Tofu, tempeh, and seitan are usually staples in a vegetarian’s diet, but if you are new to the meat-free world, preparing and eating these foods can be a bit intimidating. This chart should help you understand the nutritional differences of each. Also, let’s look at how these meat alternatives are made and what they taste like, so that you can make an informed decision whether or not to include them in your diet. There are some differences to each that make organic tofu stand out as the best choice for the Health-e-Solutions lifestyle
This spongy, smooth, wet white food is made by curdling fresh hot soy milk with a coagulant. Yummy, huh? But really, it is, especially when cooked right. Tofu comes in block form and is often stored in water to prevent it from drying out. Tofu is sold in a variety of consistencies, ranging from silken (very soft) to super-extra firm. Since tofu has an extremely mild taste, when added to recipes, it takes on the flavor profile of whatever you are making. Tofu can be eaten plain and raw, marinated and baked, browned in a pan, grilled or freeze-dried. Be sure to read the labels. If it does not specifically say “Organic” it is highly likely it is made with GMO soy beans. Also, watch out for added gluten in some brands and types.
This brownish and more textured soy product is made by fermenting cooked soybeans. Sounds pretty unappetizing, but it makes for a firm and chewy texture people might prefer over the often squishy tofu (unless you get the extra-firm variety of tofu like we do). Sold in long, flat rectangular cakes, it tastes so sweet, nutty, and almost earthy that some people cube it and eat it raw. Tempeh can also be stir-fried, baked, breaded, or grilled. Although it is firm, it still absorbs the flavors around it, so it is an easy and versatile ingredient to add to any dish. Unfortunately, Tempeh has a little bit too much fast-acting carbohydrate for optimal blood glucose control in our opinion. We steer clear of tempeh for this reason, but if you can find a brand with enough fiber and no added sugar, you may be able to include a serving here or there.
Also called wheat meat or mock duck, seitan is more similar to the look and consistency of meat. It is brownish in color, has a chewy texture, and just like tofu and tempeh, can take on whatever flavor you add to it. Wheat meat can be grilled, baked, or pan fried, and if you don’t like it plain (and don’t have time to marinate it yourself), many brands sell flavored seitan such as barbecue and teriyaki. Disappointingly, this animal alternative is made from wheat gluten, so it is a no-no for the Health-e-Solutions lifestyle. It is made by washing wheat flour dough with water until all the starch dissolves, which leaves an elastic mass that is cooked before being eaten. Typically it is much higher in glycemic load than we target for optimal blood glucose control. We would not risk including seitan in the Health-e-Solutions lifestyle primarily for the gluten, but also because of the glycemic load.
There is a plethora of divergent opinions about nutrition and diabetes management. We believe the guidance we provide In this downloadable, printable e-publication will help you make more informed decisions for thriving health and optimal #BloodSugarControl. We provide practical examples of select foods and how we believe they stack up for inclusion, exclusion or moderated use in the Health-e-Solutions lifestyle. Learn with us about healthy alternative sweeteners, fats and oils and why we limit animal products. We clear up the confusion surrounding healthy water choices, raw food versus cooked food, fermented food and whether or not phytates help or hinder health. To be informed is to be prepared to get your #DiabetesMastered!