Luvo’s bowls are great as is, but with the addition of a few ingredients you can easily transform them into a completely new meal. I challenged myself to do that with a one of my favorite bowl from Luvo’s Planted Power line of products.
I chose the Mighty Masala & Greens Power Bowl. This vegan, gluten-free, non GMO bowl is made up of wholesome brown jasmine rice, delicious green garbanzos, crunchy cabbage, and thinly sliced kale. Nutritionally speaking this bowl packs a serious punch:
Jasmine rice is produced in Thailand and known for its fragrant aroma. Jasmine rice can be either white or brown, but brown jasmine rice is a whole grain, keeping its bran (the outer shell of the grain), thus reserving more nutrients and dietary fiber.
Garbanzo beans, like any other peas and beans, are grown in pods on vines. Before they fully ripen, they are bright green in fresh fuzzy pods. At this stage, they are reminiscent of shelled edamame, which can be popped out of the pod and eaten raw, added to stir fried, boiled, or roasted.
Cabbage and kale are part of the Brassica family, also known as cruciferous vegetables. Besides adding flavor to your meals, these vegetables are packed with antioxidants, which may help lower the risk of various conditions such as cancer and coronary heart disease. They are also rich in vitamins such as vitamin C and folic acid, and minerals such as potassium, iron, and selenium.
Taco night can be ready in less than 10 minutes. Simply heat up your Luvo plant powered bowl and add into lettuce cups and top with diced avocado.
Mighty Masala & Greens + 2 cups of fresh spinach
Heat up your Luvo planted bowl and place contents over fresh spinach. The spinach will wilt from the heat – no extra cooking required!
Mighty Masala & Greens + eggs
Everything is better with a drippy egg on top! Fry an egg and top it on your Luvo Plant Power bowl.
Mighty Masala & Greens + bell peppers + chopped almonds
Veggies are the perfect stuffing vessel. Halve and core the bell peppers. Drizzle the halves with 1 tablespoon olive oil total, then season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, or until softened and beginning to brown. Then, stuff with heated Might Masala & Greens plant powered bowl, mixed with chopped almonds for extra crunch.
Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with a green beer is a time-honored tradition but green food coloring doesn’t exactly add anything remarkable to the beer experience. Why not make your St. Patty’s Day extra green with these much more delicious and nutritious options?
Try a new green
If you’re into the world of leafy greens, you know there are plenty of varieties for all tastes and purposes. Why not try a new one in honour of St. Patty’s Day? May we suggest the super-nutrient-packed watercress?
Make a green pizza
Sprinkling fresh greens on top of your pizza after it’s done cooking is a great way to add extra flavor, texture and St. Patty’s spirit. Peppery, fresh arugula tastes wonderful on top of pizza, but feel free to experiment with your favorite leaves.
Pesto is one of the easiest ways to add intensely delicious flavor to a variety of dishes from pasta to eggs to sandwiches. The classic recipe is made with fresh basil, but you can experiment with different herbs and greens to make a unique pesto that’s all your own. We’ve got some inspiration for you here.
How do you make your St. Patty’s Day extra green? Share your tips in the comments!
Good news! 26% of total U.S. grocery shoppers are shopping in the frozen foods department more frequently than last year, according to The Future of Frozen, produced by Acosta Sales & Marketing. Convenience is one of the driving forces of consumers’ grocery shopping purchases. Consumers are now busier than ever and their schedules are continuing to redefine the concept of a meal. This is where the frozen aisle is helpful.
It’s actually a trick question. Frozen can be just as nutritious as fresh thanks to American inventor Clarence Frank Birdseye II, who invented the process of flash freezing. Flash freezing of fruits, vegetables, meats, and seafood preserves flavor, quality, and nutrients. Birdseye discovered the key was freezing the food quickly, which locks in foods nutritional value. Flash freezing forms small ice crystals, which prevent the cell walls from bursting. Large ice crystals, which are formed when something is frozen slowly, turn the food to mush.
As like any section of the grocery store, the frozen aisle is broken into categories. Follow this dietitian’s guide to navigating the frozen food aisle.
