I abhor concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). They are a wound upon the landscape, an aberration of nature, an affront to the dignity of the animals we raise for food.
That said, you might assume that I’d be a vegan and eschew meat altogether. You’d be wrong. Instead, I opt to purchase humanely-raised meats from local, pasture-based sustainable ranches and farms.
I do enjoy a good many vegan foods — even vegan convenience foods. Just the other day I picked up some of my favorite macaroons (which also happen to vegan) at the store.
So when Vani Hari of Food Babe asked me to write a post decoding labels for Beyond Meat’s Beyond Chicken: Southwest Style Strips, I jumped on board.
Here’s what the manufacturer claims:
“Free of gluten, GMOs, & antibiotics. Cholesterol-free. Real Meat made from 100% Plant Protein. As much protein as chicken.”
Beyond Meat’s Beyond Chicken (Southwest Style Strips): Ingredients
- non-GMO soy protein isolate,
- pea protein isolate,
- vegan chicken flavor (maltodextrin, yeast extract, salt, natural flavoring, sunflower oil),
- non-GMO expeller-pressed canola oil,
- non-GMO soy fiber,
- carrot fiber,
- white vinegar,
- garlic extract,
- onion extract,
- evaporated cane juice,
- dipotassium phosphate,
- titanium dioxide (for color),
- potassium chloride,
- paprika extract.
Beyond Meat’s Beyond Chicken (Southwest Style Strips): DECODED
First, I want to interject a small aside.
How on earth do they get away with calling this “real meat”?
Okay, back to our actual ingredients!
Non-GMO Soy Protein Isolate is the isolated protein of a non-genetically-modified soybean plant. While I applaud the fact that this is GMO-free, I can’t condone eating isolated soy protein. Read up on the history of soy and you’ll see why. Soy protein isolate is nothing more than an industrial waste product.
Even the USDA refuses to grant Soy Protein Isolate its coveted Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status. That means it is not a pre-approved safe food additive. Each time a company wants to add it to a food, they need USDA approval to do so.
In the video below, soy expert Dr. Kaayla T. Daniel (author of The Whole Soy Story) explains.
Thankfully, Pea Protein Isolate is not an industrial waste product. Rather, it is the product of the ever increasing demand by the health food industry for a non-soy plant protein. As more people become aware of the dangers of soy, they’re opting for pea protein instead. Generally, I dislike isolating individual nutrients if our great-grandparents didn’t also have the technology to do so in their own kitchens. That’s the rebel in me — the one that’s for eating according to the wisdom of our ancestors.
Amaranth is an ancient, gluten-free psuedo-grain that accounted for nearly 80% of the caloric intake of the Aztecs.
Maltodextrin is a kind of sugar produced by hydrolizing starch and is most likely used here as a thickener and sweetener. It’s most often made from genetically-modified corn, although GMO-free versions can be sourced from benign sources like cassava. Given that the ingredient list does not specifically say “non-GMO maltodextrin,” I felt compelled to ask Beyond Meat where they sourced their maltodextrin. They have not yet gotten back to me.
On their website, you can read the exact wording of their non-GMO claim:
We choose to side with Mother Nature and use only non-GMO ingredients, including herbs, flours, oils and, of course, our carefully cultivated soy and pea proteins.
It sounds pretty straightforward, but then I wonder why the ingredients label specifically claims which ingredients are “non-GMO”? Perhaps the only GMO-free ingredients are the “herbs, flours, oils and … proteins” leaving ingredients like maltodextrin free to be made from GMO corn?
Unfortunately, yeast extract always contains processed free glutamic acid — also known as MSG, or mono-sodium glutamate. Furthermore, natural flavors and spices can hide MSG too. (Read more about why MSG is dangerous.)
For more on where MSG may be hiding in your food labels, I’ve created a handy, downloadable, easy-to-print guide for you.
Spices usually refers to a pre-mixed spice blend that’s added somewhere in the food manufacturing process. Unfortunately, it’s an ambiguous label because you don’t have to specify what exactly is in the spice blend. So, it could be hiding anything, including MSG.
Unfortunately, it’s perfectly legal for a company to say their food product has “No added MSG” so long as they don’t add an ingredient called “monosodium glutamate” to their food. MSG, however, hides in more than 40 commonly used ingredients in industrial food — ingredients like yeast extract. This means MSG can sneak up on you in a whole host of foods that don’t technically have a single ingredient called monosodium glutamate listed on their label.
Non-GMO Expeller-Pressed Canola Oil is trying. It’s trying SO HARD. Trying to actually be healthy. Disturbed that most rapeseeds (from which canola oil is derived) are GMO? Have these non-GMO ones. Concerned that most canola oil is extracted with chemicals like hexane? Have this expeller-pressed oil instead.
Unfortunately, canola oil, no matter how you greenwash it, is never going to be a healthy oil. That’s because — no matter how you make it — the oil goes rancid in the extraction process, so it has to be bleached and deodorized to make it palatable:
You see, prior to the industrial revolution, making seed-based cooking oils was far too labor intensive and (in many cases) downright impossible. All the ancient cooking oils (like coconut oil, palm oil, olive oil, etc.) are easily pressed out of the plant without needing extremely high-pressure or high-temperature extraction.
After the industrial revolution, we had the technology necessary to create modern seed-based cooking oils. So, we did.
But the process of making and refining these oils translates into one thing: rancid polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). PUFAs don’t hold up well to heat or pressure. The same is true for both organic canola and organic soy oil. Soybean oil is roughly 58% polyunsaturated fatty acids — nearly twice that of canola! So, in the process of being extracted from the seed, these oils oxidize and many of them plasticize (turn into trans fats). The end result is stinky and unappetizing, so the oil is further “cleaned” using bleach or alternative chemicals to deodorize it.
Non-GMO Soy Fiber falls prey to the same faults as soy protein isolate, and like carrot fiber it makes the mistake of isolating a single nutrient from the whole plant in a way that would have been entirely unfamiliar to our great-grandparents.
