Wondering about soy, cruciferous veggies, all the different types of thyroid hypers and hypos, why there’s a picture of a butterfly here, or just want some new cocktail party convo material? Check out this new post on KrisCarr.com. Thyroid Demystified!
Are you digging plant grub but can’t get full on tofu? Or maybe you just don’t want to get full on tofu. YET. So until you’re there, here are 3 of the BEST plant-powered meatalicious products around. Obviously there’s nothing wrong with good ole beans and rice or pasta fagioli, but these dudes are perfect for vegetarian flirts and XL appetites.
1. Soy Chorizo. The package and casing scared me at first. But, once I stabbed through it, I realized the possibilities were endless. It’s spicy, has a great chewy and meaty texture, and is super filling. There are lots of brands, but the Trader Joe’s 2.5-ounce serving has 140 calories, 9 grams protein, 4 grams fiber, 8 grams carbohydrate, and just 1.5 grams saturated fat. Add it to soups, chili, nachos, potatoes, tacos, or potatoes for a hearty Mexican hash dish. Normally, I panic with processed foods and their list of 900 chemical ingredients, but the one at TJ’s tastes incredible and has just 8 completely identifiable ingredients (1 being water): textured soy protein, water, soy oil, distilled vinegar, salt, spices, red pepper, garlic. Whats Good at Trader Joe’s?–unrelated to Trader Joe’s or Bitchin’ Dietitian–has a cool review of it.
2. Field Roast’s Frankfurters. These grain-based (compared to soy-based) veggie hot dogs are THE BOMB. I knew it last night when my soy dog UNenthusiastic husband had a second one. They have a mildly spicy taste, but still made it past my anti-spicy child’s taste buds. The ingredient list is longer than the chorizo’s, but contains all recognizable items: filtered water, vital wheat gluten, expeller pressed safflower oil, naturally flavored yeast extract, organic expeller pressed palm fruit oil, barley malt, natural liquid smoke, garlic, onion granules, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, spices, paprika, sea salt. Each frank has 190 filling calories and 21 grams of protein. The rest of the nutrition info is here.
3. Trader Joe’s Beef-Less Ground Beef. Another wheat gluten concoction, this stuff is incredible mixed with brown rice, black beans, and salsa and then stuffed into cooked peppers. Or, add it to marinara sauce with frozen chopped spinach atop elbow macaroni for a healthy spin on Hamburger Helper. It’s basically fat-free with a 1/3-cup serving containing 60 calories, 10 grams protein, 2 grams fiber, and 0.5 grams fat. Check out another review and more ideas here.
Are you a tofu UNenthusiast or a “greens are gross” gal? Well, Toasted Sesame Oil (different from regular ole sesame oil) is about to save your day. It flavors tofu, kale, and other greens in a way that will take your breath away.
All you need to do: Add 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil plus 2 teaspoons olive oil (less expensive and higher smoke point than the sesame oil) to a skillet over medium heat. Add 1-block-worth of tofu cubes or a large bunch of dark leafy greens pieces along with a tablespoon of soy sauce. Cook for 5-10 minutes, covered, adding water 2 tablespoons at a time as needed to prevent sticking. Add more soy sauce as needed for flavor. Shepow! Delicious.
What’s your go-to tofu or greens recipe?
Milk alternatives are on the up and up, and with them, our health. Here is a cool rundown of the main milk alternatives (almond, coconut, hemp, rice, and soy) and their pros and cons by dietitian Eliza Zied.
Personally, I like protein-rich unsweetened soy milk in my cereal and vanilla almond milk in my latte, and my kids down vanilla and chocolate versions of both like they’re going out of style. As for “too much soy”, up to 25 grams a day of soy protein is incredibly heart-healthy and wildly cancer-preventative. One cup of soymilk has 7 grams of soy protein. And if you’re wanting to replace buttermilk in a recipe, you must mix 1 cup soymilk with 1 Tbsp lemon juice until it curdles. Since protein is necessary for the desired curdling, it won’t happen with the lower protein milk alternatives.
