Thursday, April 15, 2010

Day 89: Learn how processed food is made, part 1

I am going to be a Debbie Downer and start a little series called "Processed Food Fun Facts" or "Learn how processed food is made". I'll have a series of factoids on here designed to teach some kitchen chemistry and food science.

FIRST UP: Hexane

So you're all proud of yourself for eating less meat and more vegetables. You saunter up to the checkout line with your package of Boca Burgers, and slap it on the counter. Along with your non-meat textured soy protein, you've just ordered a heaping portion of hexane, a chemical neurotoxin used in the refinement of gasoline.

Veggie Burgers Contain Hexane

In cooking and food science, hexanes are used to separate oil from seeds. This makes your Boca Burgers less fattening. It also makes them more unhealthy and disgusting.

After processing, larger-than-trace amounts of hexane stay in the food, and you eat that. Hexane is a known neurotoxin. Proceed with caution. If you must buy Boca Burgers, or other soy-based processed foods, buy the ones marked Organic (NOT "made with organic ingredients", it must be marked "Organic").

I don't buy Boca Burgers, but I have been known to consume the odd Clif bar now and again. Clif bars also are made with hexane.

A better solution: make your own food from whole ingredients that resemble the original natural processing. If you want to eat processed food, why not try making it yourself? This was one of Michael Pollan's Food Rules I think. (Something like "Eat all the Twinkies you want, just make them yourself.")

So on my list of things to do is to make my own granola bars. I make granola already, so how hard could it be? I think it would be relatively easy to make a bean-based veggie patty also. I am thinking black beans would be nice, and by the time it was all said and done it would probably have more protein than a Boca Burger anyhow. And I could vouch for all the ingredients. Consider this on the Green v. Green to-do list!!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that is a bummer. We love our boca crumbles for tacos. Guess we'll try ground chicken or turkey next time.