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Are these ingredients ok to cook with?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 24, 2013 at 6:01 PM

There is a website called paleoonthego.com that ships pre-made paleo meals and it's the best thing I've ever tasted.

Problem is, some of the ingredients they use to cook with are a little but questionable. I'm a purist, so I don't like having anything that isn't absolutely the best.

I made a list of the ingredients I don't like here:

-clarified butter - red wine vinegar -agave nectar -maple syrup -worchester sauce - white wine vinegar -port wine - white wine - balsamic vinegar -honey - sherry wine - orange juice - lemon juice - lime juice - mustard - gravy - dried cherry - beets - berries

Do you think these are fine to cook with?

72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on March 27, 2013
at 02:17 AM

None of those ingredients is a huge red unsafe-in-any-quantity flag. It's probably more important to find out what quantity they're used in.

7e1433afbb06c318c4d90860d493c49d

(5959)

on March 24, 2013
at 11:53 PM

Lea & Perrins used to contain HFCS, but they switched to regular sugar a few years ago. Since the occasional few dashes of Worcestershire was literally the only HFCS in my diet, I didn't worry about it.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on March 24, 2013
at 09:30 PM

Lisa, we chemists argue over whether microwave effects are real or not, and the current opinion is that microwaving is nothing more than efficient heating.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on March 24, 2013
at 09:28 PM

Boo, microwave-phobia...

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on March 24, 2013
at 09:14 PM

As a physics nerd, I am still not convinced with either your explanation of the physics behind the dangers of microwaves or the articles from New-age sites. But I appreciate you backing up your opinion and I +1'd your answer, and totally agree with you on the heating plastics issue. :)

C28ae8c7a12a730363835acf21e962a2

(715)

on March 24, 2013
at 07:54 PM

np. mainly the potential danger and depletion could come from the radiation frequency. the microwaves that are used to essentially agitate or "vibrate" the molecules in food in order to cook it (this same thing happens in all cooking processes, but at a less accelerated rate) could potentially resonate with the molecules in the food, causing disruptive effects. you know how in cartoons someone will sing and hit a certain pitch that causes all of the glass in the room to shatter? same idea.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on March 24, 2013
at 07:27 PM

Thank you for the links! I will review their references. FWIW, now that I don't eat processed foods, I don't use the microwave much, either, except for reheating coffee and I doubt there's much there to be damaged. For taste reasons, not scientific ones. :) I just don't understand the physics of how it could really damage the nutrients.

C28ae8c7a12a730363835acf21e962a2

(715)

on March 24, 2013
at 07:13 PM

also there was a study done by oxford where they microwaved breast milk and it greatly reduced the nutrient content, but i can't find a link.

C28ae8c7a12a730363835acf21e962a2

(715)

on March 24, 2013
at 07:11 PM

http://www.allnaturalhealth.us/june_russell_microwaving.htm http://www.wakingtimes.com/2012/08/22/studies-show-microwaves-drastically-reduce-nutrients-in-food/ conversely there are some earlier studies about how microwaves make some vitamins more available, like vitamin c. but they seem to significantly decrease vitamin b and other nutrients. and regarding the benefit of quick cooking time, when i ate cooked food i never cooked veggies in a pan longer then 5 minutes. pan cooked steak takes 7 minutes. not much difference. i don't think microwaving food will kill you, but it's not the best.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on March 24, 2013
at 07:02 PM

That was my first thought, too!

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on March 24, 2013
at 06:31 PM

Can you provide reputable sources about microwave zapping nutrition? I do agree about the plastic, though - perhaps they use paper/foil/other friendly option. And it does seem like an incredible cost. I can't imagine buying it.

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7 Answers

3
6f4425e3c7dc0efe60da531c5d991487

on March 24, 2013
at 06:50 PM

Let me get this straight: Are you ordering meals online, to be delivered to your door Monday through Saturday, rain or shine, snow or sleet?

Have you gone paleo-postal?!?!?

I'm sorry, but I have a difficult time accepting that you could be a purist of any sort if your meals have ever come into contact with your mailbox. You could at least start growing your own by web-farming. ;)

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on March 24, 2013
at 07:02 PM

That was my first thought, too!

3
61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on March 24, 2013
at 06:11 PM

All look fine except the agave nectar, Worcestershire sauce, and the gravy.

Agave nectar is like the big-bad wolf cousin of HFCS with a natural sounding name. That stuff is just as highly processed and has even higher fructose levels than high fructose corn syrup. It's truly awful. You'd be better off just using white sugar. I wouldn't touch the stuff with a ten foot pole, and I'm really not that strict in general.

Worcestershire sauce generally has HFCS in it. Not all brands do, I'm sure. There is not generally enough sauce, much less HFCS, to make much of a difference, IMHO, but technically not Paleo. Depends on how hardline you want to be.

Gravy is generally thickened with wheat flour and is a prepared food, not an ingredient. Ask them what kind of flour/thickener they use. If they use something like arrowroot powder, okay. If it's wheat flour, I have no idea how they call themselves Paleo.

The maple syrup and honey are fine in reasonable amounts.

7e1433afbb06c318c4d90860d493c49d

(5959)

on March 24, 2013
at 11:53 PM

Lea & Perrins used to contain HFCS, but they switched to regular sugar a few years ago. Since the occasional few dashes of Worcestershire was literally the only HFCS in my diet, I didn't worry about it.

1
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on March 27, 2013
at 01:07 AM

Travis jumped the gun with the delete button... as Paleoonthego actually replied to this thread...

To summarize:

  • The agave is being phased out.
  • No wheat flour in the gravy.
  • Packaging is BPA-free.
  • Worcestershire status is unknown, but being looked into (but probably won't get posted here, because his answer got deleted prematurely.)

