Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Wondering About Fake Meats

What I am thinking about today:

Sunday we had company to celebrate Father's Day, and while I sometimes question the sincerity of someone who declares I don't even miss the cheese or sour cream! (because why would you mention it if you didn't miss it?), I did take note of a positive comment about the simplicity of our meal and how it was appreciated that we didn't try to make something that resembled a traditional American meal, except with fake meat. Nope, it was rice and beans, some plant-based toppings, and a delicious cabbage salad for us, not a Tofurkey in sight.

I do buy fake meat, however. I went to the grocery store for produce this morning and decided to take advantage of a sale on Boca Chik'n Patties, Gardein Chick'n Strips, and Gardein Meatless Meatballs. (All of these, at my local supermarket and not a health food store!) Yesterday I purchased several packages of Field Roast Sausages (which are also plant-based), hoping to score the rumored Field Roast Hand-Formed Burgers (I struck out - maybe they are too new?). There is no way that I can claim to be a purist on this issue.

Some people who eat plant-based can't stand the thought of eating anything that resembles animal flesh, and I understand that. Me, I'm raising teen boys (explanation enough in itself), and while I have a long history with veg*nism, they don't. They ate mostly plant-based with some fish for the first halves of their lives so far, and then we ate meat, eggs, and dairy for close to six years (don't judge - or if you must, keep it to yourself). There are only so many meals per week that I can base on beans before I feel whispers of a mutiny just beneath the words Beans Again?. A pasta or potato based meal can broker a truce, but sometimes someone just really wants pizza or a burger (that someone might be me, but left to my own palate I'd probably throw a broiled portobello mushroom on a bun and call it good because I love simple).

I've thought long and hard about whether or not it is okay to eat food that is meant to mimic animal flesh, and I've decided that it's okay for us. Fake meats help people transition to plant-based eating and can make plant-based social situations a little easier as well. Besides, as anyone who does eat meat will tell you, plant-based fake meats aren't really like meat at all. I never lie to a meat eater and pretend that my fake meat is going to taste remotely close to what it is meant to replicate.

I eat far less fake meat than the rest of my family, but I do eat it. I don't pretend that a Field Roast sausage is anything like a hot dog, but then again I don't pretend that my favorite thing about hot dogs is anything other than Gulden's mustard, a soft bun, and some vegan baked beans.  I skip meatless meatballs and soy chorizo and any fake meat on a pizza. I never think to myself I'm starving and make myself a snack of a vegan Gardenburger, as the testosterone-laden members of my family are wont to do. But I do eat a Boca burger now and then (thank you Red Robin), and I'm crazy for the Native Foods Chicken Ranch Run burger; I can't help it - they are better than any fried chicken sandwich I ever ate as a meat eater.

Fake meats (should I call them meat analogs?) are very processed and not likely to be remotely healthy, so I try to limit the guys to fake meat at one meal per week. That's enough to keep them eating beans five days a week, so who am I to complain?

Outside: I drank my (nettles) tea on the porch this morning with a sweat shirt and socks on! We also went to the pool in the afternoon.  Still, today ended up low on the hours spent outside index. I should have gone with the mountains with the guys and sat under the pines with the Big Dog while they rode. Why the heck didn't I do that? Oh yeah, there wasn't any room in the truck for me since they took friends. I suppose it's better to carpool and save the environment.

Move: Today was a stretching day. Somehow I remember dance warm-up stretches from nearly 25 years ago. I should have stretched for a longer period of time, so I will probably use the foam roller after I warm my muscles in a hot bath.

Create: I started a new dishcloth, which I may even finish before bed.  Then I will be done with this pattern for a least a week, I think. Done with a capital D, because I am bored with the repeats and very tired of the purling rows. I'm going to switch back to my shawl-in-progress.

Music: We cranked up the radio and sang along to P!nk in the car, and I'll put on some relaxing tunes for my bath.

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