White Vinegar sounds rather innocuous, but (in the U.S. at least), almost all distilled vinegar is made from genetically-modified corn. If you’re trying to opt out of the GMO food supply, then you’ll want to avoid distilled vinegar in favor of more robust kinds like apple cider vinegar (made from apples) or balsamic vinegar (made from grapes). Given that the ingredients list did not expressly state “Non-GMO White Vinegar,” I also asked Beyond Meat about where they source their vinegar and am still waiting for a reply.
Dipotassium Phosphate and potassium chloride are food additives commonly used as preservatives — both to slow the growth of bacteria and/or to act as a humectant (a substance preventing moisture loss). They are likely added here to extend the shelf-life of the food product. Dipotassium phosphate runs a slight risk for the development of calcium phosphate stones in people with alkaline urine. If you’re suffering from hyperphosphatemia or impaired kidney function, you should not take phosphates.
And finally, titanium dioxide is a mineral that occurs in nature. Here, it’s being used as a pigment because the color of pea and soy proteins in no way resemble chicken.
While it’s arguably safe to consume this “natural” food coloring, I still wouldn’t want to. Here’s why.
Beyond Meat’s Beyond Chicken (Southwest Style Strips): THE VERDICT
This is a no brainer!
What should I eat instead?
Real meat. And by real, I mean that it’s actually the flesh of an animal (preferably one that’s raised on pasture or in the wild).
For more on that read Grass-Fed Meats: Health Benefits.
(Where to Buy Grass-Fed & Wild Meats)
If you are a vegan and won’t eat humanely-raised meats, then I am sorry to say that I have found no suitable “meat substitute” available on the market. Instead, you’ll simply have to eat a well-balanced diet of pulses, legumes, grains, nuts, veggies, and fruits.
If you are a vegetarian, rather than relying on edible food-like “meat alternatives,” you’d do better to include real animal foods from sustainable sources like eggs from pastured hens (BEWARE of deceptive labels like “cage-free” and “organic”) and sustainably-caught wild seafood (where I get mine).
Want Your Labels Decoded?
In this series on Decoding Labels, I’m highlighting deceptive labeling practices, hidden ingredients, and more! If you’ve got a particular label pet-peeve you’d like me to share, please feel free to email me with your idea. It may just turn into a blog post!
Thanks, Vani, for submitting this one!
It’s a sad truth about what REAL food means. Recently, I have created the habit of checking on the labels. This ensures my family and I about the food we are eating. And yes, the food you eat is important. I have tried buying organic products including meat. It taste different and I have noticed how well my body reacted with it.
Shame on you eating innocent animals
Victoria Mink via Facebook says
not organic – yes, but they are non-GMO. That being said, I really hated the way it tastes. Tried it once and never coming back to it again.
Julie Sullivan via Facebook says
I thought it tssted good
Lisa Adkins Havard via Facebook says
Were is the non gmo verified project seal? I don’t see it on the front
Vee Stephen Lanverton via Facebook says
There needs to be tightening of ‘non-meat’ products ingredients transparency, the amount of people that are fooled by ‘inner child’ packaging & fro-fro names like ‘apple smoked artisan’ GARBAGE for big globs of gluten, soy w/spices is scandalous – again, READ THE INGREDIENTS people and know who you are dealing with BIG FOOD isn’t going to miss an opportunity to make a buck in this burgeoning market.. they’ll just call it ‘Old Creek Road’ or some shit !
The Vital Blend via Facebook says
Even beyond the GMO questions, it’s not REAL food. It’s highly concentrated proteins made to look like real foods. Just not something we should be consuming on a regular basis.
Kimberly Brannon via Facebook says
If you are going to eat the contents then you might as well eat the packaging it come in. Just as beneficial to the human body, I’m sure.
Fran Bernitz via Facebook says
My philosophy at @YourHealthIsYourWealth is to eat real, whole unprocessed food. This assuredly doesn’t fit that description.
Catalina Galeano via Facebook says
Simply… Disgusting !!!!
John Madden via Facebook says
“Meh.” Fake meats full of junk still less dangerous than real meat.
Could you please explain your stance on fake meat versus real meat, John Madden? How is fake meat less dangerous than real meat as you say?
Diane Gembrin via Facebook says
Being a nutritarian myself i will continue to make my own food. We can not trust the food manufactures of the world.
Carla Lima via Facebook says
Beth @ Hooked on Health says
Love the new site. So clean! It was worth all the stress!
I have NEVER eaten a single fake”meat” product. Not even during my vegan days. I knew that taking one thing and making it look like something else was just wrong. Instead I learned to cook with real food like beans and legumes and whole grains. I am paleo now so I no longer consume grains or beans and I am happy and healthy.
Sandy Lopez via Facebook says
Jennifer Tatom via Facebook says
Glad I seen this article, just received a coupon in the mail for a free beyond meat product. I do love my coupons but this is one I won’t be using.
thank you for your detailed analysis of the fake food like substances! I would also suggest as an alternative for vegetarians to eat real grains, beans, nuts seeds etc. I am no longer vegan as it was really bad for my health and like you purchase eggs and meat from small family farmers. My sister who eats like I do is engaged to a man who has been vegetarian for many years–he ate a lot of fake meat products. She is now teaching him to eat healthy real foods–cooking delicious bean soups and quinuoa dishes and then adding some real meat for herself. He loves it and now feels so much healthier. It does help that he is not a strict vegan –will eat some eggs and cheese locally sourced..
Nicole Doncaster via Facebook says
Claire Bokor via Facebook says
The problem is 95% of meat is not raised in a humane organic sustainable environment, which means 95% of Americans are consuming hormone and antibiotic pumped meat. This article is very misleading for the average American who may actually care about the treatment of animals. And let’s maybe have a conversation about those factory farming practices, the environmental damage of producing meat and the water used to do so. This article is picking and choosing very specific pieces of this product that obviously fit her personal agenda. Why not recommend an alternative vegan product rather than just saying ‘eat meat’?
