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I was at a grocery store with my daughter this weekend when I saw a woman staring blankly at the wall of mayonnaise and speaking to her friend on the phone about it. “How am I supposed to pick one?” she said to her friend. “They have organic mayo and vegan mayo, but not organic vegan mayo. And you know what they say about the stuff they put in the vegan products and how they aren’t really all that good for us. There are just too many choices and none of them are great. What should I do?”
It took every ounce of me not to go over there and interrupt her phone conversation and get more information from her about this great mayo controversy. But, I didn’t want to butt my nose in where my advice was clearly not asked for. Plus, Presley and I had more shopping to do.
She ultimately chose the organic mayo over the vegan mayo, but I wish I knew her ultimate reasoning behind her choice. What was it that tipped the scale?
What is Mayo anyway?
Okay, so here in America we use mayo as a condiment for many things, which makes it a fairly regular purchase. But what really is this silky white accouterment that we put on our sandwiches and in our egg salad? Mayonnaise is usually a mixture of:
- egg yolk (obviously not in the vegan versions)
- vinegar or lemon juice
- myriad of spices
The vegan versions usually substitute the egg for soy instead, so this may be what she was talking about with her friend on the phone. However, in products such as Veganaise, they use non-GMO soybeans. That doesn’t mean that large quantities of soy in your diet are the best option, especially when it is processed in any way.
Okay, so we have all heard, ad nauseum, why organic is better than conventional, especially with regard to eggs. So, common sense says that organic mayo would be better than the conventional mayo, which sometimes also has a bunch of other “junk” in it that we really don’t want. However, how would we compare organic mayo to vegan mayo? This is certainly the question that was concerning that woman in the store this past weekend. Now, I can tell you that there are vegan, soy free, organic mayo’s also, just to keep in the back of your brain the next time you are on a mayo search.
For me, I would say to go the vegan direction if you are actually a vegan. Now, I am a vegetarian so I eat eggs and dairy, albeit small amounts, if at all, depending on the day. If you aren’t a vegan, then this would be where the issue comes in. Are you trying to avoid eggs, or the other “junk” that may be in a wider variety of store brands, or trying to be more heart healthy? Or is there another reason all-together? This is the first thing that has to be answered before you decide which mayo direction is right for you.
I can’t say that mayo is a “healthy” food for us in the first place. This is one of those foods that is best left in the sparing category, due to the high fat content. Not only that, but mayo is usually made from canola oil, which has been highly genetically modified since 1998. This, in and of itself, is enough to make me want to stay away from canola oil.
Overall, I usually go the vegan mayo route and do my best to stick with the organic vegan mayo, when I can find it. However, if I can’t track that down then I stick with the organic mayo. But the ultimate question for you, when you are standing in front of the mayo wall at the grocery store the next time, is which direction is your diet leaning?
- Heart Healthy
- Soy Allergy/Intolerance
- Egg Allergy/Intolerance
Answer that question and you will have solved the great mayo dilemma!
Side note: There are a few other good substitutes for mayo if you want to get creative. Some of my favorite options are:
- Smashed avocado
- Greek yogurt sprinkled with Smoked Paprika
Have you found yourself in this type of quandary before? What did you choose and why? Or did you choose a substitute instead?