So I just chowed down on the results of Mini-Resolution #13: Get Acquainted with Soy and I’m pleased to report it was deemed a success by both myself and the carnivore I live with.
In Week 2 of his 8 Weeks to Optimal Health program, Dr. Weil asks that we familiarize ourselves with some of the soy products out there. He thinks the world would be a much better place if we all cut way down on the amount of animal protein we consume — he eats no meat, only fish — and I think he may be right.
It’s something I’ve been mulling over for more than a year now. I think PETA started it. I watched a video on their website called Meet Your Meat. I should have looked away and continued my life in happy oblivion. I didn’t. This was a mistake. Alec Baldwin narrates it. That should have been my first clue.
I’m embedding the video in this post with a word of caution: it’s extremely graphic and difficult to watch.
The video explores factory farming, going through the whole slaughter process for poultry, cattle and pigs in these confinement facilities which, above all else, aim to produce the most meat, milk or eggs at the lowest possible cost.
It’s disturbing and shocking which is — I think we can all agree on this — what PETA does best. But the thing that struck me most was that I could barely stand to watch these animals be killed. It took all my will not to look away from the screen. Then I started to think what it must be like to work in one of these places and how I wouldn’t last five minutes.
Which led me to the following: if I can’t even bear to watch how this meat is produced, if I can’t even stomach the thought of seeing this process, let alone being a part of it, do I really have a right to eat the products of it?
That’s an ethical dilemma I haven’t yet reconciled.
Now I certainly acknowledge that this isn’t representative of all meat production. Both my parents grew up on farms and I know for a fact the cruelty that’s shown in this video wouldn’t have been tolerated on their family farms or likely on any small-scale farms today.
Of course that’s not the only issues with being a meat-eater, though. There’s also the environmental issue:
According to a 2006 United Nations initiative, the livestock industry is one of the largest contributors to environmental degradation worldwide, and modern practices of raising animals for food contributes on a “massive scale” to deforestation, air and water pollution, land degradation, loss of topsoil, climate change, the overuse of resources including oil and water, and loss of biodiversity.
And, of course, our primary concern in this forum, there’s also the health benefits of forgoing meat to consider. Vegetarians tend to have:
- Reduced risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, renal disease and Alzheimer’s
- Lower body mass index (BMI), cholesterol and blood pressure than non-vegetarians
Which, I believe, is the kinda thing Dr. Weil digs. This brings me back to the original point of my post: becoming better acquainted with soy. I originally wanted to try something really out of the ordinary for me: something like tempeh or TVP.
Alas, I couldn’t find either at my local grocery store.
(This may or may not be related to the fact that I was looking for these soy products on the same shopping trip I spent 20-ish minutes foraging for Quinoa and Kasha. You can only circle the store so many times before you start to look suspicious.)
I did, however, find pressed tofu which Dr. Weil also mentioned in his Week 2 tirade about the world of soy.
Pressed tofu is the meat-lover’s tofu as it has a more sturdy texture than the regular variety. It’s essentially just regular tofu that has been pressed to get rid of excess liquid and firm it up.
It’s also sold in flavoured varieties. I bought the “savoury” kind. This didn’t seem to amount to much, other than it was brown on the outside. It still tasted like tofu. Which is to say it tasted like whatever it was cooked with.
And on this happy occasion, it was cooked with red and green peppers and onion for a very healthy and delicious Tofu Fajita. The recipe is (again) courtesy of Dr. Weil. Check it out here.
We omitted the hot pepper because we’re spice-intolerant; some day I hope to live dangerously and incorporate a Serrano pepper. For now, I’m content with the kick of a medium salsa tossed in as a topping.
The recipe was super easy and quick. It definitely trumps chicken fajitas in that it doesn’t require the foresight to take some chicken out of the freezer a day before you want to eat them.
Nutrition-wise, you’re looking at about 30o calories per fajita with 10.5 g of fat, a whopping 23 g of protein and 8 g of fibre. In summary: pretty awesome.
Overall verdict: friggin’ delicious. I’d make these over chicken fajitas any day and — more importantly — my carnivore fiancé would be happy to eat them.
Now that’s a win-win.
A little Tofu Fajita action served up in a flax-seed tortilla. Yum!
You can’t go wrong with fresh produce like this.
Pressed tofu: looks like foie gras and tastes like…well, nothing really.
And that means it’s tally time!
Days to go: 338
Mini-resolutions to go: 248
Also, I know I’m supposed to start Week 3 of Dr. Weil’s program tomorrow. That won’t be happening. For the record I have completed all the mini-resolutions related to Week 2 (can I get a “Hell, yeah!”) but want to get them in writing before I embark on some new ones. And that’s not going to happen tonight. Because it’s 10:30. And that’s past my bedtime, children.