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#1 of 94 Old 09-11-2010, 02:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This has been a "sticking point" for me with regard to veg*anism and I thought this may be a good place to put it to rest, with a little help.

Basically, my question is: if we are veg*an b/c we don't eat meat, then why try to make so many fake meat products? I feel there's a disconnect there, an incongruence. Why is fake meat okay, but real meat not? Why pretend to eat something we say is not okay to eat?

I mean, I would not say "heroin is bad, so I don't do heroin", but then pretend to do heroin every chance I got or pretend sugar is heroin, call it 'sugar heroin', and eat lots of sugar. Extreme example, maybe, but it illustrates my point well, I think.

Please help me wrap my mind around this issue. Is this simply an irrationality and I need to just make peace with it or is there something I'm missing that makes it perfectly sensible? I'm trying to see the logic in it.

Thanks.

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#2 of 94 Old 09-11-2010, 02:28 PM
 
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This is why I don't eat fake meat products. I became vegetarian not because of ethics, health, or the environment (but those are reasons I eventually became vegan). I originally became vegetarian because I just don't like meat. I think meat is gross, so why would I eat fake, non-meat meat?

I'll be interested to hear if the people who did originally like meat eat fake meat though!

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#3 of 94 Old 09-11-2010, 02:42 PM
 
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Hmmmm..... I don't do heroin, (or crack) BUT, I used to frequent a (buffet)restaurant with my friends, and I would refer to their brownies as "crack brownies" because they had powdered sugar on them. and, yes I really loved the brownies, they were awesome )

I an neither vegan or vegetarian, but before i realized that REAL food was important, I would eat the fake meat product junk. It really didn't taste that good, but I did eat it, because I was in a situation where I couldn't get my hands on meat that I would eat(kosher/halal only) and I also didn't eat veggies, so most of what I ate was processed garbage anyhow(frozen dinners)

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#4 of 94 Old 09-11-2010, 02:52 PM
 
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I was vegetarian and then vegan for years, and I don't get it either. I never understood the multitudes of "not" products and why so many veggie cookbooks and magazines try and come up with fake substitutes that frankly don't taste anything like the original dish. As long as they can make it look similar in appearance they want to call it by the original dishes name. Fake cheese, not cheesecake, not lunch meats and on infinitum. There are so many good tasting naturally veg dishes why not just go with those. I think it comes down to profit, they can make a profit off these processed imitations so they will. The market up on dried beans and fresh vegetables isn't that high in comparison. I like tofu, but sorry it doesn't make a cheesecake that tastes like the real thing made with cream cheese, it just doesn't. Call it something else then.
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#5 of 94 Old 09-11-2010, 03:00 PM
 
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i imagine for those who do like meat but are vegan due to ethical reasons.
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#6 of 94 Old 09-11-2010, 03:17 PM
 
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I eat a little fake meat, and rather more fake cheese. I have been vegetarian for 15 years, and vegan for almost 11, and I frankly don't remember what meat or cheese taste like. That being said, there seems to be not much resemblance to real meat with the vast majority of fake meat. It certainly doesn't smell the same. I have a lot of omni friends/family that eat out at veggie restaurants with us, and I never hear them say "This tastes like the real thing". Except maybe with hot dogs, but what the heck are they supposed to taste like anyway? Hot dogs, not meat, I think.

I hear this a lot from omnis, and I always just kind of wonder what the big deal is. It's not meat, we all know it's not meat, so why is it an issue? If someone wants to eat it, that's their thing. If someone doesn't, then that's their thing. Why is there a problem here? And with regards to the whole heroin thing, well, I just don't see the comparison. Fake meats are usually a good source of protein, and often iron, and they can make a meal have a more "traditional" balance of protein, carbs, and veggies. It's not like doing something that has no benefit or reason other than imitation.

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#7 of 94 Old 09-11-2010, 03:24 PM
 
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I don't generally eat fake meat or cheese either, generally it's only at veggie restaurants when that's the only choice, or because I'm there with an omni who wants to try it out and share.

