Mystery Ingredients Hiding in Vegan Processed Foods

November 22, 2013

Going through grocery stores and reading labels, consumers more often than not will come across ingredients they do not recognize. I took a peek at some well-known vegan foods in the grocery store, and came up with a list of…strange words. After reading Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food, I’ve learned to steer clear of ingredients of which the origin is unclear and it is a good rule to have–because some of these ingredients help companies create “food.” Not real food, but a chemical concoction engineered to stimulate your taste buds and to do nothing of value to your body.

Natural Flavors–An extraction process that derives the essence of a flavor, be it made with meat or dairy by-products…who is to know, because the label won’t tell you.

Methylcellulose–Derived from cellulose (used to make paper and cardboard), used as an emulsifier, thickener, and even a laxative. It is completely indigestible, a non-allergen, and non toxic. Cellulose can cause dehydration because it attracts water into the colon. It is a vegan and vegetarian alternative to gelatin. Methylcellulose is found in shampoos, toothpastes, mortar, and food.

Xanthan gum–Used as a thickening agent and stabilizer, xanthan gum is produced by the fermentation of glucose, sucrose, and lactose (found in milk, as many of you know). Whether it is lactose derived or not, again unlabeled.

Soy protein isolate–This is a highly refined soy product with the fats and complex carbohydrates removed leaving a product with a minimum of 90% protein. This product is very likely a GMO product and may contain trace amounts of pesticides. It is used to improve texture, increase protein, and as an emulsifier.

100% Orange Juice–Pasteurized orange juice is a lie. After the oranges have been squeezed, the juice is placed in holding tanks and has the oxygen and flavor removed. Orange juice companies hire the same people creating scents for the perfume industry to create flavor-packs. Flavor-packs are formulated and added to every batch of juice for the company, ensuring a consistent product. Pasteurized juice is heated, and many enzymes are destroyed. It may also contain trace amounts of pesticides.

Instead of relying on highly processed vegan products with one or more of these ingredients, why not make your own, all natural foods at home? You can whip up these amazing, Rawsome Veggie Burgers faster than you can make that trip to the store.

Raw Vegan Burger Recipe

Rawsome Veggie Patties!

(Additive free, preservative free, nut free and delicious!)

2 green onions
1 sweet potato, chopped into small pieces
1c water, for blending
10 button mushrooms
1 red pepper
1 clove garlic
1 rib celery
1` tomato
1/4c (heaping) raisins

Spice Mix
3/4 tsp paprika
1 and 1/2 quarter tsp pink himalayan sea salt
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (use less if you don’t like it spicy)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp fennel seed

1. Start by blending half the sweet potato with some water, add in the next half and blend. When fairly smooth, add in remaining ingredients, using water to help mix.

2. Add in spice mixture a bit at a time to adjust flavor to your liking. Blend. You may leave as much texture as desired in your patties.

3. Pour your blender full of yummy veg-mush into a mesh strainer over a pot. Stir and press the vegetable pulp until it it sticks together, effectively removing much of the water content.

3. When the mixture sticks together and will hold its shape, you may take it in your hands and form balls with it. Press the balls into a flat patty.

4. You may either eat these as is (they wont hold their shape much, but taste good), or place them in the dehydrator for 5-8 hours.

5. Put atop a beautiful organic collard leaf, dress it up with tomatoes, avocado, and whatever else you desire.

~Bon Appetite~

Also by Jessica: 6 Amazing Exotic Fruits You Have to Try

The Importance of Breathing

Fun with Spiralizers: Raw Vegan Zucchini Alfredo

Photo: Jessica Ferguson

Jessica Ferguson
Jessi is an American expat living in India with her husband, child, and animal companions. She has been vegan for close to a decade and cares for sick and injured freely roaming animals with her husband. If she's not chasing after dogs or a toddler, Jessi can usually be found snuggling local cows, doing yoga, or meditating. For glow-ups of cute free roaming animals, check out @Karunya4animals on twitter!


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