Once people notice that vegetarian food does not have to be heaps of vegetables or to taste bland, they're far more open to actually try it. I think it's rather a problem with chefs not being familiar with vegetarian recipes than people actually not liking it at all.
One of my biggest issues with modern veg diets is all of the veg food trying to masquerade as other food. Soy bacon does not taste like, or taste as good as, real bacon. Tofu and Boca burgers do not taste like actual meat. But tofu and the like can taste amazing on its own merit. It's an ingredient with it's own flavors and textures, so put it where it can do some good.
And don't get me started on veg patties. I have a (very) meat loving father who got completely hooked on Boca burgers while on Weight Watchers. He'll still eat them on a regular basis, even though he looooves regular burgers, just because they're delicious.
In my mind, you don't have to try to pretend to be something else to be good, especially veg sandwich patties. Latkes are amazing. Refried beans bound together with eggs, breaded and deep fried sounds amazing. Don't put yourself next to something else and force a comparison. Just be tasty.
Downsides: they are highly processed, currently expensive, and of questionable nutritional value.
Now, more of my friends are vegan, and all good restaurants have vegan first dishes, created to get the best of the ingredients rather than pretend to be something else. Many of them are incredibly nice and I might choose them over a steak with no more difficulty than deciding lamb over beef another day.
As a result we are eating less and less meat - because we are discovering great vegan dishes beyond Indian cuisine - that's always been strong on vegetarian dishes. Not because we've decided to don hair shirts and "tolerate" vegetarian meals. That it's better for the environment is a bonus, but food quality and taste can stand by itself now.
On the off chance it is exactly like the meat its pretending to be then all your saying is "See? All you have to do is spend more for exactly the same thing!"
I might try a "Quenwopper" bowl for 9 bucks if they offered it at BK. I'm not spending 9 bucks on a burger who's entire selling point is that it tastes exactly like the cheaper burger.
They may be more expensive now, but it's pretty likely that economies of scale will reduce the price of plant-based meat substitutes, while pretty unlikely that Tyson Foods is going to quickly find a cheaper way to raise a cow.
Besides being slightly too burnt from the flame grilling of a high school kid, it tasted delicious. Quite comparable to the usual fast food burger in terms of taste, look, and texture. I would not recommend it as a steak replacement though. Could be hamburger helper if it retained its form when boiled.
I will opt for it again when available, admittedly I eat at BK approx. once a year.
They’re there because, pretty often, someone first decides to cook a traditionally meat-containing dish, and buys all the ingredients for it; and only then finds out (or only then considers) that some of the people they’re feeding are vegetarians; and so, to save the dish they’ve already planned, buying some veggie pseudo-meats to put in some of the food in place of the meat they were going to use, is the simplest way to ensure everyone can eat “the dish.” (Even though, if the dish is just meant to highlight or accent the flavour and texture of a meat, then what they’ve made the vegetarians is in essence an entirely different dish. The packaging on the meat-substitutes promises that it will try as hard as possible to not take your meat dish and turn it into a different dish, and many cooks believe them.)
After I started embracing just vegetarian/vegan dishes without them being replacements, I realised I had loads of things to discover and just treated this change as a way to explore new food. After I did that, I loved it, so I agree 100%, while I like some replacements, that shouldn't be the main focus.
As a vegetarian, I've felt this was wonderfully applicable. There's so many great flavors and textures you can achieve with plants, but a lot of vegetarian cook books and pre-made food aim to mimic meat-based dishes instead of embracing more natural outcomes of these different materials.
Also, I might disagree with this statement:
> There is nothing special about the taste of chicken or beef other than it is good and you're used to it.
Umami (savoriness) is actually fairly difficult to find outside of meat if you have an even slightly limited diet and some studies suggest it's craved as an instinctive signal of protein (like sweetness and simple carbs), so if you just stop eating meat there can definitely something missing.
(BTW, if you're trying to get off of meat but still have a craving, dried mushrooms and soy sauce have very concentrated umami flavors, and adding MSG can just up the tasty factor in a lot of dishes)
You just made the same argument you are attempting to argue against.
I'd hate to think this is true but perhaps vegetarians go so long they forget what things taste like but some of these meat substitutes are straight up disgusting and I don't know why people even bother with them.
Wheat gluten nuggets and patties are dope, veggie patties are often disappointing but rarely bad, seitan strips can be slimy if you don't cook them but you basically can't mess it up otherwise, tempeh at worst tastes like crumbly bland nuts, shredded wheat gluten comes out 'oily' if you don't drain it but beyond that is hard to mess up, tofu just tastes like tofu you either love or hate it, and the branded burger subtitutes basically taste like an okay burger.
Where are all the disgusting options hiding?
I'm vegetarian for moral reasons but my problem is I don't really like vegetables and have constant meat craving. Being able to cook dishes I've been eating for the first 27 years of my life and make them vegetarian (though not as good) is a life saver and I'm grateful for the increasing investment and development in this area.
Look at them as a way to help people slowly transition their taste buds to a new diet and to help people easily cook meals that both vegans and non-vegans would eat.
I don't think that's true at all.
You can make great dishes with tofu, seitan and tempeh, where some cultures have been cooking with these for a long time (tofu goes back 2000 years).
Also, look at what people are saying about modern plant based burgers at fast food places.
There is nothing wrong with going back to the spices and texture of that. A certified bio soy sausage gives me everything that I want to get that is familiar and similar to me eating hot-dogs in my childhood - and without any ethical concerns. So please, do understand that not everyone wants to replicate food, but rather just want something with a shape of familiarity to insert into their everyday staples.
