What do you "see" when you look at this package of bloody fake meat, The Impossible Burger? Or what do you see when you look at a package of Beyond Burger that looks exactly like the real thing?
Take a moment to sit, see, reflect and really engage with thoughts on this piece of fake meat that bleeds. This piece of vegan fake meat that bleeds is not only controversial, but it really shows the rise of the two worlds of consciousness.
We've long known.."You Are What You Eat."
Just for a bit of a background....I've been involved in the vegan world since 2004. One of my college jobs was that I worked for a vegan cafe and health food store for over four years. I've seen the industry grow, and evolve and what back then was a counter culture of food rebels and peace-loving "hippies" who were a bit more rooted to the earth and gardening, is now a mainstream trend that attracts all areas of life.
Today, veganism has become like a cult or like a religion, where there is damnation and hate for people who eat animals, even hate for those who are vegetarian. However, the industry before it got mainstream was never entirely like that.
There were always some anarchists, but for the most part it was a more peace-loving culture. Every counter-culture starts off as "cool," and then eventually loses its charm once it becomes hijacked by mainstream reality.
Although back then everything was soy-based, for the most part people embraced bean burgers, various types of salads and soups - things that were made from earth-based ingredients! People cared about the ingredients as well as reading food labels to mitigate artificial flavors, food colorings etc.
In reality, vegan meat and cheeses were never "healthy" because it was just a conglomerate of processed soy products. They were not essential for health purposes.
My journey into not wanting to eat meat, rooted back to my childhood. My body didn't want it, nor did I crave meat. I enjoyed vegetables, fruit and carbohydrates a lot more. My family always had me eat at least one meatball or small piece of chicken to get my protein. One day my mother was marinating chicken and I asked her several questions. When she sporked the chicken in preparation of cooking it, I began to cry. I knew something deep down wasn't right. Seeing flesh and blood always repulsed me. Even entering high school, I knew companies like McDonald's were "bullshit," because I was raised off eating garden-based vegetables.
However, that is something that is innate in my physical and spiritual well-being.
So this perspective comes from someone who has more connection to the land per say by understanding the difference between homegrown vs commercial food.
Like all things right now...there is a divide in lifestyle and perspective....
The vegan community has a massive division into various types of vegans. Some have turned vegan for health reasons, others for spiritual reasons (which also connects to health), and others just to save the animals. Although many "castes," are alive and well, throughout my time in the community as well as being a fitness / health coach for 15 years I've seen this divide and gap widen.
We primarily have two general categories.
1. The more health-conscious / spiritual based plant-based eater who is connected to the land, understands natural / spiritual law and understands how the higher intelligence of nature is a self-organizing organism that regenerates and heals itself. These people know you do not mess with nature because human meddling can destroy it. These are commonly more spiritual / religious based people. These include the yogis, food rebels, energy gurus, vegan Christians and Seventh Day Adventists (more vegetarian than vegan). These people follow the scientific natural laws, as well as intuitive guidance.
2. The other type of vegans are the ones who claim they are more "science-based," or junk food vegans who are in it for the animals but not necessarily for health purposes. Throughout my work as a health coach, I say they are "replacement" vegans as I've coached these people who swap hot dogs, pizza and chips for the dairy-free version. It is the same processed version of how they ate before. Many are atheist in nature with no spiritual belief, rebellions against anything from the past. Many work in technology and see veganism as progress, so anything that helps people not eat animals is a "yay." They see GMO or processed foods as okay, because we've been eating them for decades and science says it is ok. The more trendy types reside here. They see group one as quacks or weirdos.
One example I shared on a vegan community Facebook page was about the impossible burger and its GMO ingredients, labor/creation practices and how it went on the market before FDA approval. According to Forbes, an article they wrote the article, "Why Bill Gates Is Betting Millions On Synthetic Biology," stating, "While most people have heard of Beyond Meat and the plant-based meat mania by now, they don’t realize that this is all part of a much bigger opportunity. In fact, many of the wealthiest investors on the planet have been going “all in” on this obscure megatrend. Synthetic biology involves reconfiguring the DNA of an organism to create something entirely new. It allows scientists to design living things with attributes and characteristics we desire. In short, it allows you to “program” biology just like you would a computer! It’s a way to create just about any product in the world. This is HUGE. Consider Beyond Meat and competitor Impossible Foods. These companies use a DNA coding sequence from soybeans to create meat that looks and tastes like beef but is actually made of vegetables."
