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Category : Vegetarianism

EU spending tens of millions of euros a year to promote meat eating – The Guardian

The EU has been accused of an indefensible approach to human health and the climate crisis in spending tens of millions of euros each year on campaigns to reverse the decline in meat eating and trying to rebut so-called fake news on the mistreatment of animals bred for food.

Campaigns range from those designed to counter official warnings about the risk of cancer from eating red meat, to improving the public image of veal products said to be crucial in deriving value from young male calves superfluous to the dairy industry.

The EU provides an annual 200m (166m) subsidy for the promotion of agricultural products each year. About 60m has been spent in the last three years on 21 meat marketing campaigns, including in the UK, according to research by the Dutch animal welfare organisation Wakker Dier.

The stated ambition of many of the projects has been to halt a decline in meat consumption amid a growing trend to vegetarianism among Europes young people.

The livestock sector is responsible for about 14.5% of total human-derived greenhouse gas emissions. Scientists have provided evidence of a link between cancer and diets involving pork, beef and lamb products.

The description on the European commission website of one recent campaign entitled Pork Lovers Europe, which secured 1.4m for marketing, including a road-show with a pink bus painted to look like a pig, noted that the consumption of pork meat in Europe has decreased in recent years.

It continued: Therefore, it is very important to promote pork meat to restore the confidence of the consumer, which was shaken by news such as the last IARC [International Agency for Research on Cancer] report.

Scientists at the IARC, a UN agency, reported in 2015 that the consumption of bacon, red meat and glyphosate weedkiller increased the risk of developing cancer. The Pork Lovers Europe adverts targeted consumers in the UK, Spain, Germany, France and Portugal.

A campaign by the Association of Poultry Processors and Poultry Trade which will be run in six member states at a cost to EU taxpayers of 4.4m aims over the next two years to contradict myths and fake news about the rearing and slaughter of chickens for meat.

EU poultry consumption in the European Union is still increasing but at a slower pace, as more and more consumers are mistrustful regarding the poultry meat production, the European commissions website says. The campaign, targeting a 1.22% growth in chicken consumption in 2020 and 2021, is aimed at young children, professionals, media and opinion leaders.

A second pork campaign received a 2.5m subsidy for an initiative aimed at Danes and Swedes. Pork is no longer a natural part of the diet of young Scandinavians, the commission website says. They tend to eat less meat in general and to avoid pork in particular. The aim is to increase consumer demand and thus halt any otherwise expected fall.

A campaign in favour of the Dutch veal sector to promote the meat of calves in the Belgian, Italian and French markets received a 6m subsidy.

The veal market has been declining since the 2000s, says a description of the project on the commission website. There are various reasons for this: the economic crisis, changes in consumption behaviour and above all a lack of top-of-mind awareness. France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy are minded to fight this fall in consumption by boosting the image consumers have of European veal.

Sjoerd van de Wouw, a researcher at Wakker Dier foundation, said the funding policy was outdated indefensible. We understand that you need to consider the interests of producers but not by completing ignoring the interests of consumers and the climate, he said.

In response, a European commission spokesman said: The selection of projects is based on a strict and defined procedure involving external evaluators. The producers organisations send proposals regarding their campaign ideas and also participate in the funding of the campaigns.

In an effort to constantly evaluate and adjust its existing policy, the commission will soon launch a public consultation on the EU promotion policy for agricultural products.

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EU spending tens of millions of euros a year to promote meat eating - The Guardian

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Why fake meat will never be a substitute for a chicken wing – National Post

Even though I grew up as a vegetarian, I knew that when it comes to eating chicken wings, you have to use your hands. The first time I had them was at a Super Bowl party. After 20 meatless years, I turned full omnivore. More than the texture or flavour, what I remember from the first bite was the primal feeling of eating meat straight from the bone.

Growing up in a vegetarian household at least a couple decades ago makes you different. Most of my classmates ate meat regularly, many daily. Because of how meat-focused meals have traditionally been, it doesnt surprise me that such a large percentage of the vegetarian food industry would be devoted to replicating meat products. Nor is it all that surprising that vegetarianism would expand with more options that supposedly taste like meat.

Before graduating high school, it felt as though I had consumed a lifetimes worth of soy, seitan and tempeh made to look like (and yet only occasionally taste like) beef, pork and chicken. Most of the mock meats were gummy and grey, slathered in artificial smoke. They seemed to exist beyond the realm of the natural world, created in laboratories where people wore latex gloves and protective glasses. It was only on a rare occasion like eating at Montreals legendary ChuChai restaurant, which offers an impressive array of Chinese fake-meat alternatives that Id ever desire a second helping.

Limp and flavourless, the fake chicken options in particular seemed ghastly. Perhaps the texture of the bird is difficult to replicate, but I suppose we should be thankful that forays into fake chicken have been limited. I would hate to imagine artificial chicken wings, fake cartilage included. The dystopian vibes alone would be too much to handle.