Frozen fruit is great to keep on hand in your freezer. You’ll never have to worry about your produce spoiling if you don’t use it up quick enough. Frozen fruit can also be cost effective. Fresh berries in the wintertime are much more expensive since they are not in season. Check the ingredient list. Make sure the only thing listed is the fruit itself. Try to avoid added sugar, as fruit is sweet enough as is!
Ways to use frozen fruit:
Use frozen fruit in a smoothie. The frozen fruit will help thicken your smoothie and keep it chilled without adding extra ice, which can water down the flavor.
Skip the syrup! Top pancakes with fruit. Add frozen fruit to a small pot and let simmer. The fruit will turn gooey and syrupy. Want a thicken sauce? Add chia seeds to thicken.
Jazz up your favorite vinaigrette by adding thawed frozen fruit; puree in a blender and strain if desired. Check out these dietitian-approved recipes.
Same goes for veggies – keep your freezer stocked with frozen vegetables to always have on hand. The beauty of frozen veggies, they are already washed and pre-chopped – no extra prep time needed!
Opt for the plain varieties of frozen vegetables. Skip the vegetables with gravies, cheese sauces, and even those labels as “lightly seasoned”. They may be light in taste, but check the nutrition label for hidden excess sodium and fat.
Be mindful of “par-fried” items – I’m looking at you frozen French fries. Par-fried means they item has been blanched, which involved partially frying the food but not browning it, so that it must be cooked again before serving. Even though you might be baking your frozen French fries at home, they are still fried.
Keep up with the trend. Now frozen cauliflower rice, rice broccoli and riced sweet potatoes are taking spots on the frozen shelf, ready to be turned into a stir-fry.
According to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, it is recommended for Americans that half of their daily intake of grains should be from whole grains. Look for the first word on the ingredient list to be the word “whole”, the options are limitless! Here are a few obscure options you may enjoy.
Now whole grains are even easier, if utilizing the frozen options. Keep your pots in the cabinets and simply warm up frozen whole grains like, quinoa, brown rice, wheat berries, farro, and barley.
Ways to use frozen grains:
Choose whole grain waffles for a great way to start your morning. Top your waffles with a fruit “syrup” like mentioned above.
Add frozen barely or farro to soups.
Quickly thaw frozen quinoa and add to salads or stir-fries.
The frozen aisles not only carry raw animal sources of proteins, but also pre-cooked frozen options as well. Typically wholesale items are available of proteins at an affordable price. Just be sure to thaw frozen raw protein properly.
Don’t forget about the plant-based proteins in the frozen aisle. Shelled edamame is a protein-packed and convenient choice. Grocery stores are now stocking the shelves with frozen black beans, lentils, and other legume varieties.
Ways to use frozen protein:
Thaw and cook any beef, chicken, fish, etc. like you would if you bought it fresh.
Thaw pre-cooked sliced chicken breast and add to a salad.
Toss frozen edamame into a quick stir fry.
Create black bean burgers with thawed black beans.
There is a whole other refrigerated aisle dedicated to whole food dairy items, like milk, yogurt, and cheeses, but the frozen aisle does go beyond just ice cream. There are now many yogurt based ice creams and frozen treats.
Ways to use frozen dairy:
Pair a scoop of ice cream with some fruit and nuts
Enjoy a frozen yogurt bar for dessert
Make this heavenly, vegan watermelon, coconut, and strawberry ice cream recipe
Frozen meals have come a long ways compared to what they once used to be.
In general, look for meals that include one or more servings each of vegetables, whole grains, and lean meat, fish, poultry, or plant-based protein. This combination will be higher in vitamins and minerals as well as fiber (which helps fill you up). Skip frozen dinners with cream sauces, gravies, or fried foods. And although dessert included may look like a bonus, have a piece of fresh fruit instead for more fiber, nutrition, and fewer calories.
When comparing labels for frozen meals, many eyes jump right down to the sodium, because some frozen meals can be sodium bombs. Look for a frozen meals (like Luvo) with < 600 milligrams of sodium.
It’s important to pay attention to serving sizes. Although they may be lower in calories, smaller entrees may leave you hungry. But don’t be afraid to add a few extras to boost the nutrition and satisfaction. Add a side salad or an extra bag of steamed veggies to up nutritional value of the meal. It also adds extra fiber, so it will fill you up and satisfy your hunger. Looking to bump up the protein? Add 1/2 cup of beans or a sprinkling of nuts to your meal. No additional cooking required!
