By Alex Bury, VO Organizational Development Consultant
Let’s have a discussion about processed foods.
Cue the horror music, call the food police, and grasp onto your whole food cookbooks for dear life!
Actually, today we want to present a more balanced approach on the widespread apprehension of eating processed animal food substitutes, namely, vegan meats.
Here at Vegan Outreach, we’re big fans of Tofurky deli slices and Gardein’s barbeque wings—both processed, both delicious.
But wait, isn’t that exactly what all those health gurus tell us not to eat?
We advocate for the consumption of vegan meats for several reasons. First and foremost, eating vegan meat can make the transition to a vegan diet much easier for meat eaters! If only for that reason alone, I’m constantly telling people to buy vegan sausages!
Allowing yourself to eat processed meat substitutes means you can have the familiar and satiating meal experiences you’re used to without hurting animals. You can even use your favorite traditional recipes by subbing out any animal protein for plant-based products! It’s convenient, it’s fast, it’s delicious, and these days, you can buy so many different kinds of plant-based alternatives it’s almost ridiculous!
Another important reason to eat vegan meat—and this is for you, my large and vocal vegan community—you might need it.
There’s a lot of scary nutrition information floating around the web. Many vegans end up terrified of eating processed food and their diets consist of lots of veggies, but simply not enough protein or calories. This can cause some people problems in the short-term and others in the long-term.
Jack Norris, VO’s Executive Director and a Registered Dietitian, has heard from numerous people who developed fatigue on a vegan diet after either a short time or a long period of being vegan and whose health turned around after they added more plant protein, and sometimes fat.
Unfortunately, many vegans consider vegan meats “junk food” and some will opt for going back to eating animal meat rather than trying high-protein vegan meats. Of course, there are other high-protein vegan foods, such as tofu and legumes, but most vegan meats made from soy or wheat gluten contain more protein per serving than any other plant foods.
Here’s an example of what we’ve been talking about. This is a great story of a vegan thriving today thanks to adding plant-based meat to her diet.
Oh, and for anyone who adheres to a gluten-free diet and is wondering where you fit into this conversation, have no fear! There are plenty of meat alternatives that offer a few gluten-free products, like Beyond Meat, Gardein, and Tofurky.
Vegan meats help us feel full, satiated, and emotionally comforted. It prevents animals from suffering, and it helps us set an example for meat eaters that vegan food can be fun and familiar. It can help us easily meet our protein needs so that we feel energetic. While vegan meats may not be for every vegan, our movement would gain a lot if we all worked together to abolish the fear of vegan meat we’ve created over the years!
For a list of our favorite vegan meats, hop on over to our Alternatives page.