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July 31st, 2007

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08:31 pm - tofu time!
As part of my plan to help heal myself (I've developed a rather bad case of allergies as well as something akin to ADD, OCD and depression), I'm going to slowly make my way onto a macrobiotic diet. My plan for now, until I get used to it, is to make one of my daily meals sort of macro. Generally what this means is that rather than going to Jack in the Box for a burger, fries and soda (and I was vegan!), I'll be eating a meal of miso soup, grain (generally brown rice since one of the allergies that popped up recently was gluten), a mix of raw and cooked veggies, tofu or beans and seaweed (if not in miso soup). A great idea I had was the idea of bringing all the items and rolling up some temaki (hand roll sushi) with the seaweed, some or all the grain, protein and cooked veggies and eat the raw veggies and miso on the side. One of the clearest thoughts I've had in months!

However, in an effort to make this an easier transition, I'd like to add a touch of flavor to the tofu and/or grains. So, long story short, does anyone have any great recipes or ideas for either a marinade/flavor for tofu or perhaps a fried rice/grain?


(8 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:August 1st, 2007 04:24 am (UTC)
An easy, basic, and old school marinade can be made out of dark sesame oil, shoyu (soy sauce), ginger, and a bit of mirin and water. I will usually forego the water just because I like my flavors a little stronger.

But marinades can be conceivably made out of so many different things. In summer months like these a marinade made with some lemon or lime might work nicely. The most common ways I use to flavor my foods come from shoyu, ginger, mirin, the oils I use be they EVOO, toasted sesame, sesame, peanut, etc. etc., miso, and occasionally some spice.

In a lot of cases it depends on how strict you are trying to make the macrobiotic meal. When it comes to cooking stricter macro food flavor will generally come from the interaction of the different foods you are cooking together rather than a more traditional way of cooking where flavor is added from spices, garnishes, and other things that add flavor. If you are thinking about eating a more "transitional" diet you might just want to go on a "vegan leading towards macro" route. Basically avoiding dairy, meat, sugar, processed foods, but not going down the strictest path and foregoing spices, herbs, nightshades, etc.

That is more or less how I eat now and while I'm not afflicted with any illnesses or anything it strikes a pretty decent balance between convenience, healthy eating, and hands-on cooking. I also rarely eat junk food, but that is more because I don't have the cravings (which may or may not be a result of how I eat).

Sorry my answer wasn't simpler. If I had a better idea of how you were eating and cooking I could give a little more specific advice I suppose. But basically the macro meal doesn't need to just be something like brown rice, boiled kale, miso soup, and then like likely a cooked bean and tofu thing. I mean, I grew up macro and if I ate like that I would definitely go crazy from the simplicity.

[User Picture]
Date:August 1st, 2007 04:52 am (UTC)
Thanks for all the marinade tips! I can understand why it may seem a bit odd where I'm coming from, so some more info may be in order.

Right now, I'm in a very weird place in my life. I'm being constantly bombarded with stress. I work full time (though I'll be going to part-time Aug 20th), attend online classes for now (also will return to school on campus on the 20th) and have a live-in beau. Over the past six or so months, I've developed a gluten intolerance, some sort of environmental allergy that all allergy tests can't find (then again, they didn't find the gluten intolerance either), various hormonal issues along with a horrible amount of brain sludge. I can't learn because I can't focus at all. I also am very easily provoked to extreme emotions. I know that a lot of this is due to stress, but I also can't help but believe that part of it isn't due to how I eat.

Several years ago, I was vegetarian. I went vegan for awhile, but fell off the wagon when it became too difficult to have meals out with friends (how my friends and I generally socialize). As I discovered (through a gluten-free diet) that gluten was to blame for the horrible acid reflux that 4x the recommended dose of anti-acid meds wouldn't touch, that removed even more of the options I had available to me so I started eating meat.

For some reason, that one thing totally trashed my diet. I was recently made middle management and since then, the stress of it has made me so tired that I can't cook for myself. At this point, all I really eat is rice pasta with some sort of sauce, processed meats (Hot Pockets, fast food, etc.) and a reasonable amount of restaurant Japanese food. I know all the chemicals, hormones and other junk are most likely the source of the brain sludge and probably all the mood issues as well.

