Just a few words before we get to today’s MoFo recipe:
As most of you know, yesterday was Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, which we spend in prayer and in a 25-hour fast. No food, no drink, not even water. It’s 90F in Israel by the way. So fasting for 25 hours is pretty horrible feeling, especially the no water thing when it’s so hot. But most of us just suck up the pain and do it anyway. We do it because it’s actually mandated in the Torah and given the utmost of significance and importance.
We do it even though it’s very hard. We do it even though we want to quit a million times. We do it because we have a Big Why and understand the benefit of doing it. We do it because it is important to our view of who we believe we are and what we believe ourselves capable of doing. We do it because our children are watching us and learning from our choices. We understand that this is as much a mental and spiritual challenge as it is a physical one.
I was still thinking about all of this when I went to a strength training class at the gym this morning. There were several times during this class that were SO unpleasant, both physically and mentally. My muscles were aching and shaking and the negotiation monkeys were jabbering on and on in my brain: “I can’t do another rep.” “The teacher isn’t even counting these! I am going to DIE here and she isn’t counting!” “This is SO painful!”
But on I pushed through the pain because I understand that through this pain, my muscles will grow. ONLY through this pain will my muscles grow, my strength improve, my health improve and my body look better. Those are my Big Why’s and they are why I pushed hard through this weight class, the same way many of us pushed hard through the fast yesterday.
People become my clients because they want to improve their health, or that of their family, and they want to do it through healthier habits with food and exercise. Quite often they think that they will be able to accomplish this without any pain. Or they expect some pain, but then panic and give up the second it gets too hot.
Now, as approaches go, mine is actually NOT that painful. Under my plans, you get to eat whatever you want. (What you WANT starts to change, but that’s another story). The hardest thing a client of mine ever has to do is to journal her food for me for a couple of weeks.
What amazes me is that the task of “write down what you eat and how much and send it to me” is SUPER hard for a lot of people!! I didn’t tell you to change what you are eating, just write it down and share it with me.
Of course people find it hard to write it down because then they have to face it. They don’t want to write that they ate a box of cookies and then have to send that to someone because that is painful to admit and they probably haven’t even really admitted it to themselves yet. I get that. I am compassionate about how hard this all is and I never push a person forward. I stand by her side, give her my hand, and suggest we step forward together, fully supported.
Changing your food and exercise habits; changing your body’s health or appearance; changing the way your family eats – none of it is entirely without pain, both physical, mental and emotional. Some people will find it very difficult actually. I know I did! But with the proper support, it’s a lot easier to make these changes.
Just as you wouldn’t expect to become a doctor without struggling through medical school and an exhausting residency, or any other long-term life-changing goal you go in pursuit of, you have to steel yourself for the difficulty. You must remember WHY you are doing this. You must push through even when things get tough and you want to quit. NOTHING will change if you stay inside your Comfort Zone.
I mean, if it were all easy, you would have done it already. Right?
OK, on to week 2 of Vegan MoFo!
This makes enough tofu croutons for several salads. The tofu will keep in the fridge for several days and can be tossed into any dish you want for an added shot of protein and calcium. I always keep cooked tofu like this in my fridge.
- Washed greens and veggies of your choice
- 1 block of firm tofu
- 1/2 T oil
- few dashes of soy sauce
- 4 large ripe tomatoes
- 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 date, pitted (or 1-2 tsp brown sugar)
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup olive oil, or other favorite oil
- sea salt to taste
- Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium heat
- Cube the tofu into bite-size cubes and dry on paper towels (In Israel it is not necessary to press tofu dry as it is dry already. In other locations where tofu may be more watery, press as much water out as you can).
- Toss the tofu cubes into the heated oil.
- Let cook without touching it for 1-2 minutes.
- When the bottom surface starts to brown, turn each piece to another side.
- Repeat until all sides are golden brown.
- Turn off the heat and toss the golden cubes with a few splashes of soy sauce.
- Set aside to cool.
- With a paring knife, cut a shallow X in the bottom of each tomato.
- Bring a medium size pot of water to boil.
- Add the tomatoes and boil for 30-60 seconds.
- When cool enough to handle, peel off the skins and cut into quarters.
- With your fingers, remove the seeds and discard.
- Put the tomatoes in the blender.
- Add the vinegar, date (or sugar), garlic and paprika and blend until smooth.
- With the motor running, drizzle in the oil slowly through the opening in the center of the lid.
- Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.
- Top a plate of salad with tofu croutons and dress it! (I've tossed some leftover quinoa on top in case you were wondering what was in the picture)