"If you don’t eat meat then why eat things that taste like meat?"
I never understand that question, but I do hear it come up a lot. A friend of mine posted the below graphic on Facebook and someone commented with that question.
I’ll share here the answer I responded with there, and expand on it a bit.
These things taste like what they taste like. They happen to be compared to bacon as that’s (unfortunately) a more commonly recognized flavor than any one of these things. Someone could just as easily say, “Hey, we found a way to prepare the flesh of a slaughtered pig in a way that makes it taste like sweet and savory maple tempeh!” I’ve tried to move entirely away from using names for foods that refer to animal flesh for that very reason.
I’ve never had much of a sweet tooth. Before I became vegan (see previous posts for that journey), I would often order the ‘farmer’s plate’, ‘charcuterie platter,’ etc. at restaurants. Plates of savory things like pickles, olives, cheese, salami, etc. That was my go to flavor profile. I could eat olives for dessert.
Once I learned more about the fact that meat, dairy and eggs are a speed train to heart disease, cancer and other things that will trash my quality of life and eventually end it early, I cut them out and became vegan. While eating vegan for purely health reasons, I started to learn more about the reasons to be vegan for moral, ethical and environmental reasons, and that actually trumps the health benefits for me at this point.
I still don’t have a sweet tooth and I still love savory things. I don’t understand why it’s a mystery that people who are choosing to eat a cruelty-free, sustainable diet should suddenly have to forsake things that taste good. I think the opposite is actually true. The longer I’m vegan, the less I’m reliant on the blunt tools of sugar and fat to tell my brain that something tastes good and the more I’m able to discern and appreciate the subtle rainbow of flavors in the rich variety of healthy foods I’m constantly discovering and enjoying.
If strips of slaughtered animal flesh happen to taste like well-prepared, healthy veggies (and I’d argue the veggies taste far better and leave health and karma intact!), so be it.