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#8 of 94 Old 09-11-2010, 03:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Someone spoke to the marketing/profit angle. I totally understand why corporations would latch onto this mentality. I just don't understand why individuals will. Why say "I don't eat meat" and then eat fake meat voluntarily.

If I don't eat meat, why would I eat fake meat? I guess the drug example is confusing some folks? Sorry.

I used to eat meat. But, now that I can't find an ethical reason to continue to do so, I cannot fathom pretending to do so. I've never liked the idea or understood the idea behind soy burgers and soy bacon and rice cheese, etc. Why pretend to eat something you say is not something you eat? Regardless of the reason you don't eat it.

I think it sends a mixed message to ourselves, our children, and others. I wouldn't pretend to eat a BLT when playing restaurant with my kid when I don't eat BLTs in real life. And, that's not even as real as a soy hot dog!

Thanks for the convo. I'm glad to read others' perspectives on this and I'm glad to read that others think this way, too.

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#9 of 94 Old 09-11-2010, 03:50 PM
 
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I used to eat veggie burgers because they fit on whole-wheat buns and were easy to prepare, the chef knew how to grill them on the grill, and they were high in protein. I mean... ground beef doesn't resemble meat that much, either! It was all about fitting the bun.

I do NOT do fake cheese. That stuff is nasty, and not worth it at all. I was a vegetarian for 10 years, but never a vegan, probably because fake cheese is just so gross, and I love real cheese.

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#10 of 94 Old 09-11-2010, 04:34 PM
 
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I don't eat fake meat products for health reasons, but I really don't understand how you could *not* understand the market for them!

Most veg*ns are veg*n for ethical reasons. If those people can eat a nom nom burger or sausage without committing murder or contributing to environmental devastation, why wouldn't they? It's about ethics, not health, and fake meat tastes good. It's not because they want real meat - it doesn't even taste like real meat - it just tastes good. So they eat it. What's not to understand!?

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#11 of 94 Old 09-11-2010, 04:40 PM
 
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Because it helps during the transition to a new mindset where meat doesn't have a starring role on the plate.

Because no one gets hurt doing it.

Because it is certainly possible to like the flavor and mouthfeel of meat and not like the idea of an animal dying for your dinner.

Because seitan ribz are a great medium for homemade cherry chipotle barbecue sauce, because tempeh just tastes good on a sandwich with lettuce, tomato and vegenaise.

I prefer veggie patties that aren't trying to mimic meats, veggie-lentil-oat type things, I prefer marinated smoky tempeh to the soy meat bacon, I prefer toasted pumpkin seeds to bac-o's, but I like seitan and vegan 'sausages,' and soyrizo has just the right seasoning for my red bean and rice stew.

Fake meats and cheeses are a way to keep old favorite recipes - ie my family makes beef stroganoff for Christmas dinner, and I make a lentil-nut-mushroom analog of it.

I do like Daiya cheese, but it is an occasional way to indulge my fondness for spinach quesadillas without the concerns about the ethics of dairy, not a staple of my diet.
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#12 of 94 Old 09-11-2010, 04:56 PM
 
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I never liked it myself - which was a difficult thing to explain when I would visit my mom and she'd have 10 pounds of fake meat products for me and DH.

What's even funnier is that I never ate much meat even before I was officially vegetarian - and all of a sudden she thought I'd need fake burgers (didn't eat them before), hot dogs (ditto) and fakin bacon (ate that rarely)? She also had plenty of things to feed me, because she used to feed all that stuff to me as a kid. Weird. But she was trying to be supportive, I guess.

I see fake meat products thusly:

1) Transition food for some.
2) Not all vegetarians don't like meat. Some really like it even if they choose not to eat it.
3) Companies want to leverage a market of people who think eating fake meat is somehow healthier.
4) There are huge soybean subsidies and we gotta sell it somehow.
5) R&D (research and design) has to do something. If they stop trying to make products, they're out of a job. Unfortunately this system (along with the marketing department and so on) is part of the system that makes us think we "need" a bunch of junk in our lives.

I humbly believe fake meat is bad for us, though I would support its temporary use as a transition food.

