Monday, December 16, 2013

TOFU OR NOT TOFU

Stir-fried with scallions and ginger
It occurred to me the other day, that I will soon be getting my body back. I think I actually have a couple of cute pairs of jeans and pretty shirts tucked away in a box for "normal people." I will also soon be enjoying some sushi, and a nice glass of wine at the end of a tiring day, maybe even some hair color! Over the counter medicine will help me through common ailments. I will be able to flip over in bed without the use of a pulley system. All good things. 

This revelation, along with my recent intention to be the healthiest I've ever been at age 40, has me thinking about my post-pregnancy diet. My quest for a natural birth and optimal pregnancy has taught me so much about what nutrients my body really needs and having better balance. Yes, Big Macs and ice creams were had, but each day I also had leafy greens, oxidant-rich berries, whole grains, avocado, and tons of legumes. I'm hoping I can maintain this commitment to eating healthy as I transition from pregnant lady to breastfeeding mother. 


In the last few years, and certainly through both of my pregnancies, I have been less and less interested in eating meat. While I don't think absolute vegetarianism is for me, I  have become sort of a prefer-a-veg-tarian. It has been a struggle the last nine months to hit my recommended 80-100 grams of protein each day while being averse to most forms of carcass. I've compensated a lot with dairy like cheese, yogurt, and smoothies--all fine while you're pregnant but not the healthiest thing to sustain for life. 

source
I find that my preferred meats have to be so pulverized, processed, and coated in sauce for me to like them, that they really cease to be meat at all.  I find myself picking off pieces of stringy chicken or sausage from my pizza and thinking, "I should have gotten extra mushrooms."

Once I purge this kid from my belly, I am thinking of taking a little break from meat. More like an 80-20 thing--I know when my body needs a burger and I love seafood. My decision to eat less meat is not some moral or really even health issue--simply put: I just don't like it anymore.


My hubby has a diverse palette but he is definitely a meat and potatoes guy. When I make vegetarian food, I usually find him poking around in the fridge an hour later and I completely understand.  How do you feel FULL?  Your body needs protein just as much as it does fruits and veggies. I do love beans, but I can't eat them every meal. My challenge is to find good sources of protein to replace the meat, and while I don't need 80-100 grams postpartum, I am still going to be breastfeeding an infant. I think 60-70 grams is the recommendation. Help!! 

Quinoa Fried Rice
I've recently become a huge fan of quinoa. Did you know that quinoa has 24 grams of protein per cup.? That's almost as much as a small burger! It's actually a seed that sort of acts like a carb and has a ton of health benefits. It's also really easy to manipulate into great recipes. Here's some I've recently pinned for experimentation. 
Cheese and Scallion Quinoa Burger

Caprese Quinoa Bake

Red Quinoa Salad


My next challenge: Tofu. I've never cooked with tofu. I know you need to squeeze the water out of it before you cook it. I know its virtually tasteless unless you add something to it. I do not want to eat stir fry everyday--that seems to be the form I see it in most. Does it have to be fried? Can you make a bunch in advance and reheat it? I have questions--questions that need answering!!  I consulted my higher power, Pinterest, for some inspiration, but I am truly starting from scratch on this one. Tofu here I come. Some that stuck out: 

Sizzling Tofu

Tofu Burger


Tofu Marsala

Smoky Tofu Sushi
 I think I would adapt this one into a sushi bowl...rolling sushi with infant and toddler seems unlikely. 
Tofu Tostada

BBQ Tofu with pickled cucumber

Thai lettuce Cups
 If anyone has any suggestions, tips, or ideas about using tofu or other protein substitutes, send it my way. I want to stay away from weird stuff like soydogs. Replacing one processed thing with another is not the goal. Getting enough protein and eating good food are the goals. Helping the environment and reducing cost are just perks that come with the territory. 

Happy eating!

Rachel 
P.S. All recipes shown can be sourced here


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