If you're expecting bacon and it doesn't taste like bacon, then your impression and association with said ingredient is going to be negative by default.
Pretty much most people I know (read: non-veggies) agree with you on this point. The harder they try and imitate meat the worse the quality of food tends to be imo.
Additionally, one thing I don't understand, up until recently animal rights seems to have been the main driver behind vegetarianism. If you're morally against eating pig, why would you want to eat something that pretends to be pig?
It's not a contradiction to enjoy the taste of an animal, while also believing that the harvesting of that animal is unethical.
Quorn cubes, or Quorn mince I can understand, they're generic. Vegetarian bacon is supposed to be a specific part of a specific animal. And I've never heard anyone argue, vegetarian or otherwise, that vegetarian bacon tastes anything like actual bacon anyway.
Bacon is basically synonymous with crispy rectangle and sometimes dammit I want salty crispy rectangles on my burger.
Tbh I'm not sure, I get turned off by things like Saw, because I don't really think theres the need to go that far, but on the other hand, is Mario jumping on a turtle animal cruelty?
I suppose the line is realism? Mario isnt attempting to be real? Quorn mince isnt attempting to be real, vegetarian bacon is.
If you've stopped eating meat for environmental/health reasons then there isn't really the contradiction.
'Salty Crispy protein bits' gets us the same thing as vegetarian bacon, without seemingly being morally objectionable to a demographic you're targeting.
Obviously that feeling isnt as wide spread as I thought though.
Meat is like a cheat code when you're cooking. A good cut of meat needs a little more than some salt and fat to taste good.
With vegetables, you're forced to be more inventive.
Take okra for instance. In India, its a favorite vegetable. Saute it with some Indian spices and it becomes a crunchy, flavorful dish.
Whenever I've seen okra in western menus, it is usually boiled which turns it into a gooey, sticky mess.
I love eating meat but I would be perfectly happy sticking to vegetarian-only food as long as I'm living in India
: The reason British food has such a terrible reputation is that their cuisine solidified before widespread refrigeration was available but after urbanization, so it was built around carrying foods long distances that could survive no refrigeration- which drives you to overcooking, lots of sausages and preserved meats, etc. For most other regions the food culture represents a time before urbanization, and modern refrigeration supports that even when the population urbanized.
I see that you are unacquainted with Southern food, specifically Cajun cuisine. I cannot recommend a culinary expedition to New Orleans highly enough. It will change your life!
- Northern "American" food traditions tend to completely lack seasoning of any sort (note: not including appropriated ethnic traditions here)
- Southern "American" food traditions tend to heavily season vegetables (often with ham)
Essentially, if you just took raw vegetables and steamed them, nobody would bat an eye in New England.
In the Southeast, nobody would eat them. And it would probably be politely suggested that you never bring food to the church picnic again.
But I can can confirm that would be considered basically inedible in the south. For example, the most common broccoli dish is typically a broccoli casserole loaded up with cheese, bread crumbs, and various seasonings, and butter and/or cream as well.
Beet, Turnip, Parsnip, Rutabaga to name a few.
Northern climates can and in the past have grown a wide variety of vegetables.
I don't know where exactly to pin the blame for the current (but improving) state of affairs, but it isn't for lack of ability to grow a diverse set of vegetables.
Cant speak for other countries, but in the UK it seems to have been a combination of servants getting too expensive for middle class families, so House wives, who didn't previously need to cook, now suddenly having to learn (A special mention goes out to Mrs Beeton for teaching people to overcook things), and rationing and general shortages during the world wars.
Admittedly, they didn't share the actual volumes themselves so will be a low base - but there's an (shameless pun) appetite for it.
For me if food without meat want to raise a larger audience it must first be separated from the vegetarian food culture, because not everyone like the taste of that food culture.
Every time a conference (yes, in the “western” world) has had a vegetarian food option, or proudly proclaims that their only food option is vegetarian, it has uniformly consisted of bland, barely edible, mush. I don’t really care why that is, and I don’t think this can be fixed by something I can realistically do.
(Edit: removed country to not blame anyone for their cuisine)
In their attempt to make a shoddy substitute for meat dishes, they completely butcher the innate capabilities of the vegetables.
I know that sounds a bit snooty, but western cuisines simply do not lend themselves well to vegetarian ingredients.
India is obviously the most familiar with good veg food, but most cuisines in Asia have good vegetarian offerings. Everything from China, Thailand, Iran, Lebanon and even Eastern Africa have some if not many great veg offerings.
Any cuisine that is based around spices (not necessarily the hot ones, but spice in general) is much better suited to vegetarian ingredients.
What we need is for people to become slightly adventurous in the way they eat, and stop living in their food bubbles.
One does Southern Kitchen/Soul Food type stuff, and the other is turkish/middle-eastern cuisine.
Not trying to detract from any points about Indian and other Asian cuisines being phenomenal for veggie dishes, just that it's not a rule that western cuisine does not lend itself well to vegetarian ingredients, but more that it's just not as developed here.
If the choice is between inventing food picky people are willing to eat, and making people less picky, inventing food seems far easier. (See also: https://slatestarcodex.com/2014/09/10/society-is-fixed-biolo...)
It's a lot easier at home, and in fact, even heaps of vegetables can be quite good if they're fresh and prepared to your taste.
With one vegetarian in the household, we eat great at home, but restaurants are always a coin toss.
I wouldn't salivate over sitting down to a dinner of boiled stew beef cubes without any seasoning at all...
