My Meatless Journey
By Candace Sakuda
I started to think about going meatless when my co-worker provided me with information on factory farming and I learned that beef has added hormones and antibiotics and I began thinking about whether there could there be a connection between eating meat and having antibiotic resistant infections. Many more infections are immune to the medicines that we once used to fight them. I have developed an allergy to penicillin. What are the dangers to me if the cow was treated with it? I wondered about the link to Mad Cow Disease.
My paternal grandparents came to Hawaii from Okinawa, where their diet was mostly vegetables. In Hawaii, they learned to eat American food, like cottage cheese with their salads, and meat at every meal. They wanted to show that they were living well by eating “good” food. Both suffered from Alzheimer’s recently, and I suspected that it could be Mad Cow Disease instead. (Editor’s Note: The symptoms of Mad Cow Disease are similar to those for Alzheimer’s disease).
I began to cook more and more meatless meals. Because I love to bake, eliminating eggs in the recipe was the most challenging. I experimented with several recipes that used bananas instead of eggs and had great success! Preparing other meatless meals wasn’t challenging, as my maternal grandparents were caterers for Buddhist funerals, where all meals are meatless. They follow a Buddhist Commandment that says: Thou Shall Not Kill Any Living Thing. I learned how to make many meatless meals from my maternal grandparents; however, I wanted to have more variety. Watching Tasty and Meatless on television provides that each week. I’m so happy that is aired at different times and days as I try to watch it when my family is around so they can get the important nutrition information, like the benefits of apples in our diets. After watching this week’s segment, we are trying to eat two apples everyday.
After I introduce a new meatless dish to my family, they usually turn up their noses, but if I insist that they try it, they will. Many times they fall in love with a dish. I prepare one meatless dish every night. My children attend Christian parochial schools, so during the Lent season, my meatless meals are celebrated and welcome. The funny thing is that when everybody has to eat meatless, it is no problem for them! I make extra for my children to share with their teachers and classmates.
The most challenging issue with my family is having potlucks after team sports. One coach, after looking over the goodies spread out on the potluck table, shouted out, “Where’s the beef?” But, my Banana Brownies recipe was a hit! Several parents have asked me for it.
My advice to others is to try eating meatless because you’ll like it and your kids will too! There are a variety of “just add water” meatless meals on the market now. My kids tried the Hummus with toasted pita bread and love it. Stir-frying is very simple and you can just substitute tofu for the meat. Instead of fattening pastry, we have fruit for dessert. Our snacks are egg-free.
The benefits of eating meatless are so many! You will have lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, clearer skin, less aches and pain, and more energy! After watching Dr. John’s segment on Tasty and Meatless about the importance of vitamins, I started taking Super B-Complex and Flax Seed after meals and have noticed that I have better memory. It helped me help my kids with their schoolwork as both are on the honor roll!