Why I love nutritional yeast (and you should too)
First off, it’s delicious. It has a nutty, almost cheesy flavor and I especially love it on popcorn and stirred into grits (just like my dad made me when I was a wee one).
And secondly, it really, really good for you. Nutritional yeast is an inactive yeast and it’s packed with B-vitamins, folic acid, amino acids, zinc, fiber, and protein. It’s a great vegan-friendly way to add a little cheesiness to recipes and even if you’re not vegan it’s a great way to add a serious nutritional punch to your dishes. I’m always on the lookout for new recipes with nutritional yeast and often I just stir it into something I’m making which usually- but not always- turns out delicious (pasta with butter and yeast = good; oat bran with nutritional yeast = not so good).
Some of my favorite nutritional yeast recipes:
protein power goddess bowl* (come summer I’ll be making this every week because it’s AMAZING)
* I double the recipe for the dressing on this recipe and keep it around for salads and such. It’s just that good.
Okay, so us Vegas get bashed for not being able to get B12 from animal sources, yet with pretty much all vegan blood tests I’ve heard of (as well as some RAW vegan ones), they all come back with the right amount of B12. And so no, they can’t only come from animal products and nutritional yeast because some vegans that have gotten back positive B12 results have never tried nutritional yeast!! So what’s the deal?
Like really, what else is it in and what’s the truth behind where we get it?
'Nooch and 'Booch
So, it’s been a ho-hum couple of days around the house as I finished up some craft projects (which I’ll post pictures of soon!).
I’d say I’m completely off the “raw” wagon. The big push was when my boyfriend assured me that there isn’t any sort of entrance-diet necessary to prepare for the cleanse, as we had previously thought. Apparently you just dive right in, which we’re preparing to do on Monday. We’ve already got a 12 pound package of maple syrup waiting for us at work, and we picked up the tea, and salt and cayenne pepper at Wheatsville Food Co-op last week. Saturday we’ll buy 50 lemons to round out the ingredients, and try to prepare ourselves as much as possible.
In the meantime, though, I’ve simply been trying to eat simple, whole foods, with little processed foods. Tonight, for example, Amil mad some delicious Acorn Squash soup and I made some stuffed bell peppers. We’ve been cooking a lot with millet. Millet muffins, millet Pilaf, and millet-stuffed peppers. In the future I’ll probably transition it with other grains, but since we have a 3 pound bag of it that I got for about $4.00, I’m thinking about it and trying to use it often.
Anyway, I think today I will outline, for you and myself, My Food Rules :
First there was the See-Food diet. Growing up, I would eat just about anything I see. I was never fond of cookies or chips, and enjoyed my mothers cooking, which included a lot of kid-friendly foods like hamburger helper and canned-green beans. When I started running track in high school I could down bowls full of dinner and still eat more. I think that’s when I originally started looking at what I eat.
In college, I read Omnivore’s Dilemma, and started to construct my diet Ethically, as well as for health. I had already stopped eating poultry when I started college, and declared myself a vegetarian, having shyed away from red meats and pork through my teens. When In Defense of Food came out, I finally had some solid “rules” to help dictate what I would put in my body.
His basic rules were simple:
Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
I already ate a fair share of “rabbit food” as my friends called it, and my metabolism was still roaring, so I mostly focused on the first one. Pollan gave some guidelines to help.
Only eat what you can pronounce.
Don’t eat anything with more than 5 ingredients.
Don’t eat anything that your grandmother wouldn’t recognize. [like hot pockets]
While there have been some changes one way or another based on price and availability during my college years, I have since followed those guidelines, slowly adding my own.
In 2007 I shunned bottled water. This isn’t for health as much as it’s for the environment, but I’m proud to say that I haven’t purchased a plastic bottle of water in 4 years.
In 2009, after meeting a friend who is allergic to corn and tomatoes, I began to learn that it is possible albeit very challenging, to avoid corn and processed sweeteners, like corn syrup. I think I was pretty successful in 2010 avoiding high fructose corn syrup, though I doubt I kept away 100%.
So far this year, I’ve added some other rules.
1) Only friendly diary. I’ve been a vegetarian for 5 years, and one of the reasons is because of the chemicals and medicines they pump into animals. Yet, I’ve eaten cheese and dairy products from animals with the same misfortunes. This year I will not eat dairy until I know where it comes from. But I have a lot of information yet to learn. More on that, someday.
I’ve found that when cheese isn’t on hand, some Nutritional Yeast works well…or some “nooch” as hipster foodies like the throw around.
2) No refined sugars. I’ve always dreamt that when I own my own land, I’ll use nothing but honey and maple syrup to sweeten things. I’m going to try to start that now. Like most things I try, I’m weening into it. I still made granola today with sugar because we ran out of agave nectar, but I’m at least making a conscious effort. A nice, sweet quenching, flavor and health packed drink that I’ve been consuming more of is Kombucha. Amil used to make his own but with our current living situations, it’s been difficult. Can I start the trend to call it “booch?”
3) Finally, I am trying to eat more raw food. There are many things that just taste amazing raw. Like Sweet and Salty Cabbage. mmmh. But there are also things I couldn’t completely give up just now…like fresh egg and avocado salad. (Pictured)
So those are my basic guidelines, these days. I might feel so good after my cleanse that I completely change things…but we’ll see in a few days. :)
Fast, cheap, yummy, and I guarantee you don’t want to try and share a bowl of this stuff. It will end badly.
- 2.5 quarts popped popcorn (1/2 cup dry)
- 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons tomato sauce
Pop the popcorn, either by microwave or on a stovetop. Then, simply stir in the rest of the ingredients, making sure to mix all of the spices so they don’t end up in a pile at the bottom! I love adding tomato sauce to popcorn (as well as hot sauce) but some people find this a bit too messy. If you’re not all about messy substitute in a teaspoon or two of margarine, oil, or lemon juice so the spices have something to stick to.
Eat with two hands at a time.