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    Archive for the ‘B-vitamins’ Category

    You Ask, I Answer: B Vitamin Confusion

    51V3ZT72W8L._SS500_I need your help sorting out B vitamins.

    I thought they were all water soluble, but I recently heard that the body stores B12 for decades?  Is this true?

    What are all the B vitamins?  I keep seeing conflicting information on how many there are.  For example, is panthothenic acid a B vitamin?  What about choline?

    — Rebecca Plender
    (Location Withheld)

    There are eight B vitamins.  They are:

    • B1 (AKA Thiamin)
    • B2 (AKA Riboflavin)
    • B3 (AKA Niacin)
    • B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
    • B6 (AKA Pyridoxine, although that term is mainly used in scientific literature)
    • B7 (AKA Biotin)
    • B9 (AKA Folate)
    • B12 (AKA Colabamin; again, that term is mainly only used in scientific literature)

    Continue Reading »

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    You Ask, I Answer: Nutrients in Seitan

    51rh64MddTL._SS280_I have a question about wheat gluten- (also known as”wheat meat” or seitan).

    I haven’t been able to find any nutritional content information regarding this type of meatless product. What are the calorie and protein content?  What about B vitamin information?

    Also, I found a blog which stated seitan contains fiber?  Where would the fiber come from?

    — Chelsea Wynn
    (Location Unknown)

    A three-ounce serving (visual reference: a deck of cards) of seitan provides:

    • 90 calories
    • 1 gram of fat
    • 3 grams of carbohydrates
    • 18 grams of protein

    It also contains a small amount of iron and phosphorus, and a fair share of selenium.

    Since seitan is pure gluten, it does not contain any fiber or B vitamins.  The only exception to this rule would be if someone’s home recipe for it also includes whole wheat flour.  Even then, though, the amount would be minimal and would not make that particular batch of seitan high in fiber or B vitamins.

    I have seen much confusion over seitan all over the Internet.  I have seen it referred to as a soy product (it is not), high in fiber (absolutely not), and even an excellent source of vitamin E (in no way, shape, or form).

    PS: When buying commercial varieties of seitan (which are commonly marinated in soy sauce), I recommend a 30-second rinse under cold, running water to lower sodium levels.

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    Quick & Healthy Recipes: Allergy-Friendly Breakfast Pie (Wheat, Soy, Dairy, and Nut-Free!)

    goodmorningiu9You can have this pie whenever you please — day or night.  However, its fruity flavors are breakfast-ish to me.  And, while it is a pie, it is made of such healthful ingredients that you can start your day off quite nutritiously with a slice.

    Chock-full of fiber, phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, it makes minimally-nutritious morning pastries quiver in fear!

    YIELDS: One 8-slice pie

    INGREDIENTS:

    For crust:

    3/4 cup raw almonds (see NOTES at bottom of post)
    3/4 cup raw walnuts (see NOTES at bottom of post)
    (NOTE: For nut-free version, you will need 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds, 1/2 cup hemp seeds, and 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds; see NOTES at bottom of post)
    2 Tablespoons unsweetened shredded dried coconut (optional)
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 cup pitted dates (any variety; I like Medjool)

    For filling:

    1.5 cups blueberries
    1.5 cups strawberries, sliced
    1 medium banana, sliced
    2 Tablespoons cup raisins
    1 scoop unsweetened whey or hemp protein powder (optional; see NOTES at bottom of post)
    1 Tablespoon water (if needed, to thin out)

    INSTRUCTIONS:

    To make the crust, process the nuts/seeds, coconut (if using), vanilla, cinnamon, and salt in food processor into a finely ground powder.

    Add the pitted dates, 1/3 of a cup at a time, and process for 30 to 45 seconds at a time.

    Once all the dates have been added, you should have a solid “dough-like” product.  If it does not stick together, add a few more pitted dates and process again.

    Remove the “dough” from the food processor and press it into a 9 or 10-inch pie pan (preferably glass), forming a crust that goes up onto the sides of the pan.  Once done, place pie pan in freezer for 30 minutes.

    While crust freezes, make the filling, as detailed below.

    Rinse out the food processor and fill it with berries, the sliced banana, and the raisins.  Process for 45 to 60 seconds, or until completely smooth.  If needed, add up to 1 Tablespoon of water to make processing easier (careful, though, you don’t your filling to be watery!).

