What We Should Eat

Today I am baking bread …with soybeans rolled into the dough!!

I decided to re-read Frances Moore Lappe’s “Diet for a Small Planet.” I read it many years ago and had a chance to rethink my responsibility to the people who occupy the rest of the planet. She was concerned that we feed so much grain and soybeans to animal to produce such a small amount of beef or pork. It takes 16 lbs of grain to produce 1 lb of beef.

Maybe, like me, many of you think of eating vegetarian meals as a personal health choice. Lower cholesterol, healthier heart and more energy. But, when I first read Lappe’s book, I realized it is a moral choice too. If this grain were distributed to the hungry throughout the world instead of being fed to cows, so many lives would be saved. Hunger is still a very real problem in the world today. I know we have all seen pictures of children suffering from malnutrition in the third world. Drought and famine are part of the problem. But  I was just thinking that the way I  eat directly affects the amount of food available to these children.

Frances Moore Lappe asks us to imagine we are sitting in a big restaurant , eating an 8-ounce steak. Then imagine that the grain used to provide your steak could fill the empty bowls of 40 people in the room.

Hijiki and Beans

I have not decided to give up meat altogether. But her book is worth reading again and then I will consider what to do. For now my idea is the little soybean. I want to show you some ways I eat it and to remind you that soybeans contain more protein than any other bean. (twice as much as kidney beans)


Soak the beans in water overnight, drain and add water to cover well. Cook on low for 4~5 hours or use a pressure cooker for 20 minutes. Slow cookers work well too. Use these beans in salads, rolled into your favorite bread or boiled with vegetables, soy sauce, dashi stock and a little sugar as you see above.

For now I have decided to eat less meat and lots of whole grain and soybean. I hope it helps even a little in the fight against world hunger.

Here are some other books which have good recipes and information on this topic. I often use recipes form “The Book of Tofu” and can recommend it.

I have not read “Hope’s Edge” by Lappe and her daughter Anne Lappe. This book takes them all over the world to see poverty and hunger first hand and tell what they saw and the people they met. Recipes from places they visit are scattered throughout the book.One is for..

Indra and Sylvie’s Chai: 5 cups water, 15 (!) whole cloves, 20 cardamon seeds, 35 peppercorns (about 1 teas.) 5 sticks cinnamon, 16 slices of fresh ginger, 1/2 teas. nutmeg, 6 teas whole black tea (loose) 1/4 cup honey and 3 cups milk or soymilk.  Boil water and all spices for 30 minutes. Add tea leaves and steep 3~5 minutes. (ends up about 3 cups.) Add milk and honey. Bring to almost a boil. Strain and serve.


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. milliemollymandy
    Mar 03, 2012 @ 06:02:10

    I’m so glad you decided to do this. The background is beautiful by the way. I’m going to really enjoy following what you’re creating and doing.


    • leahmama1
      Mar 03, 2012 @ 14:11:08

      I appreciate your encouragement. I thought I would have nothing to write about but doing this has got me thinking about lots of things! Arigato!


  2. cheerfulwoman
    Mar 03, 2012 @ 06:35:37

    Do you know the “Meatless Monday” movement? Many Americans are now eating vegetarian at least one day a week (or at least they are talking about it?).

    I’m still amazed how huge the portions are in the U.S., and how much meat people eat regularly, despite having spent most of my life in the land of every-meal-must-have-meat-and-potatoes… (^_^)

    This looks so good… soybeans, carrots, hijiki?

    I never learned how to make nimono (what kind of sauce/seasoning, etc.), and I miss eating it. I see all the beautiful food you make, and I miss the Japanese sensibility (aesthetic) about food.


    • leahmama1
      Mar 03, 2012 @ 14:09:43

      Really? Thanks. i will try to post the recipe for hijiki and gomoku beans soon. You have lived in Japan before?! What’s your favorite food? Leah


  3. kabablanket
    Mar 03, 2012 @ 14:39:29

    Wow, I didn’t know that you could feed so many people with a piece of steak you eat. Now I want to read that book Hope’s edge. Like we spoke on the phone, it’s so important to live consciously because every decision you make affects somebody somewhere. To think that I may be oppressing somebody by the clothes i buy or food i eat, i have to be a more conscious consumer.

    This blog looks awesome! Can’t wait for the next entry 😉


  4. Becky N
    Mar 03, 2012 @ 15:17:23

    Yay for you, Leah! It’s beautiful. And thoughtful. And interesting. I’m so glad you’ve decided to do this!

    My copy of Diet for a Small Planet has been well used, even chewed. It has the teeth marks of my 1 year old son who is now 41! We still eat some meat, mostly chicken or fish, though not every day. My husband has type 1 diabetes, so it’s harder to stick to a total diet of combined carbs. But we agree that food choices are a moral issue on many fronts and try to be mindful in making them.


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