Let’s take a trip to the grocery store. We’ll start in the refrigerated meat and cheese section. All the ‘usual suspects’ are present – Louis Rich, Oscar Mayer, Carl Buddig, the Kraft family has a nice showing and Applegate Farms even made it. Looking a bit further there’s also some ‘foreign looking’ stuff… “Smart Deli”, Tofurky cold cuts, Tofu Pups (those are ‘hot dogs’ in case you were wondering…), soy cheese… What the heck? Over in the freezer area there’s a whole section dedicated to vegan and vegetarian ‘meat’ alternatives. They’ve thought of everything! You want breakfast? How about some ‘Facon’(that’s what I call vegetarian bacon), or sausage (they’ve got links and patties – variety is SO important…)? For lunch there’s a plethora of ‘burgers’ – grain based, black bean, soy, ‘grillers’, and if you’re not feeling the burger, how about some ‘chickenless’ chicken nuggets or boneless wings? Seriously, What the Cluck!?!?! That’s not all folks, there are vegetarian bacon bits, seafood-free crab and lobster alternatives, BBQ rib patties (does anyone else find it odd that they still call them ‘ribs’??), burger crumbles, corn dogs, steaks… Use your imagination – they’ve probably got a knock off for it (although I have yet to come across vegetarian liver, heart, and tongue… The market could be HUGE!).
It’s kind of funny how vegans and vegetarians don’t eat meat, but food companies sure do sell a lot of these ‘meat alternatives’. The taste – well, it’s not quite the same, but they try pretty damn hard to get close. This makes it fairly evident that some vega-tarians (see what I did there? One word to cover both of em’) want to have their ‘not quite meat’ and eat it too. Being the hardcore meat eating, bacon loving carnivores that most of us paleo followers are it’s fairly common to see posts and tweets expressing disgust toward the non-meat eating crowd. Seriously, why don’t they just eat ethically raised meat if they’re gonna try so damn hard to replicate the stuff? Am I right?
Hold it there, Trigger. Before you go agreeing with me I want you to take a minute and be honest with yourself (this may hurt a little bit and it’s completely okay if you need to cry…). Let’s think about those paleo pancakes you had for breakfast this weekend, or that paleo bread you made a sandwich with at lunch and then there’s that paleo cookie you brought for a snack… I think you see where I’m going with this. Being vegetarian or vegan means that meat and/or animal products are off limits. Being paleo we take much the same attitude against grains, dairy, legumes, etc. None of that funny stuff for us – BUT (big but there) we still want our bread, cake, pancakes, brownies, muffins, etc. too!! So, what do we do? We take a cue from the vega-tarians and we come up with some knock-offs that look and taste almost like the real things. Whether you buy it at the store or search some of the paleo foodie blogs (you know the ones – and I just saw you close that browser window with the recipe for the paleo cinnamon rolls…) and make your own ‘paleo’ SAD (Standard American Diet) foods – it’s all the same. Hmmm… puts a whole new spin on things, huh?
I know, some of you are thinking; Yeah, but these ‘paleo-fied’ foods are so much better because they don’t have (insert component of choice here – gluten, dairy, soy, vegetable oil, etc.) and they use ‘natural’ sweeteners… Let’s not fool ourselves here folks. A cookie is a cookie is a cookie (unless it’s a Fig Newton, then it’s ‘fruit and cake’…) – yeah, some cookies may not leave you feeling like you’ve just been run over by an 18-wheeler, but it was still a freaking COOKIE, and cookies ARE NOT paleo. And my guess is the story is much the same in the vega-tarian world. These guys feel better choosing and eating meat alternatives than they do eating the real thing. There are individuals in both the paleo and vega-tarian (dang, I really like that word…) camp that stay away from the ‘knock-offs’ altogether – this is the hardcore crowd.
I’m not saying that you should never allow yourself to have a paleo pancake, cookie, brownie, cake, etc. but let’s call a spade a spade. It is what it is and if you’re going to justify ‘paleo-fication’ of normally non-paleo foods don’t fault the vega-tarians that want some ‘Facon’, or Tofurky. Really, what we’re doing is not a whole lot different. So today I have some advice for both meat and non-meat eaters (remember you don’t have to take my advice or rake me over the coals in the comments – this is just my 2.5 cents). Stick with real, whole foods and stay away from the processed, packaged stuff – even if it is ‘sanctioned’ vega-tarian or paleo – and in the end your body will thank you. Be completely honest with yourself about the choices you make and don’t look down on a member of the other team for their actions if yours are remarkably similar.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “You can paint a turd gold, but it’s still a turd.”
-Your Favorite Fun-Hater