Nutritional Yeast. What? Why?

Alrighty.  Well my vacation is over, so that means diving back into things!  In my last post I spoke about Sprouted Grains, and briefly about Nutritional Yeast.

This is post is solely about NY (Nutritional Yeast), what the heck it is, what it tastes like, why I use it, and how it can be used.

I have started getting a lot of questions pertaining to what I am buying, and why – so what better way to start answering those questions.

SO.  I am always a big fan of finding foods that have more nutritional value than others – and finding substitutions.  The substitution in this case would be – using Nutritional Yeast in place of shredded/grated/melted cheese.

The flakes do have a “cheese-like” flavor.  Now – I won’t lie to you.  It does not taste EXACTLY like cheese.  BUT – it’s not bad either – it just takes a tiny bit of getting used to.

Cheese is delicious – however many of things that make it delicious – make it difficult to exercise portion control: higher fat contents, high in sodium, and again some people make the choice to limit cheese because they feel cows are treated inhumanely, do not tolerate dairy, want to avoid any possible contact with growth hormone etc.

Not here to judge- but those are reasons why.  Personally – I am just up for finding a more nutritious alternative when I am in my off season of training, or the night before a big run when I limit my fat intake.

Especially after my epic cheese debacle prior to the Kalamazoo Half.  :-l 

So.  What the heck is itttt?

Nutritional yeast is a single celled organism, and a deactivated yeast.  It is grown on things like beet molasses, and sugar cane.  During the processing of those products the yeast is buzzed with heat (deactivated), then it is crumbled and packaged.  It is NOT the same thing as Brewer’s Yeast – or “Active yeast” so do not try to substitute nutritional yeast in for bread baking or beer making – it will NOT go as planned.

For all of you vegans out there – nutritional yeast does not come from animal sources it is actually a member of the fungi family.

At this point it can also be fortified by different manufacturers.  Different manufactures will fortify it different ways, and with different amounts.  Nutritional yeast is gluten free, it many times is fortified with iron.  It is also packed with vitamins and minerals: B vitamins – specifically B-12 which is a huge concern if you happen to be a Vegan.  It also contains Folic Acid, a serving is also considered to be a complete protein – containing all of the essential amino acids.

So it’s  vegan, and gluten free, a good source of B-12, it is also free of MSG, but it does contain free glutamic acid – however glutamic acid is a naturally occurring amino acid in yeast cells.  It is also dairy and soy free as well.

Remember that each brand will have it’s own method for production and fortifying so if you’re able to compare brands – do so.  Some common brands, and both are brands I have used are Bob’s Red Mill, and Bragg.

bobs nutritional yeast Bragg-Premium-Nutritional-Yeast-Seasoning-074305066054

Ok so you want to try it?  Here are some ways to give it a whirl:

-Sprinkle on popcorn

-Sprinkle on top of mashed/smashed potatoes

-Sprinkle on top of roasted veggies

-Add on bean dishes

-If you add a crust or any of your meats (i.e. cleaned up shake n bake) – add some of this to the mix

Think  of it this way – anything you may sprinkle some cheese on top of – you could sprinkle some of this on.

Like I said before whether you are like me, and on the hunt for nutritious alternatives, or you legitimately do not eat cheese (for whatever reason).  This is a solid way to go.  If you are someone transitioning away from cheese, you could mix this and like Parmesan cheese (50/50) to get used to the taste.  And it’s not that the taste is bad, but is not like having a heaping mound of shredded cheddar on your bowl of grits (or my bowl of grits- another useful place to have some).

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