Community: Forum: Vegetarian Discussion

Vegan / Vegetarian Discussion - All Things Veg*n Forum

I know one thing many vegetarians look for are good mock meats (I do know there are also lots of veg's that don't care for mock meat as much). There is so much talk about how much it is just like meat, etc, etc. But my question is, can mock meat be TOO real? I had a soy ginger chicken the other night that looked and tasted exactly like chicken. I know my non veg friends would have been completely fooled. Now, a lot of people might say "wow, that's great, just like chicken" and I think I may have thought that before, but eating the "chicken" kind of weirded me out. I kept checking the label to make sure it was veg and was only able to eat a little bit. Sure it had great flavor but it was kinda grossing me out! I kept getting the thoughts in my head of eating meat and it was making me sick. Anyone else have this experience? Thoughts?

Responses (33)

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by gr8vegan at 03/08/08 15:41:01

    They are mentally gross and most are toxic.

    Get a McDougall cook book for health supporting veg food :)

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by kindlizard at 03/09/08 18:53:57

    Hey man, before you put too much faith in that guy check out his ingredients. He uses a glutamte/MSG derivative yeast extract. You can't really take what he says as gospel if he's going to take shortcuts and somewhat poison people like that.

    I would never buy a book from someone who uses that in their products, and I love cookbooks at veg cafes that are great.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by kindlizard at 03/09/08 19:01:15

    furthermore, the guy markets soups with "chicken flavor". That's gross enough.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by JohnnySensible at 03/10/08 04:08:54

    Dr. John A. McDougall does incredible work!

    I often refer to his site / articles.

    Audio here of him chatting with our member Tina Volpe / HDILady - it is well worth listening to -

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by treehugger at 03/10/08 06:54:08

    Hi Titania
    I don't eat a lot of mock meat, but only because it's so hard to buy locally and the places that do sell charge ridiculously high prices. The mock meats I have tried don't taste of meat to me but had I experienced one that did - so much so that I had to keep referring to the packet for proof of it's non meat content then I would have been spooked.

    Mock meats, I think, are aimed at new vegetarians and people who don't eat meat for health reasons and not beacause of ethics.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by Agility at 03/13/08 11:28:47

    I once had that experience- "Are you sure this is fake?" - at a restaurant. Some mock meats are good but not good for you. I order food from It's an amazing site with dozens of food choices. They are mock meats but they are packed with protein, 100% vegan and many dishes are completely organic. They ship all over and have reasonable prices. And the food is delicious!

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by gr8vegan at 03/16/08 05:01:59

    kindlizard, I put all my faith in Dr. McDougall and stake my entire life on him because I wouldn't have one without him and there are tens of thousands of others that can say the same. I've read your many 1/2 star reviews. If there is anything I can do to make you a happier person please let me know.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by kindlizard at 03/16/08 14:45:18

    Make me happier? I have to say I'm pretty happy, maybe just not ever address me or condescend again. Your blind faith to a man who sells his reputation to the very things you doth protest needed illumination. Your resentment for it is your own issue. Like the carnivore who protests cloning into the meat industry, yet has no idea of its current conditions, feel free to talk when you pull your head from your [censored] or from the sand, whichever its stuck in.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by kindlizard at 03/16/08 14:47:14

    as for my reviews, there are some really terrible places out there. They don't get an A for effort. Frozen re-heats are not 5 on the happy cow meter for me, but if you eat McDougall's soups, maybe you would think every place is a 5 cow place...

  • Xzigalia's avatar
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    Posted by Xzigalia at 03/16/08 20:39:33

    Isn't the whole point of mock meat that you're eating it as, well... pretend meat? If you got weiwded out by the thought of eating something that was like meat, wouldn't you just not consume mock meat at all?

