A while ago I watched a documentary called Forks Over Knives. It is a really interesting programme presenting scientific research on the connection between diet, nutrition and diseases. It offers a personal perspective from the point of view of a couple of patients’ showing the viewer what changes they have been through after they switched their diet from a meat-based to a plant-based one. Dr. Colin Campbell, the author of The China Study took part in the documentary. As a vegan I had heard of the China study a long time ago and it’s on my to-read list. So it’s interesting to watch and see how it was carried out.
In the China study, they collected the statistics from rural areas in China, where meat was not widely available and people mostly stuck to a plant-based diet. Actually, in the past, Chinese cuisine was not heavily centered around meat. Most meat dishes contain “shredded meat”, instead of big chunks as in the Western dishes, the small pieces of meat are scattered between vegetables, so everybody can have a little. Unfortunately the tradition is changing now. The meat still remains shredded, but the portion has increased, as well as the frequency of appearance. This has become a nightmare for ordering dishes as a vegetarian, as it’s almost unavoidable to get meat in everything. At the same time, the rates of cancers, heart diseases, diabetes and obesity are increasing in China. This is really worrying.
I understand that once people are used to eating a lot of meat, it is really hard for them to give up meat immediately. That’s why I found “mock meats” particularly helpful. Even though they don’t taste exactly like real meat, they are very close. I cooked this dish for my meat-eating parents and they had no trouble eating it at all. It’s equally tasty and familiar, just like the common dish that they usually cook which features shredded pork.
Kitchen Gadgets: Frying Pan/Wok
- 1½ cup /50g dried soy protein shreds – with enough water for soaking
- 2 green peppers
- 1 tsp olive oil (add more if you want to enhance the taste)
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- Soak dried soy protein shreds for 15 minutes, remove the water and set aside.
- Shred one green pepper, cut the other one into small chunks.
- Preheat a stainless steel pan then lower to medium heat, add 1 tsp olive oil and turn the pan to let the oil coat it, then add the grated ginger and crushed garlic, stir-fry for 30 seconds.
- Add the green pepper and stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the prepared soy protein shreds, mix and stir-fry for 2 more minutes, sprinkle the soy sauce over the top. Mix well and continue to cook for 3 minutes, until all appear dried and colored. Serve with the grain of your choice. :-)