Tofu gets a bad rap. It’s used as a punchline pretty frequently among those who don’t know any better. In reality though, tofu’s health benefits are no joke. Not only that, but it’s also delicious if it’s prepared well.
Let’s take a closer look at this oft-misunderstood but much-loved vegetarian delight.
A Long History
In the Far East, people have been eating tofu for an awfully long time. How long? Try 2,000 years or more. Chinese legend credits its creation to the erudite and benevolent Prince Liu An, but there’s not a lot of evidence that actually backs that theory up. It seems more likely that the prince learned to make tofu from the vegetarian Daoist monks he spent so much time with.
If you live in Portland, Oregon, then you’re well aware that Laughing Planet Café is thee place to go when you want fast, healthy food that tastes great, for a reasonable price.
But people in other places aren’t so lucky. Take Bend, Oregon for example. Yes, Bend is awesome. There are craft breweries, breathtaking views of Three Sisters, and more opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors than you can count. But for all its many charms, Bend is bereft of Laughing Planet restaurants. I see you shaking your head in pity, and yes, it is sad.
But wait! Hope for burrito lovers is on Bend’s picturesque horizon. Is it a UFO? No… wait. It’s a flying cyclops… planet? Is it… laughing?
“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!” Did you hear that in your mother’s voice? Me too.
“Blah blah blah,” you blahed, eager to dash out the door so you could hang out with your friends before school, all of you gathering behind the gym, doing who-knows-what… But your mother was right. Breakfast really is crucial. So why is eating a healthy breakfast such a big deal?
When you consider the plight of those without enough to eat, your first thoughts might be of those in faraway lands, but the sad truth is that you don’t have to travel very far to find individuals and families for whom hunger and food insecurity are very serious problems.
According to the USDA’s 2o1o Hunger report, nearly 7% of your fellow Oregonians went hungry at some point during 2009. And according to the Oregon Food Bank, those numbers have continued to rise in the years since. Ever since the “Great Recession” struck, the number of emergency food boxes distributed by the network has increased by nearly 50%. Inability to find steady employment has seriously compromised many citizen’s access to fresh, healthy food.
That’s a serious problem. Hunger can lead to irreversible health issues, learning difficulties, and a lack of physical and mental development in children. Hungry adults are not much better off. It’s difficult to work productively on an empty stomach, and putting your best foot forward at a job interview is hard to do when your children are on the brink of starvation.