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    Posted by westcornersville at 03/17/08 20:51:24

    Interesting discussion here. I've been a vegetarian for over 20 years (and a semi-vegan--meaning a vegan at home but not so much when I eat out for about 15). I occasionally have mock meats--mainly for something different--but I certainly don't make those to be a staple (and I prefer them to not be too much like the real thing). In East/Southeast Asian cuisines, mock meats have been a staple, at least among a number of Buddhists, for many centuries (I think they were invented by the Buddhists like 1000 years ago!), so you're actually eating something authentic when you're having mock meat in Chinese, Thai, etc. food. However, in other cuisines, mock meats are simply a way to approximate a dish that's made from meat--and thus are fake. Of course, some cuisines, like Indian, have so many different vegetarian main and side dishes that there's no need for fake meats to increase the variety (I've seen fake meats at only a very very small handful of Indian restaurants--I guess for those vegetarians that are curious what "lamb keema" is like or something like that).

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by Tatiana at 03/18/08 00:56:10

    westcornersville - Great points. Mock meats aren't all a 21st century invention to approximate meat in foods. Many mock meats have been around for a very long time.

    Xzigalia - The term "mock meat" is not always the best term, IMO. A lot of mock meats are made to be obviously vegetarian, such as veggie burgers made of grains and vegetables. Then there are veggie burgers made to approximate meat more, such as the soy burgers that look just like a regular burger. I guess it's hard to explain since you aren't vegetarian, but eating mock meats is not always (it's not for me, anyways) about pretending to be meat. I like to use items like seitan in cooking, but I don't ever eating thinking "wow, it's like I'm eating meat, yum". It gives a nice flavor and texture to the food. There are a lot of different vegetarians out there. There are some that rely on mock meats on a regular basis all the way to those who never use them. It is a personal preference, I think.

    treehugger - I agree and disagree with you. I can see the viewpoint of thinking that an ethics geared veggie wouldn't eat mock meats at all (or as often). However, I also disagree with that point that if you eat mock meats, whether they are made to approximate meat or not, you may very well still be making that choice (at least in part) to make a difference in reducing animal cruely. I think that point is definitely opinion and I'm not at all arguing it with you. I think it's just a matter of perspective.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by Tatiana at 03/18/08 00:57:08

    bah, tried to edit out a small grammar error and it relisted the whole thing so I'm not gonna bother with instead, you get this random post!! :oP

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by kindlizard at 03/18/08 01:42:56

    Tatiana, I agree completely. I think of it as eating wheat.

    Treehugger, I feel even more lucky you reminded me that not everywhere has a local place that makes seitan. I only started eating in NJ since there is a great local maker, Ray's. I do however miss Surata soy like no other and have rarely eaten any soy. Spoiled with local greatness. I suppose on moving away I will likely rarely eat seitan.

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    Posted by Brucella at 03/23/08 12:27:58

    why would you want to eat mock meats - the whole point of being vegetarian is NOT to eat meat - if you want food that tastes like chicken, bacon etc. then go back to eating it. Mock meats are highly processed - all you are doing is putting money into the pockets of the food produceres of these foods.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by Tatiana at 03/23/08 15:23:22

    I think the whole mock meats thing is definitely a matter of opinion. Like many things on these boards, many of us will disagree. Even within vegetarianism there are so many likes/dislikes and beliefs that we'll all clash on many occasions. I respect vegetarians that eat mock meats and those who don't. I think both groups have good reasoning behind doing what they do.

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    Posted by kindlizard at 03/23/08 18:56:03

    your logic is seriously flawed. some folks consider tofu and tempeh to be mock meats. some people think if you broil a mushroom it is then a "steak". so you would be willing to let the ignorant dictate what we should eat? I have no desire to kill an animal for sustenance, but I can certainly appreciate Chinese vegan food, no matter what they, you or anyone else calls it. It has nothing to do with a secret desire to kill for food, or eat dead things, I assure you.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by JohnnySensible at 03/24/08 03:18:20

    A great audio - lively & inspirational - Colleen Patrick-Goudreau of "Compassionate Cooks" chatting with our friend Tina Volpe about subjects including "wholefoods vs processed foods" -

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by Lisamarie at 04/10/08 11:17:56

