Image: PANGAIAN WILDS by Daniel Mirante. Thanks Daniel!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Pregnant Woman's Saving Grace

So I have been having a really hard time with food. I know, I know ... you're thinking, "but she's a vegan chef, what could be so hard??" Let me tell you, it's hard. When you're physically exhausted, the thought of standing there chopping veggies and preparing an entire meal seems daunting. Add the nausea on top of that and just the thought of certain foods (a lot of foods) makes me want to gag. My pickyness has reached an all time high. Even my love affair with garlic has gone out the window!! Yes, it's that bad ;)

I am still sucking down my green smoothies even though they are making me a little queasy lately, my juicer is on the fritz or I think I'd be doing much better with juices ... something about the texture of the smoothie. See, I'm telling you - it's a weird thing being pregnant! The only thing that really sounds palatable has been sandwiches with yummy Avalon bread, crunchy lettuce, tomato, maybe some avocado, vegan mayo, and on and off some tofurky turkey deli slices ... although when I did eat that it made me constipated :( I try not to do too much processed soy for that very reason. Plus too much processed soy can block the absorption of calcium and I need all that I can get for the little bones that are developing inside of me!

With that being said, I do love to get some protein from high quality minimally processed tofu, such as the Panda brand located right here in Royal Oak. They use non-GMO soy beans from local farms, and literally what's in their tofu is soy beans and water. You can definitely taste the difference. So my newest sandwich craving has been for a tuna fish sandwich ... I used to eat tuna fish all the time before I went vegetarian/vegan. After I went veg, I found a product called Tuno from the Worthington brand of fake meat products. It was good, but once we got into serious label reading .. it was made with a bunch of crap. Worthington was then bought up by Kraft or some other shady "food" company that's buying up all the organic and veg companies (ugh!) and Tuno was taken off the market anyway. So what's a pregnant woman to do when all she can think about is a fake tuna fish sandwich??? Figure out how to make one herself ... after all I am a vegan chef, right?!

I present to you now my saving grace ... my recipe for Tuno fish!! To be enjoyed by the pregnant and non-pregnant alike!!

Tuno Fish - makes about 4 cups
1 pound package of firm tofu, preferably Panda brand
5-6 stalks celery, diced
1/2 small red onion, diced
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. dulse granules (start with a small amount and adjust to taste)
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. sea salt (again, start with a small amount and adjust to taste)
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. celery seed (optional)
1/4 c. vegan mayo, such as vegenaise (grapeseed oil or organic kind)

Start by draining the liquid from the tofu. Half the block of tofu and place both pieces in a quart size ziplock bag. (This just makes the halves easier to work with) Seal and place the bag in the freezer. Once totally frozen (I left mine in over night), remove from freezer and leave in the sink (still in bag) to thaw. Freezing changes the texture of the tofu, making it perfect for tuna! Once it's thawed, take each half and press with your hands over the sink to squeeze out the additional water.

Take your tofu and break into small pieces in a medium bowl. You'll notice that it kind of flakes like tuna does. Then add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Adjust the seasonings as necessary ... the dulse is salty, so you may not need much salt if you're sensitive like I am to salt these days! So just go slow, adding a little, tasting, adding more if necessary.

Now you can use your tuno for a tasty sandwich with some lettuce and tomato .. or try doing a tuno pasta salad with farfelle or elbow noodles ... I also like cooking up some manicotti noodles, cooling them to room temp, then stuffing them with the tuno for cute hand held tuno boats!!


Chessa said...

First I just want to say CONGRATULATIONS!!!! I'm so excited for you guys!

Second, I wanted to suggest that if you get sick of tofu or worried about too much soy (something I struggled with during my pregnancy) that mashed chickpeas (subbed for the tofu) makes GREAT tuno. We have it all the time and it's delicious! High quality protein, good fiber, all good all around. ;)

Amelac said...


Angela, It was all I could do to not buy tuna salad last week at Westborn Market. Ethan suggested trying to find a substitute for it, and now I can't wait to try yours!!!

Jen said...

I can't even contain my excitement for you! You both will be amazing parents! Angela, the first time I met you I felt a very strong mama vibe! :)

We do the mashed chickpeas thing A LOT, so I will try out your tofu version.

Blessings to the three of you!

Kells said...

Congrats to you both on your beautiful journey.

Angela, when I was pregnant, I had HORRIBLE "all-day" sickness with both girls for six months (Not exactly what you want to hear!). Initially, I just tried to drink things that didn't taste too bad coming back up, lol.

You always hear about the dry crackers, mints, lemon drops, lemon slices (which I LOVE but gave me terrible heartburn). I tried the sea-bands, which did help with some of the nausea. The biggest thing that helped me was ginger. I would boil it and make a weak "tea" to sip on, and it helped a lot. Or I'd make a mint tea and then add ginger to it.

One of the causes of my constant illness was the pre-natal vitamins that I was taking. I couldn't deal with them! I started taking a regular vegan vitamin and just adding a folic acid pill. I would take the pill and sip a little bit of Vernors with it, and that helped me so much. I hope this helps you. I'm not sure what supplements you may or may not take, but I wanted to share nevertheless.