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rotuts

Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, etc.

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16 hours ago, Toliver said:

From what I understand, neither of the fake proteins are a more healthy option for someone seeking to stay on a non-meat diet.

It'd be different if they found the products were "better for you". Less fat? Less salt? Higher in fiber? No one has made that claim with these fake meat burgers at all of the fast food joints.

Right now, they're not, or I haven't heard such claims if they're being made.

So why eat it?

The CBC looked into it, and concluded that they were nutritionally pretty similar to beef. Comparable for calories, protein content and so on, with the addition of fibre (a positive) but with extra sodium as well (a negative). So there we go. As with any other burger, the joker in the deck is how they're served. The CBC article cited a 1,000 calorie Impossible Burger, as served in a specific US restaurant, which clearly isn't a good option for an everyday lunch. :P

 

Duvel's comment that "one burger a month isn't going to save the world" was true enough in its context, which is to say a single individual who only occasionally eats a burger. (North) Americans, OTOH, eat a whole lot more than one burger a month, and in that context the occasional meatless meal as an alternative to a burger or other beef dish - whether it be a faux-burger at the local fast-food joint or (as the OP urges) an innately meat-free dish like the curries Sartoric posts in the meal threads - can be pretty impactful.

 

There are other, more academic papers out there, but I came across this article last year and it does a pretty good job of explaining the basics of why beef is such an area of focus. It certainly goes beyond "virtue-signaling" (a phrase I have come to dislike) and that was certainly not what I meant to imply by comparing the conscious selection of an occasional meatless meal to one's choice of light bulb.

 

Trying to shift omnivores (as most of us are) en masse to meatless eating is a big ask, and it's just not going to happen. At least, not within any kind of meaningful time frame. Making it easy for people to do something, instead, is at least the thin edge of the wedge. Meatless Mondays got a bit of traction. Beyond and Impossible are getting traction. Restaurants that offer mostly plant-based foods, but don't make it an extremist "meat is murder" thing, are getting some traction (a renewed focus on flavor and presentation has certainly helped, too).

 

A very small minority are concerned enough about climate change to stop eating meat (and flying, and so on). A very small minority are defiant enough about climate change to bypass pollution controls on their vehicles (yeah, "pollution porn" is a thing) and barbecue extra-large steaks outside of vegetarian restaurants. Most of us fall in between, willing to accept the reality of climate change but not yet concerned enough about it to make any major lifestyle changes. In the shorter term, that's where the big changes will have to come from. Faux burgers are just the grist for that particular mill.

(Disclaimer: I'm not advocating here for anyone to give up meat, buy stock in Beyond or whatever else, and I'm certainly not holding myself out as an example. In my own household I'm perfectly comfortable eating less meat, but the women in my life have been inveterate carnivores so we still use a lot. Also, while I'd love to have an electric or hybrid vehicle, I drive a low-mileage minivan instead because a) I live in an apartment and plugging in is not an option, b) I can't afford one, and c) several times a year I need to haul vehicularly-challenged members of our extended family in large numbers, so seven seats was a must.)

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"The only questions that really matter are the ones you ask yourself."

Ursula K. Le Guin

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

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17 hours ago, lemniscate said:

Just noticed this new offering in the Costco snack bar today.  Al Pastor soy protein and Bahn Mi veg all in one bowl?   Sounds like a weird combo.  I will not be taking one for the team and trying this one.

IMG_8136.PNG

 

What's up with that calorie count?  How can it vary by more than a hundred per cent?

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There's also this approach, which I tripped across while researching an article. Seems like a happy compromise all around, though uptake would have to be pretty significant in order to have the kind of impact they're describing.

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"The only questions that really matter are the ones you ask yourself."

Ursula K. Le Guin

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

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12 minutes ago, chromedome said:

There's also this approach, which I tripped across while researching an article. Seems like a happy compromise all around, though uptake would have to be pretty significant in order to have the kind of impact they're describing.

 

Yeah, I think the market for something that delivers on taste but contains some animal product is bigger than the 100% vegan market. Some people assume that vegan always equals healthier but that's inaccurate.

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"The only questions that really matter are the ones you ask yourself."

Ursula K. Le Guin

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

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Here's one review:  the Impossible Burger — which he calls “small, spongy, and lacking in flavor,” and the Beyond Burger, which “is like cat food that improves a little when cooked.” 😂

 

(from here https://seattle.eater.com/2019/7/11/20690338/fremont-vegan-burgers-fast-food-galaxy-rune)

 

I saw Beyond burgers in my local grocery, $10 for two frozen patties.  Nah.

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Everyone should be required to experience a beef feedlot. The level of pollution becomes very obvious just from a close drive-by. Lamb is now considered as bad or worse environmentally than beef, but in this country we just don't eat that much lamb, so focussing on reducing beef production and consumption makes more sense.

 

It really is possible for most of us to cut way back on red meat. If you need to find a substitute--something that looks like meat or that has high protein or whatever--well, go for it if it works for you. Ultimately eating little or no beef is a sacrifice that is less difficult than many others that help the environment, and if an overwhelming number of people participated it could have a big impact.

 

I am not a vegetarian, nor do I believe that eating animals is necessarily unethical, especially given that resources vary widely on the planet. I think of red meat as a special treat, although truthfully the longer I go without it the less I care. I'm not ready to give up the occasional BLT (yes I know that's not beef!), but just a few of them every summer during tomato season can be enough of a reward. I still eat some chicken and sustainable seafood, but if we don't start paying closer attention we will all be left with nothing but tilapia and rodents. Okay, I'll take my drugs now.

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We've been eating Beyond Burgers every couple of weeks or so, and I have to admit they're pretty good. I'd say they taste better than the average burger at a an average burger joint (which is a pretty low bar). They're nowhere near as good as the burgers I make when trying to make a great burger ... which involves sourcing three different cuts of beef, grinding them shortly before cooking, and weighing the seasonings with a milligram scale. But they're much easier than that, and cheaper (price is coming down monthly), and no steer was harmed in the making of dinner. 

 

We're not eating these to stop climate change, exactly. We're doing it to get used to the changes that will be forced by climate change, or by any real response to it. I hate to break it to you, but we're going to be eating bugs, people. I have climate scientists among my friends, and all say that the disaster we're embroiled in is being massively underreported. We've got eleven years to create a carbon-neutral civilization ... that or we'll be depending on miracles. A few of us privileged folks turning vegan or driving Priuses or signing internet petitions isn't going to change much (people have been at it for decades now). 

 

If you really want to save the world, you have to force the hand of governments. I just joined Extinction Rebellion to throw some of my resources at the problem. I'd suggest doing the same, or finding another direct-action organization with a good track record. Also, worcestershire sauce is a nice addition to the fake beef. 

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Notes from the underbelly

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