Often referred to as “fake,” vegan meat products are quite real.
So, why do people call them fake?
A look back at the etymology of the word “meat” actually shows that the word is rooted in the Old English term, “mete,” which meant “item of food.” (1)
Vegan meat — also called faux, fake, mock, meat analogs, or plant proteins — are products that mimic certain qualities of animal-based meat-like textures, flavor, or appearance, for example. They are made from various ingredients such as soy, textured vegetable protein, or wheat gluten, to name a few.
Note that there is a difference between “meatless” and “vegan meat.”
The term “meatless” can refer to a product that still contains trace amounts of animal products (such as eggs, casein, whey, or other animal-derived enzymes).
On the other hand, “vegan meat” does not contain any animal ingredients at all.
Check the labels carefully when purchasing.
There are plenty of good arguments in favor of vegan meats.
First, for some people, they can help them transition into an entirely vegan diet. These products imitate products that people are already familiar with, making them easy to integrate into favorite meals. Plus, they’re convenient. Most of them come precooked.
Next, the ritual of food plays a significant role in people’s familial and social lives. Food is powerful in the way it brings people together. Having vegan options that mimic formerly traditional foods allow everyone to participate in the celebration. Not to mention, vegan meats taste good too.
Finally, but perhaps most significantly, when compared, vegan meats will have additional benefits over non-vegan ones by default.
There are ethical and environmental concerns surrounding the creation of animal products; living vegan addresses these.
But also, if we can live without harming others, why wouldn’t we?
Vegan meats allow us to do precisely that.