Here is the homework I did on meat substitutes for vegetarians. It's not a pretty picture.
Photo Credit: Stacey Greene
Quorn Foods, which is British-owned, markets its signature organism as being related to mushrooms, truffles, and morels, since all of those are fungi. While that’s true, it's as misleading as claiming that humans are related to jellyfish since they’re both animals, according to CSPI. Quorn's fungus is named Fusarium venenatum—"venenatum" is Latin for "venomous."
Photo Credit: Hardcore herbivore
Seitan is a soy-free option made out of wheat gluten. It has been used in Asia for centuries.
"Wheat Intolerance (due to Gluten sensitivity - a protein found in Wheat, rye, barley and oats) is actually rather common. Up to 15% of people, or one in seven is Gluten intolerant." foodintol.com
Photo Credit: Crystal
"But what about tofu, soy, et al - considered stalwarts of the ethical vegetarian diet? Soy's halo in particular has been tarnished thanks to large-scale plantations, particularly in South America, which have led to large-scale environmental degradation. And nearly half the global soybean crop is now estimated to be GM."
"Soy protein usually arrives at a food manufacturer in the form of a dry powder. Soy protein is coiled and globular, while real meat proteins are fibrous, so the challenge is to change the soy’s molecular structure. The food manufacturer exposes the soy protein to heat or acid or a solvent, and then runs it through an extruder to reshape it. “When you denature the molecules, they open up and become more fibrous,” says Barry Swanson, a professor of food science and nutrition at Washington State Universitynd a fellow at the Institute of Food Technologies. “Then you hold them together with a gel, such as carrageenan or xanthan gum, something that will hold a little bit of water, and what you get is something that vaguely resembles a piece of meat.”