I Might Be Turning Into “One of Those People.”

The last thing I want for people to say is, “Oh, you’re one of those.”

Asian Marinated Tofu Sticks (recipe below)

But, I can’t stop the madness, I keep going back to this Vegan thing!

It all started several years ago after watching the documentary, “Forks Over Knives.” The movie was recommended to us, by my brother, after we found that Poo had heart disease.

I began cooking one or two vegetarian meals a week, eventually eliminating most dairy as well. I continued to cook meat, mostly chicken and fish but, only a couple of times a week.

I took an online cooking class and became plant based certified. I did that mainly to learn how to cook a plant based meal and make it taste good because, let’s face it ………… we all know that vegans get a “bad wrap.” And, the food they eat gets a bigger, “badder wrap.” 🙂

I thought we were eating pretty well, except for the French fries we ordered when we went out to eat on the weekends. Poo and I would share one order …………. that’s not bad, right?

Homemade french fries, straight from the air fryer. Just a cut potato, a little evoo (like 1 tsp.) and some seasoning and about 15 minutes in the fryer. Yummmmm 🙂

Then, BAMMM! I contracted a severe case of food poisoning last June, which turned into long-term IBS-D. Ahhhhh, the gift that keeps on giving ……….. one I would have loved to returned. No need for a full refund, just take it back!

You know my story, so I’ll spare you the details again but, in short, I could no longer eat beans and lentils, which had been our primary protein source but were also High-Fodmap foods. I found that after following a Low-Fodmap Diet for several weeks, my IBS-D symptoms were completely manageable.

So ………. enter meat again …… stage left.

Thanksgiving turkey prepped and ready to go in the oven.

Even though I didn’t want to go back to eating a lot of meat, I felt I had no choice. If you’ve followed me, you know that I lift weights. I wouldn’t call myself a “bodybuilder” but, I probably lift heavier than the average 55 year old woman. I need the protein in my diet and, following a Low-Fodmap diet, meat included, was quite a relief as my bowels started to get back to normal.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks before Christmas. I had been following the Low-Fodmap diet for months, and eating plenty of meat, but I had begun to feel sluggish. My joints were aching as well, and I just wasn’t feeling my best.

Why was I feeling this way? What was I doing different? Why was my energy level down? I knew something was off and, after waking up one too many mornings with nagging, aching joints, feeling as if I were hung-over, I decided to find out the cause.

Here comes my shout-out to “The Google,” once again. 🙂

I had my suspicions but, nonetheless, I did a google search for “foods that cause inflammation in the joints,” and realized I was eating most of them. (In reality, I already knew)

Ugh …….

The Top Ten Foods That Cause Inflamation:

  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Dairy
  • Sugar
  • Saturated Fats
  • Trans Fats
  • Omega 6 Fatty Acids
  • Refined Carbs
  • MSG
  • Gluten & Cassien

Exit meat ……… stage right.

I abruptly cut out the meat , eggs and dairy that I had been consuming for months and, I KID YOU NOT, within a few days I was already starting to feel better.

I know I was not getting enough protein right away but I didn’t care at the time. I felt soooooo much better. Alleluia!

I know ……… a terrible picture and I also had been slacking off on the upper body workouts. But …. baby …….. I’m back, and feeling stronger!

I decided it was time for me to experiment with slowly adding some of those High-Fodmap foods back into my diet to see how my gut would handle those old friends of mine.

Apparently the gut gods decided to look favorably upon me as I reintroduced beans and lentils back into my diet, as well as other High-Fodmap foods.

If I hadn’t started feeling badly from the SAD, I probably wouldn’t have been courageous enough to try to eat those foods that had previously wreaked havoc on my system.

I still have tiny gut issues with a few foods but nothing like before. Whew! (I had read somewhere that eating a Low-Fodmap diet for several months can go a long way in healing the gut. Apparently it helped me!)

Luckily, mostly the IBS-D exited too, ………….. stage right.

I can now eat lentils and beans but, in smaller quantities. It’s a start. But in the mean time, I have been experimenting with other protein options.

My haul of “fake meat” from a trip to the grocery.

Yep …….. Tofu.

I tried tofu …………….. once ………… about 20 years ago. 🙂

Let’s face it, most of us have tried tofu at some point but, if you were like me, didn’t like it so never tried it again.

