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Inspiration from Meghan

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Veggie Nightmares: The Horror Of Faux Meat

 

Last week I discussed the mystery of the hot dog. We learned what it's made from and realized that all it really amounts to is highly processed meat with a boat-load of preservatives. Not edible in the least! Today, we're embarking on some new and equally frightening territory. Hold on tight.

When some people don't want to consume hot dogs (and meat in general for that matter), they often turn to the vegetarian options. And what might these be? Veggie dogs! There are also veggie burgers, veggie deli meat, veggie turkey, veggie ground beef, veggie chicken pieces and the list goes on and on. From the looks of it, it seems that vegetarians have no problem replacing meat since there are so many options readily available for them. They can have some faux bacon for breakfast, followed by a mock salami sandwich for lunch, rounding things off with a chicken-less "chicken" stir fry for dinner. Oh, and don't forget about soy pudding for dessert!

How easy was that? By consuming these fake meat items, vegans and vegetarians can pick up right where they left off with the real stuff. Can you tell yet that I'm joking?

These faux meats are right up there with hot dogs. They are highly processed and full of things that are quite questionable. Here is the ingredient list from a mock salami product:

water, vital wheat gluten, isolated soy protein, tofu (water, soybeans), spices, natural flavors (including autolyzed yeast extract), salt, wheat starch, garlic and onion powder, evaporated cane juice, vitamins & minerals (dipotassium phosphate, dimagnesium phosphate, zinc oxide, ferric orthophosphate, calcium panthothenate, thiamin hydrochloride, cyanocobalamin, iron oxide), carrageenan, beet powder and extractive of paprika (for color).

You'll notice that MSG makes it's appearance again hidden within "autolyzed yeast extract". We can also see a plethora of vitamins and minerals to which you may say "oh good, this company took care of my vitamins and minerals for the day!" Not quite. These forms are not well absorbed by the body at all. And really, if we're eating a balanced whole foods diet full of fruits and veggies, we're pretty much covered in the vitamin and mineral department. Of course, the star of the show here is soy. It is something we see appearing all over the packaged food scene. Meghan likes to refer to it as "the pasticine of the food industry". It can be shaped into whatever fake goodie one's heart desires like the "turkey" in picture above.

Meghan has covered the soy issue before so I will just say a few words. The majority of the soy we come across is not organic and is therefore genetically modified. These frankenstein soy crops are abundant in North America and are not only being fed to humans but to animals too. These poor animals were never meant to consume soy. By purcahsing these fake meats and supporting this GMO soy biz are we really helping them?
I've given these fake meat products a taste and I really do think they are horrible. Vegetarian or not, meals should be enjoyed to their fullest. No sense in wasting one on some salty, gummy soy tube! Cooking with whole foods allows us to get all the good nutrients nature has to offer, not to mention upping the delicious factor by a million! This is my veggie dog offering. They are basically my favourite veggie burger shaped into a "dog" shape but could easily be made into whatever shape you like. The point is that they taste amazing and are good for us. No soy necessary.

Jen's Smokin' Pups

(Makes 6 veggie dogs)

Ingredients:

1 can BPA-free kideny beans (or 2 cups cooked)
1/3 cup chickpea flour
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 Tbs minced onion
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped tomato
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbs tahini
2 Tbs - 1/4 cup water (as needed)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cayenne (or to taste)
1/2 tsp sea salt (or to taste)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • Process kidney beans in a food processor, or mash with a potato masher until they form a chunky paste.
  • Transfer the beans to a mixing bowl and add all ingredients except water. Stir thorougly to combine.
  • A little bit at a time, add water until the batter can be formed into shapes with your hands.
  • Form 6 hot-dog shapes (or burgers, or whatever you like!) out of the batter and place onto the cookie sheet.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, flipping carefully after 15.
  • Serve on your bun of choice (as you can see, mine was a collard leaf).

 Question Of The Day: What's your veggie meal of choice?