Undeniably, there have been technological strides in the fake meat market in the past decade. Beyond Meat and the Impossible Burger capture the texture and taste of beef. But why has this become the goal? Why undertake this culinary fraud? The more realistic the meat, the more I think of the grey slabs of petri-dish flesh from Brandon Cronenbergs Antiviral. In this Canadian science-fiction film, an out-of-control celebrity culture has created an industry of laboratory-grown human flesh steaks intended for popular consumption. Imagine Soylent Green for a new and willing generation; Soylent green is people? Sounds delicious.

Whenever a new pea protein product or unholy concoction of chemicals and plants is introduced I also think of that first bite of a chicken wing. When it comes to abandoning vegetarianism, you go through a lot of the same motions as those who adopt it. You dont suddenly go decades without eating chicken wings to a feeding frenzy without considering where this new food is coming from. Its impossible to escape that once, not long ago, it was alive.

Like a child who believes that an egg comes from a supermarket and not a chicken, many of us are detached from the production of the food we eat. In an age of sterile plastic-wrapped shopping experiences, its easy to lose track of where the meat we consume (real and unreal) comes from.

In that sense, meat alternatives represent a type of fulfilled fantasy. It comes from essentially nothing. Its easier to not think too much about where this so-called food comes from. And yet, they remain heavily processed. And make no mistake: Theyre not good for you just because theyre vegan.

For this Super Bowl, as a matter of personal taste, when tasked with finding a vegan alternative for wings, Im more likely to throw some buffalo sauce on roast cauliflower than pick up any variety of fake meat. While it cant capture that primal feeling of eating meat from a bone, its also not pretending to be anything that its not. It feels more authentic than something made in a lab. And if you really want to play meat-eater, its probably best to drop the fork and knife act, and get your hands dirty.

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Why fake meat will never be a substitute for a chicken wing - National Post

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Why some philosophers think you should be a vegetarian – Big Think

Vegetarianism is having a moment in the sun. Record numbers of people are giving it a try, the number of places offering vegetarian food is ever-increasing, and the variety and quality of vegetarian alternatives to meat products are rising with it.

But, is this all just misplaced environmental concern, sentimentality, and hippie mumbo jumbo? After all, the stereotype of a vegetarian remains less than flattering. Or is there a method to the bacon-denying madness? Today, we'll look at three philosophies that endorse vegetarianism, look at their arguments, and consider if you should put that piece of steak down.

Peter Singer is an Australian philosopher well known for his work in Utilitarian ethics. His 1975 book Animal Liberation is a groundbreaking work in the field of animal rights and presents a bold program for treating animals much better than we currently do.

He begins with a simple idea; that animals have interests that should be considered equal to the similar interests of human beings. If it is wrong to inflict unnecessary pain on human beings, then it is also wrong to do it to animals.

While it is true that many arguments have been made to separate humans and animals because of differences between them, Singer points out that we never apply them to other members of the human race. If we can't hurt and eat people with very low intelligence or who cannot use language, then why do we justify eating animals because they don't use syntax? Since animals clearly can feel, why should we not consider them as equal when calculating the net pleasure and pain caused by an action?

He argues that any attempt to morally separate humans from other animals when it comes to whose pain matters is based primarily on speciesism, prejudice against other animals, rather than a consistent logic and should be rejected. He then concludes, given the nature of industrial farming and the suffering many animals endure because of it, that we should switch to vegetarian and vegan diets to maximize the total happiness.

There are two subtleties to his arguments that must be remembered. The first is that he is not talking about "animal rights" in the pure sense. He certainly isn't arguing that an elephant be given the right to vote. He is arguing only that the difference between pain in humans and elephants is morally irrelevant and that the elephant's interests should be considered as equal to a humans' when deciding what to do.

Secondly, he is a utilitarian, and some apparent contradictions come with that. Most notably, he argues that some medical experimentation on animals is morally justifiable, as the benefits of the research will significantly outweigh the pain caused to the animal in the laboratory. Similarly, while he likes free-range farming as an idea, he doesn't encourage it in all cases as it can be worse for the environment than factory farming. The cost to benefit ratio doesn't quite work out for him.

His work has been widely influential, and most of the modern animal liberation movement cites him as a major influence. However, some philosophers, such as Richard Sorabji, have argued that his moral theory is simplistic and gives rise to strange moral instructions in some situations.

Many religions have lines of scripture that are commonly interpreted as encouraging or even mandating vegetarianism.

The Dharmic Religions of India are well known for their tendency towards vegetarianism. In Jainism, vegetarianism is mandatory, as harming animals is considered bad karma. Hinduism and Buddhism also have scripture forbidding violence against animals, but how much that applies to the killing of animals for food is still debated. For those who do eat meat, ritualized methods of minimizing the suffering of the animal before death exist.

A third of Hindus are vegetarians. The number of vegetarian Buddhists is not known with certainty. The Dali Lama tried the diet for a while himself but was forced back to omnivorism again for health reasons. He continues to encourage vegetarianism in the name of reducing the suffering of animals.

Pythagoras, of the theorem, encouraged an entire way of life named for him which included vegetarianism. This was perhaps motivated by his belief in reincarnation and aversion to violence.

