Friday, July 25, 2008

Tofu, how I missed you

So I meant to write about this a while back but I totally forgot. It's really great news: I can eat soy again! As you may remember, I got allergic to it while I was pregnant -- crazy hives all over. It took weeks to figure out what the heck was causing it.

When Zadie was 6 weeks old, the dermatologist gave me the goahead. I dove in head first with a delicious Tofishy sandwich from Zenith while we were at the I Made It! Market in Pittsburgh's South Side.

I haven't had any adverse reactions and Zadie seems fine with it as it comes through the boob. Soy and dairy are common allergens for breastfed babies so I paid a lot of attention to her behavior that day and the next.

The whole ordeal, however, really got me to wondering. When I was pregnant, I had to read labels with a vengeance. Soy is in almost everything and the tiniest little molecule of the stuff would send me to scratchland. I also read a lot on the dangers of soy and the benefits of soy. I came to the decision that moderation really is the best scenario for all of us.

We stopped drinking soy milk a long time ago and opted for the more benign rice version. Lately we're trying to alternate some other soy- and dairy-free versions like almond milk. In our lives, we avoid processed foods as much as possible. It wasn't making sense anymore for us to eat all this stuff that's tauted as being "healthy" simply because it wasn't a meat product (or by-product). Now we only eat things like soy burgers, soy dogs, and my favorite chik nuggets and patties if it's a last resort (for example, we are at someone's bbq or out to eat with my parents). And perhaps last resort isn't the best term. Basically, we've stopped buying it but will definitely support businesses and restaurants that offer vegetarian options.

At home, we eat tofu that's locally made. We've been eating a lot of bean dishes and even hiding beans in other foods. My favorite is potato soup with a can of Great Northern beans blended and poured in. But I'm proud of us for downsizing our processed vegetarian stock. It's been a challenge because the modern vegetarian diet consists so much of these meat replacers and that doesn't make sense either. I stopped eating meat in the early '90s because it was started making me feel gross. I wasn't an animal rights activist (although I married one) and I certainly am not a health nut. I don't know why or how all these fake meats became such a staple of our diet. But now that they're gone, I just feel so much better -- and I'm eating for two of us now.

Oh, that fabulous tofu man up there is by Etsy seller ButtonArcade.