“It’s Too Hard to Go Vegan; What Would I Eat?” The Ultimate Guide to Plant-Based Tastes


[First published in 2019, but an ongoing labor of love updated as recently as February 2022]

To me, “going vegan” was not about being trendy or better-than-thou, showing anyone up, or guilting anyone into doing what I have come to believe is the right thing. It’s just what my wife and I have done in our household after our younger daughter introduced us to it back in 2016.

Below you’ll find links leading to literally thousands of choices ranging from tasty to delicious to downright delectable. In this piece, we:

  • Lead off with the fast-growing lineup of plant-based fare available at restaurants and on the go
  • Move from there to the incredible diversity of plant-based foods ready to tempt your tastebuds on the homefront, including (yes) “The Tesla of Chicken”
  • Follow it all up with Q&A, the science, thoughts, and opinions

A programming note: this post is rigorously sourced, but I couldn’t get references to click to the endnotes for you. Links that simply open to company websites and the like, not part of a news story, are embedded in text. Those sourced from research reports and news stories have a notation, from |a| to |z| and more. Either way, all links open the way God intended them to: in a new tab =;-D At post’s end you’ll find all endnotes with sources, titles, and the same links.

Eating On the Go: Plant-Based Burgers ROCK

These burgers feature something that would surprise those who haven’t tried them: THEY TASTE GREAT. Even if I weren’t a plant-based enthusiast, I would never go back to “regular” burgers.

As reflected in the opening image, we love Beyond Meat Burgers at TGI Fridays. Having had every burger Fridays makes over the years, to us these are the best and tastiest on the menu. We are also proud and happy $BYND shareholders.

Burger King rolled out its Impossible Whopper to rave reviews across the US and Impossible products are available in a handful of other countries. Beyond Meat products have far greater reach, currently sold in the US parts of EMEA, APAC, and Latin America. Both companies are of course looking to expand into other markets.

I usually don’t have time to wait on the service, but when I do, the Impossible-based Sliders at White Castle are pretty good.

So Do These Other Foods-on-the-Go, including (there is a God) Cheesesteak

Del Taco is serving up “The Future of Tacos and Burritos” made with Beyond Meat.

Dunkin’ Donuts has partnered with Beyond Meat to introduce the Beyond Sausage Breakfast Sandwich. Yes, not vegan if you get cheese on it, but like the Starbucks breakfast sandwich mentioned below, it is wildly popular (and in my assessment, amazingly tasty).

Azzip Pizza serves up really good “zero dairy zero cholesterol zero animal products 100% flavor” pies.

But the biggest news in plant-based restaurant pizza may be the Beyond Pan Pizzas at Pizza Hut. No, they’re not vegan because they are still made with real cheese, but Pizza Hut proudly serves them up with Beyond Italian Sausage, and they are impossibly delicious.

When I learned mega-musician and writer Questlove was teaming up with the cool kids at Impossible to serve up a vegan cheesesteak, I tweeted it up. When Questlove himself RT’d my tweet, it went what in my world is viral. Get this: they launched the new cheesesteak in PHILADELPHIA! The center of the cheesesteak universe. Questlove was born and raised there, and as you can read at the link above, is something of a cheesesteak connoisseur. So at Phillies games or other events you can now enjoy Questlove’s Cheesesteak™ at Citizens Bank Park!

This is also not a one-shot deal for Questlove: he is an early investor in Impossible Foods. If and when Impossible Foods goes public my wife and I will, in our own small-investor way, join him. But first I want to do lunch with him! |a  b|

KFC Goes Beyond Chicken

Vegan Global Goodness Galore

On my first real business trip to London last November — before that, my only visit had been a stopover at Heathrow — I had a Beyond Burger at Honest Burgers. They are now calling it their Plant ‘V’ and it joins the Fritter ‘V’ and Veggie Christmas on the Honest-ly great menu.

While visiting our older daughter & son-in-law in 2019 we went to Universal Studios Hollywood. A dream of a day and to top it off, the fast-food eateries in the park itself had Impossible Burgers on the menu…

while we had Beyond Burgers at the Karl Strauss restaurant in the adjacent Universal Citywalk.

Years before we committed to vegan nutrition full-time, a dear friend introduced us to our first taste of vegan meals in a restaurant setting at Veggie Grill in Orange County, CA. Veggie Grill isn’t everywhere yet, but it does have locations in California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, and Washington. Anytime we’re back in California we try to meet up with our friend at that same location.

