Board Certified Sport Dietitian, Master of Science in Exercise Physiology, 25-year Vegetarian, Writer/Speaker, 11x Ironman finisher including 4x IM Kona finisher, Doggy-mommy, Wife to an amazing Czech cyclist turned Ironman Kona finisher, Triathlon Coach.
Recipe - Stuffed shells
Every since I was young, I loved my mom's stuffed shells recipe.
Shells - cooked to al dente in large pot
Marinara sauce - for topping Mozzarella cheese - for topping
Stuffing - firm tofu (container) mixed in a bowl w/ 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and spices, like basil and oregano and 1 egg.
Stuff the shells and top with spoonfuls of marinara sauce and top with the cheese and cook in microwave safe dish (in microwave) for 3-5 minutes or until shells were warm.
Talk about a yummy and quick dish!
My mom told me that back in the early 90's, she would have a hard time to find tofu so she would have to go to a specialty store where she could find Asian cuisines.
Despite choosing to be a vegetarian when I was 10 for animal reasons, I didn't see this dish as "vegetarian". I didn't even know much about tofu until I was in my 20's to fully appreciate the many plant based proteins that I could eat in my "meat free" diet. Also, even though my family does not follow a vegetarian diet, we can all enjoy similar meals together because they taste really really good.
Although I didn't grow up in a house where processed food was off limit and we could never drink Dr. Pepper, I have always grown up with a healthy relationship with food.
For my brother and myself, being such active kiddos and student athletes all throughout high school and college, food was always fuel for our body.
Also, we were very involved with the arts - piano and art for me, dance for Aaron. We were always using our minds for creative expression through the arts and thus food was also fueling our brain.
We never grew up with dieting in our vocabulary and I thank my parents for never mixing food for fuel and for a number on the scale.
Today, I have even more appreciation for food because as a clinical RD, I also see food for health and for disease prevention.
So as much as I would love to enjoy the entire casserole dish full of stuffed shells like I did when I was swimming competitively in high school and college, I also know that I have the ability to plan meals to be balanced in a way that they can fuel my active life and also keep my immune system strong.
To maintain a healthy relationship with food while changing dietary habits, avoid "off limiting" any one food and instead, making replacements and re-think the planning of your meals.
How about "main dish" of a beautiful colorful salad to compliment a serving (3 or 4) of stuffed shells.
In my mind, there is nothing "bad" with the meal and doesn't need to a title as to what diet-fad or eating style it is or isn't.
If you are struggling with your relationship with food - identify the purpose of your eats as an easy way to move forward. For fuel, for health or for pleasure...or as I like it, for all three?