Veggie Garden Tofu Scramble & Thoughts on My Dietary Approach

I vowed to improve my tofu scramble after having one that I loved at a restaurant a couple of weeks ago. I started with some of my favorite vegetables which is key to making a scramble you will enjoy. I chose onions, shiitake mushrooms and collard greens sliced into strips:

I didn’t plan well enough ahead to press my tofu in the fridge, so I used my handy-dandy Tofu Xpress:

I water-sauteed my veggies until they were soft and then piled the crumbled tofu on top:

I like adding spices that turn the tofu yellow at this point because a. they taste good and b. they make the dish more appetizing to my husband who doesn’t quite believe that tofu is a substitute for eggs in a scramble. So, I added about 1/2 teaspoon each of turmeric and curry. I also sprinkled another 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder.

So, this might seem minor, but the biggest trick I learned from the restaurant was to serve avocado on top of the scramble. The avo adds richness and flavor that otherwise might be missing because there is no other fat in the dish other than that in the tofu. I also served the dish with some roasted kambocha squash and a sliced kiwi:

This dish was so good! The scramble made enough for dinner for my husband and me with a little leftover that I will probably eat with my salad for lunch today. Other tips that I got from the restaurant that I might try in the future include serving the scramble with salsa and serving it on top of a sprouted corn tortilla (I’m thinking some black beans and cilantro might make this a whole new dish).

On a separate note, I got a really thoughtful question and comment from Adrienne recently regarding my ongoing discussion about eating disorders and finding my ideal weight. Here is what Adrienne said:

“Hey Carrie!

I really want to ask this question but I am not sure how to do it without sounding offensive, so please know first that I am trying not to be offensive! I don’t want to be hurtful, but I am very curious: reading through some of your older posts, especially ones about disordered eating and every one since November’s “this is not a diet blog” post, I am wondering about your ideal weight. It is just very surprising to read that you feel you have “pounds to lose” or that you can get excited over the loss of one pound, when you already look so thin, strong, healthy and vibrant. Perhaps since you are a nutrition student you have special insight, but what are you using as a guide for what you “should” weigh? Personally I have a hard time with such charts – ESPECIALLY the BMI one, which is the biggest load of bull ever – because I don’t think you can chart people so neatly. What are you putting your faith in, and why?

Thanks in advance for your thoughtfulness!!

adrienne”

I was really happy to receive a question like this because I think it gave me the opportunity to think through and express my feelings about some of these issues. Here is how I responded to that question:

“Hi Adrienne! I take absolutely no offense by your question. In fact, I welcome it! I agree with you that I look and feel healthy and vibrant. Before I became a follower of Dr. Fuhrman’s plan (Eat to Live), I would have considered where I am to be a very healthy weight. Dr. Fuhrman’s recommendations for weight are stricter than what might be considered “normal” for Americans based on his clinical experience and the science showing that lower body mass individuals experience less disease. So, while I am very close to his recommendations, but still not quite there. In fact, I still experience medical issues that could be related to still being 5-10% above what he considers my “ideal weight.” Of course, his recommendations are broad and not individualized, it is up to each person to find what works for him or her. I have had such a wonderful health transformation following the Eat to Live program that I believe Dr. Fuhrman is right that I am still not quite there in terms of my weight.

In regards to eating disorders, that is a bit trickier. My personal experience was with binge eating which was a way of comforting myself with food. My weight wasn’t really the focus of that problem, it was emotional vulnerability. While I grew out of that problem that I experienced during adolescence, the instinct to use food for comfort stays with me and it’s something I try to be aware of. I haven’t experienced any emotional distress since trying to lose weight for health reasons. In fact, I’ve had the opposite experience where I have felt stronger, more in tune with my body’s needs and overall more balanced.

I hope this answers your questions and perhaps makes my perspective clearer. I will try to do a better job in the future explaining my rationale for watching my weight because I would hate for the message to be misinterpreted.”

What do you guys think about this interchange? Does it make sense why I discuss weight loss on my blog and emphasize a dietary approach with little to no added sugar, salt or fat?

 

 

Comments

  1. says

    I admit that I’ve paused and felt pangs of concern when I saw (some time ago) that you were still trying to lose weight. I don’t myself think that Fuhrman’s weight guidelines are right for all people. That said, there is a world of difference between pursuing a lower BMI and having an ED. I have remained slim since my anorexia, for example, and have a low BMI myself, but it is absolutely within a “normal” range, and of course I eat plentifully. So, Carrie, I do understand why you write about weight loss, and trust that it’s not turning compulsive. Rather, I suspect that it simply reflects a really intense and serious passion for disease prevention and health.

    As for dietary approach, we covered it in my comments today! Good exchange, and very interesting to ponder these questions.

  2. says

    I agree w. Adrienne that you already look slim and healthy! But if you think that you will be healthier if you lose some more weight, that’s up to you of course :) I also think, like Gena, that this decision is made for a better health and not for the loss of weight on itself.