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#13 of 94 Old 09-11-2010, 04:57 PM
 
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I enjoy new and interesting tasty foods that are plant based. Call them faux meat or call the veggie inspirations, I don't care. I'm vegan for animals, the planet, and my health. It's got nothing to do with a dislike for the taste of meat. I just don't want to make animals suffer!
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#14 of 94 Old 09-11-2010, 05:09 PM
 
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When I was vegetarian and vegan, I ate fake meat because I was veg for ethical reasons, not because I disliked the taste/texture. Plus it made a lot of meals quick and easy if we were running late. I figured that Boca Chick'n patties (still a favorite even though I'm no longer veg) were a lesser evil than real chicken.

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#15 of 94 Old 09-11-2010, 05:17 PM
 
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I'm with you. Also, all that fake meat is 1) way too processed and 2) way too much soy. I don't think of it as contributing to good health at all. Just my opinion.

Though I have to say I know there are a lot of people who want to eat meat and always have but because of health issues their doctor told them to stop so it helps them enjoy the food better and feel like they're still eating meat. I think someone already touched on that though.

I do think this is something people don't really think about for some reason. Interesting thread.
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#16 of 94 Old 09-11-2010, 05:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't think I said anything about not liking the taste of meat. It's not about why you don't eat meat, it's about the fact that you don't eat meat.

Is that unclear?

If I don't eat meat, why would I pretend to eat meat? If I don't eat real meat, why would I eat fake meat? If eating meat is a problem, why is it okay to pretend to eat meat?

Is that not clear? I'm not sure how else to ask it, but it seems some people are misunderstanding my question. Just trying to be more coherent, not argue.

I think the people who don't seem to understand my question (I'm basing that on the replies here) are the people I'm trying to understand, too, so...

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#17 of 94 Old 09-11-2010, 05:47 PM
 
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It's clear to me! lol
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#18 of 94 Old 09-11-2010, 05:58 PM
 
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The question is clear, it just makes no sense to me.

Fake meats don't involve the death of an animal. They are gentler on the planet and lower in calories and fat than real meat.

Homemade meat substitutes, like marinated tempeh, seitan, and my lentil-nut mix that I use in place of meat in my mom's recipes are WAY gentler on the planet than meat, because while an argument can certainly be made for the eco-unfriendliness of the processed packaged fake meats, which really aren't good for you, either, it is not true of similar things made at home from organic bulk foods.

If you don't think it is moral or right to eat fake animal foods, then be my guest and don't. But the tone that I'm getting in this thread isn't very respectful, it's kind of judgemental and veggier than thou (or, in some cases, crunchier than thou).

You don't get a whole lot more 'real' food than olive oil, onion, nuts, lentils, homemade broth and spices.
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#19 of 94 Old 09-11-2010, 06:03 PM
 
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I think she's specifically talking about things like fake bacon and sausage, fake hotdogs, fake chicken nuggets. I think she's saying, if you don't agree with eating animals, why pretend to be eating them. I don't think she's saying you're really pretending but suggesting that veg*ns might actually be turned off by something pretending to be (and a lot of times coming close to looking like) meat.

(and your tempeh and lentil nut mix sounds super yummy but the way)
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#20 of 94 Old 09-11-2010, 06:04 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by princesstutu View Post
If I don't eat meat,
. . . because animals die for it

Quote:
Originally Posted by princesstutu View Post
why would I pretend to eat meat?
. . . because animals don't die for it.

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#21 of 94 Old 09-11-2010, 06:40 PM
 
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Most veg*ns are veg*n for ethical reasons. If those people can eat a nom nom burger or sausage without committing murder or contributing to environmental devastation, why wouldn't they? It's about ethics, not health, and fake meat tastes good. It's not because they want real meat - it doesn't even taste like real meat - it just tastes good. So they eat it. What's not to understand!?

Good post. I don't understand why it's hard to understand the market for it either. I LIKE meat. But I won't eat it for many reasons. A boca chick'n patty once a month or so satisfies my cravings. Most fake meat products don't really taste like meat, but I've gone so long without eating it that I'm not sure it makes a difference. It's mostly the flavor of the chick'n patty and the fact that it's wonderful on a bun with ketchup that keeps me happy. It's the "bite" of it that makes it such a good sub.