Jd Achille says
Agreed! “Why not recommend an alternative vegan product rather than just saying ‘eat meat’?”
I was going to post the same comment
I appreciate learning about the ingredients in various foods but if someone eats this because they don’t want to eat meat (regardless of the reason)
An alternative for a vegan product should be another vegan product.
I saw an ad on my shopping cart and had the same question: How can they legally get away with calling this real meat? *Gag* no thank you.
But the thought of a real dead animal in your cart doesn’t make you gag?
Duncan Thistlethwaite via Facebook says
The penchant some vegans and “vegan companies” have for fake meats is beyond logic. Fake animal flesh… yum… *eyeroll~
Áine Kmen via Facebook says
Exactly, Claire. I agree. And I think even animals who are humanely raised don’t get to stay in that category when they end up on someone’s plate.
Candice Sunshine Walker via Facebook says
My sons soy allergies were a blessing in disguise for this vegetarian family. Along my journey of ditching the soy meat replacers I learned how awful those fake meats really are for you. We no longer buy them and I’ve seen improvements in not only my son’s health but mine as well.
Debbie Kelley via Facebook says
I agree! I am an omnivore, but I do like to tease my vegetarian/vegan friends and tell them I’m going to cook prime rib for dinner, cut it into little trees, dye it green, and pretend I’m eating broccoli. 😉
Trudy Getler says
I love the article son this site and the giveaway a great idea. Good luck everyone. But I do have a comment about the “Real Meat made from 100% Plant Protein.” Like you, my first thought was how can they claim that to be real meat? My next thought was due to my pet peeve-why would a vegetarian want food that looks or looks and taste like real meat? Maybe it’s just me but I would think that anyone who is a vegetarian because they find real “real meat” cruel and distasteful they wouldn’t want a fake type.. I love most vegetarian foods and incorporate them in my weekly meal planning. But I don’t like fake meats.Like you I do however allow myself to indulge in free range, grass fed, antibiotic free, humanely-raised meats from local sustainable ranches and farms.
Carolina Lievanos via Facebook says
Eliza Marez via Facebook says
Hmmm… I was expecting it to be worse? All in all, they are trying to make it healthier than I would expect.
Susan Shek via Facebook says
Kathleen Holmes-Jack via Facebook says
I agree! I never did understand fake meat veggies all the way.
Stacey Herbst Long via Facebook says
Thank you for all your information!!
Joy Bruso via Facebook says
Lisa Michele Watts you might want to read this
Letitia Candelaria via Facebook says
Why decode beyond meat but still haven’t decode how grass feed animals are unsustainable?
Anavah Yahudah via Facebook says
Love there products!
Rose Immortal via Facebook says
Nothing wrong with eating these in moderation. You can’t live in fear, everything’s bad for you, so what do you eat?
Debbie Hendrickson via Facebook says
Love my organic grassfed meat!
Letitia Candelaria via Facebook says
Or better yet why don’t you decode cows milk?
Gwen Markes Henson via Facebook says
I find the decoding of this product very UN alarming. I don’t rely too heavily on these meat analogs, but much more sustainable to the environment
Deanna Bailey via Facebook says
I totally agree with Claire and can sympathize with Candice. I have a severe food allergy that dramatically limits the processed foods I can eat. I used to love eating fake meats, but they would make my stomach feel like they were being ripped apart inside. The majority of fake meats are highly processed and contain GMOs. Does that mean the alternative should be real meat? No. Meat has a dark side and truth to it when it comes to factory farming, and the treating process meat goes through before it even hits the market. Farming is nothing like it used to be within even my own lifetime, much less my grandparents. The author cannot speak as a whole for those of us who are fully committed vegans or vegetarians. There are many other alternative veg-friendly options out there that are unprocessed. My suggestion: make your own. It takes some getting used to, but it is a fun challenge.
Maria Thomas-Ragland via Facebook says
Glutamic acid is not monosodium glutamate. Rather, MSG is made *from* glutamic acid. It is possible to be sensitive to too much glutamic acid in a food–it’s an amino acid, and any amino acid way out of balance with general intake can be a problem–but it’s not going to have the exact same health effects as eating MSG.
I went and looked on the FDA website and they’re saying pretty much the same thing you’re saying, though I don’t 100 percent trust the FDA (or the USDA) to get everything right about food ingredients. I’ve been curious for a while about how common it is to find sodium salts of amino acids in nature and have never been able to find a straight answer. BUT, you find glutamates not only in hydrolyzed proteins and yeast extracts but ALSO in things like tomatoes and cheeses and seaweed broth. I’m sure you don’t tell your readers to avoid those foods. I live with someone who’s MSG-sensitive, and he manages them just fine.
Aside from that you’re pretty much spot on. And meat was never just about the protein anyway–it’s got vitamins and minerals along for the ride that are difficult-to-impossible to source from plants in their most bioavailable forms. Plus it takes a lot less work and is far more ecologically friendly to source your energy from appropriately-fed animal fats than it is to source it from grains or legumes.
Kristen Michaelis says
I think if you follow the link to my post about MSG, I make the same points that you do. The distinction about which glutamic acids cause reactions in sensitive people is also made. The kind we need to worry about are “processed free glutamic acids.” These actually don’t occur in nature, and yeast extract contains them (which tomatoes, a source of glutamates, does not).
Paulette Ponte via Facebook says
Eating animals is not the answer even if they are grass fed and humanely raised
Michelle Green via Facebook says
I worry about the GMOs in these products. I like meat substitutes in moderation but would love to find organic options.
Gina Palmer via Facebook says
Max, I have some of this in my freezer. I thought it was a good meat alternative. I guess not. I do not eat meat. Do you know of any meat alternatives that are okay to consume? Thanks! Btw, I have a 5 year old son named Max. Love the name! 🙂
Michelle Green via Facebook says
And so glad I read this because I had no idea distilled vinegar was a GMO.
Theo Bern via Facebook says
Soy is full of estrogen
Jase Mill via Facebook says
When I was younger we used to eat fake meat. We had no idea and thought we were doing good by eating a Boca bratwurst instead of a real one. We were fooled. That was years ago… never again.