Which is pretty much the equivalent of boiled rice and broccoli. (Standard vegetarian fare at a lot of cafeterias in North America).
I noticed something yesterday...
Capitalistic enterprises really shit on vegetarians for some reason, and I can't quite figure out why.
The local pizza place put a flyer in my mailbox... they have plant based pizza now with cauliflower based crusts... vegetarian peperoni and vegan cheese... two servings of vegetables in the crust alone etc etc...
That's great, but why does it cost twice as much as all of the other pizzas on offer?
Or all of these plant based meat patties that are coming out... twice as expensive as the admittedly more delicious meat based counterparts... and that's buying in bulk, looking for the best deal.
I live in Canada, btw.
The plant based patties are highly processed and much lower volume.
Why would you expect these things to cost the same?
The price of inputs sets a floor on what they can charge, but even if a veggie patty cost twice as much as a beef patty, that would be $.30 rather than $.15. That doesn't justify a cost difference of $4 versus $3 in a fast food place, or $18 versus $15 in a sit-down restaurant.
Lots of issues come into play, but I suspect the biggest factor is simply that the restaurant owner believes that the vegetarians self-select to spend more. And they may well be right about it, at least for now. At one time, meats were seen as a luxury (as was dining out), and if vegetarian options become popular, meat eaters insisting on "real meat" may be the ones paying a premium.
But: food costs are something like 25% of a restaurant's costs. Even if the parent is talking exclusively about restaurants, it seems quite reasonable if something like a cauliflower crust is >4x as expensive as something dirt cheap like a flour dough.
On the other hand, most foreign cuisines have developed good vegetarian dishes out of necessity. Some places even specialize to cater to vegetarians/vegans. That's just as capitalist as the major burger franchise next door. So take your money where your mouth is.
> I live in Canada, btw.
You do, but you don't have to. Just saying.
What? That's nonsense. You'd be a fool to have nothing suitable for vegetarians on your menu these days, there's quite a lot of them out and about anymore.
>The local pizza place put a flyer in my mailbox... they have plant based pizza now with cauliflower based crusts... vegetarian peperoni and vegan cheese... two servings of vegetables in the crust alone etc etc...That's great, but why does it cost twice as much as all of the other pizzas on offer?
I own a food service establishment and price is always determined first and foremost by two things: food cost and labour cost. That sort of pizza would be a right pain to make labour-wise, and vegan cheese is very expensive (not to mention dreadfully bad, but I digress). That pizza costing twice as much as anything else sounds a bit on the extreme side but not too terribly out of line, especially if it's a rare order (I suspect it likely is).
>I live in Canada, btw.
Sorry to hear that, mate ;)
The fact that western site somehow doesn't have a single Asian city, despite veganism tracing it's roots to India, in their top 10 feels less like an objective analysis and more of a list of places the editors have visited.
Even then, I am skeptical as to the claim that contemporary western veganism, as a cultural phenomenon, is traceable to India. I would attribute it more to developments in western ethics and growing awareness of the realities of the meat production economy, combined with left-wing culture and politics in general.
Why isn't it fair? You're saying "the best vegan cities in the world" and ignoring the vast majority of the world. Should I take this list as the definitive list of the objectively best vegan cities, or some westerner's take the subject? If you don't want to be judged on the world stage, don't bring the world into it. Say "the best vegan cities we've been to" or "the best vegan cities in europe/the US". They wrote a list, I'm critical of their list and process.
Here's a better list IMO, if you're trying to talk about the world. https://theveganword.com/vegan-friendly-cities-2018/
Also, you can talk about "contemporary western veganism" but that's very different from "veganism" in general. You're moving the goalposts sir.
However, I agree with the overall point of your comment. The US is comparatively much easier overall than Europe is, and the quality of the restaurant options in the US has improved quite rapidly over the past 5 years.
Edit: I would note this really only applies to western cuisine options. Indian and Thai food have been widely available for quite some time and have a lot of vegetarian options.
Even that is highly variable. Berlin, absolutely! Small town outside of Dresden, not so much.
In Sweden we have a pretty good selection of vegetarian options, at least according to my vegetarian friend.
- Louisville, Kentucky vs Berlin
- San Francisco, California vs Munich
I switched a little while ago, and was expecting restaurant meals to be a huge pain. In actuality I rarely have to worry about it, and even though I'm a picky eater most decent restaurants now have enough options that I can find something that I like.
On top of that, the increased diversity of vegetarian options that restaurants are offering has been really helpful in expanding my pallet in general. It's more likely when eating out that something I've never tried before catches my eye and I discover that I really like it when prepared a certain way. Eating out more (within reason) can be an effective way to get yourself to try new foods -- there are a lot of vegetables that I've gotten accustomed to that I used to heavily avoid.
I also have a HUGE resistance for stuff like Beyond meats - When I want meat, I really don't want to try out synthetic haeme or whatever that makes this taste like meat - at least for the next 15-20 years when we figure out what cancer it causes. A bean burger is an awesome meal, so is milk based products (pizza et al). Even better are a combination of pita bread + hummus and so on.
It is very much possible to start off small - eat real vegetarian x days of a week or move to meat only for lunch or only dinner and you can go from there in small steps. You can even switch to white meat to start with. A planned setup like that actually makes me enjoy the meat more when I get it. A good reuben is extra good when it happens only once a month.
I also don't really buy we have to be fully vegetarian to see all the benefits (I grew up vegetarian, picked up meat eating and I would like to think I walk a reasonable line).