My favorite trick:
I place a big bed of baby spinach or veggie noodles on my plate then pour the piping hot Luvo frozen meal right on top straight from the microwave or oven. It wilts the spinach or softens the noodles and bulks up the meal with extra vegetables.
During March we celebrate both National Nutrition Month and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day, occurring this year on March 14th. Registered dietitian nutritionists provide nutrition care and support to people of all ages in a variety of settings including hospitals, schools, government sectors, grocery stores, corporate settings, private practice, businesses, sports teams and more. To celebrate, we’re bringing you profiles of several different dietitians who are doing awesome things in the field of nutrition.
Up first: Ellie Wilson, MS, RDN, CDN. Ellie is the Senior Nutritionist for Price Chopper/Market 32, a regional food retailer based in Schenectady, New York. Supermarket dietitians offer a unique perspective, helping people as they make choices about what to feed themselves and their families. They are able to help people connect the nutrition information they hear and learn into real, actionable decisions in the supermarket. Check out her interview below for more insight into a day in the life of a supermarket dietitian.
How did you come to be a Supermarket Dietitian?
A friend asked me to join a meeting with Price Chopper’s Manager of Consumer Services. Price Chopper was receiving a rise in health and nutrition-related inquiries from customers with new disease diagnoses and they wanted to develop resources for them. I offered some ideas during the meeting and 10 months later when Price Chopper decided to hire a full-time registered dietitian, they called me.
What does a typical day look like for you?
My work is incredibly diverse, so every day can be different. My first priority is always answering customer questions. Some questions are sent directly to me while others come through our customer communications team. Then I may write a blog or social media post for our marketing department, author content for mailers, or work on employee wellness projects. Several times per week I review ingredient specifications and food recipes. I also help out with public health partnerships, community events and media appearances. Twice a year I collaborate with our food service team and precept a dietetic intern from the Sage College Dietetic Internship Program.
What is the number one question customers ask you?
Our customers often contact me with questions about foods or information related to a health condition like diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and more. I do not answer personal nutrition questions for each individual, but I do try to guide them to work with their healthcare provider and get connected to a dietitian in their own community.
What is the biggest benefit to having a dietitian working in a supermarket?
There is so much misinformation out there about food, diet and health. This makes it really hard for people who want to make better choices. Supermarket dietitians help by answering questions, educating on foods and labels, and helping shoppers develop more skill and confidence in their food choices. There are also benefits to the supermarket. Nutrition is looked at more and more as a reason to choose (or not choose) a certain food, so having a dietitian that can support the supermarket’s efforts to meet those needs is important.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
Helping our customers, or groups of customers, like those with celiac disease, find the items that meet their health needs and hearing about their successes. When a person has a health interest or concern, they can find the supermarket to be a stressful place. Changing that stress into success is a great feeling. Seeing the excitement and happiness on a customer’s face when I help them solve their food and nutrition problem. Good food has so much benefit to offer – every part of my work that moves someone toward better nutrition is a win and energizes me to discover more ways to make that happen.
What is the one thing you wish people knew about supermarket dietitians?
Contrary to the ideas some people have about food police, supermarket dietitians promote enjoyment and balance. Their unique combination of science and culinary knowledge makes them a perfect fit for this setting. Having a highly trained nutrition professional where people make food decisions is an asset to the community and the retailer.
Have you every worked with a dietitian? Share what you loved about working with a nutrition professional in the comment section below. Don’t forget that all of Luvo’s products are dietitian-approved and available at most major grocery stores and are available for delivery.
Time. Everybody wants more of it, but it’s a limited commodity. The trick is knowing how to use your 24 hours each day to make sure you get everything done that needs to get done, while saving a bit for yourself. Here are a few ideas for carving out more time—to spend on the things you care about most.
Spend a day or two tracking what you’re doing each hour of the day
A good place to start is to track your time, so you know what you’re spending it on. Keep a pad with you for a couple days, and simply note anytime you change what you’re doing, and how long you spend on it. You might be surprised—and discover a few areas you’d like to cut back on (social media) and others you’d like to bump up (exercise, friend time, smelling flowers).