Lastly, many more recent thinkers have put forward arguments based on the environmental costs of industrial animal farming as a reason to cut back on our animal consumption. Thinkers like Steve Best and Peter Singer have made this argument. They point to studies like one in Nature, which reminds us of how much of the carbon footprint of meat production we'll have to cut back on if we want to reach our goals in the fight against climate change.

You might have noticed that most of these schools and thinkers share a common theme; they tend to object to the production of meat, the killing and suffering of the animal, rather than the actual act of eating it. Some people make arguments along these lines, but they are in the minority.

Most, if not all, of the thinkers mentioned above would undoubtedly be fine with lab-grown meat if the energy costs of producing it could be lowered. Similarly, many debates over if it is alright to eat oysters, which probably can't feel pain and are rather plant-like, have taken place as part of the broader discussion of moral vegetarianism.

There you have it; serious thinkers are often behind vegetarianism, and they make very good arguments as to why you should eat less meat -if any at all. While they won't convince everybody to switch to tofu, they do provide an excellent starting point for any discussion of what an ethical diet is.

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Why some philosophers think you should be a vegetarian - Big Think

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Nearly One in Four in US Have Cut Back on Eating Meat – Gallup

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Nearly one in four Americans (23%) report eating less meat in the past year than they had previously, while the vast majority (72%) say they are eating the same amount of meat. Very few (5%) report eating more meat this year than in the past.

Americans' Reports of Meat-Eating Changes Over the Past Year, by Subgroup

In the past 12 months, have you been eating more meat, less meat, or about the same amount?

These data are from a Sept. 16-30 Gallup telephone poll with U.S. adults.

Asked how often they eat meat -- such as beef, chicken or pork -- two in three U.S. adults say they eat it "frequently" (67%) while 23% say they eat meat "occasionally" and 7% "rarely" eat it. Just 3% report "never" eating meat.

Certain groups are more likely than others to say they have eaten less meat in the past year:

Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that pork and especially beef were the most popular meats for most of the 1900s, but chicken sharply gained in popularity over time, eventually becoming the top consumed meat in recent years. From a global perspective, the U.S. regularly ranks among the top countries for meat consumption.

Americans' reports of eating less meat don't necessarily mean vegetarianism is on the rise. In fact, Gallup's latest reading on this found 5% of Americans consider themselves vegetarian, similar to the rate over the past 20 years.

Gallup also asked Americans who refrain from eating meat -- either by cutting back on their usual amount or by foregoing it completely -- whether each of seven potential factors were "major" or "minor" reasons for avoiding meat.

The biggest factor in reducing meat consumption is health concerns -- nine in 10 say it is a major (70%) or minor reason (20%) they are cutting back on meat.

After health, environmental concerns are the next most prominent factor leading to reduced meat consumption -- seven in 10 say concerns about the environment are behind their avoidance of meat (49% say it is a major reason, and 21% a minor one).

Majorities also say concerns about food safety (43% major, 22% minor reason) and animal welfare (41% major, 24% minor reason) cause them to eat less meat.

Lesser cited reasons for avoiding meat are that it is more convenient due to other family members' eating habits (16% major, 24% minor reason) and that they see other people eating less, little or no meat (15% major, 19% minor reason).

Religious reasons were the least cited reason for cutting back on meat consumption (12% major, 17% minor reason).

Reasons for Eating Meat "Less," "Rarely" or "Never"

(Asked of those who are eating less meat or who rarely or never eat meat) Would you say each of the following is a major reason, a minor reason, or not a reason why you [have been eating less meat / rarely eat meat) / do not eat meat)]?

The most popular way to cut back on meat consumption is by eating smaller portions of it (77%), according to Americans who report having eaten less meat this year.

Other popular ways Americans have reduced their meat consumption are altering recipes to use less meat by substituting vegetables or other ingredients for some meat (71%) and eliminating meat entirely from some meals (69%).

Slightly more than a third of Americans (36%) who have reduced their meat consumption say they eat meat replacements such as plant-based burgers or sausages.

Ways in Which Americans are Cutting Back on Meat

(Asked of those who are eating less meat) Please tell me whether you have or have not been doing each of the following as a way to reduce the amount of meat that you eat?

Americans' reasons for reducing their meat consumption are compelling -- personal health, environmental impact, concerns for animal welfare -- but very few have totally given it up. Only about 5% of Americans have self-identified as vegetarian over the past two decades, Gallup has found, and fewer yet identify as vegans. Ninety-seven percent of Americans in the latest poll report eating meat at least rarely, and two in three say they eat it frequently. Meat is here to stay.

Still, nearly a quarter of Americans are eating less meat. The momentum behind plant-based meat options may reflect that reduction in meat intake -- and possibly even accelerate it. Such a decline in meat consumption would particularly impact rural economies as well as many industries, including hospitality, packaged food, grocery retail, and especially meat and poultry production and processing, the largest segment of U.S. agriculture production.