Not only did I get kindly put down, but people who worked in pharmaceutical and the video game industry said, "It's okay, don't be worried...we've been eating GMO and processed foods for a while."
But we're not talking about processing flour into a noodle, or grinding the stevia plant into a sugar-based substance. We're talking about a new form of technology and synthetic biology, which includes gene editing, something that is happening now to farm animals as well as in vegan meats.
Back to the Burgers for a moment...
The burgers are controversial. Some are okay with it. Others are not.
If you look at the image above, these fatty pieces of fake meat actually have ZERO vegetables in it. It's technically not a veggie burger. When comparing it to beef, it actually has similar fat contents and calories as any normal beef patty. Even Registered Dietitians have weighed in their thoughts in this article. None of the protein comes from actual real food sources.
Besides soy, beans and nuts, hearty grains like quinoa and dark leafy greens like kale provide plant eaters real and healthy protein.
Some important things to note:
First, the Center for Food Safety (CFS) filed a legal challenge against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) 2019 approval of soy leghemoglobin (“heme”), a color additive used to make the plant-based Impossible Burger appear to "bleed" like real meat. Because GMO heme is new to the human diet, and substantial quantities are added to the Impossible Burger, FDA should have required extensive safety testing before approving its use as a color additive. The CFS states, "FDA approved soy leghemoglobin without any of the long-term animal studies that are needed to determine whether or not it harms human health! This means it didn’t even consider whether it causes cancer, reproductive impairment, or other adverse effects. To make matters worse, a short-term rat trial detected adverse effects like the disruption of reproductive cycles and reduced uterine weights in females, and biomarkers of anemia, reduced clotting ability, and kidney problems."
The CFS is still in legal battles. I suggest reading about gene editing in animals stated from the CFS. It's the same gene editing that is happening to vegan meats.
Second, according to a 2017 vegnews.com article, "Last week, food technology company Impossible Foods revealed that it tested its key ingredient—soy leghemoglobin (aka, “heme”)—on rats. In a statement entitled “The Agonizing Dilemma of Animal Testing” dated August 2017, Impossible Foods’ CEO Patrick O. Brown explained his stance on the matter, revealing a systemic issue with the process of receiving approval from the Food and Drug Administration for the safety of uncommon ingredients.
HAVE ANY BEAN OR QUINOA BURGERS EVER HAD TO GET TESTED ON ANIMALS? NO BECAUSE THE PRODUCTS COME FROM THE EARTH.
Third, we have to understand that America is a processed food nation, with serious obese and health issues. Much of this arises because we eat more processed foods than other nations. The National Post writes, “The Beyond Meat burger is technically a processed food. We know that diets higher in processed foods are linked to the development of disease,” Lapidus said. When people eat more processed foods, they are likely to consume more calories and gain weight, a study by the National Institutes of Health found. With added weight gain can come such complications as kidney disease, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and heart disease. Just because a product is plant-based doesn’t mean it’s automatically healthy. “French fries are plant-based,” Langer pointed out. For someone who has hypertension, a Beyond Meat burger at A&W — which has more than half your daily requirement of sodium (1,110 mg) — is not a good option. Conversely, A&W’s teen burger, which has bacon, has 910 mg of sodium."
Fourth, Throughout the history of plant-based eating, we've never consumed anything that is bloody in nature. The closet thing to blood is juicing a beet or sacrificing a blood orange.
If you are a strict vegan, search within yourself and ask, "Why am I vegan?"
Elizabeth Rae Kovar M.A. is Author of her memoir, Finding Om and is a Fitness Trainer, Yogi, Reiki Master, Presenter and Lover of Life. To view her portfolio please visit www.elizabethkovar.com