I hate fake; fake orgasms, fake boobs, fake baking, and fake friends. However, in the vegan world, many grapple with the dilemma of fake meat. There are some vegans who decide to eliminate meat from their diets but instead of replacing it with wholesome combinations of grains, legumes,and veggies, they replace it with fake meat. These are usually newbies or junk-food vegans who live off vegan pizza, soy bacon and faux chicken nuggets. Many seasoned or hard-core vegans turn their noses up at these ‘meat’ munchers- I myself had a particularly snooty vegan look down on me for admitting I sometimes take a b12 vitamin if I’m worried I haven’t been getting my daily dose. “True vegans know how to make the right dietary choices so that they get what they need without using supplements,” she said before clicking off in her hoity-toity faux leather heels. I was pretty peeved, so I get why a vegan may get upset about being looked down on for keeping a Tofurkey habit.
There are tons of arguments for and against fake meats, and lots of articles highlighting the dilemma. My favorite article,for obvious reasons,is titled Is Fake Meat the Same as Masturbation? In this one, the writer compared eating fake meat being like cheating on your vegetarianism, to masturbating being like cheating on your partner. Others claim the blatantly obvious:If you’re trying to follow a vegan diet, then eating fake meat is better than eating real meat.
In my opinion, fake meat sits next to vegan marshmallows on the junk-food shelf. Even though soy ‘chicken’ may be comprised of whole foods (soy protein, vital wheat gluten, grains, potato starch, etc) it has still been processed, and processed foods should be eaten in moderation, period. That being said, I’ve had some incredible vegan dim sum thanks to my brother in Honolulu, and some amazing vegan general tso’s ‘chicken’ complements of Whole Foods. But if I want to invite some herbivores over and have myself a nice BBQ, I would rather whip up a batch of spicy black bean burgers myself then go to the store and get a box. That way I can cook my beans myself, hand pick all of the ingredients, and feel confident that what I am eating–and serving– is good for me. Plus, making your own burgers looks impressive, and the only reason people invite friends over is to try to impress them with their cooking/house/well-trained husband. However, when you’re in a hurry, are feeling lazy or just want a goddamn piece of Tofurkey (stuff is like crack..), go for it. Everything in moderation baby.