Happily, the Veggie Grill joins a growing number of restaurants across the US and in other parts of the world who specialize solely in plant-based foods, from New York to London and (no pun intended) beyond. Uber Eats, Door Dash, GrubHub, and others will gladly bring vegan eats & treats to you — while foodies in Tokyo, Berlin, and the Big Apple (see, even the name is healthy) will bring you to the food by whisking you away on vegan eating tours.

From around the world and across the nation to just up the road, they serve Impossible Burgers at the coolest local brew & burger pub here in our quiet little corner of Indiana, Charlie’s.

Which leads to my next point: if we can eat vegan here in the carnivorous heart of middle America, so can you.

Probably anywhere.

Plant-Based at Home Base: What’s For Breakfast?

“You have to have eggs & bacon or ham, right?” NO. We start our day with carefully selected low- and no-sugar Cascadian Farm and Mom’s Best cereals, mixed together in our giant cereal keeper so we get a variety of flavors in every bowl and bite. We throw on a small scoop of oats; a spoon each of chia seed and ground flaxseed; blueberries; either whole almonds, walnuts, or pecans (in addition to the nuts that are already in most of the cereals); and Meijer‘s almond milk.

A time or two per week we have Kodiak Cakes waffles or flapjacks.

Rare treat: french toast, sometimes coated with a rich concoction that includes real eggs, so yes, in that way not vegan, then lovingly slathered with vegan butter and real syrup.

The coffee debate rages on: good for you, bad for you? We grind Starbucks coffee beans fresh each morning and add a touch of Sugar in the Raw with either Starbucks or Silk Froth Like a Boss Oat Milk non-dairy creamers. More on Starbucks eats (its breakfast sandwich) and drinks (its creamers) below.

Plant-Based at Home Base: A Quornucopia of Lunch & Dinner Delights

Suffice to say I’ve long since learned there’s a lot more to vegan eating than black bean burgers (which aren’t bad, either, btw) and tofu. We do eat a lot of straight vegetables and grains. When it comes to the dining arts in our household, my wife does virtually all the cooking and baking and my main role is to voraciously consume her mouthwateringly delicious delights. My contributions to one of her fabulous meals are simple. Pre-meal: set the table. Put together drinks for us like Moscow Mules (often Mexican mules for me), Long Island Iced Teas, Georgia Peaches, whiskey sours, or Kendricks gin & tonics. Post-meal: wash dishes.

My wife is our Master Chef. Our little beagle girl Ginny, until she went up to Heaven earlier this year, was our Sous Chef, always nearby to assist if a food item would drop. [Pictured below with our big boy Prince, who is with her in Heaven. If they’re in some separate Pet Heaven that’s where I want to go.] Ginny soon learned that pickings were slim next to Mommy, and wisely started posting up ‘in the paint’ next to Daddy, who drops food as regularly as Taylor Swift drops love-gone-wrong hits.

Anyway, my point is, my wife weaves culinary magic in many ways, including with the dizzying roster of recipes found in the Forks Over Knives cookbook.

Actually, you can find a number of different Forks Over Knives and related books on Amazon; there are also a magazine and other products including, yes, a movie. The cookbook pictured above offers more than “300 Recipes for Plant-based Eating All Through the Year,” and my wife hasn’t made a single one that wasn’t either amazing or at least really tasty. (She’s always been a world-class chef and baker, but these recipes are great, too.)

Some of our staples:

CHILI (weekly): best I’ve ever eaten. My wife lovingly prepares it with onions, mushrooms, garlic, three kinds of beans (black, pinto, and kidney), diced tomatoes, plant-based ground beef (usually Beyond or Lightlife). She also bakes gorgeous corn bread and we eat vegan sour cream, and Daiya cheddar shreds.

TACOS (weekly): best ever. My wife whips these up with tofu, chili powder, ancho chili, cumin, plant-based ground beef (usually Beyond or Lightlife), peppers (red, yellow, or orange), and frozen corn. We enjoy them with all the usual taco fixins’: vegan shredded cheddar and sour cream (more on those in a moment), lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, black olives, and shredded cabbage.

SALADS (daily): never iceberg lettuce, the foundation is always romaine and leafy greens and/or spinach; carrots, celery, and red & green cabbage; orange, yellow, or red peppers; full-size, mini, or plum tomatoes; and I like the pedestrian black olives in the can, not the sophisticated brown or green ones. All topped with nuts, healthy dressings, and sometimes but not always, vegan cheese shreds (more about those below).

POTATOES (daily): fresh-cut potatoes (by us) baked in the toaster oven our older daughter & son-in-law gave us; or baked potatoes loaded with vegan butter, shredded cheddar, and sour cream.

