In vitro meat

There are a lot of problems with the meat industry these days, no one can deny that. But what is the best way to a solution?

Around the World there are many animal factories where "farmers" grow their cows, pigs and chickens in a record time to adulthood. With medication, hormones and food that contains ingredients they would normally never eat. Sometimes these animals grow so fast, that they cannot even stand on their legs. So raising them in a healthy way is not really happening at most farms, because getting them to a slaughterhouse one day sooner, will have the farmers cash their "product" faster. In these days: time is money.

Most people do not see the animal anymore when they eat a piece of meat. They look at the price, and the cheaper the meat is, the better. Most people do not think about how these animals are raised and slaughtered, and in what conditions. Because if they would see it and think about it, a normal person would have difficulty eating the meat. Linda & Paul McCartney used to say: "If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian".So most people leave their feelings and heart at the door of the Supermarket and buy products for their price and not much their quality. Because it can go only one way: price or quality. You can't have it both ways. We can all agree that chickens that can barely stand on their own feet because of the weight they have to carry with them, are probably not as healthy as organically raised chicken that are given time, the proper care and the right nutrition. The same goes for every other animal that is raised in a factory-way for their meat.

So is in vitro meat the solution?

We have to realize with everything we do, that WE ARE THE SOLUTION. Every time we buy something, we give a signal to that particular producer to keep making that product. A consumer is the King. Whatever we want, companies will produce.

So if you keep buying cheap meat, they will continue to offer cheap meat with all the bad production methods that come with it. It is all about what the market is asking of producers to make, and this counts for every kind of product. So if you start buying organic meat, you are giving the signal to the farmer that you want that product. And more companies will see that and want to offer the same product. This way the product will eventually get cheaper too, because right now organic meat is still very expensive for most people. (Remember: quality costs money, so organic meat will always cost more than the inhumanly raised cattle meat) But to be honest: you don't need to eat meat every day to get the right nutrition, so if you would stop eating meat daily, to only twice a week and making it organic, in the end you are spending the same amount of money, but in the right way! Organic just has better energy around it, and will be better for your karma!

A lot of people are also drastically changing their eating habits, and stop eating meat all together. Mostly because they don't agree with what the World has become and how we treat our animals.Like any drastic change in diet is hard on the body, just stop eating meat from one day to another, is not so good either. You need time to adjust. But what if there are other ways besides organic meat, that are so animal friendly that no animal would be harmed, would they consume that?

One recent development is that a Dutch laboratory from the Maastricht University has managed to grow "in vitro meat', or cultured beef as they call it,  by using stem cells/muscle cells from a cow, and growing it in the laboratory. Professor Mark Post was the one initiating and working on this project. This "Frankenburger"  was very expensive to make ( Pounds) took 5 years to develop, and has about 40 billion cells. It was said that Google entrepreneur Sergey Brin came up with the first investment for this cultured beef. It is very expensive now, but once this development continues, they will get the price down.

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Is that the solution? Growing in vitro meat in a laboratory? If the nutritional values are the same as regular meat, and no animals are hurt, will animal organizations be supportive? And what about the ethical aspects: Is it weird or o.k. to eat meat that was grown in a laboratory. Is it healthy for humans to consume this? Are any hormones or medications added? And foremost: how will it taste? Many questions need to be answered before this can be produced on a large scale, but it is definitely interesting. Besides the options: meat-eater, organic meat eater and no meat eater, there will be an option in vitro meateater.

And if this in vitro meat can be produced on a large scale, will this be a solution, and will it end all the many cattle farms around the World? Will it stop a large part of daily animal abuse we are all getting used to? Will that also be a positive influence on nature and the climate? Because the methane producing cattle is one of the biggest contributing factors in the recent climate change scientists claim.

cultured burgerThe überexpensive cultured beef burger today.

I watched  Professor Mark Post present this first in vitro meat burger made of "cultured beef" to the public  in London on August 5th. A chef grilled the burger, and a test panel of 3 people (including professor Mark Post) tried the burger. The result: the texture was quite similar to regular meat, and since it is only made of muscle cells, it was very lean. (this could be food that the fitness world will love for that reason!) After that there was a Q &A with Professor Mark Post. He mentioned it would take about 10 to 20 years before this cultured meat can get on to the market. But it could be a solution in his eyes to the arising problems of feeding the World that will become more problematic in the future.

One quote that stuck with me by Professor Mark Post: "being vegetarian is still better for the environment than eating meat, but cultured beef is a good alternative for the environment".

