Saturday, June 30, 2012

Spaghetti squash topped with mole sauce and tofu

Hey Mom, are those cat treats you're making?

People choose a vegan/vegetarian diet for a variety of reasons. I've chosen one for health reasons. I suffer from environmental allergies as well as food sensitivities. If you suffer from allergies, adopting a vegetarian or vegan diet may offer some relief. Researchers have found that those who exclude animal products from their diet in favor of plant-based foods are less likely to need treatment for allergies or asthma.

As background, a vegetarian is someone who does not eat meat, poultry and seafood but instead consumes a plant-based diet, including seeds, nuts, legumes, grains, fruits and vegetables. Some vegetarians will eat dairy and eggs but some do not. A vegan diet is more restrictive with the exclusion of all animal flesh and byproducts, such as eggs, dairy, honey, etc.

Vegetarian and vegan diets have been studied in the relief of allergies and asthma since the mid-1980s. A 1985 Swedish study demonstrated that asthmatics who followed a vegetarian but especially vegan diet for a full year had a marked decrease in their needs for medications, and frequency and severity of asthma attacks.

In 1994, Loma Linda University tracked how often medical treatments for ailments, including asthma and allergies, were needed for a group of nearly 28,000 people. They found that vegetarians were less likely to need treatment.

Why does a vegan diet help alleviate allergies?
  • One of the chemicals, aside from histamine, released during allergic reactions is called leukotrienes (fatty molecules in the immune system that contribute to inflammation). The production of leukotrienes is influenced by the presence of arachidonic acid, a fatty acid found exclusively in animal products. A vegan diet may help reduce leukotrienes because of the absence of arachidonic acid.
  • Fruits and veggies contain antioxidants and many nutrients beneficial for the immune system and allergy relief.
  • Vitamin E seems to help ward off seasonal allergy symptoms. You’ll find it in many of the foods consumed by vegetarians, including green leafy veggies, beans, apples, carrots, celery, wheat germ and nuts
  • Many who follow a vegan diet experience weight loss which can reduce inflammation.

What are other benefits of a vegan/vegetarian diet?

  • There are other benefits to adopting a plant-based diet including lower blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar; a reduced risk of heart disease and many forms of cancer; and diminished arthritis symptoms.

Thanks for the ice cube, Mom.

I've found that following a plant-based diet may not be able to eliminate allergies and asthma completely but diet changes can help.

Spaghetti squash topped with mole sauce and tofu

A versatile food to use on a vegan, plus anti-candida, diet is spaghetti squash. I grow them in my garden, store them year-round, top them with all kinds of delicious stuff including my latest, Spaghetti Squash with mole sauce and tofu.

Ingredients for 4 servings:
  1. 2 spaghetti squash, split, seeded and baked in oven until fork tender
  2. 1 package of extra-firm tofu
  3. 2 tsp. olive oil
  4. 1 small red onion, chopped
  5. 2 tsp. chili powder
  6. 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
  7. 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  8. 1 tsp. cumin
  9. 1/2 tsp. coriander
  10. 1 T. coconut nectar
  11. 3 oz. tomato paste
  12. salt to taste
  13. 2 T. sunbutter (or other seed or nut butter)
  14. 1+ cups veggie broth
  15. 2 T. cacao powder
  16. Optional: 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  17. Additional topping: toasted pumpkin seeds, shredded vegan cheddar cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bake spaghetti squash halves, drizzed with oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper, for 30 minutes or until fork tender. Remove from oven and set aside.
  2. Spray a baking sheet with pan spray. Dice the tofu into one-inch cubes and arrange on baking sheet. Spray the tofu with pan spray. Bake for 30 minutes, turning several times, until lightly browned on all sides. Remove from oven.
  3. Saute onion in oil until softened. Add the spices. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring.
  4. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
  5. Cool mixture slightly, then transfer to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
  6. Return mixture to pot and add in tofu. Simmer until sauce thickens.
  7. Serve sauce over spaghetti squash. Garnish with pumpkin seeds and vegan cheddar cheese.
This heat is really making me tired!

On a hot summer day, serve the mole spaghetti squash with a green salad and a tall glass of red tea-lemonade.
Red tea-lemonade

  1. 6 cups boiling water
  2. 5 bags of red tea
  3. 2 bags of peppermint tea
  4. 1/4 cup lemon juice
  5. stevia to taste
  6. Optional: few drops of vanilla stevia
  1. Steep the tea in the boiling water for five minutes.
  2. Remove the tea bags with a slotted spoon.
  3. Add the lemon juice and stevia.
  4. Pour the blend into a pitcher and chill in the fridge before serving.
Recipes contributed to:


Elizabeth, blogging for SunButter said...

Hi Sheree,
'Just got some of this from the farmer's market, and NOW I know what to do with it! Thanks for the timely inspiration.

Sheree Welshimer said...

This recipe has two of my favorites: spaghetti squash and sunbutter. Hope you enjoy it!