Tag Archives: faux meat

Vegan Meat Alternatives

This article was written 20.11.12, when COVID was still running rampant/wasn’t under control. (At least in Toronto) Please excuse any reference/joke that’s no longer applicable.


Disclaimer: This article contains links to graphic videos of animal slaughter. If you have issues with watching, I recommend not clicking the video links, but I implore you to ask yourself: if you can’t watch, should you really continue to fund it?


I’m gonna be honest, when I started doing this series, I didn’t really have a plan other than making pretty-ish collages of vegan alternatives. However, after giving it some thought, I realized that I should be taking this time to educate the non-vegan, and new vegans, to show them what options there are, so they don’t have to freak out and go through that ‘wait… what am I gonna eat?’ phase.

Hopefully if you’ve stumbled upon this article on the vegan section of a website, you already know what’s wrong with eating meat, but just in case, here’s a quick refresher:

  1. As you hopefully already know, you have to kill an animal to be able to eat it’s dead body. Sooo, not to be ‘that’ vegan, but yes meat is murder! (There’s a reason why it’s a popular chant!) And, as we (hopefully) all know, murder is wrong.

Slaughterhouses are giant murder factories. Animals go in alive, and come out chopped into pieces wrapped in plastic. As if murdering them wasn’t enough, the animals are also often traumatized, by either being abused, or by hearing their friends and family (yes, animals have friends and family!) being killed in the next room, or both. ‘Oh, Ater’ you say, ‘but animals don’t know what’s happening! They’re not that self-aware.

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Well, how about you look at this picture, and I mean really look at it. Are you still gonna try to tell me that’s not fear and sadness in that animal’s eyes? Does that expression look like the expression of someone who doesn’t know what’s going on? What if I told you this is a picture from a video that was shot in 2015, and this animal has been dead for 5 years. Now do you care? What if this was a picture of a dog, instead of a pig – would you care then? Why?

If you believe dogs have souls and deserve to live, so should other animals. Not all animals are as smart as dogs, but does that mean they deserve to die? What if we did that with people? Dogs on average are about as smart as 2 year olds, so what if we just killed everyone not as smart as that. Does that sound even remotely like an okay thing to do?

And, while we’re on the subject of intelligence, pigs have actually been shown to be more intelligent than dogs. So… why is it okay to eat one, but not the other? Tell me, truly, what’s the difference?

 

2. Humans as a whole are so overly murdering animals, it’s crazy. Seriously, the shear number of animals that are being killed every minute is insane to think about. In fact, why don’t you check out this site, and watch the numbers go up. That is a lot of lives that are being lost. On average, humans kill 3 billion animals every day. Yes, you read that correctly 3 billion animals die every day!

To put this into perspective, on 9/11, roughly 2,900 people died. That was enough to change basically the world as a whole, and there were many changes enacted to make sure something like that never happened again.

That is only 0.0000966% of 3 billion. But for animals, nobody cares? What if we killed that many people everyday? At the time of writing this article (20.11.12), there are 7.8 billion humans on Earth. If we were to kill humans at the same rate we killed animals, the human race would be extinct in 17 days.

17 days!

And this isn’t even mentioning all the terrible environmental factors that slaughterhouses, and needless breeding of animals has on the planet.

But, in the interest of keeping this short, let’s move on.

So, now you know meat is terrible, and you’ve agreed to stop funding murder – awesome! But, now you may be wondering, what else is there to eat?

Well, thankfully, there have been amazing strides in the vegan movement in the past couple of years, and it’s easier than ever to stop eating meat!

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Starting from the top left corner, going clockwise:

  • Beyond Meat Beyond Burgers
  • Gardein Beefless Strips
  • Gardein Beefless Ground
  • Gardein Chick’N Patties
  • Gardein Chick’N Scallopini
  • Gardein Turk’y Cutlets
  • Gardein Stuffed Turk’y
  • Tofurky Veggie Roast
  • Gardein Porkless Bites
  • Beyond Meat Beyond Sausage
  • Tofurky Italian Sausage
  • Yves Veggie Dogs
  • Yves Veggie Ham
  • Yves Veggie Bologna
  • Gardein Fishless Filets
  • Gardein Crabless Cakes
  • Seitan

This collage show only a small sample of all the different vegan friendly ‘replacement’ meats currently available. Basically any meat you want to eat has a substitute. And, these are just some of the convenience foods available. There’s also tofu, tempeh, or heck, even vegetables, such as mushrooms or jackfruit can be used as a meat substitute. (Depending on the dish, of course)

All it takes is a little know-how to make kick-ass faux meat dishes. Or, instead of trying to replace meat directly with substitutes, you could also try making different dishes. Expand your meals from being meat-centric, to include ones that put veggies in the spotlight.

Instead of trying to replicate steak and potatoes, why don’t you try making stuffed bell peppers? You can replace the ground beef or chicken (or whatever meat you’d usually put in the rice) with lentils, or mushrooms. Add in some of the usual suspects (corn, broccoli, carrot, etc.) and BAM! You’ll have one seriously hearty dish on your hands. I guarantee you that you won’t even notice the lack of meat in the dish.

There are tons of veg-centric meals just waiting for you to try them. So why not give it a whirl? And if you need some help? No worries! There are tons of vegan cookbooks, blogs, Youtube channels and even Instagram accounts out there for you to draw inspiration from. One of my all time favourite Youtube channels is HotforFood. Lauren is a master in the kitchen, and makes all kinds of breaking-vegan-stereotype dishes. She has recipes for burgers, mac n cheese, gravy, and even a vegan ranch dip! In a lot of her videos, she also explains why she uses certain ingredients, instead of keeping you guessing.