The synthetic hemoglobin is Impossible's (patented) technique to make it cook like meat, because it's fake red blood cells. Long story short, it's a slightly differently different way to (kind of) ferment soy beans, and while it may not be as old as Soy Sauce, after as long as Asian cultures have been (ab)using the soy bean, Impossible's process would be quite hard pressed to find some new cancer to cause.
The rest is just mostly various combinations of plants (beans, plant fibers, spices), just as bean burgers and veggie burgers have always been.
Though don't let me stop your skepticism. Beyond / Impossible are useful beef substitutes and probably aren't healthier than beef, but they probably aren't any worse than beef either.
It's not synthetic, though. It's real heme in real leghemoglobin produced in yeast instead of hemoglobin in animals.
My favorite carhop burger joint (Hire's Big H, SLC) makes their own veggie patty that to me is their best thing on their menu. It's really crafted to be a flavorful/textural experience without being "fake meat". I'm not even vegetarian and it's been my go to there for a while now.
This was all before I had a grasp of the environmental impact of meat production.
This is a bit off-topic, but this always bothers me. Just because we're discussing a topic doesn't mean we're surprised by it. Some data being new and worth discussing doesn't mean it broke from expectations.
You can see the same thing in this other thread: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21146856 No one is clutching their pearls, folks. We're just having a conversation.
Though to be fair, I had a similar reaction when I saw the title as the commenter of your link (more like, "Well, no shit!").
I still find the conversation and the points of view of everyone here interesting, I would not be here otherwise. I would be particularly interested by someone who would indeed be surprised and offer an analysis I could not see.
So they cut the available meat options and doubled the available vegetarian options and find it surprising they sold more vegetarian food? Making things unavailabile does tend to have that effect.
Now if the meat dishes were the same price as non-meat dishes you would probably still see a small spike in sale of non-meat dishes when you quadruple the number of options, but the price is to big of a variable to ignore, especially with University students.
Thats probably true, but I think more importantly it shows people pick the more inexpensive options from a range with little care to whether it has meat in or not. In other words if the non-meat dishes were more expensive than the meat dishes, the sales would have been different.
It seems they simply increased the number of vegie options from the cursory single 'meatloaf', and that did the trick.
I've recently become "much more vegie", and honestly I look forward to many of the vegie meals more than those with meat. I think meat should be reserved for meals where it can really shine; steak, ribs, bacon, etc.
Pies, curries, soups, casseroles, etc can often do without meat entirely, or with much less, or just with added meat stock.
I think this is the first step to the future of food.
When I see multiple vegetarian meal options, that's a signal that the chef isn't just doing a low effort protein swap-out but is actually offering something tasty and interesting, and I'm interested to try it.
Veggies have their own PITA issues, of course. I just prefer to put up with those rather than those and meat's issues, in my home kitchen & pantry.
[EDIT] another factor's that I don't really care for most cheap meats. Ground beef? Eh, no. Shredded chicken from a can? God no. Cheap fish available this far from the ocean? I'll pass. Carne asada (expensive these days), a great steak, good sushi? Hell yes. But I'll leave it to the pros so I don't wreck an expensive piece of meat, no more often than I get that particular craving.
I use whether it's called something like 'vegetarian <blah>' (as a signal for the reverse).
I don't want a 'vegetarian lasagne', or 'vegetarian burger'.
A slightly different but similarly ridiculous one is 'vegetarian chili con carne', which means 'vegetarian chili with meat'.
I really don't get what the issue is here? There are also great bean/nut/mushroom burgers, that don't intend to taste like meat burgers.
Why can't vegan dishes use the same form factor as non-veg dishes? Does everything just have to be a bland plate of veggies for us?
Now, none of this is implying that the veggie meal should be a "bland plate of veggies", rather it's that there are whole cuisines out there with delicious plant-based meals that have stood the test of time. If I'm eating vegetarian, I want one of those meals, not a meat meal with the meat swapped out.
I wouldn't buy a 'vegeterian <thing>' for the same reason I wouldn't buy a 'meat <thing>' - it just sounds crap and like you don't know what you've made you just knew you needed a vegetarian (resp. meat) option.
Similarly, this is about cafeterias. Sometimes food runs out. Hell, the meat option always runs out on airplanes until food gets to me. If they reduce the meat even more, no wonder that more people will eat vegetarian dishes. There's no meat left.
The study did track people over time: https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2019/09/24/1907207116
"Linking sales data to participants’ previous meal purchases revealed that the largest effects were found in the quartile of diners with the lowest prior levels of vegetarian meal selection."
So the heaviest meat eaters as a group not only did not stop going to these cafeterias, they willingly ate the vegetarian stuff.
They also say the sales rose 40%-80% - why is the range so big (and is it even reliable then)?
To a meat eater, studying the effects of eating an all vegetable diet is the same as studying the effects of walking backwards everywhere you go: it's not something we'd ever consider doing so we see no value in studying the effects of doing it. Furthermore, meat eaters do not care if other people don't want to eat meat. As such, most of the people conducting studies about vegetarianism are people who think eating meat is immoral. Their motivation to conduct the study is to stop other people from eating meat.
It's a little strange to see a comment so boastful of a lack of intellectual curiosity on HN.
Human biology, perhaps? After all, haven't we evolved over thousands of years to be omnivores?
> It's a little strange to see a comment so boastful of a lack of intellectual curiosity on HN.
In other words, according to you, people who aren't interested in being vegetarian lack intellectual curiosity. It's a little strange to see a comment so boastful of intellectual intolerance on HN...
In terms of biology plenty of humans thrive on vegan and vegetarian diets.
