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Question from a reader: “What do you think of this new product? It’s called Beyond Meat, and it’s made from plant protein, mainly soy and peas. In blind tests, it deceived meat-eaters every time. No saturated fat, no gluten, cheaper than real meat, and they can’t keep it in stock it’s so popular. It’s vegan, cheap, and a unique opportunity to shift the global food balance from eating animals to eating plants, even for people who love the taste of meat. Now is it “health food?” Not really, but it’s a LOT healthier than the alternative, a nice treat, and something your meat-eating friends could get behind, helping save environment and animals.”
Answer: Wow, that does seem like a dream product, but right off the bat it has me thinking that it’s important to check out the source of the soy and the peas. This is because we know these products are highly likely to be GMO.
2) Soy is an anti-nutrient (it blocks essential nutrients from absorbing into the system). Humans were never meant to consume a high amount of processed soy.
3) There is a lot of talk about how soy is good for you, and how Asian cultures (which consume “a lot” of soy) are healthier than us… BUT, in Asia they mostly eat fermented soy (like tempeh), and small amounts of soy sauce (which is typically different than the kind found in the states). In many cases, people who consume high amounts of processed soy end up developing an allergy… and even if one doesn’t develop an allergy, soy can still disrupt the GI system (sometimes people will notice feeling bloated after eating/drinking soy).
4) Processed soy is typically tainted with the neurotoxin hexane. There isn’t a lot of information about how much hexane is “safe” for consumption… so, if something has soy in it, i do my best to stay far, far away.
As for the saturated fat – I think it gets a bad rap! We NEED saturated fats in our diet just like we need our so-called “healthy fats,” they just NEED to be in balance… So, if one is eating a great deal of fried and processed foods, they might have an imbalance of fats [which is typically what we see in the standard american diet (SAD), which is why there is so much research telling us how "bad" it is... but remove it and I'd bet my bottom dollar people would experience health problems from not having balanced fat ratios in their diets].
All in all, I think that people need to decide what works for them in terms of eating animal products. I was vegetarian and vegan for a bit, AND I became very sick and weak for a number of reasons, but I think one of the reasons was that I didn’t eat meat (even when I cut out the food I was allergic to, I still never felt 100% until I started incorporating animal protein into my diet – and my body was craving it!). I know people who feel fine after being vegan/veggie for years, and people who have gone through something similar to me (and people that would just never give it up!). Your body knows what it needs and it will tell you… That being said, I do think that there is a huge issue with the meat industry in this country. Obviously we (as Americans) eat more meat than our bodies need (this is clear if you look at the history of the meat industry and compare our current consumption with our past consumption), and this is taking a toll on the environment. I think if people do choose to continue eating meat that they MUST ensure that they are getting organic, grass-fed (if cow), and local (as possible) meat. This alleviates a lot of the issues with environmental factors, and it provides the consumer with a healthy product, essential fats (from trans, saturated, to all the omegas) and protein.
In summary – if you are going to eat soy-based products, this one seems better than some of its counterparts (like Morning Star)… and I like that they are attempting to source non-GMO. If soy isn’t an issue for you (and you weren’t scared off by the other things that I mentioned) I don’t think it would be terrible to enjoy this product every once in a while. As usual, I will encourage you to do what’s best for YOU (and not what I think is best – I only know what I’ve learned on my own life path). That being said, I personally would not eat it regularly because of the issues mentioned above.
I hope you find my answer to be helpful!