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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Boca Bad News

Recently, a friend introduced us to Boca vegan chicken patties. I admit, I fell for the charming convenience and fast food reminiscent taste for quite a while before looking beyond the box. In the back of my mind, because I automatically pick food apart and occasionally just suppress it so I can enjoy something, I knew these were oh so wrong. But I bought them anyway. Finally, after my stomach made it difficult to ignore by reacting strangely to this chicken-like-substance, I did a quick scan with my Buycott app.

Sure enough, it immediately advised me not to purchase. I should have known (I knew); anything that says "soy" in the ingredients and does not have a clear "non-GMO" label is genetically modified. Turns out Boca, the nations number one vegan burger, is chalked full of genetically modified soy. I already avoid soy most of the week, and I know that anything which comes in frozen boxes is too processed to be healthy. Boca is a child company of Kraft Global, possibly the worlds largest producers of cheap, unhealthy food-like products. They donated $2 million dollars, according to the Organic Consumers Association, to campaign against GMO labeling in California (Prop 37).

Some suggests switching to Amy's patties, and this is a great idea. Amy's is a good company, widely available, they make quality convenience food. In fact I sat next to an Amy's representative at a conference last year and we had a blast whispering insults at the pro-GMO speaker on-stage. But, darn them, they do not yet have a chicken-ish pattie.

Amy's vegan, non-gmo, soy-based burger pattie

Wait! I never let my smart phone do all my thinking for me. So, I decided to pay Boca a little web visit and poke around. Turns out, they make GMO-Free versions of both the original vegan burger AND the chicken burger. Not that your local Walmart or Safeway would pick them up, but you could ask. They are packaged with a 'natural' brown box in contrast to Boca's typical red visual assault.

Now, here's a solution. However, I have only seen this brand in a few stores and they may not be as easily found. Check your local co-op or health food store. They're called Quorn! I must tell you that I have yet to actually try one of these, but I absolutely love the idea behind this food. These are Soy-Free and GMO-Free (according to a F.A.Q. on their website they use no GM ingredients). These are a mycoprotien, YAY! Like tempeh, it is a mycelium colonizing a grain, in this case wheat mostly. If that scares you than just don't think about it. Mycoprotiens are delicious and a great, safe, non-animal, non-soy, protein source that could become a food of the future. because fermentation occurs during the growth of these mycoprotiens, the food is alive with enzymes and probiotics that aid in digestion. I have thought about trying to create my own chik'n patty using tempeh that is breaded, so these guys beat me to it.

So, what does it come down to? All soy-based products that do not directly say "non-gmo" or "organic" are most likely genetically modified, including your favorite vegetarian or vegan options like Boca. If you're worried about companies like Kraft Global (I know I am) than I wouldn't purchase Boca at all. If you just can't live without those spicy chik'n burgers, then order the non-gmo version online or ask your grocer to carry them. If you feel strongly about not eating genetically modified ingredients, supporting companies of questionable ethics, if you still don't have time to perfect a chik'n recipe, and have the opportunity to purchase Quorn, I would suggest doing that! I'll have to add to this post after I try this new-to-me brand and/or perfect my own tempeh based chik'n patty which I can freeze myself.

Happy Healthy Eating!

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