There are plenty of athletes on a vegan diet. Sure we take B12, but plenty of omnivores are deficient as well. The only reason you get more of that is because it's supplemented to livestock.
My blood tests came back absolutely stellar and I eat whatever I want most days. When it comes to sports, I can easily compete with my omnivore friends.
That is absurd; many vegetarians are former meat-eaters.
I think in general there is a lot less profit to be made with Veganism, it would surprise me if there was a stronger propaganda campaign then the one from the livestock industry.
Ketogenic diet has very noticeable health benefits and where you won't easily be nutrient deficient. Veganism in contrast you hear stories regularly that over time some people develop health issues - is it because of the diet or something else underlying - we don't know, no one's studied it properly.
The growing counterpoint to veganism - a lot of which are people doing it for ideological reasons - from my observation is to counter the growing hate and intolerance against people who eat animals. Hunting and eating animals is a natural part of our evolution and to deny that is denying evolution; only psychopaths don't care about causing unnecessary suffering, everyone else would rather abolish factory farming where abuse is ripe and extreme. The carnivore diet is starting to trend, animal-only diet, and badly done research painting meat in a bad light is being debunked.
The place where there's no profit to be made, regarding rapid, healthy weight loss - which is water fasting; there's no profit motive to promote water fasting in the mainstream. Otherwise if there is profit to be made, and bad actors involved, then there will be propaganda being generated - and it will be the crowd who spread the content they produce, that content which doesn't cost a lot to produce - and is free to distribute especially when you design the results, the writing, to align with beliefs of members of a group.
Additionally, Burger King definitely doesn't make the best Impossible Burger (and not every Impossible Whopper tastes the same--like regular burgers, there's slight variation in quality depending on who is at the grill). I had it at a local restaurant, and it was one of the best burgers I've ever had.
Impossible Foods is only 8 years old, and look how far they've already come.
During the initial few years I ate a lot of meat and dairy replacements along with accidentally vegan junk food like oreos and the purple bag doritos. But around the 4 yr mark this stuff kinda lost its allure - too processed and artificial tasting (imo) to be foods I eat frequently.
The staples I landed on are just basic food: tofu, beans, rice, bread, noodles, vegetables, and fruit. I found not trying to reproduce American food improved my diet, was cheaper, and easier to share with people who don't follow a vegan diet. A vegetable curry is a lot easier to sell to someone you're sharing dinner with than something with a bunch of meat/dairy replacements. And it just tastes better.
I'll mix it up and have fake meat sometimes or indulge in junk like candy or chips. But my point is following a vegan diet is quite easy once you adjust your staples a bit. Also just go easy on yourself, if you're eating out the bread might have a little whey in it but I personally think that's okay. I'd rather just eat that than make it difficult for the people I'm dining with or to bug the server to go check. Eating 95% vegan for a lifetime is clearly better than burning out. This was a lesson that took a few years to learn as I was a pretty annoying vegan the first few years when I was in my teens/early 20's.
also with apps and websites like Happy Cow (https://www.happycow.net) it is even easier to find vegan food on the go.
There are vegans who really get into being VEGAN as an identity. Then there are the other ones who just do what we do and don't see a need to volunteer it or announce it at every possible chance. Some just live their lives, some participate in various aspects of animal rights activism. Either way, the VEGAN identity folks tend to be the ones that you will notice and remember. The rest, you pass by every day and probably never even know. (It's also worth mentioning that there are also a lot of people who are "vegan" as a fad diet (like "keto" or "paleo") but don't subscribe to the philosophy (vegans will usually try to make the distinction that those folks really just follow a plant-based diet), there are vegans who also get into weird things like raw food, alkaline water, fasting, etc. Like it or not, any large group of people will have fringes like this and they tend to be very vocal and attention seeking.)
Similarly, there are meat eaters who make BACON a huge part of their identity and like to remind you every chance they get how much they like it and "carnivore" dieters, etc.
In the contemporary absence of a cohesive worldview, people look toward communities and philosophies like veganism, atheism, political affiliations, and so on for a sense of identity.
Veganism extends to all modes of consumption, not just food--for example, vegans don't buy leather or animal-tested makeup. Side note, to reduce confusion like yours, some people use 'plant-based' specifically to describe vegan food. People are vegan, products are "suitable for vegans".
> Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.
And of course, what's possible and practicable is subjective.
It is like my father-in-law who believes all gay people are loud and flamboyant. When in reality, he is dense and requires someone to hit him over the head to see it.
I've seen this out workplaces where a coworker A is vegan. A new coworker B notices and starts having a friendly chat with A about vegan food. Coworker B, who has been working and eating lunch with A for two years, is surprised to learn that A is vegan the whole time.
There’s no gold star for being a “perfect” vegetarian. Just do what you can.
It sounds like you’re lacking some supportive and understanding friends :( Would they say the same if you had a food allergy?
Many meals can do well, or even be improved, by having 'much less meat'. After all, meat has been a sign of prosperity for a long time, and so it's been stuffed into many recipes that probably don't need it, or that need much less of it than curretly practiced.
'less-itarian', if you like.
Some possible scenarios:
They offered meat-free options that mirrored the meat-containing options. For example, they had beef lasagna and as an alternative vegetarian lasagna. If this dramatically increased the selection of vegetarian options it seems like a good indicator that there was a preference for meat free options that wasn't being satisfied.
