Real vs fake vegetarians

Maybe you’ve heard about, or even watched, the recent much-hyped documentary “The Game Changer” on Netflix?

It presents a lot of information to argue that a vegetarian diet is the healthiest approach. But it’s very much a one-sided presentation, without any real scientific evidence, and with some information that is simply wrong. Yet so many people are watching programs like this and then following a diet trend, because they think it’s going to be the perfect solution for them.

So which is better — being vegetarian, vegan, or maybe carnivore? There is no clear answer for that, it depends so much on WHY you are choosing. First, we need to know the reason behind it. If you find that your way of eating makes you feel good, puts your body at ease, and maintains your energy throughout then it’s no one’s business to say that you should not eat this way!

I believe that we can only talk from our own experience. If you want to go looking for evidence, then we can easily find evidence that supports whichever side we want. But just listening to one side, with one approach, is not giving you the balanced information and education that you need.

My biggest worry is that we’re making what we eat feel like a religion, we’re following something without really being aware of how it is affecting our personal health — mind and body.

Have you seen the “fake” meat that is now available? Why do you think that many vegetarians are attracted to eating foods that are made to look like (and taste like) sausages, burgers, and even bacon? If they’re craving these foods, why are they still following a vegetarian diet? If you’re trying to cut added sugar and you switch to sugar substitutes then (even if it might cause other side effects and not be the healthiest option) I can understand it.

But why choose a vegetarian or vegan diet and still try to imagine that you’re eating meat?

Have you ever looked at the ingredient list of plant-based chicken nuggets? Here it is: Textured vegetable protein (soy protein concentrate, soy protein isolate, wheat gluten, water for hydration), water, enriched wheat flour (flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), bleached wheat flour, corn oil, cornstarch, contains two percent or less of wheat starch, salt, methycellulose, modified corn starch, dextrose, autolyzed yeast extract, potassium chloride, natural and artificial flavors from non-meat sources, sugar, maltodextrin, disodium inosinate, soybean oil, hydrolyzed soy protein, onion, paprika, dried yeast, inulin from chicory root, caramel color tapioca dextrin, xanthan gum, sodium alginate spices, yellow corn flour, paprika extract for color, annatto extract for color, baking soda, garlic, tomato powder, celery extract, wheat fiber, lactic acid, safflower oil, barley extract, citric acid, niacinamide, egg whites, nonfat dry milk, succinic acid, disodium guanylate, iron (ferrous sulfate), thiamin mononitrate (vitamin b1), pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin b6), riboflavin (vitamin b2), vitamin b12

Reading the list of ingredients takes longer than it takes to eat the nugget.

In comparison, here’s the ingredient list for regular chicken nuggets: Chicken breast meat. Marinated in water and sea salt. breaded in unbleached wheat flour, water, cane sugar, dried yeast, sea salt, black pepper, paprika.

Which of those two would you rather eat?

How about hot dogs? Here’s the ingredients for plant-based hot dogs: Water, wheat gluten, textured vegetable protein (soy isolate, wheat gluten), soy isolate, corn oil, torula yeast, contains 2% or less of defatted wheat germ, hydrolyzed soy protein, autolyzed yeast extract, defatted soy flour, minced onion, disodium guanylate & inosinate (vegan source), corn syrup, cottonseed oil, soy concentrate, garlic powder, caramel color, soy lecithin, natural smoke flavor, salt, lysine, spices, vitamins (niacinamide, thiamine, vitamin B6, riboflavin, vitamin B12), red #3 and yellow #6 for color

And for regular hot dogs:

Organic grass-fed beef, water. Contains less than 2% of the following: sea salt, organic spices, organic dehydrated garlic, organic dehydrated onion, organic paprika, celery powder

Some veggie burgers can be more acceptable than others. For example, here’s the ingredients for one organic veggie burger:

Organic Vegetables (Organic Carrots, Organic Kale, Organic Onion), Organic Wheat Flour, Organic Quinoa Cooked In Water, Organic Chopped Almonds, Organic Soybean Oil, Sea Salt, Organic Spices, Organic Garlic,

A whole food plant-based diet, and a processed food plant based diet are really two completely different ways of eating! Now I’m not suggesting that you have to eat chicken nuggets or hot dogs, I’m just saying that if you decide to go plant-based this may not be the healthiest food option.

When a manufacturer writes “plant-based beef” on the package most people believe that plant-based meat products are healthier, more natural, less processed, and better for the environment. When you read the ingredient labels you will see that this is not the case.

I don’t believe that there is one way of eating for everyone. However, I do strongly believe that whatever diet we follow, we can do better. We should eat food that looks like food! Food is information for the body. Interestingly, we are able to eat badly and still survive. But we can survive beautifully, peacefully, or lousily, depending on what we give our body.

