I grew up in a household that believed if a meal didn’t have meat or an animal product as part of it, it wasn’t a real meal. I never questioned the practice and other than liver and onions (and rabbit, even though it did taste good when I was forced by my grandpa to eat it) ate pretty much any meat placed before me.
A watershed moment for me was at a time when I was a stay-at-home mom/housewife in the 1980’s and religiously watched Phil Donahue’s show. The episode that changed my life was about an animal researcher named Taub that did monstrous experiments on monkeys. From that day forward I began to learn about what was going on in research labs and on factory farms. I joined PETA and bought Peter Singer’s book, “Animal Liberation.” I picketed rodeos. I joined the local humane society and stopped the city from subsidizing a dog research lab that wanted to come to our town. I wrote many letters to the editor to my local paper and other places. I donated time and money to animal welfare organizations.
Knowing what I knew by then, how could I continue to eat animal flesh and feed my then-toddlers animal flesh? We became vegetarians. Over the years, I have backslid and started eating seafood and chicken again but only once or twice in a week on average. My sons, now in their 30s, have continues to be vegetarian. They ate a lot of peanut butter growing up, and if you saw them now you would see how healthy, big, and strong they are.
A month or so ago, the four kids (my sons and their significant others) told me about a netflix documentary called, “The Game Changer,” which lays out in both scientific and athletic endurance terms how bad eating animals and animal products are for humans and how good for health and endurance eating a plant-based diet is. Older son’s girlfriend has also been learning about juicing. Right now older son and his girlfriend juice for breakfast and lunch, then they eat a plant-based dinner.
I decided to watch “The Game Changer” and have decided to go beyond vegetarian this time and become vegan. This is a process. I’m using up the pantry items I have (e.g. butter) and am going over to avocado butter.
I’ve used meat substitutes for a very long time now, including quorn, tofu, tempeh, tofu pups (like hot dogs), textured-vegetable-protein, and more recently the “impossible burger” which is only available in restaurants right now and has not been USDA approved because it uses gene-splicing.
The other day I was online grocery shopping and came across a product I hadn’t seen before, probably because it was in the meat section, but it was on sale so it popped up. It looked exactly like ground beef in the picture and the price was right, so I added it to my list.
I made Spanish rice tonight for dinner and used it. The suggested cooking is fry in a pan, chopping it into pieces, cooking the moisture out, and browning it. It didn’t crumble as I cooked it, but I was able to chop it into fairly small pieces and brown it.
I had no idea what it would taste like. Anyone who has experimented trying new meat substitutes knows there is a continuum between delicious (e.g. tempeh) and inedible (e.g. Tofurky, yuk!) I can report with excitement that this stuff is in the delicious category. I added onions and peppers and lots of garlic and cumin as I cooked it and it held the flavors admirably.
The product (no, the company is not paying me to push it!) Pure Farmland’s Simply Seasoned Protein Starters. It is located in the meat section and looks like a pound of ground beef.
Water, Coconut Oil, Soy Protein Concentrate, Isolated Soy Protein, Canola Oil, Less Than 2% Spice Natural Flavorings, Roasted Garlic Power. Dehydrated Garlic, Onion Powder, Salt, Sunflower Oil, Soy Fiber, Sugar, Red Beet Juice Concentrate (For Color), Paprika Oleoresin (For Color), Yeast Extract, Cultured Dextrose, Maltodextrin (From Corn, Tapioca, and Potato), Methylcellulose, Citric Acid, Soy Lecithin. Contains: Soy.
The nutritional data is the graphic at the top of the post.