People eat more meat that isn’t meat – a decade of changes

People eat more meat that isn’t meat.  This was actually tried when I was much younger.  It failed miserably.  The taste, texture and pretty much everything else about the so-called meat was just wrong.  247temp.com says it’s new in the last ten years.   

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People eat more meat that isn't meat What’s really new in the last ten years is that it’s being tried again – by people who aren’t Asian.  There have been really good meat substitutes in Asian vegetarian restaurants for more than ten years. 

However, unlike the Asian food places, American ones seem to be afraid of telling us what it really is.  The Asians ones that I’ve seen tend to be mostly soybean.  The American ones?  Well, they don’t seem to like to tell us.

People eat more meat that isn’t meat

So here’s what 247temp.com has to say about this trend of people eating more meat that isn’t meat.

Unless you never eat out, you have probably heard of Beyond Meat burgers, which contain no meat. They are plant-based patties that include water, pea protein isolate, some oils, rice protein, and flavors. Another meatless product, the Impossible Burger, has been a huge hit, according to Burger King, which serves it. Overall, about 95% of people who order the meatless burger are not vegans, according to 2017 data from market researcher NPD Group.

If it isn’t meat then what is it?

But let’s check out the ingredients for two of the new American meat that isn’t meat products.  For starters, see that image at the top?  After water, that’s the next highest ingredient in your meat from Beyond Meat.  

Here’s the whole list of what’s in Beyond Meat, from foodnetwork.com:

Water, Pea Protein Isolate, Expeller-Pressed Canola Oil, Refined Coconut Oil, Rice Protein, Natural Flavors, Cocoa Butter, Mung Bean Protein, Methylcellulose, Potato Starch, Apple Extract, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Vinegar, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Sunflower Lecithin, Pomegranate Fruit Powder, Beet Juice Extract (for color)”

The protein in this burger comes from rice, peas and mung bean, and the fat comes from canola oil, coconut oil and cocoa butter. Instead of using an egg to bind, an additive called methylcellulose is used. This binding agent is also commonly used in ice cream, jams and sauces.

A 4 ounce serving of the Beyond Burger provides Calories: 250; Total Fat: 18g; Saturated Fat: 6g; Protein: 20g; Total Carbs: 3g; Fiber: 2g; Sodium: 390mg

And in those Impossible Foods meat that isn’t meat products :

Impossible Foods created plant-based heme (an iron-containing molecule that occurs naturally in every living plant and animal) through the fermentation of genetically engineered yeast, which is explained on the Impossible Foods website. In 2019, Impossible Foods updated their original recipe formula and the latest Impossible Burger debuted. The long list of ingredients is as follows:

“Water, Soy Protein Concentrate, Coconut Oil, Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavors, 2% or less of: Potato Protein, Methylcellulose, Yeast Extract, Cultured Dextrose, Food Starch Modified, Soy Leghemoglobin, Salt, Soy Protein Isolate, Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E), Zinc Gluconate, Thiamine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Sodium Ascorbate (Vitamin C), Niacin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12.”

As you can see, many vitamins and minerals are fortified into the mixture in order to have the nutritionals match that of beef. The protein sources include soy and potato, fat comes from coconut oil and sunflower oil, while the binding agent used is methylcellulose (just like Beyond Burger).

The nutrition info per 4 ounce serving is Calories: 240; Total Fat: 14g; Saturated Fat: 8g; Protein: 19g; Total Carbs: 9g; Fiber: 3g; Sodium: 370mg.

Nope – it’s definitely not meat.  But is it what you thought you were getting? 

I have to say, I’m not really surprised.  So much oil, genetically modified stuff and words too long to be anything other than highly processed “things”.  

So what does meat that isn’t meat have to do with Christianity?

Actually, quite a bit.  Paul, Peter and the author of Hebrews all wrote about it.

Let’s begin with Peter.

Peter begins with an explanation that amounts to the reasons we should start off as new Christians with a full realization that we are “new”.  Beginners.  Infants.  Babies.  That’s why he concludes this passage with:

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

Be Holy

1Pe 1:13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

1Pe 1:17 Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear. 18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.

1Pe 1:22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For,
“All men are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,

1Pe 1:25 but the word of the Lord stands forever.”

And this is the word that was preached to you.

1Pe 2:1 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

Next we have what Paul wrote to the church in Corinth.

It’s important to understand why Paul wrote this letter to them.  In this passage, to understand why Paul tells them they’re not acting like people capable of eating solid food (meat) but should instead go back to drinking milk.

