sobota, 23. februar 2013

Why tofu is not the healthiest meat alternative?

Is tofu healthier alternative to meat?

Yes, usually tofu is better option than meat. It can be used directly as a meat substitute in many meat dishes very easyly just by replacing meat with tofu (learn how to cook with tofu). It is more healthy than meat in most cases and way more eco friendly and ecological.
But is it the best alternative to meat when looking purely from health perspective?
Well... not really. There are many healthier options... one simple is tempeh which is basically fermented tofu and digests easily.
But the best alternative to meat is.... FRESH FRUITS and VEGETABLES!!
Can you replace the meat in any recipe with fruits? Not really :), maybe with some veggies, like sweet potato, some mushrooms, ... But you can do much more healthy meal than ordinary dish replacing meat with some other stuff... change entire meal :)

The healthier example for a daily diet vegan style

The best way to break your fast (try to eat your dinner as early as possible to have a long fast every night) is with fruits. Lots of them. Fruits are not calorie dense and therefore you need to eat bigger portions of them.
There are few rules to follow when eating more fruits:
- always eat them on empty stomach since they diggest very fast and can make troubles if eat them after some heavier meal. The best is to eat them BEFORE meal or eat entire meal of raw fruits and veggies
- do not combine too much fatty foods with fruits since fats can mess up proper insulin function. This goes for all carbohydrate foods and fats... try to limit fats in your food
- eat fruits that are ripe and taste good. Bananas must have little brown spots.
- try to get as best quality as possible, preferable organic
- do not mix too much different fruits at same time.
The best way are mono meals of one fruit followed by mono meal of another fruit. For instance: start with water mellon. After some time, hit 3-5 apples. After another 10-20 minutes (or when you feel like it), go for 5-7 ripe bananas. And there you have the perfect rbeakfast, easy, quick, not expensive and you will feel like flying :) If you want even more boost, start with fresh vegetable juice (3 apples, 1 beetroot, 5 carrots, celery) instead of coffee.

important notice!!!... be ware of all side effects of eating more fruits (more energy, more brain power, clarity, diseases are starting to go away, ... ;)

Green smoothie time!!! What, why and how? Check out  this video:

In short: it tastes fantastic (especially when you know how much greens you put inside :), it is easy to make and you can take them everywhere you go and is simple way to consume huge amounts of insanely healthy greens that otherwise don't taste good by itself.

Simple green smoothie example:
- huge bunch of greens (kale, lettuce, dandelion, stinging nettles, rocket, wild herbs,...)
- water
- 5 bananas
- some other fruits of your choice, great options are blueberries, even frozen

Yes, there is no problem of eating some healthy meal with tofu instead of meat. You can even do it without tofu since greens in smoothie and fruits are packed with nutrients and vitamins and you already have perfect aminoacid profile.

These is just one very very healthy example of healthy eating. Tofu is quite good option but not the best one in my opinion.

nedelja, 27. februar 2011

Tofu Calories

Are you worried about calories in tofu? No need. Tofu is a great food even if you are counting your calories.

How many calories are in tofu?
In 100 grams (0.22 lb) of tofu are only about 75 calories. That sounds great. And it is.
Tofu scramble (vegan)Image via Wikipedia
 For comparison (estimates in 100g of food)
- meat (100 - 400 calories)
- fried eggs (195 calories)
- milk 2% (51 calories)
- cheese (150 - 350 calories)
- pizza  (200 calories)

You can see that if you are on diet and counting your daily calories it is the perfect food for you. That does not mean you can eat tons of it. Of course, calories are related to the amount of food you eat. The more you eat the more calories you get.

Where do tofu calories come from?
In 100g of tofu there is about 75 calories. 38 calories from fat + 33 calories from protein and only 4 calories from carbohydrates. Keep in mind that exact figures depend on the brand and the type of tofu. These are average numbers. Firmer tofu has more calories and softer less since it contains more water.

Calorie to Protein Ratio
For each 100 calorie serving, tofu contains 11 grams of protein. Except for soybean sprouts, tofu has the lowest ratio of any other known plant food. There are only 12 calories for each gram of usable protein in tofu. The only animal sources of protein with lower ratio are some fish and sea foods.

