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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sauteed Tofu and Vegetables

Sauteed Tofu and Vegetables

A very easy and healthy dish is to saute diced tofu and add any vegetable(s) of your choice. To this one can add noodles or serve over rice. It can be embellished with any seasonings of your choice or sauce, such as soy sauce or a different oriental sauce.  Many flavors are available.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Resources That Provide Support for Raising Veggie Kids

I would like to include on this site resources related to raising vegetarian children.

The attached link from Kids' Health provides some useful information on vegetarianism and nutrition. 

The Vegetarian Resource Group has an active yahoo group for parents raising their kids vegetarian.  They have a great, useful page of links.

Feel free to send me resources you would like to see included that you think would help others.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Creative Options for Baby

I've had to consider some creative vegetarian feeding options for my now 8 month-old.  Sometimes, I only need to add some things to things she doesn't care for and suddenly, it's a whole new food she can live with.  Sometimes, that means I add a little multi-grain baby cereal to the unpopular green beans, or yogurt to something else.  I've also started adding ground almonds to her morning cereal along with a little wheat germ and flax meal. 

There are also ready-made options for protein if time is an issue, such as natural hummus.  It is of course easy to make from chickpeas when there is more time.  Having quick feeding options helps when we are busy and want to have a life of our own!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sauteed Diced Tofu

A simple tofu dish that my pre-teen son Colin has liked is sauteed diced tofu with a little hot sauce.  He eats it warm by itself as a snack.

Approximate ingredients:

tub of tofu, firm or extra firm
1 tblsp oil or butter
1 tsp hot sauce like Texas Pete (something with a little tang)
salt to taste or Bragg's Amino
1 tsp Brewer's yeast (optional)

Drain the tofu and press as much moisture out as you can.  Dice the tofu and place in a heated saucepan on medium.  I like to saute the tofu a little without grease to let the moisture evaporate. Add oil or butter to stir-fry the tofu until golden.  Add salt and the hot sauce.  Cook a little more until the hot sauce is absorbed.

Brewer's yeast can be sprinkled on top for added nutrition.  Reduce salt accordingly. This tofu preparation can also be used in salads or other meals.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Recipe: Baby "Rice & Beans"

To make simple "rice &beans" for my almost 7-month-old, I mix cooked and pureed beans with baby cereal. The liquid to get the consistency you want can be breast-milk or formula. This gives my baby grains and protein. I add a little flax meal for more nutrition.  It should also help her if she is constipated.  To complete the meal, I feed her some pureed vegetable and pureed fruit for "dessert."

Monday, August 31, 2009

My vegetarian pre-teen

My 11 year-old son, Colin, has been vegetarian since birth. I had a vegetarian pregnancy and he was born weighing 8lbs 1 oz., 21" when I was 30. On my vegetarian feeding adventure with him, I experimented with different veggie choices to feed him. At one point, when he was an older baby, I came up with a concoction that was a mixture of baby cereal, tofu, yogurt, and flax oil. He loved it! I suppose he didn't quite know better. :-) By about the age of 2, he was done with this.

A challenge I experienced as I went back to work was his diet at day care. As a 2 and 3 year-old, he was getting enticed by what he would see around him and a yogurt mixture was just not going to cut it! The alternatives they had for him sometimes consisted of two pieces of bread and cheese - not grilled or toasted and no condiments. ***sigh***I've been relieved to see that his school has included more and more vegetarian options the past few years. These include bean burritos, pizza, vegetables and fruit. At one point, his choice consisted just of a pb&J sandwich.

I'm also relieved to see that there are increasingly more vegetarian choices in general every year. The market is growing and the increasing competition helps us consumers. It's never been easier to feed kids a vegetarian diet. An easy favorite of even Colin's non-vegetarian friends is veggie dogs or smart dogs. They are certainly a healthier choice for anyone. The stand-by of veggie burgers are always popular and the varieties available keep increasing.

My pre-teen son certainly has more vegetarian choices than my infant daughter, but she doesn't notice yet. I look forward to seeing what veggie choices will be available to her when she is Colin's age.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Making Vegetarian Baby Food

My daughter, Maya, turned 6 months recently, on 8/8/09 to be exact. This was a big turning point for me, as it meant the world of food options would open up "big time." I had been feeding her baby cereal since she was a little over 4 months, and could now feed her protein and other choices of vegetables, fruits, and grains.

What I have realized in the past few weeks of my feeding adventure is that there are not a lot of choices of vegetarian baby food with protein, as alternatives to meat baby food. As a native of India, I have been able to rely on my heritage for food choices that I can modify for her. For instance, instead of making regular dal out of lentils, I took some cooked lentil out for her before adding the spices to make dal. I put some in several baby food jars and later added some to baby cereal and breast milk or formula to make a healthy protein rich food for her in addition to vegetables and fruit. This is also vegan. For now, I am raising her vegetarian and include dairy - just yogurt for now. She has loved kefir - plain and peach.

I have also used a little silken tofu mixed with cereal and formula or breast milk. Although, there seems to be a little controversy with tofu so I lean more towards other choices for protein. Maya is in the 97% for height and about 70% for weight. I can not attribute her size to her diet, but at least I won't be accused of hampering her growth with her diet!

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Several decades ago, in about the fourth grade, I was clobbered to the ground by a peer who was offended that I would not eat her chicken. It really started bugging her that I normally ate peanut butter-and-jelley sandwiches.

A while back, during a lunch break, a coworker and I were confronted by a dogmatic roadside evangelist prostituting his current religion. I calmly expressed my preference for privacy and moved on. He yelled something about worshipping blue gods, when my co-worker leaned over to me and asked, “Is that why you’re a vegetarian?” I looked at her a little puzzled, when she continued, a little uneasy. “You know, because you worship cows.” I laughed at the oversimplification of my faith, but went on to explain that my choice to be vegetarian was due to more reasons than being a default from the culture I grew up with in India.

I know that my son, being raised as a vegetarian, may have to endure names like “Grass Grazer” and the dreaded “Twig Boy.” Fortunately, I have seen great strides in views towards vegetarians which will benefit my son’s journey through vegetarianism. An evidence of progress, I have noticed, is that I have been asked the question, “so what do you eat, lettuce?” (along with whether I lived in a teepee as an “Indian.”) less and less over the years.

Of course there is not much I can do about the probability that he will end up with beef burritos instead of bean at Taco Bell. He will learn the important lesson of checking his food in the drive-through and avoiding restaurants that never seem to get it right. Or better yet, maybe he will be saavy enough to sue and get a trip to India out of it at least. A mother can only dream…

Raising a vegetarian baby sounds synonymous to child abuse to some people born and raised to value the protein of only slaughtered animals. To me, it was an assumption that I would raise my child as I was living. If vegetarianism is important to my way of life, then why wouldn’t I consider it for the most important person in my life? There is no greater blessing than good health, and what more could one want for their child? Vegetarianism is a daily gift I give to my son. At the very least, I have given him a character builder as he handles kids calling him names on the playground. Or possibly I have made a future psychiatrist rich when my son someday struggles to overcome the stereotype of being “Twig Boy.”