To reduce possible negative economic effects of reduced meat consumption, government and industry leaders should take Americans' meat reduction seriously and consider the rationale behind it. Corporate Social Responsibility programs can be designed to include stakeholders across their entire value chain. Industry marketing could shift toward potential health, environmental or animal welfare aspects of the meat product. Retailing can be redirected toward the changing market and can even create new markets. Such agility can alleviate the negative impacts of changing consumer preferences on industries and economies, but leaders will need to ensure that they continue to seek to understand the will of the consumer -- as well as their B2B customers, suppliers, workforce and the global community as a whole.

View complete question responses and trends.

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Nearly One in Four in US Have Cut Back on Eating Meat - Gallup

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Vegetarianism: Know the different types of vegetarian diets – Times Now

Vegetarianism: Know the different types of vegetarian diets  |  Photo Credit: Getty Images

New Delhi: Vegetarianism is becoming a rage and a statement of health and fitness in India. Perhaps, a lot of celebrities in the West are turning to East and opting for vegetarianism. Basically, a vegetarian diet majorly includes pulses, cereals, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits. In this article, lets talk about the various aspects of vegetarian diets.

Lacto-vegetarians: A vegetarian diet that includes vegetables as well as daily products like milk.

Ovo-vegetarian: A vegetarian diet that includes eggs but no milk products

Lacto-ovo vegetarian: Here, milk and eggs can be consumed along with a vegetarian diet.

Jain vegetarian: Practiced by the followers of Jain culture and philosophy, this is a lacto vegetarian diet with no roots and tubers like onion, garlic, potato, colocasia, etc.

Raw vegetarian: No cooked foods

Pesco-vegetarian: A vegetarian diet plan that includes fish.

Some possible reasons for adapting vegetarianism include:

It has been seen that vegetarians have a lower BMI, blood pressure and serum cholesterol. This has been attributed to the fibrer-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes they eat. These foods are also a rich source of antioxidants as compared to non-vegetarian foods.

It is important to know the pros and cons of any diet that one wishes to follow. Consult an expert before starting any diet as a well-planned diet can help keep deficiencies away!

(Disclaimer: The author, Parul Patni, Nutritionist, is a guest contributer and a part of our medical expert panel. Views expressed are personal)

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Vegetarianism: Know the different types of vegetarian diets - Times Now

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WATCH | Tokyo 2020 Olympics put vegetarianism on the table in Japan | Living – Euronews

No country can prepare to welcome tens of millions of foreign tourists for the Olympics, without including vegetarian and vegan options into the catering.

Even though Japan hopes to welcome around 40 million foreign tourists this year (expected to spend more than 65 billion), many of them being vegan or vegetarian, the country is not well prepared yet for the task.

"Compared to the strategy of catering halal products, there are not enough preparations for vegetarians so we need to develop our strategy for public education," says Jin Matsubara, a member of the House of Representatives and former Minister of State for Consumer Affairs and Food Safety.

Even though medieval Japan was practically vegetarian, the country today is known for its love for meat, partially thanks to Western influence. Japanese today eat nearly 20% more meat per person than they did just two decades ago.

Hit play on the video above to learn more about what vegans and vegetarians can expect when they visit Japan.

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WATCH | Tokyo 2020 Olympics put vegetarianism on the table in Japan | Living - Euronews

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How vegetarianism is going back to its roots in Africa – The Guardian

In the meat-loving capital of Burkina Faso, customers at a small roadside joint eat bean balls, grilled tofu skewers and peanut butter rice while a report about chickens unfit for consumption being dumped on the street airs on the midday news.

A sign above the door proudly welcomes customers: Vegetarian restaurant Nasa. Food for the love of health. In Ouagadougous first plant-based restaurant, there are no knives on the tables.

The place is full of regular customers who greet Christine Tapsoba, the owner, like an old friend. But it wasnt always like this. At the start, it wasnt easy. People thought it was weird, they didnt know how we could make food without using meat, she says. Some days, we could open the restaurant and sell nothing.

In the years since Nasa opened in 2004, her clientele has grown exponentially, drawn in initially by giveaways of her popular barbecued tofu skewers.

Plant-based diets have also spread across the west, with vegan restaurants and products seeing meteoric rises in sales. But global meat consumption is still increasing, with burgeoning urban middle classes across Africa, Asia and Latin America powering the demand.

Across Africa, a growing number of plant-based restaurants are following in Tapsobas footsteps in response to health and environmental challenges. Happy Cow, an app that helps vegetarians and vegans find places to eat around the world, lists more than 900 restaurants with vegan options across Africa. More than half of these were added in the past two years. Thirty fully vegan restaurants have been listed since the start of 2018.

Demand has been way up in most major cities. Its awesome times for those who like to eat plant-based, says Eric Brent, Happy Cows founder. Some of the catalysts have been vegan documentaries, popular YouTubers [including in South Africa], and plant-based alternatives to meat and dairy, he adds.

South Africa has been at the forefront of this push, with veganism booming in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Cities such as Nairobi in Kenya, and Accra in Ghana, today boast a dozen meat-free restaurants. In Dakar, the Senegalese capital, upmarket seaside restaurants are quickly adding salad bowls and aubergine sandwiches to their otherwise meat- and fish-filled menus.

