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From: Bryanna (
Subject:         Re: need to lose weight!
Date: January 11, 2009 at 5:22 pm PST

In Reply to: need to lose weight! posted by Kristine on January 10, 2009 at 7:44 pm:

A vegetarian, even a vegan, diet is not a sure
thing for weight control. When I became a vegan I
gained weight-- but then I realized that I was
eating nuts, nut milk, avocados, olives, sauteed
foods, etc., with abandon! As soon as I cut back
on fats, I lost weight. Now that I am older, I
realize that I have to have a regular exercise
program and also watch my portion sizes in order to
keep my weight down. I've been a vegan for 20
years and I power-walk, dance and weight-train.

Carbohydrates don't make you fat! Don't listen to
all this high-protein, anti-carbohydrate hype! If
you want to eat for energy, forget the Atkins Diet.
Muscles run on carbohydrates.

I eat about 8 servings of carbohydrate-rich food a
day when I'm trying to actively lose weight. I eat
very little fat, about 6 small servings of protein
(1 serving might be 1 c. lite soymilk, 1/2 c.
medium-firm tofu, 1/2 c. cooked beans, or 1/4 c.
dry TVP granules), a couple of fruit, allow myself
some "extras" like a little sugar and jam, and LOTS
of vegetables-- unlimited vegetables, actually.
I've learned to cook (even stir-fry and saute-- see
my methods below) low-fat, make fat-free or low-fat
dressings, dips and sauces for my veggies. My
first three books (The Almost No-Fat Cookbook, The
Almost No-Fat Holiday Cookbook, and 20 Minutes to
Dinner) are all very low in fat, and my subsequent
books are too, though not as strict.


1/2 c. of cooked beans is about 80 calories and
full of important protein, minerals, vitamins and a
great source of fiber, and virtually fat-free.

Here's what I wrote about tofu and fat:

I eat soyfoods all the time and I pay close
attention to fat and calories. Sure, you can use
low-fat soymilk (or, what I do—get a rich soymilk
like Vitasoy and dilute with water, 1/2 and 1/2),
and low-fat soy flour, if you like, but I don’t
bother with lite tofu. A 12.3 oz. box of silken
tofu contains only about 150 calories in total!

As for regular tofu, it has gotten a bad rap
because 50 percent of its calories are from fat.
But the total amount of calories in tofu is very
low, much lower than equivilant amounts of avocado,
nuts, etc, and much lower than eggs, oil and solid
cooking fats. A serving of tofu is about 80
calories— that would be about 6 oz. silken tofu, 4
oz. medium-firm tofu, 3 oz. firm tofu, or 2 oz.
extra-firm tofu.

Using tofu in baking instead of oil and eggs, just
as a for instance—when I use 8 oz. of med.-firm
tofu in a muffin recipe for 12 muffins, each
muffin contains only 1 gram of fat. A traditional
“low-fat” recipe with 1 large egg and 1/4 cup oil
(not counting any nuts) would result in muffins
containing about 5 g fat per muffin.

Anyway, we need some fat in our diets, and the fat
in soy is good for us. Ordinarily I would not use
soy oil, because it is extracted chemically. But,
in it’s natural state in a soyfood, it is good for


One term that you will see over and over in my
recipes is "steam-fry". It simply means sautéing
or stir-frying without fat. To do this, use a
heavy skillet or stir-fry pan, non-stick or lightly
greased with about 1/2 tsp. of oil brushed on with
your fingertips; or a well-seasoned wok, greased in
the same way.

Heat your pan over high heat, add your chopped
onions or other vegetables and one or two
tablespoons of liquid (water, broth or wine),
depending on the amount of vegetables. Cook over
high heat until the liquid starts to evaporate,
stirring with a spatula or wooden spoon. Keep
doing this until the vegetables are done to your
liking, add JUST ENOUGH liquid to keep the
vegetables from sticking to the bottom of the pan--
you don't want to stew them!

You can brown onions perfectly by this method. As
soon as the natural sugar in the onions starts to
brown on the bottom and edges of the pan, add a
little liquid and scrape the brown stuff, mixing it
into the liquids and around into the cooking
onions. Keep doing this until the onions are soft
and brown, being careful not to scorch them.


Chinese cooks sometimes use a method called "dry-
frying", which is like stir-frying, but in a hot
wok with no oil, or just a tiny bit. If you are on
a low-fat regime, you might like to convert your
stir-fry recipes to this method. Heat the wok or
one of the new stir-fry pans until it is very hot
(use a non-stick wok or stir-fry pan, if possible).
If you like, add a teaspoon of toasted (Asian)
sesame oil (it gives you the most flavor for the
least fat grams). Stir-fry as usual, but, if the
food is sticking, add a few drops of water, wine,
or broth, just enough to keep the food moving-- not
enough to "stew" the ingredients. This method is
not quite as tasty as stir-frying with some oil,
but it works very well with strongly-seasoned

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