    • says

      Hi Sara, thanks for the comment. I totally agree with you, my decision to lose weight at this point should be based (and it is) solely on health reasons. Have a fabulous weekend!

  3. Gabby says

    You should look into this book: Healthy at Every Size. She really goes into detail about a lot of the myths and misconceptions about the relationship between health and weight and while does not advocate for veganism or even vegetarianism she does present them as healthy and admirable options. I think it’s a great book for people who are struggling (or not!) with weight or body image issues- it provides tools to help overcome the stigmas associated with weight and to love your body no matter the weight or shape, and encourages people that they can be healthy at every size. It’s a little controversial since many people believe so passionately that if you lose weight you will be healthier, but very empowering :)

    • says

      Hi Gabby, thanks for the book recommendation! I think you’re right that I would find the topic controversial because I feel like I’m so familiar with the science supporting the link between weight and health, but, that being said, I always try to keep an open mind. Thanks for the comment and I think anything that supports the concept of acceptance and positivity is a good thing.

  4. says

    Carrie, I didn’t read this post until now, unfortunately. I just want you to know that I support you and understand exactly where you’re coming from.
    All my life I have struggled with over eating and food obsession. While you wouldn’t know it from looking at me, my relationship with food has always been one of love / hate. I love and appreciate it while I’m eating…. and then I keep eating to a point where I have hateful feelings for both my food and myself. Since gradually switching to plant based, this is no where near as much of an issue anymore, but it’s still something I’m conscious of and have to been careful with.
    So, I totally getcha!

    • says

      Thanks for your support, Tara! I’ve also found that my relationship with food has improved while on a plant-based diet. I love how nourishing the food is, both to mind and body. Have a great week and thanks for reading. :)

  5. bitt says

    On a recent radio talk on eating disorders, Dr Fuhrman said that 90% of the population is overweight. (Other estimates say more like 30%). 8-9% of the population is considered underweight. I guess those are the body types Dr. Furhman wants us to be. I think this is dangerous thinking and I hope you look to other vegan doctors, nutritionists, and even nonvegan MDs, etc for a more realistic approach. After this last talk of his, I am convinced his theories can be dangerous.

    • says

      Hi Bitt! Thanks for your comment, I do appreciate when people post comments that differ from my opinion because I think it’s important to have a discussion about alternative points of view. Actually, it’s a general consensus that nearly 70% of American adults are overweight (CDC, http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/overwt.htm). Dr. Fuhrman has a personal definition of what constitutes being overweight based on his clinical experience, that is why he says that it’s more like 90%. I think the reality is probably somewhere between 70-90%. What is it about his approach that makes you think it is dangerous? I would argue the opposite point that being overweight and having higher risks for cancer, diabetes and heart disease is more dangerous.

      • bitt says

        I guess I’ve read sources that differ. I don’t believe in fat shaming, and that thin=healthy because I’ve seen the opposite many times. I don’t know if this blog is the best thing for me to read, I don’t want to trigger overly restrictive behaviors in myself or others and I find Dr. Furhman does just that. I have to also stick up for my so-called “overweight” friends who are perfectly healthy, healthier than me at a bigger size. I think focusing on thinness and veganism is not helping the animals, and we do not help the animals by shaming larger vegans.

  6. says

    Hi Bitt, thanks again for your input. I really do like hearing what you have to say. I can totally see where you are coming from, honestly, I can. I guess the only thing I can speak to is what I put on my blog and I don’t think I have ever presented a fat-shaming attitude (if I have, then I’m sorry for that, that’s not what I intended). I know for sure that both my husband and I have experienced health transformations that I feel have improved our lives to the extent that I give Dr. Fuhrman credit for saving our lives. So, I am committed to helping other people who want to use his approach to help themselves. If for whatever reason you don’t agree with the idea of following a high-nutrient diet with little to no added sugar, salt or oils, then my blog probably isn’t for you. I wish you luck and thank you again for letting me know your feelings. Take care, Carrie.

    • Lynn says

      HI Carrie, I think your blog is very helpful! It is important for people to hear the facts on a nutrient dense plant based diet style. In addition, I have tried a few of your recipes and appreciate your pictures as well!
      As far as the comments regarding Dr. Fuhrman and his “fat-shaming” and restrictive approach, I feel people don’t really understand that his approach is scientific and fact based. It is not merely an opinion. Dr. Fuhrman is a nutritional researcher and backs everything he states with nutritional science. I believe people do not like to believe what he says because they may find it too difficult to adhere to in their everyday lives. I’m not sure how anyone can write a book stating that you can be healthy at any size. There is too much scientific evidence to the contrary.

      • says

        Hi Lynn, thanks so much for the comment. I totally agree with you that Dr. Fuhrman’s approach is not an opinion, it is fact-based, that is what makes it such a great program. I think it is hard for people to make changes and hear things they don’t want to hear. But, ultimately, knowledge is power, I firmly believe that. Take care, Carrie.

