April 2nd, 2010 BY dalgal | No Comments

Any eco-friendly consumer should already know that eating meat is high on the global impact scale. Living conditions of the factory farmed animals not withstanding the environmental impact of raising meat for food is far greater than that of plant based diets. This is the reason that we eco-friendly folks have plant based meals, meatless Mondays and vegetarian or vegan diets. One way to replace the protein or meat in the meal is to use plant based meat substitutes.

Gardein is one such manufacturer of plant based foods that mimic meat and make the transition from meat based diet to plant based diet easier for meat lovers. Some may find they taste nothing like the animal based alternatives and some vegans/vegetarian abhor eating anything that mimics real meat products, but whatever the diet you choose, vegan “meat” options are an alternative well received by many people worldwide. Offering a variety of plant based products in fresh or frozen formats Gardein has been a huge hit with the eco-conscious community as more people opt to move away from meat based diets, especially as they offer some meat-free alternatives to traditional American meat based favorites like buffalo wings, BBQ skewers and beef-less tips.

Personal Review
Having been vegetarian for almost 20 years I can honestly say I have no real memory of how chicken tastes. Carnivorous friends report that the chicken-less tenders don’t really taste of chicken but that these Gardein products are still quite tasty in their own right. I can only concur from a vegan standpoint.Whilst I don’t use vegan meat alternatives often they are handy in a pinch and as their packaging states quick and simple as they are microwavable in just 2 minutes. Perfect for the busy family. One thing that struck me about the Gardein products was their high protein content. As a busy fitness professional eating enough protein is paramount for my good health and Gardein products average out at 19g of protein per serving, which in relation to their low fat and calorie content is perfect for my diet.

If you are looking for meat alternatives check out your local natural food store, like Whole Foods, for Gardein products. Although Trader Joes doesn’t sell Gardein products I will say that their own Trader Joes brand of “Meat free stuffed chicken breasts” is a dead ringer for the Gardein Santa Fe Good Stuff. I can’t be 100% certain it’s the same product repackaged but it sure looks, smells and tastes the same, and cheaper too! So check out your local Trader Joes for Gardein similar products also!