Meat Substitutes

Meat Substitutes

Modern life appears to be based on polarization. When I was young the dichotomy was between Ford and Chevy, Coca Cola and Pepsi, the Rolling Stones or the Beatles, etc. The illusion of choice, as it is known in social engineering.

Now the ante has been upped, and you are either a Democrat or a Republican (“liberal” or “conservative” – every country has a variation on this theme), and we are pro or con on a wide range of issues, from pipelines and gun control, to immigration and public medical systems.

From my position, that dichotomy also applies to natural healing versus the modern medical system. I meet people who believe exclusively in natural healing and feel the medical system, as it stands, is corrupted by pharmaceutical influences, and they are at odds with those who believe that natural healing is hippie-voodoo, and only medical professionals can be trusted with their health.

Wouldn’t some middle ground be nice, for a change? (Thesis, antithesis, synthesis.)

As humans we should be able to compromise and meet in the middle, and this ability is essential for a peaceful and productive future. And, remember this false division is actively encouraged by politicians, and marketers, as a way to divide and conquer. All Russian trolls do to influence Western politics is sow dissension (which they have done since the days of print): weakening your “enemy” is all that is required, and this is easily done if you can divide a people, and a nation.

Now I will briefly examine a mundane version of the dichotomy.

In the war between fake meats there are two primary contestants: Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat.

To quote from business news: “Starbucks Corp. is adding an Impossible Foods Inc. sandwich to its U.S. breakfast line-up, a blow to rival Beyond Meat Inc. in the battle for plant-based dominance.”

Always a battle – not working together to expand the meat-alternative market, but battling for dominance. So it goes.

Starbucks is adding the Impossible Sausage to its egg and cheese breakfast sandwich, at the majority of its U.S. locations. But, Beyond Meat has a partnership with Starbucks in Canada and, even more lucratively, China (the announcement of which sent Beyond Meat stock prices soaring). (Source)

However, since this is not a financial newsletter, our interest in the subject is from the perspective of health. So, who has the better ingredients?

Beyond Meat

Here are the ingredients of the Beyond Meat Burger: Water, Pea Protein, Expeller-Pressed Canola Oil, Refined Coconut Oil, Rice Protein, Natural Flavors, Cocoa Butter, Mung Bean Protein, Methylcellulose, Potato Starch, Apple Extract, Pomegranate Extract, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Vinegar, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Sunflower Lecithin, Beet Juice Extract (for color).

Some of their other products also include fava bean and brown rice proteins, and sunflower oil.

And here is the Beyond Meat Philosophy: “By shifting from animal to plant-based meat, we can address four growing global issues: human health, climate change, constraints on natural resources, and animal welfare. A peer-reviewed Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) conducted by the University of Michigan compared the environmental impact of the Beyond Burger to a ¼ lb. U.S. beef burger. The result? A Beyond Burger uses significantly less water, land, energy, and generates fewer Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHGE) than a beef burger.” (Source)

I personally have enjoyed many Beyond Meat Burgers, but before I allowed myself to indulge on a semi-frequent basis, I went to their website and ensured that they did not use GMO ingredients (especially the canola oil, as most of their other ingredients are not genetically modified anyways). As most of you are aware, the primary problem with GMO foods is their contamination with high amounts of the pesticide glyphosate (RoundUp ™ ).

Impossible Foods

Now let’s have a look at the other player’s ingredients.

Impossible foods Ingredients: Water, Soy Protein Concentrate, Coconut Oil, Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavors, 2% Or Less Of: Potato Protein, Methylcellulose, Yeast Extract, Cultured Dextrose, Food Starch Modified, Soy Leghemoglobin, Salt, Mixed Tocopherols (Antioxidant), Soy Protein Isolate, Vitamins and Minerals (Zinc Gluconate, Thiamine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Niacin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12).

And their philosophy: “Impossible Foods began in 2011 with an ambitious goal: To drastically reduce humanity’s destructive impact on the global environment by completely replacing the use of animals as a food production technology. We intend to accomplish this mission within two decades by creating the world’s most delicious, nutritious, affordable and sustainable meat, fish and dairy foods directly from plants.” (Source)

Now, both companies have a philosophy that is all about protecting the environment, and saving the planet. And, perhaps making a little profit on the side, but who could begrudge them that? However, the philosophies of these two companies diverge significantly one one issue.

From the Impossible Foods website: “Genetic engineering is an essential part of our mission and our product. We’ve always embraced the responsible, constructive use of genetic engineering to solve critical environmental, health, safety and food security problems, and have long advocated for responsible use of this technology in the food system. We wouldn’t be able to make a product that rivals or surpasses beef on flavor, texture, nutrition, sustainability, versatility and accessibility without it. We use two key genetically engineered ingredients: heme (soy leghemoglobin) — the “magic” molecule that makes meat taste like meat — and soy protein.” (Source)

So here is another dichotomy for you. I guess what it comes down to, when choosing a fake meat product, is whether you are pro-GMO or anti-GMO.

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