Jennie Neil via Facebook says
Affording sustainable grass fed meat is out of reach for so many people, I think this would be a good choice every now and then if it means they pass by the hormone and antibiotic pumped meat. And if the labeling of processed food is so misleading, who is watching these animals from birth to ensure they are not ingesting anything undesirable through their entire life cycle? Do the best you can with what you have. I really like the premise of Food Babe, however, I feel as though the execution is missing the mark for me lately.
Wow, this is really well put. I’ve had so many Vegans tell me I’m brainwashed lately it’s making my head spin. I’m still very confident that eating meat is essential to living well, but I keep wondering were to they get their information? Obviously not science or history. If people believe that it’s okay to eat lab isolated protein in place of whole food than I don’t see why they don’t just eat GMO’s!
Is cleaning with distilled white vinegar okay? I use it in my laundry.
Colleen Beth Young via Facebook says
I’ve been a strict veggie for 39 yrs and do not eat fake meat. Never saw the point.
Carolyn Cardona says
Thank you for the information provided, it was wonderful until the end. What should I eat instead? Real meat, really? The answer is inconsiderate to those of us that do not eat meat or to those that choose to eat less meat. Products like Beyond meat are used by many vegans and vegetarians like myself so real meat is not an option. Some of us prefer this over a dead animal on our table. Meat, even if grass fed, still has an impact on the environment. Yes, it might be less, but it still has an impact. In addition, all Americans cannot be fed on grass fed meat because it would require the whole world to have land for grass-fed animals. The point of Beyond Meat is to eat less meat. There is plenty of plant-based sources of protein that would have been better to address the question of what should you eat instead! Finally, the references to this article are from other articles written by yourself. This is non-scientific resources and not reliable when you try to make a point. As a healthcare professional, graduate student and researcher I mostly value when people use reliable resources!
Kristen Michaelis says
Hi Carolyn. Thank you for your feedback. I edited the bit at the end to include recommendations for vegans and vegetarians. Also, please note that I’ve been blogging for more than 5 years and written thousands of articles. In that time I’ve written many well-researched “tentpole” articles that do cite scientific research. I think you’ll see that if you follow my links, you’ll find the well-researched articles you’re looking for (my post on soy, for example cites more than 500 different studies!).
Nichole Tongg via Facebook says
I didn’t appreciate her “suggested solution” of eating real meat instead of this product. How stupid is that recommendation to people who buy a vegan product. What a moron.
Katie Marie via Facebook says
I feel fake meat is generally a transitioning product and not one for every day life. But I really can’t tolerate people advocating against vegetarianism and veganism. I like food babe’s hardcore research on finding out hidden crap inside our food.. But she’s walking a fine line between food research and anti-plant based.
Heather Davis via Facebook says
I think you should decode humanly raised/pasture raised. Those terms are more often than not BS marketing tools so people can get good feels while eating steak, nothing more, nothing less.
Daniella Hernandez via Facebook says
If it doesn’t say GMO free or Organic I’m not buying it
Maureen Maher Brinker via Facebook says
Marilyn Maher Vogel read this!
Carolyn Soto via Facebook says
It is upsetting that you would promote this article, especially on Meatless Monday. What should I eat instead? Real meat, really? The answer is inconsiderate to those of us that do not eat meat or to those that choose to eat less meat. Products like Beyond Meat are targeted for many vegans and vegetarians like myself, so meat is not an option. Some of us prefer this over a dead animal on our table. Meat, even if grass fed, still has an impact on the environment. Yes, it might be less, but it still has an impact. In addition, all Americans cannot be fed on grass fed meat because it would require the whole world to have land for grass-fed animals. The point of Beyond Meat is to eat less meat. Yes, I agree Beyond Meat is not a very healthy option but it’s cruelty-free and does not have the environmental impact meat does. There is plenty of plant-based sources of protein that are healthier and would have been better to address the question of what should you eat instead! Regardless of where meat comes from, Americans need to eat less of it, period!
Leslie Madill via Facebook says
Jennie- I agree. “Do the best with what you have” is exactly right. So much hysterical “This is bad” “this causes cancer” “this has GMOS” is food shaming and fear-inducing. I developed a bad case of orthorexia and could barely allow myself anything to eat because of all of the rules and fear. However, it is important to know that in many parts of the world, including in remote parts of Alaska, a part of our United States, people can’t even get access to fresh food due to climate/geography at all and rely on packaged/processed goods for survival. Calories. To live. I would love to see Food Babe go somewhere like Unalakleet and evaluate their food sources. Sometimes a BPA-laden GMO vegetable in a can and some seal meat is a gourmet meal and it might be eye opening to go do something in regards to really looking into our country’s, and the globe’s, food supply. I can’t turn my nose up to people’s food choices that are different from mine.
Paul Kennedy via Facebook says
I have bought this product a few times and noticed how sneaky the ingredient list was regarding the Non GMO. It is mentioned in a small portion and completely separate from the whole list. Also the fact that is isn’t certified Non GMO should give a clue. Needless to say it was nice until I wised up to what was going on. I hate being lied to and played a fool by F’d up food companies.
Sheryl Lee Groth-Cuevas via Facebook says
Annie LePage via Facebook says
I personally do not like processed food of any kind. This was a great article but his suggestion to eat meat is really lame considering this is a vegan product. She should have suggest adding chickpeas or other beans to stews or making nut pate to get a good source of protein. Plus meat often have antibiotics, gmo and horrible living conditions. Pasture raise does not mean much in this country. It’s usually a labeling scam
Tera Greenberg via Facebook says
Amy Campbell via Facebook says
I am so glad that so many other commenters are calling bullshit on this article. My eyes were about to roll out of my head as I was reading this, not just because I am a vegan, but because it is so biased. I’m glad I’m not the only one feeling this way. I’m so sick of buzzwords such as “humanely raised” and “grass-fed”. There is no such thing as humane meat. It does not matter how the meat was raised, ultimately these animals are slaughtered so well off snobs can pay an exorbitant amount of money for it and feel like they’re doing something right in this world. Until these women are out there raising and slaughtering their own animals, I have zero respect for them or their opinions on eating meat. To suggest that we should avoid an ingredient, not only because it is not the healthiest choice, but because it is not approved by the freaking USDA is just ridiculous. The USDA is a joke.
