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The Toxicity of Plant Based Meat

Many grocery stores have been inclusive of those with dietary restrictions and offer plant based alternatives especially for those with a vegan or plant based diet. Such inclusivity allows the option for meat alternatives that are often made with plant based protein such as soy protein or pea protein. 

The plant based meat industry has widely increased and since then has offered different products such as plant based burgers, breakfast sausages, “chicken” nuggets, etc. Some plant based brands are able to imitate the taste and flavor of animal meat, which poses the question of how they are able to do so and whether what they put in this meatless meat is actually beneficial for one’s health. 

Leading brands in plant based meat production include Impossible Meat, Beyond Meat, and Gardein, which all produce products that look and (sometimes) taste like meat. They also produce other products that substitute for other animal products such as dairy. Plant based brands have perfected their recipes enough to trick even meat eaters into thinking that their products taste like meat, but what exactly are these plant based alternatives made out of? 

Impossible Meat is said to be made of soy protein, heme (molecules that give plant based meats a “meaty” flavor), fats from sunflower and coconut oil and binders. Beyond Meat is said to be made up of proteins from peas, mung beans, and brown rice, fats from cocoa butter, coconut oil and canola oil, carbs from potato starch and methylcellulose, added minerals such as calcium, iron and salt, and beet juice and apple extract to emulate that meat-like color. Gardein is said to be made of soy protein, canola oil, cane sugar, sea salt, and yeast extract.

plant based burger
Photo by Vadim Vasenin.

Although these animal alternative brands all use almost the same plant based ingredients that are healthier than other processed ingredients, plant based meats contain just as many questionable chemicals as animal based products. Some plant based products contain fillers that are high in sodium and saturated fat. Plant proteins other than soy, pea, and wheat gluten mainly serve as a binding agent to implement structural and nutritional properties. 

There are many additives in meat alternatives used specifically for color, binding, and flavoring. Other chemicals such as yeast extracts, nucleotides, sugars, and spices are added and may be used to mask earthy flavors that prevent meatless meats from tasting like, well, meat. The heavy use of gluten can also be problematic for a small portion of the population with celiac disease.

Vitamins and minerals are also supplied to make up for plant deficiencies. To reduce the oxidation and rancidity caused by high-temperature processing, additional antioxidants are added. There are extra organic acids and phosphate compounds that are added in order to help improve microbial stability and shelf life. 

two bottles of vegetable oil
Photo by Xvect.

Many seed oils such as legume and sunflower seeds contain protein inhibitors that are antinutritional in effect and can cause many inflammatory and digestion issues if not processed correctly. Phytic acids that are also present in these plant seeds can reduce the bioavailability of minerals by forming indigestible salts which can lead to water retention. 

Due to the many additives on the labels or the inclusion of genetically modified proteins, many people may turn away from these plant based alternatives because it can affect those with allergies to some of these plant based ingredients and the excess amounts of chemicals can be detrimental to one’s health. 

Overconsumption of these chemicals can leave you feeling unwell and can negatively affect your physical appearance such as bloating, inflammation, and water retention. This can also leave you feeling less confident in your appearance especially if you are going to be in swim or beachwear. When the body is not properly nourished, it can take a toll on your mental state and leave you feeling discouraged in being your best self. 

We have been accustomed to heavily criticizing our bodies and many find it difficult to make healthy changes to their bodies because they are unsure where to start. However, you can start at any point and although it takes more than altering your food consumption to make those healthy changes, starting with food gives you control to decide how much you want to change and can allow you to go at your own pace. 

It is common to turn to a vegetarian or vegan diet to achieve a healthier lifestyle, however, as mentioned in this blog, plant based alternatives can contain many chemicals that leave you feeling sluggish, bloated, nauseous, etc. as much as processed foods do. To combat this, it is best to stay away from synthetic foods and turn to foods with simple ingredients that benefit the body internally and externally. 

Person holding wooden box of fresh-picked produce.
Photo by gpointstudio.

Opting for organic, locally grown foods can be a great start because it does not contain any additional additives or chemicals and leaves you feeling much lighter and energized because it still contains all of its vitamins and minerals. Eating a clean diet can also help with your mental state to which you can feel much more confident about your appearance and find self love within yourself and your body. 

It is also important to stay hydrated and drink lots of fluids throughout the day to help release the toxins that the body produces. Drinking water and tea can help to decrease bloating that comes along with eating processed foods and provides adequate hydration to the body’s cells to help the body function normally. 

Our bodies are our vessels that help carry us through the challenges of everyday life and it is important to nourish it with the right nutrients. In order to look and feel your best in your swim bod, it also starts with your mental state. Other than eating healthily, daily exercise and meditation can utilize the nutrients in your body to expel energy in training your body to put your mind to muscle and overtime increase stamina, endurance and strength. 

Being aware of what is in our food is important in taking accountability for what you put in your body and helps to better understand what makes you feel good and not so good. Processed foods create an addiction to the chemicals in them because it alters the natural ingredients in organic foods to make it more palatable and sellable. The toxicity to this is that people then forget what organic really tastes like and become oblivious to the added chemicals into other foods (such as plant based alternatives) and believe that what is marketed as “organic” truly is what it is, when in reality, there is so much more chemicals in it as well. 

At BeachCandy, we want our customers to look and feel their best in and out of the water. Our swimwear helps to elevate your confidence, but that confidence starts with you and what you put in your body. We want to encourage our BeachCandy babes to become more aware of these toxic chemicals and to direct their energy towards healthy habits that encourage building internal and external strength and power. 

Written by Chloe Galvey

Also read: What are the Causes and Harms of EMF?

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This blog provides general information and discussions about wellness and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this blog, website or in any linked materials are not intended and should not be considered, or used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This blog does not constitute the practice of any medical, nursing or other professional health care advice, diagnosis or treatment. We cannot diagnose conditions, provide second opinions or make specific treatment recommendations through this blog or website.

Suggestions of changes to diet or exercise may not be suitable for everyone. Please consult with your doctor before attempting any changes to decide whether or not such changes would be right for you.

If you or any other person has a medical concern, you should consult with your health care provider or seek other professional medical treatment immediately. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something that you have read on this blog, website or in any linked materials.

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