        • Lynn says

          Knowledge is definitely power! I am glad we have the good fortune to come across Dr. Fuhrman and his research findings. I know I would never go back to eating SAD foods. I feel incredibly empowered to control my own health destiny and not to leave it to chance.

    • bitt says

      I find it hard to follow blogs that focus on losing weight, when it seems the person is at a healthy weight primarily because I consider it to be an extremely privileged position to be in and it’s too hard for me to watch people stress over it while I have much more serious health issues to worry about. So, it’s not personal. It’s just me setting boundaries.

      I don’t think you have promoted fat-shaming, I do think Dr. Fuhrman has, he is part of PCRM and is behind the cheese ads that are fat-shaming for sure. I am sure he has done loads of good but at this point after hearing his last talk, for my own mental health it is best for me to steer clear of his philosophy.

      • says

        Hi Bitt, I think you are wise to do what is best for you. I have read blogs in the past that just don’t sit well with me for whatever reason. I hate to lose you as a reader but I understand where you are coming from. You should know that I struggle with my own issues as much as anybody else does, but I don’t write about everything, of course. And, I do consider myself very, very fortunate to have the time and resources to focus on my health. That is one reason I like writing my blog and interacting with readers because it makes me feel like I am helping other people and giving back in some way.

        Just for the record, though, I do not believe Dr. Fuhrman is part of PCRM anymore and I have not seen anything that suggests he was involved with the recent cheese ads. Do you have information otherwise that I am missing?

        Anyway, I wish you the best, Bitt. I enjoyed reading your blog when you were writing and I really hope you feel better soon.

  7. rich says

    Hi Carrie,
    Thank you for this discussion. Can you put in a link, or more specific information, on what Dr. Fuhrman considers “ideal weight”? Is it BMI based? I know BMI is not without flaws, but I don’t know how else to talk about ideal weight. I have ETL (2011 version), and looking back through it I don’t see a clear discussion about ideal weight; perhaps I’m just overlooking it. Thanks for the information, and the thoughtful, caring, non-judgmental way you present it.
    Rich

    • says

      Hi Rich, thanks for the comment. Check out chapter 1, page 24 in my version under the subheading “The Longer Your Waistline, the Shorter Your Lifeline.” The weight recommendations for both men and women are there as well as Dr. Fuhrman’s thoughts on his preferred way of measuring health through waist circumference and abdominal fat measurements.

    • Lily says

      It’s a very short section, so I can easily summarize it for any future visitors here.
      – No more than 1 inch of belly fat
      – For men, ideal weight is 105 lbs for the first 5 feet, and then 5 pounds per inch thereafter. For women, ideal weight is 95 lbs for the first 5 feet, then 4 pounds per inch thereafter.
      – BMI should really be under 23

      As anyone might surmise, this gives radically different ideal body weight estimates depending on your gender. For example, the ideal BMI for a man of 5’10” would be 22.2 (at 155 lbs), whereas the ideal BMI for a woman of 5’10” would be 19.9 (at 135 lbs).

      While he merely states in his book that the formula he gives is a “commonly used” one, he doesn’t cite a course nor give it a name. Those of you familiar with health science will recognize it as a modified version of the Devine formula, which is: “For women, allow 100 lbs for the first 5 feet and 5lbs for each additional inch. For men, allow 110 lbs for the first 5 feet and 5 lbs for each additional inch”

      So, actually, it is not a commonly used formula. Only Fuhrman uses this odd version, which has been further reduced with no scientific evidence behind it other than seemingly his personal intuition. The Devine formula itself was originally devised for medication dosage, and was not intended to be used as a healthy weight guide. In fact, the Devine formula is noted to be increasingly problematic as women become shorter and approach the 5 foot mark.

      TL;DR: For anyone reading this blog, I would seriously re-consider using Fuhrman’s modified Devine formula, and it may be dangerous to use it if you are shorter than 5’4″. His modified formula, giving a woman of 5 feet in height a weight of 95 pounds, gives her a BMI of 18.6 where the underweight BMI is considered to be 18.5. Please use the original Devine formula, and if you are female, consider using the Robinson formula as an alternative which maintains more even weight recommendations for women (recommendations do not become more extreme as height decreases) which is “Women: Ideal Body Weight (in kilograms) = 49 kg + 1.7 kg for each inch over 5 feet.” That was as originally published, and I’ve converted it to pounds for you: 108 pounds + 3.75 pounds for each inch over 5 feet.

      Now, by saying this, I’m not trying to discredit that everything Fuhrman writes is as unpolished and unresearched as this particular tidbit, and indeed, even books by the greatest thinkers of our time contain things like misconceptions, improper analysis of academic studies, and personal opinion presented as fact. Most of his advice is much more valuable than this tiny, largely un-cited section, and I think the Eat to Live crowd should in no way feel that setting it aside takes away from the importance of the larger body of his work.

      Sorry that was kind of a rant! Hope that helps!

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