Knowledge Base > Eric Wynkoop - Ask Me Anything (Office Hours)

Ask Me Anything (Office Hours)

Eric Wynkoop - Ask Me Anything (Office Hours)

This event was on Tuesday, February 21, 2023 at 11:00 am Pacific, 2:00 pm Eastern

Join Chef Eric Wynkoop in his virtual office as he welcomes all of your questions. This event was created for you and we encourage you to Ask Anything – from cooking techniques to co… Read More.



What is your opinion of the alternatives (faux meat) for the wfpb (whole food plant baed) lifestyle?

— Dionne Cottle


Aha, so thank you very much for for asking this question. It's an interesting one. And I think also a relevant question in in this this era right of so many products that sort of fill that plant-based space and Yeah, let me first start by sharing a little bit of history. And that is that. And actually addressing a couple of terms is well and and let me start with the terms actually the and they are vegan versus Whole Food plant-based. Okay, both are plant-based. But the first term that came on to the scene some decades ago was was vegan and the term vegan right refers to plant-based foods, but it was used primarily by folks that had first and foremost the goal of protecting. Animals, and you know the idea of human health was secondary. And to some extent right? I think those folks are still around today, but they have been eclipsed by the mainstream consumer that is adopting more plant-based Foods or maybe even going a hundred percent plant-based for their health primarily. Okay there I'll take a little tangent here and say that there are arguably many reasons, you know to to go plant-based including the environment. There's of course animal lives Animal Health and Human Health is well individual as well as they Collective Public Health But as we take a look at you know, this the vegan approach from years ago, the focus was very simply on plant-based foods, which meant that processed foods those convenience foods that they were replacing were also very important to you know, to the daily lives the convenience right of the consumers and that has remained right such that today when we go to the store and we look at the those Center Isles that carry all that processed food all the processed foods that we have been critical of for a very long time. Even before the plant-based movement right there now occupied by plant-based options in bags boxes and bottles for example, and you know, are they As bad as their animal counterparts in some cases. They probably are in some cases are probably less harmful, but still not particularly good for you. Okay, especially in comparison to the other term right or this this other approach to plant-based eating that we I think should consider and that is the whole food plant-based approach. and you know eating a whole food diet. This is an interesting topic, right, you know on on one hand if we think about whole food. It is just that it is Foods in their whole form whether it's a grain or a legume or a fruit or vegetable or something else. The challenge is that it's not always convenient to eat Whole Foods. And then also we have the the issue of how do we qualify or Define or you know sort of draw a line around what is and what isn't a Whole Foods in other words, if you take a grain say wheat and you cook that wheat berry, we still recognize that as the whole food and you know, we can probably agree that it costs attitudes the the whole food in. Plant-based realm but as we start to process that grind it into a flour I know is that still the whole food it probably still contains all the constituents of the wheat, but it's certainly looks different and the way the body interacts with that now more simple to access food from a you know, a digestion standpoint. Is it the same and some people would say no, it's not and others would ignore it instead favoring the the convenience that comes out of having the option of using wheat in a ground form because then we can use it to do different things such as make bread or thicken a liquid. Okay, and all those things are are good, but it changes the food. That that basic food at least a little bit. Okay, so, you know these become I think personal philosophical questions that need to be addressed and you know, when it comes to eating food, it is an intimate act one that we engage with. in most cases multiple times each day, and so just like other Very personal and intimate activities that we engage in we we might consider food, you know in that in that category and start to think about food and and the way that we interact with it. What does it mean to us? And what sort of ancillary issues to food are important to us, you know such as the environment right the soil quality erosion issues water quality and other environmental factors, there's food processing and storage and all the packaging that goes into food marketing and and so on and so forth. Okay. So what I'm getting to is that while we might have a philosophy that guides our life in the realm of religion or sex or something else that's very personal to us we Might also think of food in a similar manner, okay, and then think about what you believe in. And what you want to put into your body and then also how much time and energy you want to devote to that process because food preparation takes time and cooking takes time and eating ideally would be done in a slow environment where we take our time and enjoy the the relationships and our relationship with the food that we're consuming that we're enjoying. Okay, and so Um, you know how you identify I think is part of that and if one identifies as vegan and you know, we also look at the larger context of what the term vegan or veganism has meant and maybe does mean today and especially in terms of all the processed foods on the market that qualify as vegan foods versus a whole food plant-based diet and you're being a whole food consumer versus a vegan consumer. That's a starting point. That's a that's a philosophical question is one that has a lot of baggage attached to it. And it's one that a lot of people don't want to talk about because it's difficult are the convenience in our lives often trumps better decisions for us and Our families and for our environment and but I think if we take the time again to sort of disentangle these various issues and start to understand who we are at a more foundational level and how we want to proceed in this very complex World of Food, you know, it will help us, you know deal with these issues around faux meat, for example, okay, and so many other things, you know, whether it's plant-based milks that really aren't based upon what they sound like, they're based upon and the list goes on and on so Dion I think you know, you're asking the the right question and you're asking a really big question and you're asking a very personal question and you know, I encourage you and everyone else listening today to think about what food means to you food has a history food. Culture food is related to other life forms as well as our own health and and well-being and I think we should spend more time thinking about it rather than for example, just the convenience or just the price tag of something that we choose to consume. alright Okay, that's hope that serves as food for thought.
Eric Wynkoop

Eric Wynkoop

Director of Culinary Instruction