PASTA (several times a week): you name it. Whole grain and veggie are our favorites, with tasty sauces and several kinds of cheese we’ll get to below.

I guess knowing how most of us love burgers and such, in addition to a spectacular spectrum of recipes such as those found in Forks Over Knives, the food industry keeps going above and beyond, doing the impossible [rimshot] to create amazing vegan versions of familiar foods.

With new products and recipes popping up daily, it is futile to try to list all the plant-based offerings. My only hope in this section is to capture a representative snapshot, beyond the brands and products already mentioned above, of all that is out there.

I’m Italian but hated Italian sausage all my life. The Italian sausage by Field Roast is the best I’ve ever tasted and I’d eat it damn near every day if I could. Field Roast and other brands of plant-based hot dogs and bratwurst make for great, hearty meals every week.

Then…there’s Field Roast’s CHAO. Mouthwateringly wonderful better-than-cheese. The company makes other varieties but the creamy original is our go-to cheese for life.

Field Roast’s parent company is Greenleaf Foods, a subsidiary of Maple Leaf Foods. (We’re seeing the red & black logo on the products but the new black & gold logo online as the company transitions to new branding.)

Daiya products, available at most grocery stores now, include cheddar and mozzarella slices and shredded cheese, and more, so you can grab a zesty slice or enjoy on pasta and salads. I defy you to have just a taste of its Cheesy Mac macaroni & cheese without wanting to finish the whole thing. And now Daiya also makes great pizzas, including plant-based pepperoni!

It may not be love, but definitely like: Daiya blue cheese, ranch, and Caesar salad dressings. [Field Roast has Ranch, Thousand Island, and Caesar salad dressings, and while we haven’t seen them yet in our local stores, we’re now on the lookout.] In truth, however, we prefer straight balsamic vinegar & oil out of our matching decanters, balsamic vinaigrette, or Italian. My wife likes sweeter dressings and even fruit on her salads. When it comes to sweets on salads, I respectfully “pass”

Daiya’s parent company is Otsuka Pharmaceutical, and when the acquisition was announced in 2017, Daiya took a lot of heat for it because while Daiya is 100% focused on vegan products, Otsuka, like virtually all pharmaceutical companies, performs product testing on animals. |c| To me that is valid, but it is also a bit like never shopping at a major grocery chain, or never visiting Burger King or TGI Fridays again because, while these companies are actively offering vegan products, they also continue to offer meat and dairy products. I believe the world is going to change, one heart and one burger at a time. “Small moves, Ellie. Small moves.” |d|

Follow Your Heart joins Daiya and Field Roast in our go-to cheese lineup. Its Smoked Gouda is CHAO-good and it also offers Provolone, American, Mozzarella, and others.

Gardein makes a wide range of luscious plant-based foods. Its meatballs are amazing alone in sauce, or with the whole wheat and vegetable pastas we eat. Gardein killer chicken nuggets, to quote the time-honored phrase, really do “taste just like chicken;” and its Pizza Pockets are better than Hot Pockets and, bonus, without the spectre of death hanging over your head (thank you, Jim Gaffigan). Its Scallopini tastes not “just like” but better than veal scallopini!

In 2014, Pinnacle Foods, which owns the Armour canned meats brand, bought the makers of Gardein…and now they’re all part of the massive Conagra Brands family! |e| 

My wife has been buying us plant-based ground beef from Lightlife. One night recently I grabbed the Lightlife Ground, which smelled just like ground beef, formed up perfect thick patties, grilled ’em up, and we devoured them.

Lightlife offers a wide range of other plant-based tastes including sausage, dogs,  deli slices, tempeh, and more, and if the rest are as savory as the ground beef, they are going to be every bit as popular as the luscious lineups from Beyond and Impossible. Like Field Roast, Lightlife’s parent company is Greenleaf Foods, a subsidiary of Maple Leaf Foods.

Quorn offers amazing vegan recipes and products including chicken strips and nuggets, and we are enjoying it in a lot of great meals. [The company also was the inspiration for the title of this section of the post.] Quorn’s parent company is Monde Nissin, a leading food consumer goods company.

Violife makes a lot of great plant-based cheese products but we’re all over this one: its TRULY just-like-Parmesan block. It’s great and ready-to-grate and we fill a big container that we enjoy on every kind of pasta. Also tasty enough to make a certain author steal some of the grated goodness between meals.

