top of page

Is going vegan the solution?

It is getting easier and easier to be vegan in America - especially in Los Angeles where I live. Several restaurants near me offer vegetarian food options. My social media feeds are full of articles and videos that teach me how to substitute meat with vegan alternatives.

I call myself a 'part-time' vegan where I eat more plants, less processed and very few animal products like milk and cheese. I think cruelty-free food rocks. I love that we don't always have to kill animals or use animal products for our food, and I love that we are better able to take care of our planet.



A year ago, I switched from regular to nut milk for my shakes. Most days, I use oil instead of butter and chia and flax seeds instead of eggs. I think these have been easy and healthy moves - ones that do not require using any animal products.

Over the last few years, I have seen so many innovative 'plant-based' products - Meatless chicken, dairy-less cheese and butter, Beyond Meat patties, Incogmeato nuggets, lab-manufactured shrimp, vegan sausages, meatballs, pepperoni slices, buffalo wings and fake-meat bacon.


This trend is hot because we are all thinking a lot more about what we are putting into our bodies. We have realized that red meat is not so great for us. But because many of us miss meat or the protein that it adds to our diets, we find the plant-based meat alternatives so much more attractive.





According to the Good Food Institute (2020), the plant-based meat industry is worth $939 million. Their report indicates that the dollar sales of plant-based meat grew 18% in the past year and 38% over the past two years.


The question I want to raise today is this:

Is all this innovative plant-based food good for us and the environment? Is it really healthy? Is a plant-based burger patty better than beef patty?

 

TL;DR

After a ton of research, my opinion is that plant-based meat is great for the environment but not the best for our health. I want to share what I have learned, and I will keep it short. Read along.

 

The Good

1. Plant-based meat generates way less greenhouse gas emissions, requires half the energy and practically no water and little land compared to raising and slaughtering cattle for beef. A real winner, in that sense.



2. E-Coli bacterial infections are a real issue in the meat industry. Antibiotics are overused in animal agriculture. This raises the risk of transmitting drug-resistant bacteria to humans, often by direct infections. We do not encounter this problem with plant-based meat at all.

 

The Bad