Tuesday, April 10, 2012

To fake meat or not to fake meat . . . that is the question!

First, sorry to my subscribers about the double post yesterday that wasn't a double post about applesauce. I hit enter when I should have hit delete... grr technology sometimes. Anyway, I apologize for the blank post. I hope it doesn't happen again. And now to your regularly scheduled blog post:

Everyone from PETA to Vegan Outreach will tell you that one of the best ways to transition to veganism is to eat fake meat. When I say fake meat, I'm talking about meat substitutes such as tofurkey hot dogs and veggie meat crumbles. They have substitute cheeses (some of which are darn tasty) and substitute sausage, beef jerky, they have seitan (pronounced like satan) and all the like. Supposedly, these meat substitutes are supposed to help ease the transition because they help deal with cravings and keep things familiar. After all, life hasn't changed that much right, you can still eat a hot dog-- even if it is a tofu hot dog.

In fact, here is what PETA has to say about it:
Almost all grocery stores now carry delicious faux meat products, too—from veggie burgers and veggie hot dogs to vegetarian chicken nuggets, ribs, steak strips, and more. With these great products available, it's easier than ever to whip up delicious meat-free meals at home.

What a raving endorsement of these products!

Vegan Outreach (one of the coolest vegan groups in my opinion) has a list of substitutes up front and center on their "getting started" page. And in their getting started guide, it is the first thing they talk about right after their glossary of must know vegan terms. The first simple dinner they suggest? A veggie burger or dog! To top it off, they list it as a top source of protein. Yet another raving endorsement of these products.

When I started my transition, I went on a hunt for other Vegan moms to see what they had done. I was shocked and awed by how many of them had recipes for faux philly cheese steak or faux chilly cheese dogs, faux chicken nuggets, faux hot wings. Anything you could imaging, they could faux it.

So, I really started to think about it. To faux or not to faux. My 13 year-old is really resistant to the change and fauxing might make the transition easier for her. And heck, I do like some cheese on my taco! So here are some of the reasons why I have decided not to faux it on the regular:

1. Mock meat is processed. Processing food is bad for your health and bad for the environment. Period. It pollutes your body and it pollutes the earth.

2. Mock meat keeps you used to eating meat! I don't eat meat. Now, I don't even crave meat. To be honest, I don't even really remember what meat tastes like. If I had been eating mock meat all this time, I probably would. I think it would make it easier to cheat. It just doesn't make any sense to me.

3. I live in podunk. While we do have access to some great stores. Mock items are still pretty pricey. Not only that but they are sometime expired at the stores I frequent. And the health food stores here still use styrofoam containers and plastic bags! So there is a whole new layer to my dilemma.

4. See number 2! I don't eat meat. I think it conveys the wrong message. That message is that in order to be happy and fulfilled you have to eat something that either is or resembles meat. That simply isn't true. Tofurky dogs are required. In fact, I think they hurt more than they help. Or at least, they would hurt me. I am a slippery slope kinda gal, and that seems like a slippery slope.

So, as for me and mine, we don't fake meat it. We have been doing pretty good. I am seven weeks in. The little kids are two weeks in. Robert and Maggie still eat meat everyday. But we don't in this house, and that is all I can control. For today, I'm ok with that. And for today we shan't fake meat it.

Of course, we do eat things like lentil patties. Some may see that as a homemade fake meat. I do not. We have eaten lentil patties for a long time not as a burger substitute but just as a lentil patty. Yummy lentil patty.

So what do we eat? For dinner tonight we had, roasted turnips and sweet potatoes, sauteed swiss chard, green beans, and fruit salad. We normally would have beans or quinoa or something to go along with that dinner, but it was me and the kids (no Robert) and they had been snacking all afternoon. They just weren't up for it. As a Vegan parent, I have to be pretty aware of what my kids are eating to make sure they are getting what they need. Oops. I mean, as a parent.

I mean, really is it fair to say as a Vegan parent. I recently ran a comparison of what my kids eat now as Vegans and what they ate before on a junk food diet. They get about 2/3 the amount of calories. Nearly the same amount of protein. 1/4 to 1/8 the amount of sodium. About 1/2 to 2/3 the amount of fat (but now it is all avocados and stuff so no transfats now!). I really do pay attention now when I should have been paying attention all along. But I digress. Maybe I should save that for another day's blog.

Here are the photos of what we ate tonight. I kid you not, all three of my children cleaned their plates, and the 13 year old who is super resistant said, "can I have extra swiss chard?" So, something must be working.

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