“Being vegan, I miss those thick, delicious deli sandwiches we used to love.” NOT ANY MORE. We make mouthwatering deli sandwiches with Worthington Deli Slices.

But deli slices are just part of a much larger story at Worthington, including its XBURGER…

and its partnership with California Pizza Kitchen, which now prepares its legendary CPK pizzas with Worthington’s Chicketts better-than-chicken bits.

We buy Dave’s Killer Bread bagels and other healthy breads, which are sweetened mostly with apple juice instead of refined sugar…

and put Earth Balance butter (stick and soft whip) or Daiya cream cheese on them. Dave’s Killer Bread is owned by Flowers Foods, which owns Wonder Bread, Nature’s Own, Sunbeam, Tastykake, Home Pride, and other brands. Earth Balance’s parent company is Pinnacle Foods, which, as noted above, also owns the Gardein brand.

We snack on veggie chips by Sensible Portions or the store brand equivalents at Fresh Thyme and other grocers. Fresh Thyme is also our most reliable local source of Beyond Meat and most of the other delectable vegan fare featured here. Sensible Portions is owned by Hain Celestial, which owns a multitude of brands including Celestial Seasonings and Yves Veggie Cuisine.

What’s For Dessert? Or a Snack?

First choice: FRUIT! Apples, oranges, clementines (those easy-peel mini-oranges), and grapes; sometimes watermelon and other melons; and an occasional banana.

How about Ben & Jerry’s ice cream?! Ok, they’re Ben & Jerry’s Non-Dairy Pints, but by God, it’s ice cream! In flavor after rich, delicious flavor including its flagship Cherry Garcia.

Ben & Jerry's Non-Dairy Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry’s is owned by consumer products giant Unilever. Many of Ben & Jerry’s free-spirited long-time customers criticized founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield when they sold the company to Unilever, but word on the street is that Unilever has left the ice cream innovators’ vision, branding, and dedication to the highest quality intact. I urge any doubters to tuck into a non-dairy pint and see if it isn’t one of your most joyous eating experiences ever.

My other favorite is rich, creamy cashew milk yogurt from Forager Project. I haven’t been able to find out why “Project” is in the name, but I’m making my personal project to taste-test Forager yogurt most days.

I have a real sweet tooth and one of my favorite sweet treats is Forager yogurt with blueberries and nuts. I sometimes go a little nuts with the nuts. Yes, they have fat, but they’re also an excellent source of protein.

What to Drink?

We haven’t had soda, and by that I mean the sugary sodas sold by the likes of Coca-Cola and Pepsi, for decades. That includes their “diet” versions that may not contain sugar but are loaded with other things we no longer wanted to consume, and according to some sources, actually tend to make people put on more weight. I am living proof that going vegan does not automatically make you fit — the food is amazing, and I eat too much of it — but dropping soda alone made a huge difference in my weight and health.

So if we’re not drinking soda, what do we drink?

  • Coffee most mornings, 1-1.5 cups depending on how full I make our pour-over coffee
  • Hot tea, and hot tea poured over ice to make our own iced tea; no soda-style canned or bottled teas
  • Zero-calorie flavored waters
  • Powerade – me only; sports drinks are not her favorite
  • Ginger ale
  • Wine or mixed drinks, sometimes hard cider, and, rarely, beer; we have one (just one) of whichever it is with dinner, about every other day on average

You can find all the studies, surveys, and other “proof” you want that any or all of these are good or bad. I didn’t bother linking because there are so many. All I know is that this is what we are doing, and combined with our eating, it is helping us live our best lives.

Starbucks and Beyond Rock It at Home and Away…and Beyond Goes Nationwide at KFC

A shoutout to two marquee names for bringing better choices to market whether you’re at home or away.

Starbucks offers its Impossible Breakfast Sandwich in-store…

and its non-dairy creamers in grocery stores. We savor the sandwiches from time to time and the creamers in our coffee many mornings.

Beyond Meat items are popping up on the menu at many restaurants, now including KFC! Kentucky Fried Chicken sold out its Beyond Meat Nuggets in five hours in a one-day trial in one US market in 2019, ran a second trial in several US markets in 2020, and has now rolled out Beyond Fried Chicken nationwide across the US in 2022. Took long enough, but it was worth the wait. We tried ‘em and keep going back for more: our favorite is the 12-piece combo with four dipping sauces, fries, and a drink, and we add a large cole slaw.

Beyond Fried Chicken

Beyond Meat now offers a range of products including Beyond Sausage, Meatballs, Brats, Beef, Crumbles, Breakfast Sausage, and its Cookout Classic value packs of its Burgers, all of which are now sold in grocery, big box, foodie, and health food stores.

