I don't usually like to bother with manufactured foods, but there are some people who seem to need them. I have been fascinated by all the hype about the plant-based burgers. It seems that one is not supposed to be able to tell the difference between real beef and plant-based products. I took that as a direct challenge. The patties come in very nice 8 and 10 oz packages. At 6.99 and 7.99, they cost more than real beef. Strike one. I took them home and cooked them. I almost ate one but could not swallow it. I took a bite of the next experiment which I had doused with Worcestershire sauce and the other condiments used on beef burgers. I really tried to see and taste the adjectives used to sell this product. Sizzling juiciness, texture like beef, aroma oozing natural flavors. I swallowed but did not want to give it a second try. Strike two.

This brings me to the hook consumers are exposed to while shopping. Plant-based is the new hook. Gluten free, heart healthy, sugar free, non- GMO are other attention getters. Yes, we need to know these things, but gluten free shampoo is going too far. We need to know what else is in the food as well as what it does not have. I was appalled to read that a plant-based burger advertises itself as "just like traditional beef." Is that a back-door con to make people believe that there is a new kind of beef and that it is the plant-based beef? Strike three.

I'm sorry to speak negatively about the product I tested, but it goes too far trying to make the buyer think they will be getting the taste of a real beef burger. Why set up false expectations? I'll never touch the stuff again. There are other substitutes, if needed, that are better tasting and more honest in their advertising.

My main goal for good food is to keep what I eat as simple, as fresh, as local or organic as I can. That, to me, is the reason for eating anything. I keep trying to remind myself that I need to eat to live, not live to eat as the saying goes. That is not easy to do with the food scientists working day and night to seduce consumers with great salty, sugary textured treats made without much food value. Scientists don't know everything there is to know about foods. They only know what they can find. Manufactured food can't take the place of real food. We can't survive on added vitamins alone. Real food has mysteries we are still discovering and starting to understand how our bodies work with it. Our bodies don't recognize that we have been fed when we eat non-foods. Therefore, we eat more and more of it until we are stuffed but still left craving more. The body knows what it needs.

Most of us have some food addictions. I know I do. I fight against them, study them and I try to change. Here is a simple but fantastic one dish meal. Probably not addictive, but it could be! 

My Italian Chicken

Cut two small skinned chicken breasts into bite sized pieces.

Coat with flour of your choice.

Heat at least 3 tablespoons of virgin olive oil or avocado oil in a very large skillet.

Brown the chicken and season to taste with onion powder, sea

salt and pepper.

Remove chicken from the heat and in the same skillet, add:

One large onion sliced thin

One clove of garlic minced

One cup chopped carrots

One cup chopped celery

teaspoon of Better Than Bullion or natural substitute

tablespoon of chopped parsley or sprinkle dried parsley

One 28oz can Hunts steam peeled crushed tomatoes with juice, one and a half cups of chicken bone broth, one teaspoon oregano, one teaspoon marjoram,

one half or one cup sliced fresh mushrooms

one half cup of dry red wine

Stir or mix ingredients well and replace on medium or low heat.

Make sure that liquid covers the food while cooking. Add more chicken stock or tomatoes if needed.

Simmer for at least two hours. This can be cooked ahead and reheated or frozen if desired.

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