They offered meat-free lasagna as an additional option, independent of the other available choices (so no 'regular' lasagna was offered at the same time). If this increased selection of vegetarian options, it tells us absolutely nothing. It's quite possible that many people 'felt like lasagna' that day, and that was that. To phrase this scenario another way: they could increase the selection of vegetarian options to 100% by eliminating all meat from the cafeteria, but this wouldn't demonstrate any preference for vegetarian by the customers.
Since whoever wrote this article didn't mention the methodology, my guess is that the methodology is more like my second scenario, which is to say that it was not a meaningful study but they don't want to say that because they are pushing an agenda. Either that or it's incompetence, I think Hanlon's Razor attaches at this point.
What has also happened though is that low end food places - pubs, cafes, other "beige food" eateries [burgers, chips, you know, beige] - have become extraordinarily more expensive, whereas really great places have only incrementally increased prices. So you'd probably pay £15 for a crappy fish and chips in a pub, but say £18 for a really great dish in a restaurant. This has been a bit of a leveller - but also alongside this you find exponentially better veggie food in a good restaurant, whereas pubs are all still a bit "meat and two veg"...
I can understand how people find it hard to stay vegetarian when e.g. the only vegetarian main on a restaurant menu is risotto (this happens comically often!).
Meat eaters tend to say "what would you even eat?!" because they're used to seeing menus with 90% meat options.
Reading this article tempts me to want to say "Newsflash: Tasty food sells!" but I'm sure that would be flagged to death as low content snark. Also, it's possibly stupid saying anything at all because people who eat stuff like burgers and hot dogs will get all mad when you give your honest opinion that it isn't exactly gourmet health food.
I often go with, say, French fries and apple pie because it's the least worst option on a burger-based menu. When they offer chicken as an alternative to burgers, it's typically also deep fried etc. It's only very recently that some burger joints genuinely offer tasty, healthy alternatives to their bland and unhealthy ground beef patty on nasty circular white bread staple food item.
Tastes differ between people. I eat burgers and hotdogs because they're tasty, and their tastiness for me is inversely proportional to the amount of vegetables you put into them. I rarely eat out, but if I want to grab a hotdog, I only do so in places where I can get a bun, sausage, ketchup and mustard, and exactly zero of all the other dressings.
And from my POV, vegetables and fruits tend to ruin the taste of everything. I just don't like them, period. I accept some in appropriate context - common mushrooms, onions and peppers when the food is salty, carrots and apples and maaaaybe tomatoes on the sweet end.
I can't tell you why I am like this, though I am very curious about what shapes one's tastes. I eat plenty of healthy stuff, but I'd love to make myself somehow like it, - all I've managed so far is to not feel completely miserable every time I eat a healthy meal.
I encourage you to seek out an adventure by trying a vegetarian restaurant where the chefs know how to cook veggies. Truly breathtaking the difference in experience.
I haven't had a chance or inclination to eat much Indian food yet. I'm going to try, at some point.
> If you hate tomatoes, does that mean you despise chili, or pasta?
Not really. Here's the thing: it all depends on the processing, and usually the more processing was involved, the better I like the end result. So e.g. I don't like raw tomatoes, e.g. in a sandwich or on a pizza. But I do like tomato soup and tomato sauces, and I double-plus love ketchup (the commercial kind). Similarly for other kinds of vegetables and fruits. I like very few of them "standalone" - particular few kinds of apples, carrots, cucumbers and bananas. But for instance, I don't want to see any of the four anywhere near bread.
Maybe one day I'll try and note this down to see if I can find connections.
I grew up in a meat and potatoes family. Learning to eat vegetarian meals was a long process.
I grew up in Georgia and it's a long ways from Hawaii. All I knew of pineapple was canned pineapple. For probably the first thirty years of my life, I had a terrible opinion of pineapple.
Then I lived on the West Coast, a lot closer to Hawaii, where fresh pineapple was readily available most of the year at not crazy prices. I finally tried fresh pineapple that hadn't been rotting in transit for weeks and weeks and absolutely loved it.
Fruits and vegetables need to be fresh. There is an art to selecting them. People with a meat-centric diet seem to often not really know how to cook them well.
Overcooked veggies lose a lot of their flavor and nutritional value. Undercooked vegetables can be hard to digest or have other issues.
I have a mild tomato allergy. I can eat pizza and ketchup. I react poorly to raw tomatoes.
It's not obvious I'm allergic because I need to keep eating tomatoes regularly over several days before I get hives. But I do need to limit tomatoes and the more processed, the better.
Growing conditions, harvesting methods, storage conditions and on and on can impact taste for fruits and vegetables.
I'm not a vegetarian but I am the sort of person who would never eat a Whopper b/c it's garbage meat. Hadn't eaten in BK for probably a decade.
I ate an Impossible Whopper and I'm gonna be eating BK a lot more often.
This is the core reason why Impossible Foods is a darling right now. The big fast food chains have been losing customers for years due to concerns over health and obesity. Right now there seems to be a public perception that vegetarian/vegan foods are healthier than meat/dairy based foods. Big fast food is taking advantage of this perception at the moment and reaping the rewards.
They aren't really healthier though. There's still loads of fat, carbs, and sodium in combinations that are highly rewarding relative to their caloric content and nutrition level. High reward, low satiety food and its interaction with the brain and fat cells, moderated by specific signalling hormones, comprise an extremely compelling theory  for the main cause of the obesity epidemic.
In any case I am happy that more people are getting the chance to eat more food that they prefer.
I like to stay out of any organic food, vegetarian food, etc., food arguments. People should have the freedom to buy and eat the types of food they like.
