A vegan ragging on a vegan product?
When I first transitioned to a plant-based diet I had no idea what I was doing nutritionally speaking. As a young, moderately hip twenty-something I wanted to prepare meals for friends while still abiding by my belief of compassion for animals.
Enter Yves Veggie Cuisine Original Veggie Ground Round. It seemed perfect enough at first – it had protein, it was easy to make and it allowed me to cook veggie tacos that looked like real tacos for the non-vegetarians in my life.
The more I learned about nutrition the less Ground Round appealed to me. And thankfully now, I have learned to be creative AND healthy when preparing meals.
The ingredients list is as follows:
Water, soy protein product, wheat protein product, onions, natural flavour, canola oil, salt, guar gum, evaporated cane juice, malt extract, caramel colour, spices, yeast extract, vitamins and minerals (thiamine hydrochloride, riboflavin, niacinamide, pyridoxine hydrochloride, cyanocobalamin, calcium pantothenate, reduced iron, zinc oxide, wheat starch). Contains soy and wheat. May contain eggs.
Soy Protein Product – Soy is very controversial. Many studies conducted have said soy is good, many have said the opposite. That is for another post. However, whether soy is good or bad what it should not be is genetically-modified. While Ground Round is said to be GMO-free, it is not Certified Organic. Soy is also a common allergen. *As of the publication of this post, I have emailed Hain Celestial twice asking if they can confirm their soy is GMO-free, I have yet to hear back.
Wheat Protein Product – Wheat protein product is also known as gluten. This is highly allergenic and can provoke sensitivities in some people. This helps give the Ground Round its chewy texture.
Canola Oil – According to the Canola Council of Canada’s website, 80% of all canola grown in Western Canada has been genetically-modified to be herbicide-resistant. I was unable to find information on Yves website discussing if their canola oil is fact GMO-free.
Caramel Colour – Is a food colouring agent made by heating a solution of various sugars, often together with ammonium compounds, acids or alkalis.1 The Centre For Science In The Public Interest also puts caramel colouring on their avoid list. As stated by the USDA here, caramel colour is part of a class of exempted colour additives as it is derived from naturals sources and therefore are not required to be declared by name on labels but may be declared as colourings or colour added. However, because the natural source of where this caramel colouring is derived from is not mentioned, it could be anything and is not stated as being GMO-free.
Since giving up soy-based products a few years ago (with the exception of some desserts here and there) I have discovered a love to preparing health, whole food vegan meals that everyone can enjoy and be satisfied with. And now if I make veggie tacos I skip the faux-meat filling in favour of ground walnuts and spices (which provide the same texture.)
1. “Chemical Cuisine: Learn About Food Additives.” Center For Science In The Public Interest. 2011. 17 Sep 11. <http://www.cspinet.org/reports/chemcuisine.htm#caramel>