emlyn/lee/elliot/aspen, they/he. lives in a blanket nest. is growing a beak to peck passers-by
disclaimer there is nothing inherently wrong with veganism but there is a certain white western vegan culture which has some problems, this post is not abt all vegans
there are many very good posts critiquing white vegan culture but theres something i havent really seen addressed.
like maybe its bc im vegetarian and i look at vegan recipes more but there is a Big Trend of trying to make a meat/dairy substitute that matches the taste of the original but they end up not substituting the nutrients? eg cauliflower steaks, that jackfruit thing. this doesnt happen as much with dairy but definitely with meat products
and like, here's the thing: you need protein. you need fats. your body needs nutrients that it will Not get from vegetables. i understand that for ppl who are used to the 'meat and two veg' meals its a hard change, especially if you, , like meat but like u really do have to restructure ur relationship to food and how you think about it. i get so worried for the health of all those vegan recipe bloggers who seem to just be trying to find taste substitutes for meals they loved and not focusing on like their actual health requirements. and i mean actual health requirements, not fucking diet culture. i honestly think that in a decade or two theres gonna be a massive rise in health problems related to nutrient deficiencies, and it will be because of irresponsible veganism.
yeah west is not really good at having enough steady meat substitutes at all, and im afraid that people are being pressured into eating vegan before they have the time and energy to make research about how to substitute proteins which is crucial for their health. there are already studies about the long-term damages of low-protein diets, the results of which only start being visible within a year or two. that's why i dislike it when people say veganism is easy and quick to switch to. it really depends on your area, your body, your expertise in cooking and food, etc.
I think a big thing, especially in America, but I'm sure in a lot of the better off European countries too, is that we often aren't taught what (usually plant) foods need to go together to create "complete proteins", aka, having all the amino acids that your body can't create itself, as well as various trace nutrients like minerals that we need to stay healthy.
So people will make, for example, a soy burger and treat it like a normal burger and eat it with wheat based bread, etc etc, and end up not having enough of certain nutrients when all they'd need to do to correct that is to eat their soy with rice. That's literally it. Rice+soy = a complete protein, just like rice and beans, peanuts and wheat, potatoes and dairy, squash and corn/maize, etc. And a lot of native cultures around the world base their diet around combos like these that form complete proteins, and then they add to their diet on top of that base. And people in these cultures know, if you have very little and you need to fall back on something, you eat these two things together, and it might not be exciting but it's filling and YOU'LL LIVE and you won't get horribly sick from it.
This is also compounded with the fact that outside animal based foods (meat and dairy), B vitamins are pretty scarce and when you do find them it's usually in fungi like yeast and mushrooms. Yeast outside of bread is a new concept for a lot of Westerners, and mushrooms can be an issue for a lot of folks with sensory issues or just.... don't like them? And a lot of people in the US don't have access to cheap meat replacements.
But I mean, even putting aside any issues in getting foods like soy burgers or whatever meat and dairy replacements, a lot of folks just don't know what to eat them with/how to eat them to get the best out of their nutrition. :( And a lot of it is taking things out of their context, which is a form of cultural appropriation and has concequences for the people it's done to (higher prices for staple foods they need to live) as well as the people doing it (as emlynlua mentioned, people can become nutrient deficient and seriously ill over time).