Nutritional Yeast, also know as “Hippie Dust,” “Vegetarian Yeast,” and “Savory Yeast” is a nonactive form of Saccharomyces Cerevisiae. These yellow flakes are used by vegans and vegetarians to produce a “cheese” flavor while providing vitamins and minerals that may be lacking in a vegetarian diet, such as Vitamin B. Much different than it’s relatives Brewer’s Yeast and Baker’s Yeast, Nutritional Yeast is safe for those concerned with Candida and is Gluten free.
Yeast is a single celled fungi that is a relative of the mushroom family. There are over 1500 different species of yeast thought to be only 1% of all yeast species. Two very common types are Brewer’s Yeast, produced and used in the process of making alcohol and Baker’s Yeast, used to make breads and pastries rise. Nutritional Yeast is much different, as it is no longer active (not alive). This is something to considered when one is concerned with overgrowth of Candida Albicans (responsible for oral and vaginal yeast infections). It is also a nutritional supplement, where Baker’s and Brewer’s Yeasts are used in the process of making other things.
Nutritional Yeast is unique in its cultivation methods. Grown on molasses and beets (as opposed to hops), it is considered a gluten free product. B Vitamins are added to the yeast to allow it to grow. After seven days of growing and fermenting, it is harvested, washed, pasteurized and exposed to high heat to ensure that it is free of Candida Albicans. A high quality Nutritional Yeast will have Vitamin B12 added to it, providing the necessary vitamin to vegetarians.
Not only does Nutritional Yeast taste delicious and act as an alternative to cheese, it is also chalked full of vitamins, nutrients and minerals. It is considered a low fat, no sugar, low sodium food. It contains 18 amino acids making it a perfect high quality protein. In fact, one serving (3 tablespoons) contains 8 grams of proteins. It is rich in B vitamins, which are necessary for proper function of the nervous system and help regulate the mood. It’s yellow color comes from Riboflavin or Vitamin B2, which is important for the proper use of oxygen and metabolism of fatty acids, carbohydrates, and amino acids. B2 is also needed for Vitamin B6 to function properly. While many believe that Vitamin B12 is naturally present, it is actually added in after. It only takes 2 teaspoons of Nutritional Yeast to meet the daily 1 microgram of Vitamin B12 recommended. Along with Vitamin B, Nutritional Yeast also contains Niacin, Thiamin, Biotin, and Folic Acid as well as minerals, Selenium, Chromium, Zinc, Phosphorous, Magnesium, and Potassium, plus beta-1, 3 glucan, a type of fiber that may aid the immune system and help to lower cholesterol. It is the perfect supplement for any vegan or vegetarian lifestyle.
Nutritional Yeast can be added to many dishes to add flavor and nutrition. A common use is to sprinkle some of the flakes on popcorn, soups, salads, pastas or baked potatoes much like you might add salt or pepper. There are countless recipes using Nutritional Yeast, to add a creamy, cheesy texture that is often lacking in a vegan or vegetarian diet.
Check out the many raw vegan recipes on our website that use nutritional yeast like cheesy kale chips and spinach quiche.