13 Responses to “Veggie Nightmares: The Horror Of Faux Meat”

  1. Kelly said…
    I was a vegetarian for twenty years before I was diagnosed with celiac disease, complicated by soy and dairy intolerance. You can pretty much nix any and all pre-packaged foods from my diet (doesn't help that I live abroad, where there are fewer pre-packaged, allergy-free options). I started eating meat again (sparingly) out of desperation. BUT, I must say that in my past life I did eat faux meat--as a vegetarian--sheerly for the convenience factor. Faux chicken is okay when you make a curry from it, faux hot-dogs are fine with ketchup and relish on a hot-dog bun, faux bacon is just a texture in a veggie BLT with avocado. I want also to point out that many ubiquitous additives--soy isolate, casein, whey protein isolate, wheat-based glucose syrup and modified starch, corn syrup and modified corn starch--come from subsidized farm crops. Subsidizing provides a cheap commodity that can be transmogrified into a zillion powders and potions that alter the texture and flavor, and most importantly, keeping qualities of food and food-like substances. If these products were produced from unsubsidized crops, they would not be so ubiquitous, in my opinion, because they would be too expensive. Not sure how that adds to the discussion, but it gives me pause when I hear debates about farm subsidies. (Both in the US and Europe)
  2. Marisa said…
    What great timing! Last night I performed my first attempt at making homemade lentil patties (using Clean Eating magazine's lentil patty recipe: http://bit.ly/f9hgSb). The mix turned out really well -- it's similar to your recipe -- but the "burgers" didn't stick together so I've ended up with a mashed sort of mix that I will shove into a burger bun today and hope for the best. How does one get the patties to remain as patties? Do recipes avoid addressing this issue? As for my favourite veggie meal, I'd have to go with pasta e fagioli! If you're referring to meat-like meals, I'd say tacos with beans instead of meat.
    • Jen Rotstein said…
      I think if you add too much liquid they can sometimes turn mushy so I start off with just a bit and add as needed. Also, adding more flour can help with the binding aspect. Some recipes call for "flax eggs" by mixing 2 T ground flax in 1/4 cup of water and allowing it to gel for a few minutes. The mush still tastes good at least!
    • Stefania said…
      Dreena Burton has plenty of patty recipes in her cookbooks that stick together. Addding cold, cooked rice, water and flax (to replace egg) and/or uncooked oats helps. Also, placing the mixture in the fridge for an hour helps firm it up and makes it easier to work with. Rather than frying I always bake the patties and that helps too.
  3. amee said…
    Interesting piece. Yes, soy products should only be a "cheat" dish. On the go, running late...KFC is not an option for us vegetarians, so we need a cheat option too. Unfortunately, that means having a highly processed food. But on occasion I prefer that over another lettuce-cheese sandwich or another boring bean burrito. I do enjoy the veggie dogs, the turkey slices (by litelife) on occasion, but we rarely eat those. We eat tofu about once or twice a month. We vegetarians should still be eating whole grains and vegetables, which means a LOT of prep work when we get home at 5. Last night we had homemade spanakopita and quinoa tabbouleh. It was awesome!! Thanks for writing about this!
    • Marisa said…
      Thank you for representing so well! We vegetarians (who are eating well) do spend a lot of time cooking and preparing, and our fast food options are limited. I'm a Taco Bell girl myself; until recently, it was the only fast food I eat. Then I met Subway.
  4. I hopped right on the faux-meat train when I was newly veg at 16, then I started getting interested in nutrition and realized how gross the ingredients really were... switched to eating meat after living in Italy and realizing what REAL food tasted like, now I manage to avoid both faux meat and real meat and somehow eat a balanced, wholesome diet. Interesting, no? We really don't need any of it... Those look SO good! (And they're grain-free- yay!!) I'm making them, for sure :) xo
    • Jen Rotstein said…
      Gotta love that real food stuff! It's easy to avoid certain things when there's so much good food that we can and do eat! :)
  5. [...] been discussing some of our summer faves and not-so-faves. I dissected the hot dog, the veggie dog (and faux-meat veggie everything else for that matter!), and today we’re headed for the [...]
  6. Emily said…
    This blog is so interesting. I am so happy that I found it today (via Wholesome Tummies on fb). After seeing the sister company to a major fake meat company, I really lost my taste for the fake meat products. I stopped eating them cold turkey (ha). My husband eats them all day long though and it worries me. He wants to add fake sausage to EVERYTHING he eats. I've been inspired to try harder and make some homemade bean and lentil patties. My cousin sent me a recipe for Black Bean Patties but it included egg which I try not to use. I will try some of the options shared in the comments. Thank you so much!
  7. Eric said…
    Great article .. keep them coming . maybe someday we will convert the world to veggie eating. Thanks. Eric
  8. Ann said…
    Would using either buckwheat or brown rice flour make the puppies a complete protien? Would it make a difference in the consistency of the puppy? Thanks
  9. Scott said…
    I am really scared of eating fake meat considering of all the chemicals in it which can cause cancer.

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