Meat substitutes superior to fake meat products

As time goes on fake meat products like this alternative to ground beef continue to look and taste more realistic

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As time goes on fake meat products like this alternative to ground beef continue to look and taste more realistic

It has been about 16 months since I switched to a vegetarian lifestyle, and over that time, I have been exploring the world of fake meat and meat substitutes. Throughout this journey, I have developed some strong opinions on what is and is not worth your time.

I have found the most fulfillment in meat substitutes, such as bean, mushroom, tofu or other products, that just use a different food in place of meat. Sure, when I eat a bean burger, it tastes like beans and not a burger, but I do not mind that. I work at a Mexican restaurant, and I have tacos with beans instead of meat every time I go on break, and I have grown to enjoy it.

Meat substitutes are a good option because they are accessible to everyone and not super expensive. You can go to any grocery story and find what you need in the produce section for a reasonable price. On the other hand, it is not the same story with fake meat products.

Fake meat products are supposed to taste and look exactly like their meat counterparts, but they are typically made from soy, tofu or vegetables. These products are targeted specifically to vegetarians and vegans, and because of that, they tend to be a little more expensive.

This is upsetting because it essentially gatekeeps going meatless. Lower-income people are tricked into thinking they cannot afford this lifestyle when, in reality, that is not the case. When done right, going vegetarian or vegan should create little to no cost difference; in some cases, it can even be cheaper.

Cost is not the only issue I have with fake meat options, though. Simply put, I think they are gross. I did not give up meat just to seek out food options that taste like meat. I would much prefer a restaurant to have a good vegetarian meal without a meat replacement rather than a meal centered around a fake meat product.

With that being said, I understand some people are forced to give up meat due to medical reasons or sometimes people just miss the taste of meat, so this option makes sense for them. It is just not for me; I either think the texture is weird or that it is too similar to real meat, and I get nervous about it. Yes, I know that reasoning makes no sense, but that is why I avoid fake meat products.

Overall, I have had fun trying out the different options available to me over these 16 months, and I am excited to continue this journey. I encourage everyone to try going vegetarian at least for a week just to give it a chance. It will probably be easier than you think, and you will be helping your body and the environment.