Mary Light says
Yet sometimes I really wonder why it is always the vegans who sound so snarky, if their diet is elevating their consciousness so much.
(Ex: “what a moron”, “I have zero respect for them”)
I am curious- in what way is this article “biased”?
Really, being a vegan is such a first world problem. I would love to see how any of you would last in a traditional society- you know,
the kind we have had on earth for millennia, and still have huge pockets of? I guess the world is just full of “inhumane” people- or, are
they just Human People?
Stefany B Robert via Facebook says
Wow! Recommending soy? Yikes! Totally lost my support…sounds like you have some reading up to do on Weston Price!
OT, but, if you have a minute, do you mind listing the painted churches that you mentioned in the e-mail post linking to this post or maybe a link to a list? Sounds awesome 🙂
Kristen Michaelis says
Sure thing! Here’s a little bit about them. Basically they were built by immigrant families from Europe who had been used to worshiping in the ancient cathedrals and chapels that litter the European landscape. They couldn’t build epic stone structures as settlers in rural Texas, so they built the typical wooden churches that are so common in the american prairies. Then they painted the interior to look like ornate woodwork, stone, marble, and gold. You can see some of the photos I took on my Instagram.
Stephanie Draper via Facebook says
Nooo Tera I loved these
Alissa Joy Knuutila via Facebook says
I agree that whole foods are much better. However, faux meats help some people transition to vegetarianism easier. I am a fan of them because they do have less saturated fat and cholesterol. If it’s vegan, there is no cholesterol. There are definitely perks as long as people know they should be consumed in moderation. Consuming no or less meat has enormous health and environmental benefits.
Erica Springer via Facebook says
Humane meat does not exist.
Juliana Linnehan via Facebook says
Juliana Linnehan via Facebook says
Guess I will have to start making more pesto! Carla Lima 😉
Stephanie Mancini via Facebook says
Good post food babe, as a former vegan chef who developed sever allergies to soy and gluten working with these “foods” if you can call them that I agree these foods should be avoided. Eat meat, don’t eat meat… Either way… Don’t eat this crap, it’s not food and your body doesn’t know what to do with it! If you don’t want to eat meat then cool, eat all the thousands of other natural food choices. FYI sat fat and cholesterol are not what you need to avoid. Much needed vitamins are found in sat fat. And the cholesterol studies of the 80’s and 90’s were lies paid for by big pharma to sell statins.
Gina Iliff via Facebook says
Yuck, this stuff scares me. I take issue with one of the ingredients stated as “naturally occurring”.
Titanium Dioxide, while naturally occurring in this chemical form, is actually broken down by laser to particulates so small they can be dispersed easily into sunscreens, toothpastes, deodorants, used as a glossy candy coating or used to make skim milk or white cheeses look more white. Where it becomes harmful to some, estimated at around 2-3% of the population (though I expect more, it’s often undiagnosed because it is so prevalent) is with that tiny particle size. It gets into your skin and gums and who knows what it does in your stomach, but I have personally gotten rashes, had weak and bleeding gums, and had my entire face swell up to the point I couldn’t see due to the stuff. The last experience took a full 6+ months to heal entirely, with my skin drying up and coming off in chunks as I slowly detoxed.
After many inconclusive doctors visits I finally found the link to all my problems was the titanium dioxide, and once cutting it out of my diet and beauty products (it’s in a ton of makeup, including “natural mineral” varieties) I have had healthier skin, gums and I actually sun burn LESS now than I used to. I can only imagine the havoc it wreaked on my gut, thankfully transitioning to REAL food has helped me come a long way on my path to health.
I used to have a link for a study in mice where titanium dioxide has been shown to actually be so small it can enter into a cell and physically cut DNA strands, leading to tumors. I will post it here if I can find it again, but there are numerous studies being conducted on the effects of this chemical.
There is no such thing as ‘humanely-raised meats’.
Also the USDA thinks Dominoes Peppinorni pizza is acceptible to serve in our children’s schools and classes it as a portion of vegetables, why would have faith in what they say??
Micki Mathis via Facebook says
I’m so TIRED of discovering new vegan alternatives only to find out it contains poison. The food industry is an effing joke.
Emilio Carrero via Facebook says
Oh no Juliana Linnehan
Sandy Tucker-Kitterman via Facebook says
Make your own fake meat. It is pretty easy and you can make it without soy. Tastes good and no weird things in it. Use all organic non GMO ingredients. I have not eaten meat for over 30years because I do not want to see any animal suffer, raised humanely or not. There is no such thing as humane slaughter.
Danielle DeCola Shub via Facebook says
What do you think is really in your “humanely-raised” and “grass-fed” meat? There is no such thing as humanely-raised meat to begin with. And meat that claims to be free of antibiotics is not so–it just means that the very last place an animal goes before slaughter, it is not given antibiotics, which means that antibiotics can be fed to an animal most of its life and still have that label. Also, meat–humanely-raised and grass-fed included–is full of chemicals to slow down bacteria growth, blood and feces (both from animals and the humans that work at slaughterhouses). And with diseases that run rampant amongst animals raised for slaughter, I would eat Beyond Meat any day.
Mary Light says
So it has MSG too (“yeast extract” ). Generally any time you see the word “isolate” this is really a drug- something isolated from
it’s natural surrounding constuients.
Linda Marchiony Francis via Facebook says
why do people think just because it doesn’t contain meat, that it’s healthier? I eat meat (grass-fed, and organic, of course), and I’m healthy. Many vegans aren’t healthy because they eat nothing but processed food
Sherry Bolinger via Facebook says
I liked soy products. But I realized how HIGHLY processed they can be. They’re UN-natural, unless they are the traditional preparations, such as natto.