Later on there will be a taste "battle" between their in vitro meat and the vegetarian hamburger of " De Vegetarische Slager" from the Hague I read on their website. I tried hat MC2 hamburger from De Vegetarische Slager (Vegetarian Butcher) and it was really delicious I must say! I have been not eating meat for almost 8 years now, and I don't miss the texture or flavor at all. I stopped eating meat mostly because it gave me a stomach ache a lot of times. But I have to say, the way we treat these animals was definitely also a deciding factor. So far this vegetarian burger was a good alternative to a burger for me, I am sure it can fool meat eaters too.

MC2 burgerPicture:  the MC2 burger, and lupin fake chicken satay I ate during my last visit to The Vegetarian Butcher in The Hague, the Netherlands.

I think everyone should decide for themselves what diet works best , but I think we can all agree that almost every person who eats meat would want to eat meat without animal abuse and torture. It is just common sense. So maybe this cultured beef/ in vitro meat is not that bad of a development. We will stay tuned to see if this in vitro meat/cultured beef/cultured burger will come on the market.

Love, Lonneke

Follow #Culturedbeef & #Culturedburger on Twitter and instagram

Read more:

Vegetarian Butcher | Maastricht University | The Guardian

Vegetarian meat

mc2burger & chicken satay sandwich

If you change from eating meat to a vegetarian diet, it is a big change. But it is worth it. But what happens is that you usually crave some kinds of meat still. I changed about 8 years ago to an 90% vegetarian diet, with a bit of good fish once a while. But I still missed eating a good hamburger (not the ones from fast-food restaurants FYI) once a while . I am still not sure if it was because of the meat, or the bun and all the toppings that accompany a good burger.... Besides that, the texture of chicken meat I did like too so I craved that too.

We all know the truth about that most people eat TOO MUCH MEAT and that that's not good for our health. We just don't need that much protein. Also, the way we produce meat is so devastating for our environment, and the abuse of the animals is so common and awful, that The Earth needs a change if we want our kids to live on a livable planet with clean water, air and biodiversity. Even if you don't eat meat for just 1 day a week, you can drastically reduce your carbon footprint. The amount of energy it takes to produce one piece of meat on your plate is mind-blowing. And the carbon footprint of a meat eating person is many, many times higher than that of a vegetarian person. So if you want to help make a difference (remember every little effort counts if you add them all up!) you can do that by switching your meat dishes and using meat replacement products if you crave the flavor and texture of the meat.

Because there is a solution for these cravings! Until now vegetarian substitutes for meat where not that great to put it middy, and therefore some vegetarians were a bit sad. But thankfully some people took matters in their own hands and started to find new, all plant based, meat substitutes!

There is a vegetarian butcher in The Hague, the Netherlands. (yes that is a VEGETARIAN butcher, meaning: without animals being hurt, but with all the good taste) "De Vegetarische Slager". I already wrote about them once before and you can read that story HERE. They are in fact the first of their kind in the World. Mark Bittman, the renowned food critic from the NY Times even came to visit the shop once, and loved what he discovered.

So Animal cruelty free, vegetarian friendly, that sounds good to me! I love their products and they sell their prepackaged products already in 200+ stores all across the Netherlands, in health food stores but even mainstream supermarkets are joining in. (You can also order online.)

I spoke to Paul Bom, who is one of the geniuses behind the products, and who is present at their concept store in The Hague at the Spui 167A almost everyday. (across from the City Hall of the Hague). I asked him if their products include soy and if yes, if they are GMO free. He said thesoy used is organic and also gmo free! One other thing they use a lot is a plant called "Lupin" for their meat-like products.

The taste and texture of their products is really good. The chicken pieces are great to fool people thinking they eat real chicken. They also have a range of shawarma (shoarma in Dutch) made of lupin, minced meat, meat balls, and even have a selection of non-fish products. Also the fish products are great to fool someone. I LOVE the non-tuna spread "Tonyn". The mackarel one tastes like mackarel but is a bit too strong for me.

In the store you can buy all these meat products, as well as ready-to-go meals (love the typical dutch dish "Hutspot", a mix of mashed potatoes, onions & carrots accompanied by a meatball in a sauce). You can also buy super foods, olive oils, wines and juices. All of course organic.

The recently introduced their new "mc2burger", which is the name of their hamburger, to the people of France, at an exhibition in Paris. (The name is derived from E=MC2 from Einstein). I think the taste is really good as I got a sneak peak from their burger when I visited The Hague for work.

Besides that I am obsessed with their bread roll made of lupin, with their fake chicken in satay sauce! It is a bit naughty, meaning not that great for the thighs, but very delicious. Hey, models eat bad food too once a while ;-) See picture on top!

Also, today marks the opening of the first ever all vegetarian snackbar, also in the Hague. The MC2burger is available under the name "Vegabom" as well as other "Vegetarische Slager" products.  News item about the opening(In Dutch.)