While slightly harder to find (go to a health food store or Whole Foods Market), other great dairy alternatives include oat milk and hazelnut milk as well as multigrain milks. Oat milk is higher in calories (130 per cup of the Original variety), but moderate in protein (4 grams per cup) and fiber (2 grams per cup), and higher in sugar (19 grams per cup of the Original variety). Hazelnut milk has 110 calories, 2 grams protein, and 14 grams sugar per cup of the Original variety. And if you’re feeling extra daring, you can make your own non-dairy milks, which is far easier than trying to make your own dairy milk. Here’s a great step-by-step for homemade almond milk. Cheers to health and cheers to life!
Other whens and hows with dairy alternatives?
If we’ve crossed paths over the past few weeks, you’ve no doubt heard my spiel about how great tart cherry juice is for promoting restful sleep. (Aside from chocolate, sleep is the answer to most of life’s troubles.). So tonight I attempted a tart cherry smoothie nightcap of sorts to neutralize the tart in the juice. This one includes soymilk which is also naturally rich in the sleepytime amino acid tryptophan. Heck, you might want to sip it in bed in case you dose off midway through.
Serves 1 Wired Individual
4 oz tart cherry juice
4 oz unsweetened soymilk
1 organic orange, peeled
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
4 ice cubes
Blend until smooth. Tastier than chamomile tea for sure!
Nutrition info per sleepyhead: 172 calories, 2 g fat, 60 mg sodium, 33 g carbohydrates, 3.5 g fiber, 18 g sugar, 4.5 g protein, 8% vitamin A, 117% vitamin C, 20% calcium (200 mg), 3% iron.
Are you asleep yet?
Why Sprouted? (we’re beyond ‘Why Tofu?’, right?!) Regular tofu is made from cooked soybeans while sprouted tofu is made from sprouted soybeans. Sprouted tofu is easier to digest (sprouting softens the beans and releases troublesome phytates), and is richer in protein, calcium, and iron. Too good to be true? Nope! Sprouted T is similar in calories, slightly lower in carbohydrates, and slightly higher in fat (but the good omega-3 fish-oil type).
Getting soy foods into your cauldron is a pretty good idea. They help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, especially the bad, garbage-on-the-curb-of-your-arteries LDL kind, while also curbing diabetes and preventing cancer and its recurrence.
Sprouted tofu is used just like regular tofu (in Chocolate Mousse, or any of these 200 recipes), but what about the taste? Sponge-tastic? I surveyed Team Reilly in comparison to Trader Joe’s organic regular extra firm tofu (which is a family favorite). Both tofus were uncooked and untouched.
During a blind taste-test, I asked the team which one they preferred and if they could tell which one was sprouted.
Bitchin’ Dietitian: Preferred the softer-textured sprouted tofu, and of course knew it was the sprouted tofu b/c she made up the test.
Bitchin’ Husband: Thought the regular tofu had more flavor, and that the sprouted tofu wasn’t bad, but tasted like nothing. Guessed that the one he preferred was the sprouted tofu, but it was actually the regular tofu.
5-Year-Old: MUCH preferred the sprouted tofu and ate more than her taste-test serving, but thought it was the regular one.
3-Year-Old: MUCH preferred the regular tofu and ate more than his taste-test serving, but thought it was the sprouted one.
1-Year-Old: Didn’t have a preference, and ate both quite vigorously. When asked which one he thought was the sprouted one, he said “eh eh eh.” Translation: “the one on the left” (the sprouted one).
Interpretation of Results:
Sprouted tofu–with its easier digestion, higher levels of protein, calcium, iron, and omega-3 fats–is a groovy alternative to regular tofu. Since few people eat tofu raw (thank your lucky stars you weren’t part of today’s test), stir-frying, and adding flavors to tofu will change both types similarly. Sounds like a Sprout-Out for TJ’s Sprouted Tofu!
Recipe op?… What are your favorite ways to do tofu, or, now, sprouted tofu?