TVP: The Good and Bad Pt 2


I’ll preface this post by apologizing if it’s crap. There’s so much out there about this subject and I’ve tried my best to condense it into something kind of decent. On top of that, the stomach bug hit our house Thursday night. It only took down the little one and myself, and we’re just now starting to get back to normal. Ugh. But on the bright side the stomach bug is a GREAT way to lose those few pesky pounds before your mother’s wedding.

Ok, so on to Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP). In my last post of Part 1, I named a few things that are good about TVP…if you really want to call it good. So, let’s get to the bad part shall we?

TVP is praised for it’s ease of use and the many ways you can use it, and it’s touted as the vegan answer to ground beef because of the protein content. However, there’s another side to TVP that will make you think twice about using it.

The Bad

Image: Nation of Change

I’m about to tell you some bad things about soy, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like it. I’m half Korean so soy is basically ingrained in my DNA. However, because soybeans are a mass-produced crop and more than likely to be a genetically modified organism (GMO), I only buy organic…and so should you!

Don’t buy into the nonsense out there that says the estrogen in soy will screw up your body…especially if you’re a man. It’s total BS. I’ve had to have this conversation with a few people myself. I’ve read a really fantastic book called Vegan for Her: The Woman’s Guide to Being Healthy and Fit on a Plant-Based Dietand there’s a whole section that goes into detail about soy.

You’ve also probably heard a lot about GMO foods in the news, on Dr. Oz, online, and anywhere in the media. GMO foods are a big deal. Why? Well, let me explain the best way I can. Remember, I’m not a scientist nor a doctor.

Conventionally grown crops are vulnerable to drought, bugs, weeds, and diseases. So growers turned to pesticides. As with continued use of anything, you eventually get used to it and build up an immunity. Then someone thought, “hey, why not manipulate the genes to make them resistant to the pesticides, herbicides, droughts and why not make them grow bigger while we’re at it?”

So, now you have a crop that’s been genetically modified to withstand droughts, pesticides and herbicides all while producing a bigger yield. Now there’s the arctic apple. It’s an apple that won’t turn brown. I guess the fact that an apple turns brown turns people off because it looks ugly. Now this is where I’m going to inject my tin foil hat conspiracy theory. While the modifications might seem like a good idea to produce more food, has any of this been tested to see what side effects on humans it might cause? Could this be a possible reason why there’s a rise in people being diagnosed with food allergies or diseases??

The Process


Have you heard of hexane? Me neither. But it doesn’t sound too good does it? This is what wiseGEEK says:

Hexane is an organic compound made of carbon and hydrogen that is most commonly isolated as a byproduct of petroleum and crude oil refinement. At room temperature it is an odorless, colorless liquid, and it has many uses in industry. It is a very popular solvent, for instance, and is often used in industrial cleaners; it is also frequently used to extract oils from vegetables, particularly soybeans. Most vehicle-grade gasoline contains it, too. Though most experts say the compound is non-toxic and presents only low risk to humans and animals, there is still a great deal of controversy in many places when it comes to how often it is included, sometimes without full disclosure, in foods and consumer products.”

Are you sitting there freaking out about your EVOO? I did too. Check this site out for more info.

If you want to read more about how TVP is made, read this article. It’s pretty good about going into detail.

Hidden Gluten


Another hidden danger is for those with gluten intolerance or those who are Celiac. TVP is “usually made from a combination of wheat, corn and soy ad therefore are likely to contain gluten.”

Another thing to look out for is if you’re buying in bulk. I used to buy mine from a certain store and my TVP looked brown. On the ingredient list it did have “caramel coloring” listed, and being someone who can’t have gluten or wheat that should’ve raised red flags for me. What did I do? I ignored it like an idiot. Sigh.

Caramel color is usually made of a combination of dextrose, invert sugar, lactose, malt syrup, molasses, starch hydrolysis, or sucrose. Both the malt syrup and the starch hydrolysis are likely to contain gluten.

In conclusion and in my humble opinion, TVP isn’t worth your money. Don’t buy it. Don’t feed it to your family. Don’t even feed it to the neighbor you don’t like. It might sound like a great way to make all the meat dishes you miss being a vegan or vegetarian, but the risks aren’t worth it. It’s a heavily processed product with too many suspect ingredients that went in to making it; even if it’s just made out of soy. I was a victim of the propaganda and bought it. I made a spaghetti and fed it to my family. I got sick because of the caramel coloring. After the research I’ve done here I immediately went to the pantry and tossed it in the trash. I hope this two-part post was somewhat decent and you were able to take away something from what I’ve written. Thank you!



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