My reason for going basic at first is because, due to my schedule, I have very little time to cook or plan meals. I can do a baked tofu, a pot of brown rice and some steamed veggies very easily and divvy it up into bento boxes for the day. Add some miso soup and seaweed and you've got a meal! Starting next semester, I'll probably be eating most, if not all, my weekday meals away from home so quick, easy and simple is best! :)

I have several macro books (Hip Chick's Guide, Glow, two other cookbooks from Christine Pirello and The Macrobiotic Way... I love books, what can I say? :) ) that I'll be using to make myself fancier stuff on weekends or other times when I get a chance to cook (or my boyfriend's kind enough to help me out) but right now, I'm taking it one meal, one day at a time.
[User Picture]
Date:August 1st, 2007 05:43 am (UTC)
my best suggestion would be to go vegan. One macro meal a day may make a difference, but if 2 of your other meals are hot pockets and Jack in a Box you aren't going to see the results you really want.

My suggestion would be to go vegan first. Going macro is awesome, but with you time commitments switching to vegan would probably be easier. I have a lot of vegan friends and convenience is never really too much of a problem for them. Being vegan is a lot easier to hack than macro and generally vegan places are easier to find and accomodate. I've been vegan/macro my whole life and never really had too many problems eating out. I mean I live in a city and with friends that generally wouldn't ever get fast-food anyways. If my friends only wanted to go to taco bell or w/e I would definitely have a hard time eating out (I don't know about your specific case).

Also, living on-campus may make your food options even more difficult than they are now.
Basically, I think you should see a lot of improvement if you switched your diet. I have a lot of vegan friends who had similar problems and when they switched over a lot of them just went away or stopped being problematic. But I also think your best bet would be to go vegan, and if you are still able to do one macro meal a day while being vegan that would be awesome.

The other thing that would help out is finding local vegan resources and things to help you get started. If you know or find people who are vegan and can cook with them, eat with them, w/e that would be tremendously helpful to making the transition easier. There's also tons of online resources for macro and vegan recipes and I'm sure for finding out about vegan stuff locally. You can also use www.manygrains.com to see any macro resources/people around your area.

Hope this helps!
[User Picture]
Date:August 1st, 2007 05:50 am (UTC)
Thanks again for all the help! I can definitely see where you're coming from. I felt much better when I was vegan in the past (no congestion, etc.) but it was made rather difficult by the fact that none of my friends are vegan and we either eat out or go to the movies for get-togethers. I guess I'll just have to encourage more trips to Sipz (our local Asian vegan place) over anything else. As a general rule, none of us are fast fooders (except for me lately), we just like to try new places. :)

Another lucky thing for me is that I'll still be living off-campus the whole time (I'm 25 and in a partnership so on-campus living's not really an option for me) so I'll have access to all my nice kitchen stuff.

I'll probably try using the next few weeks to transition to vegan and see where I go from there. I just know that, in the past, I was a lazy/junk food vegan. I was raised on fatty warm foods, so they're what I crave. I rarely eat a raw veggie because I don't like cold crunchy food. I need to get used over that quickly!
[User Picture]
Date:August 1st, 2007 06:10 am (UTC)
oh man, I am definitely all about cold and crunchy, or warm and thick and soupy. Really solid chunky stuff not as much.

I think as you more and more become an accomplished vegan cook (or macro if you get that far) you'll end up craving junk food less and less. I'm a few years younger than you but I've found that as the years have gone on and especially in the past couple all my cravings for junk food have just naturally subsided. If anything I would chalk it up to the fact that I've stopped being satisfied unless I actually eat substantial food and the fact that I can cook in a variety of ways and make sure all of my food is flavorful. I know my cousin (who grew up similarly) is also finding the same to be true.

Once your home-cooked meals get more attention and you become more familiar with them and how you like to eat and cook I think junk-food will also start to naturally start to diminish (if you'd be interested in that).
[User Picture]
Date:August 1st, 2007 06:18 am (UTC)
Most definitely. I'm very concerned for my health between my stress and my mother's medical history, so the less junk, the better, right? :)

I'm very much a soup girl. I'm always happy with a soup. I should probably start cooking up crazy amounts of vegan soups and freezing them for lunches. I could probably live off of soup, pasta and stewed vegetables for the rest of my days and be a happy little clam!

I think the most important step for me will be planning my time in advance, making food in large enough quantities, packing it up and remembering to take it with me! I'm naturally spacey and forgetful so this can be toughest part for me. I have no problems eating vegan. It's just that I'll get into pinches where I forgot food and my blood sugar's hit rock bottom, so I'll grab anything!

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