Monday, February 17, 2014

Meatless Product Review: Gardein!

I'll be the first to admit it, trying something new can be pretty scary sometimes. Trying new foods can be tricky because food is something that is so personal and subjective. It also is tied with good memories, or comfort and security. Who would wanna mess with that?! Especially when you are taking a food out of your diet, like meat on Meatless Monday, you might be hesitant to substitute new foods for the ones that you are more comfortable and familiar with. And if we've all heard that phrase, if ain't broke, don't fix it! But, for this Meatless Monday, I am going to try to quell your fears about trying something, new and present on a new spin on a classic, stand-by dish, "the All-American burger"!

Anyone who knows me well knows, that I love food of kinds. But, when I have to pick my absolute favorite food, it has to be, hands down, a classic, juicy, burger and fries. It's one of the utmost comfort foods for me. It's juicy, meaty, and satiating from the first initial encounter, right down to the last bite. Another reason I love burgers so much is because they are most always consistent. It's the one thing that you can find on almost any menu, and it's pretty hard to mess up. If I had it my way (both nutritionally, and sustainability wise), I could eat one every single day.

But, since I can't (and most definitely shouldn't) eat a burger every single day, I can humbly say, that I am a bit of a meatless burger expert. Whether it's Meatless Monday, or another day of the week when I'm looking for all the satisfaction of a burger, without the meaty cost, you can find me scanning the frozen foods section in the pursuit of finding the ultimate meatless burger. In my experience, the most challenging part of trying something new, is often the preconceived notions attached with what you are trying to replace. So, when trying a meatless burger, it's easy to dismiss it because, it doesn't have the same flavor, or the same texture. Because it's not an exact replicable to what we know and love, it becomes foreign and unappealing. I've also been guilty of this experience when trying something new as well. I've found the best way to overcome this challenge, is to examine your mindset, before examining the similarities/differences of the new food in question. Instead of trying to replace a food, think of it as something different entirely. Instead of focusing on what is different, or lacking, I try to focus on other positive attributes the new food has. The mindset you are in, is almost more important than the food itself.

With that being said, as your meatless burger expert, I have come through for you. When trying to recreate meat-filled meals into meatless delights, it's always helpful when you can find products that are as close as possible to the original dish that you are trying to recreate. So, as the title implies, I have a review for you today of one of my favorite meatless products: Gardein.

One of the greatest challenges for me personally to overcome when trying new meatless foods is texture. I am pretty open and flexible to new flavors, and colors, but it's difficult for me to get around textures (especially those what I am most familiar and comfortable with, like a juicy, meaty burger). One of the reasons I am such a "Gardein fangirl" is because the texture is pretty spot-on. It looks, feels, and mimics the texture, the best out of any meatless burger I have ever tried. When you grill it, you can see it become plump and juicy, and it's decently thick and substantial. To make mine feel even more
"burger-esque", I like to sandwich it between a english muffin, with cheddar cheese, avocado, and sirarcha. "Dressing up" the final product the same way you would with the original dish, also brings some familiarity back into something different.

Whenever I feel like having a burger on Monday, having a Gardein meatless burger, usually goes just the trick. (They also make some super awesome meatless chicken tenders as well). At the end of the day, why choose a meatless product, or more broadly why venture out and try something different? The answer for me simply, is to never feel deprived. As a self-proclaimed carnivore, one of the most frequent questions I get is, "don't you feel like you're missing out". And, I can honestly say no, I don't. Because I'm constantly trying new things and looking at new ways to create the "classics" that I love, I see it more as a challenge, or even an opportunity. I never feel bored, or deprived because I never let myself feel that way. As much as eating meatless is a choice, deciding how to approach it is, as well.

So step outside your comfort zone, and re-imagine meatless!
Your Meatless Burger Expert

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