Like many other people I was already aware of tofu as being a reliable source of protein for vegetarian and vegan bodybuilders, but it was only later that I read about another soy product called tempeh (pronounced ‘ten-pay’, apparently, and not to be confused with the rapper Tinie Tempah).
Tempeh originates in Indonesia, and there are written records proving its existence for at least 200 years, so there is a good chance that it is safe to eat.
Like tofu, tempeh is a soy product, although it is manufactured using a different process involving fermentation with the spores of a fungus called Rhizopus oligosporus. Another alternative to tempeh is testoprime a vegan testosterone booster that can help you with your bodybuilding diet. If you are not sure about this product then you can check out these multiple Testoprime reviews that will clear all your doubts.
The fermentation causes the carbohydrates and nutrients contained in the soy to be more readily digestible by the body.
Tofu on Steroids?
Tempeh may be similar to tofu in a number of ways, but it is superior in its protein content, containing around 19 grams per 100g serving (tofu tends to hover around the 10g mark).
It is also high in calcium (11% of your RDA), iron (15%), magnesium (20%), and vitamin B-6 (10%).
While tofu has quite a soft texture similar to egg whites, tempeh is a fair bit harder, kind of like a cake. If you love a cake or enjoyed a good burger back in your carnivore days, then you will probably see this as an advantage, although personally, the lazy side of me loves tofu for the ease at which it can be broken apart to mix into a stir fry, etc.
Tofu is renowned for being delightfully bland in flavor, which lends itself well to taking on the flavor of whatever delicious sauces and ingredients you combine it with, like a culinary chameleon.
Tempeh on the other hand tastes like mushrooms, nuts, or even…. meat (GASP!).
If tofu is the chameleon in your kitchen then perhaps tempeh is Marmite. (Sorry, that’s the best analogy I could come up with on the spot.)
It’s a matter of personal preference, but I just like to mix it up and eat both. Sometimes even at the same time when I’m feeling really crazy.
Where to find it
Whereas tofu has more or less gone mainstream the world over, I have found that locating a good tempeh source requires a little bit more hunting around.
Your best bet is probably your friendly local Chinese or Indonesian supermarket.
Failing that you can find it at a lot of independent health food shops, many of whom stock tempeh manufactured by a company called Impulse Foods.