Are you striving to be come vegetarian, vegan, or just eat less meat? You are going to want to read this first!
Get closer to you goals today by downloading 7 Ways to Speed Up Your Metabolism.
Before I really studied the subject of nutrition, I remember thinking a lot of things were good for me to eat that really weren’t. I actually can look back on a memory that is clear as day, which still grosses me out to think about each time I see a certain food product. I was sitting at a desk in one of our offices, at the Hospital Drive gym location and I was studying for my Nutritional exam. I was still in the early stages, but I was at a point in my education that I felt pretty knowledgeable about nutrition. As I was taking notes, I got to a section of information that was about Vegetarianism. I thought to myself, “Ha! Well, I could probably skip this section, I know what being a Vegetarian entails, but I guess I will keep reading anyway.” I tell you what, I sure am glad I kept reading. I came to a part in that section that really stuck with me. What did it say? Well, it showed a list and a few pictures of foods that were considered “Vegetarian” by the FDA. Now, if you have read anything written by me before, you know I would love nothing more than to give the FDA a piece of my mind. And for good reason! For example, a brand of meat-free chicken patties and veggie burgers that is cleared by the FDA to be considered Vegetarian, actually contained OTHER animal products in it!
Can you believe that?
A Vegetarian is defined as someone who does not eat meat. Some people like to stretch the definition to their own liking, by saying they do or do not eat eggs, but don’t eat meat. Or they do or do not eat fish, but don’t eat other types of animal tissue. To each their own. My belief of what labels a Vegetarian, is someone who does not eat the body of any living creature. So, back to this sham of being able to call meatless foods with animal products in them “Vegetarian”. The FDA allowed for other animal products to be put into these foods, because TECHNICALLY (that’s a word I wish I could rip from the FDA’s vocabulary) there isn’t actual meat in there. Just products that could have been sourced from meat products.
Shady stuff, isn’t it?
What stinks is that Vegetarians and even Vegans buy these frozen meat substitutes, thinking they are doing right by their morals and beliefs. These people have put their trust into these food companies and hold them to a high standard. Why? Well, mostly because of packaging, labels and advertisement. Are you likely to buy a Vegetarian burger that has a packaging that shows a man in a Science Lab, standing in his goggles and long white coat, holding a beaker filled with mystery liquid and a dead cow laying in the background? No. I wouldn’t want to particularly clear the shelves of that product if it was advertised that way. However, I am MUCH more likely to buy a Vegetarian burger, that’s packaging is portraying sunny days on a animal-free farm, with wheat blowing in the tall wheat grass fields. That seems much more appealing to the non-meat eaters eye, doesn’t it?
I remember after flooding my brain with that shocking information, I just stared at my laptop screen. I was thinking about my poor sister. She had been a Vegetarian for almost 8 years at that point! She had no idea that one of the brands of meatless foods she had been consuming for all that time, in-fact had other animal products packed in them! I couldn’t stop thinking about how unfair that was. Not only to my sister, but to all the other Vegetarians and Vegans out there in the world.
My point in telling you all this, is so that you can be informed. If you have made the decision to go meat free or all animal product free, take the time to educate yourself on what it is you are buying. Unless it is a food as simple as plain fruit, vegetable or nuts, I HIGHLY recommend that you read up on all the ingredients AND the factories where they are being produced. It may take a little more time, but you will feel MUCH more confident when it comes to the Vegan or Vegetarian foods you choose to buy. A little time set aside for some education never hurt anyone, did it? Especially when it comes to what we put in our mouths! Get informed and get confident!