Wednesday, September 24, 2008
A 2008 study by the International Food and Information Council (IFIC) reports that people are changing their eating habits to improve overall well being (69%), lose weight (69%) or improve their physical well being (64%). Many of them are eating more soy foods in an attempt to do this.
It sounds fine in theory, except the soy that isn't organic is genetically modified and most people are not getting soy in its whole form. They are eating many of the 2700 new products that have been introduced into the marketplace from 2000 to 2007. These are processed foods. And you've read before what I think about processed foods -- they are not as good as foods in their natural state, and never will be.
So, if you are seeking out soy, seek out tempeh, edamame, miso, tofu or lightly processed soy milk. Avoid foods that contain soy protein isolate or other processed soy products. And always buy organic soy. Read labels, or choose mostly foods that don't contain labels. Don't be duped by the United Soy Bean Board or anyone else.
BTW, IFIC referred to above, is an industry trade group. They will not necessarily present unbiased information. I try to take a good look at the issue and give you my best perspective.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Just the other day I was the presenter at an all day workshop. My goal was to teach the people working at the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) office in Napa about whole grains, seasonal vegetables and fruit and soy, especially tofu. The way that I did this was through talk, tasting and cooking.
What I discovered is that some people have a narrow range of tastes and flavors that they are used to eating. But also, many people are willing to try new things if they are presented. They are not likely, though, to go out of their way to try them without prompting.
This is where The Veggie Queen comes in. I encourage people to try things that may seem foreign and have them become part of their everyday eating. A number of the participants at the workshop kept asking me about adding salt. I tend to cook without adding a lot of salt. I use a lot of spices and herbs for flavoring. I teach people what they are and how to use them. It opens the door to a new world of flavors.
Today I baked some tofu with my latest favorite herb blend Organic Vegetable Rub from The Cape Herb and Spice Company. These herbs come from South Africa. I know that it's far away but they know how to do it there. I will be selling them in my next email newsletter so sign up now at my website http://www.theveggiequeen.com/ so that you can get the info. I often have exclusive offers only for my mailing list.
Baked Tofu with Organic Herb Blend
- 1 pound extra firm tofu, squeezed, cut into thin slices and then triangles (makes 30 or so)
- 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil (optional)
- 1-2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (unseasoned)
- 1-3 teaspoons herb blend (or your favorite spice mix)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Use a 9 X 13 glass baking dish.
Put the tofu triangles into the dish. Drizzle the sesame oil on top, if using. Drizzle the tamari on top of the tofu, along with the rice vinegar. Sprinkle with the herb blend and let sit for 5 or more minutes, but not longer than 15. Turn the triangles over.
Put into the hot oven for 10 minutes. Turn the triangles again. And bake another 10 minutes or until the triangles are dry and a bit crispy. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Remove tofu and eat as is, use in sandwiches, added to grain salads or in stir-fries.
c 2008, The Veggie Queen, http://www.theveggiequeen.com .
Think of spicing up your life every day. It's OK to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Remember, it will only be NEW once.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Everything here is either naturally free of animal products or can be veganized, and just like the original, these foods vary from the every day to extraordinary, delectable and disgusting. They’re simply all of the things that, in my opinion, any vegan foodie should definitely sink their teeth into at least once. (MY note, I am not sure I agree as there are some things that I've had once and it was one time too many. For instance, number 1 on the list -- natto.) My Vegan 100 list would look a bit different but, that's just me.
- Green Smoothie
- Tofu Scramble
- Creme brulee
- Baba ghanoush
- Authentic soba noodles
- Peanut butter & jelly sandwich
- Aloo gobi
- Taco from a street cart
- Boba Tea
- Black truffle
- Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
- Vanilla ice cream (try So Delicious Coconut Milk Vanilla)
- Heirloom tomatoes
- Fresh wild berries
- Rice and beans
- Knish (I grew up in New York)
- Raw scotch bonnet pepper
- Dulce de leche
- Pate (you've got to try mine with walnuts, mushrooms and lentils)
- Wasabi peas
- Chowder in a sourdough bowl
- Mango lassi
- Sauerkraut (Making some right now)
- Root beer float
- Mulled cider
- Scones with buttery spread and jam
- Vodka jelly
- Fast food french fries (Not in 20+ years)
- Raw Brownies
- Fresh Garbanzo Beans
- Homemade Soymilk
- Wine from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more (Not often enough)
- Vegetable Sushi
- Glazed doughnut
- Seaweed (almost daily)
- Prickly pear
- Sheese (I'd like to but haven't seen it)
- Cotton candy
- Piña colada
- Birch beer
- Scrapple (as a child one time -- GROSS)
- Carob chips
- S’mores (not a fan ever)
- Soy curls
- Homemade Sausages
- Churros, elephant ears, or funnel cake (more fried things, yuck)
- Smoked tofu (especially good when tea smoked by you)
- Fried plantain
- Warm chocolate chip cookies
- Corn on the cob
- Whipped cream, straight from the can
- Fauxstess Cupcake
- Mashed potatoes with gravy
- French onion soup
- Savory crepes
- Tings (WHAT?)
- A meal at Candle 79 (I"D LIKE TO GO)
- Sprouted grains or seeds
- Macaroni and “cheese”
- Matzoh ball soup
- White chocolate
- Butterscotch chips
- Yellow watermelon
- Chili with chocolate
- Bagel and Toffuti Cream Cheese
- Potato milk
- Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
- Raw cookie dough
Saturday, September 06, 2008
His talk today was on label reading and why you want and need to avoid processed and packaged foods. He explained that most of what you read on a label is a lie, and it is really your responsibility to learn how to judge a product. His rules were simple, and I won't repeat them in case you get the chance to hear Jeff speak. I don't want to ruin your fun or his.
The one thing that he did discuss that I want to echo is about sodium in the diet. He provided the following statistics:
- 77% of the sodium in your diet comes from processed and restaurant food
- 12% occurs naturally in food
- 5% is from what you use in cooking
- 6% is added at your table
So you can see that eating at home cooked food and adding a bit of salt is just fine. One of my biggest complaints about eating in restaurants is that the food is too salty for me. I'd rather undersalt and then add a sprinkle on top, where you can really taste it.
I am going to be carrying a line of seasonings in adjustable grinders that contain salt and seasonings. They are perfect for boosting flavor in a big way.
Eating real food at home is the ideal way to get what you need nutritionally and for taste.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
I see the green berries forming early in the summer, and watch the vines grow long and thorny. Then when the fruit is ripe, the vines get incredibly unruly and tangled so that picking the berries can be a painful affair. The vines snake across the path and even up into trees -- they are good at movement for something without legs.
There are 2 kinds of blackberries that grow here -- one is large and the other is small. And when they are ripe, they are equally as delicious. When they're not quite ripe, and picked by mistake, they are both sour. They're always full of fiber which means that they have seeds although when dead-ripe and almost falling off the plant, the berry seems to just melt in my mouth. This is the exception, not the rule.
Some of the best berries are hard to get to or hidden high in a tree. I'm short so they are a challenge to pick but worth it.
And as I worked on this blog post, I came across a link to a rat study recently done on black raspberries and their anticancer effect http://medicalcenter.osu.edu/mediaroom/press/article.cfm?ID=4214. That fruit likely contains the same kind of antioxidant activity as blackberries. So eat them up, when you can easily get to them.