The continent is also at the forefront of some of the challenges veganism hopes to ease. Conditions such as heart disease and cancer have now overtaken infectious diseases such as cholera and measles to become the biggest drain on Africas economies, according to the World Health Organization. Much of the continent is already feeling the effects of the climate crisis a common reason for reducing meat intake as more regular and unpredictable droughts and floods wreak havoc for farmers and regularly claim lives.

Our ancestors didnt eat as much meat. It is through colonisation that we learned these crazy meat-eating practices

Many of its advocates, however, argue that veganism is not a new trend it is simply a return to traditional African diets. I particularly think its important to spread veganism around Africa because it originated in Africa, says Nicola Kagoro, a chef working in South Africa and Zimbabwe. Our ancestors didnt eat as much meat. It is through colonisation that we learned these crazy meat-eating practices. Kagoro founded the African Vegan on a Budget movement to show Africans vegan diets can be affordable and filling. She also cooks for female vegan armed rangers group the Akashinga, who fight elephant poaching in Zimbabwe.

In research on the worlds healthiest diets, published in the Lancet in 2015, west African countries such as Mali, Chad, Senegal and Sierra Leone, which boasted diets rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, topped the list. Ethiopian cuisine relies on plant-based foods such as the sourdough flatbread injera, lentils and beans, and many of the countrys Orthodox Christians take part in regular fasts during which meals are served without any animal products.

Still, the trend is slow to take hold. Its hard to spread the vegan practice around Africa because Africans love their meat, says Kagoro, who is known as Chef Cola. The challenge is because Africans think meat is a form of showing wealth.

With Nasa, Tapsoba helps the few Burkinabe vegetarians of Ouagadougou navigate an often difficult path to a meat-free life. When a vegetarian is here and I am told they struggle to find something to eat, immediately I rise up to help them, she says.

And with patience, free tofu, and a growing awareness of the consequences of meaty diets, she hopes to convince others to join her.

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How vegetarianism is going back to its roots in Africa - The Guardian

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From tofu lamb chops to vegan steak bakes: the 1,000-year history of fake meat – The Guardian

Another year, another skirmish in the culture war. The launch of Greggs latest offering, a plant-based steak bake, has revived the kerfuffle that surrounded the bakery chains vegan sausage roll. Amid a flurry of hot takes and taste tests, up popped Piers Morgan to complain: A meatless steak is not a bloody steak.

Meanwhile, some vegans have been complaining about KFC and Burger King adding plant-based burgers to their menus. One animal rights activist told the Guardian last week: Theyre trying to buy us off with these products, and pretending theyre our friends. Happy Veganuary, everyone.

This may seem a peculiarly modern obsession can science produce something that has a similar taste, appearance and texture to meat, but isnt meat? but it has been simmering for over a millennium. As early as 965, the frugal-minded Chinese magistrate Shi Ji was promoting tofu as mock lamb chops, according to William Shurtleff and Akiko Aoyagis study, History of Meat Alternatives.

The Chinese often used tofu (made from soya) and seitan (from wheat gluten) because of their availability and physical properties. You can manufacture them into squishy, lightly fibrous substances, says Malte Rdl, a research associate at the University of Manchesters Sustainable Consumption Institute. By the 1620s, the process was so advanced that Buddhist monks at a banquet had to be reassured: This is vegetarian food made to look like meat.

In Victorian Britain, where the first vegetarians were motivated by health concerns as well as a belief that eating animals was immoral, meat, though expensive, was central to an aspirational diet. So early vegetarian propaganda emphasised the poor quality of most cheap meat, as well as the virtues of self-denial and thrift not so different from the modern fixation with wellness and minimalism. The debate among vegetarians over how much to sacrifice their ideals in order to appeal to those still eating a mixed diet is also reminiscent of the current scepticism about fast food chains.

The Victorian vegetarians were very concerned with not wanting to be like meat-eaters, says Rdl. Some people say: We shouldnt give in, but then other people say: We need to become more popular.

But the repetitiveness and simplicity of a diet of mostly vegetables hamstrung the efforts of reformers, with the Daily News reporting in 1897 that the vegetarian movement had yet to make their fare appetising. And so, from the late 19th century, meat substitutes started to emerge, made from nuts, seeds or grains.

Many came via the Seventh Day Adventist church in the US. As director of the churchs Battle Creek Sanatarium in Michigan, Dr John Harvey Kellogg pioneered several meat substitutes, among them protose, a nut-cereal preparation which, he said, resembled meat to a considerable degree having a slight fibre like potted meat.

But in general throughout history, meat substitutes have suffered from the curse of comparison to the real thing, says Rdl as though there were even one single thing to aim for. All meat tastes differently depending on how it is cured, who manufactured it, what spices are added, he points out. There might be some meat that you like, or dont like, but you wouldnt say its not meat, because its from an animal but for meat alternatives, that argument doesnt work.

