October is Vegetarian Awareness Month
Do You Crave Meat or Protein?
Anatomically speaking, meat is primarily muscle and other organs. Socially acceptable edible meat varies geographically. In the Hindu religion, the cow (not bull) is sacred, so it is not eaten. While not widespread, eating dogs and cats is most common in China, South Korea, The Philippines, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, and the region of Nagaland in India. In 2017, the practice was banned in Taiwan. [1,2] People in certain areas within the Southern United States eat snakes and crocodiles.
Can I tempt you with roasted cat or dog tacos? You will likely refuse it (unless you are from one of the regions where eating them is common). Your repulsion to certain types of meat is similar to the aversion that vegetarians and vegans have toward all types of meat. It has nothing to do with seasoning or preparation. Meat is not tempting to those weaned off of it. Yet, they still need protein.
Actually, we don’t crave meat as much as we do protein. The two companies Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat have been touting sustainability and environmental advantages of plant-based meat alternatives.
The Impossible Foods mission is to make the global food system truly sustainable by eliminating the need to make food from animals.  Beyond Meat is dedicated to improving human health, positively impacting climate change, conserving natural resources and respecting animal welfare. 
Each company currently strives to appeal to meat-loving consumers with ground meat substitutes for hamburger and sausages. Impossible Foods genetically modifies plants to make burgers using:
- Protein from low-oxalate peas and potatoes
- Flavor from heme (the molecule that makes meat taste, well, meaty)
- Fat from coconut and sunflower oils make it sizzle on the griddle
- Binders, methylcellulose and food starch, hold it together so you can make anything you want—meatballs, kebab, patties, etc.
The meat processing cycle is fraught with animal cruelty and air pollution. Ruminant animals produce methane gas which, is 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. This contributes to global warming. Massive silos of pigs never see the light of day, as their siphoned excrement pollutes water sources. Cattle and chickens bred for meat are fed growth hormones to make them larger than normal in a short amount of time. [5,6]
The coronavirus disrupted meat processing during the government shutdown and subsequent COVID-19 outbreaks. Farm animals exceeding maximum slaughterhouse weight cannot be processed, leading to many animal euthanizations. This drives meat prices up.
The dependence upon meat is disproportionate to the benefit. There are other viable protein sources. Meat consumption is a mindset. Mentally place cattle, pork, and chicken in the same category as dogs and cats. It may not be as appealing.
If nuts, beans and lentils are not satisfying enough, try some of the plant based-meat substitutes. Impossible Pork is now available. Plant-based sausage, chicken, and fish options are also in your grocer’s freezer. Eat meatless at least a couple of days per week, unless you prefer to go cold tofurky and become a vegetarian or vegan.
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