1
C28ae8c7a12a730363835acf21e962a2

(715)

on March 24, 2013
at 06:18 PM

yeah the agave is the one food you should avoid at all costs. i'm guessing they use coconut flour to make the gravy, but you should check to be sure.

what i'd be more concerned with is what kind of plastic are they using? reheating plastic just seems like an awful idea to me, whether it's bpa free or not.

personally i wouldn't make these meals a daily habit. once a week is fine, but microwaving your food zaps the majority of the nutrition out of it, in my opinion. and for up to 13 dollars a plate, you could make your own and control everything that goes into it.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on March 24, 2013
at 09:30 PM

Lisa, we chemists argue over whether microwave effects are real or not, and the current opinion is that microwaving is nothing more than efficient heating.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on March 24, 2013
at 06:31 PM

Can you provide reputable sources about microwave zapping nutrition? I do agree about the plastic, though - perhaps they use paper/foil/other friendly option. And it does seem like an incredible cost. I can't imagine buying it.

C28ae8c7a12a730363835acf21e962a2

(715)

on March 24, 2013
at 07:11 PM

http://www.allnaturalhealth.us/june_russell_microwaving.htm http://www.wakingtimes.com/2012/08/22/studies-show-microwaves-drastically-reduce-nutrients-in-food/ conversely there are some earlier studies about how microwaves make some vitamins more available, like vitamin c. but they seem to significantly decrease vitamin b and other nutrients. and regarding the benefit of quick cooking time, when i ate cooked food i never cooked veggies in a pan longer then 5 minutes. pan cooked steak takes 7 minutes. not much difference. i don't think microwaving food will kill you, but it's not the best.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on March 24, 2013
at 07:27 PM

Thank you for the links! I will review their references. FWIW, now that I don't eat processed foods, I don't use the microwave much, either, except for reheating coffee and I doubt there's much there to be damaged. For taste reasons, not scientific ones. :) I just don't understand the physics of how it could really damage the nutrients.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on March 24, 2013
at 09:28 PM

Boo, microwave-phobia...

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on March 24, 2013
at 09:14 PM

As a physics nerd, I am still not convinced with either your explanation of the physics behind the dangers of microwaves or the articles from New-age sites. But I appreciate you backing up your opinion and I +1'd your answer, and totally agree with you on the heating plastics issue. :)

C28ae8c7a12a730363835acf21e962a2

(715)

on March 24, 2013
at 07:13 PM

also there was a study done by oxford where they microwaved breast milk and it greatly reduced the nutrient content, but i can't find a link.

C28ae8c7a12a730363835acf21e962a2

(715)

on March 24, 2013
at 07:54 PM

np. mainly the potential danger and depletion could come from the radiation frequency. the microwaves that are used to essentially agitate or "vibrate" the molecules in food in order to cook it (this same thing happens in all cooking processes, but at a less accelerated rate) could potentially resonate with the molecules in the food, causing disruptive effects. you know how in cartoons someone will sing and hit a certain pitch that causes all of the glass in the room to shatter? same idea.

0
048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

on March 26, 2013
at 10:46 PM

I think that all vinegars and citric juices listed are pretty good because they are supposed to bring a very good net alkaline effect on the body which some claim to be the holy grail of anti-inflammatory nutrition.

Even if it's not the case, there are studies showing improved blood sugar with most of these and they don't really seem to harm in any other way, using them in moderation should be fine at least or beneficial the most.

I'd be aware of agave nectar and maple syrup the most. Maple syrup has some adepts over there because is vitamin and mineral rich (then you could also look into molasses for similar purposes) but in the end it's a simple sugar and it should be used with a lot of moderation. Dried fruits (berrys and any other kind) are very sugar dense so I'd certainly stick to the fresh versions.

I'd allow myself for this kind of things once every two weeks or so (and normally post endurance race of after a hard work-out) and in small amounts, as a topping for some berries or something like this.

0
C679cd402ddc8b5dbee87611b4278297

on March 26, 2013
at 09:40 PM

Hey guys,

Dave here with Paleo on the Go. Thanks for great compliment Greg Green. We are dedicated to offering the best paleo meals that comply with the strictest of paleo eaters. We only use grass-fed beef, ABF free-range chicken, organic vegetables, etc..

We do have a couple items still with agave. We will be phasing this out immediately. We will continue to have items that are lightly sweetened with raw honey and maple syrup and offer items including some of the other ingredients Greg Green listed. We will look into what exactly is in the worcestershire (they are listed on the website) and make a determination.

As we add new items, we will add more options for the strictest of eaters.

Our gravy is made from homemade stocks from the bones of grass-fed/free-range animals and we only thicken our sauces with arrowroot powder (never any flour).

Our packaging is BPA free. Re-heating the meals in the package is only one option. If you choose to heat your meals up this way, just use simmering water for about 7 or 8 minutes. There is no need to boil it or cook it for a long time.

Our meals do use the best quality ingredients we can find and when you look at having so many delicious entrees, vegetables, and breakfasts available whenever you need them, it works out to be an amazing value to our customers.

Hope that helps,

We are certainly open to your input

www.paleoonthego.com (go to the contact us tab)

0
782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

on March 24, 2013
at 06:11 PM

These are generally ok ingredients, though I would check to make sure the gravy is gluten free. Some people limit their sugar intake, so maybe no to agave, maple syrup, and honey. Worcestershire sauce also has sugar in it. Personally, I think they are fine in small amounts. Dried fruits can have sulfites which some people are sensitive to, so you might want to check that also. The vinegars, fruit juices, mustard, beets, and berries (if not dried -- see cherries above) are all ok.

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