If people dont like it, theyll say its not like meat, therefore its not good. As soon as you know its not an animal that youre eating, you are immediately more critical.

The idea of meat alternatives as a second-rate option was reinforced during wartime, when consumption of less meat was either encouraged or mandated through rationing. During the first world war, nut meat was advertised in national newspapers, and even wholegrain bread was marketed as a meat alternative, on the strength of having a higher protein content than white bread. These meatless and less-meat diets predictably receded in peacetime.

During the second world war, soya was used to replace or fortify products though not very palatably. Soya was left with an image problem that persisted until the 1960s, when the US company Archer Daniels Midland developed the meal extender textured vegetable protein (TVP), offering all the protein but less of the unpleasant aftertaste.

In 1971, Frances Moore Lapps bestseller Diet for a Small Planet was credited with making vegetarianism fashionable in the US. Seth Tibbott, then a college student in Ohio, was among those to convert, although plant-based products were not widely available at the time. He recalls eating soy grit burgers: ground-up soya beans combined with wheat flour and fried: They tasted horrible, but they digested worse. I was very keen to find a soy product that digested well and tasted good.

In the 1980s, he went into business producing tempeh, made from fermented soya beans. It wasnt very profitable, he admits. It was way before there was any interest in plant-based foods, thats for sure.

Then, in 1995, spotting a gap in the market for Thanksgiving, he created a turkey substitute from wheat protein and tofu and named it Tofurky. It really hit a chord, he says. No meat alternative had caught fire in the way Tofurky did then, and in the way that Beyond Burger and Impossible Burger are catching fire now. It just became part of American culture.

But the potential of soya, and TVP in particular, was viewed with scepticism in the UK. A 1975 Guardian editorial headlined A soya point arched an eyebrow at the faux-bacon, ham and sausages on sale in the US, noting: No one has yet managed to produce a meat flavour which is totally convincing, particularly beef.

In 1960s Britain, meat alternatives had been mostly associated with the hippy movement, and the macrobiotic food trend from Japan. Gregory Sams, who is credited with inventing the veggie burger, fashioned a patty from seitan at his London restaurant Seed, which was frequented by John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Later, in 1983, Sams sesame- and soya-based VegeBurger got a commercial release; an Observer report remarked on its pleasant texture and agreeable, if a little bland taste.

Then, in 1985, along came an undisputed hit in the form of Quorn, a low-cost meat substitute based on a microorganism in the fungi family and a process of fermentation. It had been 20 years in the making one decade in development, another awaiting food safety approval. Key to its popularity were the meat-free mince, sausages, patties and even pepperoni and nuggets that could be seamlessly subbed in for meat products. Today it features in Greggs sausage roll and steak bake. Rdl says people are far more receptive to plant-based proxies for processed meats than they are to, say, a soya steak (although, he adds, there are now really nice ones available).

Where we started with the Quorn pieces and vegetable pie, we now have over 120 products in the UK market, says spokesman Alex Glen. This makes it very easy for people to replicate their animal diets. Yet, until relatively recently, Quorn was mostly targeted at vegetarians and vegans, rather than meat reducers: people who have no intention of giving up meat altogether but want to eat less, typically for health reasons. That market emerged in the 1990s, says Tony Watson, who in 2012 founded the soya-based brand Meat the Alternative.

The former butcher saw the writing on the wall and switched to working on improving meat analogue technologies for the DuPont organisation. Those technologies have not changed much in the past 15 years, says Watson pea is increasingly being used as a meat substitute, but still has a long way to go with regards to texture but the market has, with phenomenal growth in the number of consumers eating less meat in the past two years.

YouGov research carried out for Waitrose last year found that a third of Britons were eating less meat and fish than two years ago, with 32% planning to reduce their consumption even further. Just about every high-street chain, including Pret a Manger and Wetherspoons, is increasing their meat-free offerings as result.

But Watson says it is frustrating to see many companies throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks, being overly led by the tiny but vocal vegan community (less than 1% of the British population, he points out) and producing poor-quality products not suitable for meat-reducers. He expects many small meat-proxy producers to be driven out of business by rivals with bigger budgets for product development or marketing.

Among the biggest are Impossible Foods and Beyond Burger (which became a publicly listed company last year), both offering plant-based patties that are sweeping fast-food menus in the US and UK for their similarity to beef down to the blood. Their success and the momentum it is creating for meat alternatives has great impact for sustainability, says Rdl.

But it also highlights a strange paradox underpinning the centuries-long pursuit of the perfect meat proxy: by trying to seamlessly remove meat from our diets, we are actually reinforcing its importance. Theres this kind of association of meat and the good life a bit of luxury, a nutritious diet that means people want to replicate it in vegetarian terms, says Rdl. Because meat is so entangled with how we understand diets historically, its really hard to imagine ways outside of it.

He points to a vegetarian sausage producer he interviewed for his PhD thesis on meat alternatives. She had no desire to replicate the texture or flavour of meat in her vegetable-only products but nonetheless spoke with pride of the traditional springiness of the casing. In other words, she was congratulating herself on enveloping her meat-free product with something modelled on animal intestine.

