Seitan is made up of gluten, protein in wheat. After you wash away the starch component of the wheat, you are left with a sticky and stringy texture called gluten.
Seitan resembles meat more than any meat substitutes. Also, it contains almost all the protein contents as meat compared to any other substitutes.
Are you a vegetarian?
Do you want to eat some products which have its nutrient contents as meat but is made from plants?
If yes, then you should opt for Seitan.
In this section, we are going to talk about Seitan and guide you about this meat substitute made from plants. Along with soya bean products like tofu and nutria (soya balls) which is used as an alternative substitute for meat.
The good news about this product is, it is low in calories and high in nutrient content. So if you are dieting, this can be a good source of food for you.
Seitan has been used as a meat substitute in China, Japan, and other South East Asian Nations for many years. Recently, its use has been expanded to western countries also.
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The Good About Seitan
Seitan is a nutritional powerhouse for vegetarian. It is an excellent a source of plant-based proteins with no fats and cholesterol.
Seitan is also, a good source of proteins and minerals like iron in your body. Normally if you are a vegetarian, iron deficiency becomes a common problem, but, the good news is since this food is rich in iron, it will help to meet daily needs of iron in your body.
It can be versatile in the kitchen and can be cooked in different varieties. We will be discussing some of the recipes of Seitan in a section below.
Nutritional Benefits Of Seitan
Seitan has a low-calorie content profile.
If you are looking for food with low calories but rich in nutrients, then Seitan is the food for you. Seitan is the easy way to manage weight because it helps to satisfy the hunger with low calories.
It is seen that 100 grams of cooked Seitan contain 130 calories compared to rib eye steak which contains 165 calories.
Though the calorie in Seitan is less, the protein in Seitan is similar to the amount of protein in lean meat. Seitan contains 20 grams of protein per 100 grams of the food. The amount is similar to the proteins in the meat product.
Whereas, 100gms of chicken contains 20 grams of protein whereas lean ground beef contains 21 grams of protein.
Hence, from this, we can see that this food is a good substitute for meat.
100gms of Seitan contains 1.5 grams of fats which are very less compared to fat content in beef, pork, chicken, and turkey. From the above data, we can see, the fat content of Seitan is very less compared to meat and its product.
Due to this factor, you can regard, Seitan to be a good fat burning food. Also, the good news is, Seitan being a plant-based food, the fats in Seitan contains mono saturated fat which is heart healthy. Thus, this can be a good alternative for you if you are suffering from heart-related problems and want to give up on meat and meat products.
4. Minerals And Vitamins
Besides, proteins, fats, and carbohydrate, Seitan has minerals and vitamins in it too.
Each serving of contains around 50 milligrams of folate, 340 milligrams of potassium and 2,140 milligrams of vitamin A.
So, this is a perfectly balanced food for the vegetarians. Besides, Seitan also contains a high amount of iron and is a good source of calcium.
Also, Seitan has low sodium in it. Because it is low in sodium, it decreases the risk of you developing high blood pressure and risk of heart disease.
Is Seitan Healthy?
Looking at the nutrient content mentioned above, we can say Seitan is obviously healthy. Nutritionally, you can consider Seitan to be the powerhouse. It is similar to beef if you look at protein content. 100 grams of Seitan contains 16gms of Seitan. With high protein and essential amino acids, this is a good source of proteins.
Also, when it is cooked in Khumbu sauce and soy broth, this can be a good source of vitamins and minerals.
These days, we do not like to eat red meat, but instead, we opt for food that has low optimal fat, low optimal cholesterol, and high protein. Fish and seafoods are considered to be the best alternative for red meat.
However, fish and seafood also have been associated with being toxic. Toxic materials like lead, arsenic are found in seafood. So what are the alternatives?
Also, if you eat a lot of meat makes the body lose vitamin B6, which is necessary for digesting ‘ methionine’/ Depletion of vitamin B6 deficiency results in high level of homocysteine in the blood, which increases the risk of heart and vascular disease.
Also eating animal products produces a lot of nitrogenous body wastes like ammonia, uric acid, and creatinine. This metabolism burdens liver and kidneys.
Seitan, thus, can be a good alternative to this seafood. It is clean, safe and a healthy source of protein.
