Okay, I admit it— I have become obsessed with reading ingredient labels. I began reading labels more closely since going vegan, but what I’ve discovered is a bit disturbing and kind of overwhelming.
I am disturbed because I thought I was a smart shopper and consumer. But, the fact is, there are ingredients in some of my favorite, and often used, foods that I am not happy about. And I’m overwhelmed by it.
I took from my pantry this weekend, with the intention to use them in my meal preparations. All three containers are now in my trash can, and here’s why:
First – rice vinegar would have been great on my green salad. I wondered if there was anything in there that was not vegan-friendly, so I checked the label. Here are the ingredients: rice vinegar, water, high fructose corn syrup, salt, brown sugar, diluted with water. High fructose corn syrup? That is on my “do not eat" list.
Second – my favorite salad dressing is a blush wine vinaigrette dressing. I even talked to the manufacturer’s representative at a trade show and asked him to make sure it was available at my local grocery store. Ingredients: sugar, water, red wine vinegar, canola oil, salt, spices, garlic, etc. Why didn’t I notice that SUGAR was the first ingredient in the salad dressing? A little scary, but no wonder I liked it.
Third – garlic mustard sauce. I was introduced to this by my mom, and loved its garlicky flavor with steamed vegetables. Ingredients: mustard seed, distilled vinegar, garlic, water, soybean oil (I’m allergic to soy), mustard flour, eggs, spices, salt and lemon juice. I had no idea there were eggs and soy in it. In the trash it goes!
So, even if you aren’t vegan, I encourage you to start reading your food labels. I bet you will be surprised.