I recently watched a documentary called Forks Over Knives, about the diets of Americans versus Asian countries. The main premise of the documentary is that by altering our diet from meat-based to plant-based, we can not only lose weight, but also decrease the number of medications, prevent disease and cancers, improve our health without medical intervention.
I found this documentary to be very insightful, particularly in regards to how modern medicine and doctors neglect to consider food and eating habits as a potential source of illness and cure for various symptoms. There is a lot of scientific evidence and interviews with doctors from various fields in the documentary to provide substance and validity to the facts present. There are also a series of interviews with individuals who have reverses heart disease and ailments with dietary alterations. The part of the documentary that stuck out to me was the section about dairy. The higher the calcium consumption, the higher the chances for osteoperosis. What I also liked was that this documentary didn’t use any fear-mongering to get its point across. I hate when documentaries do that, it takes away from the message. This documentary was balanced, although I wish they would discuss how exercise helped increase the health of the people interviewed, and I also wish they discussed the monetary aspect of poor nutrition v. healthy nutrition. I mean, if you really want to change the mind of the American public, you have to consider the wallet.
Although my husband and I have already drastically changed our diet from Kraft Mac & Cheese to properly prepared meals, we are in the infant stages of a new chapter in our foodie lives. Over the past month or so, we’ve been dipping our toes into the Vegan/Vegetarian pool. I’ve been incorporating more tofu into our meals. We eat a meat-based dinner 3-4 times a week, and its usually just baked chicken breast with a side of brown rice and steamed broccoli. Its been a real challenge trying to find vegetarian recipes that work for us and our schedule. You’d think cutting out meat would make cooking easier, but that’s not the case with us. Most vegan recipes are stir-fry dishes, which isn’t all that healthy since you’re basically deep-frying tofu. Pasta dishes are boring and we don’t have the time to sit down to make stews or curries. Still, we order the vegetarian dish when we eat out, and try to do what we can at home. I haven’t noticed any drastic changes in our lives as a result, but it’s probably too early to tell.
Although I started us on the vegetarian path because I had read one too many articles about livestock being mistreated, Forks Over Knives helped me reaffirm my desire to cut meat out of my diet for reasons other than the dubious treatment of chickens, pigs and cows. Fans of Michael Pollen with appreciate this documentary and I hope will feel inspired to make simple diet changes as a result.
If you’ve read my rambles this far then congratulations! You get a recipe for my favorite tofu stir-fry recipe from Eating Well
- 1 8-ounce can pineapple chunks or tidbits, 3 tablespoons juice reserved
- 5 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 7 ounces extra-firm, water-packed tofu, drained, rinsed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (See Tip for Two)
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 3 teaspoons canola oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons minced ginger
- 1 large bell pepper, cut into 1/2-by-2-inch strips
- Whisk the reserved 3 tablespoons pineapple juice, vinegar, soy sauce, ketchup and sugar in a small bowl until smooth. Place tofu in a medium bowl; toss with 2 tablespoons of the sauce. Let marinate for 5 minutes. Add cornstarch to the remaining sauce and whisk until smooth.
- Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Transfer the tofu to the skillet using a slotted spoon. Whisk any remaining marinade into the bowl of sauce. Cook the tofu, stirring every 1 to 2 minutes, until golden brown, 7 to 9 minutes total. Transfer the tofu to a plate.
- Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil to the skillet and heat over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add bell pepper and cook, stirring often, until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in the sauce and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 30 seconds. Add the tofu and pineapple chunks (or tidbits) and cook, stirring gently, until heated through, about 2 minutes more.