    Once filling is smooth (and has a creamy texture), remove crust from freezer and pour filling into pie pan.

    Refrigerate pie pan for at least 90 minutes.

    Once pie has been fully refrigerated, cut into eight uniform slices and enjoy!

    NUTRITION FACTS (for 1 slice, crust made with almonds and walnuts, filling without protein powder):

    245 calories
    1.5 grams saturated fat
    150 milligrams sodium
    5 grams fiber
    4 grams protein

    Excellent Source of: B vitamins (except B12), folate, magnesium, manganese, potassium, vitamin C, zinc

    Good Source of: Iron, monounsaturated fats, omega-3 ALA fatty acids, vitamin E, zinc

    NOTES:

    1. For a simpler and less costly crust, you can definitely use one type of nut or seed.  I like using a combination in order to achieve more flavors, but that is completely up to you.  If using multiple nuts/seeds, feel free to experiment with different ratios, too.  You can also try ingredients not listed in this recipe (i.e.: Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, etc.)

    2. The extra scoop of whey or hemp protein in the filling provides an additional 2.5 grams of protein per slice, and thickens up the texture slightly.  I find that an unsweetened, vanilla-flavored type works best with the filling.

    3. Serving this for guests?  Top it off with whole fresh berries or sliced fruits of your choice!

    4. If you want to give the crust a hint of chocolate flavor, add one tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder to the crust.  For a deep chocolate flavor, add two tablespoons.

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    You Ask, I Answer: More to Bananas than Potassium?

    BananasI don’t hear a lot about bananas, except that they are a good way to get potassium and B vitamins.

    You often write about phytonutrients and antioxidants in fruits.  Do bananas have any?

    Also, why do some diets forbid you from eating bananas the first few weeks?

    — Sandra Talenda
    (Location withheld)

    Let’s get the frustrating things out of the way first.

    I will never, ever, ever understand diet plans that treat bananas (or any other nutritious, whole foods) as if they were radioactive waste.

    A standard medium banana is not only a very good source of fiber, manganese, potassium, vitamin B6, and vitamin C, it also only delivers 105 calories.

    FYI: When it comes to potassium, potatoes and avocados surpass bananas.

    Anyone who recommends banana avoidance in the name of health needs to take a nutrition class.  Stat.

    As far as phytonutrients are concerned, all plant-based foods (grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and spices) contain them.  That’s one significant reason why a diet heavy on plant-based foods is optimal for health!

    Keep in mind that we are still in the process of identifying phytonutrients; the nutrition nerd in me can’t help but feel excited when researchers uncover a new one.

    Bananas provide high amounts of the following phytonutrients, flavonoids, and antioxidants:

    • Glutathione: a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to protect against cellular oxidation and damage
    • Phenolic compounds: a Cornell University study concluded that certain fruits — including bananas — contain phenolic compounds that protect neural cells from oxidative damage, thereby helping slash the risk of neurodegenerative disorders, like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s
    • Delphinidin: a naturally-occurring pigment that helps lower cancer risk — particularly of the prostate — by causing tumor cells to undergo apoptosis (“cell suicide”)
    • Rutin: a flavonoid also found in asparagus that is associated with blood pressure reduction
    • Naringin: also found in grapefruits, this flavonoids reduces LDL cholesterol oxidation, thereby lowering atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease risk

    For what it’s worth, the riper a banana, the higher its phytonutrient, antioxidant, and flavonoid content.

    If you don’t like the texture of a very ripe banana, I suggest peeling, slicing, freezing, and incorporating it into a smoothie.

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    Quick & Healthy Recipes: Lentil Paté

    Red Lentils 002Due to their stellar nutrition profile, hearty texture, and unique flavor, I am a die-hard fan of lentils.

    Though they are often prominent in soups and casseroles, they also go well as a dip for crudité or heart whole grain crackers.

    This lentil paté is especially wonderful served warm in the winter months.

    YIELDS: 8 servings

    INGREDIENTS:

    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1/2 cup white or yellow onion, chopped
    2 medium garlic cloves, diced
    1 small carrot, peeled and shredded
    1/3 cup red pepper, chopped
    1 cup dry lentils, rinsed (I think red lentils look nicer for dips, but feel free to use brown)
    1 1/2 cups water
    1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    1/2 teaspoon paprika
    3/4 teaspoon cumin
    Pepper, to taste
    1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

    INSTRUCTIONS:

    Heat olive oil in pot over medium heat.  Add onion, garlic, carrot, and red pepper.

