My go to meal as a kid was always a hamburger and fries. Who doesn’t love a nice juicy burger with a side of crisp deep fried potatoes? The above picture looks good right? It’s vegan.
Have you ever considered why you like burgers so much? Is it really the meat itself, or is it more so the crisp red onion, the seasoning, the juicy tomato, the sharp cheese or the crunchy lettuce? What about the ketchup, mayo or mustard so many of us drown our burgers in? Or the Mac sauce on a delicious Big Mac, is it that? Having thought about it, you can’t actually sit here and argue that the meat is the major component of a burger. What if there was scientific evidence that suggested that this meat was no longer considered good for you?
I know, I know, everyone absolutely hates to read the sentence: What if there was scientific evidence that suggested that this meat was no longer considered good for you? For the majority of many of our lives meat is considered the centerpiece of each meal. Some may argue that you cannot have a meal without some sort of meat on the plate. The issue with that kind of thinking is that many people tend to neglect plant protein, and think that if there isn’t a dead carcass rotting on the plate, that there is no meal to be had. There are two kinds of protein in this world: animal protein and plant protein, however plant protein just happens to be a bit better for you. (If you want to learn more about the harms of animal protein you can find it in my Protein and Cancer post). While various forms of meat cause health implications, let’s just focus on the health implications of burger meat, and what is actually in the everyday burger.
Have you ever heard of pink slime? Pink sludge maybe? According to the online journal Omics International, pink slime is a meat based food additive composed of animal tendons and cartilage all mushed up that is treated in ammonia gas to kill bacteria. Ever heard of what Ammonia gas can do to humans? According to the New York State Department of Health, “Ammonia interacts immediately upon contact with available moisture in the skin, eyes, oral cavity, respiratory tract, and particularly mucous surfaces to form the very caustic ammonium hydroxide” (NYSDH). Ammonium hydroxide causes implications that lead to cellular destruction. “As cell proteins break down, water is extracted, resulting in an inflammatory response that causes further damage”(NYSDH). Basically, ammonia gas exposure + meat = ammonia hydroxide = cellular damage = further implications. Let me make it more clear: This stuff is NOT GOOD FOR YOU!
Where do you find pink slime you ask? Burger meat. You may have heard that this slime is popular in low quality burger meats, in burgers from fast food chains, and in burger meats that are inorganic. However, according to the documentary Food Inc. pink slime is found in 70% of the burger meat produced in the USA. So, if you think that you’re getting away from this awful sludge by buying ground beef from your local grocery store chances are that the burger meat you are buying is no less infested with pink slime than the fast food burger meat you just had for lunch. But don’t just take my word for how horrible this stuff is for you, see it for yourself by clicking the following link for a short clip from Food Inc.
Next time you’re at your local supermarket staring at the ground meat, pondering on whether or not you should consume loads of fat and pink sludge, I suggest you take a trip down the healthy frozen food isle. One of my personal favorite meat alternatives is Beyond Beef, you should give it a try. (You can also order Beyond Beef products online if for some reason your local grocer doesn’t carry it). If for some reason you don’t believe that you can receive enough protein and iron from plant based products take a look at this little chart put together by Beyond Beef:
Like I’ve said before, I’m not into bashing meat products, but facts are facts. You cannot sit here and honestly say that you want to consume harmful chemicals, that you wish to raise your bad cholesterol levels and that you wish to consume ample amounts of hormones and GMO’s. Eat things that you know for a fact are free of harmful additives. Eat clean. Eat naturally. Live well. Try something new, it will only be the veganing.