When we successfully replace meat with a meat-free substitute, we overlook the possibility of a diet that is free of it altogether. It just kind of keeps this idea of meat-eating as the centrepiece, says Rdl of food culture, if not our diet. Counterintuitively, the strange and storied history of the hunt for the perfect proxy really proves the point: We dont have an exit strategy from meat.

Seth Tibbotts memoir, Search for the Wild Tofurky, will be published in April.

Excerpt from:
From tofu lamb chops to vegan steak bakes: the 1,000-year history of fake meat - The Guardian

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Veganuary: What hopeful vegans need to know before giving up meat in 2020 – Inverse

With the new year and decade here, many resolve to make changes to their lifestyle. Maybe its a new exercise regimen, dry January, or the currently trending Veganuary which is exactly what it sounds like.

If youve considered giving up meat, or animal products altogether, in 2020 youre not alone more than 500,000 people have already pledged to go vegan on the official Veganuary site. And while maintaining a climate-conscious diet is certainly on many peoples minds, nearly half of those whove pledged to eat vegan for the first month of the year did so for health reasons.

According to experts, it is true that cutting out meat can result in health benefits but only if you do it safely. That means keeping in mind all the nutrients you are (and arent) getting from plant-based eating. Its important not to transition blindly or to assume that by dropping meat alone, your health will improve.

Assuming youre not loading up on high-carb, processed foods like pasta and sweets, one benefit of going vegetarian or vegan might be a reduction in inflammation, says Chris DAdamo, an assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Thats a benefit of eating minimally processed foods in general, DAdamo tells Inverse.

DAdamo explains that plants have an abundance of nutrients, especially in their non-processed form. Plant-based diets also typically mean that one is consuming more fiber, which can help with satiety making you feel less hungry and curbing overeating.

In addition to decreased inflammation, positives can include a healthier weight, better energy metabolism, suggests at 2019 study published in Nature. The researchers reviewed hundreds of studies on how vegetarian diets influence health and determined that plant-based diets, compared to conventional diets, can benefit weight, metabolism, and systemic inflammation.

The researchers write that one of the reasons those benefits arise is because of changes to the gut. Studies suggest that eating plants can cause the microbiome to foster a favorable diversity of bacteria species.

In October, Stephanie Papadakis, a certified holistic nutrition consultant at Gut of Integrity, told Bustle that the antibiotics used to raise meat are also part of the reason why the gut experiences a change when one goes meat-less.

If you cut all meat out of your diet, you would likely see a positive shift in the number of beneficial bacteria in your gut, Papadakis explained. Many conventionally raised animals are given hormones and antibiotics, which can shift our own beneficial bacteria in the same way taking antibiotics can.

Other studies have shown a potential reduction in the risk of heart disease, commonly linked to red meat consumption. But theres a bit of a grey area there another review 2019 paper, this one published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, suggested that red meat does not actually carry the health risks weve previously thought it to have. But many doctors and nutritionists still say that cutting out red meat is still a good idea.

When looking at health benefits of vegetarianism, one factor influencing results can be the health of vegetarian population overall, says Drew Frug, an assistant professor at Auburn University.

On a population level, we see that any derivative of a vegetarian diet is associated with improved health compared to the average omnivore, Frug tells Inverse, but we often neglect the fact that vegetarians are typically pursuing multiple healthy lifestyle behaviors such as exercising regularly and not smoking.

And while in humans, its nearly impossible to prove that meat is not beneficial to the diet, its also widely accepted that humans can be perfectly healthy without consuming meat, Frug says.

Like many areas of nutrition, red meat is open for debate. But if youre thinking of going veg, there are some more immediate health concerns to keep in mind.

While plant-based foods can benefit your body in various ways, there are some health aspects to consider if youre cutting out meat. DAdamo notes that vegetarian and vegan diets can sometimes lack important nutrients, like iron, zinc, vitamin B12 and the lesser-discussed creatine, choline, and omega-3 fats.

Just cutting out animal products in favor of plant foods is not necessarily going to be healthy, DAdamo says. Really this comes down to eating minimally processed food, eating whole foods, regardless of whether there are animal foods in it or not.

To get at those potential deficiencies, vitamin supplements can be key. DAdamo says that taking a B12 supplement is something that every vegan should be doing alongside monitoring the levels of other nutrients.

Essentially, its important to consider going vegetarian as part of a bigger health push. Cutting out meat, in and of itself, is not going to improve health, notes DAdamo. But it can lead be healthy if done in the context of a minimally processed, whole-food-based diet.

On the Veganuary website, a list of foods that are vegan by accident includes treats like Oreos, Doritos, and several types of beer. Perhaps this part misses the point but the list includes some real food, too, like oatmeal and hummus.

The same goes for trendy meat alternatives, like the [Impossible Burger], Frug says. Since the burger is highly processed and high in saturated fat and sodium, some pro-vegetarian nutritionists and researchers argue that its not a healthy alternative to a beef burger.

