Cow-less Milk

Photo by: Tasty Yummies

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?

Sundowner Smoothie: A Sweet Way to Wind Down

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.

Photo by: kochtopf

Sundowner Smoothie
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?

Product Review: Trader Joe’s Sprouted Tofu

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.

Results:
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?