Manna was the name of the food God sent to the Israelites during their 40 years in the desert. It fell from Heaven upon the ground as small white grains resembling coriander seeds. It tasted like honey.
Some are still searching for a perfect food source to feed us all. With the increasing world population, it sometimes seems we need another phenomenon like manna. For awhile, TVP (textured vegetable protein) was the “miracle” scientists held up to the light.
I’m suspicious of any “food” that has to be processed, disguised and then mixed with other foods in order to be palatable.
TVP is made from proteins that are EXTRACTED from soybeans, cotton seeds, wheat and oats. It is pressed into various shapes (flakes, chunks, strips) and sizes. It looks like dog kibble! A similar taste comparison for meat eaters would be baked chicken versus chicken McNuggets, for vegetarians it would be a fresh ear of roasted corn versus a can of niblets.
Vegetarians, who are concerned about cruelty to animals, or humans eating certain species to the point of extinction, may be quick to endorse this product. However, there are a few things they should know about TVP.
• TVP is not a complete protein. You can’t use it as a substitute for the complete protein you would get from eating animal foods (meats, fish, poultry, cheese, eggs, yogurt, and milk) that contain all 9 essential amino acids. Proteins derived from plant foods (beans, rice, grains, and vegetables) are incomplete. Incomplete proteins have to be combined in meals to make a complete protein (for example by combining rice and beans). TVP is incomplete.
• TVP lacks isoflavones (which are in other soy products such as tofu, miso, and tempeh). Isoflavones are the whole reason for the health benefits in eating soy.
• TVP is not organic. Under organic production, use of pesticides (including insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides) on plants is prohibited. Livestock must be raised with regular access to pasture and without use of antibiotics or growth hormones. Neither animals nor produce can be genetically modified.
• TVP has one of the highest percentages of contamination by pesticides of any food that is eaten. We may as well be lotus-eaters like those in Greek mythology, who ate the narcotic plant and ceased to care about anything or anyone.
To find out how much protein you need daily, divide your body weight in pounds by 2.2 (which gives you your weight in kilograms) and then multiply that number by 0.8 - then check the charts below to discover the amount of protein in each food.
Animal Sources of Protein Serving Size Protein (in grams)
Meat/Poultry/Fish 3 oz. 21
Cottage cheese ½ cup 14
Milk 1 cup 8
Yogurt 1 cup 8
Cheese 1 oz. 7
Egg 1 whole 6
Egg white only 1 3
Plant sources of Protein Serving Size Protein (in grams)
Tofu, raw, firm 3 oz. 13
Legumes: (Black beans,
Kidney beans, Chickpeas, etc.) ½ cup 7 – 8
Peanut butter 2 T. 8
Nuts 1 oz. 5
Bread 1 oz. (1 slice) 3
Cereal 1 oz. 3
Vegetables ½ cup cooked or 1 cup raw 3
Pasta or rice ½ cup 3
Just as you don’t need a Nicoderm patch to quit smoking, there is no reason that you ever need to eat TVP if you decide to abstain from eating flesh. It's not hard to satisfy your protein needs, as long as you eat a variety of foods.
Another food source that scientists hope is akin to biblical Manna is green algae. Algae are simple photosynthetic plants that live in water, most often known as plankton. You think you would never eat seaweed? Chances are you already have! Algae has found its way into many commercial products. There are four algae products: Agar (found in Hostess Fruit Pies), Alginic acit (found in Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup and Sunny Delight Orange Juice), Carrageenan (found in Johnston’s Pumpkin Pie and Baby Ruth Candy Bars) and Diatomaceous Earth (found in Sensodyne Tooth Paste and most swimming pool filter powders.) Pond scum? Yummy!
People are going to keep looking for that one perfect food source, but I don’t think they are going to find it. Our hope in the ability to feed future mankind lies in our politics, not our science.
The Earth COULD certainly provide us with the variety and quantity of plants and animals needed to feed us all. And, people SHOULD certainly be able to figure out how to distribute this bounty evenly.
Now, if we just WOULD.
Books About Politics of Food:
The Third Freedom by McGovern, George S.
The crazy makers : how the food industry is destroying our brains and harming our children by Simontacchi, Carol N.
The hundred-year lie : how food and medicine are destroying your health by Fitzgerald, Randall
Food politics : how the food industry influences nutrition and health by Nestle, Marion
The Maker's Diet by Rubin, Jordan