Black bean tofu scramble breakfast with 27 g protein, 18 g fiber, low-fat, low-sodium

One of the biggest myths associated to any vegetarian or vegan diet is that people will grow frail and weak from lack of protein. You can’t get protein from plants! Gah! This breakfast is a perfect way to show that you can get protein – lots of it – from a delicious, vegan breakfast. This one is extremely healthy too. I made 5 servings even though it’s just me. Tofu scrambles actually freeze and reheat quite nicely. Just remove from freezer and defrost in the refrigerator over night and reheat over medium flame. If tofu scramble is dry on reheating, add a little vegetable broth to prevent burning or sticking to pan. This particular breakfast is great to fuel a busy day, as it is packed with fiber and very filling and will keep you sustained for a bit.

Serve the tofu scramble with a sprouted grain bagel, english muffin, or toast, and fresh fruit juice.

Oh, and this recipe is free of any refined oils too. Score!

Black bean tofu scramble

Serves 5

Ingredients:

  • 1 block extra firm tofu, drained well
  • 15-oz can black beans
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 Tbsp Bragg’s amino acids
  • 5 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 5 cups spinach
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1-2 Tbsp minced garlic, to taste

Method:

  1. Make sure tofu is very well drained and pressed so it crumbles easily without extra liquid.
  2. Add all ingredients except spinach, onion, and garlic to large sauce pan. Combine well.
  3. Allow tofu mixture to cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring occassionally. (Depending on pan and how well your tofu is drained, add 1-2 Tbsp of vegetable broth IF NECESSARY to prevent sticking/burning)
  4. Caramelize onions and garlic in preheated skillet. (View steps on caramelizing onions without oil.)
  5. Add onions and garlic to tofu mixture.
  6. Fold in spinach, continuing to stir until spinach is cooked tender.

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I served this tofu scramble with a sprouted wheat bagel, dry, (specifically the 365 Sprouted Wheat Berry Fiber Bagel) and a fresh juice with apple, pear, orange, celery, and fennel.

Approximate nutrition info per serving (including bagel but not juice):

Calories: 443

Calories from fat: 27

Fat: 10 g

Sodium: 415

Potassium: 420 mg

Carbs: 28 g

Fiber: 18 g

Sugar: 5 g

Protein: 27 g

 

Some numbers I watch:

Fat: <2.5 g/100 calories

Sodium: <1 mg/1 calorie (ex. 2000 calories per day, no more than 2000 mg sodium)

Protein: ~0.36 g/1 pound of body weight (ex. 175 pounds x .36 g = 68.4 g –  increase this if you work out to 0.6 g/#)

Fiber: >25 g per day

Carbs: I honestly don’t watch carbs. Carbs = energy. I just stay aware that if I’m consuming a lot of carb-heavy foods that I should be expending more energy.

Sugar: I don’t watch sugar intake either. I rarely consume processed sugar and instead use sweeteners like maple syrup, raw agave and honey (yes, I know most people consider honey a non-vegan food, but I do consume it.) If I’m eating a lot of foods high in natural sugars, I up my water intake to help flush it through. Otherwise, my skin tends to break out.

A note on fiber: If you currently do not consume enough fiber, make sure to increase gradually, as a sudden increase in fiber can lead to constipation and gas. Make sure to drink plenty of water. Also consider digestive enzymes as you build up to the correct amount of fiber. The benefits of consuming enough fiber include weight, cholesterol, and blood sugar maintenance, as well as regulation of digestion and prevention of constipation. I consume probably 30 grams of fiber a day and am as regular as clockwork. Someone I know recently commented that they only use the bathroom once a week, and this completely blew my mind. How I could be comfortable without daily morning elimination is beyond me. It’s a great feeling when your body is working the way its supposed to! This also prevents toxins from sitting in our intestines which can lead to health problems such as a weakened immune system. Many skin conditions, like eczema and acne, are related to an abundance of toxins as well. Drink plenty of water to help the fiber flush toxins out of your system regularly. Regular – yay!

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Meatless Monday: Quinoa stirfry with broccoli, mango, cashews and spicy ginger sauce

Meatless Monday!

