Tag Archives: tofu

Positive Responses

Two nights ago at dinner, I commented on how delicious the kung pao tofu tasted.  My roommate has now started exploring the vegetarian section more often, and she had also put some on her plate.  Although she wasn’t a fan of this particular tofu seasoning (“Too spicy”), she offered some tofu to her boyfriend, who was dining with us.  He liked it.  And suddenly, without prompting, he shared that he has been eating less meat, and that he hasn’t had a steak in a long time.  He and my roommate began jockeying to speak about how each was trying to eat less meat.  I happily took it all in.

I was happy for a few reasons, mainly that my no-more-meat lifestyle was received positively and even supported by friends.  I was glad to introduce my friend to a new food, and the fact that we were even having a conversation about eating less meat reminded me that not all of my friends think I’m crazy.  Which is a nice feeling.

 ***

My second round of tofu tacos is almost gone, thanks to my hungry suitemates.  My roommate even wants to buy the tofu next time, and we’re going to mix it with rice to add extra texture in the next batch.

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Roommates’ Reactions

Returning to my college dorm room meant telling my three suitemates that, in the past four weeks that we were not living together, I magically transformed into a vegetarian.  The reactions have been varied, but I know their responses are only going to improve with time.

Suitemate 1:  Oh, that’s cool.
Me:  Yeah, I’m going to make some tofu tacos later.  Do you want to try some?
Suitemate 1: Yes!

My roommate seemed a bit shocked when I casually mentioned it to her.

“I leave you for five weeks, and suddenly you’re a vegetarian!” she dramatically cried.  “This ruins all plans I had for us.”

And later:
“I was going to offer you a bite of this sandwich, but OH WAIT IT HAS TURKEY IN IT.”

She calmed down, though, and promised that she would support me.  She even accompanied me to Whole Foods and ensured that I was getting the best deal on my tofu.

All of my suitemates ended up trying my tofu tacos from PETA’s Vegan College Cookbook and enjoyed them.  Luckily, my school is known for being vegetarian- and vegan-friendly, so eating at the dining hall has been fine so far, although I am planning on making more of my own food.

The biggest thing I’ve noticed as far as reactions go is that my friends make snarky comments about being vegetarian.  Whether comparing the look of the tofu tacos to dog food, asking in amazement, “But, what will you eat?” or giving me weird looks when I ask if they want to try tapioca cheese on their tacos (vegan, yes, I know, but it tastes good – none of them wanted to try it, by the way), there is some sort of stigma around vegetarianism.  I’m aware of it – I used to think some vegetarians were just too sensitive about animal rights (I’ve since changed my mind, although this is not the main reason why I’m vegetarian now) – it’s still surprising to see that my friends, all of whom I consider to be open-minded, reacted somewhat strongly.  However, I do believe that their support will continue to grow, and maybe one day in the far future they’ll even watch Forks Over Knives with me.

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Tofu is for Vegetarians

“Grandma was just showing off some of her vegetarian food,” I smiled to my cousin.
“Wait, Grandma, you’re a vegetarian now?” my cousin called out to my grandma in the other room.
“No,” Grandma’s voice sailed in from the kitchen.

A quick moment of silence passed before my cousin turned to me.

“Are you a vegetarian?”
“Uh, yeah,” I responded.
“When did this happen?  Last time I saw you, you were still eating meat.”
“I’m a two-week-old vegetarian.  I just watched one too many food documentaries, I guess,” I played it off.
“Ah, that would do it.”  I figured that she must be thinking about movies of factory farms’ treatment of animals, but I didn’t care to explain that it was actually the science in Forks Over Knives that changed my mind.

***

A similar conversation happened at dinner with my grandma, cousin, and aunt.  I ordered tofu, and the logical conclusion by my aunt: “Are you a vegetarian?”  It’s funny that I can’t eat tofu without someone asking if I’m a vegetarian.  Don’t meat-eaters also eat tofu?  Perhaps my family is just used to me always ordering meat.

“I never ate that great when I ate meat, so if being a vegetarian pushes me to eat better and try new things, then why not?” was my response to my aunt.  She seemed satisfied.

I don’t mind answering questions from my family about being vegetarian; I’m not embarrassed, really – although I do sometimes feel judging or puzzled eyes looking me over – I simply don’t feel the need to make a big deal about it.

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Keeping the Course

These past few days have been tough.  I started another television production job, so any healthy eating habits I had been carefully cultivating instantly melted at the sight of the craft services table, the area where the crew can eat snacks and food.  I don’t quite have the willpower yet to avoid the seduction of sugary snacks, so having them readily available is a problem.

