A friend of mine emailed me the other day to ask about a company that makes “mock” chicken. She is looking for an alternative to animal protein. After looking at the ingredients, I thought, not too bad, fewer than most. There were a few I had seen repeatedly, and even though I know them by name, I haven’t researched them in detail. So, I dove in!
The main source of protein in this “mock” chicken is soy. This company uses soy isolate, and soy fiber. I have stopped eating soy and have strong opinions about it.. So when I see soy on a label the skin on the back of my neck starts to tingle. Soy mimics estrogen and in the US it is about 95% Genetically Modified. So, when you eat it you have genetically modified unregulated hormones in your body. No thanks!
Maltodextrin- A highly processed form of sugar derived from wheat, corn or rice. Supposedly if it is derived from wheat (more frequently in Europe) it is to be labeled as such. I could write a whole other article on what is “supposed ” to be labeled and what actually is. (Vote yes on Prop 37!) So, if you are wheat or gluten sensitive, maltodextrin is off your list. If it is derived from corn, we are back to probably GM corn, again I say, No thanks!
Natural Flavorings- This particular recipe specified vegan, so no animal products, but there is no way of knowing exactly what they are. Often natural flavorings is a mask for MSG which is known to cause migraines and other neurological issues. Sometimes if you call the company they may tell you what the actual ingredients are. Others do not even know or will not tell you because they want to keep their “secret” ingredient in the fear that you may duplicate their recipe. So, no one really knows what is included in natural flavorings, except to say they are not natural!
Titanium Dioxide- I used to think it was fine to use this; not any more! Titanium Dioxide is very common in sunscreen and cosmetics. Research in Canada has found it to be possibly carcinogenic to humans. Breathing the dust can cause respiratory cancer and cell damage. What about absorbing it through the skin, the largest organ in the body?
All of these ingredients are not food, but they are combined to make food-like substances, and sold to unsuspecting consumers. I am always glad to have the opportunity to dive more deeply into finding out more about certain ingredients that are involved in food production.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to take control of your health by reading ingredients labels and asking questions about what you are unfamiliar with. Just because a company makes it and it is on the shelf, doesn’t mean it is good for you to eat.
Be empowered! Choose well! Read the ingredients! Only buy it and eat it if you know what it is!