Amy Campbell via Facebook says
^ I eat vegan, soy protein isolate, gluten filled foods (in moderation of course) and I’m healthy. Why do people who eat meat (grass-fed and organic, of coooourse) think that what is “healthy” for them is “healthy” for everyone else? Though these foods are not necessarily “healthy” they are hardly poison. Dairy and meats rotting in your guts are the real poisons.
Carmen Pederson Hunter via Facebook says
Wow Amy: ” It does not matter how the meat was raised, ultimately these animals are slaughtered so well off snobs can pay an exorbitant amount of money for it and feel like they’re doing something right in this world. Until these women are out there raising and slaughtering their own animals, I have zero respect for them or their opinions on eating meat. ” THAT was harsh. Whew. As a former NON red meat eater (yes I ate fish and occasional poultry) I can tell you that I started eating grass fed (non grain finished) meat again b/c my VERY life depended on it. I had very low iron for years, NOTHING raised it (no non heme plant based iron, no supplements etc. and my digestion was GREAT and gut healed so it was the quality of the iron that was lacking) until I started eating red meat again. Iron has been normal ever since. And for the record….calling people who eat “expensive meat” snobs? is kind of uncalled for. I don’t pay for my fingernails to be done, I don’t dye my hair (in fact I cut it every 5-6 months), my landscaping looks like crap even though I live in a decent home and I wear a lot of clothes from Target. WHY? SO I can afford grass fed HUMANELY raised meat. If someone’s priorities aren’t like yours it sure doesn’t make them a snob. I own four RESCUE dogs and have been in animal welfare volunteer work for over 13 years and can say that I love ALL animals deeply…but I care more about people. Something I think lacks with some folks. 🙁
Michael Ng via Facebook says
Scary about Soy Protein Isolate History! I use to eat that junk in protein drinks. Organic soy beans, great!
Emily Farias via Facebook says
I rather eat a well balance plant based diet than eat the fake meat. I don’t eat meat so why would I want to eat something that’s like it? No thanks!!
Melanie Hersh via Facebook says
GO VEGAN! Your body, the planet, the animals on it, your children, and your children’s children’s children will thank you for it! You don’t need fake meat, soy, or anything processed to be strong and healthy! As Food Babe says, just eat REAL FOOD! Start to see animals as FRIENDS, NOT food! Your 10 minute meal is the ENTIRE LIFE of a poor, innocent cow, chicken, pig, or duck!
John Elligott via Facebook says
We hardly ever ate these things. When we did we thought soy was good! Ha, we’ve come a long way. No more fake meat and no soy either. Both bad stuff.
John Elligott via Facebook says
Not sure about Vegan… if a bear ran into me in the forest… I’m sure he’d eat me! I personally think meat is needed for a well-balanced diet. I respect Vegans but everyone makes different conclusions. Best.
John Roulac via Facebook says
Soy protein isolate is grown with Monsanto Roundup being sprayed several times( including a spray kill step a few days before harvest) then the beans are soaked in a bath with toxic hexane to remove the oil. This is not fit for human consumption. The worst of worst soy and we should expect better from suppliers. Lentils and mung beans are rich in protein and can be easily made into healthy home meals.
People need to awake to the realities of industrial foods !!
Emilia Lanier via Facebook says
Carmen, yes this is the problem I have all the time with fundamentalist vegans (which would be most I’ve run across). Gee, I’m really sorry the one food category I’ve had zero reactions to is red meat. Even crappy red meat won’t make me sick.
But all this processed faux meat sure will. Also most legumes, quite a few other protein filled veggies, and most certainly unfermented soy.
I won’t apologize to anyone for choosing not to die or not to end up in the ER.
When someone is willing to pay my doctor bills and nurse me through their uninformed dietary recommendations, I might even considering listening.
In the meantime, it’s the vegans who are getting all judgey when they have not walked in my moccasins who come off as snobbish.
I plan on minding on my own plate. Anyone who can’t rise to that level of basic respect can expect to be shown a piece of my arse 😉
Jennifer Redwine via Facebook says
Casein is not a carcinogen any more than soy protein, although soy protein can worsen certain types of breast and reproductive cancers. As someone who is unable to eat wheat or soy, fake meat is not even in the realm of possibilities in most cases (though there are some sunflower seed and quinoa seed based burgers that I can eat).
U VS. U Fitness via Facebook says
I tried this and it tasted like dog food! #YUK!
Mary Light via Facebook says
Gina Iliff wow interesting!
Carla Golden says
I am mostly vegan and avoid these processed vegan “foods.” In fact, I have written about the dangers inherent in the world of such organic vegan foods here: http://bit.ly/1wwufRc . Thank you for analyzing this product. While it might serve as a convenient transition food, it is dangerous to eat these for the long term. Processed vegan foods are what have caused many nutritionally uneducated vegan-hopefuls to abandon their conversion. Here are some great meats to have instead: fruit meat, nut meat, vegetable meat, etc.
Mia Courtney Matthews via Facebook says
Nacole S. Smith
Holly Barton Kolstad via Facebook says
Bummer… I’ve been buying this product (the “Beef” ones) from New Seasons the last few months. Thanks for once again steering me & my family in the right direction by skipping these!
Erin Alexander via Facebook says
Zanna Alice Tangen via Facebook says
wow Gina. thanks for sharing.
Belinda Rumble via Facebook says
I agree go for the nuts and seeds
Real Food. Real Life. via Facebook says
Agreed. Substituting processed food for meat is not healthier. If you are not going to eat meat, simply don’t eat it! Simple as that 🙂
Karen Abbruscato Cuccaro via Facebook says
Cindy Reyes Weedman via Facebook says
I tried it, strange product. I’ll eat anything at work!.. But I will not buy it again.
Brooke Chenoweth Rossignolo via Facebook says
Ana Rodriguez via Facebook says
Lisa Bishop Austin via Facebook says
Chad N Sonya Dumas. I think u had these. Read this.
