The Impending Vegan Option Chaos

I’ve written before about how wonderful it is that we can enter restaurants — at least in most major cities — and frequently find not just one token vegan option, but two or even three. In perhaps a prime example of a first world problem, I mildly complained that we vegans now face a struggle we likely haven’t experienced since the beginning of our herbivorism: the stress of having to weigh our options.

This applies outside of restaurants, too. We no longer have to pick a bland veggie burger at the grocery store — we have to pick between the one we’ve had 10,000 times and love, the 12 we haven’t yet tried, the three that have appeared since we last shopped for groceries, and the one that’s probably the healthiest but not very appealing.

This makes the choice between eating a meat-based burger or a plant-based burger optimistic. Omnivorous food enthusiasts will assert that they can taste the difference between a conventional meat-based burger and a “free-range” meat-based burger, but most omnivores will just go with whatever’s in the right price range, looks good enough, and they know they’ll be satisfied with. That is, for most omnivores, there’s one, two, maybe three options. But they won’t give it much thought when making the purchase.

For us vegans, on the other hand, there are dozens of options, and all of them taste remarkably different. We have several options to choose from, and we can hone in on what tastes the best, what’s in the right price range, and what has our desired nutritional content. We can also pick and choose based on what we’re making: we may choose one veggie burger if we’re grilling, another if we’re attempting to bring omnivores to the dark side, a different one if we’re going to crumble it on a salad, and so on.

This applies not just to veggie burgers, of course. Plant-based milks are also growing exponentially. There used to be just soy, then rice and almond, and now there’s every goddamn type of milk you can imagine. And, like veggie burgers, we can select based on what we’re going to do with it.

It’s going to get chaotic. Not as in anarchy, but as in chaos theory: as our options continue to grow, the potential combinations of foods and recipes for the same dishes will expand exponentially. We may soon be able to have the same exact meal three times a day, every day, but we will be able to use different ingredients each time, meaning we’ll never get bored of it. Omnivores don’t have that capability

Contrary to the popular conception that vegans are ascetic, perpetually exercising our self-control in order to not consume meat and animal products the taste of which we long for, our growing options will soon reveal that vegan foods have more degrees of freedom than do omnivores.

Of course, omnivores can always consume vegan foods if they like — and they sometimes do, which is great — meaning that they actually have more options than vegans do, since they aren’t refusing meat and animal products. But most omnivores continue to have the misconception that vegan foods just simply aren’t like the “real thing.” These people will miss out on the impending chaos of vegan foods.

Maybe they’ll come around eventually, but for now, more food for us.


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