Recipes For Seitan
Now let’s look at how can we use Seitan in food. There are various ways in which we can use Seitan in food, but here, we have included some of the easy to make recipes. You can look for other recipes in details online.
1. Seitan Sandwich
- Sliced Tomatoes
- Sliced Onions
- 1 gm of Sprouts
- One spoon Mayonnaise
- 2 pcs Whole bread
You can use Seitan as a meat sandwich. Along with sliced tomatoes, onions, and sprouts, you can spread some mayonnaise on the whole bread and make a sandwich out of it.
This can be a perfect low-calorie diet for people opting for losing weight and also a nutritious breakfast for a vegetarian.
2. Seitan Stew
- 2 cups of water
- One tsp of sea salt
- 1 onion
- Chopped Carrot
- Green beans
- 6-8 Sliced Mushrooms
- One bowl of chopped vegetables
Seitan can also be used in the stew. Along with onion, mushrooms, and vegetables, you should add a small pinch of salt oil in a skillet and sauté onion for 3-5 minutes, then add mushrooms and a small pinch of salt and sauté for a few minutes more. After that, you can add Seitan and sauté altogether. Let it then Simmer it for 5 minutes and the stew is ready to be served.
3. Sweet And Sour Seitan
- Two teaspoons oil
- One bowl chopped Seitan
- Two cloves minced garlic
- One small bowl chopped onion
- Chopped Pineapple and 1 cup Pineapple juice
- Two tablespoon sugar
- ¼ cup vinegar
- 2 ½ soy sauce
- And ½ cup cornstarch
You should heat the oil and fry the minced garlic, chopped onion along with Seitan until it gets tender but crispy. The color of the mixture should turn light brown. Now, put in the soy sauce, vinegar, and pineapple juice until it thickens. Add pineapple chunks before serving.
Is Seitan A Complete Protein?
Though Seitan is a nutritious diet for a vegan, it is important to know that it does not contain all the amino acids contained in meat. So, if you are a vegan, it is recommended that you also include other high protein foods like nuts, seeds, legumes and dairy products.
Seitan is one of the few complete vegetarian protein sources, although the lysine content is low. Thus, it is important for you to couple Seitan with food which contains lysine. Shoyu, which is often used to season Seitan, is a good source of lysine. Hence it is not much of a problem.
You can also just stir fry it with soy sauce or teriyaki sauce for your taste, or also, could be simmered in seaweed which helps to enhance the taste and also provides with important minerals and lysine. With Seaweed, you also get vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and iron and this recipe can be a perfect meat substitute.
Side Effects Of Seitan
As we have discussed earlier, Seitan is made from Gluten. Gluten is a protein in wheat and some other cereals like rye, Kamut, etc. The gluten can cause irritation and inflammation in the large intestine, and it hampers the absorption of food substances.
Also, if you consume gluten protein, the main problem is it has a protein called gliadin which has similar structures like proteins that are found in organs like thyroid and pancreas. When you are gluten intolerant, and you consume Seitan, the body produces antibodies which act against gliadin.
These antibodies sometimes end up attacking this organ and cause different autoimmune diseases like hypothyroidism and diabetes.
Hence, if you have a gluten allergy, you should avoid gluten products as Seitan.
Symptoms Of Seitan Allergy
- If you have a headache or migraines after you have eating Seitan meat than it can be the symptoms of Seitan allergy. In such cases, do not consume Seitan.
- Also, other factors which help you to decide if you have Seitan allergy or not is defined by gastrointestinal problems. The problems like bloating, gas, abdominal cramping and diarrhea are seen if you are gluten intolerant. If eating Seitan evokes any of these problems on you, you should avoid eating Seitan.
- Another symptom of Seitan is Irritability. If you feel irritability and some nervous pangs after you consume Seitan, then you should avoid consuming it.
- Another problem that can arise, after you consume Seitan after if you are gluten intolerant are you become dizzy. After being dizzy, you will also see other symptoms like difficulties in balancing. In such cases, Seitan must be avoided.
- Fatigue after every meal is another symptom that you see if you have Seitan allergy. Further, you might also feel pain in muscles and connective tissue. If this continues longer, it is advised not to consume Seitan.