    Cook the vegetables until soft, stirring frequently.

    Add lentils and water.  Bring contents to a boil.

    Lower heat to a low simmer and cook until no more water remains in pot.

    Add salt and spices.  Stir until well-combined and cook, still over simmer, for two minutes.

    Pour contents into food processor, add lemon juice, and puree until smooth.

    Feel free to add more spices after pureeing, if you deem it necessary.

    NUTRITION INFORMATION (per serving):

    123 calories
    0.8 grams saturated fat
    150 milligrams sodium
    8 grams fiber
    6 grams protein

    Excellent Source of: B vitamins, copper, magnesium, manganese, monounsaturated fats, pantothenic acid, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C

    Good Source of: Iron, phosphorus, zinc

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    You Ask, I Answer: Seaweed

    895835I consider myself an adventurous eater, but other than a few sushi rolls when I go to a Japanese restaurant, I don’t eat much seaweed.

    Whenever I am at Whole Foods, I see a pretty good-size chunk of one aisle devoted to different kinds of dried seaweed.

    What are some ways I can eat them?  Do they offer any real nutrition  benefits or are they healthy just because they are low in calories?

    — Joanna MacKay
    New York, NY

    Seaweed — which is literally available in thousands of varieties — offers an array of flavors, textures, and health benefits.

    All varieties are good sources of B vitamins, calcium, copper, iodine, magnesium, manganese, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and zinc.

    Most varieties also provide substantial amounts of lignans — the compounds found in flaxseed that are linked to decreased cancer risk AND lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels!

    Nori is the most commonly consumed seaweed, as it is the one used in sushi rolls.  However, many people also like to add a few slivers of nori to salads and soups.

    You can even buy sheets of nori and make home-made vegetable rolls.

    For example, roll up mesclun greens, sliced avocado, sliced mango, and julienned (that’s chef-speak for “thinly sliced”) red peppers in a nori sheet, cut the long roll into round bite-size chunks, drizzle a bit of dressing on top (this peanut-cilantro one complements the flavors fabulously), and you have yourself a fun — and nutritious — lunch!

    In Japan, toasted nori snacks are immensely popular (almost as much as potato chips are in the United States).

    Kombu is a type of seaweed mainly used for stocks, while kelp is often added to soups (like miso) or used in granule form to add fishy flavors to vegetarian items that aim to mimic seafood.

    Arame is used in many savory dishes, including stews and grain-based side dishes, while hijiki is often steamed and consumed as a side dish of its own (one restaurant I frequently establish serves up hijiki as part of a platter alongside brown rice, chickpeas, and stir-fried tofu).

    Dulse is mainly available as granules to add fishy flavors to food, although whole dried dulse can be eaten right out of the bag as a snack or used as a salad topper.

    FYI: most seaweed salads at Japanese restaurants use a combination of seaweeds.  The downside?  They contain a substantial amount of added sugars and oils.  If you want to start your meal with it, keep that in mind and make light entree selections.

    The biggest mistake I come across when it comes to the nutritional aspects of seaweed is the completely erroneous claim that they are a good source of vitamin B12.

    They are NOT.  Seaweed contains B12 analogues — compounds that mimic the vitamin.

    Vegetarians and vegans need to be very mindful of B12 analogues; they attach to B12 receptors in the body, and prevent real B12 in the diet from being absorbed properly!

    Also, since seaweed is very high in iodine, anyone with thyroid issues should first consult with a Registered Dietitian before adding it to their diet on a consistent basis.

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    What’s for Lunch? Snacks!

    otlMany people I speak with mention that they quickly tire of repetitive lunches.

    Day after day of wraps or sandwiches with a side of chips or baby carrots is certainly a recipe for boredom.

    One of my boredom-beating tactics?  Make a “snack lunch”!

    This is one of my favorite ways to eat lunch, since it is very easy to construct in a nutritious fashion (it’s perfect for lazier days when I don’t feel like dicing, chopping, and stirring!) and allows you to satisfy multiple cravings at once.

