Category Archives: Health

More joys of nutritional yeast

By Pamela

When I was first thinking about becoming vegan, it was long before vegan cheeses were palatable or even available. I used to post on a well-known vegetarian message board, and it was there that a very kind vegan took me under his wing and introduced me to nutritional yeast. He even sent me some by mail all the way from the Southern United States, because I had no idea where to buy it in Ottawa.

Nutritional yeast.

(He actually sent it twice, because the first time he sent it, it was confiscated by customs! I eventually received the first package many months after the second one arrived.)

Nutritional yeast is super healthy (as its name implies), and also very delicious. Not so much on its own, but it is very versatile and can be used to make nice cheezy sauces. Given that I used to be a cheese-a-holic in my pregan days (yes, it IS possible to stop eating it and still enjoy food and life), that’s a good attribute for something to have.

Nutritional yeast is a source of protein and vitamins, especially B vitamins, and is a complete protein. It’s also low in fat and sodium. Some brands, although not all, are fortified with vitamin B12. Nowadays it can be found at virtually any health food store, it’s at Loblaws, and even Bulk Barn.

"Faux poulet"
I’m going to share one of my favorite nutritional yeast recipes, that also incorporates another favorite at our house: faux chicken. I’m not huge on fake meats, but this one, like nutritional yeast, is amazingly versatile and can stand in for any recipe that calls for chicken breast. They’re made by President’s Choice and are widely available at Loblaws and its sister stores for about $12.99 for eight “breasts.” As the five year old at home puts it, “Le faux poulet…c’est très bon.”

Here’s my recipe (original as far as I know, I didn’t source it from anywhere). Please forgive me if it comes out a bit weird, I don’t actually follow a recipe for this and it’s my best guess:

Cheezy pasta with greens
(Serves four)

About 300 grams of rice pasta (rotini or penne)
2 breasts of faux poulet, cut into strips
3 cups of kale/spinach (small pieces)
One tomato, diced
about 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 TB olive or flax oil
salt and pepper to taste
½ tsp. Red pepper flakes (optional, to taste)

Cook the pasta. Drain. Rinse.

While it’s cooking, in the biggest frying pan you’ve got water saute the greens, tomato and the faux poulet until greens are limp and the poulet is warmed through.

Dump the pasta in. Stir everything around. Add the oil, nutritional yeast, seasonings. Stir it all around until well-combined. If you’d like it to be a bit creamier add some more oil or water. Keep on low heat until ready to serve.

Enjoy!

Cheezy pasta with greens.

“Enviropigs”- A needlessly complex (and unkind) “solution”

Last week The Globe and Mail ran an article about transgenic pigs, that are being developed to be more enivronmentally friendly. They’re dubbed, “Enviropigs.” The article can be read here:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/time-to-lead/global-food/canadas-transgenic-enviropig-is-stuck-in-a-genetic-modification-poke/article1812708/

The NCVA sent the following response as a letter to the editor:

Re: Canada’s transgenic Enviropig is stuck in a genetic modification poke

It is clear from this article that there is a widespread and growing acceptance that our current system of agriculture is environmentally unsustainable. For many people, this alarm was first sounded with the 2006 United Nations report, “Livestock’s Long Shadow,” which emphasized the environmental degradation caused by much of the world’s love affair with meat. The livestock sector generates more greenhouse gas emissions – 18 per cent – than transport. It is also a major source of land and water degradation.

Acknowledging that a problem exists is the first step towards finding a solution. However, the solution that’s being touted—producing genetically modified, so-called environmentally friendly livestock—is an unnecessarily convoluted and problematic response, especially considering that there is a much simpler, safer, and kinder option.

Perhaps transgenic livestock have the potential to relieve some environmental burden, but that solution does little to address the additional environmental issues arising from raising livestock, and nothing to address the moral and ethical aspects that we must—as a thinking and supposedly just society—take under consideration.

There are plenty of protein and nutrient rich foods that people can eat and thrive on, and bypass all of these concerns, such as lentils, beans, rice, leafy green vegetables, nuts, legumes, grains and seeds, and hemp. Plant-based foods by nature require less resources to produce, and are less polluting.

A 2010 United Nations report ( the UNEP’s international panel of sustainable resource management) stated that a global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty and the worst impacts of climate change. The report stated, “Impacts from agriculture are expected to increase substantially due to population growth increasing consumption of animal products…A substantial reduction of impacts would only be possible with a substantial worldwide diet change, away from animal products.”

Unfortunately many people still associate meat with affluence, but their health, the environment, and the animals pay dearly for this perception. The good news is that there have never been more resources available to people who are willing to make this shift, and there’s never been a better—or more important time—to do so.

National Capital Vegetarian Association
Ottawa
http://www.ncva.ca