Define what “me time” looks like to you
When we say “carve out more time for yourself,” what does that actually mean? It’s different for everyone. For some, it’s a coffee alone in a café. For others, it’s reading to your kids. For others, it’s running up mountains. Define what you want to be doing more of, so you can prioritize it.
Once you know what you are spending your time on, and you’ve defined what “me time” is, get it in your schedule—every day. Literally block it off in your calendar. Write it down. Post it beside your computer monitor. Remind yourself every day what you want to be doing more of and you’re more likely to commit to doing it.
Hire someone to do the things you don’t want to do
Instead of doing that plumbing project you think you could figure out, or re-painting your house, hire a professional to do it. They’ll be faster and better than you, and you’ll have more time to do other things. Of course, if you love doing these things, then by all means, go for it! Again, the point is knowing what you like to spend time on, and what you hate doing.
It doesn’t always seem this way, but planning ahead often saves time in the long run. What are you taking for lunch tomorrow? What evenings do you have free this month? What groceries do you need for your meals this week? Planning for and booking essential events and appointments ahead of time means you can carve and lock in time out for yourself (if there’s any left!), and not be surprised by events you forgot to put in your calendar. Don’t forget that Luvo delivers! Order a cooler of their delicious and healthy frozen meals so you always have something nutritious on-hand.
Combine exercise and your commute
Exercise is important for our health, and most of us commute to get to work. Why not combine the two to do them both at once? But, you might say, I live 40 kilometres from home, how could I combine them? It can be as easy as finding a parking spot five kilometres from the office, and walking or jogging the rest of the way. Or cycle part-way, then take your bike on public transit for the rest. There are a million ways to make this work, and you’ll free up more time for yourself later.
Exercise on your way anywhere
It doesn’t just have to be on your commute. Need to go to the grocery store or pharmacy or bank? Instead of getting in your car, walk or jog or bike and then skip your workout later. The world is all the fitness centre you need. Put some shorts on and get it done.
Put your phone away
Most of us spend a lot of time on our phone, doing nothing constructive and taking time away from other things we’d rather be doing. Randomly scrolling photos, reading Twitter posts we don’t care about, and generally wasting time. Try putting your phone in a drawer when you get home from work, so it’s out of sight, and you’ll be less likely to pick it up and waste your precious free time.
Listen to e-books and podcasts
Want to be informed but don’t have time to read? Try e-books and podcasts, and listen to them while you’re walking somewhere, doing the dishes or in the car. There are millions of interesting stories to listen to. Check out this great list of dietitian-approved nutrition podcasts.
Don’t let email run your life
People have written whole books on this one. It’s probably my biggest time waster. After scanning the advice out there, a few pro tips for more efficiently dealing with email include:
Check your email only a couple times a day. Not every five minutes. Obviously, the feasibility of this depends on your work situation and imminent deadlines, but in principle it makes sense.
Decide that If you read an email, you’re going to respond to it. Don’t “Mark as unread” to deal with it later. It doubles the amount of time you spend on that email, and kills your free time.
Deal with issues only when you’re ready to deal with them
Don’t waste time trying to solve challenges when you don’t have any of the information, tools or support you need to solve them. If they’re not life-threatening, set them aside and tackle them when you’re ready. Sometimes the best time to do something is later.
Feeling lucky? You should, because we live in a time when the cuisine we enjoy is a proud declaration of global flavors. Gone are the dishes of neutral color and taste. Instead, we’re embracing the beauty and distinction that only herbs, spices and other exotic ingredients provide. But with this “boom” of flavor, we may find our minds reeling, grasping to remember just what all these new ingredients are. Have no fear, we’ve got you covered, because we want you to know (and enjoy!) what you’re eating!
At Luvo, flavor and nutrition go hand in hand. That means you’ll get a nutritious meal that never tastes bland or boring. To do that, we employ plenty of global flavors. Let us introduce you to some of them and help clear up any confusion!
The Ingredients You Need to Know
Chorizo – If you love sausage, than you’ll likely love chorizo. This flavorful sausage is used in Mexican and Spanish cooking. It adds plenty of spice and smokey flavor to dishes. A little goes a long way! Try it in Chicken Chorizo Chili.