Let’s talk quinoa, a great addition to any meatless diet. Pronounced KEEN-wah, in case you were wondering. But what is it? It’s actually a seed, but is considered a whole grain. Most importantly, quinoa is the only plant-based source of complete protein. Whoa, what’s that? Yes – there is a plant that contains all 9 essential amino acids: quinoa! And it packs 7g of protein per serving compared to brown rice’s 4g. So it’s got more of a better quality protein. I love it. I will admit it took me a little while to come around to it. I’m much more of a fan of a hot quinoa dish than a cold quinoa salad, though. (Quinoa can replace other grains in soups, stirfries, or Mexican dishes, OR try it in place of oatmeal for breakfast.)

One particular amino acid that quinoa is high in is lysine, which is missing from wheat and rice. Lysine aids in tissue growth and repair, aiding the immune system. (Lysine is often used as a supplement to quickly banish cold sores.) Quinoa also is packed with fiber and minerals. It’s gluten-free, and considered an easily digested grain. Win-win-win.

This dish is vegan, gluten-free*,with no added salt, no added refined sugars, no extracted oils. It’s packed with fiber and healthy fats.

*contains no added gluten ingredients, but make sure you double check all brands of products like vegetable broth or soy sauce that you are using, as many will contain gluten or wheat ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 1cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 2 cups water or reduced-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 cups frozen mango chunks (this would work well with pineapple too)
  • 6 cups frozen broccoli florets
  • 2 cups frozen diced pepper/onion mix
  • 1 cup raw cashews

Sauce:

  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • ½ cup raw agave nectar
  • ¾ cup water
  • 2 ½ Tbsp Bragg’s (or reduced sodium tamari or soy sauce)
  • 1 ½ Tbsp fresh minced garlic
  • ½ Tbsp fresh minced ginger
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 Tbsp corn starch

Method:

  1. Prepare quinoa according to package. (Typically, add 2 cups water or reduced-sodium vegetable broth and 1 cup quinoa. Bring to boil. Cover, and lower for a simmer for 15-20 minutes. Quinoa will be done when grain is translucent and has little spirals coming out of it.)
  2. While quinoa is simmering, steam broccoli in covered pot for approx 10 minutes.
  3. Add mango and pepper/onion mix to broccoli and steam for approx 5-7 minutes until heated thoroughly.
  4. Stir in cashews and remove from heat.
  5. To prepare sauce, add all ingredients except corn starch to a small sauce pan and bring to low boil.
  6. Whisk in corn starch until thickened and thoroughly dissolved.
  7. Once quinoa is finished, add quinoa to broccoli/mango/cashew mixture and stir in sauce.
  8. Simmer all ingredients together above medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 3-4 minutes to reduce sauce slightly and meld flavors.

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Other quinoa recipe posts you might like:

Sopa de Quinua or Quinoa Soup (vegetarianirvana.wordpress.com)

Quinoa: breakfast of champions (mostlyfood.org)

Thai Fried Quinoa (feastyoureyesonmyveg.wordpress.com)


Green protein smoothie and introduction to coconut oil

After a gross hiatus from exercise, I am getting back on track officially today. That means at least 1 hour of physical activity each day and also a protein smoothie to add nutrition and help build fitness. I got rid of my vehicle lately, which has forced me to start walking everywhere. I have done this before, and every time I’m in a pattern of walking, I tend to get more and more motivated to work out and get stronger and be able to zip around town on my own two feet. I will be biking again soon, but feel not strong enough quite yet. I need to exercise for a week or so and then hop back on. My plan is to gain energy and confidence in myself again before my 1 month vacation in January (heading back to my hometown in California – 29 palms! I’m even doing a 10 day silent meditation retreat, but I’ll have to write about that later.) I do feel pretty good most of the time, but I’m getting a bit squishy after this hiatus from real exercise. So yea, time to step it up again.

Today’s workout was 45 minutes on the Cross Ramp, interval setting, alternating between resistance 1 and 8. I hovered around 115-125 strides per minute. (This is my first attempt at actually tracking progress with speed, resistance, and when it comes to strength training, the weight that I’m using.) I also walked 4 miles total, as it’s 1.5 miles each way to the gym and then another mile to the grocery store.

I feel GREAT right now. Remember that! Note to self: you feel GREAT right now. I can’t wait to go sweat it out some more.