Kathleen Graas says
I did not need to read it…I knew IMMEDIATELY that I would not eat it, because I ONLY eat WHOLE foods…or combined whole foods, which I personally have combined. This is a processed food, therefore, not on MY lists of “edible or “food”. I once tested “Vegan” recipes for a cookbook author…except I could not test many of the recipes because most contained processed foods…which I would under no circumstance consider “Vegan”. Corporate America seems determined to fool people! I am not Vegan, but neither will I eat this kind of crap OR any meat that is not 100% pasture raised.
Lily Toppenberg via Facebook says
When food manufacturers take out the meat, fat and sugar, they generally put in far worse crap.
TJ Thompson via Facebook says
I’m always baffled by people who are so repulsed by eating animals that they deliberately form their beans, grains, vegetables, and legumes to look just like meat.
Show me what part of a cow,pig looks like a hotdog, meatball, bologna etc…meat eaters make their meat/animals look like vegetables… you got it backwards.
Leah Renee via Facebook says
But once in a while when u have a craving this is healthier and a KIND way to enjoy an old favorite
Meagan Justine Magnuson via Facebook says
Lexy Scott via Facebook says
As a vegan, I just can’t eat “fake meat”, especially when it is deliberately advertised as the fake flesh of an animal. I would never eat “fake kitten flesh” and mm and aww over the taste, same goes for pigs, chickens, cows, … Healthy or not, these products gross me out!
Maria Camila Rosales via Facebook says
Mira esto Pa Bayron Rosales
Krissy Wetzel Addy via Facebook says
I have had Beyond Meat products twice. Both times I was violently ill. I have no idea what made me sick, but something it their products do not agree with me. Awful!
OMG. I googled beyond meat made me sick and found this page. I was violently ill from November until February after making a meatloaf with their beyond beef crumbles and couldn’t figure out what did it. This week I had chilli made with that product and felt crappy. I sat and pieced together that this is the only common factor. I’m vegan and most other substitutes I have tried have zero effect on me like the Beyond meat products. Eating raw for the next few months to get it out of my system.
Does anyone see the irony in the whole “vegan” thing? If you think eating meat is such a terrible thing, why…WHY… must you formulate your food to emulate MEAT???? Vegan CHICKEN flavor, really? Chicken shapes on the packaging-really? Could somebody tell them to please eat a chicken if they want a chicken?
Alicia Rose via Facebook says
You gotta live and eat what you want in moderation. I’m getting tired of food babe, she’s just irritating me more than helping me. I have some good tips I’ve gotten but that’s about it. I love my gardein fishless filets and orange chicken, all vegan, processed, but still healthier than disgusting stress hormone filled meat
Anna Desourdy via Facebook says
Debra Schroeder via Facebook says
Alicia Rose.. you can just make a decision to not follow her anymore.. instead of talking bad about her on her own page. That’s just rude. She’s just trying to educate us on the truth. If you don’t like it then go.
Amanda Kertz via Facebook says
I do love these products – but this is a well researched article. I appreciate being informed and will keep these facts in mind
James Tarraga via Facebook says
This isn’t the truth. It’s alarmist bullshit.
Mandy Nabors via Facebook says
What are your thoughts Anna ?
Darius A Dailey via Facebook says
Anna Desourdy via Facebook says
Mandy my thoughts: everything in moderation. Eating a scientifically created meat replacement over a natural whole food probably isn’t a good idea if you choose it every time. But once in a while, like anything else, isn’t the end of the world.
Mandy Nabors via Facebook says
I agree Anna .
Christine Johnson Hanses via Facebook says
so discuraged with trying to find chips to go with my salsa… I thought I had a good one cause they changed to ones that were non gmo… so found another only to find that they are not non gmo… and then went to Whole foods and got theirs…only to find that even though it is labeled as non gmo it is not… how can I keep up if I feel like I’m chasing my tail….
Brittany Carlson via Facebook says
Amy you should probably read this!
Rachel Elizabeth via Facebook says
I’m not really a fan of fake meats because they taste awful. But some I do like. And I don’t appreciate this article suggesting the reader to eat the flesh of an animal instead. If I am a vegan or vegetarian and choose to eat fake meats over killing an animal then I will do so. Or if I choose to get my protien solely from plants then I will do so as well.
Kelly Peters via Facebook says
Seeing this made me think of you Amber St. Peter
Pamela McCullough via Facebook says
I like their products but I only use the beefy! It has no soy! Just pea protein
Loree Evers Shine via Facebook says
you don’t want to eat it because it tastes horrible..the end!
Eva Emese Redford via Facebook says
What about Gardein? @foodbabe please help!
Jenessa Nagore via Facebook says
i made a “faux meat” just last week with jackfruit. it has a somewhat similar consistency to pulled meats, but the reality is i just wanted the seasonings and heft in my tacos. i’m not a faux meat fan in general, but occasionally a certain meal just doesn’t feel complete without specific flavors (usually just seasonings) – so i fake the funk and get approximates. not only does it get me where i want in the meal – it makes my husband (an omni) not complain so much about not getting meat.
Paola Melgar via Facebook says
The beef crumbles have no soy.
Wendy Smith Maganas via Facebook says
I am 100% plant based and I am a big fan of the Neat products. I enjoy the taste and they can be made, deliciously without eggs. I think the label says it all. They are meat replacements, not substitutes. It does not taste like a cheeseburger, but it has its own unique and pleasing flavor. Very filling and satisfying as well as versatile.
Shelly Drumm via Facebook says
Can you post something that is good besides what is not as healthy as we think..
Kristen Michaelis via Facebook says
@Shelly — As the author of the post that was shared, I’d like you to know that I *do* frequently share about the really good choices & companies that are doing things right. In fact, I keep a collection of them on my Renegade Shopping Guide, here: https://www.foodrenegade.com/real-food-resources/
Racheal Medellin via Facebook says
Robyn Moder Mannion
Yvonne R. Ardestani via Facebook says
I am not a fan of processed fake meats either! Only homemade fake meat, like my “meat”loaf or jackfruit “carnitas” or nut “meat”! Just takes a little time to make but is so good!!!
