A Moral Vegan Question: Fake Meats?

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I am not vegan, but I love animals, and I am not a fan of red meat, so when it comes to menu planning for my family, we often go with vegan meals. They are generally yummy, and typically high in fruits and veggies. (Always a mom-win.)

Lately, though, as I look for good vegan meals, finding ones that are unprocessed, chemical-free, and still substantial enough to satisfy the appetite of my husband’s man-sized appetite, are really difficult. It seems every third “vegan” meal plan is a replacement for a meat-based meal. They use all kinds of soy-based products, that make me uncomfortable because of GMOs, and because too much soy is bad for your thyroid, so while it’s great once in a while as a healthy alternative to dairy (and decent source of protein), soy is not something I want to establish as a staple in my diet by any means (and just personally, I avoid soy for the most part.)

This reality of “fake mac and cheese” Or “fake cheeseburgers” led me to ask the question of why vegans chose soy based “Fake meats” as their animal saving alternative.

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Please understand that I’m not a vegan, and I do not share with some in ascribing to the thought that eating meat is morally offensive. I think eating animals for the sake of human nourishment, when required, is fine. Personally, I side with the native american approach to the eating of animals and that is from a position of gratitude to the animal for providing it’s life for your nourishment, and respecting the life you took for your nourishment by utilizing the whole animal, not wasting parts of it, and by not killing more than you need to survive. Respect, coexistence, and the realization that humans are above animals on the chain of command over the Earth, making it ok for a human to kill an animal when it’s required, but not to abuse that position. In our culture, my position on eating animals leads me to have huge problems with the meat-industry as I think animals are mass slaughtered to make a buck and massive amounts of animal parts are wasted. It’s disgusting. My rant on this issue, however, I will save for another post, but now you know why we, as a family, “lean vegan.”

The question I want to ask today is why those vegans who are morally offended by the killing and eating of animals under any circumstance would turn to fake meats. It seems to me, and this is strictly supposition, that anyone who has a moral foundation to be offended by something would want to avoid being seen as eating “that way.” So why fake meat? Why would you want to look like you’re eating meat–to fake it?

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I have no idea why I’m adding so many animal pictures. But seriously, it’s a puppy, they are so cute! Have a smile 🙂

I am a religious person, and I was raised to avoid the appearance of evil as well as evil itself. That’s not always possible, but when it comes to what you can reasonably control, it makes sense to try to avoid it. For example, I think prostitution is wrong. Therefore, I would not dress as a fake-prostitute, even if it was culturally normative. I would not be concerned with “fitting in” that way, because even the appearance of that evil would be offensive to me. That’s an extreme example, so let’s try something lighter.

My mother-in-law is baptist, and she thinks drinking alcohol is a sin. She doesn’t, in response to that position, choose to drink sparkling wine (the fake kind). She has a position of being personally morally offended by alcohol, so she avoids it all together and has no interest in looking like she’s drinking wine by choosing fake alternatives.

Now, she’s just one person, not a community representative, and it warrants mention that she does not care if other people around her drink (though she will, most of the time, decline an invite to a party where drinking will occur).

She does not represent a group, but she is my primary experience with moral imperatives surrounding food and beverage choices. Her moral stance, and subsequent actions, just led me to curiously ask of the vegan community for your input. I graciously seek your counsel on this issue, without judgement or accusation.

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I am honestly, and openly, looking for feedback.
Explain to me why, if you feel eating animals is morally offensive, would you turn to fake meats instead of just avoiding any kind of meat or meat-like product all together? If you are one of the morally founded vegans who does avoid fake meats, I want to hear your thoughts as well.

2 thoughts on “A Moral Vegan Question: Fake Meats?

  1. personally, i just like the texture and taste of (some) faux meat products. and i think that as long as it’s clear that what i’m eating isn’t actually meat and doesn’t actually harm animals, it doesn’t conflict with my veganism. also, most people who are vegan weren’t born vegan. we grew up on mac & cheese and chicken fingers too, so sometimes it’s nice to have those nostalgic flavors while knowing you don’t have to hurt any animals to enjoy something similar to foods you loved as a kid.

  2. That’s a great response, Shannon! Thank you for sharing. This question was something that came up frequently as I perused the various soy options and recipe ideas. Veganism is a healthy option for me, personally, so I’m experimenting, and exploring. Thank you for your thoughts.

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