Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Delicious Vegan Chicken Conundrum

I realize it's in no way low-carb, but I nevertheless developed an infatuation with the General Tso's Vegan Chicken from Whole Foods after having it at a school event. I went there the other day to buy some, and when they put it in a to-go container for me, they stuck a label on it listing all of its ingredients. Here they are, exactly as they are listed:
Soy Popcorn Chicken (Non GMO Soybean Protein, Condensed Wheat Protein, Water, Soybean Oil, Sea Salt, Vegetarian Seasonings, (Soybean Amino Acids, Dry Mushroom Powder, Vegetable Extract, Sea Salt), Broccoli, Sauce (Shoyu (Soybeans, Wheat, Salt, Brewing Starter (Aspergillus Sojae)), Sugar, Stir-Fry Sauce (Water, Sugar, Soy Sauce (Water, Salt, Soybean, Wheat Flour), Salt, Modified Corn Starch, Yeast Extract, Caramel Color, Flavors (Contains Mushroom Extractives)), Mirin, White Wine Vinegar, Mushroom Soy Sauce, (Water, Soy Beans, Wheat Flour, Salt, Sugar, Extract of Mushroom), Garlic, Onion, Ginger, Vegetable Base (Salt, Maltodextrin, Sugar, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Dehydrated Vegetables (Leek, Tomatoes, Onions, Bell Peppers, Garlic, Fennel), Natural Flavors, Maltodextrin, Potato Starch, Spices and Natural Coloring (Tumeric), Silicon Dioxide), White Pepper) Garlic, Chinese Cooking Wine, White Wine Vinegar, Sugar, Canola Oil, Chili-Garlic Sauce, Green Onions, Chili Flakes, Cornstatch Contains: Soy, Wheat.

(To put this all into context, my friend and I have started experimenting with expanding our typical low-carb menus to follow a low Glycemic Load plan which allows slightly more wiggle room as far as sugar goes, but still places strong restrictions on starches.)

So here's my dilemma. When I eat the General Tso's Vegan Chicken, I find myself assuming that I'm eating something similar to meat as far as protein and whatnot are concerned. Am I wrong? I have no illusions about how sugary the sauce is, but the frequency of the word "wheat" and the presence of the word "starch" makes me worry that I'm actually just eating meat-flavored carb-nuggets. And the sheer number of weird ingredients is sort of a shock after following a diet where most of the ingredient lists for the items I buy are short and mostly natural.



plumpdumpling said...

It sucks that GL charts aren't more complete. I tried looking up soy meat, but I can't seem to find it anywhere. And then I thought I could figure out the GL using a GI chart, but alas, there's nothing there, either.

I FEEL like I remember reading in the GL book that tofu's really bad for you, but I can't find anything online about it. Bah!

Jennifer said...

I'm wary of soy. I sometimes wonder if my thyroid autoimmune disease was triggered by my consumption of soy products for a few years. Definitely men should not be eating that with all the phytoestrogens:

Queers United said...

I am a vegan and wheat and soy are excellent sources of protein. There is a lot of misinformation about carbs. It is the animal proteins that you should stay away from to lose weight.

Anonymous said...

Depending how strict a vegan you are, I might not trust this. Whenever I see "Sugar" in the ingredient list, I avoid the product, as most processed sugar is filtered through bone char.