Why make veggie things that resemble meat?

If, like me, you have been caught saying, “What’s the point of making veggie stuff that resembles meat? Why not just eat the real thing?” then this is definitely for YOU!

If you’re up with my story, you’ll know I’m a cancer thriver. Cancer does funny things to your body. Well, often it’s not so much the disease itself, as the various treatments that cause most havoc. I’m not going to bang on about which food you should or shouldn’t eat … that’s entirely up to you.

I‘ve been on medication to reduce the oestrogen that causes my type of cancer for nearly five years. Let’s be technically correct here, it doesn’t reduce the oestrogen, rather it blocks the receptors that let the hormone do its business. So, when I stop taking this, what happens to all those hormones running round my body and binding to the receptors? I kind of don’t want to think about it, but those that know me will tell you that’s not an option: I’m every so slightly obsessed by how and why things work.

True to form, I’ve read every book, paper or study I could lay my hands on and talked to numerous clinicians. There are many things that can increase the amount of oestrogen in our bodies and one of them is meat. Add to this that many animals are fed on foodstuffs that they have not evolved to digest and a whole bundle of lectins (proteins not dissimilar to gluten) are right there in your delicious steak. A double whammy for me!

 I’ve always thought I ate a healthy and varied diet. Well, I do: I’m not into avoiding particular food groups (apart from gluten, which make my belly and brain do seriously bad things), so it came as a surprise to my husband (and me) when I decided I should stop eating meat seriously decrease my intake. I’m trying, I’m trying! 

And here’s where the meatless meaty food comes in: I eat mainly veg, but love both fish and meat. I confess, I miss nice meaty things. So, I’ve started creating dishes that Dan will enjoy and, most important, he must feel like he’s had meat. Since I’ve had serious problems with gluten, we have, at times, eaten different meals. It’s something I try to avoid (who wants to make two meals each evening?) I’ve been on a mission to create gluten-less food that’s as delicious as the originals and now I’m focused on meat. Or not meat, to be more precise. Mushrooms are beginning to play a larger role in our lives and this dish was inspired by @jamieoliver #JamieCooksItaly .We love Italy: it’s where Dan proposed, after all … and we love Italian food, when done nicely … My man trained as a Pizzaiolo in Napoli, so no escaping that. 

I haven’t suggested we serve this with spaghetti, as Italians would cringe at the thought. However, that is precisely how we ate it. @Tesco Free From spaghetti is pretty much a doppelganger for dried wheat pasta and works well here, unless you want to make your own GF pasta … in which case, I’ll write up our recipe soon.

See my mushroom ball recipe here.

Davina x

food & drinkdavina