Green Curry – This curry paste is a flavorful blend of chiles, lime, ginger, garlic, lemongrass and spices used in Thai cooking. Unlike yellow curry paste, it typically carries a bit more heat. Try it in Thai-Style Green Curry Chicken.
Harissa – Looking to add a little heat to a dish? Then try harissa! It’s a blend of hot chile peppers, garlic and spices used in Middle Eastern and North African cooking. Try it in Chicken Harissa and Chickpeas.
Masala – In Indian cooking, the word “masala” implies a blend of spices have been used in the dish. Masalas can be mild or spicy, but are always flavorful! Try it in Mighty Masala and Greens and Chana Masala.
Salsa Verde – Salsa verde is a broad term used to describe any green sauce. In Mexican cooking, it’s traditionally made with tomatillos (a type of green tomato) and avocado. Try it in Quinoa Veggie Enchilada Verde.
Black Lentils – Tiny, but mighty legumes. Black lentils have an earthy flavor, a beautiful black hue (thanks to plenty of antioxidants) and hold up well when cooked. Try them in Chana Masala.
What are your favorite Luvo ingredients? Share them with us in the comments section below.
Scrolling through Instagram recently, I came upon a few posts from a personal trainer I know. I started looking through his pictures and after a few shots of 8-packs and bulging biceps, I quickly started to feel anxious and bad about myself.
A survey published last year found that users of Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter all reported increased depression and anxiety. Instagram ranked the worst, which isn’t too surprising given how image-centric the app is. The survey also linked Instagram use to body image concerns, especially in young women and girls.
Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook present highly curated versions of people’s lives and it’s easy to get caught up in feeds that look pretty but can make us feel bad about ourselves. Posts and images often set unrealistic expectations and can cause feelings of sadness, anxiety, or inadequacy. In the health and wellness world, many accounts feature idealized nutrition or fitness goals, unrealistic (and highly photoshopped) bodies, and negative or extreme diet messages. Photo sharing apps make it simple to add a filter or edit photos in order to make them look “perfect”.
But the good news is, you can do something about this. By taking control of who you decide to follow, you can cultivate a social media feed that allows you to mentally feel your best. It’s time for a social media clean-out.
To start, unfollow any account that:
Makes you feel bad about yourself or your body
Propels the dieting myth
Features extreme exercise or dieting behaviors
Cuts out certain foods or food groups
Talks about “clean eating” or “good” foods and “bad” foods
Gives unsolicited diet advice
Shares before and after photos
Once you’ve cleared out the negative from your feed, follow these body-positive, anti-diet accounts instead:
It’s bound to happen every once in a while. You go to a party or your favorite restaurant and eat a bit more than you should have. The temptation to finish that last bite of juicy steak or triple chocolate cake was too strong. You know how you feel after you eat too much, but have you ever wondered what effect that “over-indulging” has on your body? Let’s take a look.
The Health Impact of Eating Too Much
If you didn’t know it already, your body is an amazing machine. It works continuously and seemingly effortlessly without you even noticing. But don’t be fooled, just because you can’t always feel your body working, it is. And when you over-eat, it’s working overtime.
There are many systems at work in your body when it comes to digestion. All arriving promptly (if you’re a healthy individual) for duty when slammed with an overload of food. Thankfully, your body responds every single time. See, it’s an amazing machine! But the way it responds can sometimes make you a bit uncomfortable, because, well, you made it uncomfortable. And sometimes, if you eat too much too often, it starts to make you really uncomfortable and that can lead to some serious long-term health repercussions.
Here’s how it responds:
Your belly physically expands, making it feel like your pants are two sizes too small.
You may experience heart burn, that really uncomfortable burning sensation that happens in your chest. It’s the result of stomach acid moving up into your esophagus, a place it doesn’t belong, hence why it “burns.”
At a large eating session, you’ve likely consumed more calories than your body needs. So it has to figure out what to do with them and if your body can’t use them directly for energy, it’ll save them. Saved energy (aka – calories) equals weight gain.
Depending on what you’ve over-indulged in, other things can happen too. If you’ve consumed lots of saturated fat, that can have a negative effect on your cholesterol and blood pressure. If you’ve eaten too much sugar that can negatively impact your triglycerides and your blood sugar. And if you’ve eaten too much sodium, that can increase your blood pressure. If over-indulgence in these things happens often, than you’re putting yourself at greater risk for developing diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease and strokes.
