Turkey. Tofurkey. Why does Turkey have two more letters? It’s code for made from soy products. Tofurkey is sold and marketed just like the real turkey. Packaged in the same slices as lunch meats, displayed to look like deli meat sandwiches. The Tofurkey did it’s best to look like it was meat, but is has no meat, it’s a vegan mix of soy flavored to taste like meat.
I had my chicken breast sliced for me at a local deli. It was recently roasted and deli sliced, nothing but turkey. Fresh, juicy, thick cuts of chicken breast tender enough to slightly break apart… Then there came the Tofurkey. It took a knife to get it out of its space tight packaging. They are slimy slices stuck together with slime and they smell. They are nothing like meat, nothing like the box displays. Does the Tofurkey taste like the real turkey? I could not tell you, as I couldn’t stomach eating the Tofurkey and was not willing to taste it, based on sense of smell alone.
To take a closer look at things, I asked the help of my friend Karen Pendergrass over at PaleoApproved.com to help me understand what exactly is going on with this fake meat, stuff?
Those who eschew animal products turn to other foods to meet dietary requirements for protein, but what are they actually bargaining for? Let’s take a closer look at faux-turkey for this lesson on lunch “meat”.
Faux-turkey is made from a variety of different ingredients, namely soy, “vital” wheat gluten, and canola oil. In terms of allergenicity and immunogenicity, faux-turkey is a Molotov Cocktail of a food. To clarify, that’s not a good thing.
Tofu is a curd made from mashed soybeans(1), and soy has 28 proteins that bind to IgE antibodies and is therefore highly allergenic(2). Soy is also immunogenic(3).The phytates in soy also block the absorption of essential vitamins and minerals, and contain levels of phytoestrogens(2) that should make any endocrinologist shriek.
“Vital” Gluten. The word vital is extraneous, and ultimately erroneous. Gluten is neither vital nor inherently good. Gluten is immunogenic(4), and gliadin is an allergen that can cause a reaction anywhere from a rash to anaphylaxis (4). “Vital” is a catchy marketing buzzword. Oxygen is vital. Water is vital. Gluten, however, is not.
Next we have Canola Oil— what is a canola, anyway? Interestingly enough, Canola comes from the words “Canada” and “oil,” and is a genetically engineered rapeseed plant(5). Rapeseed oil is known to be “toxic to humans and other animals,” but Canada paid the FDA $50,000,000 to have rapeseed considered a “safe” plant (5). However, studies from the National Institute of Health (NIH) concluded that asthma was an occupational hazard of those exposed to rapeseed, and “serum specific IgE antibody to oilseed rape antigen was detected (6)” so not only is it allergenic, it has also been found to be immunogenic as well(7).
Now we know about faux-turkey. What about real turkey? Well, it’s a real food for starters. Provided that the turkey consumed a diet that was suited to its species and wasn’t fed corn, it is hypo-allergenic, and provides essential amino acids(2). To clarify, this is a good thing. Following a diet similar to that our Paleolithic ancestors, you can be assured of a hypo-allergenic and hypo-immunogenic diet that includes ample sources of bioavailable protein, and no faux-foods. ”