animals are treated is appalling. I loved meat and cheese and still miss it (a lot less than I used to, though). I believe that meat substitutes are made for people like me who were in transition. I pared down my consumption of these types of products, but I've noticed when I cut them out entirely, however, I have a lot of difficulty getting enough protein from other sources and I get sick.

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  26. I'm not a vegetarian or vegan, but I stick mostly to poultry when I do eat meat. Up until today I was a LOVER of Morningstar Nuggets and Black Bean burgers but Wow am I educated now! It's not that the long list of ingredients escaped my notice, but I desperately wanted them to be Ok anyways because I enjoyed them. But not only does the Hexane disgust me but the facts about the GMO soy as well so I will be cutting them out officially. Every attempt to eat Better AND Healthier is a step in the right direction!

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  27. I am vegan for ethical reasons. My diet is definitely healthier now than it was in my pre-veg days, because I have to be conscientious about getting all the nutrients my body needs on a restricted diet, but improved health was a byproduct of my dietary changes, never the goal.

    I eat fake meat. Not every day, but probably on a weekly basis. I didn't stop eating meat because I hated the taste, and I ate meat for years. Sometimes I miss it. The better fake meats out there do a reasonable job of mimicking the taste and texture of meat. I will never understand why it so baffling to some people that there's a market for this stuff. I can appreciate that you think fake meats are unhealthy and wouldn't recommend them to someone who is striving to eat only unprocessed whole foods, but that population =/= the entire vegetarian/vegan population (though there is certainly some overlap).

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  28. I've been a vegetarian all my life. I was born one, and continue to be one for ethical reasons. I never had a problem with the taste of meat (I tried it when at friends houses!) The fake stuff does NOT taste like the real thing, first of all. They are what they are, and nothing else. I eat fake meats, but try not to depend on them. I eat tofu, seitan and tempeh too. However, no matter how many people say it does, tofu does NOT take on the taste of whatever it's cooked with. It still tastes like tofu. But I'm ok with that.

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  29. I'm a vegetarian because I do not want to eat animals. I like some meat substitutes, because I like the texture of something chewy. I don't think they all taste like animal meat. Yes, I wish the easy to find meat substitutes were less chemically altered, but I prefer to eat that than a victim who suffered through the nastiness of factory farming.

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  30. I absolutely respect vegetarians for making the choice due to values regarding animal cruelty and not subscribing to factory farming practices. I think that they/we need to be aware that they(and meat eaters alike) are now being victimized more so by our industrialized food supply. Monsanto and other biotech companies are causing HUMAN cruelty beyond comprehension on all of us. Nearly everything is contaminated with GMO's now. Your vegetarian options are the hardest hit so while you are perhaps saving an animal you are in fact now causing harm to yourself and running risks of cancer and other diseases that are and will be proven to be a result of GMO's and pesticides. It is now time, that vegetarians and non-vegetarians unite (much like political parties because in a sense they are similar)to stop this nonsense and get these foods labeled to bring awareness of this issue to the general public. Europe got on it early and there are no GMO's there now because once it was labeled, nobody bought the products and they stopped distribution of it because it was no longer PROFITABLE (the whole reason we are being poisoned by our corporate/government partners).

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  31. ..do yo know that the farm animals where all the milk, eggs, poultry, and meat come are Genetically Modified Animals? do you know what type of experiments they do on pigs, chicken, cows, to see what new DNA they should implant on them to "produce" fortified milk, omega fat, etc..instead of what their organisms are naturally suppose to "produce"?...and humans are eating those animals products, and to this, also add whatever animals are feed. Yes a long list of ingredients may take some time to read and study...but at least on those products YOU ARE BEING INFORMED what is in it...but what about the beef, the chicken leg, the pork chop, eggs, the dairy in the milk..how would you be able to know? we know that they are products coming from Genetically Modified (GMO) animals, THAT'S A FACT..but you feel safe eating them...just because you are not being inform. I don't even know why people watch Oprah..never got any good info from her..My diet is mostly vegetarian, the only animal product I eat, and only 2 times a week: Soak-eye Salmon and Scallops, other than those two, I don't eat any animal or animal products, and I am very strict in that. I never eat meat substitutes. There are different reasons why people change to a vegan o vegetarian diet, my case were pure ethics. Being a vegan o vegetarian is not a trend, like fashion, is a life style, anyone who is contemplating the idea of changing to a vegan/vegetarian need to understand that, if you are a serious vegan/vegetarian you would be extremely well informed about nutrition, and how to combine food to get the best of them, the reason why I eat only Wild Soak-eye and scallops and only 2 times a week is so I can get my full needed amount of B12 (my other good B12 sources are fortified Hemp, Almond, and Flax Milks) without having to eat unhealthy farm animals meat....or soy products.

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  32. · Over
    30 Million people die each year from meat & dairy related heart disease,
    cancer, and strokes, while about 7 million people die from cigarettes and
    alcohol. (cdc.gov, who.int)


    · Livestock
    consume 50% of the water Americans use, 70% of USA grain, 30% of the worlds
    fish catch, and create 51% of the world’s greenhouse gases. (earthsave.org,
    worldwatch.org)


    · Medicare
    spends $24 billion a year to treat heart disease. (thehastingscenter.org)


    Its healthier to make your own bean burgers, but Frozen ones are still 100X better than meat.