Beyond, which brands itself as The Future of Protein, is succeeding across a number of world regions and paving the way for every other plant-based provider — including one of its top competitors, Impossible Foods, which coyly keeps sending signals about going public, maybe in 2022.

Plant-Based Foods We Haven’t Tried Yet, but Will

Abbot’s Butcher makes chorizo and other soy-free, nut-free, and non-GMO vegan products.

Before The Butcher offers a full line of Uncut™, Mainstream™, and other products including a roasted turkey burger, a breakfast sausage patty, and more. Before the Butcher’s parent company is Jensen Meat.

Good Catch Foods offers plant-based tuna and recipes, and if it tastes anywhere near as mouthwatering as it looks, we can’t wait to reel some in!

So help me God, it is now possible to obtain vegan JERKY from the Louisville Vegan Jerky Co. If that doesn’t say that vegan nutrition has arrived, or is well on its way, I don’t know what does.

Nestlé is one of the many large, established food providers who are either truly committed to vegan nutrition…or are simply determined to ride the revenue rocket launched by most of the other companies featured in this post. Either way, the company recently launched, under its Garden Gourmet brand, vegan ground beef, and reformulated its cleverly-named Incredible Burger. Garden Gourmet may be Europe’s second-largest vegetarian brand, but Nestlé was unable to weather the competition in the plant-based food market in at least one nation, pulling the brand from the UK earlier this year. |f  g  h|

NUGGS, which is now Simulate, wants consumers to take stock of a better way to eat, now branding itself as…


Outstanding Foods offers PigOut Pigless Pork Rinds , a MUST-TRY!

We Have No Churning Desire to Make Our Own Butter, but Some Do

While Earth Balance butter is 78% vegetable oils, some friends aren’t in favor of them and prefer to make their own butters. One provided three make-your-own-butter recipes, and while at time of publication we haven’t made or tried them, I pass them along because they sound both tasty and healthy: one called Hallelujah butter, another called Ingrid’s Alsunchai butter, and a third, Hallelujah Herb butter. |i|

Kroger Gets Its Own Section Because It Has Its Own Vegan Brand

Our local Meijer superstore has been our favorite grocery store since we moved to this area in 2016. Meijer offers a much cleaner, more professional and personable shopping experience than other local grocery stores including Kroger. Nevertheless, Kroger’s commitment to offering vegan choices is amazing, so our household grocery shopping strategy may need a refresh.

The Simple Truth about Kroger’s Own Vegan Product Line

Kroger operates about 2,800 grocery stores in 35 states branded of course as Kroger but also as Ralphs, Dillons, Smith’s, Fred Meyer, Food 4 Less, King Soopers, City Market, Fry’s, QFC, and Harris Teeter. Kroger is a powerhouse in the grocery business. |j|

Kroger launched Simple Truth as a natural and organic brand in 2013, and according to the company, annual sales are north of $2.3 billion. Now Kroger is building on that success by launching its Simple Truth Plant Based collection to offer fresh, meatless burgers and grinds along with a range of other plant-based foods. Kroger launched Simple Truth Plant Based in September, and the grocer plans to roll out these new products to more stores month by month from now through 2020. Simple Truth Plant Based products include meatless burger patties, meatless grinds, chocolate chip cookie dough, alfredo pasta sauce, bolognese pasta sauce, deli slices (black forest ham and salt-and-pepper turkey), sausages (kielbasa and chorizo), cream cheese, sour cream, french onion dip and queso — and a delicious replacement for honey: organic blue agave. |k|

Kroger Stretches the Simple Truth with a Cavalcade of Vegan Delights

In addition to its Simple Truth Plant Based line, Kroger already offers a dizzying array of other vegan foods and brands, “too many to list” but I’m going to try anyway, including:


For Thanksgiving we had Tofurky’s wonderful vegan roast with all the trimmings and topped it off with the proper ratio of pumpkin pie and non-dairy cream. Ok, not as extreme as the photos below, but a LOT of cream.

Kroger’s commitment to vegan nutrition has the potential to create grassroots demand that may someday propel vegan products and brands once and for all into the mainstream — and into the diets of most consumers.

The Next Frontier: Cultured (Lab-Grown) Meat?

