We don’t need fake ‘meat’; there are better solutions.
I read a very important but difficult essay about animal rights and wrongs, and was invited to contribute which I did. Does anybody know how to contact Mark directly about a story, an insight?
https://greattransition.org/ Solidarity with Animals
Wouldn’t it help if people cut down the amount of meat (and junk food) they ate substantially. When I was growing up (yeah , those good ole days) we had a.good hunk of meat maybe once a week. E
We had fancy desserts once a week. These were called TREATS.People seem to assume you are entitled and always have been to eating big servings of meat every day! I never felt deprived. I came from a healthy, upper middle class family.
This article does no service to its well-intentioned proposals by trash-talking another similarly well-intentioned proposal. In the words of the famous little girl GIF, "Why Not Both?" If we're serious about addressing the climate crisis, we need an "all of the above" approach to reducing emissions. We need to find ways to use technology to make sustainable choices more appealing to people. We need to stop with the elitism and the "revolution or nothing" tact.
While its certainly a nice feel-good article, none of the proposals will work. For example, the main point against plant-based meat is that it’s too expensive. What do you think getting rid of massive slaughter factories will do to cost of meat?
The whole concept of raising animals just to kill then and eat them 2 years later will over time prove extremely inefficient and certainly unsustainable if we add another 3b people in the developing world that want what we have. Simply put, cost of production of imitation will continue to come down while cost of raising and killing animals will only go up. As it’s been case with fossil vs alternative energy sources, the trajectories will at some point intersect (for example today solar is already cheaper than grid-based electricity).
I am in the first group of the program. I could not find a place to ask a question.
Fantastic post. Will share.
Your site is torcher late at night/early in the morning especially when hungry!
After being vegan (mostly happily so) for five years, I went omnivore last year. The main reason has to do with the fact that my food choices, both at home and at restaurants, were so limited. At some point, the psychological fatigue of years of self-limiting set in, and after seeing one popular vegan YouTuber fall off the vegan wagon, well, I followed in his footsteps.
For a lot of people (myself and my wife included), legumes don't work as the primary protein source. At least not in their unprocessed forms. We need a lot of protein in our diets to feel satisfied and manage health conditions, as well as to support being physically active. After years of eating large quantities of it, tofu started to not digest well anymore. Legumes in general are not the most tasty things out of the box, and require some skill and effort to prepare properly, whereas it's easy to throw some chicken on the grill and come out with a tasty product. At least for many people.
My point is not that legumes aren't great. They're awesome! My point is that we need a good alternative to meat, and that alternative needs to have the properties of meat:
1) High in protein
2) Very tasty
3) Replaces meat from a cultural perspective, i.e. we can make our favorite dishes with it
4) Has the other nutritional properties of meat (vitamins, minerals)
Essentially, we need meat. My best hope for our future is cultivated (or cultured) meat. I think we need to bring all our ingenuity and financial resources to bear on this problem. The status quo is not acceptable, and "going vegan" probably isn't going to change much on a global level. Not enough people are willing to or can do it—and I speak as a former vegan myself. The number of people who were vegan or vegetarian, and aren't anymore, is very high. The truth is, it's a movement with a great heart and respect for the environment and animal ethics, but it's a diet that is really hard to stick to for most people.
Maybe if we were all doing it, it would be easier. Certainly, there would be more innovation in the space, and we'd have more products to choose from. Ultimately, though, I think we have to replace traditional meat with new meat that doesn't require animal slaughter. This new meat will be advanced on several fronts: cultivated meat, plant-based meat, traditional plant-based proteins, etc. I highly recommend the work of organizations like the Good Food Institute, or New Harvest for more information on what's going on in the meat alternative space.
The future of protein needs a spectrum of solutions to meet the expectations, tastes, preferences, and cultures of all eaters. Legumes are wonderful, sustainable, and healthy. I love them! But assuming only one alternative is a privileged perspective. The various progress solutions you share are all great, and should be done. But it will take time( that we don't have) and they will disrupt people's lives and food sources if they are not also replaced with meaningful substitutes. Meaningful substitutes means lots of options for lots of eaters, not just a few. I hope you will embrace all possible solutions in your communications for a cleaner, greener future.
We need to create a family dinner culture on Sunday afternoons with vegetables. Norman Rockwell with corona beans and roasted brussel sprouts; pasta with marinara sauce made with portobello mushrooms. I have loved your work for years Mark.
We need more education. I’m a k-5 teacher and the Dairy Council provides what little nutritional curriculum we have. Basically propaganda. (There are 5 good groups one of them being dairy). As long as children are being taught at an early age to believe they must have meat and dairy products to be healthy, we have a long term problem.
You can never get me to defend a CAFO, and, I will never touch engineered 'meat' -- not only is it devoid of nutritional value (esp when compared to its beef counterpart) but it's produced from monocrops which are extremely destructive to the environment. You don't mention regenerative farming. I buy all of my meat products from regenerative farmers who are actually inputting carbon back into their soil. The beef / pork / lamb is of highest quality, the animals are well-cared for. I love my veggies, too, btw.
Beautifully stated, Mark...thank you.
Standing ovation for this article and Mark's new book! I have just begun!
Great article. I'm hardly an expert, but I might suggest another policy point, which is government-funded education in food preparation. I think this project is preaching to the choir (which I'm happy to be a part of), but for there to be a real shift in society, people need to understand how to efficiently prepare delicious, plant-based meals. Something that doesn't get said often enough is that meat is easier to prepare quickly and on a tight schedule. We need a mass shift not only in what food is available but in our perceptions about what can be done to prepare it. Remember home economics? I'd really like to see that back in the schools for many reasons; among other things, the shift to a society that's less dependent on consumer goods might be one in which young people are taught how to mend their clothes! But I think the reliance on meat also has to do with the fact that many young adults simply have no idea how to cook vegetable-based meals and no time with which to learn. What would it take to return cooking, sewing, and simple home maintenance to the middle-school curriculum?