Tips On What To Do After You Eat Too Much
Is all hope lost? If you eat too much, is there anything you can do to improve the after-effects? The answer, of course, is yes! Here are some tips on what you can do.
Don’t Sit, Move – That’s right, get up out of your chair and move your body. Going for a walk is sometimes the easiest way to move, but there are other things you can do too. If it’s cold, make a date with the ice rink for an after-dinner skating session. If it’s warm, put on your hiking shoes and take a stroll up a nearby hill or mountain. Go easy, but just get moving.
Stay Upright – After you’ve eaten too much, your body will be working overtime to digest all of that food. Do it a favor and don’t lay down. That will only make it’s job harder. Sit or stand upright to allow digestion to happen.
Drink Water – Do your body a favor and drink plenty of water. Getting enough fluids will help with digestion and preventing constipation. Here are some delicious (dietitian-approved) recipes if you struggle getting enough H2O in a day.
Make Nutritious Choices – Don’t dwell. Move forward. Sure, you ate too much, but now it’s time to make good food choices for the rest of the day. Find balance in the food you select for other meals and snacks. Load up on plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Your body will thank you. Need ideas? Try Luvo’s line of delicious, nutritious meals.
What’s your best tip on what to do after eating too much? Share your idea in the comments section below.
From the time we first understood that diet has an effect on one’s risk for heart disease, low fat, low cholesterol diets were the go-to prescription for heart health. If you ever had to stomach cake baked with margarine and applesauce, then you remember those days.
Now we know better. Protecting your heart isn’t all about cutting fat and cholesterol, and in fact, some sources of fat may be cardio-protective. While there is some research showing the benefits of a naturally cholesterol-free, plant-based diet for those who have already suffered a heart attack, that doesn’t mean cutting fat and cholesterol is the only way, or that it’s best for everyone.
First, let’s talk cholesterol. Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in the blood. It is both produced by the body and ingested in animal-based foods. While high cholesterol is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, it’s important to note that there are two types, LDL, aka “bad” cholesterol, and HDL, aka “good” cholesterol, which reduces the risk of heart disease.
While it makes logical sense to cut dietary cholesterol, most of the cholesterol found in the blood is made in the body. Certain individuals are more sensitive to dietary cholesterol, but for most, cutting cholesterol has little to no effect on blood levels. In fact, updated dietary guidelines dropped the recommended limit on cholesterol consumption.
Because cholesterol is only found in animal foods, and there’s plenty of research showing the heart healthy benefits of eating more plants and less animals, it makes sense to stop worrying about cholesterol on the food label, and instead focus on including more vegetarian meals in your diet. Try swapping beans for meat a couple times a week, having oats instead of eggs on occasion, or grabbing a meatless Luvo option.
Fat is a bit more complicated. After getting past the low fat craze, nutrition recommendations centered on eating “good” unsaturated fat and avoiding “bad” saturated fat. But even that didn’t tell the whole story. Some saturated fatty acids have a neutral, or even slightly beneficial effect on cholesterol, and come in foods that contain other heart healthy nutrients, like dark chocolate and coconut. And some unsaturated fats, like refined oils, were associated with a higher risk of heart disease despite their beneficial effect on cholesterol levels. There’s also omega-3 fatty acids, found in cold water fatty fish and in higher amounts in pastured or grass-fed animal foods, which helps reduce the risk of heart disease.
Rather than cutting fat out of your diet, which helps keep you full, lets your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins, and equally important, makes food taste great, focus on including more quality sources of fat in your diet. Think fat-rich whole foods, like avocado, nuts and seeds, and fatty fish, or unrefined oils, like extra-virgin olive oil and coconut oil. A little bit of butter isn’t the end of the world, but try to use plant-based fats as a staple in your cooking.
Our goal at Luvo is to help you make it easy to make good food choices. We support that with our 3-2-none philosophy: the right balance of protein, veggies and whole grains, not too much sodium or added sugar, no antibiotics and no artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners.
