Xanthe Clay has no problem with the idea of people eating less meat and more vegetables. It would not only be healthier for humans but for the planet as well. But in an essay at the Telegraph, Clay has a warning for people chowing down on plant-based burgers, or chicken, or whatever: A lot of these products are ultra-processed and far from health food. "Junk" is actually the word Clay uses. And while they have a place in diets, that place should be the same one relegated to other types of junk food. As such, they should be eaten sparingly. "That lovely word ‘plant’ has a whiff of nature, countryside, health, fresh air, natural leafiness," writes Clay. But many of the products flying this flag would be better associated with a manufacturing plant than one of the natural variety.
"(P)lease, don’t kid yourself that this is healthy food," writes Clay. "While health experts exhort us to eat more vegetables, this isn’t what they mean. They mean actual vegetables, you know, cabbage and carrots and cauliflowers. The plant-based kind." The problem is that food manufacturers have predictably saturated the market (and the airwaves) with products posing as healthy because of a "plant-based" label. Read the full essay, in which Clay runs through some preferred meat alternatives. (KFC, meanwhile, is out with a plant-based chicken nugget.)