I think that we all need to step back and educate ourselves and feel the connection with our food. How do you feel after eating certain foods? Food is energy, so it must energize us. If we feel lethargic or in any way negative after eating, then we are eating something that is bad for us. If you are eating a correct diet, you should see:

• After eating you should not want to sleep

• You should feel the food is nourishing you

• You should not feel bloating or gas

• Increased sleep quality

• Mental clarity

• Easy digestion, that should not take your energy

• You should feel light

• Your mood should be stable

• You should not be addicted — you have control, your food does not control you

In other words, we need to eat as much unprocessed, single ingredient food as possible. Most people call this “real food” — simple, nutrient dense food.

Changing your diet and going on a plant-based “whole foods” diet is great for some individuals, depending on their goals. However, a lot of people feel a lot better, and react a lot better, from consuming animal protein.

We should stop blaming the type of diet, and look instead at what is the food content that we are consuming? And please stop following someone else’s diet! You are living your own life, you need to find what is correct for YOU.


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Ayda Ersoy: Nutritionist (Dip.C.N., Dip.S.N.), Master Trainer, (CPT ACE, NCSF, CanfitPro), Registered Yoga Teacher Founder, Health Angel Nutrition, Fitness and Wellness Founder, SMS (Stability, Mobility Strength) Intuitive Training System. She can be reached at and

  1. David Torney November 6, 2019 3:08 am Reply

    Helpful advice.

  2. Shannon November 6, 2019 10:55 am Reply

    I am a vegan and I love lots of the fake meats. It gives me other flavors of protein to put in my foods. Lest you think I’m craving meat, that wouldn’t be accurate as I haven’t had meat for over 50 years and don’t remember what it even tastes like.

    But there is nothing wrong with craving the flavors that you are used to eating most of your life anyway. I chose not to eat meat because I didn’t want to kill animals and help support a horrible industry that creates so much misery. They want to keep that part from you so you think that your meat comes from “happy cows”.

    Another reason to not eat meat? More studies have been done to show it’s healthier, and just another another study was released on the ability to feed all the people in the world, there needs to be a conversion away from so much meat eating, You list all sorts of ingredients. True there are more ingredients in the fake meats. You can pick what you buy with what ingredients you want. But what you don’t cover is all the “ingredients” behind that piece of meat. antibiotics, hormones, accumulated toxins. Pounds of grains go into that pound of meat too, so forgive me for going directly for the one pound of food that feeds many more people.

    Why are you condemning what other people are choosing to eat? Don’t buy it, don’t eat it. But it’s a healthy growing industry so you better get used to seeing it and your friends eating it.

    1. Thomas Emmett Owen November 6, 2019 1:20 pm Reply

      I can only find one reference to your credentials as a nutritionist (
      Why is it that you and the Garden Island Newspaper present you as a “Doc”. Your ingredient quotes list gourmet hot dog and “nuggets” and appear to point at Morningstar veg products. You also seem to ignore the use of celery juice and or powder a natural source of nitrites which in the present of animal product are arguably more intense than normal cures (which by all accounts should be avoided). Why is the GIN reprinting this drivel.

  3. Charlie Chimknee November 7, 2019 1:12 am Reply

    Aloha Kakou,

    We think the better question is asking about FAKE CARNIVORES.

    Or humans mimicking animals.

    The real Carnivores on the planet, those whose diets are made up of other animals’ flesh (muscles, tendons, ligaments, etc.) and organs and of course, plus blood and other bodily fluids. Animals eating animals…!

    What sets real carnivores apart from FAKE carnivores, the humans, is that the real Meat Eaters as intended by the Creator were and are genetically and evolutionarily provided physical assets and attributes making their life easier and healthier being Real Carnivores. That’s how they were intended to live Healthy.

    So what did the Real intended Meat Eaters get physically from the Creator through Nature that sets them apart from the Fake Meat Eaters, the humans…?

    1. Sharp curved raking strong Claws on their fore and hind feet to rip open the hide of other animals, their Prey.

    2. Super strong teeth and jaws to crush the head, neck / spinal cord, and / or throat of their Prey or victims. Notice that the Predator in most cases will go for the head, neck, or throat first to terminate their prey. See Nat Geo for reality videos.

    3. The next attribute is large sharp fangs, the teeth used to tear their preys’ flesh and other parts apart for those scrumpdillyicious gulping down of the now dead Prey’s body’s most delicious morsels….of course usually leaving some for the lesser fierce predators, like hyenas (some same attributes) and vultures with claws and sharp flesh tearing beaks.

    4. Next attribute that the Real Carnivores have is that they only need a meat and flesh digestion system and digestive tract suited for eating other animals. That is the length of their digestive tract is only as long as the length of their own body. From mouth to anus is pretty much a straight line, which is the only length they need over time to digest and absorb and excrete the remnants of the food (flesh of the other animals) they have eaten.

    5. In addition they are provided by the Creator, the primary digestive fluid to break down and assimilate, that is take into their body, the animal flesh they have eaten. This digestive fluid is hydrochloride acid which literally melts the protein in meat, and breaks apart the amino acids of the meat’s protein allowing the protein to leave the digestive tract and be absorbed into the animal’s body.

