With the recent trend to eat less meat you may be leaning towards swapping out your meat patties for veggie ones this barbeque season. However all vegetarian alternatives are not created equal nor are they healthiest choice for you. A lot of vegetarian alternatives contain one or more forms of processed soy.
Soy is a bean that is part of the legume family. In its unprocessed form, soy is low in fat and cholesterol and high in protein, fibre, Omega-3, vitamin B, and minerals such as iron, calcium and folate. However what you get in your mock meat alternatives is Textured Vegetable Protein also known as TVP. Although TVP is advertised to be a high source of protein, most people do not know that it is a chemically processed food item. To make TVP, soybeans are subjected to high temperatures which denatures the shape and function of the soy protein, and then is processed with a hexane solvent. Hexane is produced by the refining of crude oil and is not only an air pollutant but also a neurotoxin (causes damage to nerve tissue). All products with textured vegetable protein contain trace amounts of residual hexane. A lot of textured vegetable protein products are flavoured with MSG or compounds similar to MSG.
When it comes to choosing a veggie burger, I highly suggest opting for ones that contain no soy, unless it is an unprocessed soy bean. Good options includes those made from mushrooms, beans, sweet potatoes, or other vegetables. You could never go wrong with good quality veggie burgers such as ones by Dr Praegers or Wholly Veggie. These brands can be purchased at Costco, The Real Canadian Superstore, and Whole Foods.