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What is Tofu?

Before asking "What do you do with tofu?", perhaps you may want to know "What is tofu?"

Tofu is made by separating the curds and whey of soymilk and solidifying it with calcium sulfate or nigari. During this process the crude fiber and water soluble carbohydrates are removed which makes it soft and easily digestible. Tofu contains no cholesterol, almost no saturated fats and has an extremely low ratio of calories to protein.

Since protein is an important part of our diets, vegetarians often meet this need with tofu. Soybeans contain about 35% of usable protein which is more than any other unprocessed plan or animal food. It includes all 8 essential amino acids which are completely usable by the body. When combined with grains, the amount of usable protein greatly increases. For example, if you were to serve 3 1/2 oz. of tofu at the same meal with 1 1/4 cups of brown rice, the result would be 32% more usable protein than if these foods were served separately.

To put it more into perspective, the amount of usable protein in 8 oz. of tofu is the same as that in 5 1/2 oz. of hamburger. The protein in tofu is identical to that in chicken.

In today's diet conscious world, tofu is a great addition because it is high in protein and low in calories. In an 8 oz. serving, there are only 150 to 200 calories, while in the same amount of eggs or 8 oz. of lean sirloin, there are about 3 times as many calories.

Tofu is also a rich source of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, sodium; B vitamins, choline and vitamin E. Because it is soft and easily digestible it makes a very good food for babies, people with digestive problems and elderly adults. It is also very inexpensive.