    Yes I know EXACTLY what you mean! I went out to my favorite veg restaurant in Houston one evening(Pepper Tree on Richmond off of 59). They have a great vegan buffet on weekends all day and from 11AM to 2PM on the weekdays. SO since this was on a Tuesday evening I had to order something from the menu and ordered a vegan chicken dish. Once I started eating it, it tasted SO much like the real thing that I almost did call the waitress over to ask her if she was SURE it was vegan! I didn't because I'd been to the place a few times and trust them; it was just a weird, guilty feeling just the same, because I felt like I was eating JUST the thing I've vowed to NEVER eat again.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by treehugger at 04/11/08 13:37:58

    I think a few of you are missing the point here. One very important word...MOCK and FAKE. Alright that's two but anyway. These are fake and not real.
    No animal is harmed in the production of these types of food.
    I stopped eating meat not because I didn't like the taste but because I didn't like the way animals are treated.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by Tatiana at 04/11/08 16:02:30

    I agree with you treehugger. I honestly switched because of health and animal cruelty reasons. There are lots of vegetarians out there who would disagree and are opposed to mock meats as they are made to be like meats. Like I had said earlier in the thread, definitely a difference of opinion. The reason I started this thread in the first place was that the mock meat I ate was so realistic it was almost weird and I checked the package a bunch of times to make sure. Like lisamarie said, it tastes so real you start to get that guilty (and sick to your stomach) feeling because your body thinks you're eating meat. I wanted to start the thread to see others' opinions on the matter and I think we've done just that! It's so interesting to see the differing opinions and how different we all are and how we all feel on the matter. ...and I gotta say, I've been hooked on tempeh bacon lately...yummo (not to say I eat mock meats all the time but they can be a nice addition to a lot of meals). Treehugger, why is it that it is difficult for you to get good priced mock meats where you live? What is the culture like in terms of vegetarianism?

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by Lisamarie at 04/11/08 16:08:45

    Yes I understand what you are saying treehugger. And like Tatiana, I went veg both for reasons of health and for compassion, not because I disliked the taste of meat.
    I might add here, too, that although mock meats are, yes, very good and have SOME nutrition, they shouldn't take the place of raw or steamed fresh veggies, fruits, legumes, grains, and nuts every day. Mock meats are still processed and should be limited to one or two servings per day.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by Tatiana at 04/11/08 17:12:23

    Yeah, balance people! :oP

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by JohnnySensible at 04/12/08 08:13:15

    "balance" - oh Tatania! - the very word makes me shiver!

    Personally I cannot stand the taste / texture of most mock-meats - but I am really, really happy that they are becoming more popular.

    Getting cancer from consuming highly processed soy protein isolate is so much "nicer" than torturing & killing animals just to ingest carcinogens.


    The Whole Is Healthier Than the Parts

    Over the past two decades there has been an explosion on the supermarket shelves of soy products that resemble our favorite meat and dairy products. I often refer to these as "fake foods." Manufacturing processes remove the dietary fibers, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and hundreds of other helpful plant chemicals – leaving behind almost pure soy protein.

    These protein concentrates are mixed with extracts of wheat protein, vegetable oils, and sometimes, starch, sugar, salt, artificial sweeteners, and dairy and egg proteins – then the magic of modern technology turns these mixtures into products that look and taste like real cheese, hot dogs, sausages, burgers, luncheon meats, chicken, and turkey. Soy protein is used to replace dairy protein in candy bars, yogurt, ice cream, breads, pastries and cookies. You can identify the synthesized concentrated proteins on the ingredient list of your foods by these words: defatted soy flour, organic textured soy flour, textured vegetable protein, isolated soy protein, soy protein concentrates, and soy concentrates. These new "foods" in no way resemble nature's creations and the effects on your health make that clear.

    An extract from -


    "I am always drawn to people on the edge. Walkers are on the outside, but appear to be on the inside." Jonathon Ames

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by kindlizard at 04/12/08 16:22:33


    First tell people they will die of cancer for eating processed foods, then advertise a doctor who himself sells, and is known for, heavily processed foods. What else do you call semblances of food in cartons with packets of chemicals and "natural" flavors and glutamates? No MCDonalds, I mean McDougalls doesn't process his food, he goes out to the garden and picks his carrots already chopped and dried in centimeter squared sizes.

