Messing with Mother Nature to virtue-signal can be deadly

The myriad stories you can find online about babies fed vegan diets who died from malnutrition point to a dangerous trend in our virtue-signaling and misguided society.  As a former chef, I receive a lot of newsletters from various culinary groups, like the CIA (not that one, but the Culinary Institute of America), plus magazines and trade group newsletters from organizations that don't realize I no longer buy in bulk.

I don't want to get on too high a horse about diet and health, even though it's something I've written about since the 1980s.  Most people do a decent job of feeding themselves, making the choice to eat their vegetables, shop the perimeter of the grocery store, and not load up on processed food.  Most are aware that subsisting on only fast food is not ever going to be a healthy choice.  Most of us try not to get radical about what we eat.  An In-N-Out burger can be as satisfying, sometimes, as a gourmet meal.  It's the people who think we should all be vegan that drive me up a wall.

We've seemingly gone crazy with non-meat "meats" and strict vegan diets, including for children and babies.  Impossible Burger is all the rage, and every deli case has stocked flavored wheat gluten and soy meat substitutes that look like...well, they look like brown-gray cow plops.  But they sell, or they wouldn't be there.  A struggling fast food outlet near the freeway that converted to become a vegan barbecue joint always has a line of eager diners waiting for its take-out.

I recently came upon a package of "sausage" in the meat case that just made me laugh.  I had to take a picture. To my mind, it really says it all.

There's a difference between commonsense eating and converting your diet, or your child's diet, to a soy-based one.  Soy is actually dangerous eaten in quantity, messing with hormonal balance in the body.  It mimics estrogen and can reduce fertility in women, not to mention disrupt fetal development in pregnant women who overindulge.  It can also trigger early puberty in children who eat too much of it.  That old saw, everything in moderation, applies here.  Some soy is fine.  An all soy diet is not.

Most of the soy "meat" products also contain things like methylcellulose, AKA a bulk-forming laxative.  There are plenty of oils (coconut, etc.) and "natural flavors."  They add some colorants, most likely beets, and other stuff to make it look meaty.  They add in vitamins to try to replace the ones you'd find in real food.  As they do in sugary cereals, they want to attract you by putting a vitamin pill in your burger.  A lot of these vitamins are not absorbed by the body and instead create what some professionals call "expensive urine."

How has the modern woke culture created the myth that cows, and other domesticated animals, are evil?  Are the animals we eat and milk destroying our planet?  How can we be the best stewards of the Earth?

Factory farming methods are not good, to be sure; they mistreat animals, keeping them unnaturally penned in close quarters.  They create vast pools of waste.  There needs to be improvement in methodology.

But the animals we domesticated are necessary to our continuation as a viable species.  We can be more conscious of how the animals are raised, but despite what you may hear, cows help the Earth and improve humans, too.  Eating beef provides not only vitamins, but minerals necessary for growth.  DHA omega -3 fatty acids contribute to neural and cognitive development in babies and can only be gotten from animals.  Cow's milk provides a useful source of calcium to make strong bones.

Sacred Cow is a group that has sprung up to try to counter some of the misinformation about eating meat.  It presents a thoughtful set of facts via video about animal husbandry and factory farming, too.  The site discusses the evils of monoculture farming, where we grow so much soy and corn, planting the same crops again and again, that we are destroying the soil and providing less nutritious products.  Cows keep grasslands trimmed by grazing.  Their poop fertilizes the soil.  Rotating crops with grazing preserves our earth.

It's good food for thought.  You can disagree, but please feed your babies well, and not as vegans.

Image: Cow by Christian Widell on Unsplash.