    Here, for example, is the snack lunch I ate today:

    • 1 small Granny Smith apple
    • 1 ounce Gruyere cheese
    • 1 ounce whole grain crackers (I love the Mary’s Gone Crackers brand — they are thin, ultra crispy, and made with quinoa, sesame seeds, and brown rice)
    • 3 Tablespoons fresh salsa
    • 1/3 cup baby carrots
    • 3 Tablespoons hummus
    • 2 Tablespoons raw almonds
    • 1 Tablespoon raw walnuts
    • 1 Tablespoon raw cacao nibs

    Deliciousness aside, this combination racks up a more-than-worthy nutrition profile:

    • 710 calories
    • 6.6 grams saturated fat
    • 660 milligrams sodium
    • 16.5 grams fiber
    • 20.5 grams protein

    Additionally, it is an excellent source of calcium, magnesium, manganese, selenium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and hundreds of top-notch phytonutrients and antioxidants.  It’s also a good source of B vitamins, phosphorus, vitamin E, and zinc.

    Added bonus?  The almonds and walnuts contribute heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and ALA Omega-3 fatty acids, respectively.

    Depending on your particular calorie needs, you can tailor this meal by increasing or reducing the amounts of certain foods.

    Do you have a favorite “snack lunch”?  Post it in the “comments” section and inspire other Small Bites readers!

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    You Ask, I Answer: Applesauce

    applesauce3What is your take on applesauce?  Can I count a half cup serving as one of my fruits for the day?

    — Julia Larson
    Philadelphia, PA

    It’s somewhere in between drinking apple juice and biting into a whole apple.

    Since apples are boiled prior to becoming applesauce, levels of vitamin C and B vitamins are significantly reduced.

    Even within the applesauce world, there are variations.

    On the “less healthy side” you have applesauce made from peeled apples that also tacks on added sugar.

    On the healthier side, you have homemade applesauce made from unpeeled apples and flavored with spices, as opposed to sugar.

    Remember, half the fiber — and a large number of antioxidants and phytonutrients — is found in the apple peel!

    The other issue with applesauce is that, due to its texture and lack of necessary chewing, it can be very simple to down tablespoon after tablespoon.

    The process of eating a whole apple is more time consuming and more satisfying from a psychological perspective.

    Final verdict: it’s fine.  Much better than drinking apple juice, but not quite as “two thumbs up” as eating a piece of whole fruit.

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    You Ask, I Answer: What Makes Brown Rice Healthier?

    b6-brown-rice-lgWhy is brown rice considered so much better than white rice?

    The food labels for each one aren’t all that different.  Brown rice just has a little more fiber.

    So, what’s the big deal?

    — Jessica Bracanti
    (City withheld), CT

    As helpful as food labels can be in guiding our food choices, they barely tell the true tale of a food’s whole nutritional profile.

    You are right — strictly from a food label standpoint, brown rice doesn’t seem to have many advantages over white rice.  It’s what you don’t see on the food label that makes all the difference!

    Brown rice contains significantly higher levels of phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, selenium, and vitamin E.

    If there were no enrichment laws (those which require that nutrients lost in processing be added back to refined grains like white rice), brown rice would also contain higher levels of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, iron, and vitamin B6 than its white counterpart.

    Remember, though, that vitamins and minerals are only part of  a food’s nutritional profile.

    Since brown rice is a whole grain, it offers you its bran and germ components — and all their health-promoting phytonutrients and antioxidants..

    Some preliminary research indicates that specific components in rice bran oil lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.  Add to that to brown rice’s soluble fibers (which are also implicated in decreasing LDL cholesterol) and you have a heart-healthy one-two punch.

    These are the same fibers, by the way, that help achieve a longer feeling of fullness more quickly.

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    Red Bull for Weight Loss?

    176I have overheard some of the most interesting nutrition-related conversations while in line at Starbucks.

    This morning, two college-aged men behind me discussed the many pivotal roles that energy drink Red Bull plays in their lives.

    “Dude, that’s my breakfast whenever I have an 8 AM class,” the scruffy and lankier one sporting  sweatpants and a baseball cap said.  (FYI: This was at a Starbucks in the heart of New York University’s urban campus, where Summer classes are currently in session).