I worry a little about keeping this freedom since the single political party in the USA the republicrats (also referred to as the Demopublicans) in servicing their main constituency (I am obviously talking about corporations), might try to curtail things like accurate packaging labels, etc. if that is what their corporate constituents want.
From the appendix (page 6) here: https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/suppl/2019/09/25/190720711...
Why do you want to eat vegetables that are fake meat or made to taste like meat ?
It seems silly to me.
Given that I like the tastes I like and do not want to give them up, I'll rather be calm and eat something that tastes like meat but there's no death of an animal.
Could I live without veggie sausages, bruger patties? Yep. But why not eat them when they are available.
What I do not understand is the exclusivity of someone who eats meat. If people today are such foodies, what is wrong with ordering a vegan meal once? Or buying vegan meat replacements, to try them and see how they taste? Vegan mayo?
Why not exploit the luxury of the modern world and enjoy all that engineered food, even if you're vegan or not?
Philosophically I understand you dont want to contribute to the death of an animal, that said, birth causes death.
I am of the opinion folks should eat what they want and only worry about what they eat. Letting others eat what they want.
Personally I don't do well on veggies. I lose energy and feel lethargic not to mention carbs make me fat.
Not only do they have to die, they also have to live. If everyone went vegan, those animals would never have existed.
If the standards of living for the average farm animal were really good, would that be worse than them having never existed?
In the same way, you could justify birthing a human into slavery, birthing a dog for dog fighting, birthing a bull for bullfighting etc. - it's not a good reason.
There's animals related to farm bred cows, pigs and chickens in the wild as well. You could use the land that's used for animal agriculture to let wild animals thrive, instead of birthing animals into a miserable life.
> If the standards of living for the average farm animal were really good, would that be worse than them having never existed?
I don't think there's enough land for this to ever be feasible and feed everyone that wants to eat meat.
You should also consider that farm animals are killed within around 20% or less into their natural lifespan so it's not like you'd be giving them much time to experience a great life. Also, for economical reasons, you'd probably still have to kill e.g. males from egg laying hens within a day or two, and male dairy calves within weeks.
You misread. The premise is that they will live a good life, whatever that means for the species in question.
> There's animals related to farm bred cows, pigs and chickens in the wild as well. You could use the land that's used for animal agriculture to let wild animals thrive, instead of birthing animals into a miserable life.
Life in nature is rather miserable. I'm talking about better life than nature would afford. Would it be better for those lives to have existed, or not?
It's a philosophical question, there's no "correct" answer.
Example : Wolves and coyotes thrive on killing babies, nature is much more harsh than any farm I have seen.
Animals also murder their own kind, can be cannibalistic and worse. Is it okay to do those things too because they happen in nature?
We shouldn't (and don't) based our morals and behaviours on wild animals.
This is the disconnect so many people have.
Some carnivorous wild animals have no choice but to hunt and eat prey alive to survive. We have a choice.
Question is why do you want plants to taste like animals and it was answered. Some folks don’t like killing.
I don’t mind taking an animals life to eat. Therein lies the difference
Can I ask if you'd be okay with killing all the animals you eat yourself?
If you wouldn't be prepared to do the killing yourself, why?
I have always been close to my food source and I think that is why I find this disconnect people have interesting.
My wife can’t eat out of the garden because she sees the shit on the plants and the bugs that crawl all over them. She doesn’t have a problem with store veggies though :)
It would be better for an animal to have never existed than to have its entire existence be measured by the utility of killing it and butchering it for people to eat.
Captive animals can live better lives than wild animals. They can be treated well. That's my premise.
You can have the position that either such life is just meaningless suffering and that its non-existence is better than its existence.
“Captive” animals is entirely too broad a class. Pets have great lives much of the time. I am talking about animals bred and raised for human consumption only, and I do believe those lives are meaningless suffering based on the goal of that life. Extending the argument, if a person were birthed solely to be an organ farm for a wealthy individual, that would also be meaningless suffering even if they were treated “well” for most of their life.
Just my opinion. Thanks for discussing!
A wild animal doesn't have a purpose. It just is. It will die and it will get eaten anyway.
> However, it is easy to describe what the purpose of beef cattle. It is to be killed and be eaten by the same animal who has bred them to have high muscle content and caged them.
> I am talking about animals bred and raised for human consumption only, and I do believe those lives are meaningless suffering based on the goal of that life.
Feeding some other being isn't entirely meaningless. Also, if the animal was living the best life it could live, is it still suffering? If so, then all life is suffering.
> Extending the argument, if a person were birthed solely to be an organ farm for a wealthy individual, that would also be meaningless suffering even if they were treated “well” for most of their life.
That's the plot of "The Island". Obviously, it sounds morally repulsive, but from the perspective of such a life lived subjectively, it's better than most lives lived throughout human history.
You could extend this anywhere. Pussy feels great. Rape doesn't kill anyone. We could keep some women around and give them great lives as sex slaves. Surely nonexistance is be worse than that! I could even give my harem a much better life than any animal can experience.
A more appropriate question would be, would you rather live a life in the wild and die from starvation, from a simple infection, or from being mauled to death? Or, would you rather have full accommodation for your entire life, but you get killed at age 35? Or, would you rather not exist at all?
I don't think that question is as simple as you make it sound.
> We could keep some women around and give them great lives as sex slaves.
"Great lives as sex slaves" sounds a bit oxymoronic, doesn't it?
> I could even give my harem a much better life than any animal can experience.
If you can afford it, you can have a harem right now without enslaving anybody, because some women would rather be a prostitute than whatever the alternative is.
