Monday, May 7, 2018

Meatless Monday: Discovering The Beyond Burger

There is something about the smell of meat being cooked… If you have ever in your life enjoyed a burger or a steak, you know what I am talking about. Decades have passed since I have grilled a burger, but a faint whiff of meat wafting from the restaurants up the street still makes my mouth water.

Over the weekend I tried a product that fully satisfies this primal craving while harming no animals in the process. The product is The Beyond Burger,  a product of Beyond Meat, touted on the company’s website as being “the revolutionary plant-based burger that looks, cooks, and satisfies like beef.”

In the package, it looks like two generous, well-formed beef patties. They sizzle and smell like burgers when cooked according to the package directions. And they have the mouth feel and taste of a fine burger. They even bleed (beet juice). If you serve them with a leaf of lettuce and a slice of onion, you will not know the difference — I kid you not (as my dad used to say).

Pea protein isolate is the source of the protein — 20 grams or 32% of your Daily Value. The world has come a long way since the early meat substitute HVP (hydrolyzed vegetable protein) of the 70s.

I had first heard about this product from relatives in the west who wanted to cut back on meat consumption but loved the taste so much that they had found it impossible—until they discovered Beyond Meat. The vegan cashier at Whole Foods told me that for them the product was a real game-changer, something really satisfying that could be enjoyed without guilt in the company of friends. And there is the mother I met while waiting for a delayed flight at JFK. I do not recall how the conversation started, but she told me her college-age daughter was changing her major to chemical engineering after getting hooked on these burgers, with the hope of working in this growing new field when she graduates.

Drawbacks? There are a few. Beyond Burgers run about $6.00 for two, making this an expensive option for a family with teenagers. They also come with a lot of packaging.

To learn more about the company and its mission to create “mass-market solutions that perfectly replace animal protein with plant protein, listen to CEO Ethan Brown (a vegan) discuss the company’s vision on npr.

You will have to check the company website to see whether these fresh burgers are available in your area; they are gradually making their appearance in supermarkets and restaurants nationwide. If you decide to give them a try, you will find them in the Meat (yikes!) aisle.

Enjoy! “See you” again soon, I promise. My posts have been far between, I know. But I have been busy! Stay tuned to learn some of things I've been up to.

On Mondays I often blog on food, food issues, or gardening in support of Meatless Monday, one of several programs developed in the Healthy Monday project, founded in 2003 in association with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications. Meatless Monday’s goal is “to help reduce meat consumption 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.”