Maintaining a healthy heart is critical, especially for Americans. A healthy lifestyle and diet are two necessary components for promoting optimal heart health. Even if you are eating plenty of food, your body and heart may not be getting the right nutrients, so what you eat matters.
Diets high in processed foods, hydrogenated fat, meat, dairy, and fast foods are not doing your heart health any favors. The good news is that with some dietary changes, you can best support your heart and circulatory function. One of the most popular ways to do this is by following a “plant-based” diet.
Cutting out any and all meat, dairy, egg, and animal products is a big step, but health benefits can go a long way. Just by adding more fruit and veg to your diet while cutting back meat intake, you can support optimal heart health.
We understand that going vegan may require a very strong will, especially if you’re used to eating meat every day. So we have a delicious, protein-packed chili recipe to help get you started.
The Best Vegan Chili Ever
Time: 1.2 hours
For the chili:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 19 oz can black beans (2 cups) , drained and rinsed
1 19 oz can kidney beans (2 cups), drained and rinsed
1 cup water (plus more if needed)
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
For the Tofu:
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 350g block extra-firm tofu
For the Chili:
1. Add the olive oil to a large pot and heat over medium-high heat. Add in the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is translucent and just begins to brown. Add in the tomatoes, beans, water, and all the spices. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and continue to simmer for 1 hour. If the chili gets too thick, just splash in more water to reach the desired consistency.
For the Tofu:
1. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease the pan.
2. Mix nutritional yeast, soy sauce, and olive oil together in a large bowl. Open and drain the tofu (no need to press it), then break off chunks and crumble with your fingers into the bowl. Do this with all the tofu until you have a large bowl of crumbles. Stir the tofu crumbles well, making sure all tofu is evenly coated in the nutritional yeast mix.
3. Spread the tofu mixture evenly over the pan. Bake for about 45 mins, stopping to stir the tofu occasionally. Keep a close eye on it towards the end so that it doesn't burn. You want the tofu to be nice and browned. The smaller crumbles will be darker than the larger crumbles, and that's ok because it will provide a variety of textures.
4. When the chili and tofu are both prepared, stir in the tofu crumbles and continue to cook them for another 5 minutes. This will allow the tofu to absorb the sauce and get gloriously chewy. Serve hot with a dollop of vegan sour cream and a sprinkle of chives if desired.
Tofu, or bean curd, is a popular food derived from the soybean plant. Made by curdling fresh soybean milk, then pressing it into a solid block and cooling it, tofu is made in much the same way traditional dairy cheese is made by curdling and solidifying milk.
Tofu is an excellent source of protein, contains all eight essential amino acids, and offers a healthy dose of several heart-healthy minerals.
♦ Iron: Promotes healthy blood cell production, which supports normal blood pressure and circulation
♦ Calcium: Contributes to the electrical signal that coordinates the heart's function
♦ Selenium: Helps reduce typical oxidative stress to support arterial health
♦ Magnesium: Helps support healthy heart rhythm and blood pressure levels
♦ Copper: Helps support healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels
As Hippocrates once said, “Let food be thy medicine,” meaning that a diet of healthful plant-based foods is great for the body. Tofu is a great alternative to meat to help you transition to a plant-based diet. With essential nutrients packed into every bite, tofu can help support heart and whole-body health. And, it is a tasty way to reward your efforts of cutting out processed foods.