Today I made a Peanut Butter Pie. It is BANANAS! So good. So decadent. So ... easy to mow down 5 slices. But I'm keeping myself in check ... only one slice tonight.
This brings me to today's topic. Don't. Go. Crazy. I think it is pretty easy to go overboard when you are switching to a vegetarian or vegan diet ... especially if you are new to it. When I went vegetarian back in '06 I didn't do it in a healthy way. I stopped eating meat but my diet consisted of mainly white pasta, white rice & white sugar. I still ate very little vegetables & fruits. Technically, you can have sugary cereal & milk for breakfast, grilled cheese & fries for lunch, pasta with cheesy pesto sauce for dinner and ice cream for dessert ... and call yourself a vegetarian (or vegan by using dairy substitutes). But you know that is not healthy at all ... there is nothing about those meals that would be any better or worse than your old eating habits. I reverted back to eating meat after a year of being vegetarian ... most likely because I was not eating correctly and was craving the nutrients that meat provided. I'm glad that I experienced that though ... this time around I am being much smarter about everything.
The Peanut Butter Pie I made tonight is completely vegan ... but I am not going to devour the whole thing in one sitting. It is still what I would call junk food (albeit a much healthier version) and like everything else in a healthy diet ... it's all about moderation. When you switch to a vegan eating plan you really have to make sure you are conscious of what you are going to eat. You have to prioritize your food. It seems like a big task but once you get into the swing of things it is really, really easy and takes no time at all. Make sure that you focus on whole grains, vegetables, seeds, legumes, nuts, leafy greens and fruits. Also, I wouldn't recommend going too crazy with the soy products (faux dairy, tofu, etc). Yes, I do believe it is much better for you health wise to quit the dairy and use substitutes, but again, moderation is key. There is a whole 'nother debate out there on the effects of too much soy in our diets, but I have not researched it enough to give any concrete facts. I think just using a common sense approach is good. Focus on whole foods! Soy products are just that ... products and they have been manufactured just like other processed foods. Use them sparingly and as a treat! Have soy products a couple times a week ... this is something I have to work on too.
With that being said ... I need to follow my own advice. Ever since going to Art Walk last Thursday and indulging in veg chili fries and cupcakes ... my sweet tooth has been acting up. I haven't been eating a very balanced diet in the last couple of days and need to get back on track ... I can totally tell just by how I feel and how my body is reacting. But, unlike in the past, I'm not going to beat myself up over it ... just balance everything out again. Like Alicia Silverstone says in her book, The Kind Diet, it is much easier to listen to and hear what your body is telling you when you are nourishing it in a healthy way. I really love being a vegan and so does my body!
Strawberry-Banana Smoothie (yesterday's breakfast).
Sautéing veggies for Scrambled Tofu (leeks, broccoli, zucchini, & red onions).
Scrambled Tofu w/ pumpkin seeds & scallions.
*My husband ate his Scrambled Tofu on a Sprouted Wheat Bagel with Tofutti.
I don't have a double boiler so just used a stainless steel bowl over a pot.
Peanut Butter Pie
Brunch: Scrambled Tofu
Snack: Pomelo, few bites of Asian Pear
Dinner: Sweet Potato-Lentil Stew over couscous
Dessert: Peanut Butter Pie
PEANUT BUTTER PIE (from The Kind Diet)
1 vegan chocolate cookie crust (I used a graham cracker cookie crust)
1 (10 oz) bag grain-sweetened, nondairy chocolate chips
1/2 cup soy or hemp milk (do not use rice or nut milk)
1 1/4 cups peanut butter, divided
1 (12.3 oz) box silken tofu (firm)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1-2 tspns vanilla extract to taste (I used just 1 tspn)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Bake the cookie crust for 4-5 mins to make it a bit crispy. Cool completely.
Melt the chocolate chips in the top of a double boiler set over simmering water. If you don't have a double boiler, place a stainless steel bowl over boiling water & melt the ingredients in it. Whisk in the milk until combined & smooth. With a measuring cup, scoop out about 1/4 cup of the chocolate mixture, then pour the remainder into the cookie crust. Place the cookie crust in the fridge to cool completely.
While the filling chills, combine 1 cup peanut butter, tofu, syrup, and vanilla in a food processor or blender; process until very smooth, scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Pour the peanut butter mixture on top of the chilled chocolate filling in the cookie crust, smoothing it out over the pie as your pour, and return the filled cookie crust to the refrigerator to chill for an hour or until firm.
To serve, return the reserved chocolate filling to the double boiler, or stainless steel bowl, and stir in the remaining 1/4 cup peanut butter. Stir until the chocolate and peanut butter are very well combined and very warm. If the mixture seems to thick to drizzle, add some soy milk until it is runny enough to pour. Decoratively drizzle the mixture over the chilled pie in zigzags or swirls, or use a small spatula to spread it smoothly over the whole pie. Refrigerate for 15-20 mins before serving.
SCRAMBLED TOFU (from The Kind Diet)
2 Tbspns sesame oil
2 cups chopped mixed vegetables
1-2 Tbspns shoyu (soy sauce)
1 Tbspn mirin (optional)
1 tspn umeboshi vinegar (optional)
Fine sea salt to taste
1 (14 oz) pkg firm tofu, mashed or crumbled
1/4 cup toasted seeds (sunflower, sesame, or pumpkin)
Chopped fresh scallions, cilantro or parsley for garnish
Heat the oil in a skillet & when hot, add the veggies. Saute until the vegetables are tender, about 5-8 mins, depending on which vegetables you are using. If the vegetables start to stick or scorch, add a bit of water to the pan. Season the vegetables with shoyu, mirin (if using, ume vinegar (if using), and salt. Add the tofu, and cook, stirring constantly, until heated through, about 2-3 mins. Add more seasoning to taste, if necessary. Serve sprinkled with the seeds, scallions, cilantro or parsley.