mindful eating

Rice is Life

Rice is Life

Before coming here, I was aware of rice as a part of a Thai meal.  In New York, I would usually order a side of rice to go with my giant bowl of massaman curry.  Paige and I were sitting down having a coffee near our apartment in Chiang Mai, when I noticed a young Thai woman passing by.  She was carrying a tote bag with the perfect slogan printed on it.  It said: "RICE IS LIFE”.   

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Shade Market Cooking: Fresh Tofu

Shade Market Cooking: Fresh Tofu

For years I completely ignored tofu.  It just never excited me.  In my eyes, it was white-ish, bland soy mush.  How ignorant of me!  But, in all fairness, we are not taught to appreciate tofu in the States.  As we mention in our post on soy milk, the mass produced "tofu" that's common in the United States is not real tofu.  It's just soy protein concentrate pressed into a cake.  Real tofu is a whole soy product, including most of the fiber and healthy fats in the soy bean.  Real tofu isn't bland.  It has a slightly sour flavor from the vinegar used to curdle the soy milk.  Real tofu has a vegetal taste from the skin of the legume.  It has a toothsome quality akin to queso fresco or haloumi.  Tofu's porous nature allows it to soak up sauces and flavorful oils. I will continue to ignore the mass produced soy-food that is found in supermarkets, instead opting for fresh tofu at asian markets.  Or, better yet, home-made tofu.

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Shade Market Cooking: Soy Milk

Shade Market Cooking: Soy Milk

Whole soybeans are extremely nutritious; one cooked cup contains 43% of daily omega-3 fatty acids, 49% of iron, 41% of fiber, and 57% of protein as well as a host of other beneficial nutrients.  For all of that nutrition, one cup of cooked soy only contains about 15% of daily calories.  For vegetarians, whole soybean consumption is a must, but they can also be a great source of protein and nutrients for meat eaters.  Soy is not a meat alternative, it's a delicious legume all its own. Whole soy products include: tofu, soy milk, and fermented soybean products such as miso and tempeh.

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Shade Market Cooking: Pickle Brine

Shade Market Cooking: Pickle Brine

So often we buy vegetables with a plan on cooking them, and so often they rot in our fridge.  An estimated 28% of vegetables that are purchased are thrown in the garbage by the consumer.  Besides being a sad thing, waste has larger repercussions.  Wasting food also wastes all of the money, effort and time that go into getting produce from the farms to our tables.  Having some pickle brine handy can help reduce waste at home. 

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Mindful Eating: A Struggle with Meat

Towards the end of the year, many of us self-reflect and evaluate what we want for ourselves. My continuing hope is to listen to my body. Over the last 4 years, I’ve struggled with what my body is saying about whether or not I should eat meat.

This is not a moral objection to eating meat masquerading as a health concern. I want to, I really do. This is especially true as I embark on this project exploring and reporting on all things in the intersection between humans and food. But, certain meats just don’t agree with me. Where most people get energy from meat-protein, I feel weighed down, and my body has a hard time processing it. Some meats go down more harshly than others: I was not-so-kindly reminded after eating lengua & cabeza tacos last week. But, some meats don’t affect me at all, like chicken and rabbit. I am not the type of person to deprive myself of things I like, but there has to be some self-control if they end up hurting me.

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