You can follow de Vegetarische Snackbar on Twitter: @Vegasnackbar

and also "De Vegetarische Slager" on Twitter: @Vegaslager  & Paul Bom: @PaulBom,

I love it that people all around the World are thinking twice about the products they eat, and try to create new delicious vegetarian foods & dishes that can get the pressure off the Planet a little bit.

Love, Lonneke


Steak Kebabs

I know we focus mostly on vegetarian and/or vegan foods on, but here's a nice recipe for the Summer with meat-- steak kebabs!  Of course always go for organic, humanly raised meat.

These steak kebabs you can serve with fruits or green salad on the side.  Marinate chunks of steak (organic NY strip steak, filet mignon or sirloin) with Worchester sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, black pepper, salt, cilantro, and minced garlic for two hours or preferably overnight.  Soak four wooden skewers in water.  Thread the beef chunks and vegetables that you like, such as peppers, portabella mushrooms, tomatoes, eggplants, onions, etc. evenly onto the skewers.  Broil in your oven for about 10-12 minutes depending on how you like your steak done.  Turn the skewers on each side every 3-4 minutes. It's really tasty and easy! Maybe something for the 4th of July?

For those who don't eat meat: you can try it with other food items like seitan or tofu!

Lonneke trying out things

The Vegetarian Butcher!

There is something new in the world of food: a Vegetarian Butcher!

A "butcher" who makes "vegetarian meat"? yes it is true! Products that give you a feeling of eating meat but are not derived from animals. The flavors are like meat, and using it in a dish it looks exactly like meat. De "Vegetarische Slager" in The Hague, the Netherlands IS the Vegetarian Butcher, and I wanted to visit this place for months, until I finally went this week! Besides that the Dutch government is located here, the work palace of our Queen Beatrix and the UN Tribunal/International Court of Justice, there is something else here that is worth visiting!

Lonneke at Vegetarische Slager

The shop looks like a fancy butcher shop. While the owner Jaap Korteweg (husband of Dutch political Party for the Animals "Partij voor de Dieren" founder Marianne Thieme) was not present, butcher Paul Bom was, and wore a typical butcher uniform. But... you won't find any animal derived products, no nasty blood and dead corpse smell or anything else that vegetarians hate in this shop. It is a vegetarians heaven! Besides maybe the use of organic eggs and some milk that they use in their famous "gehaktballen", most products are vegan though, made from a plant named "Lupin".

Lonneke and vegetarian butcher Paul Bom
Lonneke and vegetarian butcher Paul Bom

I tried many different things, and bought a lot. Because it is 1.5. hours drive from my hometown in the Netherlands, I wanted to stock up on some things! Even though I know they have 200+ selling points in the Netherlands now, you can't beat getting the products from the original place, with explanation from the person who made it all!

Lonneke trying delicious things
Lonneke trying tasty things!

I got the bacon, the meat balls, the minced meat, the fake chicken....They also have "saucijzenbroodjes", bread rolls with meat, but of course without meat. Also, besides fake meat,they sell things like sauces, juices, juicers (I love my new Versapers Juicer!) wines, teas, chocolates, nutritional powders, ready-to-go meals and more.

Lonneke trying out things
I got a lot of delicious products!


Bedrieg je Partner campaign   Because some products are so right on, they even have a campaign "Fool your partner once a week" (Bedrieg je partner 1 x in de week).

I loved the no-tuna salad. I am sure some will be fooled, although I think it tastes even better than tuna salad!No tuna salad on toast

Food guru Mark Bittman visited De Vegetarische Slager and wrote an article on it for the New York Times. He was blown away by the flavors and possibilities! I guess he thought the USA is on the forefront when it comes to completely new food products, but I guess us Dutchies can do some great things too ;) Read the article in the New York Times HERE.

Lupin chicken pieces by Vegetarische Slager
Lupin chicken pieces by Vegetarische Slager

Some vegetarians say that you should not eat meat like products. Because you should not want to eat something that taste like meat. But some people who want to transfer from eating meat to not eating meat, will miss the texture or flavors. I think for those people this could be a great option, and it will maybe help more people to eat a more vegetarian diet. And it just gives more delicious options for cooking a pure vegetarian meal in my opinion! I know I love it!

Lonneke at Vegetarische Slager
There are a lot of products in the freezer you can take with you to use at a later time!

I hope this concept can be brought to the USA, starting in NYC, maybe with some of my help.  How cool would that be?

Love, Lonneke.

Watch De Vegetarische Slager promo video with a delicious fake chicken recipe!


Follow De Vegetarische Slager on Twitter, or go to their website.

Physical addres: Spui167A (across from The Hague City Hall)
2511 BM The Hague, the Netherlands.
Phone: +31(0)70 3456764