Vegan Meats are on the Rise
Going vegan has never been easier especially with brands like Gardein. There are more vegan meat products available than ever before. With all the concerns raised about the negative effects of eating actual meat, people are on a quest to look for vegan meat alternatives. Besides the negative effects of actual meat, some people are also worried about the torture that animals have to go through for us to get that meat.
Another benefit of eating plant-based diets is that they reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. These gases are responsible for climate change such as the temperature surges, heavy rainfall, floods, and the rise of sea level. Before I make this a lesson in Geography, let’s get back to the vegan meat alternatives available today. One leading company in this sector is Gardein.
Gardein is one of the leading meat-free products in the market today, having been in business for more than 20 years. These products are manufactured by Conagra Brands that operates in Canada, the United States, and they recently expanded to the United Kingdom. This line of products was introduced by Yves Ptovin, a renowned culinary expert and former chef.
Gardein offers alternatives for chicken, fish, and beef. All of their products are plant-based, egg-free, dairy-free, and nut-free. Due to the growing market for gluten-free products, some of Gardein’s products are also gluten-free.
What ingredients are in Gardein?
Gardein has some of the best ingredients in their products. They include beetroot fibers, potato starch, soy, wheat, pea, carrot fibers, modified vegetable gum, vinegar, and canola oil. As you can see, these are all-natural, real food products. Once you try out their products, they taste like real meat. Below is a review of some of the products.
Gardein Seven Grain Crispy Tenders
If you want to enjoy chicken without actually eating the chicken, you will love this one. These tenders smell, taste, drip juice, and even look like real chicken. But they consist of vegetables, soy, wheat, proteins, some minerals and vitamins. They are very delicious, especially if you choose the right dipping sauce, such as teriyaki sauce. The only issue with these tenders is that there are only about ten of them in a bag. If you have a large family, you will need a lot of them and that’s quite expensive.
Another Gardein’s product with the chicken taste is the mandarin orange crispy chick’n strips. They not only have the feel of chicken, they are a vegan alternative for Chinese food. You can eat them with any main course meal, or eat them plain. Man, aren’t they delicious. Other quick chicken-like meals you can have, especially when on a hurry include the crispy chick’n sliders, and the teriyaki chick’n strips.
Gardein Classic Meatless Meatballs
These meatballs give let you feel the taste and texture of real meat while avoiding saturated fats and cholesterol that it comes with it. They are also easy to prepare. You can get creative by simmering them in your favorite sauce, combining them in your spaghetti meal, or better, make a meatball sub sandwich. They contain enriched flour, onion, pea proteins, dried garlic, yeast extract, cane sugar, and many other natural products. These meatballs also contain gluten so if you want to stay away from gluten, they may not be the best for you.
Golden Fish Fillets
Get to benefit from omega-3, and the great taste and texture of real fish from these fillets. If you gave this to an unsuspecting meat eater, they may not realize that these are actually plant-based fillets. You don’t even need oil to prepare them. You can prepare them in any way you like. Bake them, fry them, or eat them plain. Just like the actual fish, they contain EPA, and DHA oil. They also contain yeast extract, vegetable proteins, wheat gluten, and potato starch.
Sweet and Sour Porkless Bites
Bacon has been referred to as a “gateway meat” and a “downfall for vegans.” If you’re getting cravings for bacon, Gardein’s Porkless can prevent you from falling off the wagon. Just like their other products, these bites have the texture, taste, and smell of pork without including the animal products.
Ultimate Beefless Burger
If you love beef, or making patties of beef and vegetables, you’ll love this burger. It gives you the real taste of beef, but there’s no beef, just the healthy plant-based ingredients. It does contain canola oil, yeast extract, pea protein, wheat gluten, and many other natural ingredients. Just like the other products, it is non-GMO certified. You can rest assured that it doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals. It also doesn’t have the after taste that you may get from most “fake meats”.
If you’d love a gluten-free option, the ultimate beefless ground may be great for you. You can use this ground in all the meals that require ground beef. These include tacos, lasagnas, sloppy joes, and pastas.
Chipotle Black Bean Burger
If you’re looking for a gluten-free veggies burger, you’ll definitely love this one. It’s made from slow-cooked beans, onions, canola oil, brown rice, potato starch, cane sugar, and several other ingredients included in Gardein’s Nutrition pack. If you love them, you can also try the sliders. This is also an excellent replacement for taco meat such as beef.
Every day can be Thanksgiving Day with these turkey alternatives. Just like other Gardein’s products, this is 100% dairy-free, and meatless products that remind vegetarians about turkey. You can eat them plain or enjoy them with gravy.
Saus’age and Veggie Bowl
Looks like Gardein went all in to replace all animal products for vegans. This bowl features a meatless sausage, an eggless scrambled egg (yes, you read that right), black beans, potatoes, several types of vegetables and a southwest taste to crown it all.
Where to buy Gardein Products
Is Gardein Healthy?
There are many factors that go into determining whether vegan alternatives are healthy. Before diving into Gardein, let’s review one of the ingredients that may have the most detrimental effects, soy.
Does Gardein Contain Soy Protein Isolate?
Most of the vegan products, including Gardein products, contain high levels of soy protein isolate. This protein is extracted from soybeans and it’s linked to some health problems such as cancer, malnutrition, infertility and cognitive decline, especially for seniors. However, it’s still widely used as a beverage, an alternative to milk, and applied on the skin.
One of the reasons why soy may be dangerous is because soybeans are overproduced globally. Since they are used in most vegan recipes, cereals, protein bars and granola bars, their demand is too high. It may be hard to produce them using organic methods. As a result, a lot of chemical products are used to maximize the production.
Some of these chemicals have been rated as carcinogenic. Soy products also contain omega-6 fatty acids which are linked to chronic inflammations. If you are allergic to birch pollen, your body may cause an allergic reaction when it mistakes some unprocessed proteins in soy as pollen.
So should you consume soy products?
The good thing is that some of the harmful nutrients in soy are rendered inactive when it’s processed. It helps strengthen our bones, protects us against cancer, reduces cholesterol levels, and helps build muscles. It also helps people sleep better.
So should you consume Gardein products?
Even though soybeans may be genetically produced, Gardein confirms that their products are non-GMO. This makes them safer, and non-carcinogenic. Better yet, they also include other beneficial products such as pea protein, vegetables, ancient grains, and wheat. Garden products help people transition to from eating meat products to eating vegan food.
It’s not easy to just change your diet, you’ll experience a lot of relapses. Instead, with meals that mimic the taste of the animal products, and are equally nutritional, you will find it easier. However, too much of them will expose you to negative effects of soy. So, yes, they are healthy. But they should be consumed moderately.
Being a vegan has a lot of benefits. For starters, it saves from the high salt levels and fat levels in animal products. As a result, you get to maintain a healthy weight, lower cholesterol levels, maintain cognitive functioning, and even gain protection against some types of cancer. However, cravings of your favorite meat are inevitable.
As a beginner, you will often fall off the wagon. Thankfully, Gardein Vegan Meats are here to rescue you. They replace your favorite meats, and still have beneficial nutrients, including amino acids. You can find a replacement for a wide variety of meat including beef, chicken, pork, and even turkey. Better yet, all their ingredients are plant-based, and non-GMO. Make sure that you consume these products moderately, since like all processed foods, too much of them could lead to serious health complications. Including them once in a while won’t hurt. But consider other meat replacements that aren’t processed, such as beans and lentils.