An alternative to both traditional and plant-based meat is cultured, or lab-grown, meat. Scientists in the lab take the stem cells from animals and place them in a bioreactor, encouraging the growth of more cells that can be used to create a new cut of meat. Cultured meat could hit the market as soon as 2021. |m|

The processes, requirements, and costs of growing meat in labs could make it impractical or impossible to create a sustainable meat supply. Nevertheless, innovation and evolution could someday make lab-grown meat a market-worthy reality. Any process that can feed humans’ seemingly insatiable demand for meat without torturing and killing animals, provided it is safe and healthy for human consumption, has my support. |n|

The Plant-Based Market is Growing at a Healthy Clip

Plant-based nutrition represents a clear and massive market opportunity, and in this piece I identify and link to the mainstream food & beverage companies whose ownership of plant-based brands indicates they have noticed. Statista placed the market for plant protein at $8.97 billion in 2019, growing to $14.32 billion by 2025. MarketWatch predicts the vegan food market will grow to $25.3 billion by 2025, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8%. |o  p|

Daiya, Follow Your Heart, Miyoko’s, and Tofurky are founding board members of the Plant Based Foods Association, whose stated mission is to build a solid foundation for the plant-based foods industry to succeed and thrive. Other members include companies featured in this post such as Abbot’s Butcher, Before the Butcher, Beyond Meat, Blue Diamond, Califia Farms, Forager, Good Catch, Good Karma, Greenleaf Foods (Field Roast and Lightlife), Impossible Foods, Outstanding Foods, and Quorn. The full member list features many companies who are likely unknown to most readers, as they were to me. More importantly, it is also a treasure trove of more vegan foods to enjoy. Click the logo boxes and learn about what these companies offer!

An important figure propelling the plant-based market upward and forward is Sebastiano Cossia Castiglioni, a vegan investor, entrepreneur, activist, and advisor — and one of my heroes.

Castiglioni is an investor, directly or through partnerships, in more than 60 companies in the plant-based and cruelty-free space, including Beyond Meat $BYND. He is co-founder (with his partner Paresh Patel), chair of the board, and director of a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), Natural Order Acquisition Corp., which targets the plant-based food & beverage space. Natural Order closed a $230 million IPO on November 13, 2020, and appears in my Stockmaster mobile app as $NOACU.

There is Even Plant-Based…Media!

The Game Changers, starring Hamilton, Djokovic, the NBA’s Paul, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and elite elite Special Forces trainer James Wilks, premiered in 1,000 cinemas globally on September 17 of this year. Executive producers James Cameron, whose credits include the iconic Avatar and Terminator franchises, Titanic, and many more; Schwarzenegger; and Jackie Chan produced a hard-hitting narrative that documents the explosive rise of plant-based eating in professional sports, mixing real-time, groundbreaking science with cinematic stories of struggle and triumph. Directed by Oscar winner Louie Psihoyos, the movie follows the story of Wilks, who is also the winner of The Game Changers/The Ultimate Fighter competition, as he travels the world on a quest for the truth about meat, protein, and strength. His journey exposes outdated myths about food that affect human performance and the health of the planet.

After its initial screening, the movie is now available on iTunes and Netflix!

I am so proud to see a highly-educated, genius-level-brilliant, incredibly personable actress like Mayim Bialik (who starred on The Big Bang Theory) talking about why she’s a vegan on YouTube, including “5 Worst Things to Say to a Vegan.”

Kudos, also, to The Today Show for a piece that presents a shortlist of great plant-based foods. The post you are reading may cover more ground in terms of brands and products, but the Today Show piece will reach millions of readers who may be motivated to try these and other products. |q|

Knowledgeable sources of credible and useful information about vegan foods, recipes, and the impact of plant-based nutrition on the planet are popping up everywhere. One of the best I’ve found thus far is One Billion Vegans, a Facebook group named for its goal of helping to create and empower a billion vegans by 2022.

Plant-Based Q&A

I’m thrilled to see this new nutritional path increasingly going mainstream, including stories in major media venues. I also laugh or cringe at some media “findings” about plant-based nutrition.

One editor wrote about quick-eats-and-treats for Super Bowl parties. To me his one token vegan entry was unappetizing in print and after trying it, his taste buds agreed. So, to him, that was it. Case closed. Settled science. Forget anything vegan for your next party! You and your guests should keep chowing down on hamburgers and wings and hot dogs, and pizzas drowning in meat. Jam as much animal product down your throats as possible.

Not that I am bitter.

Another writer dug deep to find out that one of the popular new plant-based burgers had, she said, “similar levels of sodium to a regular beef hamburger.”

