Nooch – Excellent Source of B12 for Vegan’s and Vegetarians

28 August 2013

First, what is “Nooch?”

Nooch is slang for “good tasting nutritional yeast”, a yeast that is deactivated (meaning it has no fermenting ability). It is produced by culturing pure strains of yeast with a mixture of sugarcane and beet molasses, it’s then dried, and packaged as flakes, both large and small. Despite this process, there are no glucose or gluten concerns and it cannot cause or contribute to Candida yeast infections. So, nutritional yeast flakes are generally considered okay for those on yeast free diets.

One of the things that many strict plant-based vegetarians and vegans report having a hard time giving up is cheese, and the main reason nooch is so popular with many of them is due to its “cheesy” flavor.  Since both B12 and dairy are ruled out once you commit to an entirely plant-based diet, you can see why something that offers the best of both worlds is so enticing. Furthermore, nobody needs cheese to survive, but everyone does need vitamin B12 and it is the only vitamin that is not recognized as being reliably supplied from a varied whole food, plant-based die.

Because nutritional yeast is a type of fungus, similar to mushrooms but not like Candida, it won’t produce its vitamin B12 on its own, it requires bacteria to create it.

Bragg’s and Red Star are both popular brands that put out a B12 fortified nutritional yeast that can be found in many health food stores and in some grocers bulk sections, you can also order it online. Bob’s Red Mill also has packaged yeast products that are fortified with B12. Always check individual ingredient labels to make sure of the nutritional content.

Good nutritional yeasts are naturally fat and sodium free and will supply “the essentials for life.” The following is a brief list of what you can expect to get when you include nutritional yeast in your diet…

• A complete and digestible protein, with essential and non-essential amino acids.

• B complex vitamins.

• Macro- and micro-minerals.

• Complex carbohydrates (beta-1,3 glucan and mannan).

• Glutathione, an intracellular antioxidant.

• Phospholipids such as lecithin.

What does it look and taste like?

It looks like yellow dried flakes (it may sound a bit gross but the flaky texture looks similar to fish food). Nutritional yeast isn’t anything like the chemical and preservative filled faux cheese mixes. It’s delicious, with kind of a nutty/cheesy flavor.

How do you use it?

You can add it to just about anything and everything. You can put it in a shaker and literally sprinkle it on all your meals…soups, veggies, salads, etc. One of the most common uses is in place of parmesan cheese, and it’s a fantastic topping for popcorn.

Nutritional yeast is much more than just a condiment. You can use it in recipes for a cheesy flavor without and dairy; mashed potatoes are one good example. And, if you want to make a healthy (and tasty) vegan cheesy sauce or spread, nooch is definitely the go-to ingredient.

Recipe idea – A great vegan “cheesy” flavored dip/spread…

1 Can – 15½ oz. Great Northern, Navy or Cannellini Beans (drained)

½ Cup – Roasted Red Pepper (or Pimiento)

3 Tbsp. – Nutritional Yeast

3 Tbsp. – Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice

3 Tbsp. – Tahini

1 tsp. – Sea salt

1 tsp. – Yellow Mustard

1 tsp. – Onion Powder or Granulated Onion (not onion salt)

Put everything in a food processor and blend until smooth. Store in fridge for up to a week.

Tip: Try adding one roasted Jalapeno pepper for a little extra punch!

Of related interest, click on:

The Advantages of a Plant-Based Diet (Pt. 1)

The Advantages of a Plant-Based Diet (Pt. 2)

The Advantages of a Plant-Based Diet (Pt. 3)

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