I first began adding vegan protein sources to my diet when I was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 32. I cut meat out entirely once I began reading about excessive meat consumption and its connection to a wide range of diseases.
I wish back then I’d known about this terrific, tasty source of vegan protein: tempeh. Today, I can’t get enough of it.
What exactly is tempeh?
Tempeh is a fermented plant-based protein with a nutty, mushroom-like flavor. Partially cooked, minimally processed soybeans are made into a cake, then fermented overnight.
It's a versatile source of protein that can be used in a variety of different recipes. I like to marinate it with ginger, coconut aminos, lime and sesame oil or make a BLT with tempeh in the place of bacon.
Should I be concerned about the soy in tempeh?
The majority of soy in the United States is genetically modified, and GMO soy has been linked to a number of health complications. Unfortunately, all soy products have been put into this dangerous category — but not all soy products are created equal.
When soy is fermented, it yields more nutritional benefits. Seek out organic and non-GMO tempeh to avoid health risks.
What are the benefits of tempeh?
It's fermented, meaning it significantly benefits your digestive health. It helps recolonize the good bacteria in your gut, neutralizing bad bacteria. This not only improves your gut's ability to digest food, it improves nutrient absorption.
2. It's a complete protein
Just 3 ounces of tempeh has about 16 grams of protein. More importantly, it's a complete source of protein — meaning it contains essential amino acids. These amino acids are the building blocks of protein that your body can't naturally produce, so you have to get them through food.
3. It's loaded with vitamins and minerals.
Tempeh has a significant amount of iron, calcium, magnesium, fiber and B vitamins and increases antioxidant support.
If you're looking to reduce meat consumption and find healthy protein sources, tempeh is a no-brainer.