So the point is that people can eat some of their favorite foods without causing harm to animals, among other things.

Fake meat makes veg*nism easier for me so I don't fall off the wagon and start consuming meat again.

I don't get how eating a boca patty is "pretending to eat meat". No one is pretending anything. It's very clear on the box that it is made from soy. No one is kidding themselves.
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#22 of 94 Old 09-11-2010, 07:05 PM
 
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I don't get how eating a boca patty is "pretending to eat meat". No one is pretending anything. It's very clear on the box that it is made from soy. No one is kidding themselves.
Yes! No 'pretending' going on.

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#23 of 94 Old 09-11-2010, 07:25 PM
 
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I think a lot of it does have to do with the profit factor. I worked for years at several health food stores, and these products are very heavily marketed in certain magazines and other materials. Companies would not spend the big bucks on advertising if it didn't make them more money.

And keep in mind that they are advertised as being healthy! All that processed soy, according to the manufacturers, is a good thing. I know I used to eat a ton of it - not because it was anything like meat (because it really isn't) but because it was easy, fast, and tasty (and cheap with my employee discount) and because I thought it was healthy. Wish I had the internet back then...
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#24 of 94 Old 09-11-2010, 09:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So what y'all are saying is that if meat were not made from animals, you'd have no problem eating it?

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#25 of 94 Old 09-11-2010, 09:10 PM
 
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So what y'all are saying is that if meat were not made from animals, you'd have no problem eating it?
What???

If meat was not made from animals, it wouldn't be meat.
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#26 of 94 Old 09-11-2010, 09:19 PM
 
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I probably wouldn't. I don't like Gardein because it is too realistic. I'd far rather eat well-drained tofu baked in a highly seasoned almond-cornmeal coating and dip that in barbecue sauce.

Now if you could make me *cheese* that's not an animal product, without the ethical, environmental and health issues, I'd be all over it. Daiya's good. It ain't feta or aged cheddar. Lol.
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#27 of 94 Old 09-11-2010, 09:43 PM
 
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Personally after becoming a vegetarian, I lost my taste for meat, and I don't want to eat things like it. Fruits and vegetables just taste better.

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#28 of 94 Old 09-11-2010, 09:49 PM
 
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I used to eat veggie burgers because they fit on whole-wheat buns and were easy to prepare, the chef knew how to grill them on the grill, and they were high in protein. I mean... ground beef doesn't resemble meat that much, either! It was all about fitting the bun.

I do NOT do fake cheese. That stuff is nasty, and not worth it at all. I was a vegetarian for 10 years, but never a vegan, probably because fake cheese is just so gross, and I love real cheese.
This makes me giggle... I had my dd off dairy for a bit and had gotten some fake cheese. We were talking to a friend about her not eating dairy and the friend asked about food substitutes. I replied that dd didn't like it and that it tasted like toes... Dd gets a very disgusted and sheepish look and said "oh no mama... That stuff tastes like ass".... She was very frank and I couldn't be upset.... It is that terrible...

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#29 of 94 Old 09-11-2010, 09:51 PM
 
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Because it tastes good? And is convenient to eat?

I don't think that overprocessed soy is healthy, so I avoid when I can... but my biggest guilty pleasure is Morningstar Farms breakfast sausages. Yum. I love them.

The rest of my family eats meat, so I've been buying more Quorn products so that I "fit in" when they have a meat meal. I don't prepare meat, but my husband does so the kids usually eat it on weekends when he's at home. I think it's important for families to eat together and all eat the same meal and for parents to model healthy eating... usually when people say that it's the toddler who is the picky eater and not the mother! But that's our situation. The selection is limited, but covers enough of the basics that DH makes... meatballs, hamburgers, chicken, tacos... that I always try to keep a little variety in the freezer.

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#30 of 94 Old 09-11-2010, 09:56 PM
 
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it's the difference between ethical vegs and those that are veg for taste.

i don't think it's really that hard to understand the difference.


eta!! just want to say that all you have to do is consider the other perspective if it's not the one you have. not that the question is silly or anything!!

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