I am Dr. Monique May, Board-certified Family Physician and Founder of Physician in the Kitchen™. Through my meal delivery service, best-selling book, MealMasters: Your Simple Guide to Modern Day Meal Planning, and online cooking classes, I help busy households enjoy healthy eating without impacting their hectic schedules.
Hello MealMasters! People choose to adopt vegan or other lifestyles for a variety of reasons, and they are usually related to improving their health. They may want to eliminate the need for medications to treat their cholesterol or high blood sugar, or maybe they want to lose a few pounds to reach an ideal or preferred weight. By cutting out animal protein, you may notice an improvement in chronic conditions such as joint pain or kidney disease. You may also decrease your risk of developing certain types of cancer. For me, in addition to the known health benefits of a plant-based diet, I truly enjoy experimenting and testing recipes featuring vegetables or other plant-based foods. I also get to create in my “lab” while using my many kitchen gadgets and appliances. This year I am chronicling my journey toward more plant-based meals, and I am sharing with my readers my favorite foods, along with tips and tricks I have discovered along the way.
Today I am continuing my series, Dr. Monique’s Favorite Food ABCs. The foods that are on this list are here because of both their contributions to mouth-watering dishes as well their health benefits. So far we have discussed the following:
Y is for Nutritional Yeast.
This is another new find for me, and now I can NOT imagine life without it! I mean how can you go wrong with something that literally has the word NUTRITIONAL in its name?? We will get to the health benefits in a minute, but seriously people, this stuff is amazing!
Nutritional yeast adds a cheesy, savory flavor to dishes, from mac-n-cheese to popcorn to pizza to baked potatoes to soups to scrambled eggs or tofu, just to name a few. And the timing of this discovery could not have been more perfect: nutritional yeast appeared just in time to make it onto my favorite food ABCs for the letter Y.
As you can see from my other blogs in this series, I have been including a recipe featuring each food. So of course I HAD to use it to make a creamy, cheesy vegan mac-n-cheese recipe.
I looked up a lot of vegan mac-n-cheese recipes but was unable to find one with both nutritional yeast and store-bought vegan cheddar cheese. Soooo…I did what any good Physician In The Kitchen®️ would do: I went to the lab and created my own!
I used both the nutritional yeast and vegan cheddar cheese to bump up the cheesy flavor and gooey-ness, because those are NOT negotiable when it comes to mac-n-cheese. Giving this classic comfort food a healthy makeover was a tad stressful because mac-n-cheese is so iconic and so well-loved, but I am so happy with the outcome.
But before I share this earth-shifting recipe, let’s talk about why nutritional yeast made my list. First of all, nutritional yeast is the same type of yeast that is used to make bread and beer, but it is processed differently. It is not active like the yeast I use to make bread. It is soy, gluten, and sugar-free. It is an excellent source of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
One important nutrient that some brands of nutritional yeast have is Vitamin B12. Fortified nutritional yeast contains