Everything else life related should not have human intervention, if it does not improve upon the quality of life.
Although, this view is pretty idyllic and probably unattainable or not profitable.
It's on the extreme end, but there is a spectrum of how we allow animals to be raised. At the one end, even those with the lowest incomes can afford meat, but conditions are bad. At the other end, only the wealthy can afford meat, but conditions can be good. That's the trade-off.
Profit is just markup, it can be made either way.
I'm not all day eating substitutes, as some of them are extremely processed, and also, I like vegetables and legumes, but I'll eat a Beyond burger or some other fake meat every once in a while.
You can think about it as in "I like my cell phone but I rather find something made with less suffering, so I'll buy a fairphone or something like that"
It's like abstaining from sex by using a sex doll in my mind.
Because... fake animal meat does not cause animals to die?
People somehow get really hung up on this fake meat thing, and at the same time often accuse vegetarians or vegans of policing their food choices. Why don't you just accept that if dozens of people in this thread post that they like the taste or texture of the "fake" product, then that means that they like the taste or texture of the "fake" product, and there is nothing more for you to understand?
(Not a vegetarian myself, but I tend to only eat meat at special occasions. I like the taste and texture of some meat replacement products. Many others are atrociously bad.)
> It's like abstaining from sex by using a sex doll in my mind.
That comparison is only valid if having sex causes the death of your partner. And if you are someone who tends to murder their sex partners, then yes, it would be very very good if you switched to sex dolls.
I would feel hypocritical were I to do this.
(I'm vegetarian, not vegan, fwiw)
Why do people on diets eat low calorie desserts?
The same way people go on diets because they want to lose weight but not to avoid the taste of food they like, people go vegan because of environmental and animal cruelty reasons but not to avoid the taste of food they like.
That said, when you raise a cow and you know you are going to eat it most folks aren't so cruel. Kosher meats ( i have heard this ) are harvested with ethical methods.
I think many people are too far removed from the process of how food is created.
> That said, when you raise a cow and you know you are going to eat it most folks aren't so cruel. Kosher meats ( i have heard this ) are harvested with ethical methods.
> For meat to be Kosher, the animal must be slaughtered in a particular way, so the Rabbi in a Kosher abattoir is a specially trained religious slaughterer. A very sharp knife is used to cut the oesophagus, the trachea, carotid arteries and jugular veins in one smooth action. There must be no pause during the action nor excessive pressure on the blade. Failure to meet these specific requirements renders the animal unkosher.
If that's correct, how is that not cruel? Animals don't want to die.
The animal will die regardless. The Native Americans would honor the animal and thank its spirit for the life force.
To me that seems quite ethical.
You don't have to kill the animal or breed animals to be killed. You're choosing for that to happen.
> The Native Americans would honor the animal and thank its spirit for the life force.
Why does that make killing something that doesn't want to be killed okay? Would that making killing a dog or human okay if you thanked their spirit after?
kosher is no more ethical: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qp8B4vSd6h0
It's pretty simple - I really enjoy fake meat for the taste, texture and protein. It also lets me go out to places that would traditionally only have meat options like a burger joint.
SO likes it because she's religiously vegetarian but can incorporate more protein into her diet.
Another reason is junk food. It's definitely harder to eat unhealthy food being a vegan, but sometimes you want to. I know places where I can go and eat a vegan burger for example, the type that is really greasy and slimy and disgusting. I don't go there often, but if I get that urge then it's nice to know that I can.
Your steak is slathered in mushroom sauce, your fish is covered in batter or white wine, and your chicken is coated with 11 different herbs and spices.
You're eating meat, but you're tasting condiments.
I like veggie sausages because they fit in hot-dog buns. And burgers because they fit in burger buns. I wouldn't say the attraction is that they taste of "meat" - they're just convenient form factors.
Properly prepared meat/fish often has great own taste. It depends on (the part of) the animal, of course. You need the right amount of oil (or natural fat) and salt to bring out the flavor. Unfortunately, lots of people prefer boneless, skinless and fat-trimmed meat/fish.
My steaks typically have a bit of himalayan salt and a touch of pepper. I like the flavor of meat.
Sauces and whatnot are used to hide the poor meat quality.
I’m sure even vegetarians/vegans enjoy the taste of meat. But they represent a small market. How can plant based food companies hope to get omnivores to buy their product? Making it similar in taste, texture, appearance seems to be the bet they’re taking.
Personally, I just really wanted to eat burgers and bratwurst again while maintaining my dietary choices (for moral and health reasons) but didn't like any of the previous widely available vegan alternatives. I find the seitan/soy/tvp options gross and black bean burgers never did it for me. I had to get over the taste and texture of the Beyond products making my brain and stomach feel like I was eating meat, but now I have a meal with them once every few weeks when I have the craving.
What I call the “protein costs” are just too high, that is, how much does a gram of protein cost me in terms of a gram of carbs or grams of fat.
Lean Meat has almost almost no protein cost (that is it is almost pure protein with no fat and no carbs...)
I wonder what the temperature correlation was — do hotter or colder temps lead to more vegetarian consumption?
Even the restaurants which weren't purely veggie had lots of options.
I'll probabbly be a hold out when it comes to most of that, at least as far as ONLY eating that goes.
I'd be happy to eat a meat substitute that tastes like meat.
Parts of India are vegetarian, so they have had plenty of time to refine the offering and see what works together.
There are parts of India which are almost entirely vegetarian. So much so that, it has prompted giants like pizza hut and subway to open vegetarian only restaurants.
And might I add, the food is delicious.