Nutritional YeastSeptember 7, 2009
Yesterday, on Day Six of the Vegan Challenge, I ate:
- 1 slice homemade bread with 1 tsp almond butter and 1 small slice blueberry breakfast polenta with maple syrup
- 1/2 cantaloupe filled with a few big spoonfuls of granola, 1/2 pluot, and 1/2 banana, plus the other 1/2 banana with a smear of almond butter and topped with more granola on the side
- A nibble of brown sugar (this was from a grocery shopping expedition in Chinatown- we felt it was necessary to munch on solid sugar after wandering through the streets)
- 2 barbecued tofurky franks with 2 slices homemade bread and smeared with homemade ketchup, along with raw white mushrooms, broccoli, grape tomatoes, and baby carrots, as well as 1/2 Alexander Keith’s
- 1/2 pluot and 2 figs dipped in almond butter (I seriously cannot get enough of this dried fruit with nut butter snack! Perfect for sugar cravings)
This is what happened the first time I tried to make granola:
I made it using a recipe from The Blogger Cookbook. When the first batch failed (the above is a picture after it was in the oven for only 18 minutes, and the recipe calls for it to be in there for 45 minutes. Goodness.), I decided to make some fun modifications to the original recipe of maple syrup/oil/water/oats. My creation is crunchy and chewy, with brown rice syrup and wheat germ added in. It’s so delicious and I am usually not a fan of granola, so I’m really happy with it. I promise to post the recipe within the next couple weeks (just have to leave you all in suspense for a little while ;)).
Nutritional Yeast Part Two
On Saturday I made more bread and calzones, and this time I put several spoonfuls of nutritional yeast “cheese” sauce inside the calzones before baking them. It’s really good that way when the sauce is all mixed in with the vegetables and tomato sauce. Nutritional yeast is growing on me (taste-wise, obviously; not literally. That would be concerning. And uncomfortable).
In the comments a couple days ago when I last posted about nutritional yeast, Gina asked me what exactly nutritional yeast is. Then yesterday Diane and Mia also were asking about nutritional yeast. So here’s the breakdown:
Nutritional yeast is a yellow flaky (sometimes powdery) substance that can be added to just about anything. It is a form of inactive yeast. It’s also called savoury yeast but it is not the same as brewer’s yeast. Nutritional yeast is all-natural, vegan, and it contains plenty of B vitamins including vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is only found naturally in animal products so the fact that this food is fortified with vitamin B12 is great; its a way for vegans to get that nutrient in their diet without needing to take supplements.
Nutritional yeast contains folic acid and a number of other important micronutrients. I believe that one tbsp of nutritional yeast includes your entire day’s worth of vitamin B12. One tbsp is 16 calories, contains 0.2g fat, 2g carbohydrate, 1g fibre, and 2g protein.
It is also a complete protein, so it contains all the essential amino acids. The reason why people often eat beans and rice in combination is because these foods, while very healthy, are not complete proteins. They don’t provide all the necessary nutrients on their own. So, we eat a few different kinds of food and together they equal complete proteins. The reason why this is so important for vegans is that although animal products are complete proteins, there are very few plant-based foods which are complete proteins. For that reason, nutritional yeast is special (quinoa is another plant-based complete protein. That’s part of the reason why there’s so much hype surrounding it).
I bought my 250g package of nutritional yeast at a health food store, VitaHealth, for $8. It keeps for about two years and a little bit of it goes a long way, so it’s worth buying. You can use it in just about anything: sprinkled on top of popcorn or bread, added to soups or made into sauces and dressings. It can be eaten raw or cooked.
If anyone else has more information on nutritional yeast and the health benefits of it, please chime in!
Edited to add: Read more about nutritional yeast at A Life Less Sweet.