I hate to burst everyone’s big “vegan spread” bubble, but I’m going to. I follow a few vegan websites and I see lots of people using lots of vegan “buttery spread” substitutes in their recipes. I wondered…what are IN these magical spreads that everyone is using and raving about??
I looked up a popular one…it said:
Expeller-pressed natural oil blend (soybean, palm fruit, canola, olive) filtered water, pure salt, natural flavor (derived from corn) soy protein, soy lecithin, lactic acid derived from sugar beets, and naturally extracted annatto for color.
It’s not awful…it could be worse…but I’m not a fan.
Instead of drizzling bread with some amazing organic olive oil, people are choosing to cover it with a blend of 4 oils, flavor from corn, soy protein, sugar beets and a natural food coloring.
Instead of one simple healthy ingredient, people are choosing 11.
Why? Because it's vegan. Now I’m not going to say anything bad about vegans. I am all for cruelty free lifestyles, and the environment, etc.
BUT – I am not for that at the expense of your health. Do I think soy is healthy? No. I think the plain non-genetically modified soybean is fine occasionally (if you can find it) and I think raw soy sauce once in a while is fine too. The smallest amount of processing is the best in my book. I’m not a fan of tofu, soy milk, tempeh, soy veggie burgers, fake meats made of soy…
Soy can be dangerous for some people. It is high in plant estrogens, which can actually boost estrogen levels in people. Giving boys soy milk when they are young has been shown in some cases to stunt their male development because it boosts their estrogen levels. You can read all about it here: Dangers of Soy
I can hear you yelling at me now, “But I am vegan and I want to bake and I want to use something that tastes like butter but without the dairy!”
Well, I can’t help you there. I don’t have a magic wand. If you want to cut through all the B.S. – if you really think about it, we should never have had butter in the first place. If you want to go super-vegan on me then let’s GO for it and say that we never should have had dairy. No dairy! You don’t want dairy now, right? So if you choose to cut out dairy and dairy products, then you should be willing to let go of the idea of butter. We shouldn’t have had it to begin with…so let’s not try and re-create it just because we “want” to eat something that tastes like it. Let’s use something else entirely.
I’m not going to recommend a tub of 11 ingredients that were processed together. I’m going to tell you to bake with apple sauce instead of butter. Throw 2 apples in your food processor – and voila! Apple sauce. It’s that easy. If a recipe calls for eggs, sometimes I use homemade apple sauce. Be willing to get creative in your kitchen, don’t just settle for a tub of stuff that a company came up with so that you could still “have your butter and eat it too.” You want a vegan and HEALTHY, minimally processed, whole foods lifestyle? Then you’re going to have to re-write your own book. Think outside the box. Think outside the packaging.
• Drizzle your bread with olive oil and fresh rosemary.
• Put raw nut butters or organic preserves on your bread.
• Put avocado and sea salt on your bread.
• Make a homemade pesto (basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, sea salt)
• Make your own hummus (chick peas, sea salt, olive oil, water)
• Toss a bunch of olives and sundried tomatoes in a food processor and you have your own tapenade.
• Bake with fresh raw apple sauce.
• Bake with raw organic coconut oil.
• Don’t bake at all! Get a dehydrator and do it that way.
• Try some raw desserts.
Think outside the box people.
Think for yourself – think outside of that box or tub that you are being handed and sold.
These vegan spread websites spare no expense at telling you how nutritionally beneficial and great they are for you. But I argue that any food that has to sell you on it’s nutritional benefits, isn’t a real food. It’s not a whole food. It was made in a factory.
Apples don’t have to sell you on their nutritional value.
Veggies don’t have to sell you.
Raw nuts and seeds don’t have to sell you or convince you that they are good for you and “heart healthy”…because they just ARE.
When you choose a different lifestyle than the norm – when you choose to be vegetarian or vegan or give up dairy or meat or whatever it is, you are choosing to give it up. To omit it from your diet….for whatever reason. Everyone has their reasons.
Please don’t replace whatever you gave up with something worse. What is the point of that?!
Please don’t replace meat with 15 processed ingredients smushed together in a factory.
Please don’t replace butter with a tub of soy protein and oils.