David Sirota on Vegan Meats

August 19, 2011

David Sirota is troubled by the abundance of vegan meat products, which he suggests, “subliminally glorifies meat-eating.”

Obviously, this isn’t some conspiracy whereby powerful meat companies are deliberately trying to bring vegetarians into the megachurch of flesh eaters. If anything, it’s the opposite: It’s the vegetarian industry selling itself to meat eaters by suggesting that its products aren’t actually all that different from meat. The problem is how that message, like so many others in American culture, reinforces the wrongheaded notion that our diet should be fundamentally based on meat.

I’m not seeing it. Vegetarianism would be a much tougher sell without products like Tofurky and Field Roast. Some vegans think these foods are delicious and eat them all the time, while other vegans don’t find these foods appealing. I’m personally glad these foods are available for the people who want to eat them.

One of my parents’ favorite recipes is Chinese chicken salad. They switched the chicken out last year—replacing it with Gardein—and have stuck with this meatless version ever since. If it weren’t for Gardein, they’d still be making this meal with chicken.

In a meat-based culture, it would be insane not to offer vegan foods that feature familiar textures and flavors. The existence of these foods is a great asset to the vegan movement; not a liability. Link.

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