    “I just drink it whenever I eat junk,” his friend countered.  “It speeds up your metabolism, so I when I eat a lot of crap, it burns, like, twice the calories.”

    I was thisclose to turning around and saying something.  The words were about to catapult from the tip of my tongue when I thought, “wait a second, do I really want to be that guy?”

    Alas, I decided to tackle the issue here in case anyone else had similar thoughts on Red Bull consumption.

    A statement on the cans claims the cough-syrup-tasting carbonated beverage “stimulates metabolism.”  This is based on the presence of B vitamins, caffeine, and taurine.

    While caffeine increases heartrate and affects the nervous system in such a way as to heighten awareness, its metabolic effects are short-lived.

    B vitamins are necessary for energy transport at a cellular level, but they do not burn off excess calories.

    Besides, B vitamins are water-soluble, so excesses are excreted in urine (not stored up for calorie-burning).

    Taurine is a sulfur-containing amino acid that is actually a metabolite of two other amino acids.  It is also non-essential, meaning we do not need to obtain it from the diet.

    Some preliminary research conducted on endurance athletes has shown that high levels of taurine supplementation may increase stamina.

    Unfortunately, very little is known regarding the long-term effects of taurine supplementation.

    Red Bull’s ingredients can provide a temporary energy boost, which can come in handy before you engage in strenuous physical activity (in fact, there is a solid body of research showing that caffeine can improve athletic performance).

    In that sense, one could technically conclude that these drinks can result in a higher number of calories burned during exercise.

    Keep in mind, though, that a can of Red Bull adds 110 calories and 6 teaspoons of added sugar to your day.

    Even if you are chugging on a sugar-free version that only contains 10 calories, Red Bull and other energy drinks do not  negate or block the calories in a meal.

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    You Ask, I Answer: Cassava Flour

    test1.57I have a recipe that calls for cassava flour.  Is it more nutritious than wheat flour?

    Also, is the flour considered a grain even though cassava is a root vegetable?

    If so, is it a whole grain?

    — Maria (last name withheld)
    Buenos Aires, Argentina

    From a nutritional standpoint, flours made from vegetables (such as cassava) are not considered grains.

    Grains offer B vitamins, fiber, magnesium, and selenium.  At its best, cassava flour — also known as tapioca flour — offers trace amounts of those nutrients.

    It is also extremely low in protein (which is why individuals in extremely poor developing nations who mainly subsist on cassava develop protein malnutrition).

    Cassava flour comes in very handy, though, as a thickener when creating gluten-free baked goods.

    Keep in mind, too, that the Food & Drug Administration created an official definition for whole grains in 2006, which states that whole grains must contain the three components found in grains (bran, endosperm and the germ) in the same relative proportion as they exist in nature.

    As a root vegetable, cassava does not offer those three components.

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    You Ask, I Answer: Kombucha

    kombuchaDo you think kombucha is healthy?

    Some of my friends drink it religiously but I don’t know if [the purported health claims ] are fact or hype.

    — Jenny Pottenger
    (Location withheld)

    The mass-market kombucha trend in the United States started approximately a year and a half ago.

    If this is the first time you’ve heard of it, kombucha is a fermented tea drink that has been a staple of Chinese culture for roughly 1,850 years.

    Proponents attribute a plethora of health benefits to regular consumption of kombucha — from thicker locks of hair to a healthier immune system to acne clearup.

    More unscrupulous folks will even claim kombucha can cure cancer and AIDS (remember: if anyone ever tries to sell you a food or beverage by claiming it cures a terminal illness, run.  In the opposite direction.  And don’t look back).

    Not surprisingly, many of these heinous individuals own websites where they sell their “secrets” to healthy kombucha-making.

    Anyhow, kombucha is made by adding sugar and a specific culture containing several strands of yeast and bacteria to tea (usually black).

    The fermentation process, which takes anywhere from five to ten days, results in a tea beverage rich in B vitamins, amino acids, and probiotics (health-promoting bacteria).

    (FYI: The cultures eat up the sugar originally added in, so the end result is basically a sugar-free tea).

    The only thing I would be very careful of is where you get your kombucha.

    Commercial varieties are perfectly safe.  Individuals who make their own kombucha at home, though, can run the risk of unknowingly growing harmful bacteria if they are not careful.

