Recently, my mother gave me a copy of the Peta Vegan Starter Kit, a magazine to get you started on a vegan diet. Now, the Accidental Locavore loves cheese and meat, so the chances of me going vegan are slim to none. It’s a free country and if you choose to eat vegan, that’s your choice (like supporting certain loud-mouth politicians), but don’t expect me to.
My biggest problem with it, and something that is conveniently overlooked, is the reliance on processed foods. By page 3, Peta is promoting faux chicken and beef, along with vegan margarine (when was the last time anyone even used margarine?). It reminded me of one of the most shocking episodes of the Oprah show I ever saw.
She had convinced her staff to go vegan for a week. To illustrate the point, Kathy Freston, an author of vegan cookbooks, went to a staffer’s house, cleared out everything non-vegan and went shopping at Whole Foods with the staffer. There they piled a shopping cart full of food, but the cart wasn’t full of vegetables and fruit. Instead, Kathy eagerly pointed out the tofu Italian sausages, tapioca mozzarella, fishless fish sticks, etc. It looked like every single thing in the cart was processed food.
Why would you give up simple food—meat, fish, vegetables to eat a “Cheerful Log” Vegan Ham Loaf with a list of ingredients that includes: Vegan chunk (non-GMO) soy protein, soy fiber, wheat protein), non-GMO sunflower oil, tapioca starch, vegetable protein (sweet pea, carrot) , vegan seasoning (licorice, kelp) red yeast, sugar, trehalose*, soy sauce (non GMO) sea salt?
At least the soy is non-GMO, although since the Cheerful Log is made in Taiwan, you might be skeptical about that claim. Although tofu is considered to be good for you, 94% of soy beans in the US are GMO, so not as good for you as we might believe.
And being vegan takes a lot of time. A lot of time. It’s hard to find truly vegan food and then, if you care, probably harder to find food that tastes good. While I have had a couple of dishes where tempe and tofu star, for every one of those, I’ve endured glop that resembles chipboard (probably vegan) more than a Black Angus burger. What about you, could you do it?
*also known as mycose or tremalose, is a natural alpha-linked disaccharide formed by an α,α-1,1-glucoside bond between two α-glucose units. Whatever that means.