Carbs in Tofu
Tofu is also great when it comes to low carb diets. It contains less than 3 calories from carbs per 100 grams of tofu.

Other health benefits of tofu
- contains no cholesterol
- tofu is low in simple sugars
- low in sodium ( salt )
- good source of Calcium and many other nutrients
Read detailed tofu nutrition

So how do I cook tofu to get least calories?
Do not use too much oil. The best way is to eat it raw or to slightly fry it without oil. You can marinate it to make it taste better. Do not forget the most crucial thing when cooking tofu: remove water out of it before cooking or marinating.

Recipes for least calories
The best way is to eat it raw. Make smoothie with fruits and/or green veggies and you will get yourself a perfect and nutrient meal. Or prepare salad with some tofu. You don't have to use lots of tofu. Read more recipes for tofu.

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torek, 25. januar 2011

What is tofu made of

The short answer is: tofu is made of soy! Actually it is not made of soy but of soy milk.

Soy is the main ingredient in tofu. Other ingredients needed when making tofu are coagulant and water. This process is similar to cheese making.

TofuImage via Wikipedia
How is Tofu Made
Tofu is made by coagulating soy milk with salts such as calcium sulphate and pressing the resulting curds.

First, whole Soybeans are soaked in water and then ground down with water, the resulting liquid after straining is what makes soy milk.

The soy milk is then heated up and coagulated. The common coagulates are calcium sulfate, magnesium chloride and nigari. Less coagulant produces softer tofu, more of it produces harder tofu.

Once the majority of the milk is coagulated, the curded mixture is poured into a cheese cloth lined mold and allowed to sit in a block. After several minutes (when the tofu becomes firmer) it is stored in small packages and filled with water.

Health Benefits of Tofu
The soy protein and isoflavones in tofu are considered a powerful cholesterol fighters.

Tofu has high amounts of the trace mineral selenium which is very important for the proper functioning of the antioxidant system.

The isoflavones in tofu act as a form of estrogen in the body, and have been shown to be very helpful in alleviating the side effects associated with menopause.

As a good source of iron, tofu helps in the process of energy production.

Tofu is packed with protein which contain all essential amino acids. It is perfect alternative to meat. In fact it is even better, it has less fat and less calories than meat.

That is all about it. It is that simple. Check it out since tofu is great alternative to meat.
If all your previous attempts of eating tofu didn't end well then the preparation was not good.
Tofu is very simple food to cook with. But there are some crucial tips for making food that tastes delicious. Before cooking you should always remove all existing water out of it. Tofu is like a sponge and it is usually filled with water. To make it able to absorb other flavors you have to remove water out. You can do this by pressing it or dry frying. When you successfully removed as much water as possible then tofu is ready to became a delicious meal. Check out this tips for how to cook tofu.

torek, 18. januar 2011

How to Cook Tofu - Tips

Tofu is also known as bean curd. It is very popular vegetarian and vegan food item that is made of soy milk. The dish has become very popular in most parts of the world. Since tofu has a very little flavor of its own, it is used as an ingredient in a wide variety of dishes.

Fried Pieces of TofuImage via WikipediaHere are some tips that are good to know when cooking tofuTofu soup.Image via Wikipedia

The Fresher The Better
The best tofu was made today by your local tofu dealer.  It tastes delicious! If you can't get one of those then try to buy organic one that has best-before date as far as possible and use it as soon as possible.

Store Tofu in a Fridge
If you open a pack of it and do not use it all, then drain, rinse, and submerge in fresh cool water in a clean container. Store in the fridge for no more than a few days. Try to clean it and replace water with fresh one every day. Adding a couple of ice cubes to the storage helps to extend storage time a bit. Be sure that tofu is completely submerged in water.

What is the right amount

Tofu is a concentrated protein and should be eaten in small quantities, combined with grains and veggies. You do not need it as much as meat. A couple of smaller slices will usually do.

Choose the right type of Tofu

Tofu comes in a wide variety of forms, from extra soft to extra firm. Some types are better for particular cooking method. Soft tofu may be scrambled like eggs while firmer tofu is better suited for frying.