That’s how it’s really been my entire weight loss journey. I’ll begin by really buckling down and keeping a food log and exercise log. Then eventually I get into the rhythm of how good it feels to maintain health, and I stop tracking it, but then that leads to me cheating here and there and falling a bit off track. My “off track” days used to mean slices of vegan carrot cake and 300 calorie vegan cookies and chocolate bars and salt and pepper potato chips and fried buffalo seitan and popcorn drenched in Earth Balance (all former cravings even after lifestyle change!) I don’t crave most of those things too often now. My cravings tend to centralize around savory foods and not sweet ones. I do have a very fond attachment to Daiya Cheese and like to use it in several dishes. I had been using a lot of Earth Balance and Daiya lately, and that’s my “off track” cheat now. But today? Right now? After hitting the gym and sipping on this smoothie? I don’t feel cravings for ANY of that. I think this really the key in weight loss or any type of struggle really. Remember, make a mental note (or physical – write it down!) about how good you feel, your energy level, your confidence level. If you feel sexy, remember that! It will help motivate you on the days when its a bit harder to get your workout in. And another thing to remember, that food that nourishes, such as this protein smoothie, will taste even better the more your body needs the nutrients to refuel. The more you feed your body the fuel it needs, the more you’ll actually feel like working out. And the more you feed your body nutrient-dense foods, the less you’ll crave empty calories. Your body won’t want that crap anymore, trust me. It’s a positive cycle.

So, I’m going to make a protein smoothie with baby spinach. The reason I specifically start any kind of reset or “back on track” period of time with a smoothie is because of how much nutrition it packs in for not a lot of calories or really energy to digest. It’s already liquid!

OKAY – so what’s in my smoothie today??

  • 2 cups organic unsweetened soymilk
  • 1 large organic banana
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
  • 1 heaping scoop Lifetime Life’s Basics Plant Protein (hemp, chia, rice, and pea)*
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil**

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*This protein is my absolute favorite. It tastes GREAT just even on its own. Even to someone not used to protein powders. It’s soy-free, gluten-free, dairy-free. And it packs a great nutritional punch. Find it on Amazon.com for the best deal. They have a Subscribe & Save program where you can get it on autoship each month (or however often) and you get free shipping and 15% off too. Crazy!

**In a recent post, I explained the benefits of getting healthy fats from whole foods and how I’m a supporter of limiting (or eliminating, ideally) all refined oils. I have never cooked with or consumed coconut oil. I have heard through the grapevine that it is extremely healthy for you, even from people who generally don’t consume extracted oils. (Must be virgin coconut oil – unrefined.) The consensus seems to be that coconut, flax, and hemp seed oils are still very beneficial to our bodies. The big difference being that these oils are often just extracted and not refined. Since they haven’t gone through that processing, many of the healthy fats are still intact and have not been destroyed through heating.

The benefits of coconut oil that I’m interested in gaining include nicer hair and skin, healthier digestion and metabolism, effective weight loss, and increased immune support. Before beginning to consume an oil like this on a regular basis, I want to make sure I understand WHY it is so beneficial. The knowledge behind the healthy benefits of certain foods is really what motivates me to try new things and increase the nutritional density of every meal.

So let’s start with the benefits to hair and skin. I have been using coconut oil externally for approximately 6 months now (on and off) as both a deodorant and moisturizer. What I’ve noticed is that my skin feels smoother for longer, it tends to have a nicer overall hue, and just looks generally more healthy and less blemished. Coconut oil is also antimicrobial. Using it as a deodorant helps kill the bacteria which cause bad body odor. (Of course, body odor is affected by what we eat as well. A clean diet will definitely result in less of a toxic smell from your pits.) And since its moisturizing and antimicrobial, it works great to help heal cuts or skin abrasions or other problems. It also makes sense that if coconut oil has these properties, that consumed internally, it would help boost the immune system in fighting free radicals. Also, the healthy fats will help increase skin elasticity and keep it looking healthy from inside too!

As far as metabolism and weight loss are concerned, it seems to be that coconut oil behaves differently than other oils due to medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs). When fat is consumed, the fat is broken down and sent into the bloodstream and directly to the cells. The MCFAs in coconut oil are actually sent to the liver instead, where they convert to energy the same way that carbohydrates would. This quick efficient boost of energy speeds the metabolism, which could help boost weight loss!

Some resources on the benefits of coconut oil: Coconut ConnectionsCoconut Oil CentralLIVESTRONG

And now that I’m way off track… how about a photo of that smoothie I’m sipping on? And then I’m off to work on some sprouted grain breads!

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Approximate Nutrition Facts

Calories: 631

Calories from fat: 211

Total fat: 23.6 g

Saturated fat: 13.7 g

Sodium: 384 mg

Potassium: 1356 mg

Carbohydrates: 67.4 g

Fiber: 13.2 g

Sugar: 36.57 g

Protein: 42.8 g