    What tree grows those aluminum packets that hold those "seasonings" (he types w a straight face...)? Double standard? He of course will be the first one to tell you not to eat packaged crap, he wants you to think his packaged crap is safe!!! Lulled into a false sense of security, the salesman strikes. Great PR, and you do his advertising for him. Really, look objectively, you can't tell me that a "doctor" selling heavily processed foods like he does is servicing the community and public in its best intended fashion.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by kindlizard at 04/12/08 16:28:23


    Sodium 360 mg

    a "doctor" w such values ought know better; for shame

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by JohnnySensible at 04/12/08 22:59:21

    [Response censored]- joke - but it surely would have been censored if I had sent it in full!

    We can still agree about music & perhaps even a few other things kindlizard.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by kindlizard at 04/13/08 00:41:26

    Y'all should throw the "C" word a little more cautiously and more tactfully. Incredibly crass to imply people have it coming. Organic Raw Fruitarians I know have gotten it, too. Don't be like that, don't be so presumptuous to know medical science b/c you have read a book, watched a DVD or whatever. People, honest hard-working, dedicated people, some of whom are vegan, work tirelessly on solving this problem and they have a lot more educational background and time in labs doing R&D and they would know more than a wiseass who read a book, once. Dozens of years of time devoted solely to one aim, or your random musings... just keep those potentially hazardous comments to yourself.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by The Veggie Cook at 04/14/08 16:56:01

    To me, mockmeats don't taste like flesh meat at all.

    They taste more like the ingredients from which they are made - either soy protein, wheat gluten, corn, taro, etc...

    I agree with Agility that makes some of the more tasty and easy-to-eat mockmeats in their dishes. I've tasted some, and would recommend especially the BBQ ribs, veggie fish steak, meatball in marinara.


  • Report Abuse

    Posted by webmaster at 04/13/08 11:13:41

    johnnysensible & kindlizard, you guys are going off topic again and bringing your personal issues with each other in here.
    If you want to debate Dr. McDougall, start a new thread and please keep your language under control. If you have issues with each other, use Private Messaging so we all don't need to hear it.
    Again, the subject here: Mock Meats that are Too Real?
    Thanks in advance for keeping in line with the topic.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by mothersson2002 at 04/16/08 16:49:05

    ok.Here's my take. One of the meanings of mock is to look among something with scorn so I use the word mock to give the slight implication of that. Yes there are some similarities between animal and non animal based food especially but the majority of products are not nearly identical to each other.I and other vegetarians eat the food in spite of the similarities.

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    Posted by mothersson2002 at 04/16/08 17:09:00

    I use the word mock to give the slight implication that I object to eating animal based projects but enjoy the benefits of non-based animal projects which do not intentiontially harm sentient beings. Yes there are some similarities between animal and non animal based food especially but the majority of products are not nearly identical to each other.I and other vegetarians eat the food in spite of the similarities.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by larryfeltonj at 04/17/08 21:33:58

    Browsing over this discussion brings to mind a quote from Voltaire:

    "The perfect is the enemy of the good".

    I'm a vegan for a number of different reasons (love of animals, environmental efficiency, health). I prepare the overwhelming number of my meals from scratch, with an emphasis on beans, grains, sprouts of various kinds, and vegetables.

    But when I'm going out to dinner with non-vegan friends, I really appreciate the Chinese Buddhist restaurants here in Atlanta (and the vegan Rastafarian restaurant) with their faux meats. Those restaurants allow me to order with the assurance that I'm not eating any animal products, while at the same time ensuring my non-vegan friends an enjoyable and tasty meal. Is it "processed"? Well, yeah, but virtually anyplace we eat out would fit that category.

    I agree that the ideal would be vegan whole foods which are tasty and enjoyed on their own merits rather than through the filters of a fast food culture. And when I invite people over for dinner those are the sorts of foods I cook. But when I'm eating out, my mantra is "no animal products".

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