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  33. If you think its strange that people who give up meat want to enjoy something that resembles what they used to eat without actually putting those hormones and antibiotics into their body, then is it strange that people use nicotine inhalers or patches instead of inhaling a million different harmful chemicals with cigarettes? I'm a vegetarian for humane reasons, as well as health reasons since meat is loaded with hormones now a days, not to mention the animals are fed unnatural diets consisting of corn, which I'm sure also contain pesticides. Although I very rarely eat these soy faux meat products, I do appreciate companies finally recognizing those who do not indulge in consuming innocent creatures. People who choose a meat less diet aren't as selfish as you seem to be. We do not crave meat like things, we crave to nourish our bodies with the iron and protein that is required to maintain our health. Sometimes eating beans and spinach everyday gets tiresome and flavorless. Variety is the spice if life and with these other options we can still maintain or dignity and pride

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  34. Wow Linda, I wonder how you found my blog. Maybe you were searching on meat substitutes? If you think the ingredients above for a typical meat sub "nourish your body" that's fine. I think it gets dangerous when we see vegetarians as "unselfish" and full of pride and omnivores as doing harm with without dignity, especially since "variety is the spice of life". There are so many issues with meat eating in this country but with many foods we have to ensure that the proposed substitute is really a good solution. And I'm not a fan of nicorette or methadone or Nutrasweet for these reasons.

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  35. I have serious misgivings about processed soy. I hate to think of the numbers we'll have for hormone-related cancers in a few years. I would eat grass fed beef (1/month) over mangled estrogen any day. Good reminders though.

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  36. This is a great article. I was just eating a morningstar burger at work and decided to google whether or not this is very healthy... My suspicions were correct! And I learned something new - 90% of soy is genetically modified?! This does not suprise me. Thank you for posting such an honest article. God Bless.

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  37. Nice Lauren, Go ahead and insult those who are KIND enough to read your blog. Smart way to keep people trekking in regularly. I agree with both of you, but we ALL make our own choices as to what is acceptable to ourselves and our bodies. We should do what works for us and what we are comfortable with. Period. I would reconsider my responses to those who stop by your blog.

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  38. FirstClass Foods IncSeptember 28, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    If we have the meat which is processed very wel then their is nothing problem.

    FirstClass Foods

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  39. FirstClass Foods IncSeptember 28, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    having clean processed wont be worse.

    http://firstclassfoods.com/

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  40. i agree with Lauren that other person is just spewing nonsense, like it's true vegetarianism is becoming more popular but she isn't accepting these faux meat products are trash, just like unorganic meat is.


    I heard though that regular tofu is also bad because it too brings too much estrogen into the body.

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  41. I eat Morningstar products because I'm morbidly obese and trying to lose weight. These products have less calories and fat than regular meat. I do still eat turkey lunchmeat in sandwiches, though, because it's very low in calories (5 - 6 thin slices is only around 50 calories) and fat and is a good source of protein. I did look at the ingredient list and suspected it was not as healthy as it claimed, but to be honest, my weight is the bigger problem here. Maybe if (when?) I lose the weight, I will get into the nitty-gritty nutrition facts and increased risk of certain problems and whatnot. But I'd say my most current concerns right now are hyperlipidemia, hypertension, and pre-diabetes level of blood sugar. If these products help me get there, I'll take it.

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  42. We are all the fools of the worlds great marketers.

    So many irony's, but lauren is right about one thing. The more ingredients, the unhealthier it is. With that said I do empathize with those that protect non-human animals by doing harm to themselves, and I understand why they get defensive. Great article. When I read all the ingredients on the list of these items, I almost tipped over. I can't believe these marketers would take advantage of people so much. I know too many people who don't look at the ingredients list.

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  43. Thank you for this information. I have been a vegetarian for 15 years. Your question about why we desire "meat like"
    Substitutes. Well I was raised in the Midwest on meat I imagine the textures and scents of real meat being delicious
    Came from my childhood memories. Something missed when I became a vegetarian, as well as many others i am assuming. I use Morningstar products. I understand the pesticide issues as well the processed aspects of these products. But whatever happened to the idea of anything in moderation. And one more thought, lets stop pretending tofu and tempeh are delicious no matter the gourmet sauce.
    1500 milligrams of sodium is cool daily, so bring on the chik nuggets I'm still ahead of the game not eating flesh.
    Cheers.

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  44. The so-called Doctor Byrnes died at 42, he was one of the fake article writers at WAPF, fully paid for by the dairy industry to publish fake studies about "the Dangers of Soy" and other such drivel. Also be careful in the US organic doesn't mean anything anymore, the FDA and USDA are part of this very profitable crime. If US mil is so wonderful why did Obama give 3 million to the dairy Industry to research the problem of infected udders allowing lots of Pus in US milk, and milk products.

