We are being bombarded left, right and centre about the health and environmental merits of going vegan, or, at the least, the health benefits of cutting our consumption of meat products. Every week, there is a predictable advertorial for the next study that backs vegan diets as being a health miracle or about the latest development in producing artificial meat and milk.
"I can't argue about the merits of reducing meat for my health and for the planet", you might say, but I would ask you to ask this question:
"Who is really behind this avalanche of pro-vegan propaganda and for what reason?"
This essay is not a discussion about the health benefits of the vegan diet, it is about how Big Food and Big Agriculture own and control nutrition research, nutrition education and how, to our detriment, they manipulate the conversation about nutrition.
We have seen this manipulation of the masses before. Examples are the mantra that "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day" (It is not), which drove the explosion in the sales of high-carb breakfast cereals during the 1970s. Another example is the mistaken belief, supported by research - of course! - that athletes must consume vast amounts of sugary and caffeine-laced drinks if they are to give their best performance (wrong!). Or, how about the belief that everyone, including children, must snack every two hours of waking in order to avoid falling into a state of hypoglycemia? (Wrong!). Oh - and we must not overlook how every nutritionist and organisations like the Heart Foundation were sold the "Low-fat is healthy" mantra. Butter was replaced by trans-fat-soaked grain-sourced margarine which we now know is far from heart-healthy while being cancer-producing! A very wrong move!
In my opinion, this was or still is nutrition bunkum, even if there is plenty of research to back the merits of, snacking on a chocolate snack log, consuming margarine and downing acidic, sugary sports drinks. The simple fact is that the introduction of these incredibly damaging dietary practices since the 1970s - on the basis of false health claims - has resulted in billions of extra dollars worth of sales for the sugar and grain industries. God knows for how many lives ruined and lost!
In parallel with this mind-boggling increase in sales of sugar and grains has been the soaring incidence of diabetes, obesity, tooth decay and just about every degenerative disease we can think of.
What is going on with this bombardment about the nutritional wonders of the Veggie Burger and how it is going to save the planet?
The answer to this question is quite simple:
Big Agriculture and Big Food now have a meat substitute that looks, smells and tastes like real meat. They are now moving into mass production and there is a killing to be made (bad pun!).
They can produce a veggie burger pattie at a fraction of the cost of the real deal.
As in the past, their marketing juggernaut is rolling into action but at an unprecedented level:
Junk research is being produced and released weekly. Produced by eager students of nutrition and their professors who rely on commercial sources for funding. On graduation, these students become powerful influencers, dishing out what they cooked up during their studies.
Advertorial and advertising campaigns are being cranked up while look-alike vegan meats are being rolled out. Fast-food chains are now adding the Veggie Burger to their world-wide menus.
Social Media Influencers are being influenced by way of freebies and payments to declare their going vegan to save the planet, along with the obligatory Instagram pic of them eating a delicious Veggie Burger
Is the Veggie Burger healthy for you and your family?
My answer to you is a BIG "No!"
Look at the chain of production and take note of what is not in the Veggie Meat Pattie. What you will discover is that the grains for mass production of these patties can only be sustained by vast monoculture farms that rely on GMO crops that are sprayed with pesticides and herbicides that now contaminate the entire food chain.
There is increasing speculation and growing evidence that these chemical residues from GMO crop production may be contributing to the epidemic of auto-immune disorders such as those affecting the gut, allergies, rheumatic conditions and even autism.
If we are to wholesalely accept the Veggie Burger this can only be sustained on the back of even more and bigger mega, grain-based farms.
Destroy what remains of our natural environments, bulldoze any remaining sustainable farms and pour on the chemicals - what a way to destroy both the planet and our health!
Estrogenic foods - not in my family, thank you!
Grains like soy are "estrogenic" in that they mimic the female hormone, estrogen. They are also "inflammatory". I call estrogen the "nesting hormone". We must be very careful not to cause the condition of estrogen dominance, especially in babies and young people.
Boys risk developing man boobs, small chest, a pre-adolescent paunch and their wedding tackle may never be quite what it might otherwise be. The potential for a manly rock jaw, muscular development, wide shoulders and narrow hips may be drowned in estrogen as might his sperm count.
For the developing female, estrogen dominance equals permanent puppy fat on the hips and waist, physical and emotional fragility, chronic fatigue, heavy painful periods and problems with conditions like endometriosis, PCOS and scoliosis.
Both sexes become more vulnerable to injury, especially to the joints. They are also sitting ducks for viral, yeast and fungal infections. Emotional fragility, fat-gain and fatigue are synonymous with the dominance of estrogen over testosterone.
Organically grown, free-range, grass-fed meat, dairy and eggs that are produced by happy and healthy creatures contain thousands and thousands of precious macro and micronutrients that are not found in the super-highly processed Veggie Burger meat pattie, that is also presumably laced with chemical residues.
Sadly, while being bombarded about the merits of the Veggie Burger and how it is going to save the planet, you will not be hearing this alternative message of caution.