Monday, September 28, 2009

I can't believe I have to review products on my BIRTHDAY

Actually, I don't have to. But it's a nasty, cold, rainy birthday, so let's see how productive I can be, hmm?

In light of all of the shiny new review blogs popping up everywhere, I feel the need to re-explain how things work here. The reviews I write are usually for Go Dairy Free, I just cross-post them here. Occasionally, a company contacts me on their own. I get a sample of the dairy-free/food allergy-related food/product/whatever. I try it. I write honestly about it. I do not get paid by the companies or by Go Dairy Free. But even if I did, I'd write honest reviews. It's just a good way for us all to find out about new (often expensive) dairy-free and/or food allergy products. Aaand, done.

Recently I received a package of ND Labs' Meatless Burger Bits, or, as my kids call it, "Fake Meat." We used them in Peg Bracken's Green Pepper Stew. The texture and taste were very similar to ground beef, and we agreed that the texture is even more beef-like than their other meatless ground beef product. The Meatless Burger Bits are the closest-to-ground-beef meatless product we've tried. If it were up to us, though, we'd probably go with ground turkey or ground chicken or ground venison if we didn't want beef.

Yeah. Go here for a clear image.

So here's my question: if you are allergic to beef or a vegetarian or vegan, do you LIKE eating foods that taste like meat, or would you rather avoid meat--real or fake--all together? I had a grad school professor who was so excited about her Thanksgiving Tofurky, and I remember thinking, "What's the point?" If I didn't eat meat, I think I'd avoid meat-like substances. But I DO eat meat, so what do I know? Thoughts?

Ingredients: Beef flavored vegetable crumbles (soy protein concentrate, wheat gluten, malt color, and wheat starch). Spice blend: hydrolyzed corn and yeast protein, hydrolyzed wheat gluten, maltodextrin, malt extract, hydrolyzed soy protein, dextrose, yeast extract, onion, chili and garlic powders, torula yeast, malic acid, disodium inosiante, disodium guanylate, natural flavors*.

*The natural flavors thing worried me a bit, but they have allergen information on their website that says these are free of dairy.

Meatless Burger Bits are available on ND Labs' website.

This review was written for Go Dairy Free.


  1. Not something I'd buy. But HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SARAH!

  2. OMG! Happy Birthday! Here I should have called you yesterday just for this. I should have known you were a Libra, so much greatness :)

    When we did trial the vegan thing for a few months we just avoided faux meat. I love veggie burgers, but ones that actually taste like veggies. If I want meat, I eat meat. That said, a lot of people love the fake meat.

  3. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! I hope you have a most lovely day.

    Now, about your question. I'm vegetarian, and in general, I never really liked the taste or texture of meat. However, on occasion I do like a fake-meat product - for tacos, or if we are barbecuing, I sometimes like a veggie burger. Mostly, though, I think those fake products taste like crap so I generally avoid them. Tacos and the occasional veggie burger are the only two exceptions.


    I don't eat meat and generally avoid meat-like products, except that I often buy veggie ground round (like ground beef) to use in things like tacos, sloppy joes, soup and other kid-friendly meals. The rest of the family does eat meat, but I'm not a big fan of ground beef and find the meatless product less gross.

  5. happy birthday!

    and what a great question.

    i was a vegetarian for many years. i dont technically consider myself one anymore but, i still dont love meat, and in general dont want it or anything that tastes like it.

    i agree with nicoles and loris comments above. we use the fake ground meat product stuff at least once a week for tacos and occassionally i'll eat a veggie burger. but mostly if i do want meat i'll eat it.

    that being said, i think the fake meat products are a good stepping stone for folks who maybe want to give vegetarianism a chance but aren't quite sure how to work all the diet issues out.

  6. Happy Birthday!!!

    I don't have an answer to your question, but we like to joke around and say we'd be vegan if it weren't for the meat... (no milk or eggs... hahahaha... I know sad, sad joke.) :)

    Hope you have a great day!

  7. Happy Birthday!!!

    haha I can't believe I have to work on MY BIRTHDAY. Gets me every year!!!!

  8. Happy Birthday!!

    I was a vegetarian for nearly 10 years. I enjoyed "fake meats", especially soy dogs and burgers. Looking back now, they tasted like rubber and I had to drown them in condiments to make them edible.

  9. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! I'm not a big meat eater (although the rest of the house it) but I do like my veggie burgers, Sunflower seed burgers in particular. They do not taste like meat to me. I have a strong aversion to ground meat. Every once in a while if I'm forced to, I'll eat a burger but I prefer not too. Anything "non meat" that resembles meat is just not for me.

  10. My understanding is new vegitarians eat fake meat, and people who grow up vegitarian are not looking for the "meat taste".

    I am reducing my meat and combine TVP with ground meat sometimes. But I prefere vegtable samosas to fake meat samosas on a vegitarian day.

  11. Yay! Happy Birthday! (Sorry I'm late!)

  12. I'd rather have real meat, please. Gimme my beef! But I do like veggie products...just stuff that actually TASTE like veggie products, like a bean burger or something.

    And HAPPY BIRTHDAY! ARe your lovely kids pampering you today? ;-)

  13. speaking of meat and natural flavors, i am trying to figure out if Meijer brand ground turkey with no MSG but with "natural flavors" is dairy free. have you tried it?