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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Vegan Thursday - Fake meat and fake cheese... what's up with that?

Last week I asked if you guys had questions in regards of vegan diet... with a little persistence I got one:

Why do we use fake stuff?  Like fake cheese, fake chicken, fake beef, fake cold cuts....

There are a few reasons for that.

First, it depends on your reason for being vegan.

If you are vegan for compassionate reasons towards the animals, you may very well like meat and/or other animal products. In that case, using the fake stuff allows you to eat almost the same way you use too... the texture is different but the taste they manage to fake is amazingly close to the real thing!

If you are vegan for health reasons, there really is no reason why you should eat that other than on an occasional basis - like a treat.  It definitely should not be the basis of your diet.  They are still processed and contain chemicals in the form of flavor and or preservatives. However, they are still healthier then the real thing and can be a good fix! A convenience.

That distinction being made, not all vegan hated meat/animal products to start of with...  I, for one, was never a big fan of it except for a few things (chicken salad, ham, bacon)...  but over time I lost the taste of it.  Same for  cheese and yogurt.  Even the fake version of it doesn't appeal to me so much anymore and if you look into my cookbook, they are very rarely used.

You can compare using these to all the sugar free and fat free stuff some people eat. It doesn't mean it is any healthier but it is appealing to the taste buds!

I can see other reasons why those products are used:

1) To help in the transition - when you become vegan, unless you are well surrounded by other vegans or read a lot on the subject and/or are an exquisite chef, the transition phase can be a pain in the a**! You do not know what to cook... you have cravings you never thought existed - a pregnant women cravings can be nothing compared to that! If on top of that, you are transitioning to veganism by yourself in your household, and not everyone is on board, those products can be a savior in order to not always have to cook 2 different meals. As a matter of fact, I know a LOT of non-vegan who can handle, and actually really like veggie burger, veggie dog, veggie tacos and fake cold cuts!

2) To help in entertaining - if you are inviting people over and like me you no longer can buy and will not tolerate meat in your home, having a few "fake stuff" options for your guests can be an easy way out.  Not everyone will try beans and or green/brown funny smelly things!  And this is what some vegan meal may look like to the non-initiated eye.   Some of your guest will have a sense of a complete meal if there is "meat" served... even if it is fake!

3) Help with the kids. Unless your kids were lucky enough to have never touch animal products or young enough not to remember, using the fake stuff once in a while will ease their acceptation of veganism if they feel like they still have "normal" stuff to hold on too.  Over time, you decrease frequency of their so called "normal" stuff and they won't have such a hard time with it because the will have develop a taste for other stuff (my son loves broccoli in the oven and will kill for tofu cubes in the oven also). Also, when you send lunch to school or have non-vegan friends over, it will also be easier.  Remember, they are kids - they like to blend in once in a while! Even though I really believe in the benefits of veganism for your health, I do understand that growing in a non -vegan environment can be difficult with peer pressure.  Why make it worse? The idea is that eventually they eat a vegan diet by their own choice - if you force them, you might loose them.

So here it is... why we use the fake stuff.  It's not because we do not assume being vegan. At least not in every case.  It is not to be a hypocrite either. It is like fast food.  It feels good once in a blue moon. It helps blending in because not everyone is comfortable standing out - even if they are vegan. And last but not least,  it mostly help transitioning.

Hope this answers that question.

Please let me know if there is anything else you would like to know.  Either here in the comment section, on my Facebook page as a reply or here.

And if you want an excellent recipe that do not contain any fake stuff, check it out here.  It's Thursday therefore I have my guest post on Vegan Restaurant Finder.

thanks for reading!  and sharing!



  1. My husband loved white bread and bologna sandwiches with mayo, swiss, and mustard before we went vegan. About once a year, I buy a loaf of white bread and Yves bologna and make him veganized lunches with those unhealthy sandwiches for a week. Then he's over it for another year. LOL.

  2. We used Tofurky for the kids when they were growing up and my husband will get it sometimes for work lunches. I agree with you that they should be viewed as an occasional treat. One thing I'd like to point out is that this isn't "fake" food, as so many call it. Colleen Patrick-Goudreau has made really good points about this. :)

    1. appreciate your comment.. could you please tell me where I can find this thing by Colleen Patrick Goudreau?