3.31.2008

Soy Vegetariano!


Paz! Tau!

Las matematicas de hoy son comprendimiento y conocimiento. Today’s mathematics is understanding knowledge. Understanding is growth and development. Knowledge is information. We must continue to grow with the knowledge that we gain, striving ever more, to elevate ourselves and our quality of existence.

I wanted to post an article below about vegetarianism amongst so-called Latin-Americans. Why being vegetarian or vegan seems like some new age Euro-centric fade, vegetarianism and veganism have their roots not in European cultures but in ours. Honestly and actually, most Native peoples had and have a majority plant-based diet. Mant tribal Nations only ate meat at certain points in the year to supplement their plant foods. Many who ate a considerable amount of meat did so for environmental reasons as well. Especially for those of us from the warmer areas of the planet Earth. There is still the overwhelming majority of our people who reject this lifestyle because of tradition. Which I respect. However, as society continues and industrialization/commercialism remains, the quality of foods available become poorer, especially meat product. This, along with fried foods and refined-sugar products, is what contribute (along with SWINE) to the growing numbers of heart disease, obesity, diabetes and other serious health problems in our communities. We need to seriously rethink this, as a people and as a community. Believe me, I have created some pretty damn tasty “veggie” versions or Latin dishes like ‘mofongo‘ and soy-cheese ‘papusas‘, so it isn’t like you have to stop eating the foods you love. What we have to do is learn how to transform them by replacing certain ingredients. I am actually looking to open up a Caribbean/Latin vegetarian eatery here in Pittsburgh, in the future. I want to broaden my peoples’ horizons and assisting them with a long life, while keeping with tradition.

In all reality, one only has to research our culinary history, especially so-called Indians and so-called Africans, to learn about the vast bounty of fruits, vegetables, grains and herbs that our people have utilized for thousands of years. Not as a garnish. But as an integral element in our diet.

Please read and enjoy the article. I build that you take something from it and apply to your life.


Vegetarians add some cultural flare to meals
By: Gabriel Ramirez / Más staff

Move over, carne asada.

Tofu tacos are the new rage.

At least that’s how many Latino vegetarians feel.

While there are not a huge number of Hispanics becoming vegetarians , they are out there and they are figuring out new ways to add a bit a culture to their meals, sans the usual carne asada tacos, chile verde or pollo asada dish, said Laura Pinyan, director of dietary services at the Pacific Health Education Center in Bakersfield.

With many Hispanics facing problems with obesity, high cholesterol and heart disease, following a vegetarian lifestyle could help them lead healthier lives, local Latino vegetarians said.

Camila Chavez found her transition to a vegetarian lifestyle not only easy, but also saw it as a way to honor her uncle Cesar E. Chavez, co-founder of the United Farm Workers union.

“Cesar was a vegan. He didn’t eat any animal products. He was a vegan because he believed in animal rights but also for his health,” Chavez said. “Growing up I was always surrounded by vegetarians and vegetarian meals were always an option.
When Cesar died, I decided to become a vegetarian in honor of him.”

Chavez enjoys a variety of Mexican-style dishes that do not include meat, such as cheese enchiladas, rice and beans, pozole and even foods such as soyrizo (imitation chorizo) and tofu tacos.

Tofu is a product made from soybeans that are ground up with water and then thickened.

If you are interested in trying out tofu tacos, go to Anita’s Restaurant at 4240 California Ave.

“I think healthy eating needs to start with children,” said Chavez, who believes that Hispanics wishing to become vegetarian should make it a gentle transition.

“Think about cutting out red meat and eating only fish and chicken. Then eventually cutting out meat completely,” she said.

For Araceli Campos, becoming a vegetarian was much more difficult but a necessity.

Campos had been diagnosed with high cholesterol six months before becoming a vegetarian. After altering her lifestyle to exclude meat, Campos saw a drop in her cholesterol.
“It is hard at first, but you can train your body,” she said.

Campos grew up in a family where red meat was abundant and vegetarian alternatives were not available.

“When you eat out order food catered the way you want it and learn to use
alternatives whenever possible,” she said.

Meat alternatives such as tofurky, tofu made to look and taste like turkey, can be purchased at health food stores like Trader Joe’s and Lassen’s Natural Foods and Vitamins in Bakersfield.

And if you want to learn how to make vegetarian meals, Pacific Health Education Center offers classes.

“Having a healthier diet, such as a vegetarian diet has been proven to help people live longer,” Pinyan said.

Other complications such as high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease and diabetes can also be avoided.

Pinyan said the blueprint for a healthier diet among Latinos is already imprinted in the diets of their native cultures.

It all goes back to rice and beans, and a few other things, of course.

“People in Hispanic countries typically have a diet that consist of little red meat and are high in rice, beans, tortillas, tropical fruits, vegetables and drinks like horchata,” Pinyan said. “The problems occur when they come to the United States where food is cheaper and large servings of red meat, candy, desserts and sugar sweetened juices and sodas are more easily available.”

Pinyan said these easily accessible foods are the road to obesity.

Want some more food for thought?

According to Pinyan, eliminating meat from your diet also helps decrease abdominal fat.

For more information about vegetarian lifestyles, call Pacific Health Education
Center at 633-5300 or visit www.pacifichealth.org.

Shape Up Bakersfield
Vegetarian Cooking Classes

Classes are free.
Learn how you can feed a family of four with $40 a week. Sample each demonstrated dish and take home easy and delicious recipes. Instructor is bilingual and translation is available.
Feb. 28, March 7 and 14, 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Pacific Health Education Center, 5300 California Ave., Suite 200.
Call 633-5300 for more information.

Vegetarian Recipes


Enchiladas
10 corn tortillas
2-3/4 cups of enchilada sauce
1-1/2 cups of enchilada filling
1/4 cup shredded cheddar-style soy cheese

Heat tortillas in ungreased skillet or microwave.
Spray 9x12 baking dish with vegetable oil Spray and pour 3/4 cup of sauce in bottom.
Place 2-1/2 tablespoon of enchilada filling in center of each tortilla and roll up.
Arrange in baking dish and cover with remaining sauce.
Cover and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
Sprinkle top with shredded cheese. Bake uncovered for 5 minutes or until cheese melts.

Serves 5


Enchilada Sauce
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
2 tablespoons, oil
3 cups tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt

Sauté onions and green peppers in oil.
Add to the other ingredients and simmer 5 to 10 minutes.


Enchilada Filling
3/4 cup fine chopped onions
1 tablespoon, oil
1/4 cup hot water
6 ounces of crumbled tofu
1/4 teaspoon cumin
2-1/2 tablespoons soyannaise
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons shredded cheddar-style soy cheese

This article was reposted from: http://www.masbakersfield.com/home/ViewPost/6310

1 comment:

Aymara Islasia said...

Paz Dios,
I'm interested to know how they teach you to feed a family of four for $40.00 a week...

The article was a good introduction for many who may think that it isnt possible for "latinos" to have a vegetarian diet.

Peace!