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Tofu: Healthy or Not

Tofu is one of those controversial foods (like milk or wheat). Some people say it’s a health food, while others say to avoid it at all costs. Which attitude is correct? Should you eat it? Find out.

What is Tofu?
Tofu is a soybean product … it’s made from the curds of soymilk (so it’s kind of similar to cheese, just using soy milk as a base rather than milk). Those curds are pressed into blocks and can be made into different textures — soft, firm and extra-firm. It has a neutral flavor, making it a versatile ingredient in a variety of cuisines.

Health Pros
Tofu has a lot to recommend it. It’s a good source of lean plant-based protein. A half-cup of tofu delivers 10 grams of protein for only 88 calories (that’s about half as much protein, but 45 fewer calories than the same amount of roasted, skinless chicken). In addition to protein, tofu gives you iron (11% DV) and zinc (7%) — both needed for cell growth and immunity, bone-building calcium (25% DV — make sure you look for calcium-set tofu, the kind packed in liquid), selenium and potassium (5% DV), among other nutrients. Eating soy foods has also been linked to a lower risk of heart disease.

Health Cons

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Meatless Monday: Sesame Eggplant With Tofu

eggplant with tofu

Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of life. It’s not a campaign to turn everyone in the world vegetarian or vegan; in fact, many involved are meat-lovers. Eating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?

Some people assume that vegetarians eat nothing but tofu. Tofu and plain lettuce. Maybe some vegetarians chow down on bean curd all day long, but for me, it’s one meatless protein that I do eat along with beans and nuts and dairy and all of that good stuff. But contrary to the belief of many, I did not stop eating meat so I could subsist on tofu alone.

That said, I do like tofu if it’s prepared properly. Tofu isn’t difficult to cook, but on its own it doesn’t taste great (it doesn’t taste like anything, actually), but it does absorb the flavors of spices, sauces or marinades quite well. You can add it to a stir-fry and it will take on the flavors of soy sauce, garlic and ginger. Add it to a Thai or Indian curry and it will soak up the richly-flavored sauce. You can fry it to a crisp, French-fry-style, or slather it with barbecue sauce. Add tofu to soup and it will absorb the flavors of the broth and add interesting texture to your bowl.

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