Media aside, I also marvel at some of my non-media fellow humans who stop wolfing down steroid-laden, processed meats, Cheez-its, and Mountain Dew just long enough to shoot down positive vegan stories with scattered concerns and cheap shots. They also, however, express legitimate questions and concerns, and here are some answers.

Q: “If you vegans don’t want to eat meat, why do you want something that tastes like meat?”
A: Um…why would Tesla and others make EVs that drive like gas-powered cars (or way better)?

No one ever said they didn’t like the TASTE of meat and dairy products. We’re eating differently for three main reasons: We are no longer willing to contribute to the demand for meat and dairy that causes “humans” to torture and kill animals for food. |r| We want no part of the human health issues around eating red and processed meat, which is associated with heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. And we will no longer contribute to the demand for meat that accelerates climate change and drains natural resources to raise livestock for food. |s  t|

Point: “These plant-based foods are too processed.”
 Counterpoint: As laid out here, and paraphrased in this post, Beyond Meat and the Impossible Burger have better nutritional profiles than beef burgers: fewer calories, more protein, and less fat. |u|

Compared to a four-ounce beef burger with 20% fat content, a Beyond Burger has 20 fewer calories, three fewer grams of fat, and one MORE gram of protein. An Impossible Burger has 50 fewer calories, eight fewer grams of fat, and the same amount of protein. Both plant-based burgers have zero cholesterol, compared to 80 milligrams in a beef burger. And both have more fiber, another essential to good health. |v|

Statement: “You can’t get protein unless you eat meat.”
 Fact Check: WRONG.

We get plenty of protein every day at every meal in things like soy milk, oatmeal, nuts, chia seeds, tofu, beans, chickpeas, nutritional yeast, whole-grain breads, green peas, quinoa, wild rice, and high-protein fruits and vegetables. One thing we don’t get is vitamin B12, and we take that as a supplement. |w|

Often Heard Locally: “I’d like to try vegan, but my husband’s a meat-and-potatoes man and he works hard and he needs his meat.”
Speaking Truth to Carnivores: a growing number of the world’s top athletes in the most demanding physical sports are vegan, so…whatever your job may be, I’ll bet it can work for you.

Who are they? NFL players including DeAndre Hopkins, Malcolm Jenkins, Matthew Stafford, and Marcus Mariota. NBA players including nine-time NBA All-Star Chris Paul, Damian Lillard, Kyrie Irving, Wilson Chandler, Al Jefferson, Garrett Temple, Enes Kanter, JaVale McGee, and Jahlil Okafor. Pro soccer players in the British Premier and other leagues including Jermain Defoe, Chris Smalling, Fabian Delph, and Jack Wilshere. World-class athletes across the most demanding physical sports such as tennis icons Novak Djokovic and Venus Williams, boxer David Haye, UFC mixed martial arts fighters Nate Diaz and Abel “Killa” Trujillo, bodybuilder Barny du Plessis, snowboarder Hannah Teter, skater Meagan Duhamel, Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton, ultramarathoner Scott Jurek, and more. NFL living legends Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are not fully vegan, but their diets are reportedly 80% plant-based. |x  y  z  1  2|

To be clear, I am all about freedom of choice. You may choose to keep right on eating meat and dairy, and if you are a parent, raising your children to do the same, and you have the right to do so. If that is the case: go for it. And own it. I just have no patience for those who raise false “concerns” to justify the status quo, and who are always itching to shoot down something new.

I also expose intimidation designed to protect vested interests instead of letting the world, and the economy, evolve. The Missouri Cattlemen’s Association fired a shot across the bow of the plant-based nutrition industry by cowing Missouri lawmakers [rim shot] into passing a law that prohibits companies from referring to products sold in the state as “meat” — unless those products require torturing and killing defenseless animals, in which case it’s ok to call them meat. Sadly, Missouri isn’t the only state to join Big Meat(heads) in fighting for the right to keep up the carnage. A handful of others (AR, MS, MT, OK, SC, and the Dakotas) have already followed in Missouri’s hoofprints by passing similar laws, and about 15 other states have proposed similar legislation.

This is intimidation, plain and simple — and politicians, bought and paid for — as the meat industry watches plant-based foods starting to supplant [it is a great day for rim shots] animal products in the public palate. |3|

It also inspires several headlines I wish I’d written:


I’ve got no horse (or horsemeat, for that matter) in this race. I have no dog — restaurants in certain areas of major US cities, you know what I’m talking about — in this fight. What I’m big on, though, are things like honesty and a balanced perspective. So, while some plant-based burgers may indeed contain “levels of sodium comparable to regular hamburgers,” I’ll tell you what they contain a lot less of: DEAD ANIMALS.

