I like fake meat and I cannot lie

I like eating meat. I can't help it.

I was raised in the kind of true-blue Kiwi family that believed red meat makes you strong and the only thing that can stop a cold in its tracks is a thin soup made from the long-boiled bones of a chicken.

I like the taste of meat and the texture, and the passion people put into cooking it, and the ritual of everyone gathering around a table to consume the sacrifice together.

But at this stage of my life, I simply know too much.

I know what happened to get it there, on my plate, and I can no longer stomach it.

But when you've eaten meat all your life, going cold tofurkey isn't actually all that easy.

It can be difficult to wrap your head around what should be sitting on your plate where the chops used to be.

Enter: fake meat. Veggie pulled pork burgers, crispy strips of facon, tofu sausages, meat-free meatballs and chickenless chicken.

It's easy to mock, it's embarrassing to bring to a barbeque and - full disclosure - it's not as yummy as real meat.

But if you're interested in cutting down your meat consumption, it's damn close enough, and no one gets hurt.

Meat-free eating for meat lovers

We're not just talking swapping out beef patties for tofu and lamb koftas for falafel.

We're talking shellfish created from mushrooms, fried chicken produced from setain, and mayonnaise from chickpeas.

Cheese made from yeast. Eggs from algae. A mushroom burger that tastes like beef and bleeds beetroot once bitten.

This alchemy is almost literally magic, and it's the ticket to a dinner plate that doesn't weigh on your hips or your conscience.

I like fake meat and I cannot lie
Photo credit: Getty

We've come a long way since the days of tinned TVP (that's textured vegetable protein, still conveniently available in the health aisle of your local supermarket).

Browse the aisles now, and you'll find herbed sausages, cheese-stuffed patties, pre-made protein-packed stews and pieces of pea protein designed to mimic chicken flesh.

Meat eaters: join me.

Whatever your reasons - the environmental impact, the risk of biting into a strip of metal, the suffering of animals, the chances of swallowing a tapeworm or the likelihood of being fed some horse with your cow - broaden your horizons and get a beefless burger in your bun.

Eschew the flesh, and chew on some soy protein that tastes like pulled pork but has none of the fat and twice as much iron instead.

As you bite into that rehydrated textured soya chorizo, marvel with me in the wonders of science and food technology.

Discover the delights of meat far from the bone.