I have a confession to make: I love Oreo cookies. I can easily work my way through an entire package (30 cookies, for the record) in two days, preferably with multiple tall glasses of chocolate milk. But get this! Did you know they’re vegan? It’s true. Check it out:
No dairy products to be found. How cool is that? Oreo cookies for the win! Or not.
Let’s take another look at that ingredient list:
- sugar (We know what that is, and a little goes a long way; it’s the first ingredient, though, which translates into it being the primary ingredient.)
- enriched flour (Sounds good, what with the added vitamins and all, but it’s been processed on top of being processed on top of…)
- high oleic canola oil and/or palm oil and/or soybean oil and/or canola oil (Do I detect redundancy? Canola oil is mentioned twice – first and last – but the first mention includes the term oleic. WiseGeek says, “Oleic acid is a monounsaturated fatty acid found naturally in many plant sources and animal products. It is an omega-9 fatty acid, and as such is considered one of the healthier sources of fat in the diet. Health experts often recommend using it in cooking, and a number of so-called health foods and diet products will use this compound in place of animal fats.” So, as long as the cookies contain the former over the latter, that’s great! Right?)
- cocoa (Cocoa is a power food, so that’s a win. The “processed with alkali” part is unfortunate, because it results in a decrease in the amount of antioxidants in the cocoa, rendering a not-so-power food. The process, however, is more usual than not.)
- high-fructose corn syrup (An ingredient found in way too many products, and it’s earned itself a bad reputation, to a point that it’s now sometimes called “corn sugar.” Mayo Clinic weighs in here. A simple way to look at it: high-fructose corn syrup is a manufactured sweetener, whereas cane sugar, while most often heavily processed, isn’t a manufactured sweetener.)
- cornstarch (A thickening agent. I wonder how much it takes to thicken the Oreo filling?)
- leavening (The ingredients list defines this as baking soda and/or calcium phosphate. Leavening is used in place of yeast, and helps make things rise. Like cookies, for instance.)
- salt (We know what that is. It is a fact that salt makes sweet things taste sweeter.)
- soy lecithin (This is defined as an emulsifier, which means it holds things together; keeps them from separating. Soy lecithin is “one of the top ten most-used ingredients in processed foods.“)
- vanillin (Defined in the ingredient list as an artificial flavor. It replaces vanilla, which is a real flavor.)
- chocolate (There’s a real flavor for you, but cocoa has already been listed, and it’s cocoa that makes chocolate, so why both?)
Aside from the questionable “chocolate” (because chocolate, in its myriad forms, tends to contain dairy products), it does look as though Oreo cookies are vegan. But let me be clear: I won’t be buying them anytime soon.
A serving size is 34g. What does that mean? Anyone have a kitchen scale with grams as a measurement? It’s okay, I looked it up. A serving size is two cookies. Two cookies equal 160 calories, which is equal to 1/10 of my current daily calorie intake. Two measly cookies. Two measly cookies that won’t add any substantial nutrition toward my recommended daily allowances, and certainly won’t satisfy any gnawing in my stomach. Sorry, Nabisco, but, for me, they just don’t cut it.
10 calorie swaps that hit the mark
A calorie equals a calorie in terms of measurement, but not in terms of value. This is a sampling of ten items I can swap, based on plant-strong eating, for that same 160-calorie serving of Oreo cookies:
- 2 1/2 cups grapes (155 calories)
- 2 1/2 medium-sized oranges (155 calories)
- 1 large apple with a serving of PB2 (161 calories)
- 1 medium sweet potato, baked in its skin, with 1/2 cup salsa (163 calories)
- 7 cups of tossed salad (154 calories)
- 1 cup cooked (with water) oatmeal (150 calories)
- 1 1/2 jalapeño corn muffins (recipe coming!) (156 calories)
- 4 tablespoons of roasted red pepper hummus and 6 (!) stalks of celery (160 calories)
- 2 portobello mushroom steaks with onion balsamic sauce and 2 cups green beans (154 calories)
- 2 vegan chocolate snowballs (recipe coming this week!) (154 calories)
It’s all about choices, sure. But, if you like to have your belly full, and if you like to be satisfied for at least a couple, if not a few, hours, would you choose two Oreo cookies, or something from the list above?
I make that choice everyday.
I’d be lying if I said that the Oreo cookie display didn’t catch my eye from time to time at the grocery store. I’d be lying if I said it was easy to make the best choice for my health, time after time. But I’m rewarded for making the best choice.
I choose me.
I was rewarded this morning with a three-pound loss for my choice. 21 pounds gone in just under seven weeks. That’s way better than a whole package of Oreo cookies, even.
‘Fess up, readers. Are you like me? Could you down a whole package of Oreo cookies in a day or two? Have you?
© 2013 Ellen M. Gregg | All rights reserved.