When people decide to switch to a vegan diet, they always worry about not getting enough protein. This is primarily because we have been educated from a young age that animal proteins are the only source of protein we can get; people don’t even realize that most plants also contain protein.
The good thing about animal protein (if we ignore the animals suffering and dying) is that it’s complete, so you don’t need to take amino acids from various other foods. The bad thing is that animal protein is laden with fat, cholesterol, residues of hormones and a concentration of pesticides and antibiotics, and all these bad characteristics overwrite the good ones. It also contributes to acidifying of our body, which results in calcium leaking from our bones in an attempt to balance the body’s Ph value. An acidic environment is believed to be one of the causes of cancers. Another reason for avioding excess protein is it makes our kidneys overwork to process it.
On a lighter note, while most plants don’t have a complete protein profile, by eating various foods your body automatically takes bits from each resource to satisfy its needs. And the good news is that you don’t have to eat them all in one meal. Your body is clever enough to do its own job by combining them. Not to mention, there are certainly some foods available with complete protein, such as soybeans and quinoa. Of course, you don’t have to eat them every day, like I said, just try to combine various plant foods, your body will do its job. ;-) Here is a dish that contains tofu and its more “meaty” counterparts for the new, wannabe vegans to try.
Health Index: ⅘ (4 to 5 days a week)
Kitchen Gadgets: Wok
400g firm tofu
50 soy protein chunks
¼ cup dried black woodear
2 stalks of garlic sprouts
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp Chinese cooking wine
2 tbsp spicy bean paste
½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp corn starch
1 cup and 2 tbsp water (2 tbsp reserved for last step with corn starch)
2 tbsp olive oil
1. Soak the soy protein and woodear for 15 minutes, squeeze out the excess water and set aside. If woodears are too big, tear them into bite-sized pieces.
2. Cut the tofu into square pieces, set aside. Cut the garlic sprouts into 3-4 cm long sections, set aside.
3. Heat a cast-iron wok on a high heat, then add 2 tbsp of olive oil.
4. Add the soaked soy protein and woodear, stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes, add soy sauce, cooking wine and bean paste, mix and continue stir-frying for 2 minutes. 5. The flavor will be absorbed by soy protein.
6. Add one cup of water, turn down to a medium heat, add the tofu pieces, simmer for 5 minutes, stir constantly being careful not to break tofu too much.
7. Mix 1 tsp of corn starch with 2 tbsp water, evenly sprinkle into the wok, then add sea salt, cook for one minute, until the sauce begins to thicken, turn off the heat. Add the chopped garlic sprouts and mix using the residual heat. Serve!