But: Seriously.

We are living and loving the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle. Another picture remains heavy on my heart and provides equally strong motivation. As does this video, this one, and countless others including this one: Could you imagine being in their place? Then visit the ANIMAL SLAUGHTER COUNTER and learn, most of you for the first time, that we “humans” torture and kill 150 billion innocent, defenseless, caring, feeling animals every YEAR for food. |r|

We also torture and kill them…for sport. The NFL does not even use cattle who have already been slaughtered as the source for the leather it uses to make footballs. It finds others to truck in and slaughter specifically for the purpose of making footballs. In 2006, the NBA briefly adopted a new synthetic microfiber basketball, but apparently it was hurting players’ and coaches’ hands and was not performing identically to the leather balls. So instead of going back to the drawing board, the NBA air-balled on the idea and went back to leather.

Compared to other sports, soccer certainly does not have the market cornered on sportsmanship and good cheer, but it does stand tall and far above other sports in at least one respect. Soccer balls are made of of synthetic leather, usually polyurethane or polyvinyl chloride, stitched around an inflated rubber or rubber-like bladder. |4  5  6|

Decades ago I had launched my own limited protest against eating meat by refusing to ever eat lamb or veal again “because those are baby animals.” When I finally stopped and honestly considered the horrifying holocaust we are putting both baby and adult animals through on this planet — and how long I had mindlessly been a part of it — the sorrow and anger welled up inside me and changed me forever. Whether or not you pray, I pray this will happen for you, too.


|a| Food & Wine, Questlove Launches Vegetarian Cheesesteak with Impossible Foods, available here
|b| Philadelphia, Questlove Is Bringing a Vegetarian Cheesesteak to Citizens Bank Park, available here
|c| The Vegan Strategist, Why vegans shouldn’t boycott Daiya cheese, available here
|d| From the motion picture Contact (1997, Warner Bros.), available here
|e| Jim Gaffigan, Hot Pocket, available here
|f| LiveKindly, Nestlé Just Launched Vegan Ground Beef, available here
|g| Nestlé, Meatless meals, available here
|h| Just Food, Nestle’s Garden Gourmet veggie brand withdrawn from UK sale, available here
|i| Hallelujah Diet/Fall In Love With Food Again, available here
|j| Hello Giggles, Kroger will stop selling guns to people under 21, and here are the stores this will directly affect, available here
|k| Supermarket News (SN), Kroger unveils Simple Truth Plant Based food line, available here
|l| PETA/Animals Are Not Ours, Vegan Kroger Grocery Shopping Guide, available here
|m| Inverse, Lab Meat Takeover in 2021? That’s the Latest Prediction, available here
|n| The Counter, The hype and the hope surrounding lab-grown meat, available here
|o| Statista, Plant protein market value worldwide from 2019 to 2025, available here
|p| MarketWatch, Vegan Food Market Statistics 2020-25: Global Segmentation, Size, Share Trends and Future, available here
|q| Today, What is plant-based meat? Here are our top 10 product picks, available here
|r| The Vegan Calculator, ANIMAL SLAUGHTER KILL COUNTER, available here
|s| Business Insider, We are killing the environment one hamburger at a time, available here
|t| Earth Sky, Why the Amazon is burning: 4 reasons, available here
|u| The New Republic, The Promise and Problem of Fake Meat, available here
|v| Fatsecret, 4oz ground beef (80% lean/20% fat), available here
|w| Healthline, The 17 Best Protein Sources for Vegans and Vegetarians, available here
|x| STYLE, What is Wimbledon tennis champion Novak Djokovic’s vegan diet?, available here
|y| Business Insider, These 19 elite athletes are vegan — here’s what made them switch their diet, available here
|z| Sportscasting, Vegan Athletes You Can Watch in the NFL (and Why They Changed Diets), available here
|1| PETA, The NBA is Going Vegan, One Player at a Time, available here
|2| Los Angeles Times, In the NBA, fake-meat diets are changing the game, available here
|3| The New York Times, What, Exactly, Is Meat? Plant-Based Food Producers Sue Missouri Over Labeling, available here
|4| Sports Illustrated (SI): From Farm to Field, and Every Point Between: How a Cow Becomes a Football, available here
|5| The New York Times, NBA Says New Ball Is Not Worth the Pain, available here
|6| How Products are Made, Soccer Ball, available here

One thought on ““It’s Too Hard to Go Vegan; What Would I Eat?” The Ultimate Guide to Plant-Based Tastes

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