By Mercedes Kay Gold
Plant-based living is on the rise and for good reason. Whether produce grows above ground or below, hangs from a tree, water-based or sprouted on a sunny window ledge, plants are powerful. People are creatures of habit, repeating mundane meals day in and day out. Over time any diet can lead to deficiencies in the body. Mainstream menus remain meat and dairy based, containing all the amino acids and high in vitamin B12. Non-essential amino acids are made in the body, but the nine essential amino acids we must obtain through our diet. Amino acids are the building blocks of muscle. They help transport nutrients, support immunity and a jillion jobs. When switching to a plant-based lifestyle, it’s imperative to dine on a diverse diet. Meal planning should include numerous nuts, grains galore, a slew of seeds and a rainbow of produce for optimal health. Quinoa, hemp, buckwheat, pistachios, spirulina and soy in all forms, including tofu, tempeh and edamame are awesome dinner delights. Allergies, sensitivities and yuck factor can be limiting. Let me introduce you to nutritional yeast or ‘nooch,’ the neat nickname given to this fabulous flaky yellow powder.
Nutritional yeast is a deactivated form of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, commonly known as brewer’s yeast. It is deactivated; bread would flop so no experimenting! Nutritional yeast is nutty and savoury and used to replace cheese, helping turn dinner drabness into plant-based family favourites! On top of being delish, two tablespoons has just 45 calories in a cup, 3 grams fibre and no sugar. The high fibre is fabulous, and therefore the carbohydrates low, keto-diet friendly low. Nutritional yeast is a good source of thiamine (B1), folic acid (B9), riboflavin (B2) and a powerhouse of pyridoxine (B6), potassium and zinc. Nooch has bragging rights for its boatload of B12, and this is the draw for the plant-based world.
Meatless Mondays are luckily still a thing and whether you became vegan or not, eating a diet less geared towards animal consumption is a leap towards longevity. Chances are nutritional yeast caught your attention in a “Meatless Monday” recipe.
Leave the cheese for mice; try macaroni and faux-cheese. Combining nutritional yeast and a milk alternative is a sensational sauce for broccoli and cauliflower. Nutritional nooch replaces cheese in lasagne, pizza, soups and salads. Nutritional yeast is a hit in homemade dressings, hummus and a bounty of B12 in dips and pesto. Nooch is nutrient dense as a popcorn topping and awesome on avocado and toast. B12 is water soluble, meaning the body excretes what it doesn’t need. Don’t worry, you can continue taking the supplement as per your practitioner, but feel free to go nuts with nooch!
Try this savoury salad dressing recipe!
In a food processor blend:
- 1 cup nooch
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 avocado or extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup water
- 4 tbsp runny tahini
- 3-4 cloves garlic minced
- ½ tsp Himalayan sea salt and ground pepper to taste
Place leftovers in a glass jar in the refrigerator about a week.
Mercedes Kay Gold is a Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Holistic Nutritionist who loves helping others live their best life when not spending time with her children and grandson, Theodore. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.mercedeskaygold.com