When I first went vegan, I watched a lot of her videos, and learned a lot from her videos about combining certain ingredients to get certain flavours. So go ahead and give it a try! There’s never been a better time to test out new recipes. (Not like you’re leaving the house, anyway)


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Sources:

Extinct in 17 Days

Scared Pig Picture (still from video)

3 Billion Animals Killed Per Day

Gardein 7 Grain Crispy Tenders Review

These are some of the very first things from Gardein I ever tried.

I’m not gonna lie, like most of the other chick’n Gardein products, you probably already know what these taste like, so if you like those, you’ll like these.

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One thing I actually don’t like about these, is the fact they only come 10 to a bag. I know from personal experience you can fit 20 into the bag. And, while 20 did slightly overfill the bag, you could definitely put more than 10. Even 15 would be better. I really don’t understand the obsession with vegan companies not making foods in family sizes.

I don’t know about other people, but I don’t want to go shopping every week, and like to buy the biggest quantity of something I can, so I’m not constantly running out to the store for supplies. (And, in light of COVID happening, I think it’s more important than ever to buy things in bulk to limit your amount of outings)

Aside from the lack of food, these are as I said above, not very spectacular. But that’s okay! I actually really enjoy these, they’re pretty fast to make in a pan, and can be eaten by themselves as nuggets, or you can add them to other dishes, like pastas or rice.

The 7 grain breading on them is pretty good, too. While I can’t really describe it – I don’t actually taste 7 different grains, for example – but I can say it’s definitely different than the breading on the Mandarin Orange Nuggets. One thing I can tell you though, is that this breading is way more crumby than the other. It’s not really a big deal, but even after washing my hands I still feel like the crumbs are on me, so be wary of that.

As for the innerds – as I said, it tastes the same as their other faux chicken products. The texture is a bit tougher than the nuggets, though. It’s closer to the texture of the faux chick’n burgers.

Another thing I’d like to mention, I recently noticed that the Gardein bags have changed texture, they don’t feel quite so ‘plastic-y’ anymore. So I did some recon, and discovered they changed their bags to be made out of ____ which is awesome, because this means that while they still come in packaging, they’re more recyclable, and – as someone who recently started getting into the zero waste lifestyle – this is awesome! So while I try to move away from pre-packaged foods, I will still continue to support Gardein.

I feel like the Beyond Burger (and Impossible Burger and the like) are more of the flashy/Instagram-y side of veganism, trying to seem interesting and enticing – while Gardein is more like an old friend who’s always there.

If you haven’t tried their products yet, please go out and support them!


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Yves Veggie Bologna Review

The first time I saw this product, I thought I was going to hate it. I have very un-fond memories of eating a warm, margarine, Kraft single and bologna sandwich while in elementary school. Let me tell you that that is not an easy taste you forget.

Fortunately, this doesn’t taste like vomit, so that’s a win!

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Now, I don’t know if it’s just because real bologne is made kind of like hotdogs, being just a big mismatch of all the leftover meat parts that other (better) products didn’t want, but real bologne is just nasty to me. Maybe it’s tied in with those terrible, terrible sandwiches, or maybe it was just a stigma that my family had passed down to me, but you couldn’t get me to go near real bologne with a ten-foot pole.

This bodes really well for this product, because it doesn’t taste anything like what I remember bologne tasting like. I actually like these deli slices better then their faux chicken and faux ham – I think this one tastes the best! The other two products just don’t taste anything close to the original in my eyes – the faux chicken is too smoky and the faux ham is just… they’re not my favourite options.

I guess it’s easier to make a good tasting faux version of something if the original tastes bad? Perhaps faux spam could be a big hit, who knows?

Another thing I like about this product, is that it’s versatile – you can make a cold-cut (faux-cut? Eeeh?) sandwich with it, heat it up in a wrap, or even cut it into strips and make faux bologne bacon – it tastes good either way. Hell, you could even roll it up and put a toothpick through it as an easy app, it totally works to be eaten by itself.

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(Not the best picture, but this wrap had: Yves Bologna slices, cucumber, Wee Bit Spicy Cheesy Rice and Daiya Mozz Shreds, all wrapped up in a Whole Wheat wrap)

Also, it’s one of the easiest findable pre-made vegan products. Metro, Loblaws, Sobey’s – even No Frills carries it! That’s definitely a plus when out shopping. It’s not the most exciting product, but if you’re in a pinch and need some quick products to throw together a sandwich, or a wrap this product is perfect.

One of the other perks, is you can freeze it without sacrificing its quality or taste. (On their FAQ page, they state that products can be frozen for 1-3 months.) So, you could buy a pack and throw it in the freezer for those times when maybe you’re not close to a store, or for time when you don’t want to run out to a store for only one or two items.

The only downside I think there is about this product, is that each pack only comes with 10 slices, so it goes pretty fast.

All in all, this product is about as great as regular lunch meat. It gets the job done, is pretty versatile, and can be easily found. I’d recommend you try it if you haven’t already.

*Not all of Yves Veggie Cuisine products are vegan. If you’re going to try some of their products, be sure to read the label! (Usually, their vegan products are labelled as such)


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