How to Make Firmer Tofu

If you have only soft tofu, you can make it a little firmer by pressing it at home. Cut the soft tofu into blocks or slices. Put these pieces in between multiple layers of paper towels, on top and bottom. Then put a weight of about one kilogram on top of it for about 1-2 hours and change the paper towels a couple of times. In the end most of the water should be eliminated and tofu ready for delicious stir-fry.

Press the Tofu
Because tofu is full of water you should press out the old water so you can get new water with flavours in. Do not skip this process. It is the key to make tofu taste delicious. Allways remove all water out of it, even if you do not plan to marinate it.

First drain the water that it's packaged in and cover it with a clean paper towel. Weigh down the dish towel with a kilogram weight to remove any excess water that's left. This should take around 15 minutes. If you slice it first you can speed up the process.
For best results you can buy a tofu press. It is a special equipment made exclusively for pressing tofu and removing every bit of water out of it. It does the job extremely well.

Dry Frying Technique for Removing Water

Another method for removing the water is frying the tofu on small heat to let the water to evaporate before marinating it. Use a Teflon pan with no oil. Fry it on both sides. This is a quick and very simple way.

Marinating tips

Marinating tofu is a popular way of giving it a flavour of your taste. If you are marinating for less than one hour it can be done at room temperature with tofu covered. However, for best results you should marinate tofu overnight. Marinating should be done in a tightly-covered container in the refrigerator. Because frozen and thawed tofu absorbs marinades faster than unfrozen tofu.

Tofu hates marinades containing oil
Tofu has a lot of water in it, even after you press it. Since oil and water don't mix stay away from oil in your tofu marinade. Using oil will actually create an oil slick on the tofu and the flavors will have a hard time to get in. Replace the oil in marinade with vinegar, soy sauce, citrus juice and add in only in the end.

Cooking Tofu
Tofu acts like a sponge. If you removed the water from your tofu then be careful if you put it in any liquid since it will absorb that taste.
In a soup or stew, you can preserve the the flavor of a marinated tofu by first frying it on a little oil. If this process is skipped, then the flavors from tofu will mix with the soup or stew broth.
Barbecue it for 4-5 minutes on each side.

Bake it. Slice pressed and drained firm tofu blocks into thin slices and bake on a cookie sheet (sprayed with non-stick spray) at 350-400 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Saute cubes or thin triangles of pressed and drained firm tofu in coconut oil until golden brown.

Deep fry it. Fry thin slices of pressed and drained firm tofu in your deep fryer until light brown and crispy.

Add it to a chili or stew. After firm tofu is drained and pressed, it can be crumbled into pieces that are much like ground turkey or ground beef. Add crumbled firm tofu to a chili or stew and cook through for at least 15 minutes at medium heat. If you marinated it fry it on oil to lock in marinated taste inside.

Make a cheesecake or custard. Silken tofu is great for making cheesecakes and custards. Replace cream cheese with tofu in cheesecake and custard recipes to create delicious, high protein desserts.

Pan-fry it. For about 5 minutes on medium heat on each side.

Stir-fry it. Stir-fry chunks of pressed and drained firm tofu much as you would any other meat. The tofu will nicely absorb the flavors of the stir-fry oils and sauce.

Create tofu smoothie. Use silken tofu. Add fresh fruit, berries, soy milk and ice and blend for a healthful, protein-laden smoothie.

Simmer chunks of firm tofu in a broth, soup or marinade for at least 15 minutes.

Cook Tofu for Babies
Tofu is usually not given to babies below the age of ten months. If your baby has allergies it should be avoided. Make sure to buy as fresh as possible tofu and use it quickly. One of the methods of preparing it for babies is to slice it and then saute it in olive oil. Steam and crumble tofu and mix it with fruits. You may also add softer tofu to babies soup or broth. There are many more options of preparing it for babies.

Serving Tofu

Tofu is best served with grains and vegetables. Some basic examples:
- try it with stir-fried vegetables over rice
- chill and add to a salad
- grill it and serve with potatoes and a veggie blend
- scramble it with taco seasoning and serve in a burrito
- fry and serve in a curry sauce over noodles

Tofu easily absorbs flavour and may be served in a variety of foods. The most important thing to remember is that it will take on the taste of whatever you season it with. You can experiment with different tastes and replace meat in almost any dish. Extra firm version is a good choice for beginners. Use fresh organic tofu and don't forget to marinate it.