We also believe in using as close to the whole, real forms of food as possible. Which one of the reason why we do not use certain ingredients that are often used in other “health food” brands, including whey, mycoprotein (fungus/mold), seitan (wheat gluten) and soy-based products like soy protein isolate, and textured vegetable protein (TVP). Let’s take a closer look at each of these.
Milk contains two types of protein: whey, which makes up about 20% of milk protein, and casein, which is about 80% of the protein in milk. Whey is the watery part of milk that separates from the casein during cheese production. The whey undergoes a series of processing steps to become whey protein powder. Whey is easily digestible and includes all of the essential amino acids including the three branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) leucine, valine and isoleucine. These factors have made it popular among athletes and people who are active. Whey protein powder is added to many protein bars, shakes, and other foods. While it can be one way to add protein to a food product, we here at Luvo use whole plant proteins instead. This allows our products to be enjoyed by everyone, including people who follow vegetarian or vegan diets (since whey comes from dairy, it isn’t included in some types of diets). Plus, whole plant proteins like pulses, which include peas, lentils, chickpeas and dried beans, nuts and seeds offer a whole host of health benefits.
Mycoprotein is made by fermenting a fungus (aka mold) with glucose and some minerals. It’s then mixed with an egg and wheat protein binder and turned into faux-meat products called Quorn. Since these products contain eggs, they don’t work for people who follow a vegan diet. They are also not gluten-free. There have also been a number of adverse-reaction reports, with people complaining of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, cramps and trouble breathing.
As of September 2017, all Quorn products containing mycoprotein — which makes up more than 50 percent of the ingredients in some of the products — will have to carry the following statement, including the parenthetical material:
“Mycoprotein is a mold (member of the fungi family). There have been rare cases of allergic reactions to products that contain mycoprotein.”
Seitan is made from wheat gluten and has the look and texture similar to meat when cooked. If you have wheat sensitivity or celiac disease then you will want to steer clear of seitan. While it is a protein food, it is not a complete protein – it does not contain all of the essential amino acids that our bodies need to function. As a highly processed food, it can also contain high amounts of sodium.
While moderate consumption of minimally processed soy foods may have some benefits as being a calcium rich, low fat protein, overconsumption has been linked to nutrition related issues.
Tofu contains phytoestrogens, compounds that have an estrogen like effect on the body which blocks normal estrogen production and have been linked to breast cancer. Thyroid disruption – goitrogens that are in soy products are thyroid hormone blockers that can interfere with thyroid hormone production and specifically cause hypothyroidism. High soy consumption can lead to Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D deficiencies. Tofu contains B12 analogs that simulate vitamin B12, but can’t be used by the body the way I uses real B12. Soy foods increase your body’s vitamin D requirement leading to a vitamin D deficiency. Soy products like tofu contain several highly concerning antinutrients that can lead to leaky gut, gas, kidney stones, and poor protein digestion. Lastly, soy is one of the most commonly genetically engineered products in the world.
TVP – Textured Vegetable Protein
For most faux meat products, the process begins with soy protein, or textured vegetable protein (TVP), in the form of powder. TVP can be a mixture of soy and wheat glutens.
The biggest challenge in creating a convincing meat alternative often boils down to texture. Soy protein is globular while actual meat protein is fibrous, so food manufactures have to alter the soy’s molecular structure.
This is typically done by exposing the soy protein to heat, acid or a solvent and then running the mixture through a food extruder that reshapes it. When you denature the molecules, they open up and become more fibrous. Then a gel is addeed, such as carrageenan or xanthan gum, something that will hold a little bit of water, and what you get is something that vaguely resembles the texture of meat that flavors can be added to.
Soybeans are routinely processed with hexane (a petroleum chemical), in order to convert them into TVP. Various amounts of hexane are regularly found in processed soy food products. To elaborate further, according to a report from the Cornucopia Institute:
“Hexane is a byproduct of gasoline refining. Soybean processors use it as a solvent—a cheap and efficient way of extracting oil from soybeans, a necessary step to making most conventional soy oil and protein ingredients. Whole soybeans are literally bathed in hexane to separate the soybeans’ oil from protein.”
We carefully craft our meals to obtain optimal nutrition with whole foods. We have demonstrated that you can have a full serving of protein, whole grains, and responsible sugar and sodium with no antibiotics, dyes or preservatives. We call it our 3-2-None promise.