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Plant-based ‘Meat’ Isn’t Always Vegan or Even Vegetarian

Irene Jiang wrote . . . . . . . . .

An outraged vegan just filed a class-action against Burger King, TMZ first reported on Monday.

Phillip Williams claims that Burger King’s Impossible Whopper isn’t truly vegan, as the plant-based patties are prepared on the same grill as beef patties. But Burger King never claimed that the Impossible Whopper was vegan. In fact, the chain told Insider just as much in August.

“While the Impossible Whopper does not contain meat, it is cooked in the same broiler as our beef and chicken,” a spokesperson told Insider. “Guests may ask for the Impossible patty to be prepared in the oven; however, since our restaurants have an open kitchen environment, we don’t label the product as vegan.”

And on Burger King’s website, the nutrition information page for the Impossible lists “egg” as an allergen and notes that, “For guests looking for a meat-free option, a non-broiler method of preparation is available upon request.”

Impossible Burgers and other plant-based “meat” alternatives inherently contain no animal products. If cooked at home, they can easily be prepared vegan. And with the Impossible and Beyond burgers both sold at grocery stores around the country, home cooking may be the ideal way for vegans and vegetarians to consume their plant-based “meats.”

However, those upset at chains like Burger King for preparing plant-based patties next to meat products shouldn’t hold their breath for the implementation of a separate grill for vegan and vegetarian meal preparation. The addition of a separate grill at all restaurants would be an enormously expensive venture for large chains like Burger King, which has over 3,000 US restaurants.

Although much of the excitement around plant-based “meat” alternatives has been from the vegan and vegetarian community, the future-oriented mission of Impossible demands more patience than some have now. In an interview with Business Insider, Impossible Foods CFO David Lee reiterated founder Pat Brown’s vision:

“We expect eventually for Impossible to become the new normal,” he told Business Insider. “Generations from now will look up at their grandmas and say, ‘I can’t believe you used to eat meat from an animal. How barbaric, how unnecessary.'”

But a meatless future doesn’t mean a meatless present. Impossible and Beyond have been strategic in partnering with major chains to spread the plant-based gospel, understanding that their products give consumers the opportunity to consume less meat in a largely meat-eating society.

These companies’ missions require disrupting how people think about eating plant-based foods. They need to prove that plant-based food can be just as delicious, affordable, and accessible as meat-based food. It isn’t vegetarians that Impossible and Burger King are trying to win over, it’s meat eaters.

But before Impossible’s meatless future is here, vegetarians and vegans can have their plant-based “meat” and eat it too. All they have to do is go to a grocery store.

Source: Business Insider

Going Vegetarian Good for Your Heart, But May Up Stroke Risk

Steven Reinberg wrote . . . . . . . . .

Vegetarianism is all the rage these days, but a new study suggests that slicing meat from your diet might raise your risk of stroke slightly.

While vegetarians had a 22% lower risk for heart disease, they had a 20% higher risk for stroke, British researchers found. Meanwhile, people who ate fish but no other meats (pescatarians) had a 13% lower risk of heart disease, with no increased stroke risk.

“The lower risk of heart disease is likely at least partly due to lower weight, lower blood pressure, lower blood cholesterol and lower rates of diabetes linked to pescatarian or vegetarian diets,” said lead researcher Tammy Tong, a nutritional epidemiologist in the Nuffield Department of Population Health at the University of Oxford.

Tong cautioned that this study can’t prove that not eating meat reduces the risk for heart disease or increases the risk for stroke, only that there seems to be a connection.

And the absolute reduction in the risk for heart disease and increased risk for stroke is modest, she said.

“When translated into absolute numbers, this was equivalent to 10 fewer cases of heart disease in the vegetarians than the meat eaters in every 1,000 people eating these diets over 10 years,” Tong said.

As for stroke, three more strokes would be seen among vegetarians compared with meat eaters over the same time, she said.

Why?

Recent evidence suggests that very low cholesterol levels might be linked to a higher risk of hemorrhagic stroke, Tong noted. Vegetarians and vegans might also have low levels of some nutrients, such as vitamin B12, which is only naturally available from animal foods, she added.

“Some research has suggested there may be a link between B12 deficiency and higher stroke risk, but the evidence is not conclusive,” Tong said.

Tong also said that only heart disease and stroke were studied, but other chronic conditions need to be looked at to show the total benefit of a vegetarian diet.

The report was published in the BMJ journal.

Mark Lawrence, a professor of public health nutrition at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, said that dietary guidelines have the best advice for vegetarians as well as for fish and meat eaters.

That’s because they consider dietary associations with multiple health outcomes — not just heart disease and stroke, said Lawrence, who co-authored an accompanying journal editorial.

“Shifting towards a plant-based diet can have personal and planetary health benefits, though it does not necessarily mean becoming a vegetarian,” he said.

For the study, Tong and her colleagues collected data on more than 48,000 men and women, average age 45, with no history of stroke or heart disease.

Among the participants were more than 24,000 meat eaters, about 7,500 pescatarians and more than 16,000 vegetarians and vegans.

During the 18 years of the study, nearly 3,000 people developed heart disease and more than 1,000 suffered a stroke. About 500 of the strokes were caused by blood clots in the brain (ischemic stroke) and 300 resulted from bleeding in the brain (hemorrhagic stroke).

The researchers accounted for factors such as medical history, smoking, use of dietary supplements, and physical activity, which can affect the risk for heart disease and stroke.

One U.S. dietitian noted that there are benefits to vegetarian diets — as long as you include vitamins that may be lacking.

“Vegans and strict vegetarians need to be mindful of obtaining certain nutrients, such as vitamin B12, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids from their diet and supplements,” said Samantha Heller, a senior clinical nutritionist at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City.

Not getting enough of these nutrients may increase the risk of certain health problems, she said.

“That said, a more plant-based approach to eating helps reduce the risk of diseases such as cardiovascular disease, certain cancers and type 2 diabetes,” Heller said.

“You can’t go wrong cutting back on red and processed meats such as beef, pork and ham and adding lentils, chickpeas, tofu, broccoli, spinach or cauliflower to your meals,” Heller advised.

Source: HealthDay


Today’s Comic

In Pictures: Home-cooked Vegetarian and Vegan Dishes

Vegan pad thai with peanut butter and purple sprouting broccoli

Celery and peanut wontons with chilli soy sauce

Vegan tomato curry

Vegan black rice salad with blistered broccoli and miso dressing

Vegan new potato, chard and coconut curry

Paneer, spinach and tomato salad

What’s for Lunch?

Organic Vegetarian Set Lunch at Vegacafe Lotus in Toyohashi City, Japan

The Menu

  • Tofu, Barley and Millet Patty
  • Potato Skin with Soy Protein and Purple Onion
  • Steamed Vegetables and Mushroom
  • Spanish-style Marinated Carrot
  • Eggplant and Zucchini with Sesame Sauce
  • Wakame and Cucumber with Plum Dressing
  • Assorted Beans Salad
  • Veggie Soup
  • Cooked Sprouted Brown Rice