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Fake Meats
LonestarRanger Posted at 2010/09/01 12:16am reply to

Posts: 15
So I tried some fake chicken drumsticks and curry sauce from Vegetarian Plus the other night.  They had been in my freezer for quite some time and I was just looking for a snack.  I haven't had meat in 6 months and hadn't had chicken in a couple of years, but when I bit into these, they had a texture as close as I've ever come to having in a fake chicken product.  The outside was a stretchy, skin like covering and the middle could pass as muscle.  

Now, I have some fake meat stuff in my fridge and freezer for quick meals, and I always thought that finding one that matched what I had previously had would be awesome, but when I ate one of these things I felt physically sick.  The texture made me a bit nauseous and I had to force myself to finish them. (My fridge and pantry were on E and I was hungry.)

Has anyone else had this experience?  I felt the same way when I first became veg and was served a steak at a wedding which I rationalized my way into eating, but I thought that was just me being an overly dramatic new convert.  It's even more strange because in the last couple of weeks, I've had cravings for White Castle burgers.  Probably because I was in St. Louis and staying at my parents.  As some others might attest, family has a way of treating you as you were instead of as you are.

Anyway, I'm not sure of the point to all of this, I'm just wondering if anyone else gets a bit creeped out by some fake meats that are too close to the real thing.
peter Posted at 2010/09/01 12:53am reply to

Posts: 1535
>As some others might attest, family has a way of treating you as you were instead of as you are.

Yes, this is true.

And yeah, some veg*ns get grossed out by analogues, especially ones that mimic their meat counterparts more closely than others.  I'm not one of those people, but perhaps the brands I've tried weren't the type.  I'm not sure what my reaction would be if I tried those "drumsticks."  Fake meats don't usually make up a big part of my diet, but I do have them occasionally.  I'm more of a fan of seitan and tofu.

Other veg*ns love the realistic stuff, though, so to each his own.  And if you're craving burgers, I recommend the Amy's brand.  They aren't too realistic.
vlove Posted at 2010/09/01 7:57am reply to

Posts: 1
I am new to this forum but enjoying the discussions.  I did a lot of research on fake meats from China.  They are not regulated by FDA and contain a lot of sodium plus additives and preservatives that can't be good for us.  All ingredients are not listed on the package. Definitely would not consume them very often. Someone I know had a severe allergic reaction to these.  I'd stay far away from them and try to eat the healthier tofu and seitan which are minimally processed.  I agree that Amy's is allright.
Ross Posted at 2010/09/01 8:22am reply to

Posts: 4574
I definitely can see where you're coming from, it weirded me out the first time I had those morningstar veggie riblets, because they were so close to the real thing (minus the chunks of fat) texture and flavor-wise.

These days occasionally I do really like to have some of the fake meat stuff, but it rarely actually tastes like real meat. If I do ever taste any meat(like when a dish gets cross-contaminated) in something I eat, it usually makes me gag...
weigand Posted at 2010/09/01 11:00am reply to

Posts: 539
Yeah, the stuff hit the fan about a year ago, with many articles written about how fake meats (coming mostly from Taiwan) sometimes/often contained non-vegetarian stuff in them. And in some rare cases, the "vegetarian" meat was actually real meat, or maybe a combination of real meat and TVP. Casein and whey (dairy products) were also pervasively used, even though it was never mentioned in the ingredient lists.

Anyway, supposedly right as this was making headlines, Taiwan passed legislation of some sort making it against the law to do that stuff. As of about a year ago, if anything says "vegetarian" coming from Taiwan, it must be vegetarian.  If they use casein, whey, or other non-vegan products, they need to include it on the ingredients label.

Whether or not the legislation has teeth is another matter.  I'm not sure if anyone has done a recent test of this stuff since the new legislation has taken effect.

By the way, this became an issue not because of vegans, I believe. In Taiwan and mainland China, Buddhism is one of the most popular religions, and Buddhists often do refrain from eating meat. They often turn to mock meats. Someone, probably a Buddhist, in Taiwan must have become upset upon realizing they were not eating purely vegetarian products like they thought they were.

American produced mock meats are trustworthy, however.

- Steve
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