    6. Being limited to a short digestive tract and a limited digestive system, that is the breaking down of the eaten animal flesh, limits many animals on earth, older than mankind, to be Real Carnivores, Meat Eaters.

    In contrast Fake Meat Eaters, humans, are genetically and structurally and functionally limited and lack the attributes of Real Meat Eaters, Carnivores.

    Fake Meat Eaters, the humans, lack, that is they do not have:

    1. Sharp, curved, raking long claws. Human Fingernails are not even a poor second, they are an embarrassment in the wild, and their lack could make a Fake Meat Eater or Fake Carnivore become lunch for a Real Meat Eater.

    2. Super strong teeth and jaws. Even dentures and implants do not compare when bringing down a prey and having to kill it in order to eat it. No slaughterhouses are in the wild. Each predator often depends on hisself, or co-predators to bring down large animals in the wild. Killing the prey animal is violent but natural and done every day by the millions for millions of years. It’s considered routine on earth. Besides the wild predators, the real Meat Eaters need no ANTACIDS or other medicines to finish up their meal.

    As well many people with a burning stomach after eating an animal protein meal, like steak, burgers, etc., are not suffering from too much stomach acid, but in reality not enough acid, as often taking more hydrochloride acid after the meal stops the painful symptoms.

    3. Next, people do not have big sharp fangs to tear the animal’s flesh apart. Human culture for the most part world wide prepares the food so that FANGS ARE NOT A NECESSITY.

    4. Humans lack a short digestive tract and have more than simple few digestive fluids.

    Instead human Fake meat eaters (and full on Plant Based eaters) have a fully natural and functional digestive tract that is approximately 26 feet long and that may not include the length of the stomach and colon. The 26 feet long digestive tract is required to digest and absorb all the fruits and vegetables, grains, and legumes along with the huge variety of other Plant Based foods the Creator and Nature have provided for us on earth for our nourishment, health, and optimal life longevity. We are way more sophisticated as Plant Based food eaters than simple gutted real meat eaters.

    It is relatively new information to the public that the human being has billions of natural micro bacteria in their digestive tract and those microbes even digest the fiber in the fruits and vegetables, and other plant based foods humans should predominantly eat.

    In fact predator and prey animals both do not have Dietary fiber in their bodies, and no Dietary Fiber is derived from eating them and their flesh. The meat of animals that humans and predator animals eat has no dietary fiber at all but has only only muscle fiber. Muscle fiber is not a nutritive fiber for the mandatory digestion and function of the microbes in our digestive tract’s microbiome.

    In fact because human Fake Meat Eaters eat so much animal based protein, they usually do not have enough digestive juices, stomach acid, for all that animal protein and then make it worse by taking antacid) drugs for the stomach pain after eating, when they in fact need more stomach acid.

    Some human indigestion comes from not enough digestive enzymes for our carbohydrates, or maybe we are eating too many carbs using up all of those digestive enzymes and leaving us with not enough.

    Then because Fake meat eaters lack plant based dietary fiber for their colon’s billions of micro bacteria they develop Irritable Bowel Syndrome and then take more drugs for their bowel or colon. Some wisely take pre and pro biotics, though increasing their Plant Based Nutrition food volume, and decreasing their animal flesh ingestion, eating plant based food is a better restoration to normal. The body is capable,of both building itself from the parents sperm and ovum, but also to heal and make itself right if not interfered with. Normal function is caused by our nervous system, our brain stem to all of our body parts.

    In addition when all that undigested meat and processed food build up in the colon, people, especially men, get the big gut, and alcohol really helps that problem too…to get worse, more swollen.

    5. Human Fake meat eaters while lacking the proper structure and function for meat eating are wisely given by the Creator digestive enzymes and functional mechanisms for eating Plant Based foods, since humans are real Plant Based predators. When you see a nice salad or plates or Soups of grain, legumes, vegetables, nuts, natural rice and noodles and other Plant Based foods a person should be wanting to devour it…in a civilized manner.

    In the now modern era all food should be inspected for chemicals of any kind, to be sure no additives, or sugars, or Agriculture poisons, or colors, flavors, and aromas have been added to the food. Sadly even cancer causing petrochemicals are added to our food.

    Make sure your food is live and all natural, and no FAKE Modified Genes.

    So many illnesses and chronic Degenerative Diseases are caused by the wrong or junk food, that is the accumulation of eating the wrong food for your body over decades of life leading to an early death.

    With the right natural food and staying away from chemicals and drugs you can avoid heart disease and stroke, obesity and diabetes, the many cancers, and many more diseases that take decades to make you sick.

    Health is the Prevention of Disease. Each person must actively every day pursue the natural things that maintain and restore Health, and Health allows you to avoid doctors and no need medical insurance, who wants drugs and surgery when you can be Healthy and Active your whole life.


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