If you have not tried it yet then don't waste any time. You don't know what you have been missing. Follow this cooking tips and you will make a delicious dish.

What about calories in tofu? Tofu is also great when it comes to low calorie intake. It contains less calories compared to meat, cheese or eggs. So if you are on a low calorie diet then tofu is great for you. Yet another argument for tofu. But as with all things.... use it wisely and do not overuse it ;)

Bon appetit!

petek, 14. januar 2011

Tofu Nutrition Facts

Tofu is a great vegetarian food. It has mild taste, is easy to cook with and can be used in many different dishes. But tofu is also important for it's nutritional values. It has many important minerals, vitamins and protein.
The recommended daily intake is 56 grams for most men and 46 for most women. It is a very popular food especially in Asian cuisine.

Tofu scramble (vegan)Image via WikipediaTofu Nutritional Facts
Tofu is rich in many nutrients: proteins, iron, B-vitamins. If it is made with calcium, it is also a great source of calcium.

Tofu is very low in sodium which makes it a perfect food for people on sodium-restricted diets.

Tofu also contains isoflavones, which help to prevent cancer and heart disease.

Tofu Protein Value
Tofu is an ideal protein food. It is often used as a meat substitute in vegan or vegetarian diets. It contains all the essential amino acids that human body can not produce on its own. For each 100 grams of tofu it contains about 8 grams of protein. If you put it in calories that is 11 grams in every 100 calories of tofu.

Calories in Tofu
You should not be worried about calorie intake from tofu. It has about 95 calories in a half-cup. By comparison - same amount of milk has 60 calories and one oz of cheese has 80 calories.

Fat Content in Tofu
It is low in saturated fat and contains no cholesterol.

Health Benefits
The soy protein and isoflavones in tofu are considered a powerful cholesterol fighters. Tofu is believed to lower LDL and triglyceride levels, strong indicators of heart disease. One serving of tofu also contains 15% of the daily requirement of omega-3 fatty acids.

Tofu has high amounts of the trace mineral selenium which is very important for the proper functioning of the antioxidant system.

The isoflavones in tofu act as a form of estrogen in the body, and have been shown to be very helpful in alleviating the side effects associated with menopause. The same isoflavones can be beneficial in fending off prostate cancer in men.

Tofu is a good source of dietary calcium, protecting against bone weakness, loss, osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

As a good source of iron, tofu helps in the process of energy production.

Nutritional values of Tofu in four ounces (113.4g)
note: values may vary due to different types of tofu.

source of values:
Protein9.16 g
Dietary Fiber0.34 g
Total Sugar0.45 g
Total Fat5.42 g
Cholesterol0 g
Vitamin A96.39 IU
Vitamin B1 (thiamin)0.09 mg
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)0.06 mg
Vitamin B3 (niacin)0.22 mg
Vitamin C0.11 mg
Vitamin E0.01 mg
Folate17.01 mcg
Calcium100.00 mg
Copper0.22 mg
Iron6.08 mg
Magnesium34.02 mg
Manganese0.69 mg
Phosphorus110.00 mg
Potassium137.21 mg
Selenium10.09 mcg
Sodium7.94 mg
Zinc0.91 mg

Tofu's nutritional values  are really impressive. If you haven't tried it yet you really should consider combining it into your diet. Look for tofu made from organic soybeans. It should be available in your local supermarket.

četrtek, 13. januar 2011


Tofu is especially loved by vegetarians and vegans thanks to it's great nutritional value. It is a perfect substitute for animal proteins. It can be eaten raw, cooked, fried or whatever way you desire. Since it doesn't have strong flavour you can marinate it to fit it to your taste. You can even make a smoothie or a delicious tofu pudding.

It is a great food, thanks to Chinese who invented it more than 2000 years ago. If prepared properly it can taste great.
Examples of high-protein foods are tofu, dairy...Image via Wikipedia

What is Tofu
Tofu is a soft cheese-like food made by curdling soy milk with a coagulant. You get a rather bland tasting product that easily absorbs new flavors through spices and marinades.

