fake beef

VegFest London – “Fake Foods” – Do you eat them?

I attended VegFest London this weekend. I spent a lot of time going around the many stall holders exhibiting their products.

There were many opportunities to sample foods throughout the event, but as I wandered around picking up a sample here and there, a thought struck me.

Why are there so many “fake foods”? I even found a stall selling fake duck! The longest queues at food stalls selling foods to consume on site were for “sausages” and other meat substitutes.

I took a look at a number of these products and very many of them had high levels of fats and salt. They were served in bread made with refined flour. Hardly healthy but I guess that this clearly illustrates the difference between a vegan diet where these things are consumed with my no-added fats, whole-food, plant-based diet.

What I personally found depressing was that these products claim that they are healthy and good for you, just the same claims that the mainstream food industry does with its food-like products that it pushes on an unsuspecting public.

So I took a leaf out of Jeff Novick’s book, and on the second day went around looking at these products to see the percentage of fat they contained.

Many contained fat levels in excess of 30%, some as high as 60%!

A few, contained around 10% fat which I find acceptable. A number of wheat meat products (from Italy and Germany) had around 10% calories from fat. I make my own wheat meat using vital wheat gluten and do not add any fat but can see why these manufacturers would do so, as it enhances taste, texture and mouth feel.

Fake cheese are the worst culprits, containing very high levels of fat. The fat they contain are invariably lower than their dairy based cousins, but be careful if you choose these and maybe only have them as an occasional treat if at all.

Mr. G tells me that the one thing he misses when eating plant-based is a slice of cheese or two for supper. My plan is to try to make more no added fat plant-based cheese but for now, he has these as a treat from time to time.

I also bought some of the wheat meat from a company from Italy which cleverly adds lentils to the vital wheat gluten to make a superbly textured and delicious product that I can use to make “meat like meals”.

I think these products have an occasional place in my diet as they represent a convenient and quick meal option.

For example – Last night I sautéed some of the “meat” in a dry pan with some spices and served it with no added fat roast potatoes, slow-cooked peppers with capers and a creamy mushroom brandy and tarragon sauce. Quick and utterly delicious.

Do you buy and consume these “fake” foods? Let me know why and when. I’d love to hear from you.

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2 replies
  1. Cheri
    Cheri says:

    I don’t buy the alternative type manufactured foods that profess to be vegan and healthy and “natural”…you are so right if you are plant based then you know better! But there are so many out there who are only vegan for political reasons and will eat these offerings not thinking about what they might be doing to their health. There are vegans out there who think Oreo cookies are ok cause they are “vegan”…I wish we could educate all those who are still living under the spell of the food manufacturers!

  2. justaboutveg
    justaboutveg says:

    I’ve found that the longer I go without eating meat and dairy, the less and less I’m drawn to fake foods and the less appetizing they taste to me…. My diet is vegan and mostly whole foods, with some seitan here and there. Once in a blue moon, though, I’ll randomly crave a greasy vegan bacon cheeseburger, which surprises me because I never ate real cheese burgers in the first place. I think that must be my way of cheating without really cheating.


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