    Individuals with compromised immune systems need to be take extreme care when making — or drinking someone else’s — home-made kombuchas.  A “bad batch” of homemade kombucha can really do a nasty number on their health.

    My main gripe with kombucha — besides the fact that my tastebuds loathe it — is that its health claims are rarely put into dietary context.

    Its status as a fermented beverage gives kombucha a good share of healthful properties, but they hold little weight if the drink is consumed as part of an otherwise unhealthy diet.

    I certainly don’t scoff at the idea that kombucha is a healthy beverage (it most certainly is!), but I am not impressed by the hype.  In my mind, it is equivalent to other probiotics (i.e.: tempeh, yogurt with live and active cultures, kefir).

    You must always remember that health relates to regular and consistent dietary patterns, not one or two foods with magical properties.

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    You Ask, I Answer: Pickling

    I know most pickles have a high sodium content, but I’m wondering if the vinegar and processing destroys the nutrients in the veggies.

    I know cucumbers don’t have a whole lot going for them, but pickled green beans are yummy.

    Do they have the same nutrients as unpickled green beans?

    — Jennifer Armstrong
    Via the blog

    This question doesn’t have a clear cut answer.

    Although storing vegetables in a jar of vinegar results in some nutrient losses, the amount actually lost is dependent on how long the vegetables sit in the pickling solution for.

    The first nutrients to go are the water-soluble vitamins (vitamin C and the B complex).

    However, unless these green beans are sitting in the solution for months, you are still getting a percentage of those vitamins.

    The fat soluble vitamins (in green beans’ case, K and A) remain untouched, as do the present minerals (phosphorus, potassium, manganese) and fiber.

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    You Ask, I Answer: Mushrooms

    From a nutrition standpoint, are all varieties of mushrooms pretty much the same?

    Sometimes I see portobello mushroom steak as a vegetarian option at restaurants.

    Is it higher in protein than other types?

    — Linda Ahern
    Santa Ana, CA

    All mushrooms are good low-calorie sources of potassium, phosphorus, and two B vitamins (riboflavin and niacin.)

    A cup of chopped mushrooms also offers approximately ten percent of the selenium daily value (although oyster mushrooms come up short in this mineral.)

    Portobello mushrooms are not higher in protein than other varieties.

    A five-ounce serving only delivers 5 grams of protein (that same amount of tofu offers 15 grams; five ounces of seitan contribute 30 grams; half a cup of black beans adds up to 10 grams.)

    Portobello mushroom “steak” as a vegetarian option on a restaurant menu strikes me as rather uninspired, particularly when it is the only meat-free choice.

    I can’t tell you how many times I have been at events where that is the sole vegetarian dish, and it is literally nothing but a huge, grilled portobello mushroom inside a hamburger bun. Snore!

    Many chefs love it, though, because it’s very easy to prepare.

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    You Ask, I Answer/Quick & Easy Recipes: Vegan Alfredo Sauce

    I became vegan about two months ago.

    I don’t really miss many things since I find perfectly tasty substitutes, but yesterday night I found myself craving alfredo sauce (maybe it’s the cold weather).

    Since I have seen some vegan recipes on the blog, I wondered if you had any ideas as to how I can have alfredo sauce without dairy?

    — Shannon Gibson
    St. Paul, MN

    You’ve come to the right place, Shannon!

    Although I am not vegan, I love vegan cooking — it is creative, healthy, and always offers a new experience for the tastebuds.

    After several experiments, I crafted this delicious dairy-free alfredo sauce:

    YIELDS: 6 servings (1 serving = 1/2 cup)

    INGREDIENTS

    3/4 cup raw cashews
    1 cup water
    3 garlic cloves
    2 Tablespoons lemon juice (freshly squeezed preferred)
    1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    1/4 cup nutritional yeast
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon pepper (optional)
    2 or 3 large basil leaves (optional)

    INSTRUCTIONS

    Place cashews in food processor. Pulse for 20 – 30 seconds.

    Add water and pulse until cashews and water are evenly mixed.

    Combine rest of ingredients in food processor until blended.

    NUTRITION INFORMATION (per serving)

    150 calories
    1.5 grams saturated fat
    380 milligrams sodium
    4 grams fiber
    8.5 grams protein

    Good source of: B vitamins (including B12!), magnesium, copper, phosphorus, manganese, potassium, iron

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