By Jocelyn Ramirez
I’ve come along way from late night cravings of McDonald’s chicken nuggets and Jack in the Box tacos. My undergraduate college years were filled with Cup of Noodles, cheap tacos, and any other processed foods I could afford. The concept of becoming vegetarian seemed so foreign and out of reach. I would constantly ask myself: How long can I really commit to be vegetarian? Is it really going to be healthier for my body? How will I get the protein I need to stay healthy? What’s the best way to transition to this type of lifestyle?
Years passed before I was finally able to make the leap over to a daily vegetarian menu. I started with Meatless Monday, then to eating meat only a few times a week, and later to consuming meat only when eating out. I used chickenless nuggets, veggie burgers, and other processed plant based “meat” products to help me take a step back from my obvious addiction to meat. I really depended on these products to keep me on track.
I recently read One Green Planet’s article on the meat industry’s view of plant based “meat,” where this is becoming a growing trend amongst both herbivores and omnivores looking for a variety of protein options. It is not surprising that big meat companies are noticing the trend in processed plant based protein that has the look, texture, and taste of some of our long-lost favorite meats. A part of me is excited to see this trend in plant based food is growing within various groups. Another part of me is sceptical that these companies will try to dominate this industry with the same low grade practices we have seen in the meat industry.
Many of us are becoming aware of the concerns around eating meat and genetically modified food, but this concern should also include foods that we may consider to be healthier alternatives. Genetically modified soy in highly processed food may not be the best for us either.
Our palates have been controlled by companies who care very little about our health. Real meat or fake meat… it can all be junk entering our bodies. It is important for us to read labels and really know what we are consuming, even if it is plant based.