What in the Blazes is Tempeh?
Have you ever had tempeh? Have you ever heard of it?
Last weekend I was with some of my favorite people in the world and one of them brought a dish made with tempeh. It was delicious and although I have had tempeh before, it had been a long time. She reminded me how versatile it is and when I got home, I tinkered with the recipe and wanted to share the end result with you.
What is Tempeh?
I would describe tempeh as a fermented soybean cake or patty. Unlike other fermented foods like sauerkraut, pickles and kimchi, tempeh doesn’t have that familiar sour taste to it. It does have beneficial prebiotic and probiotics though.
You can find it in the refrigerated section of most grocery stores and although most of the ones I have found are gluten-free, be sure to check the label.
Is it Healthy?
It is a good vegetarian source of protein at around 15 grams of protein per 3 oz serving. You know I push the protein and veggies!!
It is a good source of B vitamins that are important for the health of your brain and nervous system. It has minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium that are necessary for muscle, bone and teeth health. But the most impressive stats on tempeh is the amount of tyrosine and iron it contains.
As I say in my newly published book (did you get it yet?!), The Supercharged Method: Your Transformation from Fatigued to Energized…
“Tyrosine is an amino acid that helps the body build protein, formulate thyroid hormone, and produce enzymes and neurotransmitters. Iodine and tyrosine work together to form thyroid hormone.”
Although not as bioavailable as from animal sources, tempeh does have a good amount of iron. Iron is not only important for making sure your body tissues get enough oxygen, it is necessary for thyroid and digestive function. Let’s look at your lab work together and make sure you have sufficient iron stores (ferritin) especially if you are tired or foggy-brained.
Is it Safe?
There is some controversy when it comes to soy products. I did a short video about that for you.
Soy contains isoflavones which are heart protective and can help alleviate menopause symptoms such as hot flashes in some women. Isoflavones are powerful antioxidants that can help prevent oxidative stress from free radicals. That means it can help prevent tissue damage.
Unlike other soy products that are not fermented, tempeh is more easily digested since the phytic acid is broken down in the fermentation process. This helps with digestion and absorption.
If you have a soy allergy or sensitivity, tempeh and other soy products are not for you and should be avoided.
As stated in the video above, soy is a phytoestrogen. That means it can give off an estrogenic effect. For this reason, avoid giving it to children or using soy infant formula.
90% of conventional soybeans are genetically modified so be sure to look for a non-GMO and organic label.
If you have a low functioning thyroid, use cooked tempeh in moderation and pay attention to your thyroid symptoms. Soy is a goitrogen which means it can impair thyroid function. This effect is less when cooked.
How to Make it Delicious
Tempeh is like tofu in the way it can absorb flavors from sauces and marinades. The marinade I use in this recipe can be used with other proteins as well such as fish, chicken and shrimp. If you try the recipe let me know.
Make an appointment for your aching back, your neck pain, your belly aches and your fatigue and pick up a recipe card while you are at it to add to your collection.
In the best of health,