Happy Herbivore Blog

December 1, 2012

This Week's Q&A (Talking Tempeh & Blogging!)

You've got questions...


Q: What are your feelings on tempeh's high fat content? I know you use it in some of your recipes, so I was curious.

A: I enjoy tempeh from time to time as part of my low-fat, whole foods, plant-based diet — and you’re right, you’ll find a few tempeh recipes in HHC and EHH . If you’re looking to lose weight, Dr. McDougall suggests limiting all soy and eating it in small quantities since it’s so rich (all soy products — like tofu, tempeh, and edamame — are pretty high in fat naturally). But if you’re not working toward a weight goal, you don’t have heart disease (Dr. Essy advises a very strict low-fat diet for heart patients), and you don’t have an allergy or sensitivity to soy, eat a little tempeh on occasion if the spirit moves you. Just remember that it’s important to eat a wide variety of foods, so tempeh should be one of many foods you enjoy — no tempeh 3x a day ;) 

Q: Any advice about canning?

A: I’ve never “canned” anything myself but there are hundreds of websites dedicated to canning with information, step-by-step tutorials, and more — try Google!

Q: What pointers can you offer about avoiding GMO (genetically modified foods)?

A: The best way to avoid GMO is to eat a whole foods plant-based diet (absolutely no animal products) and avoid processed foods — even if they are vegan. By processed foods, I mean foods that come in a box or packaging — like cookies or chips. If nothing else, take care to avoid "foods" (I use quotes intentionally) with corn syrup and HFCS. Avoid oil for your health, but especially if you want to avoid GMO. The most common oils (i.e., vegetable, canola, and corn) tend to be GMO, so avoid fried foods and processed foods with oil.

Additionally, buy organic produce whenever possible. With soy products, look for the non-GMO label. The tofu I buy locally, for example, says organic and non-GMO right on the box. Look out for papaya too — make sure your papaya is organic and if it’s frozen in a bag, labeled non-GMO.

Basically, if you eat a whole foods plant-based (no oil) diet, which is the best way to eat for our health, then you can feel pretty safe about avoiding GMO. Just keep an eye out with tofu and papaya in particular.

Q: Is sunflower lecithin considered an oil?

A: It’s a “fat” but not an “oil.” According to Wikipedia, “Lecithin” is a generic term to designate any group of yellow-brownish fatty substances occurring in animal and plant tissues. With regard to food, it’s typically used as an emulsifier. For example, lecithin is what keeps cocoa and cocoa butter in a candy bar from separating. Just about any processed food you pick up with have some kind of lecithin in it (most commonly soy lecithin). It’s one of many things that makes a product shelf-stable. Sunflower lecithin is less common, but exists, especially in products that are trying to be “soy-free.” 

Q: I'm creating my own blog/website. I’d like to post specific recipes I've tried and post my own pictures. Would this be okay?

A: Pictures and write-ups are awesome  — just please don’t post the recipes on your site. Rather, link to the recipe on happyherbivore.com or reference a page number in the books with a link to Amazon. Thanks and happy bloggin’! 

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