I find it hilarious that one of my favourite things to eat is prefaced with the word “fake.” When I first went vegan, I imagined a new life where every meal would be the epitome of health. I would feast on colourful acai bowls decorated with perfect little pieces of fruit around my coconut husk bowl. My favourite meal would become a rainbow salad sprinkled with nuts and seeds and edible flowers. I would give up alcohol and live off of green tea and even greener smoothies. This is what I thought veganism was. I did naively think that by parting ways with animal products, I would magically turn into a new person with new taste buds and stronger willpower. I am now fully aware that although my morals have come a long way, my cravings for a dirty burger have not gone anywhere. As much as I can appreciate a good beetroot patty, there is nothing like the real “fake” thing.
What Is Fake Meat?
Fake meat is food that resembles animal meat but contains no animal products. It has changed the vegan way of eating drastically. Some burger patties are so realistic they look like they are bleeding. There have been times when I have been out and had to call the server back to question – are you sure this is vegan?
Fried chicken was always a favourite of mine, nothing quite hit the spot the same on the way home from a night out. To be able to still eat delicious, crunchy, greasy, spicy, fried chicken while being vegan is a calorific dream come true! It makes total sense to sub out chicken flesh with something so simple as gluten flour that can transform into such a tasty meal.
Is faux meat good for you?
Like almost anything you eat, if you make it yourself, it is a lot healthier than buying a processed version. At the baseline, most fake meats are made up of gluten flour mixed with spices. It sounds crazy but gluten flour is very low in carbs as the process involves removing the starch from the flour. You are left with a low-carb, high-protein meat substitute that is very versatile. Making it yourself is actually a very cost-effective way to add protein to your meals.
On the other hand, there are a lot and I mean A LOT of ready to go faux meats available to purchase. From dim sum to sausage rolls, you can buy a vegan version of basically any food group you desire. I have started to make my own plant-based meat from scratch but will always keep some “chicken” schnitzels in the freezer for those days when I just want some quick and easy comfort food.
Are you game enough to try it?
If you want to change up your regular dinner menu, I recommend adding in a fake as a staple. Have a go at making different plant-based meats yourself. There are so many ways and recipes, do a quick Google and try making something from your past that you miss. There is a time and place for lentil curry just as there is for a vegan parmigiana.