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  45. The fact that you can't pronounce the name of the ingredients (or, more likely, don't know what kind of chemicals they are and what function they have) does not make them unhealthy. Yeah, I agree that soy is a destructive crop and that the amounts of estrogen-mimicking molecules may be unhealthy. But the chemicals that you find unpronouncable, unfamiliar and therefore unhealthy are harmless and some of them are even beneficiary.


    If you take the amounts of medications and toxins used in farming fish and animal proteins in account and consider how efficiently they are stored in animal fat, I would definately cross the ingredients mentioned here off of my worry-list.


    I agree with you, just not with your arguments.

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  46. I find it odd that non-vegetarians find it odd that vegetarians eat meat substitutes or even care. I would guess most vegetarians, myself included, did not quit eating meat because they didn't want to eat a hamburger.

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  47. i love tofu.
    suddenly our "back to nature" losers are pro processed food, amidst the anti gmo hysteria.

    i think all of which have already been proven wrong: the anti meat myths, the anti fat myths, the anti gmo myths.

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  48. i love tofu for the reason summed up* not for what it inherently is, mind you!

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  49. There are many different options to go meatless, it's up to consumers to do their research and know what option is truly a healthy alternative to meat. When you get a chance, check out neat at www.eatneat.com. You can make burgers, chili's, tacos, nachos and so on. Soy & gluten free, and you can pronounce the ingredients - pecans, garbanzo beans, gluten free whole grain oats, gluten free cornmeal, sea salts and spices. Give neat a try!

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  50. Wow...seems like a lot of aggression escalating on here. FIrst of all, I am a vegetarian out of what I feel are morals ethics. Now don't get your panties in a bundle please. I am just not seeing how there is a humane way to slaughter any animal. And if you believe it is better done in a factory or in a hunt, then I question your having actually been able to see both. Nothing in this life truly wants to die. All animals have an inherent drive to try to survive. Kind of self inflating to think it is their place to be sacrificed for humans- given how well we have used this planet...yes sarcasm.
    Now as to the whole GMO thing- it is infuriating that genetic modifications have been done to our food sources. But do you seriously think the food your animals eat are not among the same? Because you need to realize it is across the board. Also another consideration regardless of whether you choose to eat animals or plant based foods, is that with climate changes, there will be more and more challenges to trying to maintain crops. Much drought will be increased and in the eastern US excessive rainfall. All this adds up to the fact that we will have to find a way to be able to have nutrition grow with these altered environments. SO if you think engineering is coming to an end when it comes to the foods grown, think again.
    Not all people have the ability to cook from scratch. Not all have access to vibrant markets. Thing is people do their best. A soy protein isolate may not be acceptable to you but let's not turn our noses up on what a broken down form of a plant food when there are as many broken down forms of meat in many processed meat dishes.
    There is a double standard for food snobbery. You never know where ,when ,or what your life will take you through in your journey. You will see and do things you never thought you would in a given situation until you are in the thick of it. To think of one person being above another because they eat "pure organic free range grass fed meats" is absurd. Your grass is as contaminated as any other thing growing on this planet. Our air, our water, our oceans all have the scars of our contaminating our environments so profusely. SO free range or wild anything does not mean the purity once known decades ago.
    I knew a wise women once who told me that we must remember that people are acting as best they can at any given moment. They may not be making the best of choices. They may be hard to understand. They may at another time come to regret their choices. But at that moment ,they are doing what they think is thieir best option at that moment.
    I was a nurse. I ate in a variety of varying types of diets. In the end I was felled by multiple sclerosis. I have had people tell me everything from it is because of how I ate, to how I exercised, where I lived, my intake of supplements or lack of, my lack of faith, my letting down God, my not believing well enough in a healing. I practiced both science and art and skill in my nursing profession. I saw people as that- not diseases or body parts. In times of worst pain we all fall into our fears and doubts. But honestly, genetically I have been predisposed due to the ancestry of neurological diseases. I do believe there are probably various other considerations to include exposures to viruses and pollutants (as regionally we have an outrageously huge population of autoimmune illnesses- under which I also include fibromyalgia.) Why am I saying all this/ Because the judgement handed down from one person to another is something we as a society have taken unfettered license upon eachother - when life will throw us all enough hurdles, enough doubts' If anyone believes that diet is all there is to it- then I say remove your blinders- there is more involved than that. Best of health and I pray for your futures.

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  51. Complicated does NOT mean harmful! These products are recommended by the FDA for vegetarians with meat cravings! As a non-meat varsity athlete and lifeguard, I swear by the Morning Star chicken to keep me on the wagon when I have bad days and just need something meaty. It's more ethical than meat, tastier than tofu, and easier than making your own substitutes. I don't know why this blogger is afraid of foods that she can't pronounce, but to consumers: please remember that not all bloggers with opinions base their opinions on fact, and you shouldn't go back to meat or eat something unpleasant that makes you resent your life choices because someone on the internet told you to! Do your own research, try the products for yourself, and make an informed decision based off of many viewpoints (fact-based views) before you completely disregard a product.

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  52. It is about the animals. Why eat an animal when you do not have to? The cruelty they go through is something meat eaters rarely think about. Scientific studies show these animals perceive pain and suffering just like us. Be nice to the animals, eat vegetarian when you can.

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