First of all, I apologize if any of this comes out sounding accusatory. I really am considering becoming a vegan in an effort to switch to a "sustainable" diet (which I consider a diet which could feed 7 billion people). I'm still trying to figure out whether the vegan diet really leads to the least land/water waste.
Now, I know that you technically can get enough protein from rice/beans, which win hands-down for sustainability. However, all of the daily menus I've seen that have tried to prove how easy it is for a vegan to get enough protein contain plenty of tofu or fake meat. And from the vegan blogs that I've read, it seems like most vegans make/buy some form of vegan meat, or at least drink protein shakes.
So my question is: Do rice protein isolate/soy-based "meat"/gluten-based "meat" really waste less resources? TVP, vital wheat gluten, and rice protein are all extracted from grains/legumes, and from what I have read it seems like the carbohydrate part of the grain (which makes up the majority of the grain) goes to waste. Isn't that as bad as using 6 calories of grain to make one calorie of meat protein (from a sustainability standpoint - I understand the animal-rights issue)? Furthermore, it takes energy to extract the protein - does anyone know how that compares to the energy required to create ground beef? And lastly - does anyone know a good counter-argument to the claim that it is good to occasionally eat beef, because cows can live off of grass in areas we can't plant grain?
Once again, I'm sorry if I'm stepping out of line by trying to figure out the environmental implications of veganism while ignoring the animal-rights problem on a vegan forum. I just figured this would be a good place to find people who knew and cared about the issue.