I have been staying vegetarian though, and I’ve discovered these amazing Dr. Praeger’s Veggie Burgers.  They take less than 20 minutes to cook in the oven, and more importantly, I can actually cook them without screwing up.  The patties are made of vegetables and soy, and I was initially surprised by how flavorful and crispy they were.  After twelve hours at work, I enjoyed coming home and feeling like I was eating something healthy.

To prepare myself for the upcoming semester, I bought PETA’s Vegan College Cookbook, which promises 275 recipes that only require a microwave.  Perfect for my communal kitchen situation back in the dorms.

Last night I attempted to make one of the recipes, the F-U Tacos.

It basically consists of tofu, taco seasoning, and refried beans.  Normally I prefer tacos in a soft shell, but since the tofu is already very soft, I chose hard shells, which was definitely the right choice.  The recipe took less than 10 minutes to make, and I have plenty left over.  I’m planning on making a batch when I return to school, so I can’t wait to hear what my roommates think of it.

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One for the Road

“The thought that I can never have a certain food again is depressing, so I compromise and say I’m just not going to have that food today.  I can’t do forever, but I can do a day. ”

– p. 152 of Kathy Freston’s Veganist: Lose Weight, Get Healthy, Change the World

 

As a week-old vegetarian, I particularly appreciate this quote.  That chicken teriyaki looked good today at lunch; instead, I went for the tofu.

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No Meat!

4th day of not eating meat!  How did that even happen?  I’m rather excited.

On New Year’s Eve, my friend came over and helped me cook a teriyaki seitan recipe I found online.  I substituted broccoli for broccolini – it was more convenient – and my friend had prepared the sushi rice using a rice cooker.  Also, I used store-bought teriyaki sauce, but next time I may follow the recipe for the sauce, as the store sauce wasn’t great.

My friend loved the seitan, but I found it a little dry, although it could have just been that I wasn’t fond of the teriyaki sauce.

Yesterday, my mom was going to prepare dinner for the first time since I had made sincere efforts to cut out meat from my diet.  It was finally time to tell her.

***

“Hey, I should let you know that I’m not really eating meat these days,” I threw out as I filled up a glass of water.  My mom just kind of looked at me.

“So then what are you going to eat?  I can make fish, but I thought you didn’t like fish,” she replied.

“Fish is still meat.”

“What do you want for dinner then?

“Just…no meat.”

***

I overheard my mom talking on the phone later.

“Apparently she won’t eat meat anymore,” she said, perplexed.

We ended up ordering from a Thai restaurant, and I luckily found a single tofu dish on the menu, which I ordered (I’m still learning to enjoy more vegetables, so ordering salad all the time does not sound appealing).  I need to learn how to make this stuff, because the two tofu dishes I’ve tried were both really flavorful.

Maybe tomorrow will be Day 5 of no meat…

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Day of Progress

Yesterday went really well.

Breakfast was typical Quaker Instant Oatmeal and an English muffin smothered with butter.  Then for lunch, a friend and I explored an artsy little used bookstore and cafe where I tried tempeh tandoori.  I’m still not used to the grainy texture of tempeh, but I liked it much more this time than the last time I tried it at my school’s dining hall. My friend ordered the chicken tandoori, but he wanted to try my tempeh – he ended up liking the tempeh more than his chicken.  Oddly enough, when I made those vegan hot dogs, my brother tried one and also ended up enjoying that version more than the meat hot dogs.

We grabbed some hot chocolate (made with hemp milk!) to take with us on our walk, and that was also delicious, although not completely vegan.  Trying hot chocolate with hemp milk just gave it a unique flavor, and that’s something I’m excited (and nervous) about as I try to eat a more plant-based diet: the new flavors that I probably would have missed out on otherwise.

I worried that dinner was going to be an issue since I was eating with my dad, who makes great steaks and other meats, but he suggested that we order Chinese.  I ordered a dish of flat rice noodles with eggs, and I also tried some Kung Pao Tofu, which tasted incredible.

No meat at all yesterday!  That was a good step.  I’ve decided that I’m officially limiting the amount of red meat I eat, and then next I plan to stop eating chicken so much; dairy and eggs will be the last things I work on removing from my diet simply because cooking egg-based meals (fried egg on bread, scrambled eggs in a tortilla, etc.) is easy and usually fills me up.

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