Tofu is made from Soybeans.
My first-time buying tofu was back in the day, circa 1980. The store was on the outskirts of Gainesville, FL, long before the Natural Foods Industry took over. People had to buy their fresh tofu from a big “bucket” filled with water and use tongs to pull out the cube or two they wanted, place in a bulk container, and then bring it to the front to have it weighed and pay with the rest of one’s groceries.
Back to Tofu; it’s soybean curd. Yes, Curd. This is from Wikipedia: “Tofu, also known as bean curd, is a food prepared by coagulating soy milk and then pressing the resulting curds into solid white blocks of varying softness; it can be silken, soft, firm, or extra firm. ” (My addition to the definition would be and takes on the flavor of whatever you cook or prepare with, as it is so versatile)
Back to 1980; my mission was to eat Vegetarian and there were a handful of books available on eating “healthier” with recipes and my go-to’s were, “Laurel’s Kitchen”, “Diet for a Small Planet” by Frances Moore Lappe, “The Moosewood Cookbook” by Molly Kaatz, Jane Brody of the “New York Times”, and the now-deceased Nathan Pritikin. These were the trend setters at the time with their “radical” approaches to dietary health, and they all made sense to me from a health and/or ethics reason. It wasn’t a moral high ground at the time, – and like all things, being a “Vegan” takes on different meanings. That is a different topic and would fill pages on paper and hours in real-time on what and why people become “Vegan”. My goal in all this was to not eat any meat, processed food, or white sugar. And some of it was “to lose weight” but it was also me wanting to earnestly change what and
Most options to eat “healthy”, were null and void in US Grocery stores in 1980. And Tofu, when available, was typically found on a shelf in the Asian section, septic sealed. (you can still buy this way and 40 plus years later, have yet to ever even try- perhaps it is the Vegan version of SPAM). And tofu could be the best thing prior to BEYOND Meat coming in and changing the landscape for the vegan and nonvegan.
In the way of budget and better health for people; it is a cheap alternative –It is made from soybeans, a worldwide commodity, traded and grown daily. (Farmers and pricing is another post, especially as we look at the trade deals with China and what’s to come, post impeached POTUS and how he treated farmers, that fallout is still to be seen and so prices will vary), but comparatively speaking- tofu would be less expensive as a meat alternative to the “world” than the current, heavily backed and financially influenced “Beyond” that will now be available at just about any fast food or convenience store. Completely understandable, Burgers sound better than tofu. But, note- the mighty soybean does a lot of what Beyond does, without all the processing. Tofu takes one ingredient and time; Beyond is Many ingredients and overprocessed; there will always be a price and a payoff to better eating, so the question would be, “Are processed products like “Beyond” better for you, and again- that’s the next question that remains to be answered.
In itself, soy is controversial. People will say it wreaks havoc with Menopause. Men have been told they’ll grow breasts. Lots of misinformation out there on lots of food and this is one of them. Some great sources on what tofu is: and some great places to start are here:
- “The Book of Tofu”, by William Shurtleff
· The Ultimate Tofu Guide: The Tofu Book of History, Nutrition & Cooking: [Tofu 101], by Ellen EJ Kim
- And the internet is filled with recipes and resources on what and how to prepare tofu
The benefits of eating tofu far outweigh eschewing it altogether and the biggest boon is the amount of high-quality protein it provides for a relatively low price with such a high impact:
A worldwide commodity providing literally thousands of jobs to people all over the world:
- Inexpensive to grow
- Feeds Livestock
- Provides Jobs
- Provides Food
- No Chemical processing
- One Ingredient
Times have changed since 1980; you can buy tofu just about anywhere now. If you haven’t added this remarkable, versatile 100% Plant-based staple to your vegan repertoire, then perhaps it is time to do so! (disclaimer and sue me, I knew darn well that there was “milk” in the chocolate that was eaten during my 3rd pregnancy 25 years ago- this is what I refer to as the vegan “Gap” that space of