“Life is too short for fake food.” – Unknown
Processed food has taken several approaches. But today I want to highlight one concerning area of processed food that tries to take the high road by duping health-conscious customers into thinking it’s a better choice. It’s what I lovingly refer to as ethical trash.
Ethical trash is all the ultra-processed fake protein substances, like fake eggs, fake cheese, fake bacon, fake turkey, fake dairy products, and hoards of other garbage. It’s just as processed as anything else you’ll find, but it’s marketed as a better choice and ‘ethical’ because it doesn’t use animal products. Underneath the claims and pretty packaging is simply trash.
Why would you want to ingest garbage that tastes like bacon so you don’t have to eat real bacon? It makes zero sense. Real food is the only thing that makes sense. It’s the only thing our bodies recognize. Let me be clear: I’m not saying all meatless/dairy-less/eggless options are trash. Not at all. For instance, if you’re a vegan or allergic to dairy, you can make fabulous (whole food) things from nuts and seeds. I especially love dips or spreads made from soaking raw cashews. The result resembles the consistency of cheese and it’s loaded with healthy fat and nutrients. I’m not talking about whole food replacements for meat, dairy and egg. This blog is about ultra-processed foods/chemicals masquerading as meat, dairy and eggs.
Food is Information
Every single bite of food we take in contains information. It is made up of molecules that tell our bodies what to do with that food. Imagine your body is a computer. You can either give it software that helps you do the things you want to do or you can give it software downloaded from a shady website. The poor quality software will make your system become clunky, slow, frustrating and possibly stop working all together. Food is the software and you are in control of how your system performs with every bite.
Ethical Trash is Still Trash
Let’s dive into an example. Morningstar Farms touts their products are ‘good for you. good for the planet.’ Let’s review the following ingredients for their vegetarian bacon:
Water, soybean oil, modified corn starch, egg whites, soy flour, wheat gluten, hydrolyzed corn protein, contains 2% or less of vegetable glycerin, salt, soy protein isolate, sodium citrate, sodium phosphate, sugar, yeast, caramel color, natural and artificial flavors, monocalcium phosphate, sodium tripolyphosphate, malic acid, hydrolyzed soy protein, guar gum, lactic acid, hydrolyzed wheat protein, yeast extract, spice, locust bean gum, sodium sulfite (for freshness), disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, carrageenan, red 3, nonfat milk, yellow 6, citric acid. Vitamins and minerals: Niacinamide, iron (ferrous sulfate), vitamin B1 (thiamin mononitrate), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B12.
First off, this is an insane amount of ingredients. Second, there are ingredients in here that cause inflammation in the body and some recognized by EWG as toxic. This is far from a ‘better choice.’
If you’ve given up bacon, don’t try to get the same flavor and texture through fake, ultra-processed food. Instead, explore all the amazing flavors of nuts, grains, vegetables and fruit that you’ve never tried before. Experiment with combinations and techniques that will enhance your meals and keep your body ‘hardware’ in tip-top condition.
Real Food is the Only Answer
In my opinion, everyone needs to learn to cook to combat refined foods and their negative health consequences, but with restricted diets it’s a must. By cooking whole foods, you are setting yourself up for success with an animal free diet. Here’s some meatless recipes from EWG’s website that are properly prepared and nutrient-dense.
Don’t give in to the marketing of ethical trash. The food corporation executives don’t give a damn about your health or the planets’. The truth is, a vegetarian can be eating just as poorly as someone who eats fast-food, so learn to cook – even it’s a few recipes you can rotate each week – source the best possible ingredients and fuel your body for good.
Be sure to check back each week for a brand new blog post. And while you’re on the site visit the Featured Recipe section for inspiring and nutritious recipes. Questions? Comments? Email me at email@example.com.