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.)
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.