The period between Paul’s first visit to Corinth (a.d. 50–51) and the writing of 1 Corinthians (early 54) saw some changes in the church’s situation. After Paul left, a man named Apollos became a Christian and ministered to the church there (Acts 18:24–19:1). Apollos was from the Egyptian city of Alexandria, the second largest in the empire and home to the most famous library in the world. If we are to judge by Paul’s opening comments in 1 Corinthians (1 Cor. 1:17, 20), Apollos must have brought with him an eloquence and education superior to Paul’s (1 Cor. 2:1, Acts 18:24–25), at least by the secular standards of that day. First Corinthians gives us hints that these two great men, Paul and Apollos, may have differed slightly in their approaches to things. Some of those who thought on an earthly rather than spiritual level exploited these differences to their advantage.

Sometime after Paul arrived in Ephesus, perhaps in mid-53, Paul became aware of sexual immorality in the Corinthian church. As a result, Paul wrote a letter to the church telling them not to associate with Christians who were sexually immoral (1 Cor. 5:9–11). Unfortunately, we have lost this letter to time. But sexual immorality remained an issue at Corinth; it is just one among many issues that gave rise to 1 Corinthians (chaps. 5–6 in particular).

However, the fundamental problem that gave rise to 1 Corinthians was undoubtedly the disunity of the community. First Corinthians 1:10 gives us the key verse of the entire letter, the “proposition” of 1 Corinthians: “I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.” We find this same sentiment echoed in 11:18: “I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you.”  1)Schenck, K. (2006). 1 & 2 Corinthians: a commentary for Bible students (pp. 21–22). Indianapolis, IN: Wesleyan Publishing House.

On Divisions in the Church

1Co 3:1 Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly—mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? 4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere men?

1Co 3:5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.

1Co 3:10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

1Co 3:16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.

1Co 3:18 Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”; 20 and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.” 21 So then, no more boasting about men! All things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.

Finally, Hebrews.

Again we have a church that thinks it’s ready for solid food, but still needs milk.

Warning Against Falling Away

6:4-6 Ref—Heb 10:26-31

Heb 5:11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

Heb 6:1 Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2 instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And God permitting, we will do so.

Heb 6:4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, 6 if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.

Heb 6:7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.

Heb 6:9 Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are confident of better things in your case—things that accompany salvation. 10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. 11 We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. 12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.

Do you see an issue here with meat that isn’t meat?

Whether it’s a new Christian or someone who’s been a Christian for some time, it’s important to know whether we need what’s described as milk or solid food.  The expectation is that a long-time Christian is ready for solid food.  Meat.  However, that’s not always the case.

On top of that, there’s also the need to be sure the milk and the meat are the “real thing”.  When we have a situation like what Paul had in the church in Corinth, they were getting what we just viewed – meat that isn’t meat.

The actual message of the Gospel was being intermixed with the messages from outside the church.  A charismatic speaker can easily convince someone who hasn’t grown up on meat that their meatless, or maybe meat +plant-based message is the real thing.

It really is important.  We may think it’s not that big a deal to mix some of the “good” things from society into the message of the Bible.  

Staying with the food metaphors, let’s look at something Jesus said.

The Yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees

Mt 16:5 When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread. 6 “Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

Mt 16:7 They discussed this among themselves and said, “It is because we didn’t bring any bread.”

Mt 16:8 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? 9 Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 11 How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

Jesus gave that warning for a reason.  There were, and still are, those who are preying, not praying, on unsuspecting people who want to be Christian, but aren’t getting the true message.  In terms of this discussion, people who aren’t getting pure milk and or pure meat.  

Instead of the message of the Gospel, they get a distorted message full of by-products, highly processed ingredients, half-truths and the like.  All together, they might sound good.  But they are the very things Jesus warned against.  

 

Let’s look at one final analogy from everydayhealth.com

People give up eating meat and animal products such as milk, cheese, and eggs for many reasons.

But doing so may increase the risk of iron deficiency anemia, a potentially serious condition in which the body does not make enough oxygen-bearing red blood cells.

For vegetarians who eliminate meat, anemia can be due to an iron deficiency. For vegans, who give up all animal products including dairy, eggs, and even honey, anemia can also be caused by vitamin B12 deficiency.

The answer is to eat a carefully balanced diet — by getting needed iron and B12 from other sources, you should be able to stay committed to a vegetarian or vegan diet and prevent anemia.

That’s all well and good for anemia.  If followed correctly, one can substitute a plant-based diet for meat.

But when we’re talking Christianity, there’s no alternative.  Jesus taught what He taught.  There’s no “plant-based” alternative.  The greatest commandment is still the greatest commandment.

The Greatest Commandment – Matthew

22:34-40 pp — Mk 12:28-31

Mt 22:34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Mt 22:37 Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Doing the things that Jesus just said requires following what He taught.  Nothing else will do.

References   [ + ]

1. Schenck, K. (2006). 1 & 2 Corinthians: a commentary for Bible students (pp. 21–22). Indianapolis, IN: Wesleyan Publishing House.

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