Fake meat is the way, they say! The future of food, they say!
Please reassure me this concerns you as much as it does me. Food ‘products’ are never ‘the way’! The human body needs real natural food for life force. Nutrition from food communicates with our bodies and offers essential nourishment to ensure our cells and organs work efficiently. As such, only natural and nutrient dense foods enable us to exist in a state of optimal health. Sure, you can eat processed unnatural foods and exist in poor health for a while, but it usually results in one or more chronic ‘lifestyle’ illnesses. So, the question is, do these foods deserve to be coined ‘the future of food’? The marketing behind fake meat can sound powerful, which is no surprise considering the massive corporate interests (and budgets) behind it. We need to be smarter and see through it. No matter how hard they try to convince you that fake meat is full of nutrition and good for the planet, nothing that unnatural can or ever will be either. Here’s why.
SOME KEY PROBLEMS WITH FAKE MEAT:
1. IT’S ULTRA-PROCESSED. Unprocessed foods are still in their natural (or almost natural) state. They still contain intact nutrition like minerals and vitamins and support optimally functioning organs and good health. Processing food changes its natural state and removes nutrition. Highly processed or ultra-processed foods contain many added artificial ingredients which destroy our bodies capacity to fight off disease and maintain energy, vitality, and wellness. The two leading fake meat products are currently the Impossible Burger (by Impossible Foods) & Beyond Burger (by Beyond Meat). They are both also leading examples of ultra-processed foods.
2. SOY. As per all highly processed foods, fake meat contains soy, usually as soybean oil, soy protein isolate, or soy lecithin. Masses of research tells us soy leads to gastrointestinal, fertility, thyroid, hormonal, and neurological problems. Yes, some traditional cultures consumed a lot of soy, however they used techniques such as fermentation to reduce toxicity, and the soy was organic. Today however, conventional soy is genetically modified and highly processed. This not only promotes the activity of the toxic anti-nutrients’ soy contains, it enhances their negative implications on human health.
3. AGRICULTURE. Fake meat is part of mono-crop agriculture, which is not a regenerative system. Monocropping is just as it sounds, the absence of crop rotation. Soy, corn, and wheat are the 3 leading culprits of this exploitive industrial use of farmland. While many promote fake meat as eco-friendly, it has troubling implications on environmental biodiversity, which is essential to life on earth.
4. ENVIRONMENTAL BIODIVERSITY. The more diversity and complexity in any ecosystem, the healthier and more resilient it is. Monoculture farming and the lack of diversity it involves reduces the environment’s natural ability to withstand and recover from damage or harmful organisms. These fragile conditions lead to the use of synthetic fertilizers, herbicides etc. The negative implications of these are extensive in nature, as the chemicals in soils are not organic and accumulate as they cannot be processed by microorganisms. The depletion of ecosystems and pollution of groundwater are some of the dire consequences.
5. NUTRITION. Fake meat is usually marketed as ‘healthier’ due to having less calories than real meat. Stating that anything is healthier than a natural food simply due to it having less calories is like saying a low-calorie candy bar is healthier than a banana. Several of the most nutrient dense foods are also high in energy per gram, it is simply not a gage for health. Many weight-management or fat loss protocols work on the premise that calorie intake is of more importance than nutrition, which is a dated approach and very misleading. Additionally, the caloric difference between fake meat and real meat is usually only 30 or 40 calories. The human body thrives on the nourishment and nutrition we receive from quality meat (i.e., uninflamed, non-factory-farmed), and it is far superior to any processed fake meat alternative. Period.
6. IRON. Iron is an essential part of haemoglobin, the blood protein which carries oxygen from your lungs to the cells throughout your body. We require iron for carbohydrates and fats to be converted into energy, for neurotransmitter processing (e.g., serotonin and dopamine), cell growth, and metabolism. The iron we absorb from meat is in the right form and our bodies utilise it easily and thrive. Yes, there is iron in some plant foods, but as there is no blood in plants the iron is in a different form. We absorb far less iron from plant foods, and once absorbed the body must convert it into the correct form. Often, we are lacking the necessary cofactors for conversion, and end up with very little viable iron.
7. DEMONISING MEAT. Are you upset with meat, or are you upset with modern agricultural techniques? Humans have consumed meat (and thrived because of it) for our entire existence. Meat and meat eating is not in itself evil, though it is fair to say the corporate industries which have changed how the animals are raised, medicated, locked up, prepared, and killed are. Is a grass-fed steak really the problem, or are humans? One grass fed steak will give you more nutrition per gram than most other foods. You do not need to consume that much of it to benefit. And here’s another truth – many animals lose their lives in the process of farming vegetables, due to chemicals, tractors, and mono-cropping ecosystem changes. A meatless diet is generally not bloodless.
8. YOU’RE BLAMING COWS WHEN YOU SHOULD BE BLAMING CARS. Cattle are the scapegoat for the problems cause by burning fossil fuels. The idea that avoiding meat and dairy is a significant way to reduce your environmental footprint when you drive a car daily and fly on planes (usually) several times a year, is just silly.
Meat is not the bad guy, engineering our food away from nature is. In recent years we have (generally) recovered from the wheat and sugar industry led ‘science’ that fooled us in the 70’s and 80’s. Back then we were convinced that ‘low fat’ was great and wheat and sugar-based foods reigned supreme. The hangover from this has been hard to shake! We should now know better than to be misled by industry led claims about the benefits of fake meat.