It is rich in protein and other nutrients. It is very popular in Asian cuisine and has also situated deeply into Western vegetarian and vegan cooking.

Types of Tofu
Firm tofu is dense and can be cubed and stir-fried, grilled, scrambled, pickled, smoked, baked, barbecued or served in soups.

Soft tofu is undrained tofu and contains large amount of moisture. It is more suited for recipes in which tofu needs to be blended.

Silken tofu has a creamy structure and is also used in blended dishes.

Dried tofu is an extra firm variety of tofu with large amount of moisture removed from it.

Benefits for your Health
Tofu is rich in both high quality protein and a numerous other nutrients necessary for good health. It contains all essential amino acids and therefore is a complete source of protein and an excellent substitute for meat. As opposed to soya milk, tofu contains a lot of calcium, iron and Omega-3 Fats. Calcium in tofu contributes to the prevention of osteoporosis. It reduces chances of heart disease and has multiple health benefits to the meat.

How Tofu is Made
Tofu is made by coagulating soy milk and pressing the resulting curds. The process is similar to the production of a cheese, but with soy milk instead of cows milk. This is 100% vegan process which means it does not contain any animal based ingredient.

Soy beans are soaked and then ground down with water. The resulting liquid after straining is the soy milk.
The soy milk is then heated up and coagulated. Less coagulant produces softer tofu, more produces harder tofu.

The History of Tofu
According to one Chinese legend, tofu was created when a cook decided to experiment by flavoring a batch of cooked soybeans with the compound nagari. Instead of flavored soybeans, he ended up with bean curd. This happened more than 2000 years ago. It soon became very popular with Buddhist monks who started the voyage of tofu all over the world.

How to Cook Tofu
Tofu does not need to be cooked at all and can be eaten raw. You can prepare it in almost any way you like. It is a very cooking-friendly food. It is a rather bland tasting product that easily absorbs the flavours of the other ingredients. The most important part of preparing tofu is to remove water that is inside it to make room for new flavours to get in. The best way to make it taste great is to marinate it. Before marinating it you should press it to remove water inside it. That way it absorbs more taste from marinade.
Another very important tip is to use as fresh tofu as possible. The best option is the one that was made the same day. Check more on how to cook tofu.
There are many types of  tofu, from soft to firm. If you want tofu to retain its shape then use firmer one, eg. for stir fry. For shakes or scrambles use softer tofu.

Tofu is rich in many nutrients: proteins, iron, B-vitamins, isoflavones. If made with a calcium, it is also a great source of calcium. There is no need for meat if you put tofu in your diet. Even if you are not vegan or vegetarian tofu is great and healthy alternative for meat.
On the other hand tofu contains small amount of calories. It has one of highest protein to calories ratio which means you get high amount of protein with least calories (11g of protein in 100 calories).

Tofu is low on Calories
In 100 grams (0.22 lb) of tofu there are only about 75 calories. This is less than in most foods with similar protein and nutrient values. For comparison: 100 grams of cheese contains from 150 - 350 calories. For more info read article on calories in tofu.

How much Tofu should I eat
Can you overdo the tofu? Yes, as with any food, too much tofu is not a good thing. This is particularly due to high protein content since too much ANY protein in your diet is not healthy, especially longterm. So keep everything in moderation, including the tofu!

nedelja, 09. januar 2011

The Tofu history

Tofu is a delicious soft, cheese-like food, made out of Soy milk. It is very popular in the Orient and is growing more and more popular all over the world. 

Tofu seem to have been invented by Taoists, but soon it became very popular with Chinese Buddhists, because of their strict vegetarian diet.Examples of high-protein foods are tofu, dairy...Image via Wikipedia

According to one Chinese legend, tofu was invented when a cook decided to experiment by flavoring a batch of cooked soybeans with the compound nagari. Instead of flavored soybeans, he wound up with bean curd. Nagari is frequently used in the production of tofu today.