This is a good representation of extremes in the vegetarian diet, Frug says. If all I do to call my diet vegetarian is exchange one fast food meal for another, I would expect zero health benefits, metabolic, or physical changes.

On the other hand, replacing fast-food meals with minimally processed vegetarian dishes would mean consuming less saturated fat, sodium, and likely total calories. Therefore, diet change would lead to improved blood pressure, blood glucose, and body composition.

To ensure youre truly keeping it healthy, Frug says: Learn to cook.

There are plenty of healthy vegetarian options in restaurants and grocery store freezers, but foods will almost always be healthier coming out of your kitchen, he says.

Frug adds that legumes in particular are among the least expensive nutrient-dense foods you can find at the grocery store, so following a vegetarian diet does not have to be an expensive endeavor.

For DAdamos part, he says that going vegetarian or vegan might be a totally legit way to improve your health. But he also says there are other options. For example, low-carb, paleo, and Mediterranean diets all work for some people too.

The reality is that there are many ways to be healthy, DAdamo says. Theres no one right way.

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Veganuary: What hopeful vegans need to know before giving up meat in 2020 - Inverse

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Year of the veggies: going vegetarian in 2020 | News | – St. Albans Messenger

Vegetarian eaters are no longer a minority in North America. Theres as many as 8 million of us here, according to a Harris Interactive poll.

The carnivores question is: Why?

Idealistic vegetarians might say its for the environment, a research-based assertion. The University of Michigan published a study in 2018 determining one-fifth of Americans are responsible for about half 46 percent of our countrys greenhouse gas emissions. And those Michigan researchers concluded thats mainly because that fifth of the population eats more meat, specifically beef.

Anyone who has spent time around cows knows they are constantly expelling methane so much methane, in fact, that the United Nations determined farmed livestock, chiefly bovines, are responsible for roughly 15 percent of human-related greenhouse gas emissions.

Now none of our large-scale farm operations are emission-free even fertilizing soil has adverse effects for the climate. Too much nitrogen in fertilized soil can spike nitrous oxide, which is 300 times worse for climate change than carbon dioxide, according to those Michigan researchers.

But cutting out farmed meat, or even reducing ones meat intake, is smarter for planet health than the alternative, cutting out the fruits and veggies.

What about human health?

Before vegetarianism was widespread in the U.S., researchers focused on nutrition in meat that vegetarians would not be eating. Meat is a significant source of protein, and also has healthy vitamins and minerals.

Now researchers understand that the vegetarian diet is nutritious on its own, and in a different way. But whether thats better for humans isnt scientifically proven, especially since vegetarians tend to be healthier in other, research-confounding ways as well theyre less likely to smoke or excessively drink, and are more likely to exercise.

But Harvard research says vegetarians eat less saturated fat and cholesterol, and more vitamins, dietary fiber, folic acid, potassium, magnesium and plant chemicals, all associated with lower LDL cholesterol, the bad kind, lower blood pressure, which is good and a lower body mass index, also good and all traits of longevity and lower disease risk.

Because of that, vegetarians may be significantly less likely to die from heart disease or suffer type 2 diabetes, and they may be slightly less likely to develop a form of cancer as well.

As one considers trying a vegetarian lifestyle, note there are several kinds of vegetarians. Vegans are the extreme they dont eat anything produced by another creature. Lacto-ovo vegeterians do eat dairy products and eggs. Lacto vegetarians eat only dairy products on top of vegetables and fruits, while ovo vegetarians eat only eggs on top of vegetables and fruits.

Regardless of which lifestyle looks right for you, the path to implementing a vegetarian existence is the same. One can go cold turkey, something one will not eat again as a vegetarian, or gradually adopt the lifestyle, the difference between jumping into a pool or slowly sinking in, starting in the shallow water.

The difficult part of the transition will probably be the social aspect. Oh, sure, people might scoff, express confusion, ask what a vegetable is, but the real challenge is adapting ones social habits.

The entrees list at your favorite restaurant might seem significantly slimmer. Remind yourself you may be as well.

Finding the right meal after an endless days work may take longer than popping in the chicken Lean Cuisine. Remind yourself you have the time to spend you may still be kicking while your TV dinner-consuming pals are six feet under.

No more reaching for the barbecue chicken during NFL season. Remember that while your friends may be in danger of a cholesterol-related event from their game-related excitement, you can jump, kick, howl and cheer without fear. Of that, anyway. Try not to trip and fall through the hors doeuvre table like last year.

One social area vegetarianism may instantly improve is dating. If your date orders, say, an appetizer of nachos littered with beef, politely decline and explain why.

If your date adjusts the order accordingly, proceed.

If your date chuckles and shakes their head, remember the above-mentioned life expectancy.

If your date says, Im so sorry, and, as they decry your symptoms, you realize theyve confused your diet with the fictitious disease lycanthropy, best you politely leave.

Mastering these social situations simply takes time. Vegetarianism is a rhythm, and like any rhythm, learned through practice.

And theres no time better to practice than the start of a new year.

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Year of the veggies: going vegetarian in 2020 | News | - St. Albans Messenger

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