Jennifer Alagna Gardner via Facebook says
Cheryl Teresa Vargas – was this the meat you were talking about a few months ago?
Cheryl Teresa Vargas via Facebook says
Yes it was and thanks to my pal Susan Moulton, I got off of the Beyond Meat train when she pointed out some less than favorable ingredients! And yes, that was a few months ago.
Donna Pringle via Facebook says
We don’t eat processed food! Thank goodness people are catching on to eating clean! Rice beans and cheese is a whole protein too! Eat real organic clean food!
Colin Brace says
I think you meant to say the Incas here. Amaranth is grown high in the Andes, and the Aztecs lived in central Mexico of course 😉
I know I’m late to the party on this one, but Beyond Meat doesn’t claim this to be REAL meat. This is a vegan meat sub- same as Tofurkey and Yves and such. That’s why it says “Chicken-Free Strips”; they are in NO way trying to play this off as real meat. They’re just trying to point out to vegans that this meat sub tastes like the closest thing to chicken that you will ever swallow ever again. As being plant-based and eating chicken about once or twice a month, I can say that these strips are in no way close to chicken. But they are damn good.
In response to a prior comment regarding MSG, let’s be clear: “e Beyond Meat folks said: The yeast extract that we use is an important ingredient for us as it has a unique profile of 20 amino acids. These are some of the same amino acids (like Glutamic Acid) found in animal protein and they help give us the characteristic meat taste without any animal-based ingredients. MSG is a synthetic form of Glutamic Acid and is not found in any of our products!”
Vegans and vegetarians, like myself, eat a variety of foods from a variety of plant sources. We, like animal eaters, eat some foods that are not as healthy from time to time — but still healthier than the artificial and chemical laden foods and animal laden foods. It’s about knowing how much of what to eat in a given day or week. Seems like an awful lot of angst and negative energy to try and prove Beyond Meats folks are misrepresenting or hiding unhealthy product ingredients.
need to go to such great lengths to justify your eating meat. I would be more concerned about the average grocery stores that are still feeding average Americans processed chemical laden foods with high salt and high corn syrup contents. That’s where you need to get your panties in a twist.
Why eat the flesh of an animal when you can survive without killing anyone?
There is no such thing as humane meat. It is a myth. You can’t do anything viloent humanely. They don’t want to die.
“Humane” meat. The buzz word that eases people’s guilt.
Have you watched “Cowspiration”? That’s how I know about this product, and that’s why I will eat it sometimes! (I also used to believe in the grass fed, free range…I still prefer them, but 1-2 a week)
This article is misleading. The purpose of the “fake” meat movement is to save our planet. The number one cause of green house gases, Amazon deforestation, ocean degradation is animal agriculture. Animal agriculture is the most destructive industry on this planet. 45% of Earth’s landmass is purposed for animal agriculture, it takes 2200 gallons of water to “sustainably” grow 1 pound of beef & 51% of green house gases are produced by cows. Hate to bust your “real” food bubble but what you’re eating is not sustainable.
Omg! This is GREAT! I recently grab two packs of beyond meat products. While standing online I double checked the ingredients and none of them really sat well with me. So I followed my gut and I left them behind. Now I know I did the right thing! Thank you for this artical.
as a vegetarian Beyond Meat products have become my savior in providing flavorful protein.
I have lost over 70 pounds and I use Beyond Meat daily. This article might reject them, but I love them !
GMOs can be harmful but are not INHERENTLY bad. Beyond Meat refers to its products as “real meat” because they ARE. The oldest and still currently accurate definition of the word “meat” is “food: especially solid food as distinguished from drink”. That’s why we refer to the meat of the coconut (literal) or the ‘meat’ of the argument (figurative).
Further, eating local or “humane” meat is not sustainable or humane. Animals may be humanely RAISED but it is impossible to humanely murder–that’s an oxymoron. Pasture-raised meat is LESS sustainable than factory farmed meat because it requires more land mass and time to produce the same amount of food, to the degree that it would not be AT ALL feasible to feed the entire human population that way. Am I advocating eating factory farmed animals for this reason, because it’s more “sustainable”? No, I’m advocating removing all animal products from your diet and lifestyle to the best of your ability. Anyone can do what they choose, but it is a false solution to tell yourself you’re eating “humane” or “sustainable” beef, pork, poultry, fish (sustainable fishing is not POSSIBLE), eggs, milk, or any other animal product. It is cruel and unsustainable for our earth.
If you’re interested in learning more about this then please watch the documentary Cowspiracy (available on netflix and various other online sources), look up the Sea Shepherd organization. Cowspiracy’s website will give you many other sources. I also recommend The Joyful Vegan Colleen Patrick-Goudreau.
Love This!!!!… Be the voice for the voiceless!!!!
Real meat is NOT healthier than vegan meat replacements, are you taking carcinogens, cholesterol and carbon treatments into consideration? Obviously not. Meat, eggs & dairy all increase your risk of cancer, type 2 diabetes (animal fat) and heart disease (cholesterol) ….. no cholesterol animal fat or carcinogens classed in the same rink as cigarettes in meat replacements. Hm.
Eat real meat sounds ridiculous…animals feed GMO corn and loads of pharmaceuticals. Or support grass fed cows that help to destroy the environment and slaughter in the same locations as the non grass fed cows.
Lmao loving the comment in the article about “how do they get away with calling this real meat?” They don’t claim to be real meat. They claim to be imitation meat.
E.j. Crist says
Would you please explain, in detail, what about slitting the throat of a sentient being is considered ‘humane’? Besides the fact that it’s a human being that does the killing.
For those who do not want to eat our friends animals. Just stay away from this type of food. This is Junk Vegan food. Instead, eat more plant based foods. Great post! Thank you
Check their page, every ingredient is GMO free.
Thanks! Very helpful. I was only worried about sodium levels, hadn’t even considered anything else. Plus, it’s just more processed foods.