I was shopping yesterday in my local food co-operative when I noticed a new vegan burger. I'm not one for that fast of approach when it comes to food, but every now and then I find myself in the fast lane, with lots of traffic, and no where to go but straight ahead. I make lentil burgers, black bean burgers, aduki bean burgers, tofu burgers, falafel and little tempeh cakes. As superior as they all are to the frozen stuff, (at least I like to think they are) there are times I will settle for a clean, organic, store bought burger that can cook while I multi-task. I seem to be in traffic a lot lately. The pantry was bare by the time I finally hit the co-op, and as I was walking down the frozen food aisle, the burgers caught my eye.
"Ahhh... ," I thought, "they sure would make life a little easier." So I started perusing. There was a new model among masses, with sleek packaging, bright colors and the word VEGAN in fancy letters. Naturally i had to pick it up. It was almost love at first sight until I read the ingredient list. What?! I have a rule about eating anything with ingredients I can't pronounce. How it snuck into the natural foods co-operative, I'll never know. But natural it wasn't.
Vegan is HOT right now. Large mega companies are trying to cash in on our new found notoriety, as cheaply as possible, with cheap ingredients and pretty boxes. We must be advocates for ourselves. Read every label. Something may be vegan, but not necessarily healthy. It's impossible to keep track of the health implications of every artificial coloring, preservative or additive used in our food. Generally, if it's organic, it was grown without GMO's. But the word "natural" doesn't have many rights. If you can't understand every ingredient on the label, put it back on the shelf.
Bet you 're wondering what I came home with. I came home with a resolution to slow down and take the first exit off the fast lane. I made homemade soup, albeit a quick one, with organic canned cannelini beans, organic tomatoes, organic garlic and organic rosemary. The end result will provide a few meals. I had a green salad on the side with red and green lettuce from my CSA. The pretty box of burgers stayed at the store. Just because it's vegan, doesn't mean I want to eat it.