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    You Ask, I Answer: Gardein

    crispy_tenders_295x35052I want to get your thoughts on Gardein, a faux chicken brand gaining popularity.

    The products taste good, but what do you think of them?  Healthy or overly processed?

    — Bev (Last name unknown)
    (Location Unknown)

    Gardein — short for “garden protein” — is the latest vegan chicken and beef alternative, available in refrigerated and frozen varieties.

    It is essentially a mixture of soy protein isolate, vital wheat gluten (AKA seitan), and, in most products, a melange of whole grains (quinoa, amaranth, millet, and kamut).

    I have tasted a few varieties.  The buffalo wings were overpowered by the accompanying mouth-burning spicy marinade, but I thought the seven-grain crispy tenders offered both a pleasant texture and flavor.

    Gardein falls into the “eat occasionally” category for me, though, mainly because most of the products offer quite a bit of sodium per serving (some of the serving sizes, as with the crispy tenders, can be laughably small).

    I am also slightly concerned that part of these products’ fiber content comes from isolated fibers rather than solely whole grains.  And, while highly- processed soy protein isolate is not the sole source of protein, it is one of the most prominent ingredients.

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