The history of Tofu started more than 2000 years ago in China. Earliest evidences of tofu in Chinese diets is a mural incised on a stone slab, where both Tofu and Soya milk appear. This stone is dated around 100 A.D. The first people to write about tofu were Chinese writers somewhere around 900 AD.

At first the tofu started spreading over Asia with the help of Buddhism. Around 750 A.D kento priests who went to China to study Buddhism brought Tofu to Japan. Tofu was included in a vegetarian diet for priests and was often used as an offering at an altar. Tofu gradually became more and more popular among the Japanese higher class. The samurai, who needed healthy diets in their constant and rigorous training, also included Tofu in their diets.

In the Western world, tofu began to be popular in the late fifteen century. The first written reference about Tofu is in the 1603 Spanish dictionary "Vocabularion da lingoa de lapam". By the time the colonization era was over, Tofu had spread all across the World being a well-known element from almost every culture's diet.

Soybeans in a plantationImage via WikipediaTofu history in China 
Tofu is very popular in the Orient today but tofu was first used in China over 2000 years ago. The oldest evidence of tofu production is a Chinese mural incised on a stone slab. First document containing mention of the term "doufu" is the Ch'ing I Lu, written about 950 AD. There are many theories concerning the origin of tofu in China. The first theory states that tofu was created by Liu An, King of Huai-nan, who lived 179-122 BC. The second theory states that tofu was developed quite by accident, probably prior to AD 600, when a cook from northern China, seasoned a pureed soybean soup with unrefined sea salt containing natural nigari. The Indian theory states that tofu was imported from the dairying tribes or perhaps the Buddhist monks of India. The Mongolian theory states that the basic method for making tofu was adapted from the cheese-making process learned from milk-drinking Mongolian tribes living along the northern border of China.

According to ancient text, soybeans were cultivated in northern China at least as early as the 15th century B.C. , during the Chang period. A sixth century Chinese encyclopedia of agriculture cites that the explorers brought back soybeans to China from different expeditions to Greece, Rome, and India. In 2838 BC, the emperor Sheng-nung wrote a treatise on plants which describes the soya plant in detail. Chinese agricultural experts in 2207 BC also wrote about soybean cultivation. Soybeans represented important staple crop in China for quite some time.

Tofu history in Japan
 Kento priests, who went to China to study Buddhism, brought tofu back to Japan during the Nara era (710-794). Tofu was eaten as part of a vegetarian diet for priests for their protein content. Soon even samurai class adopted tofu to their strict healthy diets. At 1400 the upper classes of Japan started to include tofu in their diets and soon it spread amongst all classes all over Japan.

Tofu history in Western world
In 1603 the Spanish dictionary was the first European document with reference to the word "tofu". The first English reference to tofu was in 1704, when Navarrete's book was published in English. Tofu was first produced in France around 1880. In San Francisco tofu was produced by Hirata & Co in 1895. 
Massive production of Tofu began by T.A. Van Gundy in 1929 when he started the company La Sierra Industries in California.

Fried tofu for cookingImage via WikipediaAmericans did not adopt tofu to their diet so fast. Soybeans were available by the mid-1700s and popularized by Chinese immigrants traveling to California during the Gold Rush. As the Chinese immigrants traveled to other parts of the country, they spread the word across all America. The demand for tofu and other Asian foods increased after World War II. By the 1900s soybeans were grown as a cash crop as animal feed and for producing oil and oilcake residue for manufacturing purposes. By the 1950s the US rivaled Asia in its production of soybeans. Forty years later, the US would become the largest soybean producer in the world, providing nearly two-thirds of the global supply. Now soybeans are produced mainly to satisfy huge food demands for beef industry (especially GMO). Help the planet by choosing tofu over meat.

Since it beginnings, tofu has become a staple in many Asian countries, including Vietnam, Thailand, and Korea.
Okinawan cuisine: Peanut tofuImage via WikipediaTofu is a very healthy, protein rich and very tasteful food. It can be combined with all sorts of dishes, from salads and main dishes to desserts. It is no wonder that it grew so popular around the world and is gaining more and more popularity, especially in healthy diets.

Ok, now you know all about tofu history. Check out some tips how to cook tofu and how to prepare a delicious and healthy meal.

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