I’d like to say that tofu’s come along way since I last tried it but, honestly, I don’t know if it’s changed much. More likely, we have learned better ways to cook it and make it taste more palatable.

I didn’t use paper towels under and on top of the tofu for this picture but, I have been using them since then.

The only reason I decided to give tofu another chance was because of a young woman, @fitveganchef, I follow on Instagram. She’s a vegan bodybuilder and she loves tofu so much that she eats it everyday. I watched one of her videos demonstrating the different ways she cooks tofu and decided to give it a try again. I never saw her talk about using a marinade, but she does season it after it’s cooked. However, I prefer a marinade.

This is my fancy tofu press. From the bottom up: a tea towel, paper towel, tofu, paper towel, tea towel, long glass baking dish and multiple dinner plates on top. Works great!

Not in a million years, would I have EVER thought Tofu could taste so good, but I have cracked the code!

Well ……. ok, not me. But I did come up with a really tasty marinade.

All of the ginger doesn’t stick to the tofu so I smeared what was left in the marinade bag on top of the tofu before popping it into the fryer.
Pop them in the Cuisinart Air Fryer for 10-15 minutes @ 400 degrees.

This recipe was inspired by multiple recipes I came across on the internet during my search, including the PBS website. I took the seasonings from different recipes to make a blend that I thought I would like.

The tofu sticks right from the fryer.
Asian Marinated Tofu Sticks:

Ingredients:

1 Block Extra Firm Organic Tofu
2 T Tamari
1 T Sesame Oil
1 T Water
1 t Marsala
1" Fresh Ginger, grated
1/2 t Onion Powder
1/2 t Garlic Powder

Directions:

Cut tofu block into 1/2" slices.
Cut slices in half to make tofu sticks.
Lay tofu between two clean tea towels and put something heavy on top, to press as much of the moisture out as possible, for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix all the other ingredients together.
Careful lay the tofu in a ziplock bag and pour the marinade on top.
Make sure all the tofu gets coated and then place in the fridge for 24 hours.
During the next 24 hours, turn the bag over a few times to ensure an even coating.
By the time you are ready to air fry the tofu, you will notice the marinade will be completely absorbed.
Air fry at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, turn over and air fry for another 5 minutes.*
Keep your eye on the tofu the first time you bake them for your own desired results.

*These directions are based on my Cuisinart air fryer and my preferences.

I’ve also been experimenting with tofu scrambles by adding different veggies and seasonings. (I haven’t found the seasoning that I like for that dish yet). And, although I have been cooking with tempeh for awhile now, I have also been trying the sausage, bacon, lunch meat and TVP (textured vegetable protein). They’re all pretty good but I think the right seasoning is key.

I formed a BFree tortilla into a taco shell and baked it in the oven. Spread beans on the bottom and added Lightlife Veggie Crumbles seasoned with taco seasoning, then ………………..
…………… transformed it into a taco salad. Nom nom nom.

I am determined to cook more plant based meals again even though I live with a self proclaimed carnivore. (Did I just call him an animal?) Poo looked me dead in the eyes and said without hesitation and a whole ‘lotta conviction, “I DO NOT WANT TO BE A VEGETARIAN.”

When I think about that conversation, a picture forms in my mind of him in a Tarzan outfit, pounding his fists against his chest, bellowing in a low- pitched raspy voice, “I am man, I want meat!”

Uhmmm, I guess that means veganism is out of the question?

A little biscuit sandwich made with egg whites, Lightlife sausage and Daiya cheddar cheese.

Shhhhh ……….. don’t tell him that I’ve been disguising his “meat.” 🙂

“Deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance.” – Oscar Wilde

xoxo, Katy

Author: Katy

I am a business owner, a mom of two grown daughters, a wife, and lover of life! I am an active 50+ -er with many new developing interests. Physical activity has always played a role in my life. Sometimes, more ........and sometimes, less. As a "Baby Boomer," it has become increasingly important for me to navigate the aging process with grace and agility. Part of the healthy living equation is, of course, the nutritional aspect as well. This blog, first and foremost, is devoted to women over the age of 50 looking to improve the quality of their life by exercising and consuming a healthy diet. Cheers to a life well lived! *You can read more about me by visiting my Home Page.